Laika Dosha

So, aside from my webserial From Winter's Ashes, I've been working on a visual novel game in partnership with HTBH Games, called Laika Dosha.

The first demo is available now. It's a story of hard science fiction, where the player starts off playing as a hive-mind protagonist in control of five characters spread across four species. You can learn more about the game at

Have a look, download the free demo, and experience a whole new kind of interactive narrative game!

What were your roles in this, Patrick? Were you the story-writer? How did you find it was, working on a game? Were there any unexpected challenges? Particularly fun aspects?

B-RO THIS IS SO COOOOL. Just downloaded, and was very surprised to see that it works for Macs? I'm also not much of a tech person, though, so I expect nothing to work for me ever.

For those curious, Patrick "The Roach" Rochefort (damn that's a terrible nickname but I guess it's what you're stuck with Roach) talked about the game a little here:

In case you don't feel like following the link, I'll just quote what he said:

"Jon "Bane" Fini of HTBH put out an open call for game story pitches for visual novels. I pitched him a very simple version of Laika Dosha, which initially was just "These are the adventures of a genehack dog named Laika who does search and rescue in space."

But once we sat down to talk about the project, with great trepidation I admitted to him that I'd vastly soft-shoed the initial pitch into something easy and approachable, and asked if he'd like to hear the much more ambitious pitch. Turns out he's a huge fan of Peter Watts/Paolo Bacigalupi bleeding edge hard science fiction, and so when I told him the whole thing, his response was simple: "Oh my god, make THAT."

So now I'm kind of putting together my dream sci-fi project into a game. :)"

Wildbow: I'm currently the writer and art director for the game. Every word you read in the game is mine. The current demo posted covers about 10% of the planned content for the game.

How did I find it? Well, it's an ongoing process, and it's work, but it's fun. The biggest challenge and most fun challenge at the same time, is iterating conversations. Every choice tree has to cover *some* of the same information, but every single choice carries with it its own tidbit or tone change. So I have to make every change matter while sticking to the overall plot script. That's not too hard on the first few choices, but it wasn't long before I was iterating the same conversation 147 times. But it's a lot of fun to hide little tidbits of story into each one, and make sure every one of those choices has *something* unique to it, something personal.

Unexpected challenges: None, but I've done work very similar to this before for industrial safety training. Some things have been unexpectedly hard, but that was a product of circumstances outside of my control (artist family in hospital, licensing delays on music, etc.). All stuff that was external to my workflow, really.

Particularly fun aspects: Writing bleeding-edge science fiction, with complex ideas and premise, and really writing at a scientific and technical level that I care about. I know it makes some people eye-glaze, but for me it's all laying the foundation for some Big Idea stuff that science fiction is all about, to me. I'm also really proud to be working on something with anthropomorphic characters that doesn't just wallow in a genre ghetto, but strives for real literary purpose and merit.


Billy: Jon Fini's support for the game has been great. It's his money out of pocket funding the game, and he's shown me he believes in it, so I'm making sure I can deliver on his faith.