A bit of a short one from me today as I try and explain to the best of my abilities how I go about writing fluff for the game First Law: Override.
Many of you may have noticed that for this game every single race including the Humans, Hydan & Kratel all have quite literally centuries of fluff behind them telling their stories that led them to be where they are now.
As my friend Tom so eloquently put it in a recent discussion with me, I look at things from a top down perspective; we look to introduce a new gang or race and in the space of 1-2 emails I provide him and you my readership with timelines and events that span generations while also writing short stories showcasing individuals living within the modern setting of the game.
How do I do this? What techniques and tricks do I employ to bring to you an entire culture of information that is (hopefully) both engaging but also plausible?
Honestly; I couldn't tell you.
My style of writing is to let a story tell itself.
Now I know how this may sound, after all every story that comes from my head must have originated from me, but I would be lying if I said I felt that I had an active hand in the telling of these stories. Instead I start off the story and allow it to play out.
There are virtually no revisions in fluff, instead I just open my brain and free associate onto paper. Because of this we have some stories and events which are probably nothing shy of total pants, other times (I would hope) absolute gems!
So I can not explain how these translate from my unconscious thought into written word. What I can do however is try to put down points that you may find in a 3rd parties' interpretation of my writing.
For starters; I'm an avid history buff. One of my favourite studies at school was history - covering the rise and fall of the Nazi party, Communist Russia, the British Empire and Mussolini's Fascist Party.
I am also an over-analyser. I love to look at past and present events and try and see how they came to be.
The closest thing I have to a religion is what can only be described as Pseudo Chaos Theory and how every action that takes place in our world and beyond has both minor and major effects.
I also have an educational background in Psychology and one of my favourite parts of that is looking at the behaviour of people and how easy it is for normal people to turn to extremes due to differing environmental factors.
Then there is my Sci Fi background. When other people my age were being raised on Star Wars & Buck Rodgers, I was introduced to Aliens & Predator which created an almost obsession based love for the franchise.
All of this put together creates what I can only assume is a background influence that drives me to tell stories merging each and every factor together until we have the (still in development) story of First Law: Override.
I'm sure you will already have seen certain similarities between my writings and that of other franchises as well as classic Sci-fi tropes:
The Honos Mining Corporation (HMC) being heavily influenced by Weyland Yutani from Aliens.
The UEF being the USCM and other similar military based groups.
The Hydan with both 'space elf' tropes combined with aspects of the Babylon 5 Mimbari.
The Kratel who have traits from the Predator Yautja and Native Human Tribes.
The Pha'Nur being a combination of Alien, Zerg and Locust (the bug).
The AI Network being Skynet crossed with Shodan & GLaDOS.
But these are all unconscious inspirations where somewhere in the reptile part of my brain they were merged together in an almost primal soup to create the product you read about today.
For events I largely look to Human history. How did we act in certain circumstances, and if those circumstances were different how might we act instead?
They say that if you do not learn from History then you are destined to repeat it. Certain things are just part of Human nature, but how much of Human nature is truly Human? If you had an alien race that was subject to a rise of technological bursts like we had with the industrial revolution of the 1800s or even now with the continuous stream of new tech being pumped out of Silicon Valley and Asian countries, would they react the same way? Is the combined embracing of new advantageous technology all the while holding a deep seated, almost Jungian fear of it and the subliminal threat it poses to the status quo, is this something distinctly Human or just a 'natural' reaction shared by all advanced beings?
Who is good and who is bad? Are the Accord good and the Reavers bad?
If you spoke to the Accord they would tell you that they are good; that they play as peacekeepers on a primitive world where crime syndicates and terrorists try to create upheaval and chaos to put themselves on top.
Speak to the Reavers and they will tell you of the crimes committed by the Accord on it's own people, of their use of political correctness to establish civilisations devoid of homeless and unemployed by simply sending them away to ghettos where they will be out of sight and mind.
Compare this to our own history; of civil rights movements, of conquerors and invaders, of one country demanding that others did what it said because it inherently believed that it was right, and when there was any doubt relying on 'might makes right'.
As a people we are driven by conflict and competition and it stands to reason that in a setting with multiple advanced races, they would all be driven in one way or another by those same motivations. Yes their worlds would be different, but history has proven without a doubt that those who thrive on competition prosper. What happens when a race tries to prosper and advance when surrounded by stronger, smarter and faster races? They die out. Humanity was able to evolve due to our ability to craft and use weapons, this gave us an advantage in conflict environments that other life on Earth could not compete with, and we dominated where we could. It stands to reason that the same would happen on other worlds as well.
These are all topics that not only intrigue me, but I want to explore. My exploration is creating 'what if' environments, which is what has lead to the story of First Law: Override, and it is with great anticipation that I hope the journey so far has been enjoyable.
- Ok so maybe it's not such a short post after all...
- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley