Writing Code is Easier than Writing Stories

This is a long overdue update, but a lot has been going on since the last post.

First, another modular kit that will be needed for the game has been, for the most part, completed. There are some accent pieces that still need to be made, to help dress up the areas that utilize this kit. Several versions of stela need to be modeled for the kit, but before that could be done, I ran into a set-back. To make the stelas show information that is relevant to the backstory, we needed a more detailed look into that backstory.

This need to dive into the backstory/lore of the game world forced me to review what we already had for the story, character arcs, and plots that take place in the game’s storyline. Not being a writer by profession, and only having a novice level of experience with the proper way to write a complex story, I’ve had to take a lot of time to dive deeper into this part of the game’s development.

We’ve always known that the story for this game needed to be strong, as it is really this story, and the world in which it takes place, that would hold the biggest appeal for the game. However, developing a well written story with believable characters that people will care about is very difficult, and that is under-stating it. We are so lucky when it comes to the amount of resources available to aspiring writers. From the numerous blog posts by successful authors, to the YouTube videos by some of the best selling authors today, there is hope, even for someone like me.

In my research on writing a proper story outline, I came across the YouTube videos for the BYU course on creative writing, by Brandon Sanderson. This has been invaluable to me, because I am definitely not a discovery writer, who can just sit down and start writing a decent story. I’ve tried. I failed. I have to outline everything so that I can picture how all the key events will fall together to build the story.

Since discovering Mr. Sanderson’s lectures, I have fleshed out a fair amount of the overall story and how it will progress. I have the major and minor plots figured out, and I just need to detail the events that have to occur for each of these. This has been fairly difficult, though, because we are making this into a game, rather than a novel. We can’t control the exact order that events will occur while the player is progressing, so I’ve had to take even more time in this process.

In the end, we hope to have a story that will be compelling and enjoyable. We know that we can’t complete this game if we have to do everything ourselves. We can’t model every asset, nor can we write every single line of code. We have to lean on the Unreal Engine Marketplace to get a fair amount of our assets. But there isn’t an engine plugin to write and implement our story for us. And, we anticipate that it is this story that will allow us to compete, on a very limited level, with larger studios that have more experienced teams. With resources like Mr. Sanderson’s lectures, books on writing stories and screenplays, and other sources of guidance, we have a chance to make our hope a reality.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, and I hope that you’ve gotten something out of it. Have a great day.

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