Tag Archives: StoryNexus

#WriteFriday – May 22nd

I had today off and was thinking of spending it writing.  But then I got a bit busy with yard work and other things, which made it hard to sit down and actually focus on writing (I kept finding myself thinking about other things I need to be doing, like weeding the yard).  But I did eventually sit down and focus for awhile.  So here’s what I did:

First of all, I updated my Google doc for the game with the notes I wrote last week.  That was something I knew I needed to do and seemed like a great way to refresh myself with where I’m at with the worldbuilding.

The next thing I decided to do was start brainstorming a list of ideas for the Always cards.  StoryNexus has two kinds of cards: Always and Sometimes, which are kind of self-explanatory (Always cards are always available.  Sometimes cards are not).  I’ve made the decision that the Always cards are going to be where a lot of the worldbuilding for the game is going to be, and the Sometimes cards are going to be where the story really is.  The Always cards are probably going to get grindy and boring, so I want to make sure I have a good variety of them.  I’m not sure if I’ll stick to this decision as the game gets built, but it gives me something to work with for now.

At that point, I started thinking about the actual town on the island.  I decided to call it Korm just like the island.  I got into some ridiculously specific things that will never show up in the game (I’ve decided roughly how big the island is, roughly how much of the island is inhabited vs how much is farmland, and about how many people live there).  These statistics are all from before the game takes place; as of the time of the game, the population will be skyrocketing because of an influx of people from the mainland.

While I was working on the town, a couple of more ideas for the Always deck popped up, so that was great.

Based off of this, I’m thinking that I’m almost at the point where I can move away from the worldbuilding and actually start game designing (but I’m not quite there yet).  Hopefully that’ll be happening in the next few weeks!

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#WriteFriday – May 15th

I’m not going to lie: today was a bit of a struggle in terms of writing.  I’m not really sure why that was, but i had a hard time concentrating for any length on my StoryNexus project.  Or at least at first I did.  I think this was because I sort of felt like I was beating a dead horse, regoing over character backgrounds a bit to make sure things were working.  As I’ve mentioned before, I have three factions and three characters that are basically personifying those factions for me at the moment.  Two of them I have a pretty good handle on (the siblings).  But the third one I just haven’t really developed.  So I was sitting here on my couch, trying to figure that last character out and nothing was really coming.

I shifted gears a bit and started working a bit more on the world.  What size should this island be?  In the process of deciding that, I came up with some great setting-specific ideas (which will have an impact on the larger City of the Dead), so that was pretty neat.  Those setting-specific things also ended up helping me with some of the character things I was struggling with a bit, so that was great.  I ended up writing (and sketching a bit on) 9 pages in my notebook tonight, so that’s not too shabby.

Oh, and I also decided to load up AutoRealm so I could draw the map I came up with last week.  Here it is:

First Attempt

As of right now, most of the island is made up of farmland (hence all the grass).  The idea is that in the center is the tower where the ruling family lived; it’s surrounded by mostly dead trees, hence the weird lump of browns and blacks.  On the east is the dock area, which is also where most of the citizens of the island live.  The population of the island has been exploding in recent times, so the inhabited area is actually spilling out of the dock area a bit along the northeast and southeast coasts (this isn’t pictured though).  Lady Dael, the ruler of the island, is keeping the settlements along the coast so the farmland isn’t disturbed too much; despite whatever else is going on on the island, their primary job is to produce food for the mainland (the Megacity that is the City of the Dead).

Once it was drawn, I really had to name it.  I did a bit of research (basically trying words out with Google Translate) and ended up deciding to call it “Korm.”  I almost went with “Korma,” being an amalgamation of the Yiddish word for feed and the Napali word for “treat,” but then I remembered that “Korma” is an actual dish.  So I shortened it down to Korm.  I was specifically looking at Yiddish words because two of the characters have Yiddish names, plus I wanted to go with something different than my go-to Scandinavian.  But I was also trying to avoid using an actual word to give the name a bit of a different feel.  I don’t know how well I succeeded, but then again this is the first piece of land that I’ve named in the City of the Dead world.

So there we go, the first visual for this project: the island of Korm!  All in all, a rather productive #WriteFriday, even if I was struggling a bit to stay focussed!  🙂

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#WriteFriday – May 8th

Once again, I didn’t have a lot of writing time this Friday.  I worked all day, then ran off to a friend’s house to hang out.  But our plan was to watch some Dr. Who, so it was the perfect opportunity to bring a notebook and start mapping out the island for my untitled StoryNexus game.  As I mentioned last time, I enjoy drawing maps.  And while I admittedly didn’t get a whole lot done, a few of the details that I did decide on have given me something to work with when I actually start building the game.

I’ve known for a while now that the setting for this game is going to be an island.  I chose an island because I don’t want to use the actual City of the Dead.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but the main setting is basically a decayed Mega City.  I did a bit of research on them a few months ago when I started wondering how and where such a setting gets its food.  I believe it was Trantor, Isaac Asimov’s Mega City, that brought in food from thousands of colony worlds.  Rather than using colony worlds, I thought City of the Dead would rely on colony islands (and I know, that basically means it’s not really a Mega City per se, but I didn’t want the setting to be a galactic power).

So anyway, the game will be set on an island that’s main purpose is to produce food for the mainland.  For that to work, I’m thinking the majority of land space is devoted to farming or something similar (I honestly don’t quite know what they’re producing here, and hence what the majority of the island should look like).  But I do know that there is a tower of some sort in the centre of the island, overseeing production (in theory).  And docks to ship the food out.  So that’s a start.

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#WriteFriday – May 1st

I didn’t do much writing this Friday.  I was working, then I had some stuff to do around the house, and I was going to see the new Avengers that night.  So I had to fit in whatever I could.

I also didn’t do much writing because I made a place holder world on StoryNexus and started playing with the system.  I’ve played with StoryNexus a little bit in the past, but I need to re-familiarize myself with it.  Once I play around with it a little more, I’m hoping I can start actually building this game.  I’m not going to post the link to it on here yet though.  I want to wait until I have actually named it and have some content.

I also spent a bit of time trying to name my factions.  I came up with a name for one of them that I think is quite fitting.  I have a placeholder name for the second one (it works, but I don’t think it’s perfect).  And I still have no idea what to name the third one.  I also have to name the island this game will be taking place on.  And while I’m at it, I might map it out, too.  I don’t need to, but I really like drawing maps.

So yeah, that’s where I’m at.  I’m still kind of at the preliminary phase of building this game.  But that’s okay: things are slowly shaping up.  Hopefully I’ll have more time over the next week (or at least next Friday) to do a bit more of this background stuff. 🙂

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#WriteFriday – April 24th

A couple of days ago, I tweeted the following:

What happened was that I decided to work on my StoryNexus project a bit prior to #WriteFriday.  My plan was to sit down and build the three main non-playable characters (NPCs) for my game.  And as I sat down to do so, I realized that two of the three characters had pretty much become their own entities.  They honestly did have a relationship between them, and there were ties to the third character as well (who was not as defined).

So yesterday during #WriteFriday, I was thinking I would do what I termed some “game design-y” work.  I was hoping that I had a good enough handle on things that i could start laying the groundwork for the actual game.

That didn’t quite work out though.  My basic plan is to have the three characters  who are each heading up one of the three factions.  I came up with three preliminary stats, one to coincide with each of the three factions (I say preliminary because one doesn’t seem quite right, but it’ll do to help me get started designing and writing this game). But then I decided that I really should name my characters and factions.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that naming things is not a strong point of mine.  I can come up with a great character, but it takes me FOREVER to come up with the perfect name for them.  So when I decided to name all three characters AND all three factions last night, I should have known that probably wouldn’t be happening.  But I did luck out and manage to name all three characters.

Hilariously, in doing so, the “relationship” between two of my characters managed to morph again.  When it did, it actually made naming those two somewhat easier because rather than being lovers, they were siblings.  I say somewhat because now I only needed one last name.  Of course, that one last name needed to fit both characters.

With those two characters suddenly being siblings, a lot of other things (in their back stories) kind of fell into place.  I knew where they were living.  I knew exactly what had happened between them .  And I knew how the third character fit in with them.  So all in all, yesterday was a very good #WriteFriday.

The next thing I’ll have to do is actually name the factions.  It’s not much fun calling them “Faction A,” “Faction B” and “Faction C.”

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#WriteFriday – April 17th

I didn’t have a lot of time to write during this #WriteFriday.  So I chose to spend what little time I did have organizing my notes for the StoryNexus project I decided I was going to work on.  For the most part, that consisted of rereading what I wrote while flying last week, and typing up the pertinent details.  Now that that is done, the real fun can begin: I need to build a couple of characters for the project, and plot everything out.  To that end, I grabbed some recipe cards; I think it’ll be much easier to plot out a branching narrative when I can physically move cards around.

Since I didn’t have a whole lot of time to work on this today, I’m hoping to work a bit more on it tomorrow.

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#WriteFriday – April 10th

So it was #WriteFriday once again.  It was a busy day, with me getting ready for Ad Astra and whatnot.  I didn’t think I’d have a whole lot of time to write.  On top of that, I don’t specifically have a project I’m working on.  Over the last month or so, I’ve primarily been working on City of the Dead.  I’m actually feeling that the setting is at the point Imezza is at (by which I mean, it’s not done, but it’s fleshed out enough that I can start doing things with it).  So while I was on the plane today, I decided to just start thinking through what exactly I’d like to do with City of the Dead.

To that end, I wrote 9 pages in my notebook.  Way more than I thought I would.

The original plan for City of the Dead was to make a StoryNexus game.  As I mentioned before, City of the Dead was kind of perfect because it has the sort of city setting that Alexis Kennedy said seems to work with the toolset.  But as I’ve developed the setting more and more, it felt like it had a very certain and unique story.  A linear story.  Which is not what I need for a StoryNexus game.  So I’ve been wondering more and more lately what exactly I should do with the setting.

But now: I have a plan.  I’ve decided that I am going to make a StoryNexus game with it as the setting.  But I’m going to leave that main story arc alone for now.  Instead I’m going to look at another part of the world, flesh that out a little bit, and make it into a game.  I thought this was a good idea for a number of reasons: chief among these is that I’ve never built an entire game with the toolset before (I’ve just played around with it a bit).  So I want to make something that can be small, but that will fit within my whole City of the Dead framework.  Plus it’ll help me continue with the worldbuilding (and broaden my focus a little bit within the world, too!)

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Magic Systems

I’m going to admit, I’m not really a “systems” or “rules” sort of person.  I’ve always preferred a good story, and never really cared about how exactly the magic works.  Which left me in a bit of an awkward spot when I realized that magic is an extremely important component of City of the Dead.  So during this last #WriteFriday, I spent a huge chunk of time trying to think through the magic system of the world.

To that end, I needed some help.  So I went online and found a couple of great articles to get me started.  There were three in particular that I found really helpful:

  1. Janice Hardy’s Do You Believe in Magic? Building a Magic System for Your World
  2. Brandon Sanderson’s First Law
  3. Sanderson’s Second Law

(I also found Sanderson’s Third Law of Magic, but that was after I was done working on City of the Dead for the night).

Sanderson’s First two Laws were great for helping me think through the beginnings of my magic system.  Do I want it to be a soft magic system?  Hard magic?  Somewhere in between?  What will people be able to do with this system?  What are its limitations?  By the end of the night (and with some help from my friend Scott, who let me bounce some ideas off of him), I had a basic system that I was rather happy with.  Of course now, I’m going to have to rethink through some of the setting pieces, which no longer work.

On a related note, that Apocalypse Madness story I wrote for January no longer works either.

Hardy’s article likewise had some great advice for starting off, but didn’t go into as much depth as Sanderson did.  So I definitely recommend starting with Sanderson’s laws.  But once you’re past the initial stuff, Hardy gives you some great questions to think through how magic will work in both your larger world and your story.

If you’ve found any other articles to be helpful when designing magic systems (or have your own tips), please post them in the comments!  I’d love to see what other people have to say on the subject.

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#WriteFriday – March 13th

It’s #WriteFriday!  My original plan for today was to hang out at a coffee shop or something, but I haven’t been feeling great over the last few days.  So instead I will be writing from the comfort of my own home. 🙂

Today my priority is going to be worldbuilding.  It’s Friday the 13th, so what better than to work on the City of the Dead?  I printed out my main notes on it (and Imezza) so I could look over what I actually have and fix everything up.  Beyond that, I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be up to today (if I get through the worldbuilding).  I may start thinking about this month’s Apocalypse Madness story.  Or I might go and play around on Storium.  I guess we shall see.

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A City of the Dead Short Story

I’m excited to say that I wrote a short story set in my City of the Dead world!  It’s posted as my entry for Apocalypse Madness this month.

City of the Dead was originally envisioned to be the setting for my Storynexus project.  The Storynexus project hasn’t happened, but I’ve kept thinking about that world, particularly while playing on Pinterest.  So while thinking about what to write for this month’s quote, the idea of setting something in City of the Dead seemed perfect, especially since it is the setting I’ve had on my mind lately.

The story I wrote is called “When Sorry Isn’t Good Enough.”  I originally wrote the story a few days ago when I couldn’t sleep.  Today I edited it quite a bit, focussing on making the dialogue flow.  It’s only an early draft, not a highly polished piece because it is sort of exploratory, giving me a chance to see how the setting felt.  I was especially interested in seeing what the Vampire Queen might be like (“the queen” in the story because she doesn’t have a proper name yet).  She’s an essential piece of the setting, so it was interesting to see how she would react in the story.  The whole piece was a lot of fun to play with – I actually discovered as I was writing that there are mages and a mage council in the setting.  I also ended up with Kai, a character who seems to have a lot of story to him.  So all in all, this was a very productive exercise for me.

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