Blog 561: Too Many Projects Spoil the Broth

… but you can’t stop me working on all of them. Simultaneously.

Project Y4 R02

Top of the line remains the difficult second release of Project Y4. New equipment, new enemies, new quests, new sound effects, new bug-fixes and balance tweaks — since I’ll be going up a whole version number, I feel compelled to justify the expense by loading it up with stuff (but no bonus missions… yet).

I’ve got Warcraft III installed at work now so I’ve been fiddling with it quite a bit during lunch hour. Most recently, I’ve been adding a devastating new ability to the final boss… In fact, I’ve been doing a lot of work on the final boss, maybe even enough for a full spoiler-tastic discussion blog, because I think in R01 it’s unfair and not as cool as it should be. Not that anyone plays games to their finish these days anyway, but I’m not going to let the side down.

The current stumbling block is side quests and points of interest. Facility EY43 is basically an arena, and beyond its computers and its few unsignposted fetch quests there’s not much variety there. I want to add a bit more splash — you couldn’t move five minutes without tripping over a side quest in This Wreckage, but I think Y4 has ended up too far in the other direction… However, I’m a bit stumped as to just how and what I can integrate (meaningfully) to spice it up.

Y4 is important because it’s proof that one man can make a total conversion. And what is a total conversion but a game made in somebody else’s engine? The final leap to standalone is ever closer.

... and that's not all!

… and that’s not all!

When the Freedom Slips Away/This Wreckage/Shattered by Light Re-write

The good thing about this novelisation project is that it’s confined entirely to my cute netbook, Astradyne. That means that it’s not competing with all the other projects for time — it is developed only during the long commutes to Edinburgh. Sure, that limits it to between 30 and 60 minutes of work a day, but slow and steady wins the race. (My rebuttal is always “fast and steady wins the race” when people say that to me, but this is all mine so go away.)

It might not seem like a lot of time, but remember this is just the bare narrative skeleton. I fully expect the flesh to take considerably longer to layer on.

I have been grubbing around the finale for a few weeks now. I felt that the Sphinxes were underplayed at the finale in the first draft, so I wanted to do a bit more with them to build up some more exposition before the world comes crashing down — but it took me a while to sort through things and find a viable path that didn’t come out broken or just incongruous. I’m pretty comfortable that I’ve got to that point now…

So I moved on to the endless fun of the chat between Henrik and Five. It might be cheap and cheesy villain’s exposition, but I still love it. Even though I’ve been doing things purely as bullet-point plans up to this point, I’ve resorted to writing full dialogue for this part in particular because it’s so important — so that I can then work backwards down the plan and find all the bits that aren’t set up properly or otherwise don’t fit with the ultimate vision.

This Wreckage is important because I’m tired of people focusing so heavily on grimdark that they forget to have a ripping yarn, and end up with a non-existent (Mass Effect 2) or nonsensical (Human Revolution) narrative. Wreckage aims to be a balance of character and depth and yarn. I know it can be done. I intend to prove it.

Brownscape: Torment

So, this WC3 RPG has jumped the gun and become a stand-alone text adventure. It’s funny because my prose has lapsed into a bizarre semi-descriptive/semi-conversational present tense — coming out like a Scholar’s lightly-dramatised diary of events rather than a first-person account from Lash himself (as the text in the original WC3 map would indicate). It happened naturally, so I’m quite happy to run with it.

I could probably install Twine on Astradyne so that Brownscape could start competing with This Wreckage rather than Project Y4 (and all the rest), but because of the slightly more visual element of arranging the interlinking blocks a mouse seems necessary. Could definitely displace Y4 for lunch hour.

Brownscape is important because it’s supposed to be small and easy to finish and I haven’t released anything since The Oasis. It’s also kind of tragic and everybody loves dark stuff, right?

Yes, it's been called "This Desert Place" for a while but "Brownscape" is funnier.

Yes, it’s been called “This Desert Place” for a while but “Brownscape” is funnier.

LoneWiki

As I’ve been novelising on the train, LoneWiki has come back into focus because it’s the primary enabler of said writing activities. I’ve been sitting on some general fixes and upgrades for a while, but I was all set to fire on into an integrated flowchart system (imaginatively named “Flow” after the recent Ultravox song) as the Next Big Thing.

Alas, it was not to be — while it was all fine and dandy on the PC with the debugger at hand and under artificial conditions, using it in a real world scenario showed up more flaws than you can shake a thousand-page fantasy at. So Flow has been excised, which means the next edition of LoneWiki might roll out fairly soon with a rather more mundane changelog.

Don’t worry, I haven’t given up on Flow — it just needs to go back to the drawing board. I still need the feature to map out plots and stuff, and it’d be an interesting unique-selling-point to finally differentiate LoneWiki from all those other personal offline wikis floating around.

LoneWiki is important because I actually use it for stuff. (And, hell, so do at least two other people in the entire world.)

All the Projects

Is that all the projects? I’m sure I had a few more. Maybe I’m thinking of all the game engine investigations — my occasionally poking at Unity, NeoAxis and dear old deprecated XNA. I always hit the brick wall of imperfect art export from Milkshape, so guess I’m going to have to suck it up and translate via Blender or somesuch.

I guess the funny thing is that I can’t see myself dropping any one of these projects. I never give up until things are finished, and there ain’t one of these that can be called that.

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