I’ve just finished the side-plot content (all 75 000 words of it) for Lords of Infinity, which means I’ve only got a few more things to tidy up (balance, reference materials, some new text additions based on player feedback) before I’m ready to submit the whole thing to the publisher. Hopefully, all of that shouldn’t take more than another two or three months.
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Today I’d like to talk a bit about this side content I’ve been working on. It’s gotten to well over 50 000 words all by itself, and I’m probably going to need at least another month to finish it up, so I feel like you’re all at least a little entitled to a bit of an explanation.
First of all, what it is: the side content for Lords of Infinity consists of a handful of small plots with tangential, but potentially important ramifications for the main story. Think of them like sidequests in an RPG, or a breather episode in a TV show. These side-plots are available to the player based on their choices. The Aetoria side-content, for example, is determined by the club they join when they move to the capital. Each of these side-stories explores an aspect of life as a member of the Tierran aristocracy which the main story doesn’t really have space for. They can bring additional benefits to the player later on – as well as potential complications.
I already suspect that a few of you already have a question: why bother? Why should I put time and effort into this stuff if it’s not moving the main plot along? Well, there’s a number of reasons for that:
First of all, it fleshes out the world, both by showing how the changing conditions of the world are affecting places and people the player wouldn’t otherwise see, and by allowing the player to experience some of more of the social world that surrounds the main character, both in spheres which are intended for the aristocratic classes, and those which aren’t. Each of the side-plots introduces the player to new characters, new places, and new social phenomena which make up the parts of a living, breathing, setting.
Secondly, it offers additional choices and consequences, which allow the player to affect the story in new and interesting ways. Likewise, some of the decisions which the player makes in the side content might prove to have helpful (or harmful) consequences in the main story. As a result, the world feels more connected and reactive, more real. The player gets more of a feeling that this is a world their main character actually inhabits, where even how they spend their spare time is a matter of consequence.
Thirdly, it offers more impact to certain choices which I consider a bit lacking in reactivity. While there’s already a lot of different content based around each of the five clubs in Aetoria, this new side content not only adds more, but also helps reinforce the fact that the club you join isn’t just a throw-away choice, but something which can outright determine the people you know and the things you can do.
Last of all, some of it is just fun to write, and lets players get up to all kinds of shenanigans which their characters could only get away with through the impunity that comes with high birth in a deeply unequal society.
Hopefully, when Lords of Infinity comes out in a few months, you’ll all consider it as worth the effort as I have.
I’m now working on the first iteration of the third chapter for Lords of Infinity. Chapter 3 is perhaps the part of the story with the most variation (aside from the endings), with three separate, completely different, but tightly connected versions. It’s going to be a challenge keeping track of all of them.
Chapter 2B of Lords of Infinity is still in the works. I vastly underestimated the amount of time I’d need to work on the “downtime” options (2B takes place over the course of a full year), but I should have them nailed down now. Theoretically that means the downtime options in the next few chapters should be easier to manage, though don’t hold me to that.
So, I’ve got a few more minor housekeeping updates this month, just to keep everyone appraised.
First of all, we’re very nearly finished the primary writing work for Burden of Command, and the main campaign is only a few steps away from being completed. While this still means we’ll have a few months of scripting, polishing, proofreading, and other supplementary writing to do, it does mean we’re in the home stretch. In addition, I’ve been working on a little side project (I’ll announce that in a week or two), both to unwind a bit from finishing up Hallowford, and to help transition in writing from Burden of Command‘s earthier, more direct style to something fit for a project with a more circumspect and courtly tone.
Long story short, I’m getting ready to start on the primary writing phase of Lords of Infinity.
Good news: it looks like Choice of Games has managed to sort out all of the problems relating to the Steam release, and now both Guns of Infinity and its immediate predecessor Sabres of Infinity are available for purchase on Steam!
After nearly two years of writing, countless hours of worldbuilding and revision, and a truly astounding amount of narrative creep, Guns of Infinity is finally out for mobile devices and Chrome Webstore (Steam release to follow soon.). Clocking in at 440 000 words, it is the largest work I have ever completed, and certainly the one which I have put the most of my effort and skill into (although that will likely always be true of my most recent work).
The direct sequel to my first IF, Sabres of Infinity, Guns of Infinity continues the story of an aristocratic cavalry officer at war as he rises through the ranks, redeems himself for past disgraces, thrusts himself to new heights of fame, or simply tries to stay alive on the field of battle and off; as he finds himself entangled in the complex intrigues of spies, kings, lords, and foreign powers.
As the main character completes his transition from callow recruit to a battle-hardened senior officer, he is given fresh opportunity to pursue wealth, glory, and even love. Yet new opportunities bring new dangers – not just to his life; but to his reputation, his family, to his very conscience.
Update: Guns of Infinity is now out for the Amazon AppStore as well.
Update2: Guns of Infinity is now out for Chrome Webstore as well.
It’s now been little more than five weeks after the release of Mecha Ace, and I’m proud to say that it appears to be doing really well. Despite a few pesky bugs on release, Mecha Ace has gotten overwhelmingly positive reviews on all three of its release platforms, and I’m almost certain that Choice of Games has recouped every single dollar of their investment into this interactive fiction of mine.
Updates are still ongoing, and I will continue to work on new bugfix patches for as long as new bugs are being reported. That being said, the bugfixing process is only taking up a miniscule fraction of my time.
So what’s next?
Before I’m able to direct my full attention to any other projects, I need to tie up the remaining loose ends I’ve accumulated over the years. First among these is Master of Fortresses 2. Development slowed down dramatically while I was writing Mecha Ace, but I’ve been able to put a great deal more time and effort into it since Mecha Ace’s release. So far, I’ve made exceptional progress, and over the past week or so, I’ve been opening up what I have right now to a small group of testers.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to put up some long-awaited gameplay footage from a thoroughly tested and balanced version of the first level, sometime this week.
As Mecha Ace rushes courageously towards its release on the 13th, I’d like to take a second to update you on one of my other projects.
Rocket Corps (formerly Rocket Age, but unfortunately, we found out that name was taken) is a character-centered board game with card-based gameplay in a setting best described as 50s space opera, altered for modern sensibilities. Working together as the crew of one of Earth’s first starships, two to four players must face unexplored sectors and mysterious alien threats as members of the eponymous Rocket Corps.
I’ve been part of the development team as lead writer for nearly a year now, and we all feel that the project is starting to come together into something worth showing to the world.
For more info, take a look at Turtle Ship Games’ latest post, complete with some art of one of Rocket Corps’ characters, Captain Jadwiga Zielinska, by one of our artists, the ridiculously talented Eva Toker.
It is the dawn of the fifth century of the Interstellar Era. Humanity, having long since escaped its home system, has spread throughout the galaxy.
Driven by the increasing tyranny of Old Earth, the outer colonies have launched a war of independence against the core worlds. It is a war to the knife; a desperate campaign of deep space battles, long sieges and planetary bombardments, a war fought with ‘combat armatures’; giant piloted humanoid machines, which clash in the battlefields and skies of the outer worlds.
It has been five years since the war started. The conflict between Earth and her rebellious colonies have consumed billions of lives.
There is no end in sight.
This is what I’ve been working on over the winter: Mecha Ace: Heroes of the Vedrian War, a new interactive fiction taking inspiration from both western science fiction and “real robot” mecha anime. In Mecha Ace, you will take the role of an ace combat armature pilot, fighting for the independence of the outer colonies from an increasingly tyrannical Earth government.
Launching from the CWS Caliburn, a top-of-the-line carrier, you will lead your unit of six mecha into a brutal campaign over the strategically vital star system of Vedria. Over the course of the story, you will be able to choose the machine you pilot and the weapons it carries. You will be able to find friends, enemies and even lovers among the Caliburn‘s crew and your fellow pilots. Ultimately, you will be able to decide the course of the war as the Vedrian campaign comes to a cataclysmic conclusion.
Mecha Ace will come out sometime in the next two months. I’ve put up a new page for it here.