Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Plover Presentation at Pygotham

Well, Pygotham was fantastic, and I think the presentation I gave went pretty well. I haven't reviewed the video of it (though hopefully that'll be up in the next week or so, captioned with Universal Subtitles, natch), but from what I remember, the people who attended seemed intrigued by the idea of steno and asked lots of interesting questions. I've uploaded a PDF of the slides I used in my talk, so if you're interested, feel free to give them a look-over. They include the other faux screenshot for Hover Plover that I commissioned, pictured below:

Hover Plover Pixel Art by Derek Sneed

This is a top-scrolling space shooter. As I mentioned in the presentation, it's mainly a dictionary building game, as well as a way to reinforce muscle memory after defining each stroke. The enemy ships are coded to the number of strokes required to write the word sitting on their tailfins. So easy one-stroke words like "snails" (STPHAEULS) or "antidisestablishmentarianism" (SPHAEURPL) are the little green ships. The yellow ships are two-strokers, like "guardian" (TKPWARD/KWRAPB). Orange ships are three-strokers, like "bemusement" (PWE/PHAOUS/PLT). The big scary red ship should properly be a three-stroker, since it's "frangipani" (TPRAPBG/PA/TPHEU), but the player's dictionary doesn't have "frangipani" in it, so it appears as an "undefined", the fearsomest type of ship in the enemy fleet. The player can fingerspell the word, which will shoot it down once, but will force them to fingerspell it again the next time it appears. But they can also call up the Plover entry definition window, fingerspell it once, then stroke out the steno they'd like to apply it to, hit the enter key (which in the Plover default dictionary is R-R), and the ship will revert back into whatever type it should be. In this case, it'll go from scary red to slightly less scary three-stroke orange. Unfortunately Plover doesn't yet have this pop-up definition feature; it's the last big improvement we need to implement before Plover can be considered truly complete. But when that gets done, and when we're able to start developing Hover Plover, this is gonna be loads of fun to play, and tremendously useful practice. A debt of gratitude is owed to Typestriker, which gave me the idea of a top-down space shooter, though it's a qwerty game, so it doesn't have any of the steno-specific functionality that the Hover Plover version will have.


EDITED TO ADD:

My dear friend Martin has already gotten to work on the overarching plot of the game, which he posted in the comments. I thought I'd paste what he's come up with in the entry itself, since it amuses me greatly. Keep in mind that this isn't officially sanctioned Hover Plover canon yet, but it's definitely a start!

"Okay, work with me here, I have a vision:

The year is A.D. 2101 - and war was beginning! On the distant planet Chordos 10, the peaceful (but fast-moving!) Ploverian civilization is under attack from the vicious Qwertons.

You play as Ensign Stino Plover, a new recruit in the Ploverian Space Force. You start off in your ill-equipped plovercraft in the side-scrolling New Chord City, and you have to get to Cape Stenaveral to launch and join your PSF comrades in orbit to defend against the incoming Qwerton attack. That level is basically the beginning level you described in your last post. As the ground-based levels progress, your plovercraft gets more and more of the equipment it'll need to fight off the Qwertons - but the challenges also get harder and harder (take away the steno hints, etc).

Once you get to Cape Stenaveral and successfully input the launch code (a few lines of random text you have to stroke in at a certain speed and level of accuracy) you launch your newly tricked-out plovercraft into space to fight the Qwertons. This is the intermediate space shooter level you describe here. If you get shot down, you crash-land back on the planet, where you can repair your plovercraft by repeating part of the beginner level and then relaunching.

If, on the other hand, you manage to fend off the invading Qwertons, you must face a final boss challenge so advanced, so terrifying, that I haven't even thought of it yet. Muahahahaha!"

3 comments:

Martin said...

Okay, work with me here, I have a vision:

The year is A.D. 2101 - and war was beginning! On the distant planet Chordos 10, the peaceful (but fast-moving!) Ploverian civilization is under attack from the vicious Qwertons.

You play as Ensign Stino Plover, a new recruit in the Ploverian Space Force. You start off in your ill-equipped plovercraft in the side-scrolling New Chord City, and you have to get to Cape Stenaveral to launch and join your PSF comrades in orbit to defend against the incoming Qwerton attack. That level is basically the beginning level you described in your last post. As the ground-based levels progress, your plovercraft gets more and more of the equipment it'll need to fight off the Qwertons - but the challenges also get harder and harder (take away the steno hints, etc).

Once you get to Cape Stenaveral and successfully input the launch code (a few lines of random text you have to stroke in at a certain speed and level of accuracy) you launch your newly tricked-out plovercraft into space to fight the Qwertons. This is the intermediate space shooter level you describe here. If you get shot down, you crash-land back on the planet, where you can repair your plovercraft by repeating part of the beginner level and then relaunching.

If, on the other hand, you manage to fend off the invading Qwertons, you must face a final boss challenge so advanced, so terrifying, that I haven't even thought of it yet. Muahahahaha!

Mirabai Knight said...

Yes! And the Steno Hero section is you kicking back in the mess hall with your comrades after each steno victory! I love it. I'm gonna post this comment so it's its own entry, with your kind permission. :'D

skm said...

Your talk is up on blip now, and will be at python mirocommunity once their queue clears.

https://blip.tv/gloriajw/plover-thought-to-text-at-240-wpm-5582245