Fates Weekly Update #68

Hello, folks. Coming to you is the very last Fates Weekly from Delaware. The papers are signed, the boxes are… kind of packed, and the travel plans are laid out. It has been fun, but the time has come for me to return to the frigid midwest and start back over from there. I’m hoping to have internet up and running by this time next week, but there is a possibility that our next weekly update will be either early (while I am still at the hotel) or late (when I has the interwebs).

RA: Hope update: I… hate… video editing. I hate it more than anyone here can possibly imagine. I’ve logged 30+ hours in the last week trying to make it good. Almost all of my writing time was devoted to trying to understand the program and make everything work. Honestly, I’m not very happy with the result. The result of the video, that is. The game I’m finally very proud of. I was going to share it with you all so you could laugh at me, but it is still trying to render. So since it is still driving me towards a mental breakdown, here’s a CG that shows in it!

Writing: So we enter the final part of our explanations of what lead up to the lack of discipline and loyalty on the Nimross. For those of you who have not played Rising Angels: Reborn and wish to avoid spoilers, now would be a good time to stop reading and I will see you next week.

When we start RA: Reborn, the important thing to note is that Natalie Puccile is an outsider. In a land of mini-fiefdoms, Natalie is entering as a complete outsider who comes from an organization that has run afoul with the current shipmaster, Vice Commander Rasoona. As she eagerly tells Natalie, she did not hold this rank that long ago. No, she was once in charge of a small task force as a Commander of the Wings before one of our routes in Fates, Anton Rogers, lead to her transfer and demotion. That’s a lot of rank to lose, especially for someone who used to be a fast-burner up the ranks. Right from the start, Natalie has one person who is very begrudgingly working with her and secretly wants her to fail. Her bitterness is what forces Natalie to disobey the orders running directly against her mission. If things would have been different with Rasoona, Natalie wouldn’t have been forced to take over command.

One of the most common culprits brought up for lack of discipline is Kika. Kika Starr is another person who wants to hold proud her heritage and get to the top (where she tells you she deserves). With privilege, a brash personality, and drive, Kika easily rubs people the wrong way. This means she has to work harder, which keeps the cycle going. You advance in the KDF with results, not humility. This leads her to disobey orders and ignore the chain of command in favor of what she thinks gets better results.

Faye… Faye is naive and a fair bit lazy. Since her mission reports to Research & Development, not the space sector, she doesn’t need to get involved in ship politics. She might have gotten more involved with the actions of the crew, but her previous relationship with the executive officer, Sol Hackett, is still rocky to this day. In doing what she thinks is right for them both, Faye stays away from him and the rest of the leadership aboard the Nimross. Her lack of presence means that a potential voice of reason has been removed from the equation. The same thing applies to Alphonse Tenzin, the other major on-board the Nimross. As he has worked with Sol before and knows of his dislike of non-humans, he takes a laissez-faire leadership and does not call out Sol or Natalie when the situation calls for his input. With his own mission hiding in the background, another leader who might have brought the Nimross to order is removed from the picture.

The two biggest culprits for the lack of control on the Nimross are the other two deck-grade officers, Sol Hackett and Stan Nelson. Out of all the characters, Sol is the one trying the hardest to keep things in line and functional. Even when things looked their worst, he attempted to keep everything running smoothly. No matter what you think of him personally, Sol is an effective second-in-command and devoted to his cause. But that’s the problem, isn’t it? Sol grinds the gears of his crew the wrong way and his occasional speciest remarks turn people against him, despite him never acting on any of them. With no support, even from his own childhood best friend, Sol is unable to stop the chaos from consuming his crew.

Stan is an easy one to figure out. He is intentionally sowing discord among the ranks. Though fairly new to the Nimross, he quickly used the easier influenced members of the ship to erode the leadership of Sol by highlighting his racism and Rasoona by having her focus on Sol and Natalie instead of what he was doing. With a hand of friendship, he swung Kylie to his side and made Zuri focus on her squabbles with Sol. Kylie isn’t going to argue, she is one of those fast burners who skipped a lot and has virtually no life experience. With Sol unable to gain control of the crew and support him in stopping the colonel’s corrupting influence, Stan had free reign to solidify his regime. One thing to note is that Stan is veeeeeeeery obvious in what he was doing. One of the most common things I hear is that he was too obvious a villain. Yes, he was. Intentionally so. Almost like he wanted Natalie to focus on him. I might be overthinking it though…

Zuri… I wish I could talk more about Zuri without getting into Fates spoilers. All I can say is this. Zuri openly tells you that her last post was as a security forces officer and that she was demoted. There could be a correlation between her overwhelming desire to be a strong warrior and events that transpired in her past.

Rank had no effect on the Nimross’s failure. It was the natural born conspiracy between no strong leadership and too many people with different personal and professional agendas. Everyone had a different stake in the results of the Nimross and forced it to fall apart. One of those things I’ve always hear in the various training sessions I’ve gone through is that laissez-faire leadership will destroy a mission. With everyone playing against each other and nobody putting boots to heads, Natalie was doomed to fail. The biggest question going into Fates is can Natalie take control of her group now that she has direct control. She’s going up against Anton Rogers and his SITO team. They’re well-trained, cohesive, and though Name would like to disagree sometimes, completely under his direction. Zuri, Kika, Alexi, Akurel, and Sol… Natalie still has her work cut out for her.

That’s all for this week and the end of the three part lore special. I really hope it was educational for you all! Until next time, Chief out!


The video o’ the post is the best contrast between Natalie and her foes…

Fates Weekly Update #67

Hello, folks! So this week is my final week on active duty in the military. It’s weird to think I will soon by hanging up the uniform and stepping back to the civilian world. I’ve been doing this for so long that it does make the whole situation surreal. I always said it would come one day, I just didn’t really expect that day to be this soon. Oh well! More time to write! I’ll be able to be home on a regular basis and the words shall flow like waterfalls!

Rising Angels: Hope update: Finishing up the last tweaks this week. I’m fairly happy with how the story is going along, happy with the new expanded scenes, and just happy with how things are going overall. Considering how rough things have been lately, this is one of those few moments when I got to be just happy. Most of the work is finishing up and I’ve been building the trailer video this week. It took a bit to get my software working again to make videos, but things are doing well. Hopefully, we will have the video done by Weds and will do an out of cycle update when we get the Greenlight up. I love the song for the video, I hope you all will as well.

Writing: So last week in our talk, we were going over how the Katajion Directorship teaches people and advances them through the education system. We started at junior academy, went to senior academy, sector academy, and finally wrapping up with specialized training. At this point, we have a fully qualified member of the Katajion Directorship. Different sectors have different amounts of training. From the start of sector academy to completion of specialized training, anywhere between one year for smaller sectors to eight years for highly technical and specialized fields can pass. What does this mean? If you add in fast burners in the junior/senior academies, you can end up with some very young members employed into some decent ranked positions. Not incredibly common, but it does allow people like young, naive Kylie to end up in a position where a more experienced person might reside.

Now that we’ve explained how people end up in the positions they are in, let’s address the giant elephant in the room about rank and discipline in the Katajion Space Sector. Even I have to admit that there isn’t a lot of it to go around. But that is part of the biggest ideals of the KSS. The first thing we have to address is rank. One thing I am very surprised that nobody has ever mentioned is that there are no task-grade troops on the KSS Nimross. No flight sergeants, no troopers, nothing. The most junior officer is Kylie as a Flight Officer. They have her, two lieutenants, a captain, three majors, one colonel, and one deck-grade officer to command it. There’s a lot of brass, not a lot of people who get things done. While Commander Rasoona has the official command, she barely outranks Colonel Nelson and holds a tentative grasp on her majors.

One thing I do hope everyone also remembers from last session is that ranks are dependent upon the position. This has a bad tendency to cause the mentality of “I outranked you two weeks ago! Being a pilot now doesn’t make you a better leader then me.” If you pair this with the history of independence and freedom in the ranks, you get a situation where you get fiefdoms in the ranks. The Katajion Space Force is a meritocracy. If you do amazing, you get put into positions to do more amazing things. You blaze up and bring your friends who helped you up. Sooner or later, you hit a point where you can’t get up and start to set your roots there. Worse yet, if you are moved to a lower ranking position, those roots are still there and that authority tends to create conflicts. While the situations are often brokered behind closed doors with the assistance of the Intelligence Sector, it does nothing to stop that breed of insurrection. The joke since it was nothing more than an RP between friends is that the only people we stab harder than our foes is ourselves.

Which is why the Katajion Space Sector often hires third parties to help with their war efforts. While it is often hidden under the guise of supplementing existing forces, mercenaries are hired on a regular basis to help ensure that the mission is completed. They are the fallback option when Commander of the Wings John Doe took his air wing to liberate a captured position without direct orders from his chain. Pirates, freelancers, professional mercenaries… if they can be counted on to complete the mission and defend the directorship, they can find good money. An example of this is elven ranger Yoi Mono. While she is brought to the Katajion Space Sector as an exchange officer, she is kept on by Anton Rogers as a hired unit. In order to keep some sort of semblance of a chain of command, all hired units are given a campaign (temporary) rank in the Space Sector. While this does keep things easier to keep track and manage, it, yet again, breeds unrest and independence in the ranks.

So where are we at? We’ve got officers who are talented at their jobs, but often outside their experience levels. We have senior officials who are in lower positions because they weren’t able to keep up their burn. Experienced, but sometimes jadded. We have outside units that have authority over regular units. While this creates units that are very effective at what they do, it often creates turmoil and the occasional insurrection in the ranks. You’ve got a regular military force that operates like an irregular one. The modern idea of a professional military force does not apply to how the Katajion Directorship, especially the space force, operates.

That’s going to wrap up part two of the lore of the Katajion ranks and why exactly the events on the Nimross played out exactly like they did. We have one more part to go and that’s why exactly things fell apart exactly as they did during the events of the Nimross’s expedition. We are going to talk about the characters themselves, why the cards played out as they did, and things to notice in upcoming stuff. Until then, Chief out!

The video of the post is fitting for this week. Very fitting.

Fates Weekly Update #66

Hello, folks. Any fans of the board game, Secret Hitler, in here? I was roped into playing it this evening with several EVN personalities. I have some bad luck when it comes to that. For two of the five games, I was Hitler. I even got shot during the last game by Tryinmorning. It left me in a weird place where I wasn’t sure if he had done a great thing by stopping me or if it sucked that I lost. It was with this sense of confusion that I entered this week’s update.

Pretty quiet week for developing. It was mostly just chugging along writing, so this week will be more of a lore posting than actual development. I was hoping to have the promotional video ready for you all to see, but it turns out that having to completely wipe your computer because the hard drive wants to die slows you down. While I didn’t lose anything other than work time thanks to frequent backups, it did delay me a couple of days while I fixed parts and reinstalled everything. Soooooo… lore day!

I’ve got an interesting topic of lore to talk about today. One of the most common things I hear about RA: Reborn is the lack of “professional” military discipline. That I haven’t done my research into how the military acts and how things are done. Every time I hear it, I chuckle a little bit. Apparently eight years in a flying steel tube over warzones doesn’t teach you how the military acts. A couple relationships in Reborn are born from real life experiences with crewmen in that combat zone. That’s only one thing though that makes me laugh. The biggest one is that they are correct that the Katajion Defense Force does not operate like a traditional military force. It isn’t, and that is something that takes a bit of understanding to wrap your mind around.

First off, let’s talk about how one becomes a member of the space force in the first place. From the age of four to the age of graduation, children of the Katajion Directorship are educated in a junior educational academy (four to ten) and a senior educational academy (ten to late teens). Tests to advance are incredibly challenging and almost everyone does a couple years two or three times. Senior educational academy is where Natalie and Sol met, becoming childhood friends. While it is possible to be exempt from these academies (Faye Moonfallow is an example), all children are to be given tests each year to advance to the next segment of their learning. These tests also help gauge a person’s talents and aptitudes, which determines what sector academies than can apply for after graduation. Those who have already graduated an academy and wish to join another sector or were educated outside the system are also given tests to determine if they can join a specific sector’s academy.

When coming into a sector academy, cadets are either given a promised position or an open one. Promised positions are given to those with exceptional talent or with special circumstances. They know what position they will be given upon completion of their training. As they know their position, they also know what rank they will have as Katajion ranks are directly tied to their positions. Open positions don’t have the same luxury as promised. They are forced to compete with their educational academy scores, their sector academy scores, and any other external factors against the other open candidates. While this means some can get lucky and land higher level positions with hard work, it also means average and below average performers can end up in grunt positions and risk never moving up.

Sector Academy is a mix of a traditional college and a very vague technical school. Cadets are taught about the basics of their respective sectors, specialized knowledge in fields of study that were previously covered in educational academies, and some initial classes that are used to determine if they are qualified to advance into more advanced professions. There is a high amount of rigidity in sector academies and a lot of personal freedoms are restricted to ensure that their focus is on the material. It is closer to a strict boarding school than what most people would consider to be “basic training”. Part of the reason for this is the long held belief in Katajion independence and individuality. Most sector academies are only one to two years long. After the cadets have shown their competency in the basics, open position cadets are given their positions. All cadets are then sent to their respective training schools and given brevet ranks. These ranks are either their position’s rank or given up to the deck officer rank of captain. Those who would be promoted higher are temporarily held at the brevet rank of captain until completion of their profession school.

Okay, this is going to be a really long talk, so we are going to have to come back to this next week. Next week we will cover from profession school to official posting. This might be a three part special as we show why things on the Nimross unfolded the way they did. I don’t mean to rant, but a decade of lore has left a lot of things to talk about. Until next time, Chief out!


What’s this week’s video o’ the post? Come more old country songs! Let the world bask in your guitar strings.

Fates Weekly Update #65

Hello, folks. Now that AGDQ is over, the distractions are over and work begins to kick into overdrive again. They raised over a million dollars for charity! Very impressive, glad to know that our community of gamers can come together for such a good cause. Back to work and there is a lot of it!

Writing: When I started working on the investigation sections, I made a vow that I was going to do something much better than Phoenix Wright when it came to presenting items and profiles to various people in your investigation. I love how they did a lot of things and took several to mold to my purposes, but there was one thing that always annoyed me. When you presented pieces of evidence to people that wouldn’t give you clues or viable input, they would use the same exact response no matter what piece was given to them. A picture would get the same reaction that a bloody knife would! It annoyed me a fair bit because it broke some of the world immersion and completely threw away a good piece of storytelling.

So we decided that every piece of presentable items would give a different response. It would drastically increase the amount of writing required, but it also gives it that little extra bit of immersion for the game. Certain characters are easier to write these than others. Alexi, for example, is a lot easier than Yoi. Alexi is easier because she just doesn’t care. The more items you present to her, the less and less she cares. Yoi takes things seriously. Well, seriously out of this world. When you present a rune you find on one of the planets, Alexi helpfully tells you that she doesn’t care what it is with her feet up on the desk. Yoi, however, will helpfully tell you she has totally never seen that before, but she’ll give you ideas on what it might be. And the other characters as well.

Which means there is going to be a large number of options in the interactions that are going to depend on if you’ve presented evidence to people. Good things and bad things are going to be determined by if you want to give clues to people. For example, giving Alexi the rune is going to result in… absolutely nothing. She doesn’t know, she doesn’t have a need to know, and she isn’t going to know in five seconds. If you give Yoi the rune, she might be able to tell you what it means, but she’s very much a gossip. With your allies and enemies blended together… do you want to tell her? There’s going to be a lot of varying routes. Reborn might not have given you those selections in the story, but Fates is certainly defying that as the writing continues on.

Hope experiment: As some astute people noticed from my phrasing last week, I haven’t completely given up on the idea of a staggered release. Since there is a lot of disinterest in the ideas, I’d like to give it a test run to see how viable it is and how it would work. As Hope is preparing for a release soon, I would like to use it as the test vehicle. Hope will be released in three segments that will be updated roughly three weeks apart from each other. What does that mean? It means as soon as we get the trailer video finished, we are going to start pushing for Greenlight and getting Hope into your hands!

That’s all for this week. Hopefully we should have some much more exciting stuff to talk about next week! Until then, Chief out!

Video o’ the post? Certainly!

Writer job offer for OoA: IE

Hello, folks. Short version since we don’t have a lot of time. I’m the head of the game Order of Ataxia: Initial Effects and the former assistant writer. We were on schedule for release when we discovered our former lead writer had been overstating how far ahead he was. We are now very close to when we need to release and the script is suddenly behind where it needs to be. While I am stepping up my role, I need the assistance of another writer to get everything somewhat back on-track. The writer will be given an outline for the scenes required. The game is heavy fanservice, but no mature material will need to be written.


Game: Order of Ataxia: Initial Effects


POV: 1st

Budget: $450; 50% upfront, 50% upon completion

Length: est 15,000 words

Deadline: Jan 23rd; $100 bonus if completed by Jan 15th.
The game will be commercial.

Please include writing samples. Experience in visual novel writing is preferred, though providing samples of prose writing is fine.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, either comment here, e-mail me at overwatch@idhasstudios.com, or send me a PM.

Fates Weekly Update #64

Hello, folks! I have a quick question for you. Why are you reading this instead of watching Awesome Games Done Quick? We’ll be here when you get back, they will be… “quickly” gone. Speed running for charity is awesome and I swear that I am not being distracted by the Mario 64 run. Promise. Of course, it was a boring week with everyone taking off to spend time with their family and/or the bottle, so there’s not much to talk about this week.

Writing: Prepping for the release of Rising Angels: Hope has been a bit of a flashback, seeing characters who have otherwise drifted away from the series. After Hope, Iotor drifts out of the story and I don’t see him making a return in the series again. It’s a bit sad since there really are no family guys in the series with his departure. Parents in general, now that I think about it. In Hope, there is a fair mix of older (relatively) and younger major characters. It ranges pretty wide with the youngest of the cast being Yoi having just turned seventeen and Iotor being nearly thirty. It’s not a drastic swing of ages when you consider the world, but it is a fairly wide berth for a visual novel, where the average age is 16-18. Reborn/Fates doesn’t really have that same width with the youngest character being Yoi again at the age of twenty and the oldest being Syl at the age of twenty-nine. The majority of the characters are 23-25 however.

The reason I am thinking about this is because of how characters grow and evolve over those years. Writing young Yoi is pretty different than writing older Yoi. It is a challenge to keep their differences separate sometimes. Young Yoi is a lot more callous, more ready to be stab people in the back to get what she wants. Older Yoi is still fairly greed and manipulative, but her experiences with Faye and Anton over time has toned it down and she uses those powers for her friends instead of her own whims. Sol is another character who is growing over time. Young Sol hates all non-humans and will willingly sabotage them to get them out of his sight. Poor Faye suffers under his reign. Older Sol has been tampered by his forced experiences with non-humans and tries to put personal grudges aside for the greater accomplishment of his mission. He even has a few non-human friends and is slowly accepting his changing world.

Then there is Faye, our former protagonist. Faye… really hasn’t changed over the years. It’s almost amusing how fixed she is in her naivety. She starts to open her eyes to the world outside her world in Hope and then goes back to living alone in the wilderness. It made it easy to write her in Reborn. As for Fates… maybe being on death’s doorstep might help her learn more about herself. Either way, she is still our adorable mascot character whom we love. Even if she is young and naive, it is nice going back to see her again. I hope everyone else will enjoy it as well soon.

Release plan question from last update: When I post a question to the audience, it is almost always split across the board. Almost like clockwork really. Last week, we asked if people would like to see a splintered release as opposed to a longer release. That streak of split votes has been utterly demolished with a near unanimous vote against staggered. There was some concern about releasing an episode and then not being able to change things, but we’ve already finalized the core and had it voice acted, so we are pretty set as it is. That being said, we are going to step back and re-evaluate that idea. Hard to argue when everyone finally agrees for once.

That’s all for this week. Like I said, not much to talk about this week. Now go support charity! Until next time, Chief out!


For our video of the post, let’s continue our celebration of video games with some awesome music!