Fates Weekly Update #32

Hey, folks. Chief the terrible scanner here to bring you the words! Pretty tired, but I’m in a good mood after a terrible week. Between the painful day job and development, development was by far more fun and certain more rewarding. Remember, kids! Don’t be like Chief, do what you love for your day job. If you can’t do that, do what pays so you can do what you love in your spare time. It leaves you constantly exhausted, but it is rewarding. And now on to talking about the rewarding work!

Wordcount: 2,782 (Mostly just editing this week)

Voice acting: The second round of voice acting ended last week. Right now we are going over the voices and we should have a cast list up sometime next week.

Sprites: Almost all of the wiggles and blinks are done! Only one character remains on that! Here’s a very happy, very excited example!

Very excited! Much happy! Wow!
Very excited! Much happy! Wow!

Trailer: It has been a long time coming, but work has almost completed on the trailer video. Though it isn’t an incredibly amazing and astounding video that will awe children for ages to come, I’m very delighted with how it is shaping up. The song is good, I’m rapidly learning how to use the video editor, and all of the assets are coming together. Right now I’m getting recordings from our tech demo, which is very rapidly becoming an alpha of the first Act. This will be the first public showing of some of our gameplay, so I’m incredibly stoked! As a bit of a sneak peak of both voice acting and the trailer, here’s our opening line from Natalie, voiced by Jill Harris.



Promotion ideas: It’s not just the trailer that we are thinking about for getting Fates out there to the masses. I’ve always been fond of running contests and promotions, thought it has been a while since I’ve had a big one. I’m thinking there will probably be three leading up to release, one tied to each of the three big games. I’ve got some fun ideas for prizes, but I’ve been pondering what sort of contests might be fun. While there is always the classic fanart/fanfic ones, I decided it might be fun to ask out to the audience for suggestions. As always, either send your suggestions to the IDHAS e-mail or drop them here in the comments!

Last week I was asked about how I decide scenes and how they are written out. Very happy with this question because I do things differently and you all can get a sneak peek into how the madness is formed!

Like most writers, I start out with a simple idea of what I want to see. Nothing big or cosmic at this point in the process. It was a lot easier for Fates because I didn’t need to decide the premise idea because it was mostly there from Reborn. I want an investigator working against multiple enemies to try and save the universe. Very broad, very generic. The next step is to build the world. Again, most of this was already done because the RA universe. There were some additions to the universe though, mostly the underlying evils and further developing the crystals. Lore is incredibly important when designing a universe. If you don’t understand the societal and historical settings, it is hard to design characters.

Characters are my next big step. This is the part where I have a lot of fun. I’ll go through dozens of character ideas that could make for an interesting cast. I’ll pair foils, I’ll grab some stereotypes and see what I can get out of them. At this point, I pass the best ideas to the artist. When the designs come back, I then tend to consider whose design is the most interesting. That’s actually how Zuri ended up moving from a very minor character to the primary love interest and Natalie’s best friend.

Once I have the characters diviated to their respective positions, I decide how I am going to start the story and how I want to end the story. For Fates, I want to start out with something a lot more dynamic and exciting than Reborn. Reborn started really slowly and I had to cover the space sector side of the Katajion Directorship. Now that that’s done, I can go ahead and kick the door with some adventure. As for the end, I wanted a very solid end for the Rising Angels series. The stakes are high, so I need to make sure I keep the tension up.

Now that I have my start and stop, I need to start filling in the rest. Traditionally, I’ll make the vaguest semblance of an outline. Just normally enough to figure out the barest basics, though I’ll increase it when I have a fellow writer with me. I don’t traditionally follow the outline too closely. The original outline for Reborn had several routes that ended up not making it in. I know several writers who will adhere to those things religiously, but I’m not as fond.

A big secret of how I write is that I write a single draft. I’ll spend hours of time ponder thousands of different variants of a scene while I’m working at my day job, while I’m getting ready for bed, or whenever. I’ll evaluate how those characters in the scene would play each event and how changing a variable can change the overall effect. By the time a scene makes it to paper, I’ve probably spent 10 hours working on it. I do this for every major scene. It’s pretty taxing, to be honest, but I am strict dungeonmaster. There are no rerolls in this campaign.

Now, that covers the major plot scenes. There’s a lot of time when I’ll get ahead of the curve. This is when I decide to work on some of the more minor scenes and scenes that are character specific. These scenes aren’t incredibly thought out. Because of all the investment into characters and setting, I’ll step back and let the characters push things along. These points are very fluid and they can either turn out really well and give me a brilliant idea for the next major scene or… they can screw things up pretty hard. One of my favorites has to be the Zuri talking with Natalie about her friends growing up. It wasn’t planned, but it sounded fun when the idea popped up. As I was writing along, I remembered that I had earlier given Zuri a major clue. By letting Zuri speak herself, I not only managed to get a pretty cute scene, but I got a stagnant investigation back on track. I was very proud of that one.

That’s how it goes. I do all the universe prep work, I set the start and stop points, and then bounce between highly scripted moments and very loose scenes. With all these put together, I’ve got my script. The one exception is that when I’m writing visual novels with options instead of kinetic novels, I’ll take some of those variations on major scenes and let them develop into different routes. There are a LOT of those in Fates. It’s staggering. This is a very, very, very big game.

I hope that was interesting. If anyone wants me to highlight things and go into more detail, just ask. Until next week, Chief out!


And for the video of the post, I give you something that’s been stuck in my head ever since the writer of Brilliant Shadows put it there.

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