So I’ve arrived at my writing retreat. To some people, it’s a funny idea: spend a week and a not insignificant amount of money to go make yourself bash out words. It smells a lot like work and why spend all that time and money when you could be on a beach drinking pina coladas? I tend to average about 10,000 words or more in a week on my retreats. If the same task was given to most people (“write 10,000 or more words in a week”) they’d have horrific flashbacks to school assignments. Read more
One of the more mature projects I’ve been working on is my novel Breathe. I’ve been working on it on and off more maybe five or six years, and only really applied myself to it in the last three. In 2006, instead of working on my PhD thesis, I took a gamble and wrote the first few chapters so I could enter a competition held by the ACT Writers Centre. The prize was to work with a mentor on my novel, for twenty hours or so. To my amazement, I won it! My mentor is John Clanchy and we’ve since formed a great mateship that has long outlast the 20 hours I had won. He reads my work and offers comments. We often catch up for a beer and just chat about everything.
I bring this all up now because I’m going on a writing retreat soon. I typically blog a bit whilst on retreat, but only on fiction writing. I tend to have a mental shift and become a lot more arty. Apparently my vocabulary and sentence structure improves markedly. So you know what you’re getting into if you’re a regular reader. Read more
I recently watched a fascinating TED talk by Simon Sinek on starting with “why” rather than “how” or “what”. It gave me a chance to think over some of the things in my life and evaluate possible reasons why they succeeded or failed. While I definitely need to meditate more on Sinek’s ideas to see if I completely agree with it, I thought it might be interesting to share these evaluations of successes or failures and thrash out the idea. This blog is a place for me to discuss my many creative and technical projects, so I thought I might do it here, and focus just on projects (it’s not as fun subjecting personal experiences to philosophical framework in public 😉 ).
I’m currently working on the basic game engine for Kung Fu Legends. I’m the only person working on the game and I’ve never successfully made a whole game engine, so progress is slow. To my delight I have one of the main subsystems up and ready – the graphics subsystem, powered by the Ogre3d library. I can change the background colour and display text on the window, which is pretty basic but it means it’s working. I’m also doing a lot of work of figuring out the software flow for the game engine (separate from the game world simulation) and I thought I’d talk about some of the ideas I’ve had there.
One way I want to make Kung Fu Legends a bit different is by making it all about the long-term strategy. In stories everywhere, the protagonist has a goal that they strive singularly towards. All the story between the introduction and climax is towards this goal. In fantasy stories, this is typically the arc of character development, where the protagonist and their allies build up their strength and alliance to defeat the antagonist. In fantasy RPGs, this is typically simplified to a bunch of possibly related encounters that allow you to build up your statistics so that the accounting on the final fight looks epic. There’ll be key milestones of acquiring some artifact of power and maybe roughing up the bad guy’s henchmen for intel, but everything else roughly equates to dicking about to increase stats. Read more