The Lodgge Podcast Episode 13

Meet Kaitlin Tremblay (Soft Rains), Meagan Byrne (Achimo Games), and Tanya Kan (Vivid Foundry).

Published On: 28 March 2023Categories: The Lodgge PodcastTags: , ,

On this special episode of The Lodgge Podcast, join the panelists of the Collaborative Worldbuilding Indie Superboost! Kaitlin Tremblay, Meagan Byrne, and Tanya Kan dive deep into their methods and approaches to worldbuilding as team in their respective game dev studios!

Lucie  0:00  

Welcome to all to a very special indie Super boost. So in this group boost is guided by Indies and produce for indies. And it’s supported by the Canada Media Fund. And we’ve been inviting special guests throughout the year. So today is very special, though, because it’s International Women’s Day. And we have three inspiring women who will talk to you about a collaborative world building today. So Happy International Women’s Day to all of us. And it’s great that we have more and more women in our industry. So we are also doing something special today, we usually don’t record or in this produce, because they’re very intimate discussions. But they we will record the panel portion of the interviews, because we do think that, you know, a lot of people want to hear these three inspiring women. So we’re going to record it and also produce it as a podcast on the launch. So you’ll be able to watch it by checking out the, or our YouTube channel Lodgge. So the other thing that I want to say is that Kaitlin will be leading the panel is releasing a book today on collaborative world building for video games. So major congrats to you, Kaitlin. And we’re so very proud to have you and your co panelists today to discuss it. So I will introduce Kaitlin and then Kaitlin will introduce our panelists or at least pass the baton to our panelists to introduce themselves. So Kaitlin Trombley, is a writer and a narrative designer. She has done work at cross the industry for indies, AAA mobile arg games, so a lot of experience there. And Kaitlin is currently an advisor for GDC indie game Summit. A few of our credits include Grindstone watchdog, Legion, and a mortician tail keeping experience as focus on integrating gameplay and narrative and community organization. Specifically for the career developers like herself. She absolutely I didn’t know that loves her and monsters, and used to make tech space hard games. So without further ado, I’m passing on to you Kaitlin to kick start the panel.

Kait  3:09  

Thank you so much, Lucy, for that introduction. Yeah, I am a huge horror fan. That is a big part of how I make media. Um, yeah, I just wanted to kind of kick this off and just say thank you i o for hosting us today. This panel is gonna be a lot of fun. I’m really looking forward to it. And thank you, Megan, and Tanya, for joining me to talk about world building. So I’ll actually toss it off to both of you to introduce yourselves. Tanya, if you want to go first.

Tanya 3:37  

Oh Hi, my name is Tanya Caen, and I’m a developer now with about 10 years of indie development experience as well as small studio experience, sometimes adjacent to games. I had my start in helping build in UDK with basically back when it was unreal engine three. And now for a good several years now I’ve been running my studio called vivid foundry. And what we focus on are story driven games that focus on very, basically socially engaged ideas. So what impacts society in a rapid way. And a lot of that is drawn from my background in political science and cinema studies to really flourish out the world in order to talk about relationships between characters so I’m super excited to partake in world building because I Kaitlin you’ve taught me so much about like world building you collaborated with me before and as I was like, looking through like the some of the title questions, I was like, oh, yeah, Kaitlin taught me this. I’m so excited to talk about this. So thank you so much for inviting me and congratulations on your book launch.

Kait  4:50  

Thank you. That’s really cool. I don’t remember teaching you anything but

Tanya  4:55  

there was a whiteboard and I do.

Kait  4:58  

I do remember collaborating with you. only on your game and that was awesome. Okay, me I can do an Introduce yourself.

Meagan  5:05  

tansy me again, Nicholson abattoir co season Hamilton, Ontario Mnuchin Hi, my name is Meagan Byrne and I am asked by cosi son are federally recognized as metis of Metis nation of Ontario. And I live and work in Hamilton, Ontario. I have a weird background. I’ve done many things. But I actually got my my start in arts in theater. So I actually worked as a set and lighting designer, and then live sound technician for years before I moved into games. I currently run my own studio, which got started in 2017, called Atmos Dallastown games, which is an indigenous run and majority indigenous staffed game company also had run to Hamilton, Ontario, but we have staff from like all over Turtle Island, agile, most Alliston as a Cree word that means tell us a story. So we’re telling us a story games, and actually our short form at demo games, that’s easier for people to say, mean story games. So I really love that. So for us, it’s always been about creating new Indigenous stories that reflect our current experience that aren’t necessarily grounded in education or in, you know, the past, it’s all about now. So for us, here, we’re always thinking about the future. We do a lot in indigenous future isms. We also do indigenous sci fi. And the big difference between those two is futurism is is when you’re like, really trying to explore what could the future be like where a sci fi is? We’re talking about right now, but we’re gonna put some chrome on it. And for me, actually, Kaitlin was the one that made me really reconsider what it is to be a narrative designer. So I’ve actually even changed my, my role and titles reflect that. So I call myself a narrative mechanics designer, because that’s really what I do, because the two cannot be separated. And it’s thanks to Kaitlyn that I realized that thank you for having me.

Kait  7:09  

That’s awesome. Wow, I’m so I’m so honored. And I’m so I’m honestly I’m so excited to be having this conversation with both of you. Because both of both the work you both do is so intentional and world building, right and like, it’s like having had the chance to work if Tanya and Megan haven’t had a chance to play a little bit of like Hill agency, when you think you had a demo at last year, it’s like, there’s a lot of the world that just you can feel it through like the game mechanics, you can feel it through the art at the start, like world building in both of your games is not just like a thing that exists in a World Bible and that it lives in it dies there, right, like you really feel it in every bit of of both of your work. And, and that’s a really exciting thing I want to talk about just a bit of context, the book that kind of spurned all of this, this panel, and it’s gonna be like the framing device for this is about collaborative world building for video games. And it’s not just about like the fact that like, world building is a thing that famously, you know, writers and narrative designers and storytellers do. But world building is also something that game designers do, and stuff that artists do and stuff that even programmers and audio director and audio folks do. Everybody contributes to world building. And there’s a lot of practical in this and world building that I think is like, really interesting for us as game devs to kind of grapple with, right, like, how are we actually surfacing the world to our players? And how are we doing that together. And so that’s kind of that’s what my book is about. And that’s kind of what I want this panel to be about. So we can just jump right on into it. I have some questions to ask you both. And I’ll let I’ll let you decide who to answer first. But for the first question, I kind of just wanted to get just straight into it. Like how does worldbuilding affect the ways in which you develop all Parsee? Your games? Right, like, how does it affect mechanics or art direction? And every every bit of it? So yeah, I’m curious. Okay,

Tanya  8:57  

I’ll go first, if that’s okay. Um, so worldbuilding absolutely, I think is the core of what I start off with beyond even sometimes like locking down the characters. It’s so important to me, because it’s really the themes or the modus operandi of the game, where we are actually informed a lot for foundries game solid state, my company’s game solid state, is affected by world building. And a lot of this has to do with First of all, the game mechanics are game mechanics as a 3d visual novel is still more based on verbs that are written. And so our core game loop is really about trust. So those are the core choices that you’re making. How can you build trust in the choices that you make? And sometimes that’s not an easy answer, but trust us choices in terms of social trust. How are you building a trustworthy kind of reputation? Haitian as an activist, that’s basically what you’re playing as I forgot to introduce the game altogether. But basically, you’re an activist in the cyberpunk world of biotech revolution, and there’s a lot of militia that’s trying to take away your freedom. So in that very uneven balance of power, how are you building trust amongst people who you hope? Are your friends? How are you building trust? So a lot of that is layered into our world building. And some of that is in what kind of city is it? What kind of avenues contribute to a sense that there can be gatherings and there can be places where there are small avenues, for example, where secrets can hide? There’s graffiti, there’s gossip, how can an analog world actually thrive when there is so much digital gossip and this information? So we’re really playing around with those ideas, and then through our aesthetic choice, and we’re really emphasizing actually on it, they still be happens during daylight. This is a very bright game, insofar as it’s not the dark cyberpunk. And it’s a little dark. It’s a little Oh, sorry, it’s a little more bright than the usual dark cyberpunk look. But the emphasize the emphasis on Cyberpunk is really about the elements of people on the fringes, who are not getting access to the things that they need. So we’re really looking at marginalized communities, and how are they interfacing with technology in a different way. And this also plays into a lot of our formal structure as well. We decided to go with a visual novel, to emphasize our choices. And especially the psychological complexity, I didn’t want anything to really interrupt that flow of gameplay, and allow us to really play around with how 3d buildings look as well. So in the game, we have an unusual aesthetic of cutting through 3d buildings to reveal information, but it also obscures information at the same time. So there’s a little bit of a play of obfuscation of uncanniness, if you will, that is really much very much tied into worldbuilding. urbanity, how do we talk about digital reality? Actually not being as open as it could be? How do we talk about the hubris of looking at technology through the lens of technology is going to save us or bring us to a future where things are seemingly Utopia ik so and that’s really not for everyone, because the society that solid state is built in is inherently, unfortunately, very unequal. So it’s like, how do we address those inequities?

Kait  13:11  

Yeah, thank you for that. But yeah, so

Meagan  13:13  

for us, we do a couple of things. So we’re very much of its will will building is very much a collaborative experience at our office. And I think a lot of that comes from a lot of my work with utopias, which a lot of time end up being like a single person’s vision of everything. And one of the things that I think I realized really early on, is that can lead to very narrow worlds that can easily feel like you don’t belong there, even if it’s made for you. So like, we do a couple of things. So very, like very first thing is we think about, just what do we want to make, like what do we want here? And it doesn’t have to be any kind of real format or, you know, very stringent, we got to do it this way. We’re just like, what kind of thing even want like Hill agency actually got started? Funnily enough as a new era detective dating sim, where instead of solving the mystery, well, while solving the mystery, you were also suppose you could like hook up with anybody. And it was like a disaster. Because you could you could end up hooking up with the murderer. Yeah, we were just like happy with this letter. And then I was like, No, you know what, this isn’t really what we want to do. You know, we were kind of going through a lot of different things, certain things started happening, kind of like in indigenous spaces that we actually wanted to talk about. And you know, our team has been through a couple of iterations. It’s only now that our team has really like stabled out into what it is right now. But when I first started, we essentially do like writing rooms, where I would be like, Okay, so here are the mechanics that I thought of, you know, do you want to talk about that how those work? Or do you want to talk about other things? And then so some people want to talk with the mechanics, but other people like, I don’t really care about that. But I’m really interested in how currency might work. So I’m gonna go do a bunch of research about that. And I’ll bring it we had this big master document. And I was just like, even if you don’t have anything to add in terms of like a concrete, I think it should be this, put your questions in. And what we ended up generating was a big mix of questions like, why do people do this? Like you say you want this? Why do people do that? Or would it be interesting if people had access to such and such, so one of the things that kind of came out of all this is, and again, these things that end up in this document, you will not be able to just know from playing our game, but it really informs the design behind everything. So one of the big things is, there’s terminals everywhere, that are just these like leftover search ports, that don’t really work. There’s very limited stuff on it. And they’re all run through mycelium network that is slowly taking over and being re appropriated by the local to use for other means. And you would not know that if you played it, but it really did change a lot of like, well, how does the structure of it work? Where would it be placed? What would be around it? What kind of sounds would it make? So like, right now, when you turn on the terminal? If I don’t know if anyone’s been into this, there’s, there’s people who like plug those little sound things into mushrooms to get sounds, it’s that kind of audio. But you know, we we never would have added that little feature if we hadn’t kind of gone from well, okay, so they have to have this old infrastructure. Well, what happens over time, oh, this happens, okay, then, like maybe the mycelium takes over? Well, we could just use that for the internet. So we’re, it’s a very collaborative, very, it’s very fun, I think for us. And I’m also really big on letting everybody on the team who kind of touches the project to have their say, I’m very big on trusting the team to make their own decisions. I’ve put together the document, I’ve created kind of like a, here’s an aesthetic that we’re going for. And I kind of like have out her and then show me what you got, and nine times out of 10 what I get is way better than whatever I could have come up with. And I for me, that’s this My favorite part about world building games is when you’re not alone, when you’re doing it with a team. And when you’re playing off each other. And when you trust each other to play off. And, and when you kind of give up ownership. I think it’s I mean, growing up with games, a lot of the stuff that I heard was that was very collaborative, but like, X person was doing this, and they got to do the writing. And maybe the artists got to have some say, but you know, not really. And I feel like that’s that kind of became more and more than norm to like have these sort of siloed you know, spaces for designers and developers and creatives in games where the world started feeling almost like it’s not talking to itself. And for me, I think that’s has a lot to do with like, how do you empower your team to let your world talk to itself? Because your team is your game world, like really the programmer, the the sound designers, the artists, those are making your world so in fact, they are part of the world and they should be part of that world building process.

Kait  18:48  

I really appreciate the way you said like the world isn’t talking to itself when you’re siloed. Right, because like I think that’s the thing that I’m really interested in is the way in which like programming the way it sets up like physics, the way he talks about your boundaries about programs like it like Monster AI, like all of that is world building, right? Like all of that is saying something about how things are contributing how they work in the world, but movements like and, and you’re right, if if those are not all aligned, then the world isn’t speaking to itself. And I think that’s such a great way of phrasing that. I also think like a lot of world built, just like on paper when you think about stories is a lot of like, you know, power like Tanya, you’re talking about, like how do you navigate power imbalances and how, like, the role of gossip in political systems is that so much world building, right? It’s like, where are people allowed to speak were they not allowed to speak and like all these kinds of things? I think that’s like the really interesting fodder of world building and I really, really like the way both of you approach that and we’re talking about that. That’s all very interesting and very, very cool to me. Um, okay, so So kind of piggybacking off of that that’s when world building goes great. What are the common pitfalls you try to avoid? In your world building? Like, what are the things you try to watch out for?

Tanya  20:08  

Okay, sure. Um, so this is something that we are currently struggling with. And it is a very common problem even with non narrative games, and it is scope. So, for our team at solo stay, we really want to tackle the idea of how can we have something where the moral of the story is hopeful, despite despite all of these incredibly difficult challenges of speaking truth to power, and this is very true today. This is very true 10 years ago, this is very true across all different forms of international activism, and how activism talks to one another, especially in an under violent regimes. So over the course of this, one of my tools has been to actually go to talk to people who were on the front lines around the world to understand their perspective, because I’ve only read from textbooks beforehand, I’ve only read from documentaries, or read well, you can read documentaries, sure, watched documentaries, and even watched biopics associated with movements. Famously like the world about war of Algiers. So in terms of like classical filmmaking, and the difficulty of all of that is how to use then communicate that with a team and try to compress so much historical content and research into something that’s cohesive. So that’s something that I really struggled with one of the challenges of the helping frame that has been really to work with more consultants, editors. But nonetheless, over the course of creating our spreadsheets of basically our our World Bible, it’s still doubled in our final like, word count, basically, and the number of branches. And one of the things I was pretty insistent on you’re including is a fairly experienced activist as one of the main characters. Her name is us, Wally, and she’s Afro Brazilian coded. So having someone who has that experience definitely led to a bigger project in a way because then her experience is helping build out not just for example, like one engagement in terms of like one protest, but it leads over time it becomes like, not just a one off of an experience. But over time, how does movements build, and that’s become the story that we really wanted to tell. So the pitfalls really has to do with like, well, it’s story driven, the scope is really difficult to tighten, when there are so many themes ongoing, so many choices that can relate to the theme of trust and social trust. Another one is that the narrative really has to finish first before the level design for us, especially because we’re we’re working with a 3d landscape, and the words themselves have to work within the real estate of the game. And then, it’s like, we also tried to make it very relevant to today’s modern protest movements, rather than the ones historically, like say, I don’t know, the French Revolution, we weren’t going that far back. And there were a lot of things that happened in the last six years that really did contribute to us changing how we talk about, for example, marginalized communities, such as Black Lives Matters, talking about movements. So how do other for example, migrant laborers, engage with different activist movements? So like, working with that, and then like, how do the middle class different groups, say, for example, Occupy Wall Street, then also slowly start becoming radicalized and engage in an engaged way and a progressive, more and more progressive and left leaning? So it was like looking at all of those flows. I think even from hearing myself talk, I’m like, oh, no, this is scope creep right here. So I’m demonstrating exactly the PIP falls. And furthermore, I think it’s like, the story of all of this is in some ways about intergenerational trauma. And I had a really difficult time with just mental health, of how can I talk about these issues in a way that lets me like, Have rest at night without me just like constantly rolling it through my head and, and thinking, oh, there’s still another story that I want to tell with this. And I think at the end of the day, I just have to like, step back and say, No, we’ve told what we wanted to tell here. It’s okay. And I think a lot of that has to do with basically my team collaboratively saying, that’s really good. Yes. And I think that’s good enough, you’ve told that part of the story. And it’s okay, someone else will build on that. Right. Like, hopefully, you know, if someone likes the game, or even they if they have questions, then they’ll build on that. So yeah, those were some of the pitfalls that I had.

Kait  26:08  

Yeah, I think, I think you’ve hit on something that’s really, really crucial for us as as we’re world building, right? It’s like, finding that line of what we’re able to tell in the space that we have, while acknowledging that we’ve also created space for all these other stories, right? Like, to me, that’s the hallmark of like that it’s good world building, because it’s so expansive, there’s other places you could go. And it’s tempting to want to go all those places. So it’s good to have a team that can be like, This isn’t our focus. It’s good. I can gesture to it. Yeah, that’s, that’s cool. Megan, you want to go for the question?

Meagan  26:40  

Yeah. So like, 100%? The scope thing? Like, yeah, for us, we’re like, well put on the DLC, just get it out. Next game. Next. Put it in the list. But I think for me, when I see what I would call frustrating worldbuilding, where you’re like, Oh, wow. And then you were like, no, like, is I find usually when they’re not asking themselves hard questions. And they are not self aware of their own political positioning. So that overwhelmingly, I have found is what causes what I call frustrating world building, where, and I think you actually see this a lot in folk horror. Where I mean, I don’t pay sorry, tangential to like the history of folklore. But folklore, is a type of horror that was specifically designed to justify Christian colonial behaviors in Gaelic. And, I guess, Anglo Saxon areas, to make themselves feel good about being that dominant force, because that group sacrifices children. It’s, and we see this all the time, in a lot of things. So, you know, the history of folklore is quite, quite old. And that is an example of what I would call frustrating world building, because it asked questions that it is uncomfortable in answering, or that it will throw an answer out at you. And you’re like, that does not track with my understanding of the history of these things. And I think frustrating world building gets is more frustrating for people who have a, a general or not a general who have especially, you know, when it comes to like indigenous nations, or the press stuff, who are like, I know the history of that place, I actually know what you’re referring to, do you know what you’re referring to? Because you’re presenting it as a when it’s actually x. And this is where I think a lot of marginalized people get frustrated with the status quo. Because oftentimes, these things are used as shorthand for things that they do not really represent. And I usually call them uncanny signifiers, because they’re uncanny to the people from within that culture, because they see it on the screen presented. And then they’re like, that’s not what that means. I can see what you’re doing with it. But that’s not what that means. You have taken something from my culture, you are using it for a shorthand to represent something in your own culture. Do you know what you’ve just said? It’s almost like taking a French word. That’s a swear word and using it in English to talk about your kid and how sweet they are. It’s like, these things can cause conflicts of understanding in people who are familiar with the originator. So yeah, that’s one of the things that I think has been for me and especially As an indigenous person, seeing the use of in indigenous culture as shorthand in world building to represent, you know, spiritually enlightened, Savage, primitive, and it can become frustrating, because you realize that they’ve not seen what they’ve presented through to its natural conclusion. So, you know, in a culture that has, I’m not naming names, but in a culture that has such an important birth ceremony, it follows that it should have as equally as important a death ceremony. But if you’re, if you’re writing from a culture that is deeply uncomfortable with death, as many European cultures are deeply uncomfortable with death, it creates a situation where you’re like, there’s something not right here. And I cannot put my finger on it, but audiences know they know. And it, it carries through and it starts tainting everything else in your world. Because now you have this, this unease, and you start looking at other things in this world. And you’re like, well, like, that doesn’t make sense. And that, yeah, and then it builds on itself. And then all of a sudden, people are like, I really liked it at first, but by the end, I just, I can’t figure out why. And then, of course, somebody writes an essay years later, you’re like, Ah, that was it. Yeah. Much props to all the YouTubers doing deep analysis of video game world building. You’re doing God’s work.

Kait  31:33  

Yes, seriously. It’s incredible. Yeah, I, Tanya, I can see videos again. So I wanted to give you an opportunity. Is there something you wanted to say in response? Because you look like you were quite engaged with let me I wanted to throw it back to

Tanya 31:49  

my god, there were so many things. I started writing things down, because I love what you said about uncanny signifiers. Um, I think we’re structured in a way that I have kind of the final. So sometimes, like just, I, we started off with like, really fast paced, because I’m not good at that. You can tell by the way that I ramble. You know, fast, fast paced scenes, which is normally strength, but I’m so glad that we have that kind of framework. But I love that idea that you mentioned about uncanny signifiers, because I was like, should I mention about stereotypes, especially Asian stereotypes? Especially Asian woman stereotypes, where there’s not supposed to be any queers whatsoever. Zero queers, queers or for other cultures I’m stop being absolutely sarcastic, by the way for just to just to be absolutely clear, please do not edit this video so that it cuts off right before I say sarcasm. Um, but yeah, so it’s, it’s really so much that. And, you know, some of it could be racial uncanny signifiers, if I may borrow that term, um, that aren’t even perpetuated within a certain culture itself. And therefore, I think you really get that kind of play of power dynamics where, say, for example, an older character really, actually starts replicating systems of trauma towards their younger generation. In solid state, we do have a character like that. And I really want to hit that nuance of the difficulty of moving within that relationship and how that can really fracture within just a family unit, but also within a greater kind of neighborhood society. Like it has bigger ramifications. It really is so much about I think, like the personal is political. And yeah, I like what you mentioned about like, not asking enough hard questions about political nuance. I think that’s so much part of it that I’m talking about this work now. Like, I might even take for granted and some people then ask me, I have a really hard time actually marketing this. Because I have a hard time explaining what is personal is political. Like, to me I take that phrase completely for granted. And to me, it means basically like what affects say, for example, my economics and my social opportunities personally may have bigger, deeper societal ramifications that other queer woman have because I’m also subjected to certain discrimination that might or might be passive or might be carry over, for example, and that carries through into the different forms of behavior from the people that I meet to the structures that I see. So, in that we really try to build in that kind of world building such that you can actually tell that different characters have different opportunity, some some characters, just, nevermind, I nearly gave a spoil. Ah, yeah. So okay, some characters have more opportunities than others. I think I can say it that way. Just didn’t go straight to the ending there. Yeah, I think the pitfalls associated with that is sometimes like we start off with one of our Asian characters is very shy, and is a foodie. And I think like, sometimes it’s like, folks first approach to it, and a culture might be the food. And that’s all there is. So we really have to ask more questions about how is this character not just shy? As a as a young mask presenting person, how is he not just shy, but there’s like, reasons behind why he’s a little bit more like shrunken, like doesn’t take up that much space. Isn’t the first one to speak up, that finds his own ground, and how do we develop this character? Yeah, and I think we really try to emphasize not just roles of East Asian. We’re women in the game, that are very infrequently seen that we definitely really try to work against that stereotype of like, the Asian kind of wallpaper character who’s just always very subservient. For all genders, basically. But I definitely did fall into that pitfall of like, okay, well, how do I not make this character seem like, like, almost too much of like, the opposite of a stereotype such that it becomes almost like a car curvature of, because then we were kind of breaking away from the tone. Yeah, and then it’s like, okay, if we break away from that toe, what are we losing? Are we are you moving away from the whole framework of like, hope, for example, that we want it to create trust? And in a way, yes, cuz it doesn’t like jive with the rest of the game. So yeah, that’s that’s kind of where, where we had some pitfalls, for sure. I really like that. You mentioned that. That’s something that over the because it’s been a while since we really focused on the writing portion. So yeah, that’s something that I took for granted for a bit.

Meagan  37:48  

Yeah, yeah. Like the point you make about people like intergenerational trauma, people do things for reasons somebody is not just somebody who’s not just turned into themselves, because that’s their personality, somebody turns into themselves because of things that happened and things that have been pulled from previous generations forward. So I’m a big lover of Umberto Eco, who everyone knows we’re like, or fascism, but actually what his like what he is very good at. And I don’t remember exactly if he has a word for what it is. But his entire philosophy is very similar, I would say to a type of detective thing, like, so if you have Sherlock Holmes is deductive and inductive reasoning, and Berto is unraveling reasoning. So what he likes to do is, how do we find the threads of what makes us now what we are? Where did those threads come from? What where was that pulled from? Because we are ourselves, a collection of the things we have read the people we have met, the people who raised us, the environments we grew up in, these are all the threads that make us who we are. What he likes to do is I’m going to pick a color in your tapestry, and I’m going to pull until I find where that comes from. And then I’m going to see where that color came from. And I’m gonna pull in this direction. And so what I like about his work is because he also works in fiction as well as in philosophy. Things like Name of the Rose was literally an experiment in how do you make an ER like a pre Sherlock who made Sherlock who made Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who made his mentor who came up with these theories. How do we pull that out? That’s how I look at this is what I say when I say a lot of these world builders do not ask themselves these hard questions. They do not like to pull the thread of who they are. They do not want to look at where are these threats coming from? And where did those threats come from but you have to you like if you’re going to a world is not you? A world is the threat It set me up, you need to pull them to make sure that what you’re saying is what you mean to say.

Kait  40:07  

Yeah, you have so many succinct ways of explaining things. It’s like like world building. world building at its heart, right? It’s interconnections right. It’s like, how does environment create creatures? How to but then also like, how does like political systems create people? And how do people respond to political systems? And how did creatures respond? Like everything is interconnected, right? And there’s layerings of history, and geography and culture that influences that right. And I think like, the biggest pitfall I’ve come across is like, yes, failing to engage with the depths of those interconnections, and how things speak to each other. So and also, like, not recognizing that, like, you can create a fully new world, but you’re still from this world. So you’re still bringing baggage from this world. And like, at least acknowledging that gives you at least a bright point to start, like, knowing you have questions to ask and to answer. Right. So I also am being aware of the time I think we’re at the q&a portion. So yeah, before we jump into QA, thank you both so much. I’m so sorry about my audio issues. This has been absolutely awesome to listen to. And now I wish I was writing my book now.

Ethan  41:19  

I am actually just gonna do a quick wrap up before we hop into q&a. Thank you so much, Kaitlin, me again, Tanya, and everyone for joining the panel portion of today’s indie Super boost. And thank you to the audience for watching this at This has been episode 13 of the launch podcast Scott we’ll be back next week with our usual format featuring battle goes studios and we look forward to seeing you there. Thank you to Ontario creates for your continued support and everyone take care.

Kaitlin Tremblay, Meagan Byrne, and Tanya Kan.

Kaitlin Tremblay is a lead designer and writer, in both AAA and indie and now narrative director and Co-Founder at Soft Rains. Meagan Byrne is the Mechanics/Narrative Designer and founder of Achimo Games, and Tanya Kan is the Founder and Game Designer at Vivid Foundry.

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