13 August 2011

Writing To Do List (or Possible Death Warrant)

Having completed CPU12F Is Missing in what is record time for me, I found myself looking back at all the other non-weblog writing projects that are currently in back burner status, all conceived long before CPU12F Is Missing (though not before the original musically-inspired daydream that led to it), and was rather surprised by how many there were. Normally, I'm of the mindset that the less time talking about intentions, the better, and that even listing the titles of these stories would effectively extinguish their little flames. However, because I'm rather depressed tonight for reasons I won't bore you with, I felt like just making a little list of them. Call it a mental exercise, a test of motivation, or simply a way for me to let off some "mopey mist" if you'll pardon the dopey metaphor, I'm not even sure which is really the case.

Castlemass not a sequel to Ladyhorse, but set in the same universe of The Broken Continent and an arbitrary fifty years after the events of that story. It is written as a pair of fragmented journal entries from a clergyman and a royal handmaiden exploring, with the aid of an elven guide, an old manor house set curiously in the middle of an archipelago. The structure would have an interactive angle, where one could choose which side of the story to read first, only being able to select the other half upon finishing the original selection (via a link at the bottom of the text page). It would only be after reading both that a third section would become visible, an epilogue sharing the fate of the two characters.

Mission of Thuele This is ultimately a more refined version of Castlemass that abandons the interactive aspect and focuses more on the "his and hers" (not he said/she said) element of the multiple perspectives device. This would be a more visual project than Castlemass in that the text of the story would be presented as handwriting on scraps of distressed parchment, each with a "chibi" of the speaking character set beside their respective journal fragments. I'm currently still hammering out the characters themselves, but the basic plotting is more or less done.

Horizons (possibly canceled) This was originally meant to be written around November of 2010 with the intent of being finished by Thanksgiving.

It's listed as possibly canceled because of this movie's recent release. Granted, and at the risk of a bad pun, the distance between that film's plot and the plot of Horizons is astronomical, the only common thread between them being that they both deal with twin planets. However, Horizons (which is not set on earth, only an earth-like planet) deals with a somewhat primitive society lacking the sort of technology that would let them get a better idea of how closely their twin mirrors their own world whereas Another Earth is set on modern day earth and deals heavily with the implications of communicating with a global doppleganger. Also, Another Earth has a theme of second chances and the gravitas of difficult life choices, while Horizons is about an orphaned farm girl who hears something go bump in the night.
I haven't seen Another Earth, and I really don't care to (and early reviews I've heard have told me I'm missing nothing), but while I doubt many other people will, much less draw comparisons, even seeing posters for this film just feels like some kind of sign. It's not that I believe in fate, just that sometimes certain patterns and threads can become abundantly obvious and clear to us at opportune times and their message can often be, "Don't go there!" Stanley Kubrick had moments like that in his career, between his aborted biopic of Napoleon, fearing comparisons to the box office bomb Waterloo, and the canceled Aryan Papers, whose release would have coincided with Spielberg's Schindler's List, these are those missed opportunities that, on the whole, don't really result in much loss of sleep.
It's not giving up, it's just giving the floor over to that little voice in your head saying, "Oh, that's a terrible idea..." letting him get to and past, "... and here's why...." and finding that the little guy actually makes some really good points and isn't just a little contrarian out to ruin your day. It may sound defeatist, maybe even masochistic, but sometimes I don't mind being told, "You're wasting your time on this, go do something else." I even wonder just how many people on, say, American Idol, are genuinely relieved that Simon and Co. have told them they are not the next great musical sensation, how many just shrug their shoulders and say, "Ah, well, I guess I'll just have to do something else."

I'm not really sure where this is going, so for the sake of brevity, I'll end it here and see how I feel in the morning after I get some sleep.

Good night, and good luck.

09 August 2011

Good Riddance (There, I said it)

The Tweet
The Forum Thread

I'm on record saying I've never liked Extra Credits; I hated the way the show was produced, and I honestly hated that they were being paid for what they cobbled together and presented to us. Two hack writers and an overworked artist, and the best they could do was a five minute video, half of which was padded out with randomly-Googled images. At least when Yahtzee or Moviebob do that, they're at least integrated into their own personal art-styles and are far more relevant to the topic at hand. Also, Yahtzee and Bob are solo acts (and Bob makes two shows). I mean, think about that: Three people work on one show to produce what others do on their own and at best only match it in terms of production value.
My personal feelings about the show aside, here's two items of information that stick out for me:

On James: Using some of the fundraiser money (meant for Allison's Surgery and producing more episodes of Extra Credits) to start up a business. Dick move. That money was for Allison's surgery first, your personal projects... not even on the list.

On Alex: Granted, if I were in charge, I wouldn't pay Extra Credits a damn thing (see above), however, if you're having this much trouble keeping up with paying the people you choose to represent, it shouldn't surprise you that people are jumping ship. Pay people for their work, period. Turning around and asking them for money doesn't help things.

So, yes, I admit it: I'm glad Extra Credits is gone from The Escapist. I wish it were under better circumstances, I wish Allison (the artist for EC) wasn't in the middle of all this for something not her fault, and I wish it were as simple as EC doesn't like Escapist, but it isn't. So, to crib a phrase from John Stossel, "I want to say, 'Gimme a break!' but I don't know who to say it to."

UPDATE: Daniel Floyd, the co-hack of Extra Credits has said of people who donated to Allison's fundraiser and had their portions donated to starting the publishing company,
Yeah, if anyone approaches us saying they don't support the fund idea, I'm totally cool with the idea of returning their money. I don't know the logistics either at this point, having not received everything from Rockethub yet, but I totally agree with you.

The forum thread in question is here with the addendum that the Indie Gamer Fund is not a business, that "we won't take any money from the fund and any profits earned off titles published will go back into the fund to help kick start additional games"
So, they're not going to pocket the profits, they're going to use them to fund future projects... You know what, that's a business. Sure, it's not a "business" for the founders, since they're insisting they won't be profiting from it, but the developers of the games will, and while I want to say that's a good thing for independent game developers, I can't say I'm in great favor of the circumstances by which this operation has come to light. It's been established under false pretenses, that the money sent through the Rockethub event was to 1)Pay for Allison's surgery and 2)Produce more episodes of Extra Credits, effectively keeping Allison employed.

03 August 2011

A Fabricated Encounter (from Facebook)

The Facebook status message that started this:
PAY VERY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THESE INSTRUCTIONS: I would like my Facebook friends to comment on this status, sharing how you met me. But I want you to LIE. That's right, just make it up. After you comment, copy this to your status, so I can do the same. I bet HALF of you won't read the instructions.

to which I replied:
I was sabotaging a cruise ship with the intention of stranding the passengers to die a slow and painful death of starvation as a sacrifice to the ancient god Dagan. I was setting the detonator in the boiler room when you walked in on me, mistaking the room for the sauna. I thought you were going to try and stop me, but while I was explaining my evil plan (as all bombastic villains do) before silencing you, it turned out we actually worshiped the same evil deity and you'd even poisoned the entire food supply and were simply sticking around for a celebratory sauna. So, we fired up the jet skis and left that band of wayward travelers to their doom.

and in return:
The obelisk stood dusty in the dunes as I brush at them... frustrated at my situation. "Oh Lord DAGAN. Why must I unearth this damned monument?!" I yelled to nothing in particular. "Because he wishes it so," a voice from behind me called out startling me causing me to drop my brush. I looked back and spotted you setting down your backpack and breaking out a brush of your own. "The name's Matthew Joseph of the Great Dark Deepness, yourself?" I picked up my brush and returned to the delicate dusting of what looks like Dagan sitting atop a massive throne with men and women weeping at his feet and replied without looking at you, "Desiree of the Deep Weeping." The conversation went from Dagan to darker topics as the sun sank behind the larger dunes of the endless desert. The chittering of the hellflies dying on our buzz zapper makes us laugh as we continue our dark duty in the light of our new friendship.

This is seriously my new favorite thing right now. Thanks, Desi :)