Torment: Tides of Numenera Post-funding Update #20

There's a new Torment: Tides of Numenera update over at Kickstarter and it's quite a meaty one at that! Granted, some of the subjects have already been covered in minor blog posts and such, but there's still plenty to take in: a new writer, a design update, some new details on the process of revision of the story outline, news on the novellas and more. Here's a snip:
Story Outline (Colin McComb)

Kevin asked me to write a few words about the process of fleshing out the game's story, so here goes: It's fun!

I suppose technically that was only "a couple" of words, so I'll put down a few more. Without giving away any spoilers, here's how the process works. First, I sat down with the outline and bare bones that Adam, Kevin, and I had assembled before the Kickstarter (with the input of a few others; thanks, Nathan Long!) and started to get it into a more cohesive shape. Our first goal was a story document we could show to Brian Fargo and Matt Findley for their input. I. I overwrote a little. What should have been a 4-5 page document turned into 25 pages; the initial document turned into a bit of a brain dump with a lot of area ideas with less of a uniting framework.

In order to create a better focus, I took that document and re-emphasized the story structure, breaking the game apart into modules for design and thematic consistency, with a rough guide for how much content we were aiming for in each section. I put our main cast of characters up front, along with a quick sketch of their motivations and defining characteristics, and defined a little more about how we're going to pursue some of our mechanics (Tides, Legacies, and Meres, among others).

Then I sent the revised document around for high-level review -- Fargo, Findley, Avellone -- and I've gotten some excellent feedback from them on a number of more technical issues. I've been spending some time integrating those comments; they do nothing but enhance the story.

Right now I'm working on developing a flowchart for the main quest line. When this is done, I'll be breaking it into smaller sub-quests and helping to outline the module and zone design documents with Adam's help. I'm also developing a number of endings that will be appropriate for the Legacies of the game; because of the hugely iterative nature of game development, these endings will undoubtedly change, but they'll at least give us a target to aim for. Early on, we decided that we didn't want to have a "best" ending - we wanted every ending to be the best, most logical ending based on the way you've played the game.

Oh, and how could I forget the companions? I've got some quest arcs for the companions percolating, and I've heard from Pat about the character he wants to create. and is he ever excited for that. Chris and Nathan are both starting to get amped on some character ideas as well, so we'll be having some discussions about that shortly. We want to ensure that our companions are memorable, deep, and each with a hook that will make you want to explore their personalities. Having spoken extensively with Pat about his idea, I can guarantee that he's bringing something new and very, very different.

The best part about the process right now is coming up with crazy ideas and throwing them out for discussion. If, for example, I were to suggest that we have a worm that tears open the fabric of space when you eat it (perhaps a defensive mechanism on its home world?), we could have a lively conversation about how we'd use it in the game and how we'd implement it. We're not going to have that worm (probably), but we're very much at the stage where ideas like that are worth discussing. Creating the twists and turns that go into the plotline (as well as the narrative setbacks, the seemingly insurmountable challenges), developing strange but believable locations, populating the world with factions, cults, friends, enemies, allies, and foes. there are a lot of moving pieces that are going into creating Torment's story, and I think you'll be happy with the end result.