Epoch Dev Blog – #11: 21/06/2021 – The Four Ages

Hello! I wanted to talk about an idea I’ve been toying with the past few weeks, and I haven’t written anything into it yet beyond reorganising my notebooks, so this will be a good chance to get it down into words and figure out exactly how I want it to come across.

I’ve thus-far been focusing on the ‘present day’ of Epoch, the Age of Ash, which exists in the aftermath of a cataclysmic event and long after the planet of Covenant saw its strongest species fall into obscurity. This has made sense, logically, as I intend to set any game projects in that era of the world’s history and it offers the most in terms of opportunity for expansion and diversion into new ideas driven by player engagement, rather than being locked into a predetermined history of events. However, I do still want to develop the history of the world to bring the Age of Ash to life with more intensity and engagement – and to that end, I’ve formalised the other three main ‘Ages’ of the planet’s history.

I don’t want to give too much away immediately here, if only because I hate committing to things in these posts and then making a new one next month immediately walking it back. The names of the Ages, however, say a fair bit already; The Age of Birth, Age of Conquest and Age of War, respectively as we move through the timeline. The idea of each is to distinguish periods of Covenant’s history that held significant cultural and/or technological differences, with the intention to write within each of these periods almost as small worlds in their own right and draw a through-thread across them that tracks how the species reach their points in the ‘present day’. I would quite like to write a book on each Age, something like a compendium or loosely-flowing anthology of stories that document key events and characters within each Age that exemplify how they felt and looked.

Now that’s obviously far and away a project for the future – not only because I don’t know how long it would take me to write that much, but also because I need to properly develop out each of these Ages before I start writing ‘formally’ in them. I can imagine that they wouldn’t be written in chronological order, if only because the Age of Birth interests me far less compared to the later ones, but I’d probably try to have them all written before attempting to release any. All far off in the distance right now, this post is just to state the idea and formalise it as a future for the project.

Other than that, there has not been too much to report. I intend to write a couple of stand-alone articles in the coming weeks; one about my recent foray into Final Fantasy XIV and how the narrative structure, quest design and in particular class-quest design have been fascinating and incredibly fun to explore, and another on the dangers of stereotyping and monolithising ‘alien’ (read: non-human-presenting) species in fantasy writing. Both of them need 1. more time and 2. more research to fully form in my mind, but look forward to those if you enjoy more thought piece-styled blogs on here.

No writing extract this time, I’ve nothing fresh to offer as most of my designing has been on the macro scale recently. Stay safe as always, and until next time!

Thom.

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