Saturday, July 25, 2009
Last week I finished Count Zero, the sequel to Neromancer by William Gibson.
Wow, I can't believe it took me 10 years before I read this book. I have the receipt. And
what an amazing read. When I started 10 years ago I just never gave this book a chance.
What a mistake.
It opens with its own main character being hunted down and blown up, and only carries over
one minor character from Neromancer; though it's hard to call the Finn minor. So getting
into it, yeah, I see how it could've thrown me. But then after the first few chapters it gets
moving, as a "Wilson" blows his run, beginning a mystery about strange Voodoo Gods roaming the
matrix. It captures the same tone of its predecessor in a book that takes place seven years later,
exploring the sprawls of New York and Paris as a mercenary tries to protect a young woman. And
behind it all, is the power and money of a man half gone from cellular deterioration from being
kept too long in a vat.
I love this book. Once I got going I just didnít want to stop, the whole feel of Neromancer
is here. Maybe not with Case and Molly, but itís the same world with new characters that light up
the page with Gibon's sharp wit. Completely refreshing to dive into once again.
I guess it's time to look for Mona Lisa Overdrive - D
Currently Playing: Eve Online
Sunday, July 18, 2009
Iíve been looking for inspiration to write the second release in a trilogy for Across
The Stars. Iíve been looking for that fire which burns deep within, that practically
consumed me, keeping me up late at night to program interactive fiction. Iíd kill for
that again, that type of excitement that takes over every thought.
When I first started programming Across The Stars I had visions of grandeur with accolades
for great game design. But now after playing through some of the games within the genre
I can see where my first game failed. Not only do I want to start with a design that
lends itself to playability. I want to continue the trilogy.
But to sit down and do it just seems so daunting. So I look for anything to inspire, to
feel that excitement of realizing a life long goal. But I guess after you've accomplish that
goal it becomes hard to say, Iíve always wanted to write an IF game. I did it. Mine placed
4th in the Annual Interactive Fiction Competition.
I've found bits of inspiration though; Jimmy Maher releasing
The King of Shreds and Patches
and seeing my name in the testing credits; Ben from Shadowk.com sending me a transcript and
asking me about any future IF; even the tragedy of
Paul Panks dying.
And itís not like I donít want to do this, because I do. I love writing IF. But the pressure
to get it right, to have characters that sound real, gripping you, getting lost in their dialog, is
unreal, and at times I cringe to think that I have to compete with the likes of Short, Eve, and Ingold.
So even though the gameís progress is a little slow, it gives me a chance to pick up things
from other authors as I play through new IF every now and then. Little things like how to
improve the depth of character interaction. And in the end I can only hope that a slower
well-thought-out path might do better than a quicker off-the-cuff romp. The story is there.
It just needs to be coded.
Wish me luck - D
Currently Playing: The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition
Sunday, July 12, 2009
"Tales of Monkey Island"
Telltale has teamed up with Lucas Arts to bring us the episodic adventures of Guybrush Threepwood,
reinventing the Monkey Island
brand. LeChuck is here, as well as Elaine, and it's a thrill to be able to play another
one of these games.
There's a lot of experience over at Telltale Games. They've been doing these types of adventures
for a long time, and both of their
Sam & Max series
were real hits over the past two years. And now they've created this fully realized 3D
world that lends itself to twisted puzzles and crazed characters. It's a thrill to unlock new
sections, only to find yourself stuck again as you quietly dwell on preposterous solutions.
It really does force you to think in a way only an adventure game can.
The whole game is broken into five episodes, a standard format Telltale has used for other
releases, with the first chapter available for download now; another thing we're seeing
a lot of. They'll also be releasing an enhanced DVD, which will include all five chapters,
for nothing more than the cost of shipping if you buy the entire season. You can even play
a demo on their site.
People might say that adventure games are dead, but companies like Telltale are proving
them wrong. With a brand name like Monkey Island people should flock to this game, and I
hope it translates to cash. There was a second season for Sam & Max. I'd like to see one
for Monkey Island.
Great job guys - D
Currently Playing: Tales of Monkey Island