Saturday, July 25, 2009
posted 9:16pm
"Count Zero"
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
posted 9:16pm
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 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
posted 10:29pm
"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