Age of Tyrants website

Been quite some time in the making, and went through many changes and upheavals on the way, but at last we’re close to the release of Age of Tyrants. The website really is now live I’m pleased to report (after a premature posting to that effect yesterday).

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Son of Mars 2 and employing Screenwriting Methods

I started writing the sequel to my novel, Son of Mars a couple of weeks ago. It’s tentatively titled Scion of Earth. Can report that the going is slow to treacly, as expected in the early stages of novel writing (this will in point of fact be my fourth–the first was about twenty years ago and was terrible, then one about fifteen years ago that got published by a small, indie e-publisher, and finally did Son of Mars earlier this year).

I wrote Son of Mars on the back of doing a couple of screenplays, and had screenwriting structure and techniques fresh in my mind, which I think that contributed to a pacy, cinematic style (at least, some people have told me they find the book reads that way). So this time I’ve gone one stage further and used “The Board” (also called the Beat Sheet), a structuring technique popularised by the late screenwriter Blake Snyder in his book “Save the Cat”.

It’s essentially the Hero’s Journey for film, and works within a classic three-act structure, but it will drive that punchy, cinematic feel to the narrative I want for the Son of Mars books.

Unearthed Scriptures

With the house move, all manner of buried things have been brought to the surface. This morning I was looking for a bit of paper to make some notes on and grabbed a writing pad that had not been used for over 13 years. I know this because the only previous notes it contained were a set of hiakus I wrote for a Void 1.1 expansion. Hiakus? Yep, as colour text for the zen, ninja type VASA knights. Transcribing them here as they gave me a smile:

Five Canons of Wisdom

Duty

On the river bed, The boulder remains in place, The water runs on

Honour

The eagle is proud, And fiercely defends his nest, Doves are merely vain

Humility

When the typhoon roars, Boughs break and mighty trees fall, The sapling wand bends

Balance

Eels live in rivers, Salmon roam the wide ocean, Until they must spawn

Responsibility

Clever monkeys eat, By stealing from the village, Wise monkeys make friends

And We’re Back (and now an Author?)

Quick whip round the place with my tumbleweed extractor and it’ll be all stations go once again. Had a year of hiatus from the freelancing and indie because I was persuaded to make the regrettable decision of working full time for a video games company again. I don’t like to say never, but I really, really never want to do that again.

So anyway, after that inevitably going to shit, I wrote a novel! Check it out.

I’m still doing games, but of the tabletop variety again. Age of Tyrants which went on hiatus along with me, will be getting kickstarted soon, so watch out for that.

DIY Approach

I have a new indie project going with an ex-colleague and all round good bloke, who is an excellent animator who can also do UI, art and sound. He happens to be in the same situation as I am, laid off a while ago, and after a number of unsatisfactory years in the industry he very much wants to go it alone. So there’s the two of us, but no programming expertise there. Between us we’ve had plenty of offers from coders willing to help out in their spare time, but with the best will in the world, most projects where some or all of the members are doing it in their spare time flounder. There are tabletop games I designed over two years ago, that still haven’t come out and are technically “in production”, because other key contributors have jobs and are trying to work around them. So this is where the DIY bit comes in for me at least. Contrary to my “The Pitch” page, in which I claim to do nothing practical, just plan and document, I’m learning to write GML scripts (we’re using Game Maker) and will do the level design. It’s tough on the old cranium at the moment, but in the long run, it should get us to the finish line.