We want our trailer to provide something concrete: to describe the larp, its atmosphere, technology, and narrative. When we sat down to create the script and plan the trailer, we wanted above all to communicate the experience we are creating for our players. We ended up with six scenes that do not tell a specific story, but rather represent some of the aspects we feel are important for the larp. We wanted the different scenes to reflect events as they could actually happen for the characters.
Even though our main focus was on the story and the atmosphere we want in the larp, we did go pretty far with the props. We used the ship emblem to brand pretty much everything from soldier uniforms to electrical diagrams and medical equipments. We used prohibitory signs to create the idea of normal life on board the Odysseus. Also, we collected a lot of props like guns, ladders, tools, medical equipments, and military equipments, as well as all the stuff represented at the poker table to make the scenes feel real.
We thought it would be nice to give you a little insight on what we had in mind when we created the scenes and how do they reflect what we want the larp to provide. In the final trailer most of these scenes are cut in several smaller scenes and mixed together.
In another rather militaristic scene, we have a soldier sitting on a bench holding a ring and a notebook, maybe writing a letter? Their friends arrive, and they start to prepare for a mission, maybe one they might not return from. Even though the general atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, they all know very well how much is at stake and how it is a real possibility that one of them might not come home.
Then we have two mechanics fixing broken wires and trying to stabilize a dangerous situation. All sorts of mechanical puzzles are a big part of Odysseus. We are planning to create the engine room with lots of puzzles and a manual to operate them in order to keep the ship functional.
The larp takes place in a time of crises, so we also have a medical emergency, in which a civilian has been shot and another civilian is trying to help him and desperately calling for medic. We see a medic rushing in and starting to help the patient, but it might be too late for them. Meanwhile, the conflict goes on, and soldiers are running past them in the corridor.
The very last scene is from the bridge, where the jump is being prepped. We see a glimpse of the systems on the bridge and the jump sequence being launched. And then… a jump towards the unknown.
Behind the scenes photos are taken by Axelle Cazeneuve.
Laura, Producer of Odysseus
From the start, our goal has been to make every aspect of the game as good as possible. In this post, I’ll talk a little bit about our graphics. For myself, I cannot draw or design to save my life, so I’ll spare you from seeing my early schematics. Instead, I’ll show you the art and design work from our talented graphic designer, Sara.
For the game logo, we wanted a design that could be used both ingame and offgame. We wanted a logo that we could use in our marketing, including branding our materials such as the players handbook, posts and ads in forums, as well as promotion products like t-shirts.
The logo would not be used just for promoting the game, but it would also be a significant part of the ingame fiction to be seen all around the spaceship in a similar way that trains, ships, airplanes and spaceships are branded in the real world.. It can be seen on uniforms, printed on the wall, in the screensaver - and similar places to make it known that those items are the property of the EOC Starfleet. This also creates the feeling of being onboard the specific starship in the specific universe we’ve created.
Here are the designs from Sara, our amazing graphic designer. The first one is the offgame version of the logo, which we plan to use in marketing materials. The second one is the ship emblem of Odysseus used for ingame purposes.
We are in the midst of designing the culture and the societies of our world, along the Dynasties of the Arati system. A Dynasty is an amalgam of family, corporation, and political party, and most characters will be a part of one. We wanted to emphasize this aspect through Dynasty specific tattoos on the backs of the characters’ hands. Since most people in the Arati system belonged to different Dynasties, the dominant culture evolved a salute in which a person shows their “color” by baring the back of their hand.
Here are the first designs of the Dynasty tattoos!
Laura, Producer of Odysseus
Hello! My name is Laura, and I'm the producer and lead story designer for Odysseus. I’ve been larping since year 2000 – and creating larps for almost as long. Above all, I am a writer of complicated relationship drama. Creating engaging and complex larps is my passion, and for the past 15 years, there have been only a few periods during which I did not have one or more projects to work on. My previous projects have included a court fantasy campaign called the Calbourne Saga, which consisted of eight games with 35-150 players per game. A more recent creation is the modern day fantasy drama Pyhävuoren perilliset (freely translated “Heirs of the Saint Hill”), which has been run for seven times for 30-40 players. I have also participated in several other projects as a character writer and a story designer. For the past couple of years I’ve been looking for a project that would inspire me – and which I could be truly enthusiastic about. As soon as we started working on Odysseus, I knew that this would be it.
Though creating larps is something I do on my free time, it is also something that I would love to consider making a career out of. At the moment, I work as a project manager in a large IT company, so organizing things and managing time and resources is something I do in my day job as well. In my own larp projects, I’ve always been the producer as well, but creating the story, characters, plots, and the whole fiction for the larp is what I truly love. I’ve participated as a speaker in Ropecon and X-Con, where I’ve talked about plot and story design, character design and player involvement. All of these are subjects whose evolution is close to my heart and about which I have always wanted to keep on learning more about.
During the past couple of years, I’ve participated in several very inspiring games that have given me a lot to think about in the field of what kind of experiences I want to provide to players as a writer. Two of these games were held early this year during the time I was forming the early sketches for the story design of Odysseus, so I ended up analyzing their story and design quite deeply. These games were the Finnish larp Tartuntavaara and Conscience, my first international larp. I enjoyed both games very much and learned enormously from the discussions I had with other players about their experiences and what made the games interesting and emotional for them. Both of these games exhibited many of the emotions and concepts I had thought of exploring in Odysseus, and I'm extremely happy that I had the chance to experience them.
Those two games, as well as others I’ve played in the past years – and the discussions that have ranged around them – have affected my thinking on what I want to create, and what players want to experience. My previous projects have been more focused on melodrama than actual drama, and even though they have been highly valued for it, I’m moving towards realism in plots, feelings, and interactions. As a result of several conversations and personal experiences, for Odysseus, I look forward to creating stories and characters that have impact on the players.
Laura, Producer of Odysseus
How did it all begin? Where did we pick up the idea for Odysseus, and how did it develop into the project? Let’s look back for insights on what we have done so far and where we are heading from here.
The idea for Odysseus was born during the Finnish larp writer convention X-Con in November of 2016. I and our co-producer Sanna decided that it would be cool to create a game that would take place in the setting of the episode “33” of Battlestar Galactica.
“33” is the very first episode of the new series, in which the survivor fleet is escaping their still somewhat unknown enemy by jumping from one location to another whenever the enemy fleet reaches them. Due to other engagements, the project stayed dormant for almost a year before we had time to start putting the pieces together.
We invited our third co-producer Antti to join the project and had a few discussions about our goals and vision. In those meetings, we decided that we wanted to set the game into a universe of our own design and to keep BSG only as a source for inspiration and ideas. There were several reasons for this. Immaterial rights, of course, but also the freedom to create what we want without being too tied to the original lore.
Also, there had already been larps taking place in the BSG universe, so we didn’t want to make something too much alike – though there will of course be some common elements between the games. We also decided to pick up ideas and themes from few other sci-fi series, Stargate Universe being the one most worth mentioning. There will be no wormholes in our game, but we aim to have land missions which have a strong resemblance to Stargate missions.
Early on, we also decided that we want to make the game an international event. There have been only a few international games held in Finland, and we wanted to change the situation. Our first design choice was to run the game at least twice – once in Finnish for local players, and once in English as an international run. Every year, more and more Finnish players go abroad to participate in interesting larps, and we thought it was time to arrange a large (in our standards) international game in Finland as well.
We officially introduced Odysseus in X-Con 2017 and started to recruit new members to the team. We started building the world and listing ideas for technology and the overall setup, as well as designing the player experience. During spring 2018, we filled most key roles, and by now we have nearly forty people working on the project. We are happy that we have an extremely talented crew full of people who are highly motivated in creating an awesome game experience. Our first major task will be to secure the location, and we are focused on documenting our design choices and making decisions on the systems we plan to use. We are creating a clear roadmap for the upcoming year, and production documentation will be a key factor in all our production choices.
In our next blog posts, we will introduce our main organizing team as well as give you a sneak peek into our trailer footage and tell you a little bit about the systems and technology we are planning to use.
Laura, Producer of Odysseus
And so it begins! In this blog, we will tell you about our project, how we aim to achieve it, and what we will be providing for our players.
Odysseus is an ambitious project from a talented team that has decades of combined experience in creating memorable larps in Finland. There have not been that many international games in Finland, but we aim to change that!
While in Finland we lack truly fancy locations such as castles, we have a highly unique larp culture. Our larps have very strong narratives and much more pre-written content than most larp cultures. For example, in Finnish games, characters tend to arrive fully fleshed and written into the game narrative, with complex networks of predefined character relationships. A lot of effort tends to be spent on creating interesting characters with meaningful backstories, relationships, and ranges of plots to play throughout the larp. Of course there are similar larps in other countries, but since this method is used in the vast majority of Finnish larps, we have decided to call it “Finnish style larp.”
In Odysseus, we want to bring this story and character driven experience to the international audience. We want to challenge ourselves by creating a visually impressive experience and creating (and testing!) technology that gives our players the genuine feeling of piloting - and riding - a starship. While we want to create thrilling and exciting action scenes, we also want to give the players time and space to live and breathe their characters - all the difficult choices, losses, and joys of their lives.
Our biggest challenge is securing the perfect location and turning it into a real starship our players can fully immerse in. Another challenge is to create the network of technology that supports the experience. We will update our progress regularly in this blog to provide transparency and to give insights (that might help others) on how we tackle these challenges. We also want to keep everyone posted on how things are moving forward and to share our enthusiasm for the project.
We are firm believers in that the best player experiences are created when the game masters and players share a vision on their joint creation. A larp is always a combination of the vision of those who created the game and those who take part in it. If those visions are far apart, someone (or everyone) will be disappointed. Thus we will make the best effort to share our vision in a comprehensive way - and when our work is done, just sit back and watch our players do the magic! In the upcoming posts, we will be introducing our team members as well as different parts of the project; location, systems, props, fiction, character design - and many other. We hope you will join us on the journey!
Producer of Odysseus