The Museum of Vestigial Desire

Ambience

tags: haptic published on:

Ambience is that which cannot be transmitted. Like biscuits that can only be consumed only locally, transmission is difficult.

A large chunk of experience cannot either be transmitted or even accessed or archived.

This chunk of experience can only be talked about in reference to the negative space of environmental noise.

Talking of the negative space is difficult because first at some level the line has to be drawn. Textures have to be distinguished, variance has to be registered.

After ambience is identified, what happens?

If you are in a world where the environment actually has something to say, then the player will find the change in their environment to be a significant event. The significant event for the player is to start thinking about change and association in a very real way. If the world was not significant, why would it change? And if the change does happen then what is the association?

For the player ambient change affects a change in behaviour. It is a reason to behave differently and a reason to project other properties than just the ones that they possess.

Change in behaviour means a change in system conditions. There is something new to respond to in the system.

New behaviour produces new behaviour because stimulus-response loops kick in.

When a loop is responding to a new stimulus for the first time it does not know what to do. Because systems function only on the basis of a memory of past action. When there are no memories, there is no action. With no action, life will supposedly come to a stand still. But this is the idea of ACTOR BIAS. The flip side of the bias states that if in a given world, the actor does not do anything then nothing will happen. Actually this idea needs to accommodate the idea of the ACTOR BEHAVIOUR COMPENSATION. This idea actually posits a loop which has accommodates the possibility of the ambient environment compensating for the actions that the actors do not do.

Because this compensations happens in a very active way, game worlds can be thought of as pragmatic synchronous environments between actors and ambient environments.

Ambient environments cannot be thought of as passive backdrop to some centre-stage of action. Basically ambient environments are players with fixed mobility. They are actors without overt agency. They are actors who operate only in loops.

Ambience gives clues.

With ambient clues, players get the impetus to carry forward with the game. When players start unraveling clues and attempt to fit them into their solution of the puzzle. Puzzle-solving is an important way to thrust game narratives forward. When puzzles don't move forward, the static has to dealt with as a kind of trauma. This trauma of stuck puzzles has a sound-scape that becomes a part of the ambience.

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