Back at EGX 2016 I got involved with virtual reality game Craft Keep VR. A certain portion of the game was already available in Early Access before I even heard about it but over the past few months I’ve been writing story and dialogue and gradually seeing the whole thing take form. At this point my work is done and, not only that, the finished game has just been released! You’ll need either an Oculus Rift or an HTC Vive virtual reality headset to play it, but even if you don’t have one of those knocking about I highly recommend checking out the trailer.
I got a chance to play a very nearly complete version at EGX Rezzed this year, and the experience was…strange. Amazing, but strange. I don’t have the VR equipment necessary to play this sort of thing at home, so beyond a few YouTube videos I hadn’t really seen the work in progress while I was writing. It’s quite a shock to go from “Ha ha! This’ll make for a fun bit of dialogue,” to “Oh wow! There’s the guy saying it!” with absolutely nothing in between. It would be weird if the jump were simply from page to screen, but when it’s from page to 3D people walking around in the room with you, it’s especially striking. Continue reading
You might recall Craft Keep VR from my writeup of EGX 2016, where I was lucky enough to try out the virtual reality fantasy artisan game first hand. Well, there’s some exciting follow-up news. First of all, Craft Keep is coming to Steam Early Access on the 10th of November: that’s less than a week away!
Second, I’m writing this thing! At EGX I got talking to the developer, Arvydas Žemaitis, who said that he was looking to include an interesting story as the player travels about setting up shop in all these weird and wonderful locations around the world. Naturally I sent off an email about it after the event, and here we are! Continue reading
A week and a bit since the launch of Ten Little Astronauts on Unbound, and I’ve just put out my first Shed update. This one – Why Sci-fi? – focuses on the reasons why I chose to take the premise of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None and take it to interstellar space, and should hopefully be a bit of an introduction to the book for anyone who isn’t already familiar with the basic idea. That said, if you haven’t seen the video for the book already then I highly recommend giving that a watch:
If you’d like to read the Shed update – Why Sci-fi? – it’s available publicly through that link. If you’d like to read future Shed updates, I highly recommend pledging to support the book: some of them will only be available to subscribers, and I’m already having a good think about what I’ll include in those.
If you are planning to support the book, you might like to know that Unbound is currently running a promotion that offers £10 off any pledge. That’s £10 that won’t actually go towards getting the book into print, so if you want to do your bit to help out then I’d recommend looking at it as £10 worth of extra rewards rather than £10 off the cost: for example, I’ve just used the code myself to get a signed hardback of this David Bowie anthology for the cost of a regular hardback.
The code to take advantage of this deal is rio16, but do be quick: it expires at midnight on Sunday, UK time!
It’s been an interesting morning!
Getting permission to film on board Britain’s last surviving WWII submarine for my upcoming Ten Little Astronauts campaign was actually far easier than expected – the people at the museum were extremely helpful the whole way – but it was still a bit of a rush to get everything sorted on time. Because of that, although I only found out for sure yesterday that I’d be able to film on board, it was actually 6:30 this morning that I set out to record the pitch video.
If you go to visit HMS Alliance as part of the standard tour, you’ll see and hear much the same things illustrated in the video above. My visit to film from 7:45 to 9:45 – in the two hours before the museum opened – was a little different. Continue reading
July 1st, as always, marked the start of Flash Fiction Month, but for me personally there was also some very big news: I’ve had a book accepted for publication!
If you’ve subscribed to my newsletter or have spent some time in the Flash Fiction Month chatroom, you may already be aware of this, but the Winchester Writers’ Festival this year went a little better for me than I initially let on. One of my one-to-one meetings was with Scott Pack, an editor at Unbound. He passed on the manuscript for Ten Little Astronauts, my MA novella, to the rest of the team. A week or so afterwards I found out that they’d decided to go ahead and launch it.
Unbound is a crowdfunding publisher, which is pretty much why I decided to approach them: it is nearly impossible to get a novella published by conventional means. The couple of weeks since they accepted my work have mostly revolved around organising a campaign for it, which alongside Flash Fiction Month and my regular job have resulted in more than a couple of very, very long nights. I’ve been working on a pitch, thinking up rewards for supporters, and – for reasons that will become apparent below – arranging the use of an Acheron-class submarine.
Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 1
Challenge #1: Community Mashup.
“A variety of breakfast cereals + nihilistic dystopian setting.” ~distortified
“Fairies and NASCAR” ~Megan1289
It has been eighteen years since the Final War. Eighteen years since the mushroom kingdom vanished into mushroom clouds. In the days before, the races were mere sport: entertainment for spectators grown fat on crunch. Now, the races are survival. An endless struggle between the Coco Tyrants and the Sugar Crazies. Those who gain the approval of the ganglords survive. There is nothing more. There is no right or wrong. No mercy or restraint. No choice.
The wheel burns within my grasp. The pedal screams beneath my boot. Beneath the hood, a dual-linked pair of solvent-quenched shredcannons; in the hold, three hundred kilos of high-octane Frosted Flakes.
The Coco Tyrants want them. The Sugar Crazies want them back.
If you’ve been following for a while, you may have already seen my first and second articles on the Early Access version of Epistory, an open-world typing game by Fishing Cactus. Well, now that the game is out, and now that my computer is capable of reliably recording gameplay, I thought I’d try a video review.
Chapter One: The Watchtower
It was a marvel to see the White Queen paint. Marcia watched as the brush drifted across the surface of the paper, leaving no mark: its bristles held only water.
There was a knock at the door.
Marcia looked to the queen, and was answered by an almost imperceptible nod. Stepping neatly over to the door, she opened it.
“Your Majesty,” said the general, bowing deeply as he stepped inside. “We have repelled an attack at Hobnail Pass, but the lines will not hold.”
The White Queen traced the brush across the paper with extreme care. Marcia closed the door, then once again took up her place by the queen’s side, examining the paper with silent interest. There was no hint of her mistress’ work but a faint glistening of water in the light.
The general took no more notice of the queen than she did of him. Marcia observed him in one of the queen’s three grand mirrors as he strode over to a map laid out on a nearby table, cluttered with painted wooden models representing various companies and legions. The general scowled, removing a few dusty pieces and rearranging several more.
The queen dipped her brush in the little cup of water and dragged it back and forth quickly across the top of the paper, catching the little beads of liquid as they formed. She stared out of the window at the garden below, comparing this scene to the one she had formed. With a quick flick of the brush, she made an adjustment.
“It is my opinion that we must give up Wieseberg.” The general proceeded to shove a line of figures into place with a straight edge, then formed them into a swooping curve with a pudgy hand. “The city is of little strategic value, but eliminating this salient would shorten our lines considerably. The surplus troops here could be…”
“Give up the pass,” said the queen, dabbing carelessly at the paper.
“Give up the pass.” The White Queen folded her hands on her lap and turned to the general. “Our foe is determined to have that ground no matter what the cost. We will not be so foolish.” Continue reading
The following is a transcript of a radio programme which aired on 14th July [CENSORED], transmitted from channel [CENSORED], presented for the attention of [CENSORED] in relation to PROJECT PROTEUS.
I was recently granted the sort of once-in-a-lifetime chance that most journalists can only ever dream about: the opportunity for an interview with a person so unique, so unusual, that everything about them shakes the very foundation of all that we have so long accepted to be true.
Hey, you have to check these guys out!
“Project Proteus”? Sounds like some crappy prog-rock group! Isn’t their singer like some sort of newspaper reporter or something?
Despite the really short window for submissions, I’m going to have a tough time choosing a winner: I’ll be announcing the results tomorrow. In the meantime, please enjoy the fantastic entries above and, if you haven’t already, explore Project Proteus for yourself.
A phone call.
A meeting at the docks.
A mysterious test, and a strange request.
Only two words lead you on: Project Proteus.
Project Proteus is my latest work of interactive fiction, and while it may not be the most ambitious (Outpost is going to be hard to top when it comes to that), I do feel as though it’s probably the most responsive. I’ve put a lot of effort into shaping the text itself around the various choices you’ll have to make in order to explore the mysterious Project Proteus.