Top Secret Project is No Longer Secret

— January 11, 2013 (16 comments)
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.

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  1. Congratulations on getting to pursue your childhood dream. Maybe one day you can design a jet fight pilot game and get to fulfill that childhood dream too (kind of). :)

  2. I remember Iron Eagle. And of course, we've already talked about this several times, but I'm very happy for you, brother. Very happy, and extremely excited too.

    Don't forget to drop me a line when the kickstarter kicks in. See what I did there?

  3. Congratulations! It looks like a fascinating game world.

  4. When i read the article a few days ago i was kind of blown away by your awesomeness. True Story.
    I recently watched the documentary Indie Game which was great and both made me want to make games and not make them at the same time. It was extra good, though, because i had played all the indie games they spoke about on the documentary

  5. Sweet!! Which also confirms my theory that when you follow your heart, the good stuff comes chasing after you. :) Super congrats, my friend! It makes me so happy that you've got a second chance at doing something you love so much!

  6. p.s. I know nothing of this gaming business, but My Friend Adam + Childhood Dream + Kickstarter = I'm In

  7. I'm so excited for you! Congratulations! It sounds like it's going to be an incredible experience.

  8. Congratulations! It's amazing what some people try to hide. ;)

  9. Attention unidentified aircraft, this is Major Dwight Smiley of the United States Air Force, you are following one of our F-16s in international airspace, do you wish to engage?

  10. Your excitement is jumping off the screen and smacking me in the face - congratulations.

  11. You know I'm not familiar with video games, but I do know enough to be very impressed with those reviews from Gamespot and the like.

    Thanks for the look into your scripting past and possible future as well!

  12. That's awesome, congratulations! Love the dreams of youth.

  13. That was a great movie. I wanted to be a fighter pilot, too, but they discriminate against the nearsighted. For some reason, they want their pilots to be able to see. Then again, my dad was a fighter pilot, and I spent a lot of time in planes when I was growing up.

    I'm excited for you and hope this all works out. It should. It's so easy to Skype or send documents or whatever now. It sounds like they already recognize your supreme awesomeness. :o)

  14. Congratulations! That is exciting!! I hope it goes through, it sounds like it would be fun.

    Also, if you have plans for teleporters and flying cars, I'm more then ready for them! Been waiting years to get to 2000 for those, and it was a huge disappointment to get here and realize we still didn't have them. Must talk to Scientists.