Emergent Narrative and Encouraging Emergent Play

Games have two different kinds of narratives: Explicit and Emergent. Explicit Narrative is the story that the game tells to the player, and Emergent Narrative is the story the player creates for themselves as they play the game.

Perhaps the most noticeable game featuring Emergent Play is Minecraft, which sold to Microsoft for 2.5 billion dollars. Since then, Sandbox and Survival games have taken off, generating countless titles, almost all of which are Early Access, only a few of which will ever see completion.

Any time you get your player to say: “I Did ______ in [Insert Game Name]” then you have created Emergent Play [EP].

How do you get your player to put themselves in the place of their avatar? How do you encourage them to make decisions and create their own Narrative?

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Walküre: Playing with Medium

I’ve been working on Walküre in one form or another for about 3 years. For most of that time its been a Novel, a collection of letters and journal entries written from the perspective of 5 characters. The Novel itself is only at 25k words, and barely a quarter done, so I decided to play a little bit with the medium that I wrote it in.

My initial goal was to turn it into a Pilot. Historical Fiction with a bit of American Gods thrown in. I wanted to put together a live-action TV-hour. The problem is that I got to 30 pages and it was already done. In the middle of trying to figure out how to put more meat into it, I figured out that if I shifted a few things around it would be a pretty good Pilot to a Serial Animated series.

The problem is, there is no way I could ever sell an Adult American Anime about the early 1900s. So I’m going to post the pilot here and ask for any feedback you may have to give. Does it work? Doesn’t it? Why and why not?

Walkure, Animated Pilot


What God, Chapter 7

[Chapter 6, for those who want it]

Chapter 7

In a city as large as this there are AA meetings every night of the week spread between the campuses and churches and community centers. Somehow I found myself at one of those, still holding onto Kraden’s death threats. It was close to dark and I had been driving around looking for a nice quiet bar to have a nice quiet scotch in while I waited for the first round of blood tests to come in. I don’t know why I walked in here but I took advantage of the coffee at the side of the room and sat as far from the stage as possible. I started flipping through the threats.

12 letters. 5 of them had long essays, innocuous little phrases like “Someone should kill you” or “one day you will get whats coming”. These would barely trip our radar, and were likely overactive retirees who were angry that Kraden had had no plan to open the factories back up. a few more were postcards with a picture of Kraden or his family and crosshairs painted over. These are more serious, but too vague to be actionable. I kept flipping through. One of these is not like the others: Long angry letters, implied threats, and one crumpled sheet of waterlogged notebook paper that said, “What happened to Icarus. I want to meet her” It didn’t sound like a death threat, but why was it treated like one by Kraden. I was just examining the return envelope when I realized it had gone quiet.

“Can you hear me back there? Would you like to come and introduce yourself?”

I didn’t look at who had spoken, I just mumbled some excuse and looked at my wrist like it had a watch on it then left quickly.

I sat in my car. The handwriting looked similar to the pad, but was smoother. The letter itself had been crumpled and smoothed flat many times, probably by Kraden. Most of the letters only showed the wear and tear of the postal service, but this one was special.

I started my drive back to the precinct, stopping in a  liquor store to grab a bottle of whiskey. This much coffee in me and I’d need some sleep.

I got back, checked on the blood test and was thrown out of the lab by Julian. I then went and grabbed the pad from forensics. I came back up to the office, set my whiskey on the desk and sat down

Side by side the two looked similar. I would send them off to get analyzed anyways, but I was certain of the link. The pad was shakier, but that made sense. Whoever wrote it pulled someone apart limb from limb afterwards. They wouldn’t have been calm

I leaned back and the next thing I knew it was morning.


We Almost Didn’t Go To Space

In October, 1946, a small group of scientists rode a jeep out into the desert to where a V2 Rocket had come crashing down from the edge of space. On any other day they would have been examining the wreckage, taking notes, all work to develop an American missile that was more accurate and more deadly than the German V2.

v2 wreckage

But today was different. Today what they wanted was a small roll of undeveloped film in an iron box designed to survive a 62 mile fall. In that box was the first picture taken from space.

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Walküre, Excerpt #3

An excerpt from the journal of Ezekial

Summer, 1934, North Carolina. 

“Well fuck a sheep thats a nice bit of stonework there.” She wiped her forehead with a  gloved hand leaving a granite streak a mile wide, admiring her work. “You got a little something there on your forehead miss” I was trying to be helpful, something I should probably stop doing.

“You call me miss again and I’ll tear you a new anus with a steam-powered masonry drill- And what’s this I conveniently have at my side? What could that possibly be-“

“It’s a masonry drill, no need to belabor the point there.” She put her gloved hands on overalled hips and held her pointed chin high. Ah hell, its been too long and it looks like I’ve gotten rusty. “Sorry miss, I’ll leave you be-“

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Yes, I Write Professionally

Every day I don’t spend Writing or developing a project feels like a waste.

Its been this way for a few years. Time that I have spent, for instance, writing out over 350 pages filling 3 notebooks, writing the better part of 2 plays a pilot and half of a novel. I used to write every single day, Now I’m lucky if I have time to sit and work on my days off.

Its been a theme of my last few months. A constant droning voice gnawing away at what I assume is my mind, telling me in some eldritch tongue that I need to write more to service the elder-gods, or some other nonsense.

Even so, I don’t like to refer to myself as a “Writer”.

The term has too much baggage. Whenever I say, “I Write”, there is an immediate look on someones face. There are always questions.

“Have you written anything I know?”

That would be code for, “Are you published?”. The answer is: Not Yet.

“What do you write?”

A question thats kind of like asking someone what neighborhood they live in when you don’t know the city. I appreciate the interest and will give you the logline, but most of the time its met with the blank look that reminds me how much of a rhetorical question “What I write” usually is.

Words. I write Words.

“But what do you do for a living?”

Starve, mostly. Or, more realistically, I have a job and write when I can.

“Oh that’s lovely”

You can often hear the condescension drip like… Well… Condensation. I hope the inadequacy of that simile illustrates how few fucks I give.

But always it comes down to one essential question that people seem to have: “Do you make a living writing?”

No. I don’t.

Not many people do.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t write professionally. 

I don’t know if I have enough experience or gravitas to speak eloquently on this matter. After all, it was only 3 years ago that I even began pursuing writing as a career. But it seems if I haven’t gotten paid for writing, there is an expectation that I should say that I am an “Aspiring Writer”.

But I’m not aspiring to anything, I’m working. Its my second and my third job. I am sure that a lot of other “Aspiring Writers” feel exactly the same way.

Why would we do such a disservice to the work we are doing by referring to our writing as anything other than professional?

 

 


A Story That Needs to be Told, Part 1

I’ve struggled with this.

I have Stories I want to tell, Stories I am able to tell, and Stories I want to tell, but can’t. This one falls into the third category.

But to set the stage, you need to watch this…

Legend has it that John Wayne himself had to be physically restrained from dragging her off the stage

In 1973, at the 45th Academy Awards, Marlon Brando won best performance. Instead of accepting the award, he sent up Sacheen Littlefeather to deny his Oscar. This was far from the beginning, and far from the end. But if I am going to start in the middle, it might as well be from here.

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