(The following is part of my GameFile column, filed at MTVNews.com.)
What ["Love" MMO designer Eskil] Steenberg envisions — and, of course, is making — is a game that is smart enough to react to anything a player does.
..."I believe that games need directors," he said, "digital directors that can figure out in real-time what's going on in the game, analyze what the players are feeling and doing and adjust to that and make the game do what it should do ... to make a dramatic balance."
How about a "Star Wars" reference to explain? "A digital director could do very small things. Like, it could say, 'Well, at this point [the player is] 2 feet away from destroying the Death Star. Maybe we should not fire the big gun at him right now. Just keep up with the player. Let him do that, because he's got a tiny bit of health. Let him be the hero."
Steenberg gets the irony that he wanted to be a designer, got hired to be a programmer, and is now figuring out how to program a designer into virtual existence. His digital director could be responsible for, in his words, "the most awesome game ever." The Death Star example is really just a small thing. A game like "Love" powered by a digital director "has to be able to generate stuff and add stuff and remove stuff and shift not just on the small level — the health and things like that, which is kind of easy — but you want that engine to be able to say: 'We need a powerful nemesis right now. That's a missing character. We need to generate that character. Give him a castle. Give him weapons.'"