Must be Monday: Random Bits & Bytes
Today, this is my 700th post on the site. I’ve been upping my game. I’m writing like crazy. I’m posting like mad. And, from time to time, I catch your eye with some glittery bit of wisdom.
Today may be one of those days. Let’s get down to discussing the point of diminishing returns which falls within a discussion of the devil in the details. I’ve had my head down researching more minutiae today, prompting today’s post.
In Echo, there is a lot of detail, at least in the present draft. This is to round out the world and provide a well grounded experience, but how much detail is too much? This is something touched upon over the weekend and there is a fine line between telling you how long it takes to make chain mail and what type of metal and tools you need to properly make little, metal circlets. I will not do that for you. I prefer to paint in broad strokes and fill in as necessary. When I am giving you the detail, especially for something which is steeped in the factual, I want to make sure I’ve got my facts as right as I can or, at the very least, plausible or “fuzzy facts”. Certainly, there are no wild zebras running loose on the sea islands of Charleston, but if I detail out brief histories of the sea islands and other facts, I could tell you about the British United Carnival Entertainments, Ltd., owned and operated by Lord Michael Mathews, were aboard the H.M.S. Percival when it got caught in gale force winds in 1834 and wrecked on Morris Island and how the zebras somehow not only survived but thrived and have now spread across some of the other sea islands between learning to navigate the shallow sounds and learning tidal patterns. You might even believe there are wild zebras around Charleston, but there aren’t, nor did I include them in Echo. I’d like to think all my hard work in the fact side of the scoreboard would buy some good will on the other side of the board. I know I’d give some lattitude.
The thing is when you get the facts and you’re set on them, sometimes a domino effect occurs as it did today. There was this one place (true) in the custody of two groups (also true), but I could only find the details about the first group on the first pass through, but a few hours research today enabled me to get the other bit. The thing is, neither fact ultimately matters, but they could. Who knows? A truly great adventure could arise for someone out there once they read those particular words. The truth is, it doesn’t really matter to most folks, but it does to me. I’d know. A work should speak to the honesty, integrity, and diligence of its creator. In the end, only I’ll know if I got it right, but I’ll be second-guessing myself if I didn’t get those little facts right. The thing is, if I was just manufacturing all this stuff, like I do with RunePunk and Iron Dynasty, it wouldn’t matter as much. Certainly, I’d want consistency across a product line–my team keeps me squared away on that stuff–but I wouldn’t spend as much time on some elements as I did on these things today.
While the real world can be easier to write about, it can also be harder and more demanding. It requires a different skill set. One most be a researcher, an archaeologist, and have the ability to sort through everything to get down to what you need. It’s not a want for some of us for whom attention to detail matters but, I’ll say it again, a need. Does it necessarily make for a better work? No. It does, however, slant things in its favor. If nothing else, it will be an honest work, an honest effort, and you can sleep easy knowing you gave the work, the property, and the fans, the attention it deserves.
The fact was found and you would’ve thought I just got 100% completion on Demon’s Souls or some other impossible task. I felt good and I think it’ll show in the work. I also think I’ll make sure I do something with those facts–weave a Mythos Tale around them or some such. Even if I don’t, I hope it makes your experience better. All facts need spotlight time to keep the players on their toes. The game begins once they start reading the book and those who take the time to read the Investigator’s Section of the work should be rewarded for doing so.
Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!