Torment Beta is going live

As you read this, either the Torment Beta is live or it will be very soon. A few thousand of our backers (everyone who pledged for it) will get to play the opening and first major location in the game I've been working on for over three years.

Better than that, the Beta will go public on Steam Early Access next week. Anyone -- even you -- can see what I've been working on, and why I haven't talked much about writing (or anything really), for so long.

Am I excited? You bet. I love creating, and I hate not being able to show people what I'm creating. It's about time.

Am I scared? Not as much as you might think. I was scared before the Alpha Systems Tests went out, because Torment is not a typical RPG, and I wasn't sure what people would think of it. But the Alpha backers got it. They read thousands of words, made tough decisions, and they got it.

The Beta has its rough edges that I'm sure we'll get comments on, but the stuff that really makes it Torment -- the art, the writing, the characters, the choices -- that's the stuff I'm least worried about. It's all in there. A lot of the remaining work is prettying up the package.

So, yeah, if you want to see what I've been working on all this time, check out the Steam Early Access release next week. Or, if you can't wait -- or you're not sure whether epic reading, tough choices, and dying Earth fantasy is your thing -- then watch this video, where my boss Brian Fargo and colleague George Ziets play through the first hour of the Beta. Enjoy.

Accomplished this year; expect to accomplish next year

My head has been deep in Torment for so long that I feel like I haven't done anything else this year. Turns out I have!
  • The public got to see part of that game I'm working on.
  • I got two new short stories published: "The Patch Man" and "Curiosity."
  • I officially met the requirements to be an active member of SFWA (not that I've joined yet, but I can!).
  • I read 11 books. (That's not a good reading year for me, but a couple of those books were part of James Clavell's enormous Asian Saga, and I also critiqued a couple of novels).
  • I went to PAX, had breakfast with Pat Rothfuss, and even spoke to people.
  • I wrote a novella.
  • I have a new novel on sub.
  • And in my personal life: our blind daughter started school, we finally made progress in getting our paperless child an ID card, I fell in love with Star Wars again, and the teen-formerly-known-as-Sullen is no longer sullen -- she even laughs at my jokes again!
What's coming in 2016?
  • The public will get to see the rest of the game I'm working on, and we'll find out whether the last three years were worth it. (Hahaha! I'm just kidding. I haven't had to worry about income for three whole years! What do I care if you like the game or not?)
  • (Still kidding. Please like the game.)
  • You'll probably get to read that novella I wrote.
  • I may finally discover a way to consistently write novels as well as design computer games for a living. Either that or time travel. We'll see!
Also, for your edification, here are a couple of things I loved in 2015 that I want you to love to. I'm deliberately trying to focus on things you might not have heard of.

House of Ivy and Sorrow. A young adult fantasy from Natalie Whipple about witches. I have always loved Natalie's worldbuilding, and I love unique takes on witches. House of Ivy and Sorrow delivers both.

Primordia. A graphic adventure in the classic style of the Sierra *Quest games, with a heavy dose of influence from Planescape: Torment. It's an insanely cool world in which humans are gone and only intelligent -- and surprisingly sympathetic -- robots remain. Written and designed by Tides of Numenera's own Mark Yohalem. If you liked Planescape or Space Quest, you should definitely check this out.

Frostborn. A middle-grade, Norse-influenced fantasy novel from Lou Anders. If Banner Saga were a book about a boy and a half-giantess, this is what it would feel like. My boys loved it. I loved it. I need to get my hands on the sequel for them.

Shovel Knight. A crowd-funded side-scroller in which you play a knight whose primary weapon is his shovel. It's way more fun than that sounds. Shovel Knight is Mega Man and Ducktales and every platformer I've ever loved.

Tales of Monkey Island. If you know Monkey Island, then odds are you've heard of this one, but I only just played it this year. I love it almost as much as the Curse of Monkey Island (being my favorite of the series). My only real problem with it is that there will probably never be a sequel.

What did you love in 2015?