You are probably all aware by now how much interest I’m taking Toby Downton’s forthcoming book Solarversia. As it gets closer to the release date, Toby is letting more details out of characters and scenarios from the book on his blog. The latest post is on some of the mechanics of the game Solarversia, around which his book is based.
Rather than just repeat what Toby has already written (go to his blog and find out for yourself), I’ll give some ideas that underlie the explanations given.
The first thing that occurs to me is that writing a story around a Massive Multi-player Online Game (MMOG), even one that doesn’t exist yet, is a huge undertaking. There are so many things to consider about what could enhance the plot, what could undermine it altogether and what would simply get in the way.
There are people who have written stories around MInecraft (which I haven’t played) who keep their tales in a simple area and with few characters. I do know that anyone can meet almost anyone else in most MMOG as there do not have to be any physical locations or travel limitations unless they are part of the game. With Solarversia taking place over the whole Solar System, travel has to be an important part of the game and you have to find ways of making accessible and limiting at the same time. This Toby seems to be handling quite well.
Another problem in a virtual world is one of life, death and combat. An injury in the real world will take a finite time to recover and involve a certain amount of pain. Virtual injuries could take no time and cause no more pain than an expletive, but for game scenario to make sense, especially a spectator game like Solarversia then you will want to strike a balance between penalising a character for a bad decision that caused the injury and keeping the fans involved, especially in the later stages of the game when the number of participants has been whittled down. Again the author’s choices have been made logically, along with increasing difficulties of problem as the game progresses.
I would imagine by now that Toby Downton has sorted his way through his final drafts and all the major happenings are set in place with only the smaller details being discussed with editors before it heads off into the wild blue yonder of printing along with the authors regrets of ‘might have beens’ and ‘should have dones’.
Getting closer to the release date now and I am still looking forward to reading Solarversia from end to end. The excitement is building