Fate Core: Or, How To Adore Your Editor And Weaponize Memory

It’s been quiet so far on the home front here at my blog. And that’s probably because it got mighty busy around the holiday season. Graduate school final projects are no joke and then the holidays hit, which included my birthday and New Years as it does every year. In between all of that, of course, I’ve been tackling the amazing project I’ve been doing for Fate Core – my setting in psychological horror, No Exit.

The process of creating No Exit has been a learning curve and an eye-opening process for me. Not only am I organizing a lot of thoughts about the basics of psychological horror, I’ve been learning quite a lot about how much to show an audience in a gaming book. Coming from a fiction and screen writing background, writing for games is a whole new ballgame that requires a different way of thinking. Thankfully I’ve got a great editor, John Adamus, mentoring me through the process. His comments on my first draft made me cringe, then laugh, then cringe again. Then crack up a heck of a lot in retrospect. A handy tip: whenever your editor hands you a note, always consider it carefully and decide whether you agree or not before you start making changes. Unless it’s about grammar or layout, in which case you’re probably terribly wrong and should fix it immediately.

My favorite part of creating No Exit so far has been messing with the mechanics. I’ve enjoyed finding out the best way to fight an environment in a game and what would be the best way to do things like, oh, attack an apartment building. What fascinated me was the idea that you could do these things with Fate Core easily – need a new mechanic? Hack in there and create what was needed. Don’t have a skill that exactly fits what you need? Make it work yourself. The sky really is the limit. I’ve had a lovely time finding a way to turn people’s memories into weapons and creating a mechanic for it.

Speaking of new things I’m excited to see – the other stretch goal settings and scenarios for Fate Core have me excited to give them a chance. I really want to play White Picket Witches by Filamena Young and Camelot Trigger by Rob Wieland because small town witches and futuristic Camelot just sounds like fun. And it only goes to show what you can do with Fate Core – which, as far as I can tell, is pretty much anything.

I’ve also been delving into some other inspirations for No Exit recently. Here’s some things I’ve been listening to and watching to keep me in the mindset of this setting:

Songs:

“Amen” by Leonard Cohen, “Seven Exodus” by Tub Ring, “No Light” by Florence + The Machine

Television:

“Lost”, “Twin Peaks”

Movies:

“Identity”, “Jacob’s Ladder”

Today I hope to complete draft two and send it on it’s way. A change of scene is hard when you’re trying to write scary and you’re sitting in the bright sunny SoCal sun!

7 Comments

  1. I’m pretty stoked about this; looking forward to making some players squirm uncomfortably. Do you know if you’re likely to put out an early preview PDF for backers?

      1. Well, my question got answered. Reading through the preview draft now — looks exciting! One thing, though: some of the lines in the file are cut off at the end. See for example page 5; I’m guessing it’s just a PDF conversion issue. Any chance of an updated file? Pretty please?

      2. Never mind about the cut-off lines BTW. Fred pointed out that it was only in a couple of places, and posted the clipped text. I’m looking forward to trying this out!

  2. Hello Shoshana! I can’t believe I found your blog and find it super inspiring (for ladies in the gaming industry! we are way too underrepresented). I just applied to the MFA program for 2013 but still early to know whether I got in or not. Nonetheless, I am so glad to be able to read about your experiences at the program! Do you actually do a lot of coding? is it really project heavy? haha, well I don’t mean to bombard questions but it’s great to see another lady in this industry! we must perservere!!

    1. Hey, glad you found my blog! I’m excited to hear you applied for the MFA program – I’m just gearing up for the second semester in like a week and a half, and can’t wait to hear about the folks who are going to be joining us for next year. I’ll say for my experience as someone who came in with zero coding experience there was a bunch of coding and we work on a lot of digital projects, so if you can get a jump on prepping yourself to be familiar with things like Unity and GameMaker (more Unity than anything else) and if you could pick up some Processing language, it will help you out. There are bunches of projects for each class — at least there were for my first semester, but who knows how the format might change? All in all, it’s challenging but very well worth the work. I hope that you get in and that we’ll see one another at the program!

      1. Hey Shoshana, that’s awesome! It seems like a lot of work but learning everything about game development is also really exciting. Thanks so much for the tips about Unity and GameMaker~ I’ve looked into them and going to try fiddling around with it. Unity seems a lot UI unfriendly than gamemaker but I haven’t delved into them enough to tell yet. It seems like a lot of meaty projects to put into your portfolio, which is exactly what’s needed and really great for the students. Do you mind telling me what the schedule is like? Are you in the studio all day until evening working on game design? Or outside of classes with the teams? Or is that solo homework time? Sorry again about the bombardment of questions!

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