Newsletter October 2009
Yes, I know, I was bad and missed last month, and we are already almost two weeks into October. Sorry. I haven't been working on novels as much as I would have liked, but I do have an exciting project that is keeping my early morning and late night hours filled. More later.
I have actually done some writing on the joint novel, but I haven't managed to build enough momentum to really get it going. Shannon probably hates me for sitting on it, but I'm going to have her over for a tasty dinner on our new grill soon. Hopefully she'll forgive me. Speaking of that, we finally got a dining room table. We no longer have to eat on stools in the kitchen. It's just like graduating from college and moving into a real apartment. :)
For a while now, I've been into creating games. So far I've made a few card and board games, but I always discovered a big flaw in the designs and had to go back to the drawing board. Back in August, I dusted off some of my old ideas and put them together into something new: a computer based puzzle/discovery game with a lot of business ideas thrown in. Basically, you had to do research and produce/sell products in order to make money faster than the competition. Once I figured out the design, I taught myself some Python and began coding the game. Shortly after I started coding, I got contacted by a guy who had a plan to make a World of Warcraft style game (a.k.a. massively multiplayer online roleplaying game, or MMORPG, or just MMO on the iPhone. I met Dave online a few years ago when he and I and others were all trying to create online games using an indie game engine. We eventually pooled our resources and worked on a game together. Well, due to some licensing problems with the engine, everything fell apart and we went our separate ways.
Fast forward a few years. Dave has put out a few iPhone games. I've created some business-model games. A new game engine is out there with everything we need. He is a great programmer, but one person can't tackle such a project, so he called out to the old team. Turns out a lot of us still want to make games. I volunteered my business-model game to be the trade skill system, and he was happy to have me help. It is a small team, so we all do a bit of everything, and after a month and a half, I've found myself in charge of creating the world. And I'm not talking about coming up with a history and setting and such. I mean the nitty gritty. Drawing up maps, turning those maps into 3D computer models, painting them up with textures, placing all of the trees and houses and rivers and everything. I'm having a blast. And it's especially cool to be able to dream up, say, a creepy forest, create it, then run around in it (virtually, at least).
In a lot of ways, this project invigorates me the way my first novel did. Actually, it is more like my second novel. I've done this sort of thing before, though I'm learning new tricks all the time. But I'm in the game creation zone. When I'm playing games, I'm analyzing how the creators did things. When I'm watching T.V., I'm getting ideas. I'm having a blast. I'm not telling a story right now, but at some point, I'll get to create quests and storylines that will go into the game. And then lots of people will get to read my stuff. Assuming it all pans out.
And that is why I missed last month's update. I've been lost, exploring the world of making games (well, when I'm not working, working on the house, taking care of family, going to swim lessons with Abby, etc.).
The game is called DangerLands. It doesn't have a website out, but when it does, I'll let you know. In the mean time, you can read some articles I wrote about creating the forest:
http://www.multiplaying.net/2009/09/28/dangerlands-lpha-video/ Includes an early video of game play.
And if you want some reading recommendations, check out anything by Neal Asher. He writes very exciting thriller/sci-fi stories. Right now I'm reading Hilldiggers, but they're all good.
Happy Halloween! Abby is going as a bumble bee this year. Not the Transformer.