Writing for games and breaking in at Long Beach Comic Con

If you are interested in writing for games, or how to break into writing, Long Beach Comic Con had the panels for you this month.

For the “Writing for Video Games: the Real Behind the Virtual” panel, I joined Tony Bedard (Agents of Mayhem), Jon Callan (Survios), Shawn Kittelsen (Injustice 2), and John Nee (Cryptozoic) to discuss the trials and tribulations of writing games, and how it differs from other media. You can check out a short write-up here.

“Writing for Video Games” panel at Long Beach Comic-Con

Afterwards, I joined Brandon Easton (Agent Carter) and Geoffrey Thorne (Librarians) on “The Writer’s Journey: Breaking in and Managing a Career in Hollywood.” Brandon puts on this panel at Comic-con, Wondercon, and LBCC, so you know it’s bound to be good. He gave people good advice on best books to read, including WRITING THE TV DRAMA, and WRITERS ON COMICS SCRIPTWRITING. I may have to check those out myself.

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“The Writer’s Journey” panel at Long Beach Comic-con

Did you get a chance to attend either panel? If you did, drop a comment and share the best thing you learned!

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ALLES LIEBE, ANNETTE webseries concludes!

100 episodes. 2.6 million views. Thousands of comments. It was such a great ride. So happy that people liked ALLES LIEBE, ANNETTE, and that Youtube has google translate. ALLES LIEBE, ANNETTE, the German webseries I created, concluded this month. Eager to find out what happened with Annette, Maria, Henry, and Arne? Fortunately, I’ve got the synopses for you in English.

Not caught up? Check out the first episodes here, the second batch of episodes, and the penultimate list of episodes here. All set? Here’s how it all played out:

Episode 75

Jenny urges Annette to delete the illicit videos, but Annette doesn’t want to give Maria the satisfaction.

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Episode 76

Annette has to go into the Grimms and tries her best to avoid Maria and ends up in an awkward situation.

Episode 77

The lights go out, Annette and Arne are left alone… he starts telling a ghost story… and then…

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Episode 78

Graf comes over to return some items, and Annette insists she’s over Maria and asks about… Henry.

Episode 79

Arne’s back! Sort of. He gives an interview where he denies he had deep feelings for Annette, and also implies that there was another reason he was with her.

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Episode 80

Annette is now convinced everything Arne did and said was a lie set up by Maria, calling him a poor man’s Orlando Bloom!

Episode 81

Annette has a dream of two Marias!

Episode 82

Jenny kicks ass. She backs up Annette who’s trying to take down all copies of the improper video that’s been released in the wild. But there’s one copy she won’t take down…

Episode 83

Jenny pulls herself out of her comfort zone and Annette out of her funk. Annette’s reminded she’s had a sister all along…

Episode 84

Annette struggles to write a letter to Henry, then gets a mysterious Skype call.

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Episode 85

Jenny thinks Annette should either call Maria or let her go. What does Annette think?

Episode 86

Annette finally sends a video to address the elephant not in the room: Maria. Why did she do what she did?

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Episode 87

Maria replies! She’s been bored out of her mind without Annette. Can they get back together?

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Episode 88

The Grimms have published Annette and Jenny’s fairy tale. Is Annette now done with vlogging?

Episode 89

Henry replied!! And he wants to meet! Has he forgiven her?

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Episode 90

The Grimms make a mess of Annette’s story, while she gets ready to go meet Henry.

Episode 91

Henry is back and #teamhenry is on fire! Henry admits everything he’s done wrong, including believing Maria.

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Episode 92

Henry finds Annette out, and Jenny takes the opportunity to interrogate him about his “story” regarding Arne.

Episode 93

Annette and Henry’s relationship seems to be going well. Except they haven’t kissed!

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Episode 94

Annette is happy! Who knew this was a thing? She’s been offered a job, everything is easy with Henry, and best of all, she doesn’t have to participate in Maria’s wedding planning.

Episode 95

Jenny passed her bar exam, and Annette threw her a party. Henry and Annette are getting along great… and then her and Arne’s song comes on…

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Episode 96

Arne has written a new song, and Henry catches Annette listening to it.

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Episode 97

Graf called off the wedding! But is Annette ready to forgive Maria?

Episode 98

Arne’s got a letter for Annette that Henry doesn’t want her to have. What’s going on?

Episode 99

Annette shares what happened with Henry. What’s next for Annette?

Episode 100

Last episode! Annette has packed and says goodbye to everyone who had an impact on her, one way or another, and Maria has one more surprise.

Thank you for everything!

Congrats to the cast and crew, and thanks to everyone and the fans for a great run!

Remember, even if you don’t know German, you can watch by turning on Closed Captioning and changing the Youtube settings to auto-translate. You can also follow along on their social media sites and use the magic of Google translate:

https: //www.facebook.com/AllesLiebeAn …

https: //www.instagram.com/allesliebea …

Annette’s Tumblr: https: //allesliebeannette.tumblr. com /

Maria’s Instagram: https: //www.instagram.com/mariahaxtha …

Arne’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nurarne/

Graf’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/realgraf/

Jenny’s Instagram: https: //www.instagram.com/jennyhuelsh …

Enjoy and spread the word about ALLES LIEBE, ANNETTE to all your German-speaking friends!

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Filed under Announcements, Transmedia, webseries, Writing

Video Game Writing panel at Comic-con

cci_logoComic-con International starts today, and tomorrow I’ll join a panel of video game writers to discuss video game writing. If you’re at SDCC, you’ll want to check this panel out!

Writing for the Computer Gaming Industry

Thursday July 20, 2017 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Room 25ABC

Some of the most talented storytellers today create worlds for the computer gaming industry. This panel of industry vets share insights gleaned from creating some of the best reviewed narrative-driven titles in gaming history. The panel includes Neal Hallford (Lily Bard Online), Anne Toole (Horizon Zero Dawn), John Zuur Platten (Ingress), Kimberly Unger (Dexter: Slice), and Erin Knowles, moderated by Jana Hallford (Swords & Circuitry: A Designer’s Guide to Computer Role-Playing Games).

See you in San Diego!

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Two to Tango AR

VR is getting mad funding these days, but it seems that fewer are talking about AR. Augmented Reality (AR) offers the chance to explore a fantasy world without cutting out the real world. I’ve had the privilege of writing for two AR games, coincidentally both for Google Tango: GHOSTLY MANSION and CRAYOLA COLOR BLASTER.

This is a Tango:

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This is GHOSTLY MANSION:

Cover art

Upon your death, you became a ghost, your spirit imprisoned inside the many rooms of your mansion. To finally be at peace, you must unravel the mystery of your death, searching for clues using your ghostly arm. As one does 😉 You move around your room or play area in real life to get closer to clues that reveal hidden secrets. Feel free to check out the first four rooms for free. This game only works on Tango.

From Rabbx
Entertainment Category Winner of the Tango App Contest


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This is CRAYOLA COLOR BLASTER:

Cartoony creatures invade your real-life world in this walk-around augmented reality (AR) game, exclusively for Tango-enabled Android devices. Find the paint buckets and treasure chests hidden in your room and start blasting life-sized zombies with color!

From Legacy Games
Nominated for Best AR Experience in the Google Play Awards

If you’re having a bit of trouble imagining it, this is what the world looks like in-game:

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Check them out on Google Play if you have a Tango!

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Decision time! ALLES LIEBE, ANNETTE webseries continues

ALLES LIEBE, ANNETTE, the German webseries I created, swung into full gear this month. Annette has gotten to know both Henry and Arne, and now she has to make a decision. But will it come out as she expects?

Check out the first episodes here and the episodes leading up to last month, before you launch into what’s been happening this month:

Episode 61

Arne is thrilled with all the comments on his music video, ignoring Annette’s misgivings. Then he gives her something she didn’t ask for.

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Episode 62

Jenny comes over to lure Annette home. Do Jenny and Maria have a mutual dislike?

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Episode 63

The lights go out, Annette and Arne are left alone… he starts telling a ghost story… and then…

Episode 64

Annette wants to talk about something serious, while Arne has a question of his own.

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Episode 65

Maria’s up to no good, as she asks for love advice from Arne, who only wants to talk about Annette.

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Episode 66

Annette is not sure who’s best for her, then gets an email from Henry saying he’s looking forward to see her, in not so many words.

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Episode 67

Arne takes Maria’s advice and gives Annette something to remember. What does she give him in return?

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Episode 68

Arne lays it all out in the aftermath of his love song.

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Episode 69

Annette may not be sure, but 200 comments says the fans have chosen their guy! After Arne’s ultimatum, Annette is torn between Arne and Henry, and gets a little assist from Maria.

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Episode 70

Maria gets into a fight with Graf, and turns to Annette for solace.

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Episode 71

Annette’s made her decision! And not all the fans are happy about it. Who has she chosen?

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Episode 72

BOOM! Bombshell dropped. Maria’s been a bad, bad girl. But she’s not alone.

Episode 73

Double bombshell as Arne reappears… as does Henry.

Episode 74

She’s lost everyone, but she’s going to keep vlogging. #teamannette!

Remember, even if you don’t know German, you can watch by turning on Closed Captioning and changing the Youtube settings to auto-translate. You can also follow along on their social media sites and use the magic of Google translate:

https: //www.facebook.com/AllesLiebeAn …

https: //www.instagram.com/allesliebea …

Annette’s Tumblr: https: //allesliebeannette.tumblr. com /

Maria’s Instagram: https: //www.instagram.com/mariahaxtha …

Arne’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nurarne/

Graf’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/realgraf/

Jenny’s Instagram: https: //www.instagram.com/jennyhuelsh …

Enjoy and spread the word about ALLES LIEBE, ANNETTE to all your German-speaking friends!

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Arne comes in! ALLES LIEBE, ANNETTE continues

The music video of the song Annette and Arne co-wrote is now live! But I’m getting ahead of myself. The last two months of ALLES LIEBE, ANNETTE have been chock-full of change, as Arne comes in. Annette may soon have to make a choice.

Leaving off from the previous list of episodes, here’s what you may have missed:

Episode 24

Do boys share? Annette told Henry the truth about his poems, then he went off with Graf. Have they been talking about them the whole day?

Episode 25

Annette comes back from a horrible date orchestrated by Maria and ends up spending the evening talking to Henry… who looks smitten.

Episode 26

Maria is convinced that Annette’s bust of a date actually went well, and she acts it out for our benefit.

Episode 27
Annette and Henry get a little revenge on Maria by messing around with her Arne poster.

Episode 28
Annette and Henry have a fight over music tickets, of all things, and Graf has to talk to Annette off-camera. What did he tell her…?

Episode 29
The fans called it! Graf did indeed propose to Maria, who said yes. She’s so happy, she’ll even invite grumpy Henry to the wedding.

Episode 30

TFW you’re listing everything you hate about Henry and then realize what you really feel. And then Henry’s got a big announcement.

Episode 31

Sometimes you don’t want to let go. Henry is leaving. Does Annette have the guts to tell him how she feels?

Episode 32
Annette resorts to poetry and tries on a sexy outlook, but her heart wanders back to Henry.

Episode 33
Maria says in her own charming way that Annette is better off. Henry is ugly and Annette deserves someone who is hot for her body and not just her brain.

Episode 34
Annette’s story got accepted by the Grimm Brothers! But she’s bummed she can’t celebrate with Henry. Maria must resort to drastic measures to cheer her up.

Episode 35
Annette must deal with a Bridezilla, Graf must try 10 kinds of cake, and somewhere in there, Annette learns of an interesting murder mystery…

Episode 36
Maria and Annette challenge each other to not mention the wedding or Henry. Guaranteed you will know the German word for wedding after watching this video.

Episode 37
Ruined! A flood has damaged Maria’s “prized possessions.” In the process of going through them, Annette discovers something surprising about Henry.

Episode 38

The drawback of a vlog? You can scour old footage for “proof” that Henry had feelings, too. Then, Annette makes a decision.

Episode 39
Henry hasn’t responded, and Jenny shows up to try to get her sister to move back home.

Episode 40
Someone new moves in! Annette is surprised when she finds out who it is.

Episode 41

Arne’s first full episode, in which he shares his dark backstory, and also he had a turtle 🙂

Episode 42
Henry responds!! But does it clear up anything?

Episode 43
Strip poker night and… isn’t Maria engaged to Graf?! Annette starts to feel invisible.

Episode 44
Annette procrastinates writing, earns a hug from Arne, but only has eyes for a turtle?

Episode 45
Arne’s badass musical talents and kindness are starting to win over Annette — and some of the fans, as they’re splitting into #arnette (Arne and Annette) and #henryette factions.

Episode 46
Maria wants Annette to go after Arne already, but Graf finds Arne a bit ridiculous. Trouble in paradise?

Episode 47
Annette and Arne get to know each other over cheese toast, until he says the wrong thing, and she tells him like it is.

Episode 48
Annette and Maria demonstrate how Arne embarrasses Annette at a dinner with the Grimms. Some barbies were harmed in the making of this video.

Episode 49
Annette is pretty sure there’s a killer in the house, and her last day will be spent licking Maria’s invitations. What the noise actually is, however…

Episode 50

Episode 50! Featuring my favorite line: “You think I’m afraid of Graf? Have you SEEN his socks?” Things come to a head between Graf and Arne.

Episode 51
Arne proposes something that makes Annette uncomfortable. Also, Graf says something that leaves everyone temporarily speechless.

Episode 52
Annette grapples with inane feedback from the Grimms, while Maria enlists Annette to practice for a local interview about living with Arne. But who is interviewing whom?

Episode 53

Kyuuute episode. They play truth or dare. What does Arne dare Annette to do?

Episode 54
Annette finally writes a song with Arne… and tells him about Henry.

Episode 55
Annette gets frustrated with the feedback she gets from the Grimms and ends up in an argument with Maria. This spawned quite a discussion on who was being meaner, Maria or Annette. What do you think?

Episode 56
Annette is too self-conscious to record their song, so she and Arne mess around to loosen her up. Maybe he’s a good (business) partner after all.

Episode 57

Annette has spent far too much time with Arne working on this song and the video — it’s almost over! But of course, Arne has to weigh in on editing the video, too. Maybe she doesn’t mind so much?

Episode 58
Annette tries a pro and con list on living with Maria, but she’s officially torn between Henry and Arne.

Episode 59

Annette is filming Maria and Graf’s wedding video when Graf reveals a secret about Henry.

Episode 60

Annette and Arne’s music video is now live! Give the song a listen!

Even if you don’t know German, you can watch most of these episodes by turning on Closed Captioning and changing the Youtube settings to auto-translate. You can also follow along on their social media sites and use the magic of Google translate:
https: //www.facebook.com/AllesLiebeAn …
https: //www.instagram.com/allesliebea …

Annette’s Tumblr: https: //allesliebeannette.tumblr. com /
Maria’s Instagram: https: //www.instagram.com/mariahaxtha …
Arne’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nurarne/
Graf’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/realgraf/
Jenny’s Instagram: https: //www.instagram.com/jennyhuelsh …

Enjoy and spread the word about ALLES LIEBE, ANNETTE to all your German-speaking friends!

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Writing on Horizon Zero Dawn

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Contributor copies!

Since Horizon Zero Dawn came out a month ago, it’s been a delight to see the reviews (89 on Metacritic!), the sales numbers (2.6 million units worldwide!), and most importantly, the posts and messages from people I know enjoying the game. One lesson I’ve learned? People, especially those in the game industry, actually read the credits!

I got the opportunity to write with and for a bunch of great writers on HZD, and I know the entire Guerrilla team worked hard on this game for years. If you haven’t picked it up yet, do. If you’ve already picked it up, let me know what you think.

Now for some bonus photos from the launch party:

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