Gritty or Glittery?

Ya’ll should read this.

Typewriter Monkey Task Force

In the past few years, we’ve seen a lot of gritty media: books, films, and video games characterized by darkness, angst, violence, and square-jawed men brooding over inner conflicts. From Wolverine to Walter White, we’ve seen plenty of angsty characters on the large and small screens. Books—even young adult literature—feature people killing (and dying!) in all sorts of creative ways. The video game industry continues making games with guns, gore, and roughly one in every five words of dialogue being the f-bomb.

Angst! Darkness! Square jaws! Angst! Darkness! Square jaws!

Why is gritty media popular? That’s a tough question to answer. I suppose there’s some truth to the darkness and violence in these media, and it resonates with people. We all feel sadness, discouragement, and anger. Some face depression, abuse, self-destructive impulses, or equally “gritty” problems.

Finally, gritty media often seems mature, sophisticated, or “grown-up.” All of this begs the question: Is it?

While gritty media…

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The “Failing” of My “Great Idea”.

Few years ago, I was surfing the internet one day, and came across this picture:


And I laughed like there’s no tomorrow.
“This is fucking brilliant!”, I said to myself. The reason why I said that it’s because I believed that the creator of this is using comedy or humour as a weapon to make a powerful statement. He even got The Huffing Post to talk about it.
So I spam-messaged this picture to my friends, and I shared it numerous times on Facebook (as many other internet users usually do). I even got interesting conversations and arguments about it with my friends. Then, I simply carry on with my life.
And that is till recently,it naturally re-surfaced from the back of my mind when I was thinking of an idea to poke fun at gendered marketing for my Creative Proposal project for one of my class.
“Okay, so instead of making of fun of how they market stuff for boys, what if we make fun of how they market stuff for girls as well! Oh! What if… We reversed the gender roles! Yeah, that will funny! Haha!”, I told myself, slowly building the confidence to this “great idea” of mine.
I did some research, trying to find the perfect vehicle for my “great idea” and walla, the perfect candidates for it:

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“Video Games, YES! It’s perfect! These games are totally the polar opposite of one another! This is going to be good! It’s going to be funny, haha!”I told to myself while doing a small victory dance in my small, cramped up studio apartment.
So I’ve done the proposal, came up with contigency plans just in case I have to downscope my idea and finally, I submitted it. The facilitators/lecturers feedback about it was positive.
“There’s no reason to stop this train! IT’S GOING FULL SPEED AHEAD! CHOO CHOO!”, I boast to myself and to my friends. I was pretty confident that it’s going to come out good at the end.
And that is, until I actually executed the plan. This is what I came up with at the end:

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Mind you, the artwork wasn’t originally mine, I simply piece it or “collage it” together (with some editing and masking to some of the original files) with Photoshop.
Now, do you notice anything wrong with it?

Yeap, that’s right. “Where is the humour?”

I showed this to my friends and the facilitators and the responses I got from them are at best, lukewarm. And I don’t blame them. They were expecting funny pieces or funny “something” from me. And these “something” aren’t funny at all.
I think long and hard about this and there are two conclusions that came into mind:
  1. I lack the ability, skill and time to pull off the desired effect like what Kevin Bolk did with his work (the Avengers’ reversed gender pose) and;
  2. This topic is no longer funny to me.
This blog here is mainly about the second conclusion.
So why is this topic is no longer funny to me? It’s simply because this topic (regarding to gendered marketing) is starting to become personal to me, and I’m getting tired of it. I changed from an outsider who observe and laugh at what is happening, to a person who is fighting for a cause.
“What is that cause you’re fighting for” you say? Simple; I want better, and stronger representation of women in entertainment media, such as video games. I want a world where my future daughter can come back home from highschool and play a game that look like this:


“But Fedya, haven’t you notice it? Female representations in video games are getting better and better. And Fedya, like you us male gamers want it as well!
Yes, I know. But the scale is still noticable. It is still male dominated.  And we must not stop fighting for it. The keyword here is “STRONGER representation of women”.
There’s an article regarding to “Gender Breakdown of Games Showcased at E3 2016” are there some points made about it that I honestly think, going against what Feminist Frequency is actually fighting for.
No offence to Carolyn Petit and her article, but I believed the problem does not lie as to whether or not there are more games with “violent-oriented” mechanics than “none-violent mechanics. But on what end of spectrum are the female characters in those games. I believed by having those games with women as their protagonist, it would tip the scale much more to their favor.
Alright, I don’t want to go off-tangent with my rant. But bottomline, my project has “failed” in becoming a humour piece that I intended for it to be. Instead, it became a reflective piece to my own conscience. And I would like to share that with you, the reader of this blog. Have a nice day. Fedya out.
p.s. Gamers, play a game with strong female characters like Beyond Good and Evil, or play as Saryn or Valkyr in Warframe. Creators, write/create/design female characters that is a force to be reckon with. Okay, I’m officially out.


Links to resources/artwork used for the “failed” piece:



References for the blog:



Chronicles of A Third World Storyteller – Episode 5: Building The Demo Reel

Week 12 – Piecing it all together.


As much I love or interested in developing games, I am still a film student. It’s been fun so far, and I still have another few more months to finalised my demoreel. But, I have enough footage to make a draft of my demo reel now. Time to go to work. Before that,


Projects Updates:

1. NeonKnight – Dev Diaries/Trailer

The first video of Neonknight dev diary is (almost) complete. I’ve just their early game build footage as a placeholders because they’re working on it as we speak. The video above is more or less the the finalised edit with placeholders footage. I still have one more video edit to go, probably two, depending on the the availability of the rest of the game developers. It’s going to be a busy week next week for me, since they’re probably done with their game build and they want me to edit it together into a trailer.


2. The Wisp- Corporate Video/Trailer

A faithful representation of me throughout these few weeks.
I haven’t got a chance to edit this one together. I know that I’m supposed to put an edit together before the start of this week, but I was busy editing and refining the other videos I have to do. But I’m on it. This will be an interesting video to put together. And like NeonKnight, I’m expecting a build this week from them for to screen-capture and edit it into a trailer.


3. Incapacitor – Dev Diaries

Remember the little mockumentary edit that I’ve done few weeks ago? So is the is the finalised edit of it. Super happy with the final result. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I am unable to film this week dev diary of Incapacitor. This is because there were events that were going on at the place we wanted to film. So we decided to postpone it. Posibbly, the dev diary that I shot last week, could be [Team Redacted] last dev diary before they published Incapacitor. Hoping that I will at least get one more chance before they decided to publish their game next week.




Not much update on this one yet, as the developers are busy finishing up Invaders From The Deep. Sorry. Will post it as soon as there are words about this new game that they’re developing after their current game.


5. Hand of Rogues – Copywriter


Not much update on this one as well. Mobile Arcade, the team that I’m currently is still finalising their game mechanics and systems. I just have to wait till I’m being called to action. Sorry again guys 😦


5. Iris – Writer


Even though I’m happy writing in Celtx and my team, Sclera is happy with the color-coding system that I’ve implemented for it, my output was too slow. So, with the guidance and advice by Brendan Keogh and Christy Dena, I abandoned my “filmmaking writing method” (for a while) and starting to think like a designer. I got too comfy writing like that, and I forgot to think like designer. So, I made a “outline” or a “diagram” of some sort, to basically craft the narrative in Iris. Boom, output increase possibly 1000 percent. Okay, that’s a lie, maybe like 300 percent. I will go back to writing the dialogues in the script, but for now, diagram, spreadsheet is my best friend.
UPDATE: I’m postponing my design/writing for the game, due to other work/assignment commitment. I’ll get back to it eventually. I’m actually glad that I don’t have to rush my work for this game, and the team do not have to present the story to come up with their mechanics in the game. Phew!


Final Thoughts

“Busy busy busy” is all I have to say for this week’s blog. Tips for someone who is something as maniacal as me; Drink more coffee, and sleep a couple of times for a few hours in a day, to get “enough” rest for your body. Anyway, till next time. Oh wait, I’ve said that before haven’t i? Oh well.


Chronicles of A Third World Storyteller – Episode 4: Dev Diary, Dev Diary, Dev Diary

Week 10 – The Non-stop filming of “Dev Diary” and Writing

I’m incredibly exhausted. I am so exhausted that, I have skipped last week blogging about what I’ve done. But, the things I’ve been doing last week, are the same thing I’ve been doing this week. So, without the further ado,

Projects Updates:

1. NeonKnight – Dev Diaries/Trailer

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I’m on the editing process as of this moment for their first dev diary. I’ve got all of the footage I need, so all I need to do it piecing it together. For now, they are still working on their game, and they’re been spending countless hours polishing the look and the feel of the game. For now, I’m just going to work with what I have and put artworks and prototype in-game footage as placeholders till they’re happy to give a footage of their game. Same goes for their game trailer as well.


2. The Wisp- Corporate Video/Trailer

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Just last Saturday, I have finished filming all of the footage I needed to build the corporate video. Really really happy with the footage I have shot myself. Sometimes I forgot that camera are camera and I don’t need to overthink it when I need to film some stuff. Also, my idea for showing game developers in a different light starts to come to its fruition. This will definitely show them in a different light. Anyway, on to the editing process.


3. Incapacitor – Mockumentary-style Dev Diaries

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Last Thursday, I have finished [Team Redacted] official 1st dev diary. Sadly, we couldn’t go through filming it ala mockumentary style, as I stated before. But the stuff we got is still great. Their games are looking and feeling better by the way. I’m still awaiting their approval for their mockumentary edit which I have finished editing. Other than that, onto the editing their first official dev diary.


4. Invader From The Deep – Commercial – NEW GAME PROJECT COMMERCIAL


Okay, okay. Hear me out. I just got moved to a different project from the same game developer. And the reason why it’s because the next game that they’re making will be a lot more bigger than the game they’re currently developing for their final game. What that means? I’ll be honest, I don’t fully understand what they mean by that, but they want me on board in it. And I am. Moving on.


5. Hand of Rogues – Copywriter


Mobile Arcade, the team that I’m in an currently writing for are busy coming up with a strong concept of a card game. In the mean time, the project leader is asking us to read the GDD document of the game. It is not fully finished yet, and like I said, they are working hard on finalising the concept of it. No writings for me yet as of now.


5. Iris – Writer


20 pages in and I’m now writing for the next area of the game, right after the boss fight. I don’t want to say that In underestimate the amount of writing that I have to do for this game, but I kind of did. Since I’m a very open writer, I asked the team to give me feedback of what I’ve written so far. I color-coded my response to the team’s feedback about it. More about it the next few days.
There’s more writing that needs to be done before we reach Week 12, and it’s coming up pretty soon. I need to figure out a way to writer faster for Iris, because normal script format is not (completely) ideal when you’re design a narrative for a small (yet quite) RPG game like this.


Final Thoughts

“Busy busy busy” is all I have to say for this week’s blog. Tips for someone who is something as maniacal as me; Drink more coffee, and sleep a couple of times for a few hours in a day, to get “enough” rest for your body. Anyway, till next time.

Chronicles of A Third World Storyteller – Episode 3: Tool for Writing for Games & Dev Diaries!

Week 8 – Meeting with Christy Dena, Experience Game Writer/Narrative Designer


This week, I had a meeting with the Games Department Coordinator of SAE Brisbane, Christy Dena about writing for games. She’s a well-accomplished writer-director-designer in games, films, digital theatre etc. Basically she’s the right person to talk to, about writing for games. And what a meeting it was. She gave me many tips and resources I could use to write for games. There is too many to cover in this blog, so I’ll try my best to sum up her tips:

1. Spreadsheet is My Best Friend


This is the one that I cherished the most. Maybe to many senior game writers and game developers, this is nothing new. But to me, it’s the one I’ve been wanting to know the most. Yes, I’ve googled and did research about writing for games. With the help of Adrian Forest, one of the Game Design lecturer in SAE Brisbane, I know and understand a lot about writing for games.
But the answer are too many to choose from. There seems to be no right or wrong answer when writing for games. And I know, deep inside the games development, there must be a unified format to write for games. There must a tool that many game writers lean on more when writing for games. And that tool is, a simple spreadsheet.
“But why spreadsheet, Fedya?”, some of you asked. Simple, it’s a tool or format where game programmers and designers can understand what you’re trying to write. During the course of time in games development, they have multiple spreadsheets that they used to communicate within their team, and it’s no strange that copywriter/writer/narrative designer of the team using the same tool as well (example above).

2. Be flexible in writing for games.

One thing that I have to realised and REALLY, REALLY REALISED is that, games have iterations. And they change throughout the development. Most of the time, it doesn’t even look anything like the its iteration when it reached beta. And most of the time, it is better that way. Sometimes, the designers and developers have massive ambitions in creating a game with robust mechanics, animations, visuals etc, and it had to be scaled down.
Bottomline, They have kill their darlings,  and you as a game writer/narrative designer, should do the same thing. So as a game writer, I have to be prepared to change my writings, in accordance to the games that I’m writing for, at any point in time. This is to make sure in order to make sure that my writings stay cohesive with the game that is being developed. And that is really important, when you’re writing for games!

3. Limit your writings. Write as succinct as you can. Especially for “dialogues”.


Unlike my blogs, it is the utmost important rule to write as little as possible, when writing for games. Films do have similar rule, but in games, the word counts is a lot lesser than that. How many RPG games or adventure games that you play that makes you feel like the dialogues are taking FOREVER to finish? See, that’s what I want to avoid when I am writing for games, or when I’m writing dialogues for games.
So that’s pretty much it. Onwards to weekly updates of the projects:


Projects Updates:

1. NeonKnight – Dev Diaries/Trailer


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So yesterday (12th November, 2016), with the help of my good buddy, Julian, I filmed 2/3 of the 2nd Dev Diary for NeonKnight. Why 2/3 of the dev diary? Because one of the programmers couldn’t made it to the filming session due to scheduling conflict. But other than that, I am really happy with the audio, lighting, eyeline as well as the interview being recorded.  Editing process will begin this week, by Julian.
As for the rest of the dev diaries, it will be recorded tomorrow (14th November, 2016), again, with the help of Julian. And that editing process will also begin this week. Since we filmed the dev diary above in The Void, the real challenge is to make sure we can make the background, at least as good as it. Though it’s just a minor problem, really.
As for the trailer, I am still waiting for the recorded footage by the developers. It will probably be done by next week. Looking forwards to editing it.


2. The Wisp – Corporate Video


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TIPS WHEN FILMING UNDER A HOT SUN: Bring sunscreen and water bottles! It was really when we were filming this last Thursday (10th November, 2016). The sun wasn’t kind to us. But the game developers of The Wisp toughen up, and stay strong throughout the rest of their interviews. It may seem like I’m doing another dev diaries and technically, it kind feels like it it s going to be a dev diary. But, the idea is to show a different side of them, as game developers.
So far, we’ve recorded 1/3 of the footage we needed to piece it together. The other shots will be capturing them doing stuff other than them sitting in front of a computer. Again, with my friend, we’ll be filming the rest of it throughout this week and the next. The next recording will commence on this Tuesday (15th November, 2016) and This Friday (18th of February, 2016). And on that time, we will bring umbrellas and waterbottles and sunscreens and whatnot! Watch out, sun! You’re going down!


3. Incapacitor – Mockumentary-style Dev Diaries


We only had three hours (or four) to filming this (video above. NOTE: it’s a rough assembly) and we did it. The lighting was rough, but the good thing is that, we’re doing a mockumentary-flavored dev diary. So it is (somewhat) forgiven if the lighting is bad. Sadly, Julian (my cinematographer, also my best friend) didn’t have a proper shoulder rig to work with. Now that I think of it, he could use a tripod and make it a monopo-I’m digressing, point is we still get the message across.
As a director to this mockumentary, Ben and Che, the two of the six developers working on Incapacitor, are really great to work with. They’re not shy being in front of camera at all, which is great. Sadly, both of them, along with the rest of the crew are too busy for me to write a more elobarte mockumentary-flavored dev diaries(final script here). So, we settle with just this, and the rest will be a more casual dev diary with Ben, being the MC through the videos.
The next dev diary will be recorded this Thursday(17th November, 2016).


4. Invader From The Deep (working title) – Commercial



I didn’t have enough time to do much on this project, since I am busy with the rest of it. Will catch up to it next week. The assets for the “tower” enemies in the game are almost done. Now, I just need to find good production designer/costumer to help making it look as cheap yet good-looking as it can be.


5. Hand of Rogues (working title) – Copywriter/Commercial



Not much to be done for this project yet. But I need to make sure I am prepared for it, when it happens. So, I’m planning to play Munchkin (the game where they want my writings to have similar tone) with my friends to see what makes Munchkin funny-yet-witty writings, work.
Also, I think I need to look at another funny card games, so that I don’t fall into the trap of having a writing tone, too similar to that of Munchkin. I need to respect myself more as a writer, to write something more original and unique!

6. Iris – Lead Writer



See, the reason why I’ve been asking around about writing for games or the process of it, is because I want to know how to write better for this game. I understand that the game is a story-driven game (aka Narrative game). But, it doesn’t mean it is easy. I have (probably) all of the freedom to write a narrative within Iris to my advantage. The script (or story arc) for this world will be done within this. Will update this section once I finished it.
Also, how awesome is that character design? That’s Dox, our lead protagonist of Iris.


Final Thoughts

Things are getting more and more hectic as weeks gone by. I need to stay focus and scale down some of my ambitions within all of these projects. Better to have really really good small things, than big mediocre things, right?

Rami Ismail – 3 Sentences of Less: Perfecting Your Pitching.

Note: Please note that when I say “pitching for games”, I meant communicating your idea succinctly about a game concept, whether it is digital or non-digital, and not baseball pitching game. I know most of you understand this, but I want to make sure everyone that is reading this blog understood what I meant by that. Also, can someone explain to me the rules of baseball? Anyway, without further ado,


Pitching in Games

Even as a filmmaker or as a shreditor from a third world country, pitching is not an alienating concept to me. I pitch often. Whether it’s about a short film or a corporate video, pitching is the main way of communicating my idea or my product effectively and succinctly, to someone who is foreign to it.


What is foreign to me however, is pitching for games. Is is relatively the same as pitching for films or video productions? Turns out, in Rami Ismail’s talk in GDC Europe 2014, it is. Relatively. Check out his talk at this in link in GDC Vault:


Rami Ismail in Pitching

Well, this is totally unexpected. I didn’t realise that I would be talking about Vlambeer again. It’s great. If you want to know more about Rami Ismail and Vlambeer, watch the talk by Rami Ismail in GDC Europe 2014. Alternatively, check out my blog about “game feel” by J.W. Nijman, as I talked about them as a company and what games they have made, a little.


So, what is “pitching”? Pitching is essentially a communication format or a method where you condensed information about your ideas or ideas of your products to make sure that you can explain or present it to either a publisher, a producer, or basically any funding body (or bodies like Kickstarter, IndieGogo etc), succinctly. This is to assure that can get your ideas or the ideas behind your products, realise by them.
Or as eloquently put by Rami Ismail, it is the “value proposition” of your ideas or the ideas of your products. To make it clear for some of your who are studying Philosophy or Cultural Perspectives, this is not the be confused with “the proposition of value” or *“Aesthetics”. Though the proposition of value is also part of the value proposition you made about your ideas or the ideas or your products. For those who are not studying Philosophy or Cultural Perspectives, do not worry about it. Yet.


Bottomline, you have idea about something, and you want to be it made.  So, you go to the people that make that happen for you. But you want to explain it the simplest yet the most interesting way possible. You have to get your ideas or ideas about your product across effectively, so that people can that make that happen to you, would want to make that happen to you. And this can be done, verbally, or through slides, mood-board, writings, or even a video (example above).


Rami Ismail in Good Pitches

Rami Ismail believes that pitches are an effective communication method to get your ideas across. Good pitches, however are effective ways to get your ideas realised. in his talk, he shared couple of tips and examples of a good pitch:

1. Good pitches opens up communication

Yes, pitches are all about explaining it succinctly. Getting your first few sentences of your pitch right is really crucial. But it will also open up to many questions about it.
To Rami Ismail, it is really important that after you got their attention to their ideas, you must also be able to answer the questions that will be thrown at you afterwards. Think those first few sentences of your pitch as a key to unlock the interest to the people you are pitching to.

2. Good pitches do not waste people’s time.

Now, why is it important to pitch your ideas succinctly? Why is it that you have to condense information about your ideas or ideas of your product to the people you’re pitching to? The keyword here is “time” It is all about time.
Now imagine being in their position for a while. How many pitches that they have gone through before, or how many pitches that they will have to go through after you? Or better yet, think about the amount of information that will stick in their heads right after they’ve done with your pitch.
Picking the right words and getting rid of unnecessary information in your pitch will not only save time, but it will also makes it easier for the people that you’re pitching to digest information regarding your ideas or ideas of your products

3. Good pitches needs good delivery

Okay, so you have made structured your pitch to be as good as it can be. You know all (or almost all) of the answers that will be thrown at you during pitching session. You got all of those mood-boards done and you wear your best suit or dress and you greet everyone at the pitching session with a smile.
This is it. This is the moment you’ve been waiting. You want to impress the people that you’re pitching with your ideas. And then, you start pitching. But, nothing came out of your mouth. You voice is too soft. The people that you’re pitching to couldn’t hear what you said. One of them start looking at your watch, and the other start looking at their phone.
And you finished your pitch. They clap un-enthusiastically. They shake your hand and say “we’ll get back to you”. And that’s the last time you have seen them. How do I know this? It happen to everybody, including me. We got the idea, but we lack the “mic skill” during the pitch session.
So what do you do? Like Rami Ismail said, you practice and practice. Make your voice heard by them. Make sure they hear your idea clearly so that they can engage with your and your idea after the pitching session. Your good delivery will guarantee that.


Pitching Vae-Victis!

As some of might’ve known, I’ve created a new card game rules for a standard 52-deck card. Let’s say hypothetically I would have to pitch my card game, how would I do it? Also, some of have already known, I am very new to games development and game designs, in general. I’m not using that as an excuse for not knowing how to pitch, but more of how can I pitch knowing that I’m new to this?
From what I understand from Rami Ismail, as well someone who has been pitching for numbers of years, I pitch to them, the story or the experience that they will get, playing my card game. I used my weakness, as a strength to at least open up an extra communication between me and the people that I’m pitching to.
But, I have to be careful not to talk so much about the story, but more towards the experience players would have playing my card game. So, in a few words, how can I pitch my card game, Vae-Victis!?
“Vae-Victis is a card game about making players feel that will always have 50/50 chance of losing, and winning, throughout the whole game. It is a card game that is tapping the side of “war” which hasn’t been fully tapped before, which is Luck. It’s a card about a player, managing the odds, to their favor” 





Vae-what now?

So I made a new card game rule for standard 52-card deck. At first when I wrote it, I wanted it to be a simple card game about managing odds. Then I just kept on writing. And writing. And writing. And writing. And now, it look like this:


And here’s the second page for extra information regarding certain card types within the new rule:



…Oh. My. G-

I know, I know. I went overboard with it. In the beginning, I was struggling to come up with new rules for 52-card deck. And now, I just can’t believe that I wrote this insanely in-depth rules.


This card game rule isn’t complete yet. There are still many tweaks that I need to do with the rules. There have been many that has given suggestions and ideas regarding it. And I’m slowly working it into the rules. For now, I would like you good readers to test out this current “version” of the card game and tell me what you think of it.
Also, a post-mortem blog regarding this card game rules that I’ve made, will be posted soon. Stay tuned.


But you haven’t tell us about the meaning of “Vae-Victis!”

It’s Latin for “woe to the conquered!”. And I got from game, specifically a game character called Kain from, well, Legacy of Kain. There, I have spilled the beans. You all need to play Legacy of Kain games, seriously!

Chronicles of A Third World Storyteller – Episode 2: Writing For Games & Crunching Times.

Week 7 – Study Week


This week is study week for us. Meaning, there will be no classes on this week. And the game design design students are hard at work, especially this week. I got a chance to  really sit down and get to know and talk about their projects and what they’re doing. It’s “crunch time” for them. But it also means “crunch time” for me.
I also got a chance to sit down and talk with one of the lecturers about writing for games. Basically, in this talk, he leveled with me about the reality about writing for games. He said that writing for games is different than design narrative for the game? Writing for games are essentially doing descriptions texts, dialogues, hint and tips, and every other copywriting needed for the game.
To be completely honest, I truly know what I’m getting on. And frankly, I don’t mind doing those type of writings. Even though I got a chance to write the narrative for Iris, I don’t really expect at the time to be design narratives within the game. We all have to start somewhere. All I seek, is experiences in working with games.


Projects Updates:

1. NeonKnight – Dev Diaries/Trailer



The first recordings of their dev diaries have sound issues. Turns out, the sound were recorded through the lapel mics that I have put on them, but rather through the camera built-in mics. It sounded terrible, so unfortunately we had to re-shoot it. On this Saturday (12th November, 2016), We’re filming the 2nd part of the dev diary, followed by re-shoot of the first part of the dev diary on the following Monday (14th of November, 2016).
I’m really glad at this point that the team were kind enough to let re-shoot their interviews. They’re super open about. Other than that, I had to edit a trailer together for their game. I still have to wait for them to finish their games before I can do it that. In the mean time, I’ll just focus on their dev diaries


2. The Wisp – Corporate



So, the game developers behind The Wisp and I have come out with a cool idea in regards to their corporate. Instead of filming them behind video game backgrounds and computers, the idea is to not just film them in a different background, but also show a different side to them as game developers.
The idea is still the same; which is breaking the stigma of what people think about game developers or gamers, but the way we approached it is different. The idea that inspire me to do this is this video:
Of course I’m not copying the whole format, but I really like the approach to the interview. It’s very candid, very playful, but it has a strong message. The production of this corporate video is starting tomorrow (7th of November, 2016).


3. Incapacitor – Mockumentary-style Dev Diaries



This the other team I have finalised of ways I am approaching their dev diaries. Since the team love comedies, I decided to make a mockumentary-style of their development diary videos. The team behind Incapacitor are keen to do it, as well as acting in their mockumentary. And I’m glad that they do.
The way I’m personally approaching this is to not make them memorise a script, but rather giving them hyper-exaggeration of their characters, and the situations they’re in. With that information they will improvise it. Of course there will be written outlines (and script) that will act as a guidance, just in case if it didn’t work out as expected.
Of course, this will not purely be a mockumentary. First and foremost, they are development diaries, where they are talking about the game that they’re currently working on. But we’re mockumentary (or comedy) as the vehicle to deliver it.
The production for the first video begins this Thursday (10th of November, 2016).


4. Invader From The Deep (working title) – Commercial


What I wanted to do this week, is to keep on working on the script (link to the script here), scouting a location, and do pre-vis of it. But I couldn’t do it this week, due to other commitments. The team behind Invader From The Deep are still working on their art asset. So this upcoming week, I’m planning to do pre-vis with my cinematographer at a park, somewhere in Brisbane.


5. Hand of Rogues (working title) – Copywriter/Commercial



As I have stated on last week blog, MOBILE ARCADE, the team behind Hand of Rogues are currently in the pre-production stage of the development. They are working on the mechanics, dynamics, designs as well as the tools and resources to development the card game.
In the mean time, there is still not much writing to be done yet. So I’m on standy-mode and once the production begins, I’ll be writing all of the card descriptions and flavor texts in the game.
The project lead asked me if I can do a commercial for them. And I said yes. However it will not be in production till next trimester. More stuff for the demo reel!
Also, I would like to point to point out that Game Design students love their Discord/Slack, which is pretty cool!


6. Iris – Lead Writer


Me and the project/creative lead of the project, Jake have map out some outlines for the narrative arc within the game.  The way that we going to work together right now, is that he’ll come up with the backstories of the game’s world, characters and its enemies and I will flesh them out and design a narrative within the game. The idea is to have a Protagonist with a more active motivation and reason to go through the end of the game.
So far Dox(The Protagonist) found out that the world that he is (Vae) is going to end. The robots (no name for them yet) are currently building a huge ark-like ship to ship all of the living creatures in this planet (except for them and humans) to another planet. His motivation right now, is to make sure his robot dog (Blind) is in that Ark-like ship. How is going to get there, by travelling through The Palatium (the capital city of Vae) and fight robots that are stopping him to meet with the leader of the robots, Omnes Videntes.
As of now, I’m mind-mapping the story arc to get a clear vision of how the story in the game would flow. The rough draft of the story will be done within next week.


Final Thoughts

Wow. It’s going to be a pretty busy week for me. And it’s going to get busier by the week. I can do this. I’ve been through busier projects than this. Just need a lot of coffee this week.

Chronicles of A Third World Storyteller – Episode 1: Into The World of Video Games.

Major Project Pitch

This week (specifically last Monday), I pitched a project that I am personally want to work on as my Major Project (for my final trimester), to my facilitator (Stephen Lance) and to the rest of the class.
Initially I was thinking about pitching a short film idea that I’m been stewing for a while. It’s about an all-female pro-wrestling group called “The Diving Angels”, and they are planning to pull a major heist in a bank in order to save their beloved trainer who is dying from an incurable sickness. The idea is that, they want acquire a lot of money (from the bank), to purchase something from the black market; a magical ring from a lost city that is said to cure any sort of disease and sickness.
It’s pretty absurd, I know. But I have faith in it.  It was fresh and somewhat unique. I have a good film crew behind me, and I have a list of actors (who became close friends with me) that I would like them to be in. All is well.
That is, till something just clicked in me; I’m on my 2nd last trimester, I love video games, and I haven’t done any collaboration work whatsoever, with game students in my institute.
So, I dropped the aforementioned short film idea that I had on the side, and I decided to pitch something else. Something that has never been done before by the film students in my course. And that is, a demo reel and a portfolio showcasing my collaborations with game design students in their projects as not just a filmmaker, but as a writer and a storyteller.
More details about my projects and my plan can found in this link. Without further ado:


Projects I’ve participated in:

1. NeonKnight



NeonKnight is a 2D action platfomer sets in medieval science fiction world. You, the player is one of the older generations of Neonknight. And you’re destroying all of the newer NeonKnights, because you can. It’s a fast-paced action game, where you’ll be slashing and dashing your way through the enemies. Think a “Super Mario” game, but with high-speed sword actions.

Role in the Project: “Development Diary” Videos(Three Parts)

I’ll be producing, directing and editing three development diaries videos of the game developers behind the game. In each of those videos, they’ll be talking about different aspects of their game, which will be “Design”, “Combat” and the “Overall Development”.


I have  finished recording their first “Design” development diary video yesterday (31st October 2016). The screenshots below are the results of that. Working the developers behind NeonKnight was fantastic. They’re very relax and calm during the interview whilst being recorded. No problem there, at all.

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What is a problem however, is the lack of crew during this production. Two of the people that were supposed to help me with filming the dev diary, cancelled on helping me at the very last minute. So I had to do everything on own. As a result of that, it has cost me 30 points due to returning the gear late. You live, and you learn.
The world of NeonKnight has a lot of different bold, neon-ish colors that smash with each other, so I tried my best to capture the essence of their game in my lighting setups. I also set up different frame and lighting for each member of the development group, just to keep it interesting. One of the footage had to re-colored to balance it out with the rest unfortunately, due to time constraint.
At the end of the day, I’m glad that I got great footage in the can. It is now in the editing process at the moment. Won’t probably take too long to edit it, and show them the rough cut. This dev diary will be completed before the end of my current semester.


2. The Wisp



The Wisp is a procedural-generated (levels that ) 2D stealth action game. In this game, you’ll be playing as an ethereal entity that is separated from its physical body. You are now on mission to find it. You must navigate through the levels by sneaking around the enemies, or use your unique ability to possess the enemies and use their weapons back at them. “The best weapon against an enemy, is another enemy”.

Role in the Project: Corporate Video

I’ll be producing, directing and editing a simple corporate video about the game, as well as the people behind it. The idea that I’ve agreed with The Wisp developers is to put “human face” on the people behind the game, as well as breaking the stigma or stereotype of game developers.
Ashley, the project lead behind the game, feels this is necessary for the team, since games development is a small circle. So, they need portray themselves as game developers that “play” well with other. And videos about themselves and the game they’re working on, might just do the trick.


This project is still in its early pre-production. They’re trying to find time between their projects to let me film them throughout the project. So far, the idea is to have a slice-of-life style of each member of this project, talking about themselves, their backgrounds as well as their games. I’m currently working on the outline and a rough AV script of their corporate video at the moment. Possibly, the corporate video will be completed before the end of my current trimester.


3. Incapacitor



Incapacitor is a procedural-generated first-person shooter sets in dystopian retro futuristic world. In this world,  all source of energy have been harnessed and redirected to the tower in the middle of this world main capital. This makes the human ceast to exist, except you, The Hero And you want revenge. So you go to tower and start blasting away all of the enemies, level by level.

Roles in the Project: Visual Consultant / Development Diary Videos

Like NeonKnight, I’ll be producing development diary videos of this game. Team [REDACTED], the game developers behind the Incapacitor still thinking of ways they want to it be filmed. Since the previous dev diary emphasis of neon-ish, bold colors style of lighting, my idea is to do something different than that. Something probably more comedic, since the team behind it enjoy element of comedies in their work.
Apart from that, I’m also the visual consultant in their game. I’ll be helping the game developers with the look and style of the Incapacitor. So far, they’re very keen on having their game to have retro-futuristic 80s, look.The reason behind the look is to cater the game to the gamer who grow up in the 80s, as well as young gamers who are into certain stylised 80s-inspired aesthetic. Possibly, the dev diaries will be completed before the end of my current trimester.


DEV DIARIES – So far, they’ve still thinking of ways and tones they want to have for their dev diaries. I am thinking of including comedic elements in their games, since the team behind it loves comedies in their works.
VISUAL CONSULTANT – Since the game quite in its early development stage, there are still not much to be done for me. But the development will pick up its pace pretty soon, and I can be of a service to them.


4. Invader From The Deep (working title)



Invaders From The Deep is a reversed-tower defense. “tower defense” games are basically games that involved you protecting either your base or a target by building tower alongside the path of the enemies (aka “creeps”) , who are coming to destroy you said base and target. In Invader From The Deep, you’ll controlling the creeps instead.

Roles in the Project: Commercial

For this game, I’ll be doing a 30 seconds commercial. The idea is to hyper-exaggerate  a daily or a life activity by implementing the game mechanics or elements, within the close-to-reality “story world” of the commercial. A best example of such commericial would be many Japanese game commercials such as Segata Sanshiro commercial series for Sega Saturn, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 64 and the one I’ll be directly taking reference from, Devil May Cry for Sony Playstation 2:
All of these game commercials are pretty old. So, i want to bring back the same spirit they all have, for Invader From The Deep.


I’ve already shown the script (link to the script here), to the developers of Invader From The Deep and they liked it. But I can’t get it fully locked-in since they’re still locking down the creeps art as well the towers that will be in the game. What I’m doing while I’m waiting for that, is to keep on working on the script, scouting a location, and keep doing pre-vis of it on my spare time. This commercial will be completed before the end of my current trimester.


5. Hand of Rogues (working title)



Hand of Rogues is a procedural-generated, dungeon crawling, turn-based card-collecting game. This means, you only have one life, to play through the whole game. And if you die at any point of the game, you lose everything, and have to start all over again. Your only objectives in the game are to collect the cards that will “power” you up, as you traverse down through the never-ending dungeon. 

Roles in the Project: Copywriter

For Hand of Rogues, I’ll writing description, as well as the flavor texts of all of the cards in the game. There will roughly 100 cards to be written. The style of writing will be in tongue-in-cheek, something that is similar to another non-digital dedicated card deck game, called Munchkin (examples below of the writings on the cards).



MOBILE ARCADE, the team behind Hand of Rogues are currently in the pre-production stage of the development. They are working on the mechanics, dynamics, designs as well as the tools and resources to development the card game. There is still not much writing to be done yet. Although I’ve spoken to the team and they said that the software I’ll be to do the writings will be a any spreadsheet sofware e.g. Google Spreadsheet, Microsoft Excel etc.


6. Iris



(Note: please take this description with a grain of salt. The story as well as the gameplay isn’t finalised yet.)
 is a story-driven, turn-based, role-playing video game (or RPG) that is set in a dystopian, Orwellian world (basically  a world where the humans are under constant 24 hour surveillance). The robots called The Palatiels  rule the world, and human were driven out of their own capital city, called the Palatium. Humans now reside in the slums area, called Scrapyard and monitored 24 hours by the robots. You the player, are from the Scrapyard. You cared about nothing else but yourself and your robot dog. That is, until your dog ran away. You believed that your dog went to the Palatiem, and that is where your journey begins. 

Role in the Project: Lead and Dialogue Writer

For this game, I’ll be writing the story of the game, as well as the dialogues in it. I didn’t originally write the story. However Jake, would like me to flesh the story out with him, as a person coming from the storytelling mediums. I’ll be working closely with the team behind this game, to shape the world and the narrative arc of IRIS. This will be a very new experience for since, as a writer. However, I am taking the advantage of the game’s linear storytelling and work it to my writing process.


Sclera, the team behind Iris are still working of the game mechanics and dynamics of the game. They have certain ideas that will like to implement within the game e.g. the dog character being a support character in the game. So I have to take that into account when I’m fleshing out the story. Jake, also have a lot of backstories of the game, so I’m looking into that together with him tomorrow (2nd November, 2016). I’ll be honest, I’m pretty excited for this.


Final Thoughts

Yeah, so that’s pretty much it. I have a lot of projects I’ve involved and I think I’m pretty set in this current trimester. It will be a pretty tiring trimester, no doubt. But as usual, I’ll give 110 percent to all of them. Because like Nietzsche said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

A Look At: “It Is As If You Were Playing Chess” and “Bennet Foddy’s Speed Chess”

Chess; The “Off-White Painted Wall” of Games.

Close your eyes and try to make a list of 5 oldest and most classic games of all time. Chances are “chess” will be in that list. Chess is so ubiquitous that I don’t even remember learning how to play it when I was kid, I just know how to play it. Chess is so ubiquitous that, it’s the only game I can play with my “Baby Boomer” dad and my “Lucky Few” grandpa without them feeling like I’ve wasted their time. Chess is just, so ubiquitous. It’s in paintings, designs, posters, movies, cartoons etc. And of course, it’s even in video games.
Had to speed it up because the animation took forever to happen. Now, tis but a scratch of your time to watch this whole GIF. Who remembers playing this game? – “Battle Chess”, Interplay (1988)
With its popularity, comes along its many unique and interesting variants. Two of its interesting variants that I want to talk about are “It is as if you were playing chess” by Pippin Barr and “Bennet Foddy’s Speed Chess” by Bennet Foddy. Why do I want to talk about them? Because you have to talk about chess sooner or later, if you’re talking about games, right?


Pippin Barr’s “It is as if you were playing chess”

This particular “variant” of a chess game might bend the rule a little of what  “a variant of a chess game” is. What if someone, specifically a game designer, took a concept of “what is chess?” as well as “what is game?” “challenge” it, in a postmodern way? The answer will be this game. As a person who enjoys any form or idea of ‘deconstruction'( that, or I just really like Monty Python-esque stuff), “It Is As If You Were Playing Chess” is a game that I can’t stop smirking while playing it. It’s not so much about the game or what the game wants me to do, but the “novelties” it posited into the game itself.
They say a chess player that moves first has 52 to 56 percent of chance of winning. I feel lucky. – “It Is As If You Were Playing Chess”, Pippin Bar (August, 2016) 
The rules of the game is simple; You drag a white circle shape into the designated position it is pointing at(as instructed to you in the game), followed by a series of commands that is asking to “look here”at designated area it has marked with ‘X’. And, that’s it. Rinse and repeat. No ‘Kings’ nor ‘Queens’ nor  ‘Rooks’ nor ‘Castles’. Not even ‘Pawns” nor the checkerboard itself. None of that familiar chess-y stuff that you can find in chess. Just a white circle, a directional arrow and a dark grey confined “space”, with instructions.
Besides the instructions, there are “flavor” texts that pops in every now and then that “suggest” you to perform certain actions in “real life”. Those texts are amusing to read and to do as it has suggested, but it doesn’t have any sort of “consequences” in the game nor in real life (thankfully) if you don’t follow it.
What “It Is As If You Were Playing Chess” isn’t, it isn’t a “chess game”. What “It Is As If You Were Playing Chess” is, it is “a game about playing chess”. The description about the game by the creator, says it all:
“You’ve always wanted to be a chess master! But you aren’t one! Are you! Now you can at least look like one! Pretend you’re playing chess! Make moves! Act like you feel things! Smirk! Frown! Weep! Chess!”Pippin Barr
Sidenote: “It Is As If You Were Playing Chess” is a part of a larger project by Pippin Bar called “It is as if you are playing a videogame”. Or it once was? It’s pretty crazy. But the creator of this game is a madman himself. Go to this link if you want to find out more about it and follow his maddening journey. It’s pretty entertaining to say the least:


Bennet Foddy’s “Bennet Foddy’s Speed Chess” 

This “chess game variant”, is a chess game variant I wish that I have sixteen players to play and get confused with. Or at least two players to play and get confused with. I tried to get it to run with all my controllers, but I couldn’t because they game kept putting “the players” on one side and not the other. So, I couldn’t initiate the game. So, take what I said about the game as a person who “observed” from afar.
I’m sorry for not being able to play. I promise to update this part of the blog once I get the chance to play it, typical boy scout’s honour.
“Bennet Foddy’s Speed Chess” by Bennet Foddy is a chess game made by a person who respects chess as a game, but hates playing it. It is a chess game that is designed to be “played first and understand the rules later”. It is a chess game that is designed to challenge the conventions that chess veterans are familiar with. It’s no longer about the slow, methodical and logical planning. It’s all about the speed, reflex and anticipations. Or at least that is what I’ve found in my research.
It’s a game in service of chaos. If you like chess, you’ll probably hate this game.” – Bennet Foddy on “Bennet Foddy’s Speed Chess” at  “GDC’2014’s Experimental Gameplay Worshop”.
Think about the most important rules of traditional chess game. Chances are you will think of this three rules:



  1. It’s a two-player only game.
  2. It’s a turn-based game.
  3. You can’t eat the King. You can only “check” or “checkmate” the King.
Now cross all three of these rules out:



  1. It’s a two-player only game.
  2. It’s a turn-based game.
  3. You can’t eat the King. You can only “check” or “checkmate” the King to win the game.
And there you have it. “Bennet Foddy’s Speed Chess”.



  1. It’s a two-player only game. It’s a 2-16 players game.
  2. It’s a turn-based game. It’s a real-time game.
  3. You can’t eat the King. You can only “check” or “checkmate” the King. You eat the king to win the game.
And what you will have a chaotic, confusing, fast-paced, too-many-cooks-type-of chess game:
In a way, it feel like symbolised hypothesis of political power throughout the world, if they decided to go to World War 3. Okay, I’m looking at this game, way too much . – “Bennet Foddy’s Speed Chess”, Bennet Foddy (2014)


Non-digitized version of these chess game variants?

Okay, so we know and see many successful video games being brought “out” to real world as board games like “X-COM” board game or “The Witcher Adventure Game” by “Fantasy Flight”. Question is, can “It is as if you were playing chess” and “Bennet Foddy’s Speed Chess” exists outside the realm of the digital world?
It’s a “yes” and “no” for me. Hear me out.
Pushing all of the philosophical hoo-haa about what is “real” and what is”fantasy, I said “Yes”, because literally, there’s nothing for stopping these games to exist in a more “tangible” world (unless the creators do not intent for their respective games to be so).
But I said “No” because  can it be played the same way. No. In fact no matter how hard you tried for it be, it can’t. At least at this moment. Or we live in a wizardy world like “Harry Potter”. Let’s take a look of “Bennet Foddy’s Speed Chess” and compare it with a standard high-level “speed chess game:


Some of you already understood what I meant by this, But pay close attention to the real life “speed chess”. Pieces falling all over the place. “Eating” is not as fast as in the game. And you pause… more… when… you… play… it… real… life. And this is just a two-player game. Imagine sixteen people playing it. These are just some of examples of why “Bennet Foddy’s Speed Chess” can exist in “real” world, but can’t be played to the way its original creator intended. That certain “humanistic” factor is what making it a “mess” to play in real life.
Sidenote: “Super Bunnhop” tackled this very same issue as well, but with a different game called “Gwent”. I am highly recommending you to watch it:
Well, that’s it yeah? This game will forever stuck in the digital word? Well, not really. When I said “yes”, I also meant it can played differently and still keep the “essence” of those games. I mean, take a look at “X-COM” board game or “The Witcher Adventure Game”. To huge a degree, it plays different different from its original sources. But it’s still an X-COM game. It is still a Witcher game. The “essence” of each respective game is still there.
“Do I want to play “It is as if you were playing chess” and “Bennet Foddy’s Speed Chess” in real life?” Yes. “Do I want to play it the same way as its digital counterpart?” Probably not. But who knows, I’m open to be wrong and being proven wrong. And the virtual reality is slowly creeping into our lives. And that would probably make games like these two, hell of a lot more potent to play, in “real” life.



2. “It is as if you were playing chess.” –
3. “New (old) Project: It is as if you were playing chess” – Pippin Barr.
4. “New Project: It is as if you were playing a videogame” – Pippin Barr.
5. It is as if you were playing chess: is it a game?” – Pippin Barr.
6. “Pippin Barr press kit” –
8. “Chess was once treated as the video game of the 1800s” – James Plafke, GEEK
1. “‘QWOP’ Creator Bennett Foddy Shows Us His Take on Speed Chess” – Kotaku
2. “Bennett Foddy’s Speed Chess” – Brandon Boyer
3. “Short Vs. Kasparov – Speed Chess Challenge Final Game” – Arkham Noir
4. “Bennett Foddy’s Speed Chess: EGW 2014” – GDC
5. “Magnus Carlsen playing a one minute game against Hans Bohm” – utuub2007
6. “Gwent IRL” – Super Bunnyhop