Showing posts with label announcements. Show all posts
Showing posts with label announcements. Show all posts

Izanami's Choice Launch Day and Giveaway!

It's here! It's here! Today is launch day for my little samurai sci-fi story Izanami's Choice. E-books have been making their way to people's inboxes, and I've even heard news of paperbacks in the wild. You've bought one, right? Why haven't you bought it yet?!

Here are some of the nice things people have been saying about it so far:
"Choice is a ferocious little genre blender in book form: part Hammett novel, part Kurosawa Samurai epic, part Blade Runner, and entirely obsessed with keeping the reader’s eyes moving from one page to the next." ~ Seattle Weekly

"Once I started the book, I couldn’t put it down.  Heine does a great job of building a world replete with rules and history and uses both to construct a mystery with an awful lot of intrigue and surprise." ~ Nerds on Earth

"So if Science Fiction action and exploring cultures through different phases in time is something you enjoy, this is worth a read." ~ SF Reader

"The writing is spectacular, there's fantastic use of period-fantasy-language, and the story is tight, enthralling, and leaves you wondering what's *really* going on right up until the end." ~ Susan Kaye Quinn

"Mr. Heine did an admirable job of making his robots (Jinzou) both sympathetic and terrifying." ~ Victoria Dixon (with interview)

"If you want a really fun, fast-paced robot vs. samurai story then I really think you'll enjoy this." ~ Elena Robertson

And if you can't get enough info (and I'd like to think you can't, because I'm unrealistically optimistic), here are a couple more interviews from the fabulous Natalie Whipple and Authoress. (For you writerly types, Authoress is also running a contest in which you can win a 30-page critique from me, so check that out, too).

But wait! I promised to give away signed copies! To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is subscribe to the newsletter and fill out the form below. I'm very nice to my subscribers -- I give them free excerpts, advanced notice of fiction and giveaways, and I've hardly killed any of them at all!

If you're really ambitious, you can earn additional entries by sharing the giveaway on Facebook or Twitter -- every day, if you want!

This contest is open worldwide. I'll sign 'em and ship 'em anywhere.




I'm offering two signed copies at the moment, but if enough people enter, I'll give away more. So don't hesitate to tell everyone!




Izanami's Choice release date and pre-order info

Here we go, guys. Izanami's Choice has a release date! It will be available for purchase on September 1st, 2016.

Or -- because you want to support an author, or you don't want to forget, or you just like clicking links -- you can pre-order it RIGHT NOW:


And now for answers to some common questions.

Q: Why am I only finding out about this now?!
Clearly you haven't subscribed to my awesome newsletter. If you had, you'd have known this over a week ago AND gotten an exclusive excerpt from the novella AND gotten the free short story that everyone gets on subscribing.

But don't worry -- that won't be the last exclusive my subscribers get. Obviously, the only reason you aren't already signed up is because you didn't know about it, so you can remedy that by subscribing to the newsletter right now.


Q: I want samurai sci-fi today! Why so long?
Because publishing.

Seriously, the awesome people at Broken Eye Books have good reasons for how they set the date, including but not limited to:
  1. The anguished howls of the deprived fuel machines buried deep beneath their offices, which in turn get them 20% off their electricity bills.
  2. An old woman told them September 1st would be the first time in 500 years that the moon would be in conjunction with both Mars and with Voyager 1. They believed her.
  3. September is my birth month and they wanted an excuse gift in case they forgot to get me a real one.

Q: I want to interview you and/or review your book for my followers/blog readers before it comes out.
Awesome! I would love to talk to you about that.


Q: But I don't want my paperback from Amazon.
Great! You can get the paperback directly from the publisher if you want.

Also, if you give your local bookstore the ISBN, you can buy it through them:
  • ISBN-10: 1940372216
  • ISBN-13: 978-1940372211



Q: Why paperback so expensive, man?
Yeah, so, here's how part of publishing works. There's the Big Guys -- the publishing houses like Penguin and Random and Penguin Random -- that do these enormous print runs and ship them to all the bookstores in the world. They can do this because printing thousands of books is way cheaper than printing a few, and because they know they'll sell thousands of books (or close enough) so why the heck not print that many?

Everybody else -- small presses, indie authors, and even Amazon -- has no guarantee of how many will sell and can't afford to print thousands of books only to be stuck with them later. So everybody else has to print paper books on demand which, as you might imagine, is more expensive.

But at least that way they don't get stuck with lots of books and debt. Because as cool as it is to make a hobbit-hole of books, it's cheaper (and more structurally sound) to not be stuck with them and to build your hobbit-hole out of dirt and bricks like a regular person.

Hobbit.

Whatever.


Q: I have a question that you neither answered nor anticipated.
To the comments, good madam or sir!


Izanami's Choice cover reveal

If you follow me on social media, you may have seen this, but it's important that it's here. So behold! The cover for my upcoming samurai sci-fi novella IZANAMI'S CHOICE! CLICK TO EMBIGGEN!


And here's proof that I'm not just making this up (that's not my hand, though -- so I guess my editor could be making it up):


I love what they've done here -- the droid legs, the sword, the bloody kanji characters, the part where my name's on the cover. It's all just great.

I don't have a date for release yet, but I'll let you know when I do. It should be soon. If you want to make sure you don't miss it, sign up for my newsletter here. I haven't actually sent out a newsletter (because I promised only useful information), but as soon as there's a date or a pre-order link or something, you'll get it there.

There may also be another pretty picture I get to show you later. We'll see!

For those of you unable (or too lazy) to embiggen, here's the back cover copy:

Samurai vs. Robots

Progress. Murder. Choice.

In 1901, the Meiji Restoration has abolished the old ways and ushered in a cybernetic revolution. Androids integrate into society at all levels, following their programming for the betterment of every citizen, as servants, bodyguards, and bureaucrats. Jinzou are the future. Japan is at the threshold of a new tomorrow!

As a ronin steeped in the old ways, Itaru wants nothing more to do with the artificial creations posing as human. But when a jinzou is suspected of murder, he's pulled into a mystery that could tear the nation apart.

Malfunction or free will? When is a machine more than just a machine?



Izanami's Choice excerpt and update

The fine folks at Broken Eye are working on the last edits for Izanami's Choice. Next steps after that are me addressing the edits and then all the fun stuff they get to do to finalize the whole thing and make it a For Real Book.

There's also a cover coming. Watch for that.

Izanami's Choice is my samurai, sci-fi novella set in a Meiji-era Japan that has adopted androids and other ridiculously advanced technology. Here's an excerpt:
The droid was a newer model. It did not wear a wooden mask, nor was its face made of metal widgets that moved to imitate emotions. This thing's skull was covered in a molded synthetic material. The corners of its lips moved up and down in a remarkable caricature of a human hoping to make a good impression. If Itaru were not standing so close, he would've taken it for a human in the darkness. Up close, however, the synthetic features looked fake and unnerving. "What the hell are you?"
The droid bowed deeply. "I am called Gojusan. My full designation is Service Droid I-Ka 53."
"I-Ka?" Itaru had heard of that model, but he'd never seen one up close. The first droids had been western imports using English letters as designators. When Japan constructed their own master machine intelligence—the fourth in the world and the only one in Asia—they used katakana characters for the designs it produced. I-Ka was approximately the eightieth designator in only thirty years.
They're evolving too fast.
"Hai, Shimada-sama." The droid's oversized eyes flicked behind Shimada into his house and back again.
Itaru stood up straight, anxious to get rid of the machine. "What is your message?"
It looked down, seemingly embarrassed. "With great apologies, Shimada-sama, my message must be delivered privately." It gestured inside and bowed once more.
Itaru shivered uneasily. The jinzou's behavior bothered him more than he'd like to admit. He decided that it was simply too new, that he'd never met one like it before. "Fine," he said, grabbing his tamiken from the shelf as he stepped aside. "But make it quick."
The droid bowed again, removed its sandals—it wore socks underneath—and stepped politely inside. "I apologize for bothering you at this hour."
"You said that," Itaru snarled.
The droid clasped its hands at its waist, looking at the door and back, as though it wanted to flee but had decided against it.
Ridiculous. Droids didn't act like this. They followed their orders and programming. If a droid pretended to have feelings, it was because of a human’s order. Either Count Kuroda-sama had given this droid very specific—and strange—instructions or Gojusan's programming was remarkably advanced.
But what purpose would it serve to have a droid act nervous? To set Itaru at ease? It was failing at that. Everything about this meeting made his skin quiver. "State your message. What does Kuroda-sama want?"
It looked directly into Itaru's eyes. "My master is dead."
The full novella is coming soon! If you want to know the moment it comes out, subscribe to the newsletter or follow this blog.



Izanami's Choice -- a story about samurai, robots, and AI singularities

I've been head down writing Torment conversations, but I have an important announcement to make: my new novella, Izanami's Choice, is coming soon from Broken Eye Books.

It's a book. That you can buy. About samurai and robots in a cybernetic Meiji-era Japan.

If any of that sounds remotely interesting to you, I recommend you sign up for my newsletter so you'll know when it comes out.

Not sure? Read on!

Tokyo, at the dawn of the 20th century. The Empire has gone through an industrial and political revolution. The samurai are a thing of the past, railroads connect every major city, and the artificial jinzou serve in every aspect of Japanese life, from servants to soldiers to assassins.

Shimada Itaru is an aging ronin, a survivor of samurai rebellions from the early days of the Meiji Restoration. He hates the jinzou, but he knows quite a lot about fighting them -- or he did, before the Emperor made it illegal for humans to carry weapons.

Gojusan is a jinzou framed for her master's assassination. Hunted by her own kind, and unable to turn to the police, she runs to Itaru for help. Before Itaru can throw the jinzou out, assassin droids storm his home, trying to kill them both. Now Itaru's on the run with the thing he hates most, and the only way he's going to get his life back (such as it was) is to figure out what really happened to Gojusan's master.

Of course, the truth is something neither of them suspect.


I'd love to say more, but Torment! Conversations! (Seriously, I need to get back to work if I'm going to make my deadline). Sign up for the newsletter or subscribe to the blog for more information in the near future.

You can also ask me questions, if you like. I'll get to them when I can. (Yes, I'm busy, but sometimes answering questions serves as a nice break. So don't be shy.)


Want a free story of mine?

Want to read a free fantasy story of mine? One you've never read before? I have one for you.

There's a string: you gotta sign up for my mailing list.

But hold on, because there's a better string attached to that string. Once you're on that mailing list, you'll be notified the moment there's new Adam Heine fiction to read.

And there will be new fiction to read. I can't officially say much yet, but you may recall me hinting about a novella? It's coming. Maybe more than that is coming. We'll see!

If you want to know when I've got something new out, or you want to read a new fantasy story, or you just like to sign up for stuff, then sign up for the mailing list now!


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.


In which you can read a new story of mine

On December 21st, there's a new anthology out which includes "Curiosity," my Cthulhu space story you may have heard me mention, alongside stories from several other fine authors -- including Monte Cook Games's Bruce Cordell.

If you have any love in your heart at all, you will pre-order your copy right now!

Super science. Madness. Transhumanism.

This is the dawn of posthumanity. Some things can’t be unlearned.

Gleaming labs whir with the hum of servers as scientists unravel the secrets of the universe. But as we peel away mysteries, the universe glances back at us. Even now, terrors rise from the Mariana Trench and drift down from the stars. Scientists are disappearing—or worse. Experiments take on minds of their own. Some fight back against the unknown, some give in, some are destroyed, and still others are becoming… more.

The human and inhuman are harder and harder to distinguish. Mankind is changing, whether it wants to or not, with brand new ways of thinking. What havoc is wreaked by those humans trying to harness and control their discoveries? As big science progresses and the very fundamentals of this universe are understood, what stories are being hushed up?

Of course, the Old Ones laugh at our laws, scientific and otherwise.

These are transhumanist near-future science fiction tales of the Cthulhu Mythos. These are tales of more than merely cosmic dread. They exist in our world of the next couple years. This is the era of big science and—what is that? We’ll be right back. 


Authors: Desirina Boscovitch, Lynda Rucker, Samantha Henderson, Daria Patrie, Kaaron Warren, Richard Byers, Damien Angelica Walters, Spencer Leary, Joshua L. Hood, Jeff C. Carter, Simon Bestwick, Matt Maxwell, Shannon Fay, Adam Heine, Mike Allen, Darrell Schweitzer, Cody Goodfellow, Bruce R. Cordell, Pete Rawlik, A.C. Wise, Robert Brockway, Nate Southard, Molly Tanzer, Joshua Alan Doetsch, Thomas M. Reid, Clinton J. Boomer, L.A. Knight, Lizz-Ayn Shaarawi, J.M. Rozanski

Editors: Scott Gable & C. Dombrowski



Writing Status

Those of you who saw my post about my super ridiculous September may want to know how I made out. Here are where things stand on all things writing and a few other things.

I'm on schedule for Torment. At least I should be. I'm pretty happy with what I've gotten done, anyway!

I wrote a novella. Specifically, I drafted and revised the novella known as "Post-Edo Bladerunner" on the Works in Progress page. It is out of my hands for now. With luck, this will be a thing you can read in the near future. We'll see.

There may be another story for you to read soon. Specifically, this one, but that is also out of my hands. I'll let you know.

Air Pirates is no longer on submission. For those of you who have been reading this blog for a long time, I know this is really sad news. Though honestly it's been nearly four years since I got my agent; Air Pirates has not been on submission for that entire time, but it has been for a lot of it. I'm sure most of you already figured out it wasn't happening.

We got a lot of great feedback on Air Pirates, and at least one editor wants to see more of my stuff (an editor I really, really, really, really, really want to work with). But a lot of people expressed that -- while they loved the world and the characters and the story -- the category and genre of the thing was kind of hard to pin down, which means it would be kind of hard for them to sell.

Air Pirates is not dead. I love that world way too much. There is a major revision in its future (maybe even a rewrite?), but we'll see. What happens to Air Pirates depends on various career things that are out of my control over the next several months. Speaking of which...

Post-Apoc Ninjas is on submission. This novel has had its own bumpy ride, but I have learned a lot of things from the Air Pirates feedback and other soul-crushing critiques, and so I've revised the crap out of it. The result is something my agent loves (and if preliminary feedback on the Post-Edo novella is an indication, the critiques may also have leveled me up as a writer). Now that thing my agent loves is Out There.

Don't get excited yet, though. Publishing is slow, Tricia and I are cautious, and, well... you know what happened with Air Pirates. The point is I'm still writing and things are still moving.

The Thai government is happy with us. Or at least they're leaving our home alone, which in bureaucracy terms is the same thing.

No children died while my wife was gone. Though there was a fractured bone incident, but that wasn't my fault, and I handled the crap out of it.

Though it was a close thing.

Was there anything else you wanted to know?


Classic RPGs Panel at PAX

Hey, all! If you're going to PAX Prime next month, I'll be on a panel there.

The panel is "CLASSIC RPGs FOREVER!" (yes, in all caps, apparently), and it'll be on Sunday, August 30th at 11 AM in the Sasquatch Theater.

We'll be talking about resurrecting subgenres of classic RPGs that were once thought dead. I'll be joining veteran game developers Annie Mitsoda, Josh Sawyer, Mitch Gitelman, and Swen Vincke, with Penny Arcade's Jeff Kalles moderating.

I'm super excited and super terrified. This will be the first time I've ever been on a panel (or even seen a panel, or gone to PAX, or gone to any convention of any kind). It'll be awesome to talk games with a bunch of developers I admire, but yeah, combine a thousand unknowns with enormous crowds with nigh-clinical introversion and you get something that's even scarier than what I already do all day.

But hey, I'll manage. I always do.

So if you're going to be at PAX, let me know! It's possible I might be able to do something about that information without crawling under my bed in terror.*

* That's a joke. My bed is a mattress on the floor. I can't crawl under there without straining something.**

** Unless I crawl under the bed at my hotel. Hm, there's an idea....

Read the entirety of "The Patch Man"

My Pathfinder story, "The Patch Man," has now been published in its entirety. If you're like me, and you don't like reading something that you can't finish, well you can finish it now: chapter one, chapter two, chapter three, and chapter four.

(And if you're better than me, and read things the moment you can read any part of it, know that today you can be complete.)

And oh my gosh, I just realized I never told you how this came to be!

It probably never occurred to you. I mean, I'm the Design Lead of a computer RPG, a thematic successor to a Dungeons and Dragons game, of which Pathfinder itself is a successor. The creator of Numenera (from which we get Torment: Tides of Numenera) wrote a Pathfinder story of his own. Obviously, then this work for hire came about because of my RPG connections.

Except it didn't. It actually came through my dear friend Authoress, who was chatting with me one day and asked if I had any interest writing a story for a game world (which, um, YEAH). Cuz she was chatting with this editor of an anthology that she was published in alongside Paizo's managing editor. And he had said . . .

Yeah, I can't track it all either. The point is I am apparently only capable of finding the most circuitous routes to publishing available. (Like, you know, quitting Black Isle, moving to Thailand, and then getting a game design job through Facebook).

But what do you care? You get to reap the streamlined benefits in fiction form. For free! Go, reap your benefits, find out what happens to Blit!



The Patch Man is up at Paizo.com

My latest short story, "The Patch Man," is up at paizo.com (at least the first chapter is -- the rest will come soon). It takes place in the world of the Pathfinder RPG which, if you're not familiar with it, is very similar to D&D, but with a lot of its own twists. "The Patch Man" is about a half-fiend named Blit who makes a living cleaning up evidence for the less-reputable guilds in Pathfinder's largest city, until he starts getting in over his head.

This marks the second short story I've sold in *mumbles* years of writing. At this rate, you can expect a published novel from me by 2040. Oh well. In the meantime, I'll just get back to work on the most anticipated RPG of 2015.

Rough, right?

Anyway, enjoy the story. Did I mention it's free?


From the Depths: Gold now available

As part of the Kickstarter campaign for Torment, we offered a series of give novellas called From the Depths. The novella I wrote (the Gold one, with super secret hidden title Gate to the Abyss) has been published and is available now.

This marks the second time I've been published (for anything greater than 25 words, that is). Still no novel, but I'm working my way up there! And look: I have two fans!

The enemy of your enemy can still kill you.

After the destruction of Shuenha, Luthiya and the other survivors take refuge in a dessicated land of churning volcanoes and eternal night—the ruins of Ossiphagan. They endure, but barely. So everyday they search the ruins, hoping to find some powerful artifact that will avenge them against the bloodthirsty Tabaht.

Luthiya discovers the fire wights, an ancient race both beautiful and powerful. She's afraid of them, but when the wights scare off a Tabaht scouting party, the other refugees believe they've found their redemption. But are the wights all they seem? Can they be reasoned with or are they bloodthirsty animals?

More importantly, are they working alone?

If you pledged for a reward level that includes the novellas, you can log into our website and download the novella right now.

At this moment, pledging towards Torment is the only way to get the novella. If you'd like to do that, you can pledge toward any of the reward levels that include the novella compilation (the cheapest being just the novella compilation at $15.00). You can do that on the Torment website as well.


Dead Boys, Invisible Girls, and Teens That Can't Read Minds

I apologize for the blog silence. I'm deep in the drafting tunnels of a certain science fantasy novella and/or role-playing game. I'll resurface once I get this novella worked out. Until then, please see the last part of the official blog schedule.

But I'm sending this missive via miner's canary* because there are three very important books I need to tell you about. All of them are cool, written by exceedingly cool people, and I think I'm in the acknowledgements of two of them (which ones? You'll just have to read them to find out!).

* Please send the canary back, by the way. The air in these tunnels is starting to smell funny.


Jack of Hearts by Ricardo Bare
Jack lost someone, causing a deep pain he could no longer endure. Most boys would take their own life. Jack gave his heart to the Lady of Twilight and has become her heartless assassin. Now he feels nothing, even as he does the Lady's bidding in hunting a thieving wizard.

But when he meets a beautiful girl trapped in a mirror, something stirs inside of him. A shadow of what he used to be. He wonders if he made the right decision after all, but getting his heart back from the witch will prove more difficult than any mission he's been on.

Jack of Hearts, is Ricardo's debut novel that came out just a couple weeks ago. He is one of my most awesome critique partners, and also happens to be the lead designer of the critically acclaimed stealth action/adventure game Dishonored, released last year. Check this book out, folks.


Transparent by Natalie Whipple
Touted as X-Men meets Godfather. Fiona McClean was born invisible, which makes her the perfect daughter for Vegas's biggest crime lord. But when her father pushes her too far, she goes on the run and tries to live a normal life in a small town far from her father's reach. Far, but not far enough. When her father tracks her down, she has to decide how far she'll go to protect the people she loves.

Transparent is Natalie's debut (that doesn't actually come out until next week, but you can pre-order it now). She's a good friend of mine, and it's been both heartbreaking and exhilarating to watch her journey to publication these last few years. She is (as I've said) hugely imaginative, and it shows in her ideas. She is also part of our writing team for Torment, which makes her and Torment extra awesome. 

Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn
Kiera is a zero, a non-reader in a world where everybody can read minds. Until the day she accidentally control's her best friend's mind and discovers she's an entirely different kind of freak: a mindjacker. It turns out she's not the only one, and she's soon drawn into an underworld that she never suspected existed.

As it happens, this was Susan's debut as well. Yes, okay, this book came out two years ago, AND I've already talked about it. But I'm bringing it to your attention now because Open Minds is, now and forever, free to download.

So what are you waiting for?

First Impact Update

First, the randomly chosen winner from among March's critiquers is . . . . . KayC! Please e-mail me to let me know whether you'd like the 20-page critique from me or the $10 gift certificate from Amazon or B&N.

Second, as you may have noticed, there have been no First Impact posts for a while. This is not due to my over-busyness, but rather due to the fact that we have run out of First Impact submissions.

Honestly, no submissions is okay with me (see the aforementioned over-busyness), though I will continue to publicly critique any submissions that trickle in.

I think I will not, however, be continuing the monthly prizes. For one, there's really only a few faithful of you who've been critiquing anyway, and I tend to end up handing out prizes to the same people over and over ;-) But two, offering prizes doesn't make as much sense if we're only critiquing things once a month or so.

I do hope that you faithful will continue to critique things if and when future First Impact posts come up. I know most of you do it because you're awesome, not because the prizes are awesome. And for that I thank you.

Final Torment Info

So the Torment Kickstarter is in the last week of its campaign. We've raised over $3.25M, but we hope to raise even more to make this game bigger and better, to make a game that truly lives up to the Torment tradition.

So this is the last you'll hear me plug it, but I wanted to bring to your attention a couple of things, including one bit of news that hasn't made it to the Kickstarter page.

Bit #1: Pat Rothfuss is on our writing team. I know, right? MIND. BLOWN. It might even be part of my job to review Pat's areas which, if I remember correctly, is one of the signs of the apocalypse.

Bit #2: Natalie Whipple is on our writing team. I know that's not as big as Pat (which is one of the main reasons this hasn't hit our Kickstarter page), but though this announcement might not excite the internet at large, for me this is HUGE.

I've been following Natalie's career since way back when she won one of Nathan Bransford's 1st Paragraph Contests, and since then I've been lucky enough to critique a few of her novels. I even got to read the first chapter of her upcoming "X-Men meets Godfather" debut, TRANSPARENT. Guys, it would not be a mistake to pre-order that.

Natalie is hugely imaginative, and she brings a cool, new perspective to the Torment team that I'm really excited about. Seriously, I cannot wait to work with this team and see what we come up with.

If you want to help the project, you can still do so. I, personally, would really appreciate it, considering the bigger this game gets, the bigger my job gets and the better I can support my family :-) We've added new tiers and rewards since the Kickstarter began, and you can see them all here. Some of the new rewards are additional novellas and a digital comic book (which it sounds like I might be co-writing :-).

I know not all of you are gamers but are still interested in supporting us, or maybe in reading the novella I'm going to write. Well, you can get certain rewards -- like the digital novella compilation -- without even getting the game. Information on how to get these "add-ons" is here.

I still cannot believe the series of events that has led me here. It's like the weirdest road to publishing ever, but I ain't complaining :-)

Torment News and Me on Video

If you head over to the latest update on Torment: Tides of Numenera, you might see a familiar face. (Or maybe not so familiar, since some of you have never really seen my face).

This, by the way, is why I'm a writer, not an actor.

Also talked about in today's update is the series of Torment novellas we offer as a reward. I'm really looking forward to writing one of these, and I hope you guys will read them. Cuz listen: you don't need to know anything about Torment (neither the old game or the new) to enjoy the novellas. Each will be a self-contained story within a ridiculously cool world.

Sorry to go all salesman on you for a sec, but you can get the (digital) novella compilation at the $39 tier along with the game and the strategy guide. Or if you're not into games, you can get just the digital novella compilation as an add-on for just $15 (see this page for how add-ons work).

Plus, you know, you'd be helping me get a more stable job, and you'd be helping us make a really epic game. So, you know, there's that.

Or you could just watch me talk about state-of-the-art RPG alignment systems. You know, whatever.

TORMENT KICKSTARTER IS LIVE!


UPDATE: Holy crap, you guys! We funded in just SIX HOURS! Keep going! Maybe we really can make this game as big as we want it.

We have 30 days to raise almost a million dollars as big of a budget as we can, so go pledge now! GO! GO! GO!

Wait. What is this? Where are we?
You may recall I'm a designer/writer for a computer game called Torment: Tides of Numenera, which is a successor to a game I helped make 14 years ago called Planescape: Torment. The new Torment will only happen become awesomer if we reach our funding goal on Kickstarter. Hence the noise.


Planescape what now?
Planescape: Torment. A computer role-playing game from 1999 that won a lot of awards and became the standard for deep characterization and storytelling in PC games (a standard which many feel has not been met since). It didn't sell very well at the time, but it has gained a lot of fans since then.


Why should I give you money?
Well, first, you're not giving money to me. But if Torment reaches its goal, it means I'll have a job (the extent of which depends on how much Torment exceeds its goal).

You should give money to the Kickstarter if:
  • You are a fan of Planescape: Torment, or have even ever heard of it.
  • You are a fan of RPGs with deep, emotional stories.
  • You like what you see in our pitch video or on the Kickstarter page.
  • You like my writing and want to see more of it (I should add here that one of the rewards includes a novella from me).
  • You like me and want to help me have something approximating job security.
Whether you pledge or not, please spread the word!


Actually I don't know what pledging is. Or Kickstarter.
I probably should've asked this first...
Kickstarter is a funding platform for any kind of creative project. You pledge money to projects that you want to see happen, because most of them won't happen without your help. If the project doesn't meet its goal, then they don't take your money (which is why we say "pledge" instead of "pay" or "donate").

Learn more about Kickstarter here, and read here for how it's been used in the recent past.


So, is this all you're going to talk about for the next 30 days?
Don't worry. I'll leave a short sticky post at the top of this blog throughout the campaign so you can watch our progress. Then, with the exception of a couple of posts here and there (which you'll be interested in, trust me), I'll return to our regular schedule of First Impact critiques, drawings, and what not.

But seriously, you should go pledge right now.

Attention Blog Readers

I'm officially lowering my commitment to this blog, for obvious reasons. I will keep up the First Impact posts as long as I have submissions, and I'll post other things when I've got the time/inclination. But I need to give myself the freedom to back off my M/W/F schedule.

The new official schedule is "One to Three Times a Week and If I Miss a Week I'm Sorry." I highly recommend the RSS feed or an e-mail subscription if you are one of those who still checks websites on specific days.

I don't even need to read the comments to know you understand. I know you guys, and you are AWESOME. Three posts a week isn't even really hectic, but it does weigh on me as One More Thing. And when I've got too many Things weighing on me, the harder-but-more-important ones (like writing or playing games with my kids) get skipped.

And yes, playing games with my kids is hard. They have no attention span, so I have to triple mine to compensate.


Top Secret Project is No Longer Secret

Let me tell you a story about a little boy and his dreams. This boy (we'll call him Adam) wanted to make video games since he was 11 years old and Nintendo Power ran a contest to design your own game.* Back then (the late 80's), the only career paths to video games were computer programming and art. Believing he was no good at the latter, he studied computers for the next twelve years.

But Adam wrote too. Oh, God, he wrote -- and designed, because for him it was always about creating the games. Programming was just a means to an end.

In early 1999, Adam got his wish. Feargus Urquhart, head of Black Isle Studios, took a chance on a rookie programmer not quite out of college, and Adam became a scripter on one of the greatest RPGs ever made. And he impressed some people. So much so that when he told them he wanted to be a designer on the next project, rather than a programmer, they happily obliged.

But it didn't last. Oh he loved the job, but the hours were many, and he was commuting 2.5+ hours a day on top of it. When Adam got married, he decided a less demanding (and possibly better paying) job would help ensure the longevity of his new family.

And then he went crazy and left it all for Thailand.

It was all good, though. He'd found a new creative outlet in his novels, and being a full-time dad actually gave him opportunity to write. Of course he missed game design, just like he missed steak houses and the ocean; it was just one of many sacrifices he'd made for the greater good.

But Adam, like so many of us, underestimated the power of the internet and social networking.

Now, this is happening. My old friend, Colin McComb, asked me to be one of the primary designers on a successor to our beloved Planescape: Torment. We're working with Monte Cook (one of the creators of my favorite edition of D&D) and other equally cool people that I can't even mention yet.

We're still in pre-production, and there's always a chance the game won't even happen: big publishers don't want this thing, so we have to go directly to the people who do (BTW, if you're one of those people, we'll talk later).

But just the fact that there's a chance I can do game design again is kind of blowing my mind. We're living in the future, guys. Next stop: teleporters and flying cars.

* Before 11, I wanted to be a jet fighter pilot. I blame Iron Eagle.