[Keyboard Kommander] Story Mode Plan

Hello from the Seattle Indies Expo 2018! If you weren’t there, we showcased Keyboard Kommander, “a fast-paced action-packed typing game in which the player must fight off a horde of post-apocalyptic Zombies and Mutants in order to defend his or her fort.[1]” There’s a visceral physicality that I enjoy, and props to game creator and lead programmer William for constantly implementing improvements, including plans for a Story Mode. Here’s my strategy for making that plan possible.

This strategy is generic enough for making any large writing project.

First, I’ll write three story proposals.
Long-time readers will remember the tales of the Orthographimancer, a terrible temptress that terrorized a family fraught over intimidating invaders with a heated undercurrent theme of degrading orthography. This story didn’t fit the game’s “light-hearted and funny[2]” direction, so if we don’t use any of the elements in the game, I may conclude the story as I imagined it elsewhere. For the game, all three stories will be fun, self-aware and star The Keyboard Kommander, a campy action hero in the vein of 80s movie stars that quipped their way through cheesy scenarios with manly bravado. He will be joined by a crew that will help instill a healthy dash of Jack Burton from Big Trouble in Little China. Once the team picks their favorite of the three, I’ll recycle the rejects, we’ll proceed.

Second, I’ll write a story summary.
This will cover the plot structure in more detail. This will need to be thorough because we’ll need to consider compromises over what I write versus what is possible to implement in-game. If we couldn’t implement the character of the Orthographimancer, for whatever reason, then that story wouldn’t do. I have a collaborator in this process, so we can jam on the ideas before we present everything again to the team for review.

Third, I’ll write short story proposals, or, rough drafts.
We have some rough ideas on how the story mode will be applied. Once we’ve figured out the technical and literacy logistics will flow throughout the game, this will be the actual in-game text that players will read or we’ll observe as the story progresses. If Keyboard Kommander’s Story Mode takes place over, say, 16 levels, then that means I’ll write 16 short stories outlining what happens throughout each level.

Fourth, we’ll edit.
As I submit each short story for review, I’ll work on the next one. If the feedback is negative, I’ll rewrite or revise based on the criticism the short story receives. If the feedback is positive, I’ll proceed. Depending on the nature and structure of the short stories, I should be able to publish them here in due time.

Fifth, we’ll implement.
I don’t know how to write code, so this part is completely outside of my hands, for right now. I imagine that through this development process, I will begin to dip my toes into this field that has always been difficult for me.

Next month’s update will show the progress we’ve made!

[1] Keyboard Kommander itch.io page
[2] Mike, my Story Mode collaborator and industrious member of the team.
Sources: My writing experience
Inspirations: Rather than a random essay, I wanted to write something directly related to the game we’re presenting, so while this was written in a hurry, I think it captures the excitement of what we’re planning to do. Monthly updates should give me enough time to generate relevant content, too.
Related: Other Keyboard Kommander content
[1] Cropped screenshot.
[2] Cropped screenshot.
[3] “Business” cards I’m handing out to advertise my writing.
Written On: September 1st [1 hour]
Last Edited: September 1st [15 minutes]

My big goal is to write. My important goal is to write "The Story." My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame a fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. Let's strive to be better everyday. (Avatar)