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Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

We’re at it again with a modest $670 goal.

Check out the campaign here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/geekfevergames/sim-hero-v20

If you love RPGs & Simulation games – this is the game for you! If not, then you are like 99.9% of the populatuion and you may continue with your regularly scheduled Sunday.

castles1

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Been a while, I know.

Brasilia sits here on my virtual & actual desktops… waiting for my attention. With my house collapsing on us (wish I was joking), it’s been a stressful 2014. Anyway:

Health

I had my 15 year appointment a few weeks ago with my surgeon. Before the visit, I told myself I was just fine and that part of my life was now over. Sure-as-shit, after 15 years, my surgeon told me ‘goodbye,’.

Needless to say, we celebrated with food & chocolate.

Games

As y’all know, I also make games. We are currently in a Kickstarter for our first board game and all the details can be found here.

Check it out!

Writing

I also wrote a short story to go along with the game mentioned above, you can find that for free on Smashwords here. Amazon is hopefully going to make it free as well soon, that link is here. (it will be free Wednesday-Sunday on the Kindle store this week)

Brasilia

As I mentioned, it will get my attention, I’m just not sure exactly when. It is written, I just need the time & energy to edit it a buncha times.

 

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Enjoy!

ascii thanksgiving

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You go, Chris Roberts!

Before I explain the title, here’s a story from my childhood:

I was in junior high (“middle school” for you non-New-Englanders) and I had kinda grown up on my Atari game system, arcades and (later) my Apple IIc.

Sometime during those wonder years I met a friend with a PC:  a 486 Windows 3.something. And he had Wing Commander. I hadn’t played anything quite like it, and I’m not sure anyone had. It was a quasi-3d space shooter which had so much more. The storyline won’t knock yer panties off, but the game had a storyline! This was revolutionary back then.

Storyline PLUS great gameplay = I rode my bike 3 miles after school to go watch my friend play this game. I eventually did play (and got my own PC), but this game shaped all my future gaming in so many ways. Wing Commander was the benchmark by which I measured many other games that came down thru the years (even non-space-sims). Between this game, Pool of Radiance and Railroad Tycoon, my gaming pedigree was established.

The man behind Wing Commander kinda disappeared for a while. But now he’s back.

And he’s crowd-funding his next project.

Watch his video explaining the project. He talks about how he could have signed with a publisher (with his street cred, publishers line up for him), but he doesn’t necessarily agree with current publishers’ visions of the future of gaming. He wanted to retain control of his own project and develop it for his beloved platform: PC.

God damn, we live in an exciting time! I see projects getting “crown funded” all the time on sites like Kickstarter nowadays. Creative people with great ideas can see their projects come to life and succeed/fail based on their own merits – rather than on some gatekeeper’s whim (sound familiar?). To see this sort of “do it yourself” invasion spread across many aspects of life today is truly inspirational. We self-published writers might have the best toolset of them all (Amazon, ’nuff said), but sites like Kickstarter and Gamecrafter are spreading the revolution into other creative avenues.

Bravo to these pioneers. And Bravo to Chris Roberts. I’ll be happily funding your project and eagerly await the release of Star Citizen (or whatever you call it in the end).

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Wow, it’s been a while since my last post. Yup, been busy with my final edit on the graphic novel and revising Eden in prep for the audiobook (here’s hoping Audible.com says “yes”). Lots of great stuff happening!

So, the topic at hand: indie game development – is it similar to self-publishing a novel?

I never thought so, until now.

What changed? Very simply – there is a game under development right now that sounds like it is being made just for me. An endless adventuring sandbox devoid of 3d/realtime junkiness. A turn-based mashing of MMOG/CCG/RPG/TRPG.

Yep, that’s a whole ton of acronyms to describe the type of gameplay I’ve come to love in my older years.

I prefer “classic” turn-based RPG’s & Tactical-RPG’s like Poof of Radiance/Final Fantasy 1/Final Fantasy Tactics/Ogre Battle 64/Rogue-likes – but there are parts of them that I don’t enjoy. Character development is typically somewhat bland (except for the TRPG’s). Single-player only. Combat sometimes becomes tedious/bland. However, adding two elements of other games I love changes the whole equation: multiplayer and card-pulling randomness/deck tactics.

Pure awesomeness.

There have been some good online Collectible Card Games (CCG’s) as well – tops is the CCG in Free Realms. However, that’s all it really was. Sure, there were a few intro quests to gain cards, but it didn’t last. It soon became necessary to buy online booster packs and the game turned into straight-up duels and tourneys. Not bad (for a while) for those of us who like CCG’s, but it loses its steam when there’s nothing else to do besides duel.

Add some “adventuring” to the duels/card collection and we’re heading towards that pure awesomeness again!

The game? You want the name? Well, it’s not out yet but there are actually two in the works. Minecraft “Scrolls” (Bethesda lawsuit pending) and Card Hunter from Blue Manchu.  Card Hunter is very much on my radar and their leader (John Chey) had some interesting things to say in his last interview. His words really struck home and forced my pen to this blog.

“I really don’t know how I would sell this game to an investor or a publisher.” – John Chey, Blue Manchu

If you don’t know who John Chey is, well that’s not important. Suffice to say – he’s a big name, semi-granddaddy developer to many games all of us computer dorks have played (or at least heard of). He has worked on huge titles and has plenty of street cred. Instead of staying put where he was, he decided to strike out on his own so he could (presumably) make the games he wanted to make. Now, of course, he sold his share of the company he co-owned so he had the bank/contacts in place to launch his own endeavors. Some might argue that this is the only way to do it.

Well, I disagree.

There have been some great indie games from no-names as well as industry vets. Minecraft certainly came out of nowhere – almost 2 million copies in 2 years from a 1-man show “hobbyist”. If these guys (Markus, John, others) decided to either stay with their studio job or shy away from self-developing their games – where would we be? Same place we were back in the beginning of the computer gaming age (of which I have been a consumer from the start) – go see what’s on the shelf at Eastern Coin or Babbage’s.

Gosh, I cannot play games like Mass Effect, World of Warcraft, Diablo, Doom, Madden NFL 2kx, Gran Turismo (yes, I may have misspelled that and no, I’m not going to look it up) or The Sims for the rest of my life. While those games (and their many clones) are just fine, I have a deep, gnarled love for board games, CCG’s and tactical RPG’s. Fuck, tomorrow we’re all getting together for the Battlestar Galactica board game (in person, yes people still do that). I still contend Ogre Battle 64 for the N64 is the best game ever made (and I played it while recovering from surgery just last year). And I continually play the best damn CCG ever made (Jyhad).

However, never have I played all of these things together, mashed into one online game I can play with my friends. John Chey seems to think such a game would never exist in the world of big studios/budgets/expectations:

“My belief is that there is certainly room in the market, and an ability to reach groups of people that probably would have been hard to reach before, when you had to put things on the shelves and get distributors on-side. It’s just so much easier to reach people now that you don’t have to go for the biggest market possible. There is obviously no way that Card Hunter is ever going to compete with the big MMOs in terms of its audience, but it doesn’t have to.” – John Chey, Blue Manchu

So, thanks to an indie’s desire to see it happen – I’ll soon be able to play my dream game. Such a thing would never have been possible if everything I could purchase went through the “profitability filter” of some major game studio.

And so too: novels.

Why should we consumers of fiction be told what is acceptable and not acceptable for us to read? What if I’m into a certain type of book that hasn’t really been done to my tastes yet? Should I keep reading “what’s out there,” never fully satisfied? Why does someone else have the authority to “gate” my entertainment?

There’s so much disdain for self-published authors out there and I just don’t get it. I mean, if you’re into Elf Dragqueen/Centaur Stud paranormal romance, it’s a good thing you were born in this century! Chances are, someone’s writing something that nails a bullseye in your heart – the only difficult part is finding these things. Well, as long as the content keeps coming, at least we have a shot. Card Hunter might let me down like so many things I have banked my dreams upon in the past (*cough* Starwars ep. 1-3 *cough*). However, I’m glad it’s going to be available. There’s always the chance it hits that perfect string, just like the very few games I’ve been playing for the past 15-20 years.

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In random order:

I’m now on Shelfari. That link gets you to my profile page so you can “friend” me. I’m trying to add all the books I’ve read, but it’s a slow process. Only the very good and very bad books are sticking in my memory, it seems. And I’m not a pack rat, so most of the books I’ve read in my life are gone. Anyway, if you are a Shelfari member, please ADD Eden and For Duty to your shelves! 5-star ’em up and recommend to yer friends! (yes, I’m allowed to be shameless from time to time).

As you can see from my “shelf”, I’m reading Hunger Games now. It’s a post-apoc novel which is currently #1 on the Kindle sales list. To me, that means #1 in the world. Gotta do some research on my colleagues!

Coupons! Don’t have a hard cover version of my books yet? Tsk Tsk. They are quite snazzy, featuring Axel’s artwork on the jacket… really good stuff. Enter this code on Lulu to get 20% off: SUNSHINE305

Expires June 30. Click on the “Matt’s Books” tab here to find the link to the hardcovers.

As kind of an addendum to my “What I’m playing” blog post from last week, I’m now thoroughly hooked on Terraria. Like Minecraft, this game threatens to rule me for a spell. Gameplay is quite similar to Minecraft, but it is a 2D Platformer. (if you are not a geek, see the link)

Our budding outpost in Terraria - like my goggles?

Where do I start with this one? Well, as I said, it’s quite similar to Minecraft. You break blocks, form structures and craft all manner of items. However, Terraria has a very robust combat / adventuring system. It also boasts some neat and different weapons / tools (boomerang!). And it certainly has more of an “adventury” feel to it. Again, one of my buds stood up a server and we can login anytime to continue to explore and/or build some neat things.

Two thumbs up and over the rainbow for this one!

That’s all for now, I guess. I do have the first few pencils in for Eden’s graphic novel and I’m psyched to start sharing some of that with y’all. I know it’s a huge project, so here’s hoping Andres sticks with us through the end! He is an exceptional artist and I’m lucky to have found him.

I’m all settled in the new house, so work on Babylon is starting up again. I will have the 1st draft done by the end of the summer, for sure. If not, feel free to corner me in any airport and punch me in the nuts… I won’t fault you.

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What I’m Playing (June 2011)

Time for an update!

Yup, I’m always playing games and here’s the latest. You may also notice that I change games more often than most people change their underwear. It’s my curse.

Pirates of the Caribbean Online (MMO)

I keep returning to this game with a few friends. This and City of Heroes seem to be my staples over the past 5-ish years. Why? Not sure.

For Pirates, I think it has to do with the core gameplay. The graphics stink. The performance is often choppy. Some things are still bugged, even after all these years. But no other game can offer the sheer amount of mmo fun that comes from everyone hopping onto the same ship and sinking other ships. One player is the “captain” and everyone else can fire deck guns and repair the ship via mini games. Star Trek Online completely missed the mark – the devs for that failboat really should have looked at what Disney Online did here.

While everyone in Pirates certainly can pilot their own ships, it’s far more fun to all cooperatively sail on one ship. As the captain steers, broadsides and does other captainy stuff, everyone else scrambles around the deck firing cannonballs into enemy hulls. Yeah, it’s just great physics fun like Spank the Frank. (just click on the link – I’m not feeling that spunky tonight… it’s safe)

Enemy NPC Flagships require you to disable them and then board to fight the crew. Um… if that doesn’t put a rise in yer pantaloons, I don’t think you can talk games with me any longer:

No other game offers this, matey.

Pirates of the Caribbean Online: give it a look-see, it’s free to try.

 
Dominions 3
 
Yup, still playing it. Our last game took a few months to complete and I’m happy to report I was a co-winner. I made the map for the next game and we’re up to twelve players! That’s a whole lotta geek.
 
I cannot think of another 4x PBEM strategy game that has kept my interest this long. Master of Magic and Civ come close… but MoM was single player only and Civ pitboss suffered from an unforgivable exploit. Nope, Dom3 is the best of them all.
 

Notice a theme? Graphics count for shit when it comes to the quality of any computer game. FACT.

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