The Forest "Some people say that the dead souls of children haunt this place..."
"Come on, Zorr, you know that isn't true."
"Well, it could be." The branches of dying trees waved in the cold winter breeze. "Khar, what do you think?"
I neglected to comment. I didn't want to pick sides. Zorr and Hazel always seemed to find something that they could have disagreements over, but by the end of the day we were all best friends. I can't remember how we met.
Hazel continued forward as Zorr looked back for me. "Woah, did you see that?" A bright flash of light had streaked through the trees.
"Told you there were spirits."
"Nah, it's probably just... a flashlight... right?" Hazel looked back and forth between the two of us.
"Yeah..." My bright blue eyes must have signaled that I was nervous, because my two best friends shot a quick glance at each other then walked closer to me. I'm pretty su
I'm an artist who has been drawing for a long while yet still has only basic art skill (due to lack of natural talent)
I'm also a writer, and my writing is better than my art. I want to be an author.
This content is intended for mature audiences.
or, enter your birth date.*
“Ah, Mr. Secretary.” I glanced up at the tall, pale woman standing in front of me. She wore a black, casual dress. “You wanted to see me?”
“Talia, come in.” I gestured to the chair in front of me. She glanced around nervously. “You’re the one in charge of… game development, am I wrong?”
In a shaky voice, she replied, “No sir, you’re right… Am I getting fired?!” Her voice quickly escalated into panic, and her eyes darted around the room. “I promise whatever I’m doing wrong, I-I’ll fix it…”
“Relax, Talia. You aren’t getting fired.” She breathed a sigh of relief. “I have orders from higher-ups. We need to develop a rage-game. Not so much rage that it’s impossible and makes people rage quit in the first few minutes, but one they can play for a long while. Harder levels, then slightly more manageable ones. But not too manageable. Think like Cuphead. It’s known to make people rage, yet not necessarily rage quit, and because they can see the end on a progress bar, they keep playing, knowing that they’re extremely close. Or even that they’re just getting closer.”
“Hmm… Okay, I’ll get some designers on it.” Her face still looked like it was recovering from her fear of getting fired. In reality, she was one of the most dedicated members of the game creating community, not as a developer, but as a powerful manager, who knew how games worked and had ideas for how to develop them. She was also going to school for developing on the side, giving our team more power in the coding community.
“Then that’s it. Have a good day, and good luck. We need this game.” She nodded at me, almost scared again by my sudden call of necessity. She stepped outside the office, leaving me alone again. I sighed. If only they could know.
“Salt” in the gaming world is annoyance, anger, or rage. The higher you get on this scale, the “saltier” you get. However, recently a man leaked out his knowledge of the true power of salt to a colleague, who then gave it to several others, including one of my bosses. He couldn’t tell me everything, of course, but salt is an energy. It’s a fuel. A source of power. Salt could revolutionize the world.
Curiosity has found me, however. I’ve become curious about the origins of this power. How it was discovered. How it transfers so well. Somehow, this energy can travel from a gamer to a developer. A victim to a victor. Part of me wonders if the energy came from Earth. If Earth saw that its energy was being depleted and it’s biosphere corrupted and polluted, maybe it wanted to create a new, clean energy. I’m not sure, but what I do know is that not many people know what this energy does. Some people just get adrenaline rushes. With the right tools, I’m sure we could harness the energy for good. Right?
After the leaks went out to the small group, we can’t be confident it stayed there. After all, I wasn’t even part of their little club, and I knew. Who knows how many people told a friend, who told another friend, and so on. While I was secretive, even to my employees, many were more open than my sister’s diary, and she left it open on the kitchen table after dinner.
It’s kind of funny to think that making gamers salty can really give us new innovations, but it’s happening. My old friend used to play games with me, and he would attempt to make his opponents as salty as possible using cheap tactics such as knockback, monster spawning, ganking, or similar things. We would combo Hellhound and Baseball Player kits together in Minecraft. I would summon three wolves and he would knock them off while they were busy. I wonder how much salt we would have had.
Mojang cannot hear about this. With the amount of people playing Minecraft, they would be a gaming superpower. The same holds true for Riot and Blizzard. Any game with a large player-base and a competitive mode would have to have plenty of salt involved.
And that was our new job. To make a competitive game, one with a campaign or story mode to match the difficulty of players online. But part of the challenge is making it… shall we say… noob friendly. New players need to be able to get in and learn quick.
Campaign or Story games are easy to design that way. A quick slope into exponential difficulty should be a simple creation. Multiplayer on the other hand… That’s harder. We could always go the no control route, where players jump into a game and learn the hard way. Then there’s the bot route, in which we develop a Co-Op versus A.I. mode. This is what League of Legends does, and it is an effective introduction into the game for new players. Overwatch puts players of similar skill levels in the game, depending on level and statistics. It is a difficult decision, to say the least. I decide to let my mind rest and go out to a coffee shop.
“Blake, didn’t expect to see you here.” A voice startles me mid-sip, jolting me and burning my throat and tongue. “Oops, didn’t mean to scare you.” I look in the direction the voice is coming from, and see a familiar face gazing back at me.
“Brandon, it’s been a while.” His brown eye always looked far too serious in contrast to his calm, green eye. He sipped some tea and smirked.
“I didn’t know you drank coffee.”
“Only when I’m tired or stressed.” I attempted to sip again, but my mouth was still recovering from my last attempt at drinking. “And today, I’m both.”
“Tired, stressed, and about to lose at Chess?” Bran whipped out a chessboard from his backpack.
“Do you take that with you everywhere, or is this some special occasion?”
“I’m a reigning champ at this shop.” He gestured to an empty booth, and I relocated myself and my coffee. As he set up the board, my mind drifted. Could salt be applied to board games as well as video games? If so, does that mean card games generate salt as well? Do everyday encounters?
“Ahem.” He had finished setting up the chessboard while I was spacing out. “What do you say? Down for a duel?”