My work for Dark Horizons Universe was done by contract for Max Gaming Technologies, a video game company in Aurora, Ohio.
At the time, they had already written a large science-fiction, pencil & paper role-playing game but wanted an additional race included in it. I was hired to create this race and seamlessly integrate it into their game world.
The information I was given for this desired new race was this: a mysterious alien race of unknown origin called the Irritus. They needed to be a tribal, warrior-race and one that very few people had encountered. Most people believed they were myths.
As a creator I find I work best with parameters. When I have restrictions, I am able to use the elements given to craft something which fits. For instance, if told ‘create an animal,’ I can do so, but it may be a more generalized concept of an animal – ‘A fast, four-legged creature with membranes of skin between its limbs which it uses to glide once it is moving fast enough.’
* However, if I were given parameters such as ‘Create an animal able to breathe underwater, which prefers to be at the bottom, and is only intelligent at night,’ it is easier for me to come up with something neat.
This process is called ‘synthesizing’ and pairs well with imagination.
In this example, I would create: ‘A heavy animal with hard, interlocking scales so heavy it cannot swim but instead moves along the bottom of the water. It secretes a mucus from its nose which forms a clear ‘bubble’ of breathable air around its head. It is very dumb, but a small, highly intelligent creature lives in its brain, forming a symbiotic relationship with it. This smaller creature is nocturnal, and upon waking takes control of the larger, unintelligent one, thus making it intelligent. This creature would be called a Noculus.’
Dark Horizons Universe © Max Gaming Technologies