Comparing Video Game Writing with Novel Writing

As development of The Regret of Vitrerran continues to chug on, I’ve taken a break from level design to return to the writing side of things. We’re getting ready to really start putting some major level pieces together, and that means the dialogue has to be finished and ready to go.

Having spent most of my free time over the last two months writing and editing long-form fiction, I’ve really been struck by how different video game writing is. That isn’t to say I find the differences surprising—I don’t—but they are interesting.

I find interesting things fun to talk about, so here go. To make my life easier (and to make this more interesting), I’m going to lead by example. What follows is the first conversation between Pakasoph and Caud told in long-form writing:


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Play The Land of Glass Demo Now!

The wait is over, and now our demo available to play!

You can find it here on Mediafire and here on Google Drive

I feel like big projects should be measured in milestones, because let's face it, if you're working on something that you know will take years to finish, you can't spend that entire time stressing about release day. You'd go crazy!

Well, The Regret of Vitrerran hit two very big milestones in the month of April. We got Greelit on Steam, and today marks the release of our demo.

I'll be honest, I expected these to be further apart than they are, but I'm also happy to have them back to back. It really makes this whole thing feel official, like more than a hobby or "garage project."

It's also a nice package of overwhelming, elating, tense, nerve wracking, and exciting.

We hope you enjoy the demo, and the insecure artist in me needs to stress that it's a small slice of a very big, work-in-progress project.

That being said, please, please, PLEASE tell us what you think of it. We don't just want feedback, we need it. The Regret of Vitrerran can only get better if you guys find its faults, be they in sound, gameplay, writing, design, etc. That's all simply part of the process, so don't hold back.

But, you know, also find time to enjoy it. That's the end goal, and one we will hit before it's released. That's a promise.



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On Silence and Publishers

Hello friends, curious people, and those that fall between,

We've been quiet lately, far too quiet for my tastes, and for that I apologize. I'd like to take a brief moment to explain why, and for once, I promise to be brief.

About three months ago, perhaps a bit less, we were approached by a small, indie publisher about funding. We had a brief chat with them, had a lengthy chat amongst ourselves, and then had a second chat with them. We sent them information, and two months ago (thereabouts), we sent them our demo.

That's when the waiting and the silence began. With such a big decision hanging over us, I just didn't feel like it would be appropriate to continue on as if everything where normal.

So we waited and waited, and after a few months, we were declined. It is possible we'll work something out in the future--no doors have been closed--when the game is further along and that small, indie company is ready for a project of Vitrerran's type, size, and scope.

For the record, they did enjoy the game.

We haven't lost anything, and during this waiting period, we continued to work on Vitrerran. Progress is advancing as usual. The demo is done--and has been for quite some time--and after one more round of testing on our parts, it'll be ready to go out into the world. When I say "coming soon" I mean you'll be able to play it by next week. Perhaps sooner.

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New Song: When Winter Fell

Howdy everyone! Going to keep this short, sweet, and to the point: We recently put up a new song for Vitrerran called "When Winter Fell."

For some reason, my blogging software isn't letting me embed the video. Sorry.

I've also gone back to "A Song of Ice" and made some changes. You can find the new version here

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Character Introductions: Marcus and James

With The Regret of Vitrerran demo in its final stages of completion, I think it’s time to talk about the two characters you’ll play as. It’s also just been awhile since I’ve written about the writing aspect to our no-longer-so-little game, and that needs to be fixed.

So. Marcus and James! I really like these characters. Their surprisingly comedic, which isn’t a direction I had thought either would take. But they have this amazing back-and-forth that’s one part sarcasm and one part sorrow. Both characters have lived less than ideal lives, and they cover their true feelings up with biting jokes and outright insults. They don’t like each other. At all. But they also have a begrudging respect for each other’s abilities, and they share a camaraderie in being outcasts.

Like all the characters I’ve worked on, I created Marcus and James only after I designed their home, in this case Mount Nefisigg. Mount Nefisigg (and Castle Alboiss) is the lofty dwelling of King Midus and the only knights of Vitrerran. It’s biting cold, corrupt, and filled with self importance. It’s also a place of high invention with a host of powerful mages.

So, let’s talk Marcus first.

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Sehktus Desert: Religion, Sand, and Heat

It seems like all fantasy-inspired video games come packaged with a long, sprawling desert, and The Regret of Vitrerran is no different. We, of course, promise better pacing than your average desert level.

The Sehktus Desert plays home to the oldest civilization on Vitrerran, the Areen predating the other races by what many scholars believe to be two hundred or more years. While historical records are sparse and open to conjecture, the Areen have taken this belief and embraced it. To many, age represents wisdom, and the Areen feel like their strict beliefs are deeply rooted in wisdom.

Follow the Hiernont. Follow the Tenants of Sollal.

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Utility Cards and Weapon Crafting

I’ve noticed that the more The Regret of Vitrerran grows as a game, the more ideas it borrows from other games. There are already a lot of little influences scattered about, such as the Megaman-inspired “Pick a character and play the game in almost any order you want” aspect to the story or the Baten Kaitos-inspired “Cards are actually attacks and spells” aesthetic. But I never thought we’d take ideas from more traditional RPGs.

Do you guys like weapon crafting?

I don’t play very many RPGs, but there are aspects to them I quite enjoy. World of Warcraft treated me to the pleasure of finding and upgrading gear, and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning showed me the joy of building new gear. There’s a strange little high you get when a raid boss drops a much-needed upgrade or a tough monster yields a very rare piece of crafting material. Shiny loot comes with the intrinsic thought of, “I can more easily save the world with this!” and I love it.

We’re bringing that feeling into The Regret of Vitrerran, though in a more straightforward way than the above mentioned games.

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