It’s October, which marks the beginning of our third month since Dead State’s Kickstarter was successfully funded. Our team continues to turn out new content, GUIs, animations, and gameplay code. We’ve made significant improvements to the Shelter, including finishing all the upgrades, giving the constructed areas a “scavenged materials look”, and finishing off the basement and second level. Additionally, I’d like to present this image:
What you’re looking at may not be a “pretty” area, but it’s pretty exciting to us. That’s the starting area of the game right there. Your decisions are yet to be made, your map is blank, your allies are all still alive, and your enemies and the undead are lurking out there – this is the moment where your story begins. We’re pretty excited about this image, just because we know what’s in store for you. It’s that moment in every game where you don’t know what to expect yet, where you can’t wait to get out and experience everything. (“Experiences” that we’re working on right now.)
Design continues to work primarily on dialogue. As stated before, there is not only a lot of dialogue, but complex dialogue that spans great lengths of time and decisions rather than the length of completing a quest. I thought it might be interesting to shed some light on our ally creation and dialogue writing process. It starts with Annie and I discussing concepts for characters in the shelter. Usually, everyone we add needs to create a potential conflict or interaction with one or more other characters in the shelter, plus bring a set of skills and personality traits that are not duplicated by another member of the group. We usually try to figure out if the character is going to be more useful in combat or out of combat, or if they unlock some other potential aspect of the shelter, like a new type of job or a prized skill (like a doctor). We also try to figure out if the character is traveling alone or with others – if they’re traveling with someone, it instantly creates an interesting narrative point, but that bond needs to be reinforced throughout the dialogue and even in the gameplay.
After we’ve come up with the basics of the character, we put together a bio for the character. We use backstory for writing purposes only, to give us a more fully-fleshed out character whose life did not begin when the player met them. While you’ll never see the backstories we create, elements of their lives will creep into their dialogue, and an attentive/inquisitive player will learn a lot more about their allies over time. Sometimes you may not know about certain aspects of the character unless a certain path is triggered, like watching them die from infection or gaining enough trust from a friend of theirs. However, like in real life, you will never fully understand everything there is to know about an ally (unless you’re one of the writers).
We translate their former profession and hobbies into stats and skills. Someone who was a park ranger might have a high survival skill because they can identify plants and a higher vigor because of time spent walking trails. They may have a perk for traveling faster on the area map because they know how to lead people through difficult terrain. These are gameplay skills that may make an ally more appealing if their character’s dialogue makes them seem difficult or combative with other allies. We balance gameplay advantages and personality flaws for every character you can add in the shelter.
Before writing the character, a list of every interaction possible with the player or other allies is made. This outline is used as a guide to track all the events we need to write. If we feel there’s a lack of interesting dramatic points or decisions, we will add them at this stage or while writing. We also simplify any chains of events that seem too complex or frustrating for a player to figure out. Some adjustment may be made to pace a character’s arc out over time to make sure they continue to pop up in the story. Additionally, we figure out any random events this character might be associated with and questions that the player may want to ask them (including dialogue for resolving personal requests).
From here, it’s all dialogue writing, which can introduce even more nuances and character developments that can only come out as we are subjecting ourselves to that character’s point of view. And now you understand a bit more about the dialogue process. We’re hoping the extra effort provides an experience that you won’t find anywhere else.
That’s it for this update. Remember, you can always interact with us on the forums if you’ve got questions. If you have received a survey (anyone $21 tier and up did) and still haven’t returned it, please do. For those with Radio access, expect another update very soon. As always, thank you all for making this possible.
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Jun 5, 2012 - Jul 5, 2012 (30 days)
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A DRM-free digital download of the game for PC at nearly half the launch price.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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