Stable Dwellers, this is your Overmare speaking.
Specifically, Overmare Phoenix (she/her) here, one of the team leads on Script. I’m so happy to be writing this blog post today and updating everyone on our progress.
What Do We Do?
Script handles Ashes’ narrative design--the writing, including but not limited to quests, dialogue, notes and terminals. Beyond what the Player will see on release, we work on flowcharts describing quest structures, technical documentation of when to switch out dialogue files, continuous pages of meeting notes, and other nuts-and-bolts writing.
Script’s really been kicked in high gear since 2020, when designing quests for implementation began. This took the form of all three writers at the time making side quests one month, then we would take the next month to review and rewrite all those quests. From this, we got so much experience--from using our dialogue systems to working hand-in-hand with Design and configuring the overall tone of Ashes of Equestria.
The completion of general side quests have slowed now with the prioritization of the main questline and side quests specifically designed for Wave 6. While I cannot share any details at the moment (perhaps in a later blog post), you can rest easy knowing Ashes has an amazing storyline planned for our main questline. In the meantime, Wave 6 will debut Script’s involvement in Ashes and introduce some key ideas we’ll be wrestling with in the main quests.
To describe the process we go through as narrative designers creating content for Ashes, imagine a mini TV writer’s room, where ideas are thrown around, perfected, and implemented. Writers gather in our designated Discord voice chat multiple times a week, usually with new thoughts and notes regarding last meeting’s topics. The frequency of meetings is necessary for group-written content, with spells of individual writing having less meetings occur.
As mentioned in our Programming Lead Ansis’ recent blog post, we’ve recently upgraded the software we write dialogue in. Chatmapper was great, but didn’t interact with Unity as smoothly as our new system that’s integrated entirely. Visual Scripting in Unity encourages us to create the quest in working order, with writers inputting the necessary variables and programming as they write the quest’s dialogue, rather than leaving it until later. It also allows for more complex, varied dialogue structures and keeps dialogue graphs in more manageable chunks.
Here’s what Visual Scripting actually looks like, with some examples from a Wave 6 quest!
And, hey, how do you keep sane with all these nodes and variables?
Script is recruiting! We are also looking for more programmers, designers, artists, modelers, animators, audio engineers, and testers. If you want to help out please consider joining us. You can apply here.
If you have any questions regarding today’s blog post or how to join the project, or just want to chat, feel free to join our Discord community: TOmS Community Discord
Our Discord community is the best place to keep up to date with the latest news in the development of Ashes and to meet fellow fans of both the project and the fandom at large, though we are also active on our Twitter account here: Overmare Studio Twitter