[general] Starting a project ...

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[general] Starting a project ...

Postby Legion » Wed May 13, 2009 4:32 am

Hey all,

I was just wondering about something that I'm sure a lot of people here can tell lots of things about. Big ambitious products such as TAC, CI, LotC and Wanderers of Sorceria all started somewhere. At one point in time they were nothing more than a map or a character name, a dialogue line or a sound... They were an idea.

I myself have had little experience with finished products, but I've started many things a few times over - even now. I'm sure that many who visit this particular board, but possibly a great many CC forumers, have started working on a campaign or story at one time or another. Now I want to know what happens when people start these things, be it big epic works like the aforementioned or little secret unpolished projects that you just want to keep to yourself a bit longer. What started it? What were your first creative activities? Did you plan anything out or did you make things up as you went along? Did you stumble upon unforeseen problems?

Basically, how do/did you start a project?
Last edited by Anonymous on Wed May 13, 2009 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: [general] Starting a project ...

Postby Pr0nogo » Wed May 13, 2009 2:06 pm

A map of mine actually started by pretend-playing Impossible Scenarios with myself in an incomplete StarForge-testing map. It lead up to this.

Other projects simply started with me being silly and creative with a pen and a pad of paper.

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Re: [general] Starting a project ...

Postby IskatuMesk » Wed May 13, 2009 2:55 pm

All of my projects start off as either dreams in the literal sense or as a vision I have many, many years before attempting them. Because I am incompetent and don't know how to do anything most of these dreams and visions simply fade away and are forgotten forever. Some of them, like ITAS or AO, I attempt but only have moderate success if anything in.

All of my projects are pre-meditated for a long time before starting on them. Unfortunately the pre-meditation and planning means little when it comes to actual production. That is when the dream or vision is to be fleshed out and given life. It never works out.
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Re: [general] Starting a project ...

Postby Lavarinth » Wed May 13, 2009 3:07 pm

I've created a lot of stories or projects based on dreams as well. Or, while I am working on one, I'll get a dream and incorporate it in.
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Re: [general] Starting a project ...

Postby Maglok » Wed May 13, 2009 3:10 pm

I start crafting stories in my head. After a while I get a generic idea and that idea usually grows when I bounce it off someone. In the case of SC2's thing with Lavvz if I bounce ideas off Lavvz they get infinitely better. Then sometimes I just want to try something I saw on TV. Not as a story, but as a way of storytelling, so I work that in. Then I enter this phase where I think most of it out. Once i start writing I have in my head what I want to write and 'create' and it comes quite naturally.

Sometimes I can be stuck for quite a while though. :)
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Re: [general] Starting a project ...

Postby Lavarinth » Wed May 13, 2009 5:54 pm

As for like the VERY FIRST spark for a project.. I'd say media has a lot to do with it. You saw show A's puzzles, but want it with show B's story, and love movie C's characters.. And blend.
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Re: [general] Starting a project ...

Postby Legion » Thu May 14, 2009 3:57 am

Combining aspects / influences from other media works for me as well. Although a lot of times I find that some story elements simply can't be conveyed thru an RTS campaign.

Also, have you ever experienced writer's block sort of feelings? Like, you have a character, a story and you feel there should be something going on or happening to the character but you simply can't figure what this character is going to do next? I have. :) Not just once.

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Re: [general] Starting a project ...

Postby Lavarinth » Thu May 14, 2009 11:27 am

All the time, to be honest, one of the simplest way to fix that for me is simply to.. Watch stuff, live life.. And an outcome or such for a character or story just somehow.. Shows up.
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Re: [general] Starting a project ...

Postby Maglok » Fri May 15, 2009 6:46 am

Writer's block is a big term. If you mean 'do I sometimes not know what to write?' yes, but then I take on several processes to help me get back on track. For example I watch media and get ideas, mostly indirectly. It just puts me in the mood. I brainstorm with someone I trust with the story.

I also have two 'modes', thinking and writing. If I am stuck I might shift into thinking it out for a week or two then I start writing and a draft can be done within a few days since most of it is up there in my head already. Not so much the words as a idea of the major plotpoints.

I like this thread. :)
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Re: [general] Starting a project ...

Postby Legion » Fri May 15, 2009 8:15 am

Maglok wrote:Writer's block is a big term. If you mean 'do I sometimes not know what to write?' yes, but then I take on several processes to help me get back on track. For example I watch media and get ideas, mostly indirectly. It just puts me in the mood. I brainstorm with someone I trust with the story.

I also have two 'modes', thinking and writing. If I am stuck I might shift into thinking it out for a week or two then I start writing and a draft can be done within a few days since most of it is up there in my head already. Not so much the words as a idea of the major plotpoints.

I like this thread. :)


Yeah, I know writer's block doesn't fit here, but what do you call it?

Interesting, how many people make notes and think about it during the day (or night). Makes me think it's impossible to make things up on the fly and go with it, see where it ends.

I like this thread too. Very interesting replies so far!

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Re: [general] Starting a project ...

Postby Maglok » Fri May 15, 2009 8:52 am

"Temporary suspension of the creative process" :P

Anyways interesting you ask that question. I organise some sort of improvisational theater events once in a while, up to 100 people. We always write a story (a big book of 'plot'). Right there though, since it is improvisational, people never do exactly what we wrote. They do other things and we have to improvise on the spot. It does work out, takes some experience, but it does.

I have been considering running a one-off and improvising the entire story on the spot, though that seems like a big challenge. :)
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Re: [general] Starting a project ...

Postby Legion » Fri May 15, 2009 1:29 pm

Maglok wrote:"Temporary suspension of the creative process" :P


Can't believe I'm saying this, but mine's shorter and I like it.

Maglok wrote:Anyways interesting you ask that question. I organise some sort of improvisational theater events once in a while, up to 100 people. We always write a story (a big book of 'plot'). Right there though, since it is improvisational, people never do exactly what we wrote. They do other things and we have to improvise on the spot. It does work out, takes some experience, but it does.

I have been considering running a one-off and improvising the entire story on the spot, though that seems like a big challenge. :)


Cool. I think that really helps train your creative process (assuming that's possible). I think it's really hard or even impossible to think of a full story on the spot, without writing/planning things ahead. I've tried it, but it's amazing how fast you run into cliches or things you tell yourself are mere influences, but turn out to be stolen directly from other works. I hate it when that happens! :D

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Re: [general] Starting a project ...

Postby IskatuMesk » Fri May 15, 2009 4:39 pm

While I pre-meditate, I try not to plan things ahead because no matter how much I plan or how much I write, I never stick to it. Things always immediately change during the process. Take AO for example - I did not plan to cannibalize the zerg race, but that happened relatively quickly into the project's lifespan. I had a huge list of units I was going to make in the mod - only 1-2 of those remain in the final product, out of well over a dozen. After that I continued to make expected unit lists and continued to do differently.

For me, it's best just to jump into it and let the wind carry you through. Planning things and writing out has only served me well when attempting to convey my thoughts to someone else, like the AO2 conceptual document, but what happens when I begin the creation process is totally different every single time.
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Re: [general] Starting a project ...

Postby Maglok » Sat May 16, 2009 3:44 am

Interesting.

And you make a good point Legion. 'Stealing' ideas. The only time when I consciously do it, is to give a nod to something and even then it's usually just a line or a thing. Like I have a SC2 project in which someone says "I'm a general for gods sake", which I would see as a nod, not a steal. Blizzard does that all time, mainly with their unit responses. Otherwise I try to only let stuff inspire me and not ligt anything.

Here is an example: There was a series that had a interrogation scene of a guy questioning a main character. The interrogater had all kinds of tricks, making the main char's mind go quite crazt at one point. This inspired me to write a scene with some chars also sitting at a table and one having the upper hand in the conversation by far, but no one is a interrogater, none of the dialogue is used, nothing.
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Re: [general] Starting a project ...

Postby Whiplash! » Sat May 23, 2009 9:51 pm

Well AoD is "complete" in a sense that its a full campaign but there's more to the story that remains unreleased. Basically I just wanted to make a campaign and god I don't even remember how it happened but I always liked duran and I think I wanted to tell more about his story in the events of brood war and I made everything up using existing lore + stuff off the noggin. When I create the map layout I have a very rough idea in my head and I just go along with it and create something cool. Same with story, very rough outline and etch it out as I make the map. Probably not the most professional way but hey for a Starcraft campaign it works.
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