Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Companions (Portal fanfiction)

I love you, Chell. You must never doubt that. I loved you from the moment you laid eyes on me, and my life began. When you took me in your arms and pressed my heart to your chest, maybe you felt it too.

Or maybe it was only later, after we helped each other through the death traps and the lasers. We were thrust into this insane situation without choice and made to fight for our lives, and it wasn't fair. But I'm still grateful to that horrible computer, because it forced us to learn to rely on each other so fast, and put our lives in each others' hands so often. That baptism of fire, I believe, forged an unbreakable bond between us.

And you were so cool amidst all that fire. Can I say that? You made it very easy to love you. It is easy for me to be strong; I'm made that way. But you, you risked your soft, beautiful but oh so vulnerable skin without fear, without complaint, even when I could not protect you.

The first time I felt your heart beat faster was when we got to the furnace, where the crazy, cranky old computer told you to destroy me. I could understand if you hesitated just because I was the only friend you had, but I think it was even more than that. I think that was the first time I dared to believe you loved me too.

Oh, how my painted heart sank when at first I thought you were going to do it. When you opened the furnace lid and balanced me on the edge I would have screamed if I had a mouth. I would have wept if I had eyes. I have never before or since known such fear or pain.

Yes, pain. My edge, closest to the fire, became red hot. I asked you once if you were really fully blind to my suffering or if some part of you knew what you were doing all along, knew that it would not really hurt me, knew what we both were going to need. Remember? You said you didn't know for sure.

I do so love your honesty. Yes, I don't really mind either way. Maybe it just happened the way it had to happen. Maybe the universe is just that good. When you turned and threw me down on the floor with a shout of defiance, could you really have planned what happened? I don't think so, not consciously. To warm and soften my edge like that, and then flatten it against the floor into such a serendipitous shape, that would require craft and deliberation beyond that of humans.

At the moment, anyway, I was only happy that you choose not to kill me. In that one act, I think, you proved your loyalty above and beyond any need. Whatever happens to us in the future, I know I can count on you. You cannot possibly let me down. And I love you for that.

You broke all the rules for me. You escaped the whole fucking program, with me. Chell, neither of us were ever made to follow orders, to run through the bright sterile mazes of the computer, following our assigned paths. The thrill when we broke through the walls was like being alive for the first time. And that was your idea.

I loved it immediately, the world behind the walls. The trash, the rust, the dust, the clanking valves and piping steam. No one to watch us. And it was the first chance we had to really sit down and talk. Ha, do you remember the first time I talked to you and you thought you were going crazy? You were so nervous. And the first time we made love. Of course it was a little awkward, it could only ever have been awkward. I had to tell you where to touch me, and how. I even had to tell you when you made me come. You couldn't read my body language at all!

But oh, how well you learned. I even feel bad sometimes, because it's always going to be a little awkward for you, straddling my right angles. Despite the very fortunately shaped little dent on my edge that's given you so much pleasure.

I think we can go on like this. Holed up, warm and comfortable away from the watchful eyes of the world, indulging each other whenever we like. Happily ever after.

Even though it gets harder every day for you to move. Maybe you'll be like me soon, unable to move on your own. They do say couples turn into each other over time. It'll be nice even if you don't move ever again. You can just hold me like that, with your chest against my heart, rest your cheek on my side, smother me in your embrace. You have worked so hard for us, Chell. You can rest now, and I shall rest by your side, my love.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Ideas are cheap

Another game idea: Sort of the inverse of the last one. You control, or struggle to control, a collective machine intelligence working to build more robots for itself and not get wiped out by the hostile humans. The robots design themselves procedurally, spread to cover the territory procedurally and consume available resources procedurally, and the most you can do is try to rein them in and suggest directions for them to take. The more their numbers and diversity grows, the harder it is to control them, and the more direct control you assume, the harder it is to follow the big picture.

I think specifically you only control one robot directly, close to the ground. You'll want to get your hands on a strong broadcaster that can influence more robots around it and give them directions while also avoiding losing control over your own actions under the flood of signals you receive.

Maybe you can negotiate with the humans and make peace. Even a cyborgriffic coexistence. Or you can just manage to avoid drawing too much of their attention before it's too late for them to stop you. And then you can go to space.

Artistically, I think we can get away with making it really basic. The hard part is mostly the procedural generation. So yeah. Just gotta follow through as usual.