I like to tell stories on my blog – I’ve told a few over the years. But I’m not a natural author and I certainly don’t aspire to be published (except perhaps in the poetry area). There are lots of great authors on WordPress and sometimes, when time allows, I will read some of their posts. Also when time permits, I do my best to read books. I’ve just finished reading The Lady in the Lake by Raymond Chandler and I’m straight away off into space with Randolph Lalonde. It seems to me that most authors have the bare bones of their story already pre-planned before they start and then the tale gets fleshed out as they write. In some of my short stories I have had a broad idea of where the tale is going before I start and very little then changed over the final writing of the post. But a lot of my inspiration currently comes from games that I am playing rather than from real world experiences and my own imagination. That doesn’t mean that those essentials don’t factor in as I write but taking inspiration from games brings some unique problems that most authors will not experience.

Computer games come in many types but most do not provide a basis for writing stories. A good old fashioned platformer like Donkey Kong, for example. Visual Novel style games are a story in them selves and writing a story about a story seems infertile ground to me! First person shooters and similar action games also lack the headroom to provide for a tale to be told. All of these types of game are really only review type material. The only type of game that I think can provide the inspiration for a story based on gameplay is the open world game.

Not all Open World games are actually able to give you that room to express yourself. The hunting games, for example, already have their own background stories put there by the developers to encourage exploration of the maps. If you chose to try and create a tale after exhausting those, what would you write – perhaps a tale of seeking Big Foot or an encounter with a large Bear. Hunting is often a solo activity and that is well reflected in the games. There may be a tale like White Fang loitering in there somewhere but I haven’t found it yet!

I did find fertile ground in Elite Dangerous – a space game with a genuine attempt to recreate our actual galaxy within a computer game. I did a series of posts based on my wanderings as I went out to explore. It’s amazing how much the right impetus from a game can fire up your imagination. Selling The Edge of Beyond was my first post in a series that fizzled out when the developers made a change in the game that I felt was wrong (welcome to the world of the game player).

The Truck Simulator games also provide room to create a story. Like Elite, you are largely in control of what happens and you have lots of room to be non-specific. So my character in stories about Republik Trucking in American Truck Simulator has spoken more about the company, its growth and the key people who work there – I am almost an omnipresent ghost overseeing it all. The most recent story post being a case in point. I really must write the next chapter in the history of Republik Plant & Supplies!

Finally, we come to Farming Simulator. This is less of an open world – the maps are very finite. But within the confines, it is possible to build a virtual reality populated by people. Some of those exist within the game as the nearby farmers who offer you jobs and own the lands around. The others I have made up myself to provide the space to tell a tale while demonstrating the gameplay for those readers looking to understand the game. In my currently ongoing story based around my farm, Ferme du Vieux ChΓͺne, I have presented a mix of other characters – Claude Gerard doesn’t exist in the game and neither does my partner Mark. Jean Armand is also my own creation.

Now the truth has to be told – It is the nature of writing a story based on a game like Farming Simulator that your plans may well be disrupted in much the same way that an early winter or a drought disrupts real world farming. Because of the random nature of those disruptions – the paucity of work in the first year of this play through is a good example – the normal story planning process goes out of the window and you don’t know for sure where your story is going from one days play to the next. There’s a lot of thinking on your feet that has to happen before the next story post takes shape.

I was confronted with a serious issue in game – the lack of a strong enough tractor that our limited funds could afford. I applied the gamers response of seeking a potential solution outside of the base game and found a mod that would give my farm what it needed while still being a realistic option. What I wasn’t prepared for was the way my imagination would convert that into a story with a sordid side. My tentative ideas for how things would proceed were subverted in a post that was way beyond anything I had vaguely planned. The story took on a life of its own!

This is a direct result of trying to write around a game where circumstances can change in a very short time. I have had to grow characters on the fly beyond their original intended level of involvement. Where it will go from here I am unsure though the old brain cell is scrabbling through some alternatives ready for the next post. I’d love to know what my readers thought of the twist in the story and how it affected their views of my character and the other characters involved?

It seems there’s one Trucking Event after another at the moment. Barely recovered from cruising Montana and we’re being asked to deliver cargoes to an exhibition in Hanover! So, once more, I’m running a bit behind schedule for Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge. This week we’re looking at Fruit

No one said the fruit had to be edible though πŸ˜‰ Here’s Ribes sanguineum…

American Currant

…Flowering Currant. The berries when first ripe are black with a bluish tinge. While they are edible, the taste is insipid – so bad that even the birds leave them to decay on the bush!

Late season unripe Blackberries…

Unripe Blackberries

…They’ll probably be ready to eat in a week or so.

Bananas and Kiwi fruit…

Bananas and Kiwi

…Definitely ripe and edible – I’m surprised the bananas have survived this long with Alasdair home from uni! πŸ˜‰

Epi’s lunchbox selection…

Avocado and Pineapple

…Avocado and Pineapple.