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Writing a script for a game is very different from writing your own book

Writing a script for a game is very different from writing your own book, because you don't have complete freedom of imagination and the work takes place within certain frameworks of the game world tied to the mechanics, characters and the planned style that must be followed. If we talk about modern writers, when books are mostly written by subscription, then for us the opportunity to rewrite serious plot points in previous chapters has practically disappeared. If the chapter has already been published, then the readers have read it and the story has gone that way. There are no other options. You can fix something on the little things, refine it, but you can’t just take and change some fundamental things. When working on a game scenario, everything is different: users will see the final product only on the day the game is released, which means that absolutely everything can be changed at any time. Often, important parts of the plot disappear, forcing all texts to be rewritten simply because some game mechanism has shown its failure or excessive complexity. This is not to mention the fact that the writer sees the world as a whole and the appearance of some unplanned little things that significantly improve the gameplay can destroy the harmonious picture already formed in the head and on paper. For example, it is enough for firearms to appear in the magical world just because the hero must be armed with it and the entire lore undergoes significant processing. Fortunately, in our case, the firearm was planned from the very beginning, but its absence from other characters just had to be explained logically.


Picture 1. Protagonist with a firearm


Work on the lore for Tracery of Fate started almost from scratch, but the main requirements for the protagonist and the world around him were known. The planned amount of game content, coupled with the limitation of VR technology on the number of opponents that appear at a time (unless, of course, you sold a kidney to buy top-end hardware) suggested a magical post-apocalyptic world. I started creating the lore by explaining the basic rules of the world: why the world was depopulated, why the player cannot move far from the game locations and why he is reborn after death. Of course, often scriptwriters don't bother and simply create invisible boundaries and characters are reborn after death without explanation. However, it is much more interesting when such things are justified logically. Therefore, the “bane” hovering in the air was invented, which kills all life and does not allow moving away from the cities protected from it, and the main characters - Guardians, became energy entities tied to the Book of Fate and able to be reborn after death with the preservation of all accumulated knowledge. The Book of Fate also explains the mechanism for distributing skills between two players: if the second player connects to the game not from the beginning, then he immediately receives all the skills already earned by the first player. There is nothing essentially new in the mechanism, but the logical explanation for writing all skills in the Book of Fate, to which the souls of all Guardians have access, looks logical and beautiful.


Picture 2. Bane hovering in the air


Interaction with designers while working on the game goes both ways: often the scriptwriter comes up with the appearance of the character based on the plot and he is drawn according to the verbal description, but sometimes the hero or artifact is already drawn and you need to explain why he looks that way. A simple example - the animation of the legs in VR of the player character is too complicated, especially when it comes to co-op, when you can see how the partner moves. In this regard, I had to add to the plot that the Guardians have no legs and they hover above the ground. This easily closed a problem that could have taken weeks of work to technically solve.


Picture 3. Appearance of the protagonist


At the same time, the design of the Archlich was already created based on the story that he abandoned everything human in himself, killed his entire family and created a mantle from their bones that enhances his magical power.

Picture 4. Archlich mantle concept


No less interesting was the creation of a creature that is the main carrier of information about the world and game mechanics. NPCs that give out tasks and skills were invented; they were the Priestess and the Merchant, but an assistant was needed to help the player in other locations, because the world of Alfira is practically dead and it is not so easy to find interlocutors in it (and it takes additional time to develop them). The assistant as a function was planned from the beginning, but the optimal form of information presentation was not determined until the last moment. As a result, it was decided to make a "spirit" with a lively character, capable of interestingly telling the player about everything that surrounds him. It is the “ghost” that should dilute the pathos of the Priestess and the oppressive atmosphere of the dying world.
The use of VR technologies made it possible to attach a “spirit” to the manipulator: at the moment when the player is near a place he can get interesting or useful information about, he feels a vibration and can call the “spirit” for explanations. It is the “spirit” that, by its example, shows all the capabilities of the character during the “tutorial”.


Picture 5. Spirit


The player traditionally receives the history of the world in fragments from the characters of the Spirit, the Merchant and the Priestess, as well as collecting parts of the annals while exploring various locations. Subsequently, all the texts appear in the "encyclopedia" and they can be read or listened to. The story turned out to be very extensive and going far beyond what the player sees in front of him in a virtual helmet. This is what makes it easy to expand the game world, having a huge well-developed background in stock.


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