Complications Ensue: The Crafty Game, TV and Screenwriting Blog
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty Screenwriting, TV and Game Writing Blog


April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

August 2014

September 2014

October 2014

November 2014

December 2014

January 2015

February 2015

March 2015

April 2015

May 2015

June 2015

August 2015

September 2015

October 2015

November 2015

December 2015

January 2016

February 2016

March 2016

April 2016

May 2016

June 2016

July 2016

August 2016

September 2016

October 2016

November 2016

December 2016

January 2017

February 2017

March 2017

May 2017

June 2017

July 2017

August 2017

September 2017

October 2017

November 2017

December 2017

January 2018

March 2018

April 2018

June 2018

July 2018

October 2018

November 2018

December 2018

January 2019

February 2019

November 2019

February 2020

March 2020

April 2020

May 2020

August 2020

September 2020

October 2020

December 2020

January 2021

February 2021

March 2021

May 2021

June 2021

November 2021

December 2021

January 2022

February 2022

August 2022

September 2022

November 2022

February 2023

March 2023

April 2023

May 2023

July 2023

September 2023

November 2023

January 2024

February 2024


Sunday, October 25, 2015

On a muddy field in France, 600 years ago this day, St. Crispin's Day, 6000 English tradesmen and farmers armed with bow, war hammer and knife, and a few men-at-arms, faced 30,000 Frenchmen, among them the finest armored knights in Europe. King Henry sent his horse away so his men knew he would not abandon them.

The knights charged down a freshly plowed field. It had rained before. The field was mud. English arrows fell like rain. Horses fell; knights fell. More knights charged down the field, now churned to a wallow. Arrows fell; horses fell; knights fell. The French charged again, men-at-arms wading on foot through knee-deep mud. Some of them reached the English lines, strengthened by sharpened stakes hammered into the grass. They were cut down by the archers and the men-at-arms.

It was one of the greatest English victories of all time; perhaps one of the most unexpected victories in the history of war.

The night before the battle, King Henry, fifth of that name, gave a speech, which Shakespeare imagined to go like this:

King Henry:

... And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

And that's the story. Whether or not it is entirely 100% accurate, still it is true.

Happy St. Crispin's Day


Post a Comment

Saturday, October 10, 2015

If I didn't have my job, I would envy me. Videogame writers get to help create worlds. Unlike film, where breaking physics requires a massive CGI budget, videogames define their own worlds. Sure, a physics engine like Unreal 4 makes working within a naturalistic world much easier. With just a little coding, objects have weight and will fall; light bounces off surfaces. But it's just as easy to make an island floating over an abyss as a city park. Or a game like Monument, which uses Escher's rules for gravity, and you may be waving hello to the princess walking on your ceiling.

It would be truer to say, though, that as a  video game writer, what I do is explain worlds. When I came aboard Contrast, the game world already existed. My job was to tell the story of why you're in this carnival world of shadows, and figure out who Didi was, and what her relationship with Dawn was.

Likewise, when I started working on We Happy Few, there was already a quaint English town out of Hot Fuzz, and we already had our weedy hero. When I came on board Stories: The Path of Destinies (I think that's what we're calling it now), we already had a fox for a hero, and a mad-looking rabbit. I had to figure out what his name was, and come up with stories for him to inhabit.

So from my experience, game worlds start as art. We Happy Few began as a collaboration between Guillaume Provost, our studio head, and Whitney Clayton, our art director. "What do you want to draw?" asked Guillaume, and Whitney wanted to draw Mod England. Everything flowed from there, and from a few axioms that Guillaume had for gameplay.

Game worlds first come to life in game art. Until then, they're ideas about gameplay (or possibly actual greyboxed gameplay mechanics) in a place that probably isn't special yet.

Matt Sainsbury's Game Art is full of worlds, from the original paintings that defined the pop-up world of Tengami, to Whitney's hallucinatory paintings for Contrast, to Demon Hunter, Lollipop Chainsaw, Final Fantasy XIV, and so on -- forty games, forty visions.

Obviously, it is a beautiful book. It is also a series of interviews with game creators, like Guillaume, and Mike Laidlaw, creative director of the Dragon Age franchise. (Dragon Age has some pretty nifty art, eh.) It would probably be worth reading even without the pictures.

So hey, check it out. Oh and -- readers of this blog can get a 30% discount! Go the No Starch Press site and use "COMPLICATIONSENSUE" at checkout... 


Post a Comment

Friday, October 09, 2015

This week I continued to work on barks, brief lines of dialog that NPC’s and player characters say in different situations. Last week Jose and I recorded Wayne Anthony-Cole and the irrepressible Sammy Lee as a bunch of different characters. My job this week was to cut out the best lines out of several hours of takes using Pro Tools, an audio editing program. Sometimes I put together a “best” take from a couple of different takes. If I did it right, you’ll never notice.

Also, this week we recorded more “grunts.” As you might expect, grunts are noises characters make when they are hitting or getting hit, or being strangled. We record them here in Montreal because I’ve found that Canadians and Brits sound the same when they’re being strangled. Early this week, my wife (and favorite story editor) Lisa Hunter and I went into the sound booth while Jose coached our performances. I suggested she imagine she was hitting her ex-husband. You should soon have a richer combat experience.



Post a Comment

Friday, October 02, 2015

Today I’m going to record about 75 new lines for five NPC’s. So, Wellies, Wellettes, Wastrels, Wastrellettes and our dear Crier (old lady) will have more things to say in more situations. This time we’ll be recording them in studio, which means I’ll get to direct them, which is more fun for me, and enables me to help them craft a much more specific performance.

I spent much of this week and last weekend writing these new barks (single lines): combat barks, barks about bedtime, barks about the fog, barks about gifts. We’re trying an experiment. Generally NPC barks are sort of non-descript: “Go go go!” “Incoming!” I’m writing much more distinct barks. That’s risky because they can get old if the player hears them too much. But they’re more fun, and communicate more attitude and lore.

I’ve also been writing a whole bunch more lines for the He Who Must Not Be Named But Has Sideburns. Expect a new recording session within a month, and new barks from him shortly thereafter.

The rest of the team's update is here.



Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger.