ODD RESEARCH WORK TO DEVELOP CONVINCING JOBS FOR CHARACTERS
Posted on April 2, 2015
I wanted the reader to see the work side of the main character and how it accents the personality trait of someone more comfortable with living in the past. Being a fan of video games, I also built upon that and soon found myself researching the Cambrian perion and Trilobites. I loved finding out unique details and the idea that trilobites enrolled was something that really excited me.
What I like about this chapter is that in developing it, I concocted a game that sounds like something I'm now dying to play.
Here's the rough cut of Chapter 11:
The weird phone didn't offer up any other questions for the rest of the day. He spent the afternoon watching television and fielding several work emails. He tried to keep his thoughts from dwelling on the weirdness that had intruded into his life. He didn't want to have anything to do with it. He did feel bad for Renee. She didn't deserve any of it.
He did some work from home that night to take his mind off their bizarre circumstances. He worked for Checkered Past, a high-profile video game company, as a fact checker. With their breakout series being a time travel third-person shooter, he had plenty of history to check.
Right now he was reviewing the flora and fauna of the Cambrian Period, the most diverse and complex ecosystem to have existed on Earth. He brought up the world-building file on that excursion, what they called each level of the game, and reviewed the recent write-up and renderings of the sentient Trilobites Mark's team had designed.
He watched several new videos depicting the big Trilobite nicknamed Mighty Joe Fun as it enrolled at least three different ways. The third approach looked the most authentic and convincing, and he cast his vote for it in the survey section of the document.
With 17,000 known species of Trilobite to choose from, the development team had narrowed their shelled adversaries to five distinct types, all marine-based, with one that could burst from the water and fly for limited distances with the aid of rather convincing retractable wings. Whipping up a series of anatomy questions about the mutations Mark had suggested for the sprawling trilobite army Hudson would face halfway through the excursion, he got mired in greenlighting the ferns and underwater life that would be key elements of the terrain in that sequence.
His job was to ask questions, to request clarification, and to sometimes recommend scrapping designs or plot points that didn't jibe with the historical record. It didn't make him the most popular person on the team, but he had earned a grudging respect from the developers because nine times out of ten his changes were warranted.
Having come to the Trekker series with its second adventure and helped build the brand further with four more record-shattering follow-ups, he felt secure in his job. This seventh game threatened to be their biggest one yet. Leaked videos of early level play had the hardcore on all platforms clamoring for this next one.
He took a snack break and pulled up the file on the subterranean trek beneath Hollow Island. Much of the game's success could be attributed to its free-play nature and just the wealth of areas players could roam through on each excursion. Trekker games always had claustrophobic underground sequences as a main method of powering the time catapult was to gather chronimium, ore debris scattered throughout time by the ancient master race known as the Trivids.
He'd devote another hour on the game's underground denizens and fungal colonies before calling it a night.
He liked spending time in the past just as long as it wasn't his.