In With The New

The Switch

As many of our fellow indie devs may have heard by now, Epic made a pretty epic announcement (get it?) at GDC this year.  They’ve decided to release their newest game engine, Unreal Engine 4, to the masses for the low cost of $20/month, plus 5% of any gross revenue companies make from games made in the engine.  This is a really great deal for many indie developers, who often cannot afford to pay much up-front, but would gladly give a piece of the pie to Epic if it enables them to make their dream a reality.  And now Epic gets to enable thousands to start making top-notch games, all the while reaping some of the rewards of successful devs.  It really is a win/win situation.

UE4, in all its glory

Naturally, as soon as we heard this news, we were intrigued.  We immediately began looking into what UE4 has to offer (with our newest developer, Dan, taking the reins on that), and after a short period of several of us purchasing the engine and taking it for a test drive, we decided to make the switch.  Ever since, we have been overjoyed, and have already been producing much more polished work than in the past.

But, Why?

I know what you’re probably thinking right now.  “But Nick, you guys had already made so much progress with Xeno!  You were two weeks into development, and only a few weeks away from the first prototype!  Why on earth would you throw that all away to switch engines?!”  Let me tell you, dear reader.

Firstly, we were only two weeks into development.  In the larger scheme of things, this is not much time at all.  We plan on spending at least the next six months working on Xeno, in which case 2 weeks is only about 8% of total development time.  And when you take into consideration that we will continue working on other projects in the future, it just starts to seem silly not to switch to superior technology when it only costs 2 weeks’ worth of work.

Out with the old...

Secondly, the price structure of UE4 is vastly superior to what we were using (Unity3D), at least for us.  We were only using Unity Free, because Pro costs $1500 per developer, which for us would have been $4500.  As a new company with no major titles and no income, this comes directly out of our personal pockets.  While UE4 does as well, $60 per month is much more manageable than a straight $4500.

Thirdly, a lot of the functionality that we implemented into Xeno in its first 2 weeks is automatically available in UE4.  Networking is built in, an AI framework is in place, the sample code provides us with a basic first person shooter, and the list goes on.  So even though we lost work, and lost some additional time in the learning phase, we feel like we still came out ahead. with the new.

Progress Update

So how much progress has actually been made since we switched to UE4?  Anthony has been hard at work reconfiguring all existing assets to be exported into, and look good in, the new engine.  The female XMSuit is all but complete, which is a completely new addition since the last official update (although if you’re following us on twitter, you’ve likely seen it dozens of times by now).  The starting room of the players has been redone in UE4, and looks outstanding.  It now has some creepy red ambient light, with the occasional point light to add some character.

Just look at those tusks!

On the coding side, the pistol functionality is mostly finished, with only some minor tweaks left.  It has three modes: regular fire, 3-round burst, and piercing shot.  There are some minor scripts placed in the test level as well, such as a door that opens as the player approaches, and some basic AI that is able to move back and forth, take damage, and eventually die.  These are all mostly from the learning period of the engine, and from here on out things should be getting much more exciting!

That'll teach it to taunt me!

Blueprints Page

And last, but certainly not least, we are happy to announce our new UE4 Blueprints page!  Here we will be periodically posting snippets of Blueprints that we are actually using in Xeno, in order to give back to the awesome community that has helped us so much already.  Please check out the page here, and provide us with any feedback!

The Blueprints window in UE4, with a bonus sample blueprint!

Thanks for reading!


I Dreamed a Dream of Devs Gone by...

Well we missed a week of updating last week, but I suppose there's a first time for everything.  And hey, if Ed McMillen can miss a week, can miss one, alright?

Our hard deadline for content freeze in Shibe Warz development was the last day of November, which was about two weeks ago.  But we drastically underestimated how long development on certain aspects and mechanics would take, and due to a few other previously unforeseen circumstances that arose for one of our programmers, Nick and myself had to double-up on our crunch and extend our development of Shibe Warz into Mid-January.  We're also reverting to a "soft deadline" approach (or as I like to call it, the "Duke Nukem Forever" approach) for Shibe Warz, as we're no longer going to lie to ourselves.  All of this is giving Nicholas enough time to handle the rest of the coding workload and get a few office builds out to us in order to begin QA testing.  We've already overwhelmingly rearranged the game's GUI to be more user-friendly and intuitive but there's still so much more work to do.

This is definitely the largest and most comprehensive learning experience for me/us to-date.  Except maybe TimeGem which was our very first project, and taught us what it even means to "make a video game," which was an arduous and mammoth process from standing still to taking that first step.  That first step was like a leap off a chasm, but with Shibe Warz we're definitely catching ourselves and learning how to glide.  It's giving me, personally, a lot of appreciation for graphics artists in general, more than I had before even when I was knee-deep in other earlier work and knew less than I know now.

But I must digress.  There is more work to be done.  Rest assured there will not be another lost week of dev blog updating (remember: Every Wednesday!).  Stay tuned for more updates on Shibe Warz and Verus as the days progress, and be sure to follow us on Twitter!

Thanks for reading, and keep playing!


It's been two weeks and I'm still eyeballs-deep in artwork for Shibe Warz as well as pre-pre-development for our next project that we're primed to start in January 2014.  So with this in mind, bear with me that this blog post will be brief and will include (FINALLY) some more much-needed screenshots of what I've been working on in the Art department.

Firstly, I'd just like to say that I've never had more respect for animators and, even further behind-the-scenes, animation riggers, than at this point in my life.  Animation is a huge deal, and a very huge burden if you're not familiar with the ins-and-outs of its technical mechanics.

This is a shot of my Blender window with the main (and regrettably, only) character in Shibe Warz with a weight-painted rig.  I'm currently highlighting and moving his left arm into a position for a single keyframe of an Idle animation.

This is a shot of my Blender window with the main (and regrettably, only) character in Shibe Warz with a weight-painted rig.  I'm currently highlighting and moving his left arm into a position for a single keyframe of an Idle animation.

I've fallen in love with every single aspect of video game art, and find myself wishing that I'd been dabbling in it for the past ten years (which I will probably forever refer to as my "lost decade").  I have several mountains of knowledge to gain with respect to Art in gaming (and Art in general), but what I've learned through hands-on experience has been exquisite and absolutely invaluable.  I highly suggest getting your feet wet and your hands dirty, and downloading the freeware Blender for starters.  There are tons and TONS of tutorials on YouTube and for you to peruse at your leisure and learn the ins-and-outs of the Digital Art world.

I really do enjoy all aspects of game Art, but before Shibe Warz I never really took any time necessary to fully appreciate how much work goes into character modeling.  This character you see here was blocked in very roughly (and with an ultra-low poly-count) in Blender before being exported to the freeware program Sculptris.  In Sculptris, I was able to subdivide the polygons on this model several times, giving it tons more polygons and myself the ability to add a lot of detail to the body and musculature.  From there I exported it back into Blender and built the armor pieces from scratch around the body, exporting the UV's to the freeware (spot a pattern...?) GIMP and making the textures from scratch.

 What you see here is the finished Plate Armor set rigged to the original body and ready to be inserted into the game (complete with the Idle animation from the first image above).

Over the course of the past two months, I've probably stared at this main character and all of his equipment sets a grand total of 75% of my contributed dev-time.  I'm absolutely sick of looking at him, but I regret that a game developer's work is never done.

 I was fortunate enough to have found an artistic understudy who has taken the time to work at my house every Monday for the past two months.  He worked exclusively on the weaponry in the game in order to get his feet wet firstly with Blender and 3D modeling, and secondarily with game development in general.  The axe you see in this screenshot is his handywork.  You will also notice some artifacts present through the armor.  Those will be dealt with summarily, but I must continue to move onto other more pressing things at the moment.

This is an example of what you can do with weaponry in Shibe Warz.  Each hand is able to hold onto a different weapon, and on your turn each of your characters can use one of their weapons' abilities on the battlefield.

The same goes for this picture.  A dagger in one hand (which confers X2 damage if attacking an enemy from the rear) and a crossbow in the other (which fires 3 times in one turn at up to 3 different enemies on the battlefield).  The armor he's wearing is leather armor, with moderate physical damage mitigation and light movement penalty.

 You can also mix-n-match helmets and boots between equipment sets.  The weapon you see in the character's left hand is the Wizard Staff, which confers huge bonuses to spells cast.

And finally, this is the preliminary animation still for the Longsword swing.

I hope this has been somewhat informative for you, and that it's something you can take away and get excited about for the upcoming turn-based tactical strategy game Shibe Warz, coming soon from us at Verus Games.  We're very passionate about video games, video game creation, and our players.  Stay tuned for more info from us and be sure to check out our other DevBlog articles below, and our Games section up-top to see how far we've come!

Thank you for reading, and we hope you have a good holiday if you're celebrating in any way.

~Anthony, Creative Lead

What am I Doing?

It's been a very long week these past seven days, but ironically a very short month since we began development on Shibe Warz.   I realized since my last blog post that I'd like to add a little more insight into Verus' unique history/development routine, as well as insight into my own thought and work process.  Even if nobody really reads this, I can still have it for chronicling of my future endeavors.

We've come a long way in three years.  I first moved to Philadelphia from Los Angeles in early 2010 after making tentative plans, over the phone, to develop video games with my brother Nicholas.  Even then we had absolutely no idea what we were doing.  But we had ambition.  Lots of ambition.  We've played video games all our lives, including an absolute boatload of 2-player co-operative games (of which there are relatively few today), and we wanted to bring our own stamp to the industry even if only in some small way.  We instantly began doing what all amateur and aspiring game designers, who know nothing, do: began designing an MMO, i.e. the largest and most difficult project in the industry.  

MMO's require giant studios, years of time, decades of research, bathtubs of money, and basically everything else that our rookie two-man group lacked.  As a matter of fact, we weren't even rookies.  At least a rookie is working the field after some training.  We were hot out of our childish lives with absolutely 0% of our lifetime devoted to game design.  We'd only ever *played* games.  Sure, we paid attention to them and what made them fun for us, and talked naively about the "designs" of a lot of those games, but never had we even downloaded any of software necessary to *make* one.  Before moving to Philadelphia I'd never even *looked* at an online rendering of something made in Blender, the freeware 3D modeling program that I would come to depend upon for literally all of my work today.  Now Blender is the third program in my workflow when I'm developing character models, but first in line when modeling everything else.

But now I'm getting ahead of myself.  Back in 2010 Nick and myself began with a pencil and a notebook and attempted to begin design work on our massively multiplayer online role playing game without having any experience in game design.  We covered a lot of bases, we believed, including all manner of gameplay mechanics for each character "class," what we would and would not include in the world, all the way down to the individual rivers and tributaries on our game's world map.  But only a few weeks into designing it began to unravel because, as we quickly discovered, we knew absolutely nothing about implementation.  Between our designs and a finished product there was a great, yawning chasm of darkness and oblivion which required a bridge we knew not how to build.

And so we scrapped that idea. 

For the next few months we were both disillusioned with the notion of developing video games.  I fell into a day job in the city of Philadelphia while Nicholas (a few years my junior) worked on completing his bachelor's degree at Drexel University.  In this interim we both, separately, began attempting to build a semblance of a bridge over that mammoth void between idea and product.  I started earnest work in learning 3D modeling with Blender and eventually applied my very amateur ability toward a completed "Verus Entertainment" intro video, which can be seen here:

At the same time, Nicholas was starting to branch slightly away from his original college major by enrolling in Game Design courses (without branching too much that it would hurt his credit accumulation) and working on projects with his peers, gaining some valuable preliminary knowledge.

A few months later, while still gaining some ground within our respective "specialties" (Nicholas with coding and myself with art), we decided to try our collective hand at a 3D tower defense game.  I developed quite a few assets for this project, but even still we had no idea what we were doing.  I knew nothing about rigging, skinning, or even the absolute most essential piece of 3D development, UV wrapping (although it can be argued validly that *all of these* are essential pieces).  My understanding of something even as simple as texturing was reduced and chained to the default layered textures that Blender could produce for me.  This is, of course, useless without UV wrapping and texturing.  And texturing is useless without rigging and skinning the model in order for it to animate within a game engine.

I knew nothing, but thought I was doing well.  In reality I had merely cracked the door ajar.  I didn't even know how badly I was struggling to open that door further, because I thought it was enough to slip through.  It would become clear to me later, much later unfortunately, how wrong I had been.

At this point I do realize how many questions are most likely whizzing around inside of your head, or even questions that you're screaming aloud at your monitor.  "HOW DIDN'T YOU KNOW ABOUT UV WRAPPING," or "WHY DIDN'T YOU SEARCH YOUTUBE FOR TUTORIALS ON THIS??!"  And now I absolutely agree with you.

But back then I was walking completely blind.  The only thing I knew, with any certainty, was that I wanted to make video games.  Actually, to be more clear, what I knew was that I *needed* to make video games.  Nicholas and I both attested to this, time and again, over the course of several months of struggling to get anything resembling a game off-the-ground.  We could not, and I was so ignorant of what was required of video game artistry, both technical and creative, that I didn't even know what to search for.  I was so ignorant I didn't know I *should have* been searching for any answers to questions that I did not yet have. 

And so, with a few dozen useless assets along with a fully modeled (and blandly textured) Home City for a hypothetical 3D tower defense game, we again fell into non-productivity.  We shelved the idea "for good" as we became disillusioned, once again, in developing video games.  We simply knew too little, understood even less, about what it takes to make games.

I personally suspect that this is probably the point at which most people would give up pursuing a certain avenue, no matter what the subject matter is.  An aspiring architect, a young biology major, an artist in his late teens or early twenties.  Encountering such personal failure after several months of hard "work," even naive and undeveloped hard work, exacts a toll on the unlearned.  I do not have a history of art composition in any form, whether material canvas or CGI.  I do not carry a degree in the arts.  I have not used Blender, or any 3D modeling software, for even a moment of my 29 years before the year 2010.  And here I was (here *we* were) with two massive projects built in our minds but failing to achieve any kind of traction.  Failing completely.  I knew nothing but wanted everything.

What am I doing?  What *was* I doing? 

After the 3D tower defense game, we gave up for a year.  During that time Nicholas utilized his time spent in one of his Design courses to gather a few of his peers into a small group of aspiring game designers.  We arranged a scant few meetings over the course of several weeks, about six to eight of us gathering together to discuss certain aspects of game design but in no certain terms and with really no actual experience to speak of.  As it turns out today, even the game design courses that Nicholas and the others had taken were no match for *actual* game development.  After a few weeks, and perhaps a total of three meetings amongst ourselves, our hodgepodge group faded into nothing and we were left with nothing in our hands.

The year finally passed,  I had been working in the restaurant industry for about half a decade by this point and was inundated with its demanding schedule.  In early 2012, Nicholas approached me again with a renewed offer of starting developing (again) on our original idea for an MMO.  Although it was doomed to failure due to the very nature of development, and although we still did not understand this, something magical happened as we relit the torch: we began to research. 

Oh my... god, that's it.  We did not know the questions to ask, but we both knew that we needed to ask questions.  We needed to begin probing the fabric of game design, and this included, quintessentially, all of the technical aspects.  I learned about ZBrush.  Mudbox.  UV wrapping.  Rigging and skinning.  Texturing.  I had never before heard of these aspects of technical artistic digitization.  And now I was surrounded with these terms.  I had creaked the door ajar a few more inches and could finally see the darkness indicative of the depths that stretched down before me.  For the first time not only could I see the horizon, but I had spotted something disappear beyond the vanishing point, and realized that more lay beyond it.  I was loaded with information.  I was not privy to my brother's personal growth in his own realm, but I knew that he had researched game engines and fundamental coding techniques.

And then we stopped working on our MMO.  Not because it faded away like before.  But because we deliberately halted our own progress due to the overwhelming knowledge that assailed us from every corner of the internet tutorials.  We began to sense ourselves in this "place."  And this place was far too large for us, and we far too small.

We halted this progress on the MMO after about 2 months of "pre-development" and spent a few months reeling from the shellshock.  Eventually my Zbrush demo ran out after 30 days of running it through its paces, and I took what I learned from there and applied it to my endeavors in Blender with much better results than ever before.  While Nick was very busy taking time to complete his final semester at Drexel (incorporating a rather demanding schedule up until the very end that summer) I was busy attempting to learn how to UV wrap and make textures, however poorly designed and executed all of this was.

While Nick was busy with school, and in between my increasingly spotty study of art development, I read about my passions in my off-time (mainly scientific works, astrophysics, philosophy and literature) and delved into physics as a back-up plan to our game design dreams failing.  Nicholas helped me through all of this, and although this is a rather strange tangent, he was, and has always been, the other half of my strength and ability through these past three and a half years.  And for that year in particular, 2012, I thank him endlessly for helping to show me what I can accomplish.

Some more time had gone by as we sped through the remainder of 2012 without working on anything game-related.  Both Nicholas and myself had to move out of our respective apartments and into new ones, set up new lives in different corners of the city, re-align to new day-jobs, and many other nuances.  But by January of this year, 2013, we were both very much ready to approach game design and development with a new pair of lives.  It was Nicholas who approached me first with the idea of starting small, on a very, very small project for the month of February just to get our feet wet.  This is something that we should have done since the beginning, and not coincidentally something I had heard countless developers say in interviews on YouTube (including, most importantly, Ed McMillen and Tommy Refenes of Team Meat).

START SMALL.  Your first game is going to be *incredibly disappointing*.  It will probably be nearly unplayable.  And our first game, Time Gem, was unplayable.  It had basic movement and attacking functionality, but was horrible in every way that a video game can be horrible.  Empty plot.  No narrative.  Horrible graphics that get no message across.  Terrible GUI.  It showed us, in no uncertain terms, what we actually, positively, do not know about game design.  That project threw our ignorance directly in our faces.

But I have never been more proud of anything else I have done.  You can find Time Gem on Games page of this website and take a look for yourself.  It's awful.  But I learned more in the two months we spent on that project than in the two previous years combined.  Personal lessons about UV wrapping, texturing, rigging, animating, and asset creation were daunting but exceptionally rewarding.  Seeing what you *don't know* is as important as knowing that you don't know.  You need to know how ignorant you are.  It is not enough to simply know that you're ignorant.  You need to do research into what it takes so that you can have a working hypothetical model inside of your mind of spaces you need to fill with understanding.

After Time Gem I began spending weeks' worth of free time at the local Barnes N Noble on Walnut in downtown Philadelphia, sitting in the Starbucks, sipping on Chai Lattes and scouring dozens of graphics design magazines for hours at a time.  Reading on latest tips, both technical and abstract.  Getting inside the work on the pages.  Without a technical background or intimate knowledge of the 3D modeling tools used to create those works (or works of my own) it is impossible to be that creative.  I first needed, and still need, to master the technical aspects of Blender, Sculptris, MakeHuman, GIMP/Photoshop, and Unity 3D.  But that time spent examining composition after composition, reading interview after interview, witnessing creative tutorial after tutorial, was invaluable to my understanding and building of my own personal future goals and aspirations within Verus Games.  It instilled within me my own boundaries and horizons of creative expression and is helping me every day to develop new artwork and vistas that allow me to pour myself onto the screen.  I am barely through the door, but I have an idea of where I want the darkness to lead.  And that is a powerful thing.

And now here I am.  Here we are.  I still suck, and I know that.  But I can honestly say I know *why* I suck.  I no longer feel powerless against my own ignorance, but rather I strive every day to be better than yesterday.  And the more I understand about my technical limitations, about how to use the tools of my own expression, the more that ignorance fades away into the grey of the past three years.  And this leaves me more confident in myself than I've ever been.  The ability to look back on the projects we've accomplished in the past, no matter how amateur, no matter how terrible, is equally as helpful in enabling both Nicholas and myself to focus on what we've done wrong and what we've done right, and in moving forward with even greater clarity.

I don't know how to end this.  The story of my life shows how atrocious I am at ending anything satisfactorily, but I do want to narrow down what I've learned in order to pass on to you in case you are also struggling your own way through Independent Game Development:

Never give up.  Keep moving forward.  But don't do it blindly.  Ask questions about your goal, your purpose, and then ask yourself what you need to achieve that goal.  Then ask Google and YouTube, because they will have most of the technical answers you are looking for.   And you need that technical information before you can hope to lay your creative imagination to the canvas of reality.  You need to know your tools before you can use them effectively.  Otherwise you're just slapping paint onto the wall.

With love to everyone, especially my family, biological and chosen. 

~ Anthony. 

Next Stop - Shibe Town


So we're already into our second week of development for our newest project, code named "Shibe Warz," and from an art perspective, it's coming along splendidly.  I've recruited another artist to help me with this project's detail-oriented workload, and so that'll at least take some of the load off of my back.  That aside, I'm having a tremendous time so far concepting and completing all of the art assets that are needed.

The game itself is a 3-Dimensional tactical game set on a resizeable game board, composed of squares.  Each square is a tile that is able to be walked on by the player's character pieces, and the board itself is a "battlefield"  akin to chess.  Specifically meant to be a 2-player competitive game for the PC, each player will begin the match with a certain amount of "gold pieces" (determined by the size of the board and the number of character pieces agreed upon), and will then use those gold pieces to purchase "load-outs" for each of their pieces.  There are no set "classes" in the game, but it is fantasy-based.  That means that your pieces begin completely naked (mechanically speaking), and it is your job to purchase spells for them to use, or weaponry if you prefer, or a combination of both if that strategy strikes your fancy.  The same goes for different pieces of armor, of which there are varying types, and each piece of armor translates to differing damage reductions and movement speeds (the heavier and more protective the armor, the more of a movement speed penalty the character piece has).

This translates directly to intricate gameplay facilitated by the ease of the load-out system.  For instance, do you want a heavily-armored spellcaster, with a full set of armor, a shield in one hand, and a powerful spell in the other?   Spend the gold coinage on each piece of that load-out, and he/she is yours! Want an unarmored, ridiculously fast healing character, with a dagger in one hand (capable of high backstab damage) and a weak-but-fast healing spell in the other?  COINS.  BAM.  DONE.  The effortless ease with which you can combine these parts of your character, along with many others including helmets and usable items, is incredible, and emerged out of a Verus meeting in downtown Philadelphia.  I am so excited to be working on this project.

I'm also very excited to see how far we've come since even the development of Spell Bound.  There is nothing quite like grinning and bearing the burden of discomfort while trudging through something you're barely ready to handle, and then coming out clean and SMARTER and BETTER on the other side.  Learning.  It's fantastic.  Our workflow is exponentially faster.  Our technical expertise is actually and realistically approaching some semblance of "expertise," and this all means that development is becoming technically easier which leaves more room for working on the actual "DESIGN" of our game.  Rather than worrying how to animate something, or wasting time trying to fix an amateur bug in the code, we've learned how to steamroll these problems before they even arise simply due to our previous experience of having to deal with those problems.  And they are problems that delay even the best-intentioned, most ambitious people from beginning a project, much less overcome halfway through.  This experience is brilliant.  Simply brilliant.   And invaluable to the future of Verus Games.

For reference, here are a few screenshots of the models and textures so far for Shibe Warz.  It's due in Mid-December for PC, and so far it's on schedule.  Enjoy! 

 ~ Anthony

P.S.  Click on the below picture to cycle through the entire gallery of concept images! Enjoy the reel!

Significance of Writing in Games

When Nick first asked me to come aboard Verus Games, he told me to make music and sounds for the current project, Spell Bound. Naturally, I was flattered that my musical talents were desired. As my time with the project matured, I saw the final product everyone envisioned clearly in my mind. Yet, one thing was lacking: there was no non player character interaction. So I talked to Nick, and I asked him, and I reasoned with him, "can't there be dialogue for the game too?" The best he promised was, "time permitting." Fortunately, I was able to convince him to make it a priority--mostly by going ahead and writing the whole script for him.

Writing is a very powerful tool in video games. Writing can set the tone, it can breathe life into a game's denizens. Therefore, it is important for one to consider the contents of their writing, to examine it in thorough detail. What does writing mean for the game? How does it accentuate (or not) the gameplay? What message are you trying to convey to your audience? These questions matter, and their answers can be the difference between a good game, and a great game. 

Writing as Art

Everyone can agree: the most important aspect of any game is the gameplay itself. After that, most people may agree that art, or graphics is the second most important aspect. Obviously, this makes sense, because it is our mode of interacting with the game space. I would argue, however, that writing in a game is just as important. Art elicits an immediate reaction; an entire scene can be survey and processed within only a few seconds, much faster than hearing music play (you may get a few notes in before you've thought about the view), and even more so for writing. After all, human beings are very visual creatures, so this is to be expected.

Because art is so quick to convey meaning, its design must be carefully considered as well, but in the end a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Yet, text within a game allows players to experience the game on a new level of interaction: text allows players to think about the content of a game. Text allows the game makers to connect to the player on a higher level than mere sensory input, indeed, it allows the the game maker to connect to the player in meaning. This is no attempt to belittle art, or music at all, rather, it is an attempt to explain that games can convey more than a simple mechanism for pleasurable mental experiences.

That Which We Call a Rose, By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

The title of this section is a reference to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet , but its point applies equally to games. In this case, I'm referring to the practice of successfully sending a message. Does your game have a theme? Does it have a point you want to make to the player?

Games are often powerful engines of delivery when it comes to messages. But, one must insure that the message is bequeathed to the players in a manner that it will reach them. Another way of saying this is, "know thy audience." Your audience must be able to understand what you are trying to say, and that means it is up to you to be sure to write in a way that will reach them! Imagine a World War II first-person-shooter in which every character spoke in haiku--Not only is this inaccurate for the war, but it totally ruins any immersion for the player. Now, that was a completely ridiculous example, but the point I'm trying to make is: the writing should match the setting, and the setting partially consists of the writing. World War II was a recent, very real event that occurred in history; a game that features it should be very realistic in its writing. 

Writing is an essential tool for any game. Even if a game features largely no text or dialogue, behind the scenes  writing is still necessary, especially working with teams. You may even be sending nothing but a correspondence email, yet your writing colors you as a person. Your peers will judge you on your writing, especially if there is limited face to face interaction. Writing in a way your players can relate to can cause a powerful experience for them, and remember overwriting is just as harmful as bad writing. The key is to write just enough to allow the player's imagination take over.

I'm no expert writer by any means, but these are all aspects I consider in my writing. There are a multitude more out there, but this post has gone long enough. So for now I'm signing off, and thank you for reading!