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Writing for City of Titans: the Process

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VDG's picture
Last seen: 7 years 7 months ago
Joined: 12/04/2012 - 15:36
Writing for City of Titans: the Process

Hi! K9T here and even though I am Lead Writer at City of Titans, ideas don’t just flow straight out of my head into the game. There is not only one’s internal process, but an external process that everyone has to go through in order to get ideas into the game. I’d like to describe both for you now and I hope doing so will help you see how the process will help us to have one of the best games out there.

Let’s start with an NPC. Although a lot of things can spawn the concept of an NPC for me ranging from an idea for a cool power to some psychological or sociological concept I want to explore, the thing that really draws it together for me is often the name. It should be a word or two that is evocative of a mood and ability (bonus points if it is a pun). It is the Sunday of the Big Game as I write this, so the football atmosphere brings the Titan City team mascot, Captain Corsair to mind. The idea of athleticism, strength and speed combine with the name in my mind and come up with the name Courser.

A courser is the trusty steed of medieval knights, so that brings to mind armor and barding as well, and the image of a cyborg centaur in powered armor is what I settle on. Riffing off of that, I sit down with an internal document known as a Pitch Template. CoT concept pitches are not the sentence-long affairs prevalent elsewhere; I will fill out a page or so of information including the history of the character and their niche in the overall story.

Now the name Courser and several important aspects of the concept go through a process we call Vetting. We don’t want to be confused for any other established IP. Unbelievably, it passes (and they say there are no good names left)!

My immediate boss is Robin. He’s in charge of what we call the Composition department, which encompasses Writing, Localization and Editing. He gives it a sanity check (“no sanity found: it passes”) and then we are ready for the next part.

Once I have the checked and vetted pitch together, I shoot it off to Aquashock. She’s one of the most important persons to the writing process: the Continuity Lead. It is her job to keep on top of the various narrative puzzle pieces as they come together. She and her team (wiki guru Space Moose and researcher/collator CPease61) check for contradictions, cheesy premises and redundant concepts. As our system comes together, they will even make sure that the narrative exploits match up with the actual powers in the game.

Once she is happy with the pitch, it goes to Spacemoose for official canonization in our internal wiki. Now other writers can look Courser up and instantly have all information needed on his (or her?) motivations, plans and abilities. Any of our more-than-a-dozen writers can bring their own style to Courser while the character’s core stays pure. The wiki is a living document, so as the character impacts plot (and eventually, PCs), their personality and methods can change in reaction to the game, and hopefully in reaction to YOU as well. We hope to have tools in place to truly allow the actions of the PCs to help shape future expansions.

Thanks for checking out this peek into the process! With any luck Courser will be approved by Continuity and you will see them in Titan City. Oh and I do apologize if that was the name of your character; I can only hope my version does yours justice.

Written by: K9T


As some of you have asked in the last week, here's the link to Hellwreckage's piece, "We Are Villains," as was featured in the City of Titans - Teaser Trailer REBORN video released this past Monday!