I have been working under a plan that I have not yet made explicit; at last I shall explain it.
First: Establish clusters
In this step, I create the clusters that will populate the story world. For Siboot, there are four clusters: 1) conversation; 2) deal-making; 3) threats; 4) dream combat.
Second: Populate clusters with verbs
This second step requires me to declare the verbs that I want to include in each cluster. This initial effort provides me with the initial material for the spaghetti diagrams.
Third: work out the spaghetti diagrams
This is where I hammer out the details of the connections among the verbs. The spaghetti diagram makes it easier to consider exactly what happens between actors; using it will surely result in the removal of some verbs and the creation of others.
Fourth: manifest spaghetti diagrams in SWAT
This is just a matter of creating all the Verbs and all their Roles and Options. All of the Acceptable and Desirable scripts for the WordSockets must be written in this stage.
Fifth: Enter consequences and reactions
These are scripts associate with the execution of each Verb; they modify physical and emotional states.
Sixth: Write the inclination equations
These are merely the Acceptable and Desirable scripts for each and every option. A great deal of thought must go into each of these.
Seventh: Test and tune
In this phase I see how the whole system behaves and make adjustments to optimize its behavior.
I have completed the first and second steps for the first three clusters. I have completed the third and fourth steps for the conversation cluster. Deal-making and threats are actually well advanced, but I have not yet completed the third step with either of them. I have done no work on dream combat, but I expect that will be easy.
Figuring out the consequences will be easy, but emotional reactions will be more difficult. And tuning the inclination equations will be very time-consuming.
When these seven steps are complete for all clusters, I will have a working story world – but it won’t be ready for the world, not by a long shot. I’ll still need to organize all the artwork, animation, and special code for handling SympolTalk. But it will be good enough that I could probably take it to Kickstarter at that point with a good chance of getting funding.
That’s the plan. Figure at least a year, probably longer.