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Worthless - A game narrative?

Embassy of Time


Foreword (specifically for  GameDev.net)

by the author, Henry Stone.


A long time ago, I fell into one of those talks with a girl at my dorm back then. We had been watching a movie in the common room and were debating the kind of movies getting made (although not entirely relevant, this was before the superhero boom really caught on, so the notion of popular movies was a bit more varied). At some point, she remarked that "nobody makes real time travel movies". That caught my attention, and I asked what she meant. She explained that every TT (time travel) movie was just someone going to another time, and the story was about what happened there, not about time travel as such. Even shows like Dr Who skip the questions of what TT would really do to civilizations, how it would change and affect life. TT movies are the equivalent of space scifi just skipping everything in space and jumping between "one kind of environment" planets, like jungle planets, ice planets, post apocalyptic planets, or even the dreaded "planet of hats" syndrome (google it, pretty interesting stuff!).

It's now about two decades later. For nearly twenty years, that thought has tormented me. I started Embassy of Time when ideas began to really come from that, ideas I could use for something. But with Real Life (tm) getting in the way, it took a long time for me to get something finished. Little over a year ago, I wrote a very simple story about time travelers (TTs) recruiting for a time war across time and space. It was simplistic and childishly written, but it was a seed, and I have recently finished the second version, very different and far less simplistic. It is still a seed to the real story, but I feel I am getting close!

So why post this on a game development website? Because what has become an obsession of mine, after all the math of object colissions and procedural generation became less arcane to me, is game narrative. More precisely, game (and other) META-narrative, the stories that exist beyond the stories inside games. I am fascinated by the notion of a story that, just by existing, paves the way for a myriad other stories to be made. Stories to build games around. Stories to build games that tell one larger story, across different genres and styles. Imagine if underneath the story in Mass Effect, there was a deeper story that tied it to an equally deeper story hidden in Skyrim, and stories behind the stories of Uncharted, Deus Ex, Dead Space and even LA Noire! A story behind the stories, from which future stories could spring, be it in games, books, comics, maybe even movies.

I like to think of my attempt at this to one day become the beginning of such a deeper story, one that is not just for me alone, but that others can build from. I intend what I write to be free (make money writing genre fiction? Welcome to the meat grinder, pal...), and I hope to use it to seed ideas. Let me know what you think!

All chapters:

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Chapter 62

Chapter 63

1 Comment

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A quick note: The title is "Worthless". It used to be "Sh*thole", inspired by Donald Trump's remark about certain countries, but while I will keep the slightly crass language of the dialog (warning: Swearing!), I thought the title might be a bit much. This is the second draft, the third is set to officially carry the title "Worthless", anyway, so...

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