Joining a team – experiencing the world of game writing

Have you ever wanted to join a writing team, be it for a game, a roleplay or to write a book? Our junior writer Rhyss shares his experience joining our small team, and what it is like joining an indie team as we create an entire world for the player to explore.

Writers - Meraki Games

Hello there. My name is Rhyss. I am the Junior Writer for Meraki Games and one of the newer people to the team. It has been a really weird experience for me as I’ve never worked with a game company before and I have actually never met the people I work with in real life. I’ve not been a writer for the team very long, only a few months really, but they’ve been really welcoming to me even with my family problems and time constraints with my real work. They even changed the time and date of our Writing Team meetings just to accommodate me, and helped me improve my writing skill so I can work on and improve my own projects.

Now that introductions are out of the the way my time here has been really pleasant. Working for Meraki has been a real joy. To learn from a much more experienced writer like Jenni it is almost an honour to see her work. She was the one that helped me improve the writing that got me into the job at Meraki. To get into the position I showed a creative writing post for a character named Luke Vermillion, who doesn’t exist in Pyrrhic Victory. This was used in a forum for a LARP I frequent when we’re not playing. The improvement I gained from Jenni’s help was startling. She taught me things that I haven’t noticed a lot before. I am a self taught writer as I was not taught creative writing other than many years ago at school. She really made me feel welcome and made me feel like I had a real skill for writing creatively even if I was a bit rough around the edges.

My first real project was one of Jenni’s, which was one of the parts for Fire Dance. I was only there to point out small mistakes and suggest ideas. This was my first real taste of working with Jenni. She was considerate to any small ideas and edits I may have noticed. This also taught me about some websites I should use when going into my own writing and handling simple grammar and spelling mistakes that could have been easily missed (some of which were just me being English and seeing the American spelling). It also gave me the first taste of the world that I was going to start help creating.

The people I talk to about my writing are Jenni and Kyle via a Skype conversation. They are the ones that help and give me ideas while also telling me what to write. Jenni makes sure I have my writing up to the best standard it can be. Writing my own story was going to be my biggest challenge for this world and after a few months I got the chance to finally write my own.

I was given a list to choose from. The story ideas I was given varied from battles, parables and a few other options. I was told about a crucial battle in the Kosekyan timeline. This was the battle that made the people of Kosekya change their ways and from following the god Lunale to the goddess Aurora (the story will be revealed later). What actually drew me to it is was a part where a bunch of rebels attack and overthrow the capital in a bloody battle. This is mostly because I have wide experience with this concept, except in a completely different genre.

The biggest challenge for me was the genre gap. As a writer for occult, futuristic, and horror themed stories writing a fantasy story was not completely new. This was a bit of a challenge as I had to write for a more mature audience than I was used to. I was given some tips by Jenni and Kyle to make sure I plan ahead. This meant creating a plan to my story and that’s where my three parts came into fruition. This was completely different to how I write. I normally write continuously when the ideas come to my head. This, however, did lead to problems with little to no paragraphing and run on sentences. I was also told roughly how many words I have to write per part and how many parts should be included with some main pointers for the story.

I was given a month to finish three parts of the story. That was when the full editing process came into effect allowing both Jenni and Kyle to comment on what should be edited first. I saw the comments and edited to what was obvious with continuity and normal errors everywhere. With the edited piece I was now able to work with Jenni to make sure that grammar and spelling were correct. It’s now in its final stages of editing and almost ready to be posted.

Another part of working with them is the writing meetings. These meetings are normally on a Sunday morning for me at 1:00 am. This was changed as I never have any shifts that are overnight which allows me to juggle the two jobs. The meetings can vary from helping each other write stories, including the editing, from seeing concept art and helping decide on what designs would be perfect, giving ideas for countries, names, and places, plus a lot more wide variety of writing that needs to be done within the game. This is predominantly frequented by Kyle, Jenni, and I. I was struggling at first trying to catch up with all the information but asking them gave me enough information to help even a little. I want to make sure I’m as helpful as possible as they’ve been to me.

That’s mostly about it. In retrospect, I would have regretted it if I didn’t take this chance working for Meraki games. I was honestly scared because everyone else was trained in making games in some kind of way or had been doing it for a while. I’m learning quickly even if I still make a lot of silly mistakes due to my writing style (the irony is that there were probably a lot of mistakes in this blog before they were edited out). They have been very welcoming. They’re very hospitable people and welcome everyone to the team even if they’re inexperienced. I am excited to show you my work soon and I hope you enjoy them just as much as Jenni’s.

Nation Creation in Pyrrhic Victory

Have you ever daydreamed about your own imaginary country? Those of us at Meraki Games have or else we wouldn’t be in the business we’re in! What kind of terrain would each country have, who would live there, what kind of government would rule? We had to answer these questions plus many more we’d never before imagined in the creation of our world of Zevestok for Pyrrhic Victory.

We knew what kind of game PV would be but before we could start the artwork or programming we had to develop all the details of the world. Kyle tasked each of us on the writing team to create two of our own countries. We had to think of the physical aspects like geography and climate. Next, we explored the people and their culture. We met numerous times over the last several months to reveal and discuss our new countries with each other as well as to fill the many holes. Finally, we had to come up with names for everything. That was probably the hardest task of them all!

We used a bit of experience with our own countries, to start, in helping to decide what the world would look like. Take Rupani for example. This was one my babies. I live in south-central United States so using that as an example was easy. Rupani is a diverse landmass ranging from deadly swamps to highly fertile plains, and finally, north to the colder territory of Ngahn Laahng. The mountains of Yao Feng Divide on the Eastern border of the country closely resemble the Rockies but with an Alps flair. This basically means they’re roughly the same altitude as the Rockies but match the Alps when it comes to the huge amounts of ice and snow.

One of the biggest questions was, obviously, what kind of people would live in each country? I imagined Rupani housing a small but sturdy and fierce race of people who respect their ancestors so much it’s as if they never died. As the running pattern here, and following the typical advice of start with what you know, I decided that each citizen would serve mandatory military service for a time. There is a bit of a twist though. When I say each citizen I mean both men and women. When it comes to government the idea of a king and queen with a democratic election process is fascinating. Granted, King would be title only whether a man or woman is elected. Yes, that means his or her spouse would be called Queen.

Once we decided on the basics of each country the Writing Team met each week for many, many months to discuss them with each other. The main reason was to hash out any missing details or fill holes that the country creator couldn’t see. And there were so many holes, which is why it took so many months to finalize the world! It did get frustrating at times, but I can honestly say that I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished through that hard work and look forward to releasing more World Tours with our trusty guide Tsai Shan, though his expertise may not be as profound in Slahor or Wajanderu. We shall soon see.

As you may have noticed most of our names for Rupani have a Cantonese background. Ahn Wuh, for example, translates to Eye Lake. Granted this may not be grammatically correct, for those of you who actually speak the language, but we took a bit of artistic license there. The same goes with Beih’go Bao. It indirectly translates to Nose Fort because, well, that peninsula looks a little like a nose. We had a bit of fun with that one. That is basically the theme throughout our naming process. Each country has a base language we modelled their speech after. We used English to name everything and artistically translated into our choice dialect. Not only did we have fun naming things, but it also helped us learn a few words here and there in different languages.

When we first started creating Zevestok I thought it would be the easiest part of creating Pyrrhic Victory. Was I wrong or what! It has been the lengthiest part of the game development to date, but the details of what we’ve created is fairly epic.

Map of Rupani - Pyrrhic Victory - Meraki Games