A busy month
More or less exactly ten years after the Broken Sword 5 Kickstarter, I gathered up all my nerve to have another go! It took that long to forget and move on from the sheer stress and anguish that goes with the whole process, but it soon came flooding back.
I guess the very crux of it is that you really have very little idea how successful, or not, your campaign is going to be. You can’t do it quietly, because any success will be built upon the mountain of publicity that you have to drum up. This of course means that a fail is equally visible. You have throw caution to the wind and hope you come in somewhere between your worst nightmare and wildest dreams.
Thankfully, then, REVOLUTION: The Quest for Game Development Greatness did exactly this. I had no idea if it would work, so I’m immensely touched by the response. (When the whole thing is complete, I’ll write a big piece about it on Medium (or somewhere) as a resource for others.) Needless to say, for books as with games, the problem is in how to reach your target audience. I had thought Facebook would be the place - perhaps via hard cash thrown into their vast money making ad machine - but it turned out to be pretty useless. I was actually irreversibly blocked from paying for Facebook ads for some reason, and posts in Revolution’s own Broken Sword group reached virtually no one because you have to throw thousands at facebook for your own posts in your own groups to be seen (now we understand how Facebook makes money!) It seems that an email list is the most valuable thing anyone can have these days. The old ways maybe are the best!
Anyway, I’m still getting quotes for the printing of the book (it’s expensive, and going up on a daily basis thanks to the price of paper) and looking at how to post it out of BREXIT-Britain. We’re also locking down the text (one last pass!) and improving the layout of the photos - those super-expensive pre-production copies have proven very useful in that regard. Needless to say, I think the final book is going to be pretty awesome!
Speaking of all things Revolution, there was an amazing dinner in York the other week. Present were Charles, Martin and Jane Mulrooney, Steve Ince, myself and Rolf Saxon - yes, Rolf! Despite listening to the voice of George Stobbart since the mid 1990’s, I’d only actually met Rolf once, and that was very briefly during the BS5 Kickstarter campaign. For the first time I got to have a proper conversation with him. An obvious question then - do you do anything special for the voice? The answer is; not much. Apparently back in the days of BS1 he took one look at the script ( a mammoth 12,000 lines ) and decided the best approach was to be as close as possible to his normal voice! Smart thinking.
This meeting was a good opportunity to get my remaining pre-production copy signed by these esteemed guests. Top tier book backers will be pleased to know that everyone here agreed to sign the final books before they’re sent out. There’s no guarantees because, well, logistics, but fingers crossed!
My other project is the action-adventure game I’ve been trying to write, on and off, for years. In theory it’s the follow up to my 1985 game, Obsidian, but in truth it has influences taken from all over and a really central theme will come from Beneath a Steel Sky. I always loved the bit at the beginning where Foster inserts Joey’s circuit board into a rusty old robot shell and brings him back to life. I’m developing that idea further so in this new game you’ll be able to shoot down enemy robots then pull bits and pieces from their shells and then improve your ‘Joey’ friend(s) or build new ones from scratch. With this as a central idea there’s all sorts of amusing combinations for the player to discover. I also liked the banter between Joey and Foster of them so I’m going to push that concept too. A real mishmash of ideas, in other words.
I’ll start to show this game soon - first it needs a name! - and it’s very ‘programmer art’ at the moment. It does things, but looks rubbish, as is the way with games. Anyone know a genius pixel artist? :)
Finally, the plan with this Substack is to do a monthly update and talk about what I’ve been up to. I might do some more specific posts about the book or the new game eventually - but never a bombardment! Also, feel free to ask me questions about anything at all and I’ll answer in a post.
Cheers for now,