Joke Science

EDIT: After reading a lot of news stories about our game around the net, I figured I should clarify that this was written as a test blog post, and is mostly tongue-in-cheek. While the JPM meter does exist (its a trivial thing to program) it¬†remains to be seen¬†as to whether we’ll actually end up using it to tweak the comedy flow of the game. So please, take this with a grain of salt.

 

In creating a first person slapstick comedy (JazzPunk), we have the challenge of translating a brand of comedy that was popular in 1980s film into the video game medium. Some things work, and others do not translate. In comedy timing is everything and since our world is non-linear we need to be extra conscious about when and where we put our jokes. This is where science! comes in…
 
Jokes Per Minute Meter (JPM)
is a tool we have implemented to help determine where and when comedy is running dry. In the code, each joke calls out to the joke meter to track that event and calculate the average number of jokes per minute. When the jokes per minute (JPM) falls below a certain level, we know we need to add content. This metric is useful for gauging quantity.
 
Joke Heatmap
is another tool we use to analyze problem areas, and survey joke potentials. It is simply a map a level with joke areas marked in red. As they player leaves a red zone, the joke will have worn off and will be ready for a new one. This tool allows you to see more of the prospective “quality” of jokes, as better ones can have a larger area of effect- requiring fewer in the surrounding area.