DEVLOG #45 – Preparing For The Proofreading

Hi, Ascenderians!

Garnet’s here and now I’m preparing to send the draft of Ascender dialogues and quests for proofreading. Basically, all I have done for the narrative assets need to be checked and corrected. Grammatical, terms and phrases in English are the main issues identified from our feedbacks. I’m planning to give one of Ruby’s friend lived in Australia for some years that can speak, listen, write and read like a native English. But, there’s a job to do for me since all the narrative assets is written in excel format and without premises text, she won’t know what I mean and how the game flow with that narratives. It seems that she isn’t really a player, but I need her English skill to do the proofreading. Here is the Excel structure of my assets and converted to Words with added premises.

See the differences? Yeah, I tidy it up  a little bit as well, it supposed to help the proofreader I hope. I also add some table of contents, character descriptions, prologue and ending scenes as well. Right now, I have to finish up premises that define the correlation between quests. Hopefully, with Ruby’s friend checking Ascender’s narrative drafts, our lovely game can have a better quality before it launched (I’m looking for publisher input also later on before it become the very best appropriate draft). You guys also can give suggestion with the formatting or input in the comments below.

Oh yeah, right now I’m working on new game that relate something about graves as a producer! Let’see where it goes!

Garnet is signing out from GameChanger Headquarter! Ciao!

 

 

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DEVLOG #39 – GameDevs Story Literally

Hi, Ascenderians! Garnet’s here!

Well, right now Ascender almost reach the finish line, but we are still in the pit stop of a few laps to go. Polishing time before the checkered flag waved! So, I have to make my mouth shut to prevent anything spoiled. I want to share my checklist to you at this moment, the big parts before wrapping up:

  • Simplifying some dialogues
  • Grammar checks and corrections
  • Make ups some generic NPC’s Dialogues
  • Detailing the ending with artists and programmers

There’s more things has been done in past weeks. I feel so lucky that I can attend the Casual Connect event in Singapore from 17 – 19 May 2016. I have a chit chat with some story writers and learn some lessons from the story gurus. I’ve met this guy, Scott Chen, the story writer of OPUS : The Day We Found Earth, story driven telescope simulator-like game. He’s fantastic! He shared that the power of his game is the story and the gameplay authenticity. So, I asked him if he had the same struggle that I had as writer, and he’s not denying it neither agree with it, he is quite confident with his English and story concept. Lesson learned : Proof reading and dialogue fixing is one thing but having a confident in your writing is more important. His work is picked by Google Play Store as Editor’s Choice under the name of Team Signal, studio game based in Taiwan.

In addition, I saw another amazing story-based game called Désiré, black and white point and click adventure from France developed by Sylvain Seccia. Best Game Narrative in Indie Prize Showcase! I heard his accent and his speech when receiving the award, his not so fluent in English, I think, but still, he won! So, lesson learned : even English isn’t your first language, but go for it! You still can make the best story! No need to worry so much about it!

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Best Game Narrative in Indie Prize Asia 2016

It’s been a quite remarkable story writer experience for me attending the Casual Connect Asia 2016. Last week, I also met one guy, Cipto Adiguno, the brain behind story in Celestian Tales: Old North, a classic JRPG from Indonesia who awarded as Best Game Narrative and Game of The Year in Game Developer Gathering Indonesia 2015. He’s so humble and we have quite long chit chat about being story writer and struggle delivering a lot of quests and dialogues. Lesson learned : If you find a publisher from US or UK, surely they will help you with narrative issues, but mostly you can make it in low priority because it takes a lot of effort if the number of narrative texts reach thousands. He said that player will understand what you want to deliver if you have a good basic in English.

No need to be so worry about that, visualization and gameplay  is the most important part, you just have to make sure the story is firmed. I’m quite agree with this as in this article said “Realizing that 95% of people won’t remember a thing you’ve written a week after playing……………. They won’t do any of the sidequests, they won’t read any of the lore, they won’t care about any of the time you spent trying to make sure.  And that’s okay.” With all these things connected, my confident is boosting up, as a newbie in game writing world, I feel proud that I can give my idea and writings in Ascender and become part of GameChanger as story writer. When I received the news about we won Best Game Narrative 2016 in Indie Game Festival Indonesia, I feel like “Really? How’s that possible? With all those grammatical errors?”, now I’m assured that I just need to continue polishing Ascender’s narrative parts and never stop learning to write an amazing game story from experienced one. Side Project: Read all those Warcraft’s tales (my book still being captive by Ruby anyway) and start to write Ascender’s  book.

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Best Game Narrative in Indie Game Festival Indonesia 2016

Garnet is signing out from GameChanger Team Headquarter!

 

DEVLOG#33 – Quests in Delivering Dialogues

Ahoy Ascenderian Matey! Garnet be here!

It’s been a while since I wrote my article last time. After the prologue story of Ascender, this time I want to share about my challenging quest in creating some in-game dialogues.

1st challenge : wondering

This my very first challenge when I had some discussions with the game conceptor and the game designer. We discuss a lot of things verbally and it flew like a water in a river when its happening on my imagination. But when I start to open my computer and face the document file for dialogues,  most of the times I  stuck wondering what the NPC should say as we discussed before. I’m an action game and RPG lover, then it’s causing first thing in my imagination is about voice over. Here is the real deal! Ascender doesn’t have any voice over in-game, it’s all about text based dialog that some words or messages are easier to deliver them verbally / directly with voices. When a player are having a game experience, he or she doesn’t know about my imagination is all about. So, I have some limitation in expressing voices on my head into some texts (I have to remind myself to think about Pokemon Mode or some 2D Isometric online gaming mode).

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Pokemon’s Dialogue Example
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RPG Dialogue Example

2nd challenge : characters, the way they think, the way they feel

Okay, I have been criticized in this matter so often  by teammates. It has the connection with the 1st challenge where I have to feel the same way or at least think the same way as the character that I’ve made (not all the characters that I made, anyway). Some of the characters inspired by real persons around me, but others are just made by the creativity or real person that I’ve never been interact with. In example, Professor Toro Hudo is the main character, I met some professors before and know exactly their style when we had a conversation, but I never knew they had limbless child or not. Is Prof. Toro say the words like a wise man? yes? But does he feel stressed about working on Ocean’s limbs? Is he never gone in a lunatic mode? And so on….. So, first time I make Professor Toro didn’t have any stand out character, all of his dialogues just flat as new cutting board :

“I think it is the sound of boiling pot downstairs. Sky, please turn off the pot.”

I’ve been scolded by my friends. I think again “Toro is a professor that so detail and dedicated in his work, so sometimes he forget what he did before and become panic after realizing it”. To deliver this idea, the dialogue became :

*Sizzling sound effect*

“Oh! I forgot to turn off the stove downstairs. Sky, please help me to turn it off!!”

There it goes all the way around….

3rd challenge : clue

Hah! My game designer is my enemy in this case!! Hahahahaha. Nah, I don’t really mind it. But this is also tough challenge. Why? Because sometimes it is really weird when I want to express the character but also have to deliver clues about a task or background story(easier because I’m the one who made it) or location. For the example, my game designer created one NPC to give a clue about who Sky has to find, NPC name is Stressed Villager :

“Someone call Marcel in Mustang, please! My life is ruined if this elevator can’t work!”

See? It’s weird if just looks like that, I break it down into 2 dialogue section :

“Darn it! No..no…no…! Why’s the elevator out of order?! I’m going to be late! I’ll lose my job!”

“Someone call Marcel, The Head Techinician, in Mustang, please! My life is ruined if this elevator can’t work!”

There’s 2 added points that I want to be clear about in revised version. First, the stressed character have to stand out. Second, the reason of finding Marcel, because he is the  head technician!

Simplified words for this challenge : Motivation and reasoning of clues.

4th challenge : length

This is the stuffs that I learned about. I just copy and paste the first point of that article and you may know what’s the deal with this matters and the relation with previous challenges.

1. Concision -“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”

Has Hofman was onto something when he said that.  Concision is probably the absolute most important quality any writer, of any medium, can develop.  Verbosity kills, especially in this day and age where writing needs to be clear, concise, and interesting.  Dickens would not have survived long as a writer in the games industry, but Hemingway might have.

Think of a simple example, say, of an NPC asking you to kill some wolves for them.  It seems like some variation of this quest has appeared in every game in history, so let’s start off with a base example of terribleness:

“Hail, noble traveler.  Please, permit me to beseech your aid.  I am Jammers, a peasant in service to Count Argyle.  A pack of wolves have taken to my flock of prized sheep.  I intended to give one to the Count as a tribute for this year’s harvest festival.  If you kill 10 of them, I will reward you with 50 gold pieces.”

So much pointless information.  There are 62 words in the exchange above, you can get that down to half, or even a third.

“Traveler, help me!  Giant wolves have taken to my flock.  Kill 10 and I will give you 50 gold pieces.”

Much better.  In 20 words you’ve delivered every bit of relevant information the player needs to know what to do.  They need to kill some wolves to get the gold.  It’s not the most exciting sentence ever, but it gets the job done.  The essence of concision is understanding what you yourself are trying to say and helping you put it to paper.  Once you’ve sheared away all the fluff and gotten to the heart of what needs to be said, everything else is pie.

5th challenge : fonts, grammatical and punctuation

Well, I’m not so excel in my English and often make mistakes in this matter. Not without consideration as I’m taking the act as the writer with my “not so excel in English”. I’m just careless in delivering the right English. Yeah, this challenge is actually I’m dealing with myself. Luckily, one of the art team has a good capability to do the proof read! She’ve been a great help for me! Woohoo!

Moreover, I also use these three things to show some characters in NPC. For example, the illiterate butcher, Vincent Ursa :

“Bucket… Empty… Upstairs… Need….. Water…..”

or the angry meat trader, Zlatko Boban :

“If you’re in business with Vherand again, ASK HIM WHERE ARE MY SHARPENED METALS?!?!?!”

I hope you see the difference between those two NPC’s character.

Garnet is signing out from GameChanger Headquarter!

 

DEVLOG#28 – Let The Story Begin…

For hundreds of years, harmony has left the world of Ascender. It was once a captivating habitat for celestials, humans and creatures that live in unity. These humanoids were living in magnificent environment made by placid surroundings and they work together in balance. However, there is no such thing called perfection…

The Celestials, felt their existence threatened due to being outnumbered by humans, combined their power and bring the lands towards the sky, calling it Atlas, and creating their own civilization. Below Atlas, they created a barrier called Ut by bringing up water terrains. Enraged by their action, The Scientists decided to build a floating island using science and advanced technologies in order to reclaim their beautiful land. They call this floating island, Spunk Island. The rest of the civilization was left on Ataran, the cracked ground full of sulfuric gas.

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Civilization Divisions Concept Art

Professor Toro Hudo was an inventor and key person in Ataran’s civilization. He was betrayed and deserted by Spunk Island developers, but his big heart and wisdom has kept him away from revenge. With his wife, Marr Hudo, he decided to stay in poisonous Ataran land and help others by making equipment for them. Both of them didn’t have any child, they were living in modesty and humble life with one goal: everyone in Ataran can get a better life. They invented survival tools for individuals, families, humanoids, and animals in poisonous environment, then they get foods and raw materials supplies in return.

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Ataran’s Concept Art

One day, Professor Toro Hudo was on his way exploring Ataran, he saw a shiny light in the shade of clouds. A golden-haired limbless baby was going down rapidly from the Ut direction straight to his standing area. He caught her and saw her eyes, strong intense feelings made him hug her tight and tears just came out. Realizing that the baby couldn’t survived long in Ataran, he took the baby to an undiscovered area deep down in the world of Ascender… to a mythical area… to a place where it all starts…. Goa…

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Dolopo – The Central Capital of Goa

DEVLOG#19 – Animals Fusion : Gotta Mix’em All!!

DEVLOG#19 – Animals Fusion : Gotta Mix’em All!!

Hi, guys! Happy new year to our beloved Ascenderians!!

Garnet’s here and I want to tell you a tale behind some animals in Ascender. So, it all begins when Amber, the conceptor of Goa’s civilization had a long discussion about what kind of animal should live in Goa. In the talk, I gave my idea that it should be combination with 2 or more animals and Amber added some suggestion to consider about food chain and underground adaptation of those animals.

Where’s the idea come from? Actually, it just flashed in my mind when I remembered about trending post in 9GAG about pokemon! As one of the pokemon gamer, I really love when some people makes fan arts about them. For you guys, who doesn’t know yet about Pokemon (I doubt it, cause at least we heard of it, right?!?) you can check their official web in here. But, here it comes the fantastic fan arts on 9GAG!!

Pokemon Fusion as The Inspiration of Ascender's Animals
A 9GAG Post about Pokemon Fusion

It is amazingly cool, isn’t it? So, I try to figure it out, when my idea and Amber’s concerns meet. I created the lowest level of the food chain first: The TONABA! This is the fusion of Plankton and Amoeba (primarily the ability to divide itself) that can live either in water or land. Actually, it won’t be visually seen in the game but I placed some images so you guys can imagine what it will looks like.

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The Plankton + Amoeba ability to divide itself

The second layer of the animal food chain are a bug and a water creature. Okay, this time the inspiration wasn’t really came from me, the bug part came from Chalcedony in the time that he showed me this picture.

Anchopper Illustration
The Anchopper Illustration

So, what is this bug actually??? This is a kind of bug that can live amphibious, which is the combination between an anchovy and a grasshopper: The ANCHOPPER! They love to eat many tonabas one by one till they full , they also can eat leaves. Anchoppers can be found in many places inside Goa and yeah, they are really buggy (annoying) but birds and small animals love to eat them!

Cattlefish Illustration
The Cattlefish Illustration

Next one comes from my authentic imagination. It’s a mix between a cattle and a cuttlefish : The CATTLEFISH! I know you must be wondering what it will looks like, it’s quite simple anyway: the shape are exactly the same  like cuttlefish but they have a pattern on their skin like a cow. Guess what, there is a lot of inks inside cuttlefish (if you grab and squeeze a cuttlefish the ink will pop out, right), but how about cattlefish?  They contain milk inside their body! So, this animal not only in the second level of food chain but it also provides the dairy need for GOA’s people! They eat tonabas all at once, anchoppers are also included.

Okay before I get too excited to write all the things in my post, I should give an end here because next our character artist, Morganite, will write about characters and animals that she already sketched and colored from my fusion idea description. Here is the clue about two animal names that Morganite already accomplished : MEOWL and GNALLO. Can you guess what’s the fusion recipe?

I’m Garnet, signing out from GameChanger’s vacation! 🙂

DEVLOG#12 – Ascender Jazz Up The Biggest Game Event in Indonesia

We were invited to attend Game Developer Gathering (GDG) Prime, which is the biggest event attended by hundreds of game developers across Indonesia. All of the studios were showing off the best game they made, whether it has been released or was still in development, to the thousands of visitors. So, it has been a pleasure to us and we are very happy to be in this event. It took a whole month of preparation to make Ascender’s showcase all out.

Three weeks before the event, we setted up some Ascender merchandise bundles with flash disk, mouse pad, and soundtrack CD inside each of it. Appreciating all Ascenderians who already enthusiastically responded our masterpiece and can’t hardly wait for the release version, is our intention in making this bundle.

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Ascender Merchandise Bundle for Ascenderians in GDG Prime

The fans were interested in ordering this bundle, though most of them are our friends, hehehe. There’s one funny story regarding this matter when a junior high school who lives in a rural area ordered the bundle because he likes Ascender so much! The problem is he didn’t have any bank account, nor did he knew how to send an electronic payment. The only mean of payment that he knew is money order via post office, which none of us were really familiar of!

We were shocked and moved by this kid. We decided to just send the bundle for our little fan. It is really precious for us, a small studio that has just freshly started to build fan base, considering what this boy had shown, the appreciation, the zest and the interest. Thank you Ascenderians!

We began by preparing Ascender’s booth. By 8 AM, the booth hasn’t finished, yet some visitors had already demanded to play our Ascender’s Prototype! Our booth was always crowded in the whole day, we didn’t get a slightest chance to rest in order to accompany Ascenderians playing our game. We also held a contest to find an in-game Easter egg that specially purposed for this event only.

I think these images are enough in describing the crowd and the gusto in our booth! Check this out folks!

The GameChanger Girls Gankz
The GameChanger Girls Gankz
The GameChanger Boyz Gank
Back Pose of Our Boys Gankz
GameChanger Team Gankz (Soundman took the photo)
GameChanger Team in Front of The Booth
Limbless Ocean and Her Imposter.
Limbless Ocean and Her Imposter.
Ascenderians Guys Playing and Watching Ascender
Ascenderians Guys Playing and Watching Ascender
The Artist Guiding Ascender Gameplay
The Artist Guiding Ascender Gameplay
Ascenderians is Trying Prototype
Ascenderians is Trying Prototype
Our Creative Director Watching a Publisher Guy Trying Our Prototype
Our Creative Director Watching a Publisher Guy Trying Our Prototype
Ascenderian Couple Took a Photo in Our Booth
Ascenderian Couple Took a Photo in Our Booth
First Trio Took a Photo with B.RO
First Trio Took a Photo with B.RO
Second Trio Took a Photo with Dolopo Background
Second Trio Took a Photo with Dolopo Background

We conlude that this event is AWESOMELY CRAZY!!!

The expression of countless people who tried our game can’t be described in words. It really boosted our spirit up to finish Ascender and bring crowds across the world and even the galaxy to enjoy Sky’s enigmatic journey with sweet Ocean! Once again thank you so much Ascenderians!!

DEVLOG#09 – Imagining Ascender

Hi there, I’m Amber, the art director, this is my first time for me writing this game development blog. First, let me take you for a walk in imagining the concept world of Ascender through this blog.

I want you to imagine a big world, full with Ascendrians (ancient people of Ascender) living peacefully in their own group without conflict or greed. They communicate with nature and use its resources, then hold ceremonies as a symbol of thankfulness. They are used to sing and pray together, with calmness and emotion control to keep themselves from confronting each other.

Ascender world_ok

Then, later in Ascender world’s history,they found a disbalance among themselves, and they began to differentiate between themselves. Those who are able to achieve synergy with the nature, can manipulate and harness its power, are called the purists, whereas those who didn’t possess such ability, but is excellent in logical thinking are called the scientists. The scientists improved their way of living by researching and technology. Sadly, there was a third group of people which wasn’t granted any purity nor logical skills. These people, whose rely only on their body strength, are called workers.

In that ancient times, those groups of Ascendrians were still living harmoniously together regardless their differences, but it didn’t take long before they go separate ways. After centuries, they are growing larger and larger, with the scientists being the largest group, followed by the workers. Capitalism began to corrupt Ascendrians, which became big concerns for the purists. As it is not their nature to confront each other, they were forced to evacuate into deep jungle, surrounded by factories, skyscrapers, and toxic waste.

The purists had nowhere to go, as the nature was getting ruined. Trees were cut down, sea was full of oil, and the air was contaminated and full of dust. The elder of the purist decided that they had to vanish with all the nature that’s left, and preserve them to stay pure. The only way they could go is upward, where the air is still fresh. So, alongside the nature spirit, they combined their almighty magic to lift the parts of the world which was still pure to the sky.

Finally they did it. The depressed, threatened minority race show their teeth, their true ability. That giant continent, rising slowly to the sky, left only huge holes on the ground. Such display of power, amazed all other Ascendrians beyond their logic and technologies, and set their ego burning. It was a challenge! As the floating islands were getting smaller from the view, the scientists speed up their research, fueled by the anger and jealousy to achieve what the purists had done. But before they did it, the whole ocean slowly moved up above the ground, into the sky, like a big giant jelly. It’s not long before they eventually blocked the sunlight.

That was the ultimate act of the purists, blocking every Ascenderians left below from reaching their pure continent. It’s almost dark in the ground below sea water, only a gloomy bluish light faintly illuminates for days. Then suddenly, the sea water above cleared, causing bright sunlight to be shed on the ground once more, although not as bright as before. It was the purists who cleared the ocean from toxic waste and oil, which now effectively separate them with the world below.

Left with holes, contaminated air, and no water, was unacceptable for the scientist. So, they created a giant mechanism to lift the remaining land above to get fresh air. They were able to mimic the floating island with heavy machinery, but they cannot got any further as the sea obstruct their way. They researched and experimented, but to no avail.

What remained on the ground was mostly the workers now. They were bound to meet their doom. Without any knowledge of technology, they left behind with no trees, no water, nor fresh air. Some tried climbing the tallest building in order to grow hydroponic plant with few water left, but not for a long term.

In that times of desperation, most of them tried going down into the ground, dug deeper and deeper, and ultimately lived in the caves. They found underground water source, and built the first ancient underground civilization called GOA, with some technological knowledge and magic from some scientists and purists who refused to go up.

That, is the first story told by Ascendrians, which recovered from an ancient text from the first year after the world separated and created layers of civilization, with GOA as the lowest layer deep underground. Now, centuries after that event, the memories of the past event had been buried, and the present generation living no longer know about the world above them.

This is our challenge, to capture and present the multilayer civilization world of Ascender. Stay with us to see out process of creating the beauty and complexity of Ascender world. Amber will guide you through the enigmatic journey, let’s start imagining…