carlfoxmarten: (Default)
I've started to post bits of the backstory behind the game I'm writing on the Cross Time Cafe forums, so go have a read if you're interested, and post some comments if you have them.

These story clips will be part of the backstory in the game's distant past, and most of it won't directly affect the first instalment, but will help inform the design and story within the game.

They will set up the technology, the culture, and set the stage for each instalment.

I may have mentioned it before, but the first instalment will have a human (the player) discover the islands on Earth where the alien race built a settlement that (at first) is inexplicably devoid of intelligent life, which will culminate in the player travelling to the Age where the aliens have their main base so you can tell them what happened.
The second instalment will start from there.
(yes, I don't have anything for that part yet)

If you have comments or feedback, please leave them either here or on the forum entry.
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
Well, I'm feeling pretty much whole again after getting sick last week, though I need to work on getting my energy levels back up to where they were before.

Last Friday I was only able to deliver one of my paper routes before I was so tired I couldn't continue, leaving the second route to do on Saturday, while this last Wednesday I was able to do both routes pretty much as usual, though I might have been a little slower than usual.

I still need a bit more rest than what would otherwise be normal, and I really need to make sure I eat enough to make sure I have enough energy.

I just finished the first draft of my taxes last night, and found out that the provincial government either moved or removed a line that would have given me $75 back, so I'm wondering what they did.
(I made less than two thousand dollars last year. I really need to get a better job)

I'm going to pen the final version and either ask somebody here to drop it off at the tax office or take a bus tomorrow.
(it's due tomorrow, and will be very busy what with the 30th being the final due date, with everybody dropping their tax returns off at the office. Fortunately, they've got a wonderful system in place now, which means it won't disrupt traffic too much)

To stimulate my creative side, I'm in the process of writing a journal as it would be written by the people in one of the games I'm currently designing.

So far, I've got them past the escape from their original home Age, they talk a little bit about not having the right tools for writing linking books (yes, it takes lots of inspiration from the Myst series), they figure out how to move between Ages with technology, and so far they've sent one team to set up a second Age-Traversal machine in an Age nearby.

This journal won't be included in the game itself, but will help guide me as I design the game, indicating what choices they've made previously so I can keep things relatively consistent.

I'll be putting it up somewhere when I'm finished enough of it so I can get some feedback.


May. 9th, 2010 12:54 am
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
So, what do you think of when you think "alien civilization on Earth"?

They had to get here somehow, right?

For most games (and even books), they arrive in spaceships, but more recently, the idea of dimension-hopping aliens is getting more popular.

So, the order seems to be something like this:
  1. Aliens invent dimension-hopping technology. (you don't get to see this, usually)
  2. Aliens use this technology to hop into other dimensions, eventually arriving at Earth. (note that they may have needed to use this technology to escape some disaster, natural or otherwise. If otherwise, it may have been caused by an act of sabotage)
  3. The aliens set up their own society here on Earth, with one or more cities and all they entail. (usually the aliens stay away from us humans, for whatever reason they may have)
  4. Another act of sabotage wipes out all the aliens here on Earth. (lots of possibilities here for who did it and why)
  5. Your game's main protagonist (the player) finds the remains and decides to explore.
  6. Meanwhile, the aliens that remained in the dimension prior to their appearance here on Earth have no news of what happened. (maybe more sabotage?)
  7. As the technology for hopping through dimensions could be very dangerous, it should be the best-kept secret of the game, which means that it would be the "final" reward. (for this episode, at least)
  8. If the protagonist manages to get the dimension-hopping equipment working again (which is up to the designer), the player could be rewarded with a peek at the aliens' home prior to Earth, and even let the ones who stayed behind know what happened to the last settlers.

Note that much of the above is "just" part of the backstory, as everything between notes #1 - #4 happen before the protagonist shows up.
(note #6 also happens without the protagonist, but can happen while the protagonist is exploring the ruins, so it does kind of fit as backstory also)

I do feel comfortable sharing this much with people, as I don't actually reveal some of the actual details of the game's story.
(this much could be part of a "plot point sheet" given to paperback authors for series like The Hardy Boys where the writer didn't own the intellectual property, but was hired to write a given storyline. In cases such as this, the writer is everything. If you gave the same "plot point sheet" to more than one writer, you'd most likely get almost completely different books)

With this much off my chest, maybe more details will come to me...
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
Some of you may be wondering exactly what I was talking about last time when I mentioned a game I've been working on for a long time.

Well, like Gil Williamson, I too have a game inside me, and I've had ideas for it for quite some time now.
(which probably started after I played Riven)

Anyway, I've been writing notes about the game and I noticed one rather perturbing thought: All I've been thinking about is the general design of the islands and absolutely nothing about those who inhabited them.
This isn't good. This may mean that I'll need to do some, *gasp*, Creative Writing!

Seriously, it shouldn't be all that bad, but I've never been on good terms with creative writing.
(once I was supposed to write a tall tail, but it turned into a short story about a detective. I haven't really trusted myself to write anything really creative since then)

I suppose I should start by figuring out what kind of people would live on a group of islands. Draw a basic map of the islands, then write a story about how and why the people got there, what they did while they were there, and how and why they left.

Anyway, I have the basic structure of the game down, what kinds of technology to allow, what kinds of environments would be appropriate, stuff like that.

Another part I'm a little stuck on is transportation, or more to the point, teleportation.
All good games have some kind of long-distance teleportation. The Myst series had Linking Books and Gil is planning on using a kind of Chinese fan.

Here are some ideas for teleportation or fast transit:
  • Hula hoops that act like portals? (or maybe slim hoops that act like the teleporter in the movie Stargate?)
  • Huge rock portals? (that one's been used before, in Star Wars: Of Gods and Men)
  • Large catapults? (these must be aimed, though, and this is a rather low-tech option)
  • Magnetic-Levitation train? (I have a rather different concept than found in most other places, but haven't got very far in its design yet)
  • Linking Slates? (Although Myst V: End of Ages did use a slate, it wasn't for teleportation so much as for communication)

Anybody have any other, possibly wild, ideas?


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Carl Foxmarten

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