On Writing Dead State
In case you’re still wondering about the tone of Dead State, here’s a piece of fiction we previously put up on our forums to give you an idea of what it would be like to find yourself in our game:
Imagine yourself outside your usual supermarket. It’s the middle of a sunny day. There are only a few cars in the parking lot. You hear a lot of birds, but no automobiles, no people talking, no music – none of the white noise that makes up the average human soundscape. It’s quiet in a way that modern man cannot fathom, stripped completely of the drone of civilization.
The doors to the supermarket are open, but it’s pitch black inside. You haven’t eaten in over a day and you’re pretty hungry, but there’s something about the store that makes your heart sink into your gurgling stomach. There are other buildings, apartments in the area, but nobody around. It’s been two weeks since you’ve seen a human being. You had a gun, but it’s locked in your gun safe over sixty miles away, because you had to abandon your car when the traffic never cleared. All you have on you is the shirt on your back, a backpack containing nothing but an empty water bottle, and a wooden pole that formerly had a rake attached.
All of the sudden you see a faint shape at the entrance of the supermarket, just hanging out there. You can’t tell if it’s an actual human. The last actual human you saw took a shot at you, so you don’t want to draw attention to yourself immediately. You’ve learned that it’s better in general to stay quiet as a rule. That last gunshot you heard from the last actual human you saw brought out dozens of the dead from within those darkened storefronts and apartment buildings. Just the sight of them, the way their sun-ripened heads turn at you on their flimsy necks like you’ve hooked them with a fishing line, makes you want to instinctively run until you reach safety. But there is no safety – no police stations, no military patrols, no house with loved ones to comfort you. You don’t even know if your loved ones are safe. Sometimes you pull out your cellphone like a rabbit’s foot, just to hold it and hope that someone calls you – anyone – just to hear a voice. But it doesn’t even have any juice left – it’s a fetish now, nothing else.
The figure is still standing there, just out of the light a few feet inside the supermarket. Human or not, your stomach rumbles, and you realize that you need to get in there and eat something or you won’t be able to keep moving. You start walking toward it, hand firmly grasping your stick, driven more by the instinctive need to feed than courage. As you close the distance, it hits you as a spring breeze wafts in your direction – the cloud of rot overtaking your nose and making you gag. The shape moves forward and you can see its feet – burs stuck to its pants and a nail sticking right up through the unlaced sneaker. It makes a loud, painful moan like someone choking on tacks and you freeze right in place. Then you hear more noise, behind the shape, weight being dragged on linoleum, metal being knocked onto the floor. Your eyes adjust as a cloud blocks out the sun for a second. There are a dozen bodies in there wobbling in the darkness - they are all moving toward you.
And that's kind of what Dead State's about.
One of the biggest components of Dead State is the writing. With dozens of characters, item descriptions, and loads of game text, there’s a lot to experience. We’ve got over 10,000 lines of branching dialogue – to give you some perspective, the average screenplay contains about 1000 lines of linear story. For our dialogue, we need to create reactivity for relationships with other allies, the character’s respect for the player, character mood, concerns for events happening in and out of the shelter, and personal requests. As you can imagine, this takes a bit of scripting and time to write, rewrite, and implement – and every ally in the shelter has dozens of nodes of reactivity, including some random events.
Another (optional) component of our game involves collecting data. Out in the world you’ll find phones, USBs, hard drives, and other devices that contain information on them. These will unlock blogs, emails, news reports, and even confidential information that will shed some light on what happened to the rest of the world before the game started. Some of this data is unlocked bit by bit, each segment revealing more of a person or group’s complete story. All told, there is almost an entire novel’s worth of stories and fiction in the game.
And speaking of books, if you haven’t upgraded to any of the tiers that included The Making of Dead State book, you’re missing out on development insights, concept art, interviews with the team, and a whole lot of fiction and game-related writing that didn’t make the cut for Dead State. It’s a professionally edited book with a lot of detail – no pamphlets here. So, if you want even more writing, character details, and developer notes, upgrade your tier to secure your copy of The Making of Dead State.
Also there are 7 days left! 7 days to let people know about Dead State, about our stretch goals, and about how getting the game now will get you a DRM-free copy for about half the cost of when it retails. This will also be your last chance to get the Splendid Box. Remember the Splendid Box is included in all the $350 and up tiers too. And don’t forget, we’re offering an Executive Producer credit on the $5000 tier. If you’re holding out until the last second, remember that you will not get charged until after the Kickstarter ends.
It would be really nice to get those extra areas unlocked by tomorrow. Thanks to all of you who have pledged so far. Let’s keep spreading the word about Dead State while there’s still time - we can do this!
pledged of $150,000 goal
seconds to go
Jun 5, 2012 - Jul 5, 2012 (30 days)
Pledge $15 or more
A DRM-free digital download of the game for PC at nearly half the launch price.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
Pledge $21 or more
The Radio Tier: This tier includes the DRM-Free digital download of Dead State plus access to exclusive developer updates featuring developer videos, first looks at in-game shots, writing from the game, game art, and much more. We will be regularly updating “The Radio” with new info throughout development. Everyone at the $21 tier or higher will get access to this content.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
Pledge $30 or more
A digital copy, the game soundtrack (MP3s), and a bronze-level patron badge. Patron badges will be activated on our forums after the project is funded. (You will need a forum account to show off your badge.)Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
Pledge $30 or more
The Ally Pack – This pack contains 2 DRM-free copies of the game – one for you and a friend. It is a separate reward not included in the other tiers and contains no items except for 2 digital copies of the game.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
Pledge $50 or more
A digital copy of the game, the soundtrack, and a digital version of the “Making of Dead State” book. This book traces the origin of DoubleBear and Dead State and contains original fiction, concept art, and design documentation, plus interviews with the team. The book will sent as a .PDF download to contributors at this tier after the game ships.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
Pledge $75 or more
A digital copy of the game, the soundtrack, the digital version of the book, special thanks in the credits, and a silver-level patron badge.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
Pledge $85 or more
The Save One for Yourself Pack (This Pack is not included in any other tier) -A metal magnum bullet-shaped USB pre-loaded with the game, etched with the Dead State logo, and on a keychain for easy transport and bragging rights. -A digital copy of the game so you don’t have to wait for delivery. -The digital soundtrack, the digital book, special thanks in the credits, and a silver forum badge (Add $10 for shipping outside of the US and Canada)Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
Pledge $100 or more
All of the above, the silver-level patron badge, plus a limited edition Dead State T-shirt that is only available to Kickstarter patrons. The shirt will ship shortly after the funding goals are met. (Please add $10 for shipping to territories outside the US and Canada).Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
Pledge $150 or more
The Gold Edition. All of the above, a second digital copy of the game, a trade paperback version of the “Making of Dead State” book signed by Brian and Annie, and a gold level forum tag. (Please add $10 for shipping to territories outside the US and Canada).Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
Pledge $250 or more
The Splendid Box: Deluxe Edition It includes: -A Large Collector’s Box for all the stuff. -A DVD copy of the Game and a CD of the Soundtrack -The Special Edition Shirt, the USB Bullet pre-loaded with the game, the Signed Paperback of the Making of Dead State, and a real paper Manual -Collectible Game Merch, including an MMM,Bison! Kid’s Placemat, a Splendid Evacuation Notice, Friggin’ Chikin Frequent Gorger’s Card, and much more. (All sheets printed on high quality paper) -A Signed Letter from the Devs. But wait, there’s more! We’ll also give you two digital copies, a gold forum tag, and special thanks in the credits. (Add $15 for shipping outside of the US and Canada)Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
Pledge $350 or more
20 backers All gone!
Be memorialized somewhere in the game - your name and some key personal information will be incorporated into the world of Dead State. Also includes all of the Gold Edition items.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
Pledge $500 or more
1 backer Limited (29 of 30 left)
We will include your zombie apocalypse text message (up to 250 characters) written by you in the game as part of our collectible in-game data. Some editorial standards apply. Includes all Gold Edition items.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
Pledge $750 or more
4 backers Limited (1 of 5 left)
Our portrait artist will draw a portrait of you (you must supply a photo of yourself) to be used as a non-ally NPC in the game. A copy of the complete portrait will be sent to you before the game ships. Includes all Gold Edition items.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
Pledge $800 or more
1 backer Limited (4 of 5 left)
Our portrait artist will draw a portrait of you as a zombie, which will be used for a zombie in the game. A copy of the complete portrait will be sent to you before the game ships. Includes all Gold Edition items.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
Pledge $1,000 or more
5 backers All gone!
A personalized item in the game. This is a non-equipped item that would be found by players – you provide the description, we make the art. Some standards and editorial restrictions apply. Includes all Gold Edition items.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
Pledge $2,000 or more
1 backer Limited (4 of 5 left)
Work with Brian Mitsoda to tell your “zombie apocalypse story” which will show up as a collectible piece of story data for every player to see. Could be an email or diary entry or note about your fate in the zombie apocalypse – we’ll work with you to make sure it fits into our world. Word count will be limited to format. Includes all Gold Edition items.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
Pledge $5,000 or more
5 backers Limited (5 of 10 left)
Everything we have to offer (must choose either zombie or NPC portrait), ten extra digital copies of the game, an invite to our team launch party (you’re responsible for making it to Seattle), and a special Dead State Platinum Level forum tag for bragging rights.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013