Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The MineCon Adventure Map

So, back to how it all got started with the Broken Buttons!

As I started out on the build team, the senior builders would leave messages for me in Skype and ask me to do small paragraphs.

I wrote a few summaries for some websites concerning maps I had never seen, mentally praising my informative writing professor Dr. Spence for teaching me the value of action verbs and word limits.  Although I'd originally thought that everybody was hard at work on Kingdom of the Sky III, it seemed to be on hold.  The upcoming project was some kind of map for MineCon that featured Mindcrackers.

Doesn't sound like a big deal, right?

Or so I thought.  Here's the teaser trailer:

At 0:15 when Guude speaks, official nerd-outs began.

As it so happened, it was a map designed to showcase the entirely redesigned resource pack system, which included for the first time custom sounds.  In addition, it was the official MineCon map, and needed to have references to Mojang, the history of Minecraft, and lots of other things I had no idea about.

And they needed a script done ASAP, because they were going to distribute it on USB drives in the MineCon goodie bags, and Guude had to get it all sorted out a few weeks in advance.  The builders had to have time to finish the map, add the custom monsters and all additional redstone devices (apparently there have been significant changes in command blocks that now render all this hard work a whole lot easier) and on top of it all, debug the entire play space.

They. Were. NUTS.

And I was apparently as crazy as all the rest of them.

This time praising my choice to take Play Writing instead of Technical Writing in college, (yet cursing my short-sightedness in not also taking Script Writing), I roughed out a script format in Google Docs and shared it on the private Broken Buttons forums.

Then the mad writing began!  I took multiple tours of the different completed areas in the map, trying to fit them all into the script in their correct order, and then make that order seem logical.  I couldn't believe that the team had made these enormous, beautiful builds without knowing precisely where they were going to fit into the plot!

But that, as it turns out, is a lore writer's job.  They build it, we interpret it into the overarching story for the players.

So I worked, wrote, deleted, and wrote some more.  I tried to get the Mindcrackers into my head enough so that I could write them believable dialogue using some of their inside jokes and catch phrases.  I factored in the different quests and requirements laid out in the flow diagram and spreadsheets.  I got confused, held quick TeamSpeak conferences with some very patient builders, and then went back and rewrote entire pages.

And finally, I reached the point where I either needed to tell the builders the script was finished, or spend the next week picking over it looking for errors.

...I sent a message and took my hands off of the keyboard.  And then (of course!) I panicked.  What if it wasn't good enough?  What if I had missed something crucial?

What if the Mindcrackers hated it?

For all my years of college study, I have never had anything published by a paying publisher.  I have written a few successful fanfictions (some more than others), and I'd only submitted one short story to a publisher because I was forced to in Short Story Writing.  (And subsequently rejected, which we were all warned would happen.  I still have the rejection letter somewhere, to remind me that success doesn't happen at first.)

Thus, I am a huge critic of myself, and I fear public humiliation.

But then BTC sent us a zipped file of all the sound clips that the Mindcrackers had recorded so far.  I opened the file, and just listened.

They were saying my words.  With almost-straight faces.  My words.

(Bet you can't guess what happened next.)

Fangirl Fiesta!

It was beyond awesome!  I wanted to dance around like a moron!  (I restrained myself for the public safety of everyone I might have given black eyes to with my flailing fists.)

And then came the questions.  As it turns out, when you're the one who writes the script, that sort of makes you the authority when it comes to last-minute details.  The other builders, (particularly the redstone team) were working for hours just up until the deadline debugging, tweaking, and making sure everything ran all right.

(I even helped work on some building while I was online.  I actually designed and built most of the Museum of Mojang in the final area at the end of the game.)

Finally, finally, I thought it might be all over when the teammates attending MineCon started leaving for Orlando.  I had already sent the Pause plushie up to Washington state for Whitherunn, and he had arrived safely.

(I myself was heading north to visit my parents in New York.)  But over the weekend I watched the feeds from MineCon, checked for updates, and kept my eye on Twitter.

Perhaps my favorite moment from all of this was from Mhykol:

(To this day, I have no idea if he knew I was the lore writer on the project.)

The feeling of accomplishment was amazing.  I had finished something!  And for the most part, people liked it!  I felt like I was ready for the next project, whatever it was.

(No, you don't get a hint right now.  Check back tomorrow!)

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