July 14, 2017
I’ve been living with the beginning of the Robyn HUD computer game for some time now as I’ve been putting into place the different systems needed to play the game. That means I’ve seen the intro of the game a fair number of times. It’s always best to let a story breathe a bit before showing it to other people. Gives you a chance to see what’s missing, what’s repeated, and what really isn’t needed. Several things fell into this last category that prompted me to go back to the intro this week and revise it to second draft status.
First, I realized there was a lot of unneeded exposition in the intro of the game. The first draft intro did a lot of setting up of the band of thieves that you go to work and their mission statement. It occurred to me that almost all of this information could be dropped from the beginning of the game and laced into the rest of the game in bits and pieces that the player could have an active role in discovering rather than just having it shoved in their face.
Second, the first draft introduced the character of Kay, who is the band’s lawyer, useful for bailing band members out when they get into trouble with the cops. Depending on choices the player makes early in the game, Kay may or may not play a pivotal role in later stages of the game. However, in the first draft she really only appeared for one scene early in the game before disappearing for a while.
Interestingly, a friend of mine whose name is also Kay had once given me the feedback on a prose story I wrote that I had introduced too many characters too early, making it hard to keep track of who was important and who wasn’t. I’ve tried to keep that in mind ever since and to introduce characters into a story gradually. In looking at the story for Robyn HUD it became apparent that by rewriting a couple of lines of dialog from other characters that I could dispense with the Kay character in the intro.
With the second draft I also took the opportunity to tighten up some of the existing dialog and to remove a few lines that I was never satisfied with. I doubt the second draft will be the final revision to the game’s intro but, for the moment at least, I’m much more pleased with how it plays now than the first draft.
When I revised the intro, I did so using the Twine system that I’d written the first draft in, rather than do it directly in the game scripts. The benefit to you, faithful reader, is that means I can post the second draft of the intro for you to play through if you’re so inclined.
At the same time, the first draft is also still available for comparison.