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Dev Update #47: Writing Challenges

By July 19, 2017Dev Updates

We’re at the final stages of the first Alpha Release’s development, which means that functional development (programming) is slowing down and aesthetic development (art and writing) is on the rise. This comes with a pretty interesting writing scenario: for Gears of Eden, I am currently writing in two very different mediums. (three, actually, when you include the one you’re reading right now!) Moreover, one of the major goals that I have is that both arenas of writing inform your perception of the other. It’s intimidating, but it’s one of those challenges where you can actually feel yourself developing your craft as you work! We talk about this from a variety of perspectives on the most recent episode of the Reaching Eden Podcast, but one can always delve further!

Lately, you’ve probably heard some talk about the short stories that we plan on releasing. This, as you might imagine, is pretty straight forward: I write an ugly little first draft, we compile editing notes, and then I turn that draft into something you might actually want to read! Right now, we’re in that last phase, which… honestly? I’m so excited about! It’s cool that you’ll all get to read it soon, but this is the first time in my writing career that I’ve received a formal set of editing notes (outside of classes). Naturally, this is terrifying, but moreso, it’s exhilarating and I promise to do a good job for all of you!

When it comes to writing the Alpha’s lines, we were a bit more casual with that process. When it comes to game writing, quality is obviously important, but its equally important to know just how frequently the player wants to deal with your writing. Growing up with adventure games like Freddy Fish and Putt-Putt, I realized that nearly every object in every location had some bit of writing attached to it. Instead of having Freddy Fish just constantly talking at the player, however, they tucked it all behind an “examine” option. This way the player could still have that bit of writing if they wanted it, but they could also just ignore it if they didn’t.

We might play around with this examine type of function in the future, but right now, we’re hoping to approach it in a more organic fashion. We want the bits of writing to occur without the player needing to be clicking all the time, but its absolutely imperative that we control the rate at which those bits occur. Right now, figuring out how much to throw at the player is our primary focus. When writing for a game, you can’t just write; you need to design.

We’ll figure it out though, and I have no doubt that you’ll be a world of help during the upcoming alpha in helping us fine-tune this mechanic even further! That’s still a little ways of, so until then, we’ll continue to keep you up to date on all things Gears of Eden from our Twitter and Facebook pages! As always, we’ll be back next week, and I hope to see you there!

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