[Blah Blah] October Build, Beyond

It’s alive! After months of preparation for our booth at the PAX Seattle Indies Expo 2018, and receiving klamorously positive feedback from game-likers and educators alike, the team took a well-deserved break. We returned with an October build that focused on cleaning up code, but I focused on building a website for the team. That website was the central communication hub for news, updates on various aspects of development, including, the story mode plans that disintegrated…

Here are our preliminary ideas for the tutorial/story mode:

The main character, the Blah Blah, and his two cohorts will face up against the Orthographimancer[1], an evil villainess that has plunged the world into an Apokeylypse! We will be balancing the serious, macabre playable world of Blah Blah with more light-hearted elements to bring out more of the humor. This mode will act as an all-purpose tutorial to the game mechanics found within the currently playable “arcade mode” of Blah Blah, a typing tutorial for middle-school or high-school students along with individuals interested in practicing typing within a zombie world, all while telling a story that’s fun and worth playing!

This story’s content will be strictly rated PG. Nothing PG-13 or up.

This humor demographic is mainly for practicality. We don’t have a specific target audience for Blah Blah, so we’re keeping the humor as broadly non-offensive as possible for students and expert typists. A current in-game joke, “did you know you can die less by playing better,[2]” could be sarcastically offensive, but really, it’s a zombie game. With our content alone, we won’t be able to please everyone. Still, we’ve got to have some snark! My humor runs the gamut from G-rated groaners to R-rated rippers while some members of the team might lean closer to G-rated humor or R-rated humor. When we start implementing flavor text, I have one for a healing item:

It heals you. What else did you think it would do?

On implementation, we have no release date for the story/campaign mode for Blah Blah. “The story mode is the end goal but there’s a lot of writing to add to the game before we get to that.[3]” We thought about bringing an entirely new gaming mode into an already functional game, and had plans for it, but it was always a difficult proposition, and with the codebase where it was, there was no real ability to do it well. So the world, plot, characters, humor, and storytelling elements that would have appeared throughout the game were for naught.

After all, that flavor is what people remember about their favorite games!

Throughout October 2018, I built out more of the creative side of the world and began posting on the website on a weekly schedule. I’ve uploaded an original version of this essay, but needless to say, after leaving the project as I did, it’s tricky to write about this part of the timeline without the irony of knowing where it would lead.

Meanwhile, the technical side’s priority has been stabilization.

[1] The etymology of the Orthographimancer is surprisingly dense. My polyglot friend Choutas and I created the name from orthography or “correct [ὀρθός] language [γράφειν].” The suffix letter for “orthograph” could be “o” [American] or “i” [Greek], but we went with “i” because the -graph- particle came from γράφειν or gráphein, rather than the Americanized grapho.
…Basically, we created a new Greek word.
Special thanks to a teammate for asking the question that inspired this lengthy linguistics lecture: “shouldn’t it be spelled Orthographomancer?”
[2] This phrase was the pitch I used, actually, when some of us had our first meeting about our story mode ideas.
[3] Someone.
Sources: Commenting on our collective efforts.
Inspirations: Monthly update.
Related: Not much
Pictures: Screenshot showing snark.
Written On: September 23rd [4 hours], 25th 2018 [30 minutes]
Last Edited: 10/17/19 [Blah Blah’d from 1:11am to 1:22am, otherwise – Second draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.