If you've been keeping up with the Aero Empire project, then you know we've been going through a lot of changes as we gear up for a release this year. We now have another change to announce: we are looking for a Lead Writer to take the reigns of the game's story.
I joined this project last May, and have had an incredible time helping to give the game a complex world with a rich history. However, since then, my life has filled up considerably, and I have come to the point where I simply cannot commit the time to this project that it deserves. After talking everything over with our Lead Designer, I've decided that it's time to pass on the role of Lead Writer, and, with it, the responsibility of designing and writing the plot, characters, and dialogue of Aero Empire's first (and even future) releases.
With that in mind, I am very excited to announce The Aero Empire Writing Contest!
We are looking for a talented writer to join our team and write the campaign for our first release. This writer will have complete responsibility and control over the game's storyline, covering, as mentioned above, plot, characters, dialogue, and all other material players see while playing the game. How they go about this is up to them: they can write it all themselves, solicit help to split it up, or a combination of the two.
While I will not be able to work on the project full-time, I will still be here to help get our Lead Writer selected, getting them introduced to the world, and then answering questions as they arise, and helping out where I can.
Each contestant must submit a short writing sample no more than 5 pages long taking place in the Aero Empire world. The sample may draw upon the currently written history (Moddb.com), or use a history of its own with its own set of nations, as long as it follows this general description of Aero Empire's world:
Aero Empire is set in a world where the majority of the landmass lies below a thick layer of clouds called the "Twilisphere." Scarce, tall mountains peak through the Twilisphere, creating what little landmass lies above. Below the Twilisphere, the climate is not earth-like, and cannot support life as we know it. The Twilisphere is a permanent artifact of the boundary between the two different climates of the planet - the alien one below, and the earth-like one above. Because of this, the Twilisphere is perpetually turbulent and stormy, with frequent lighting strikes. Venturing into the Twilisphere is akin to committing suicide; even if someone could survive the dangerous journey through the Twilisphere, the uninhabitable climate below would kill an exposed person in a matter of minutes.
All life began below the Twilisphere. Seeking the calmer and brighter environment, creatures climbed the mountains and evolved over millions of years to live above the Twilisphere, eventually becoming unable to return to the land below. Human tribes evolved this way on the different mountaintops, isolated and without knowledge or concern for the other tribes. Even as the first airships were developed, and travel between mountains became possible, the difficulty of travel kept interactions between the nations to a minimum. However, this all changed with the invention of the steam engine, which facilitated air travel and allowed the nations to expand and interact with each other.
Inspirational images in AE's World.
These images were rendered in an offline renderer, and then painted over.
The sample can take place any time between the invention of the first airship until several hundred years after the invention of the steam engine. The sample can be any form of writing - short story, dialog, plot outline, even a detailed character or world description. As long as the sample takes place within that timeframe and is feasible within the general description of Aero Empire's world, anything goes. Try to show off your strengths, and also your experience in game writing, if any. Remember, longer does not necessarily mean better: often, two pages can have more of an effect than five.
Contestants must submit the completed sample either here: Ae.aerosphere-studios.com or by emailing it to: email@example.com, subject line "Writing Contest" by April 30th, 2010. Contestants should also include a brief description of themselves with their submission. The submissions will be judged by a panel of judges on our core team to decide the winner.
The winner will receive the title of writing contest winner, an environmental sketch depicting a scene from their submission (may take a week or so to make), and an offer to become Lead Writer of our team!
The runner up and top submissions will also receive recognition by being placed on our website in a contest winners section (if you would prefer to not have your submission publicly accessible, state so in your submission) .
Small inspirational Aero Empire video made by Swhibble for a school project.
We can't wait to see what everyone comes up with! After submitting, feel free to visit us on the forums, where you can upload your story under the Writing Contest section for everyone to see and discuss, meet the team, and get to learn a bit more about the project!
The above description of the historical background is partly good, partly poor. What annoys me is that it makes no sense in one particular place. In the ancient past people climbed the mountains, but today it kills you to travel into the "Twilisphere" (Twili=derived from Twilight?). This could be easily mended by saying they went up dressed in some material that only grows below the "sphere", or they climbed up through a forgotten or destroyed "pipe" of a plant; the way it is now it's just contradictory.
STEAM ENGINES? are you serious? I have big respect for Aero Empire and I know that it's not about realism, but Steam evokes a certain look, too. E.g. "Pressurized Propellant" would be more interesting and ads a native quality to the world. Taking everything from our world and porting it over won't make AE unique. The game needs to evoke a world of its own, down to the semantic level. It's too unique a creation to become a pale mirror of our modern world.
Steam engines have been a part of the design of airships since the beginning. You could say that a different world means different technology, but then you have to wonder if humans would have evolved on this planet at all if it was so different. The environment above the twilisphere is said to be earth-like, so the same kinds of technologies work as they do on earth. Aero Empire is not a completely different world where everything has been changed from what we expect on Earth, but an earth like world with a different perspective on the history of humans, caused by the different landscape the world had. Most things in Aero Empire should seem very similar to what they were on earth (we're not going to have an earth zeppelin with a magical propulsion system and pretend it's not like an earth zeppelin), making the differences all the more noticeable.
For the part that they climbed up but cant go down. Maybe a climate change freed some "heavy" gas which now fills the twilisphere? Id go with something like that :D
I guess this wasn't clear, but this climbing of mountains and becoming unable to go back below the twilisphere didn't happen overnight. We're talking millions of years, and long before humans evolved. It was a rough journey up, many creatures died, and evolution created creatures that were capable of living both above and below the twilisphere for a time. As most of them didn't go back below the twilisphere, over millions of years, they evolved, becoming more suitable for living above the twilisphere, but incapable of living below it. The land below the twilisphere is kind of like the sea of this world, and creatures climbed above it, eventually unable to return below it just like we can no longer breathe underwater (and amphibians would be the transitional stage).
closing date for this submission?
I haven't been onto the site and only just noticed this, and i have to leave for university right now.
Please dont be done...
The deadline is April 30th, 2010. Good luck! :)
Ah, that gives me much more appropriate times.
I was going to try and get something tommorow xD
but i have deadlines to meet for uni this month.
Might as well give it a shot, i recall applying for Aero back when you guys were first looking for a writer xD I missed the spot though.
I hope to pass my course (final year x.x) and go into game design writing n.n so experience in the field would be valuable.
The inability to travel into the twilisphere is evolutionary, like the inability of penguins to live in the Sahara. When life made its way up the mountains it eventually became specialized to live in that habitat. Humans (ish...things...) evolved from said life. Because humans can't cross the twilisphere, they were confined for most of their history to a single tight cluster of mountain peaks later called the Imperial Continent.
No humans existed on other peaks prior to steam powered (or hand powered in earlier years) colonization because convergent evolution does not work that way. The land animals on each peak are all naturally endemic; however many plant species can be found on multiple peaks due to airborne seed spread or transmission of gametes by long distance flying creatures. As a result of the universal latitude-based plant life, land creatures on separated peaks are often similar due to convergent evolution, though physiologically different (compare sharks to dolphins).
The second half of the historical background is wrong on many levels.
If you're going to be entering this contest, it helps to have more than basic understanding of evolutionary biology.
I know this world inside and out; if you're entering this contest and have any questions about technology, zoology, sociology etc. as it pertains to AE's past, send me a PM and I can clarify things.
Would love to have a crack at this and write for a mod. I'd been looking for this kind of thing for a while as writing is really the only talent I could offer to a mod team. However I have numerous tests coming up at present, as well as plenty of coursework I really need to be getting on with, so I wouldn't be able to write frequently.
Looking forward to reading everyone's entries though, it's a pretty interesting setting to write about.
I'm not against steam engines per-se, but they follow a certain inherent logic, too. To produce steam energy you need coal and coal comes from trees or fossile trees (stone coal). If you climb up mountains you will cross the "green barrier", where nothing much grows. So, in terms of practicability a people living on the peaks of the highest mountains would probable develop a different type of engine, using for example geothermal energy or wind energy.
Steam seems like a very heavy concept. Everything involved is heavy and I can't connect that to an airborne society.
There is vegetation above the twilisphere, we just haven't populated the mountains with them yet. Near the twilisphere is like near sea level on earth in terms of environmental properties, and so a very habitable place for earth like plants (whereas the plants under the twilisphere are non-earth like). Additionally, steam engines do not require coal to work, they just require water and a heat source to boil the water and produce steam. They could use coal, wood, pretty much anything that works as a fuel source for fire to make a heat source, so it doesn't have to be coal.
Best of luck to all entries.
I really wanted to go for this, but situations have meant i'll be unable to do so, far too much university work to do :(
Love the atmosphere the game gives off though, real shame.
Looking forward to seeing what comes from this game at release!