About this project
Hey What’s going on?
We love stories. People have been connecting around storytelling since there were stories to tell.
We’re going to make a game that’s not only awesome to play but is also a new way to write and share stories with each other.
We want to challenge the idea that playing games isn’t a good way to spend your time. Games are our passion. We have been learning about them for over 5 years and we’re ready to make something really great.
Why am I a little confused?
Well, Massively Multiplayer Write ‘em up is a pretty new genre, But it also picks up on a bunch of stuff you probably understand already.
You might have heard of text adventures - they call them Interactive Fiction now. Even if you’re not as geeky as us don’t worry - basically you’re going to be taking it in turns to tell a story.
At it’s heart it's a game of Narrator versus Hero. The narrator controls the story; crafting a plot and presenting the Hero with encounters, and challenges. The Hero creates a character that she believes can make it through to the end.
And when the story’s over it lives inside the Written World, for other people to read, re-use or play themselves.
- Write stories collaboratively through play
- Play through stories in our turn based story crafting engine.
- Build a world together with the stories you create.
Craft a mythos for your protagonist to inhabit.
- Guide your protagonist through your story, chapter by chapter, encounter by encounter.
Craft a character who will live through many stories.
- Be a part of a limitless spread of new worlds and narratives.
- Explore the world the Narrator presents for you.
Earn Force through writing.
- Force allows you to change the path of a story.
- Think that sword should be a fish? that alien shouldn’t leave? Romeo shouldn’t take the poison? use Force to make it happen.
- Earn Force by writing well, progressing through stories, and creating great characters and places.
Be part of a community of writers
- Explore a world of fiction built as people write.
- Share your world with your friends.
- Let your characters and locations find fame and fortune in other’s stories.
- Receive feedback on your work.
We think we’ve got some nice rewards lined up for you. We wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just all about downloads and you had a little something to remember us by. And yes, if you pledge $10,000 it is our promise to you that any name of your choosing will be the name of one of the team’s first born.
Here’s some of our favourites:
Custom designed character
For $125 lovely dollars (and limited to only 10) Our lovely, talented and handsome designer (who wrote this description) Simon Fox will sit down with you and design a completely customised character with you, to your spec, in our lovely Written World art style.
Custom School installation For four people we will produce a private version of The Written World just for the use of your children’s school. We’ll also work with you to create bespoke locations and characters in the game. This won’t need the input of your kids school directly but we’ll be delighted to talk the staff through ways The Written World can be used in class.
A Game with the Creators
We’re going to tell you a story: the first ten people who give us $50 will receive, in addition to all the normal $50 rewards: a game with us, we’ll run your Hero through her paces with a specially prepared story.
Seems like loads of money, what are you going to do with it?To date, The Written World has been a labour of love. We have spoken to teachers, friends, gamers, anyone who would listen really to help turn this into something special. We now want to dedicate our time to the game’s development full time so we can reach our goal of releasing the game for free to everyone online. Here is a list of what the money will go towards:
- Coding - We’re just rounding the corner on our alpha, but there’s still plenty of exciting features we want to add.
- Testing - We don’t like to go too far without checking with our audience that they like the direction we’re taking, and that what we’re producing is fun and works properly. We think we end up with the best possible game this way. We’ll be testing with writers, gamers and also in schools to make sure the game works for all of our use cases.
- Art - We’re building a world for you and that takes a lot of gorgeous images and design.
- Hosting - The Written World needs a place to live and a way for you to visit it - that takes money and the kind of people who know why GOD needs reminding to keep the DAEMON working.
The Written World is a playlab London project. playlab London is an enthusiastic start up which believes that what starts as a game can positively affect people’s behaviour and interactions in the real world.
Simon Fox: Chief
Simon's been making things like stories and games since he was a kid.
He's probably more enthusiastic about making the Written World than you are about cake, and he knows how much we all love cake. He'll be designing the way everything works as well as making it all pretty enough to kiss.
Nowadays he runs something called playlab London and when he isn't doing that he's probably reading a book or something.
Toby Green: Code Chef
Toby is code chef. If the written world is a three course meal, he is probably over salting the starter and undercooking the main course but pleased the souffle is rising correctly.
He enjoys long walks, watching Blind Date, and browsing collections of vintage 80's shoulder pads on classic TV shows.
Anna Fogg: Communications Wizard
Anna has 6 years of digital commnications experience, including marketing, PR and social media; the majority of which has been gained at start-up content and technology companies.
Anna is working to create and define The Written World brand, and to secure their presence within the creative and gaming community.
Anna met Simon and Toby whilst dressed as a wizard and immediately the bond was formed.
Shelly Lozdon: Totally Freaking Awesome
Shelly has very kindly offered to host The Written World’s Kickstarter campaign and will be helping to ensure that all rewards get to the right people on time.
We really mean it. This project has been a dream of ours for some time now and to make this push to bring it to life is incredibly exciting for us. We want to thank you for believing in the project, and for all your support. If we could, we would like to give all of our backers a very grateful and satisfying high five and hug. We still just might...
I want to know how the game will take up my time. Will I need a lot of time? All at once or spread out?
It can be played quickly or slowly - at a live pace a story might take an hour or so to tell, but you can play turn based over a long period of time.
We're working on a bunch of discovery mechanisms for pushing your stories to the right people. Any story you start will have it’s own URL you can send to others to invite them to play. A big part of play for players taking the Hero role will be exploring the world for new stories.
Force is a currency - it lets players make a bet on whether or not they can change the last thing that happened in the story. Players earn force while they play and they can also use it to purchase neat stuff - like new traits for their characters. We’re also focusing on expanding the force system as we test to make it more fun and balanced - adding special force abilities like Interrogation which allows a player to force the narrator to honestly reveal some information, or Warp which allows a player to force a change to the way the story is set up.
It’s a matter of constant testing - but we do put some limits in place to keep play fair. For instance - you can only ever enter a story with a set maximum force to spend, even if you’ve saved up more. This stops ‘power players’ dominating a story.
We’re a platform, but we can’t make judgements about what’s ‘good enough’ to be written. We’ll focus on giving the community tools to alert us when something is inappropriate, and allow what people like to float to the top.
How will your system pair me up with someone who is interested in writing a story in the same way I wish to write?
You’ll be able to see everything another person has written, so there won’t be any surprises in terms of who you are pairing up with. If you don’t like a story you are playing, it’s easy to stop at any time.
Character time-lines are an interesting question.
Every asset you create in The Written World is free to be used by anyone else - unless you specify otherwise.
We want to keep our world as open as possible - but it does mean your character might end up involved in something you had not anticipated.
We’re thinking of these like instances - your version of the character will remain your own, and other peoples interpretations fork off into new narratives - nothing will ever get lost and you will always have the chance to play as your favourite character.
Imagine a text adventure which is seamless, full of intelligent characters who can hold full conversations, and responsively plotted.
That's what we're making - it's like a text adventure where one player is the world and the other is the hero. We give the storyteller a bunch of tools to put that together and then we match them up with a Hero.
Now know that each of these individual stories is tied to a location in a world - like a quest in a 2d MMO. Sounds awesome, right?
We’ll be working hard to make sure The Written World will work on native iPad browsers.
We’ve designed The Written World to offer as simple and elegant a system as possible for resolving conflicts in the flow of a story. It’s important to us that you be able to tell any type of story in the written world - not just one centred around combat - and so our force system revolves around players finding agreement in the flow of a narrative simply and quickly rather than trading blows. We think it’s simple, flexible and playable - and our play-testers have agreed so far!
We’re focused on making the most flexible system possible - and I’m personally completely excited about seeing properties from disparate genres interacting with each other! When you make a story in The Written World we ask you what kind of drama you wish to involve in your story - and we offer you the full span from Vengeance to Romance to Disaster and way beyond. Stories are arranged into Chapters and those chapters divided into Encounters. That’s as prescriptive as we get - the rest is up to you!
Force is global to your account, but Characters are distinct in their traits and back-stories. You can have more than one Character on your account.
We were absolutely inspired by Sleep is Death which is a game that we adore. We add a number of elements to the formula though, from conflict resolving game-play to a communally authored world that grows as people write.
Absolutely you will!
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