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Apex U - Public Discussion Thread

Posted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 8:04 am
by IskatuMesk
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Current Work

Segment 0 - The First Motion - Des Vaters Segen
The Father's Blessing - Golden eyes.

  • SEGMENT 0 - 0x00-0x07 - (Version 1.0)

Segment 0 - The Second Motion - Die Anreihung der Schafe
The Baying of Sheep - Mist-burdened crowns.

  • SEGMENT 0 - 0x08-0x16 translation - (Version 1.0)

Segment 1 - The Third Motion - Ɯberlebende
Survivor - The Last Pilgrim.

  • SEGMENT 1 - 1x00-1x03 translation - Concept Draft



Welcome to the headquarters of the Apex U Light Novel development. If you investigate the page you'll notice there's nothing currently there but two dev videos for sc2. That's because I am in the process of translating the first segment to light prose. In the following sections of this thread I will explain what this project is, its origins, and how I come to approach certain concepts. Each segment will be released with a Developer Commentary track, which will be an mp3, where I share my thoughts much more indepth in regards to that specific segment than I will in this thread (it's easier for me to talk than type these days, physical pain etc).

Feel free to check out the two sc2 videos if you have 10bit x264 support in your player. But know that the sc2 project is cancelled and highly unlikely to live again. They'd be more interesting to you if you are interested in the topic of mod/game design and the kind of work that went into that iteration of the project. It's likely I'll make a third and final video regarding the project's discontinuation in that branch.

With this thread I'd like to open a channel to not only manage and collect my work in one spot for the project but also open a dialogue for the subject of world building, character design, and all things related to this kind of work.

A quick FAQ to get you started, but feel free to ask me pretty much anything.

FAQ: show
What is this project?

To put it simple, I have probably an excess of 300k words worth of documents ranging from 5-6 years of work building concept mission dialogue and such for a project known as Apex, whose world changed dramatically throughout its time of conception. The project was planned to be either an sc2 campaign, an Unreal 4 CGI (like Reboot or Red vs Blue) or an audiobook. Currently I plan to translate the more valuable of those documents to a written-exclusive format and may consider light audiobook translations if my living conditions ever stabilize and I find time.

Like all of my work the writing is extremely politically incorrect. Laconius and Wibod both contributed ideas to this project and some of its ancestors, with the former being the most racist person I've ever met and the latter being a deranged eastern Canadian. I am a crass individual myself. That said, it's a writing that takes itself rather seriously.

Where did this stuff come from?

Old pet projects, some mechanical stuff was shamelessly jacked from Fate, some from Armageddon Onslaught, and the most important part, a very large number of characters are based on dramaticized versions of community member fursonas. As an example, Mucky is associated with Zerg because he predominantly played Zerg and terrorized mexican jailbreaks. Arcan is a Tauren Warrior because that's what he played. Some community members have sort of side filler roles, some just have cameos, some are mission critical.

Am I a character?

If I didn't know you or had a sizable example to base off of chances are you aren't a character. Sometimes even that wasn't enough. I felt more iconic members were more important to translate over. For example, even though I never met Adun 8)!, he was a Protoss commander in the campaign and took priority over virtually every Star Alliance forumer.

Will you write out a tech document/document describing the world?

The sc2 campaign has a huge amount of data either already written or was planned to be written for every single unit and weapon shown in the entire game, called the Codex. I plan to translate that to Gameproc but I don't know how I'll sort or format it given the incredibly spoiler-heavy nature of such content. If you have any ideas...

What writing style will you employ?

Let's put it this way: my life's work, Throne of Armageddon, was a failure because I sucked at writing. I have very little confidence about my ability to finish this project if I stray too far from my strong point (dialogue) which is the only reason the scripts exist. So I plan to go rather description light on this. Hence why I label it a light novel despite the potential scale of the text. If I can supply any renders or anything to help show stuff I'll make it happen, but not necessarily when I release the text.

How will this be released?

Initially, an RTF will be available for download. That RTF may get translated into the web page if some individuals find it convenient. PLEASE TELL ME IF YOU WANT THIS OR I WON'T BOTHER. e.g. if you want to read it on some device that can't open RTF. I plan to release these documents without a pass from my editor, so they're likely to be rough around the edges. I may iterate the documents as time goes on, and will track their version number. This thread will be potentially the only place I track these updates on as they happen (as well as what was changed).

How long will this be?

As long as it is wide.

The campaign was going to be 6 segments, each segment containing something like 12-15 missions. The fifth and sixth segments for iterations C-U were never written, only 0-3. This is because I hadn't figured out what I was going to do with them. The fifth segment was written for Unreal 4 back before the project swung back into a CGI concept (C-H) and then eventually sc2. That segment contains around 50 ARPG (think DMC) missions. The average mission is 15-25 pages and 7k-25k words. Some are going to get thrown out in a sanity check because they served only as gameplay avenues, but those that remain will grow considerably since they are all almost exclusively dialogue with some gameplay notes.

Do you have any related work to share?

I sure do.

How does your writing structure work for this project?

I first write out a Concept Draft. I review this draft multiple, sometimes dozens, of times before considering it a Draft. A Draft is subject to many minor changes, arrangements, and sanity checks for consistency and quality. Once a draft passes my initial QA I send it as part of the document to a minimum of two internal verifiers for generic feedback. During this period I either move forward and block out additional concepts or perform additional passes and enter what I call a Preliminary Base phase. A "base" is the foundations of a structure so to speak. The Preliminary base is a draft that is at a desirable state and is awaiting a pass that adds a lot of detail, such as descriptions about character appearances, weapons, sounds, and other such things. Details are my toughest part of writing so I take potentially a dozen or more passes on details for even the smallest portion of writing until I send it out to my verifiers for a more critical pass. At this stage the section will be officially declared a Base and will be acceptable for a Quality Pass, which ensures a final QA check is conducted before I move on to a critical polishing phase. Should this section pass all of my scrutiny I will consider it release-worthy and the section will be declared Version 1.0 of that section.


History of the project.
Project History: show
This project is derived from a vast quantity of different sources.

Loladins of Legend - Originating as wc3 cinematics maps and campaign attempts, Loladins of Legend eventually became a dota clone and had a tremendous Age of Wonders 2: Shadow Magic total conversion attempted in its name. While LoL remains independent of the Apex world, some concepts or characters were pulled from the world and put into this one because they didn't really serve a real purpose there.

Forum RPG's - An SEN forum RPG helped me design a chunk of one of the realms and several of the characters. The forum RPG was short lived and managed in a cumbersome manner, but nonetheless was an excellent exercise in creative energy since the death of TOA. Once you reach the Isador arc, maybe 80% of those characters and worlds were spawned from this source.

Throne of Armageddon - My life's work, TOA died in 2009. Some elements of the world are recycled in Apex since I know I won't live to finish it. You may be able to figure out which portions once the Tech Doc and Apex are both finished, but many of the elements I pulled are from the second, conceptual novel of TOA, so they are still both rather unique. Nonetheless, similar themes are explored (religion, large scale, mix of scifi and fantasy and character growth).

Armageddon Onslaught - Originating in 2008ish as a Starcraft proof of concept mod, Armageddon Onslaught was to see a campaign reboot in sc2 (and some explorations in Unreal 3) which was the beginning of the Apex project. Armageddon Onslaught died as a written concept rather quickly, but portions of it were assimilated back into a fork that later took shape.

Community Sources - From Warrier Man X and the rapmastas to the giant cocks, AA7's posts about "the cough", to Magic punching people over the internet, my laughable social life is exclusively defined by these silly things on the internet. I have long considered what it would be like if these characters were even larger than life and had a stake to place in an astral game of battleships and dragons. Now we're going to find out!!!!!

Fate - The Fate anime's servant system caught my eye from the start. I had long considered how to devise an important mechanic in Apex that tied these community members (and other characters) to each other, or to other characters, of otherwise fantastical or supernatural nature. Fate gave me an excellent basis to start off of and I devised a very similar system that I think has come out very real done. I am an extremely technical writer that prefers to resolve everything in the written world as soundly and believably as possible. All "magic", "psionics", and "technology" are things I spend months to years developing, and this adaptation of Fate's mechanics is an extremely big deal. Of course, other anime influence some ideas (I write the space combat based on Gundam animation) much more than western influences (D&D art and other things are undoubtedly going to influence my descriptions for some areas).

Starcraft - Originating as a rewrite of Starcraft, Apex still retains some Starcraft characters and races, though they hardly resemble what they once were. A huge part of Apex was basically rebuilding starcraft from scratch while retaining only iconic imagery and some names. Long gone are the days of Metzen's love story and Terran history being a complete total clusterfuck of unbelievable population growth and retconning. Though a clusterfuck in itself, Apex's rewritten history is designed to make sense on paper, unlike anything in Blizzard's warhammer ripoff. The extent of the vast magnitude of design here is really only going to show itself in the Codex.

Casts - Characters from my LP's, including the majestic Professor Snape, as well as some of the inside jokes/memes, are a part of the writing.


Some art related to the project, either from renders or mods.
Art: show
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https://imgur.com/a/aDqV1 Some of the sc2 test maps.


Integration: show
Seg 0 -
U0x00/H0x00
U0x01/H0x00
<new>
U0x02/P0x01/RP0x01/H0x01
P0x02
P0X03/U0X03
P0X04/P0X05/U0X04 (all variants)/P0x03/P0x02


(What is this? It's a reference, particularly to early segments, that tells me what documents I opted to pull from.)
U - Latest version of the Campaign, written to the full length of 4 segments.
H - CGI, written to around 2-3 segments. It has 2-3 versions.
P - Unification of about 6 different forks of campaign script, who was homogenized to form U. Written up to seg 3.
RP - A radioplay adaption of P that has a lot more dialogue and descriptions. Only 4-5 missions were written, but I am using it as a basis for detail level in the novel.
RN - Small arc for seg 5.
F - Fireborn arcs.
C - Maybe some useful dialogue from here.


Testing ground for segment page layout. I was trying to do a bunch of animated renders but gifs are just unbelievably retarded to work with when it comes to translating anything from a video with a greenscreen for transparency. Thankfully for a still I can use the sprite rendering scene I made for RPGMaker that spits out transparent shadows. Not physically accurate materials by any means (couldn't get any cube mapping working yet) but fine for a web page.

http://www.gameproc.com/index.php?id=ap ... -0&lang=en

Re: Apex U - Public Discussion Thread

Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 8:10 am
by IskatuMesk
Okay, got my first batch of feedback from an external verification source. Helps me with a bit of direction in terms of where to patch things up for people who are unfamiliar with the world and writing style.

I've done a full pass on my content and have written up to P0x05/U0x04 with a chunk of P0x06/U0x05 started on. This stuff gets considerably more distant from my existing scripts and has a lot more descriptions to write, so the process slows down a lot.

I'm at 62 pages/52k words as we slowly approach the halfway point of my U source material. I believe I can thus predict that segment 0 will be around 150-200 pages/150k-200k words when completed.

Re: Apex U - Public Discussion Thread

Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 12:25 pm
by IskatuMesk
A-U seg 0 passes 70k words and nears the 100 page mark, which is around 50% through the missions. At this stage I refer the source material less and less because of how unstable it got around here, but some very important sections await to be transcribed including a huge amount of dialogue and some very difficult to describe fights. I have been battling stress nonstop for the last few weeks which has slowed me down considerably, but I can't give up yet.

Re: Apex U - Public Discussion Thread

Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:40 am
by IskatuMesk
This project is at a total standstill.

I have 3 verifiers and all 3 have exhibited total discontinuation of interest in the project, with only a single one making some headway in completing one of the larger, previous internal iterations. This speaks plainly of the writing quality and the project, so I need to re-assess the entire thing and figure out where the disinterest stems from.

More problematic is a foreseen trouble point has totally killed all momentum and I haven't made any progress on the project at all since my last update. I have drafted concepts but they are all trash.

Out of context paragraph reviews from external sources have all universally been negative.

I had hoped for an august release but if the project sees any further movement until 2017 it will be a miracle.

Re: Apex U - Public Discussion Thread

Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 11:31 pm
by IskatuMesk
We are inching forward again, passing into 0x12-0x13 area with the most difficult descriptive scenes of the segment to write. These scenes are also the most gameplay-influenced designs of the original writing, so they are changing dramatically.

One of the other readers had in fact finished the test version I had sent, and I received some auxiliary feedback as well.

I need to rethink several portions of the segment including the very problematic intro portion, but I am confident I can shape up the ending in a respectable amount of time.

/edit

I am now at the final mission transcription for seg 0.

Re: Apex U - Public Discussion Thread

Posted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 3:46 am
by IskatuMesk
Segment 0 nears release.

I finished the concept draft for the entire project at 132k wrds/175 pages and now I am performing what I will consider to be a pre-release critical detail pass. Other than any major trouble spots, completion of this readthrough will prompt an immediate release of this document + the design commentary I recorded earlier today, and immediate starting of Segment 1.

I expect the rough text that is Segment 0 to undergo further changes after release, upon which any major changes will prompt an updated document release. The first release will therefore be labelled version 1.0, and any future versions will therefore be labelled and announced in kind.

As my first public release of any major written work I don't expect it to wow anyone, but it will be nice to put my foot down and have something released of non-video significance since Retribution.

/edit

Nearly a year after it was begun, FF6 is finally "completed" recordings with the exception of the bonus dungeon I will be attempting shortly. I will process the final segment soon.

Re: Apex U - Public Discussion Thread

Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 8:24 am
by IskatuMesk
Segment 0 1.0 is now released, along with its related design discussion recording. Crack open a bear and get reading!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And do check out the design commentary when you are done (not before, spoilers!!).

http://www.gameproc.com/index.php?id=apex-u-segment-0

I had shit tons of problems with RTF not saving my formatting so I edited in ODT and saved as an old .doc format. At first glance it seems ok, but if you see some seriously messed up formatting let me know asap. I expect there to be lots of grammar issues/typos despite my final detail pass because I am an incompetent writer, but all of my verifiers bailed on me because they aren't no-life neanderthals like me so it was a one-man show at the most critical part of the project. Whelp, that's why it's version 1.0 - any glaring issues will get fixed later on. For now, on to Segment 1!

/edit

Segment 1 is well under way. I am trying a new writing strategy with it, similar to how I originally wrote the scripts.

Re: Apex U - Public Discussion Thread

Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 4:38 pm
by IskatuMesk
I have not been working on this very much in the last while. But I can tell you what is sort of going on.

- CGI is back on the table.
- Seg 0 version 1.1 is started. Lots of typo corrections and flow fixes in the beginning and minor stuff later on.
- Seg 1 is very, very slowly moving at the rate of about a paragraph a week or so. I don't actually know what to do with it atm and I feel I am on the verge of just throwing out most of my stuff I had written before for it. The never ending cycle continues.