Story Idea: Grumpy Old Vampires

I got this idea while skimming Twitter, I think for some possibly related possibly unrelated reason both Neil Gaiman and William Gibson mentioned something to do with vampires, I thing William Gibson said something about vampires and fart jokes. Somewhere along the line these tweets put in my head an idea for a (short?) Story.

The idea is to do to something akin to the movie Grumpy Old Men but for vampires movies, with two grumpy vampires complaining about the state of vampires today with their sparkling etc. I’m not sure what else it would entail but I’m sure you could probably get a lot of mileage out of it.

Syfy making BSG prequel “Blood and Chrome”

Io9 seem to think this is a bad thing for Caprica, SyFy are making another prequel to BSG. To be honest it doesn’t bother me in the slightest, Caprica was rubbish, okay maybe not rubbish but it was drawn out and didn’t really flow very well and most importantly it missed out on everything that BSG had going for it. I only watched the first season, and by the end of it you just felt like they had lost the plot.

I think that a BSG prequel that focused on the First Cylon war which this one seems to would be more in the spirit of BSG and all in all just less shit. As I understand it this show will Focus on Will Adama as a viper pilot, which I think will awesome.

In other BSG news, Fantasy Flight Games are releasing a new expansion for the BSG board game, and it also looks like it’s going to be awesome. If you’ve not played the BSG board game and you like board games and or BSG in any way shape or form you should go out and buy it now.

Via io9

You can tell Halloween is coming up because…

I had a quick look at the stats for my blog just there and I noticed that one post was getting a shed load more hits than any of the others:

I don’t get very many hits, so 40 in one day for an old post titled Cool Lichtenstein Pop Art make up is pretty impressive for me and all because I posted this image I randomly found online:

It’s a cool photo, and I predict that this year there will be many copy-cat photo’s taken for Halloween…

On the off chance that anyone gets to this blog post and wants inspiration I found an article with in progress photo’s of someone doing something similar on a blog called illusion360. It was apparently for a Halloween photo-shoot for MAC Makeup.

I think it’s really cool but I’m not sure I think it’s as good as the one in the original article.

You also might find this image of a girl with pixelated makeup pretty cool.

The article its from is in French (I assume, I didn’t actually read it, but it’s not English) but you don’t need to be able to read to rip it off this Halloween.

That is all really, I don’t have much more to say, if everyone who viewed that original blog post clicked on an ad I’d probably make at least a 50p! that would be awesome… Unlikely but awesome none the less…
Here are a couple of examples of someone who has tried the Lichtenstein look from flickr:


Incidentally after just a little bit of digging I managed to find out that the original picture was by an artist/photographer? called Eva Mueller here is another awesome example of her work:
Hommage to Roy Lichtenstein

In case you hadn’t guessed I’m having trouble sleeping…

JRPG Plot Flow Chart

Click For Full Size

Joe Juba Has put together a flow chart detailing the plot of pretty much every 90’s JRPG I have ever played. I plan on using this as a template to create an Uber RPG that contains every single one of these plot points. I don’t really, but it’s a good read.

I recognise a whole bunch of Final Fantasy, some Chrono trigger and some Secret of Mana right from the get go. Need to have a closer look to see what else is hidden in there.

Via BoingBoing

Fable III: Kingmaker, What a pile of shite.

I’m a big fan of the Idea of having games tying into each other. I played the Fable II “A Hero’s Tale” Flash game obsessively to get all the extra Items it provided, and I played at least a little of the “Fable II: Pub Games” mini game to get some money, although not as much as it wasn’t as fun. So when I heard that prior to the release of Fable III they were releasing an augmented reality game called Fable III: Kingmaker (Requires Silverlight) I was a little excited.

I downloaded the “Game” to my phone and to be honest I’m a little disappointed. The Hero’s tale game had you making choices, it was well… A game…. Kingmaker is like a lame version of 4Square.When you sign up to Kingmaker you are randomly assigned to a side, either the Royals or the Rebels. The UK has been arbitrarily divided into regions and you can plant up to 10 Flags a day, anywhere you happen to be. The side with the most flags in a region owns that side. I think you get stuff for owning a region but as I live in a predominantly Rebel territory and I am on the side of the Royals I have yet to see this.

Every time you plant a flag you get 50 gold coins which will be transferred to your character in Fable III, you can also earn more money by planting flags in more than one region on a given day, and by hunting for treasure, which amounts to checking in at one of about 20 different Game stores around the UK. Lion head have partnered with Game and only game for this, which annoys me, what also annoys me is that there is only one Treasure Hoard near me and that is in Edinburgh. I’m not going to go to Edinburgh just to get money in a game.

The interface for the game is extremely clunky and sluggish, it looks and acts like a web page. You have to login every time you start the application, and it gives you next to no feedback on how the “battle” is going. only that there were X flags planted for the Rebels and Y for the Royals, whether this is across the country or in your region isn’t immediately clear, I hazard a guess it’s across the country.

The Treasure Tab seems to have just stopped working of late, so I assume either all the treasure that is available has been claimed or the app is just rubbish. On the Home tab you have the option to quick plans a flag, or you can go to the “Plant a flag” to er… Plant a flag where you are, this is just pointless UI redundancy.

There is no game to this, it’s not fun, there is none of the wit that fable is famous for, this looks like something someone threw together in an afternoon. Oh and if past experience of Fable games is anything to go by it’s pointless as the one thing that your character never seemed to lack in Fable II was money.

If this had little games that you could play to win territory, allowed you to get unique items through it and actually was fun to play then I’d see the point in it. As it is it’s a failed marketing ploy. It’s not going to stop me from getting Fable III, but I was going to get Fable III anyway, it’s certainly not making me rush out there to pre-order it.

Fable III: Kingmaker is available for free from the Android Market and I would assume in the iTunes Store, it’s not really worth getting, but knock yourself out.

Game Design/Development Challenges

I’m posting this mainly so that I have it noted down somewhere that I will remember it. Squidi tried and failed to come up with game mechanic a day for 300 days a while ago, he initially stopped at 50 but has since  reached 109. Some of them are really cool, some of them would never work. But most of them have some pretty neat ideas that could lead to some really cool games.

There seems to be a bit of focus on RPG type games with CCG mechanics in them. But he’s also come up with some fairly inspired ideas which have nothing to do with those game genres.

Squidi it seems has an interest in procedurally created content, so some of the games draw from that. He’s also started what he calls the “Free Pixel Project” which has a collection of sprites he’s licensed under a creative commons licence for all to use.

On the subject of Game design and challenges I thought I’d also highlight that  Nathan McCoy is in the middle of a challenge to create a game a week, which he blogs about and posts the source code to on his blog. So far he’s written 36 Games and although I’ve not played any of them I really like the idea of this kind of challenge so I thought I’d write about here in case anyone was inspired to do the same.

I’ve been meaning to start some game development work for some time now and I think that it’s possible that I might try and go down the route of a personal development challenge like this at some point. (Maybe next year?) At the moment I’m a bit busy with My 365, which I’ve not been posting here very often on account of most of them being crap, and my being lazy. But I think that doing a thing a week rather than it having to be daily might be a good compromise, as someone said to my of 365 projects, “You just end up taking a photo of anything” which I guess is true. Some days I feel inspired and other days it’s hits 10 to midnight and I end up taking a photo of the ground, or my hand, or a wall just to have done something…

Does anyone else know of any good examples of people doing personal game design/coding challenges?

[UPDATE:] This will teach me not to Google before I post: is a project by “Jayenkai” to do just that.

Zachary Lewis at the Game Studio is also doing a Game a Week Challenge

I’ll update if I find any more.

Because that makes it okay…

So picture this, you are an Arab (Kuwaiti) man, you come home stinking drunk and are really pissed off with your wife. You see her sleeping on the sofa so you take off your head dress and you proceed to beat the living shit out of her with it.

Only it’s not your wife, it turns out it’s your house maid.

Does the maid press charges? No because you are “Nice”. Does anyone say anything about the fact that you wanted to beat 7 shades of shit out of your wife? No… Why well I don’t know. But it’s messed up.

This guy deserves to be put in prison but to be honest I doubt he’ll even get a slap on the wrist…

Via Emirates24|7.

NaNoWriMo: Writing Outside My Comfort Zone?

I had the idea of writing a fantasy Book for NaNoWriMo this year rather than my usual Science Fiction. That for a start is a little outside my comfort zone. I’ve had ideas for fantasy stories in the past but they have all been spin offs of things I’ve read before, or more likely rip offs, with one concept changed.

I think I have a relatively original Idea, this year but time will tell, it started as a basic fantasy romp, unfortunately I don’t think there is enough substance in it to fuel a whole book, or if there is I have yet to come up with that substance.

So I’ve decided to once more step outside my comfort zone, originally my story was going to be quite tame, it was going to follow one main protagonist and his merry band of adventurers on their quest.  Except their quest as far as I could make out was not being where whomever was chasing them was… Which doesn’t really lend it’s self to a good story. The whole “Just keep running”  idea is just a bit crass I think.

So I’ve re-thunked my Idea and I’m adding a few levels to the story. The merry band of adventurers aren’t the only characters I’ll be focusing on, I’ve added a concept of politics and I’m creating a group of nation states that all fall under the rule of a single empire. I’ve only really got a skeletal plan for three of these nation states at the moment, but I think I like where it’s going.

I’ve also tried to add some severe brutality to to the story, this is seriously outside my comfort zone. In the past the worst I’ve ever done to a character (main or incidental) is to make their lives a little rubbish by sacking them, or making their significant others leave them. I’ve already got a rape scene, a few murders and political espionage plotted in at different parts of the story.

I’m not sure how I’m going to work this, but I think making it more brutal/controversial might make it more interesting to both read and write. I just hope I get the tone right, as I’m aware that sometimes it can seem like people writing about this kind of thing tend to desensitise it and or glorify it, the last thing I want to do is to glorify it, especially the rape scene, which I think is in there partially to illustrate just how evil a character is, but also how brutal the society is, I think I’m aiming for a fairly grim story world, and I don’t want to be afraid to push my characters to their limits.

I don’t know if it will work, if it doesn’t I can take it out, as it stands it’s not a cornerstone of the plot, but as the characters involved in the scene only came to me last night I can’t really say how that will change.

So far I’ve got just under 3,000 words of notes, which is two days NaNoWriMo work, I’m hoping to have more by the time that I start, because at the moment I have a setting, some characters ideas and a catalyst for a plot, but not actually a plot, which is kinda important.

I’ve also got another idea ferreting it’s way out in the back of my head which I am working hard on ignoring lest I lose focus before I even begin. Should be easy enough though as it’s completely unrelated.

So anyway, I’m writing out with my comfort zone, and hopefully it’s going to make the story more interesting.

Movie Review: The Good, The Bad, and the Weird (Korean)

I’ve had The Good, the Bad, the Weird (?? ?, ?? ?, ??? ?, Joheun nom nabbeun nom isanghan nom) sitting recorded on my Sky+ for a few months now and I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to watch it. It’s a Korean western set in 1940’s Manchuria (China) which is at the time was under Japanese control.

As with any good western the film starts with a train heist, the bad (an assassin/bandit) is sent to steal a map from some rich Japanese person who’s on the train, the good (A sharp shooter bounty hunter) is on his trail looking for a reward as for the weird, well he’s a small time thief who happens to have the bad luck to be on the train robbing it’s passengers when all hell breaks loose.

The rest of the film consists mainly of the weird (Who runs off with the map) being chased by everyone in china, including both the good the bad, a group of Chinese Bandits, and the Japanese military.

The film apparently draws inspiration from Sergio Leone‘s The Good the Bad and the Ugly which I’ve (shamefully) not seen, so I don’t know how close the story is. The film is fairly well shot, it’s coherent the characters are for the most part likeable and/or dislikeable. and there are some amazing action shots.

It manages really well to meld elements of the wild west and more oriental themes, in fact I’d go as far as to say that this is a really fun movie to watch, it includes some elements of cool gun play not very much in the way of martial arts but a lot of style.

If you like wild west movies and you like oddball oriental movies then this is the perfect blend. In fact even if you aren’t that big a fan of westerns and just like oddball oriental movies then the film should satisfy, but at it’s heart it is an oddball Korean film, so if you aren’t into Asian cinema or don’t like subtitled films then stay away.

Personally I liked this, you may not but you are entitled to your opinion. If I had an establish star rating on which I rated films out of say 5 stars I’d give it somewhere between 3 and a half to 4 stars, but since I don’t I can’t really do that.

Reissued: David Ahl’s BASIC Computer Games

I have a vague recollection of this book, I think at the time I was too young to actually appreciate it, I think I got a hold of it when I was 5 or 6…

The book contained the BASIC code for 101 computer games that you had to type out yourself in order to play, I think I only ever managed to get one or two of them running. More than the computer programs I remember the illustrations which were just mental. Considering that none of the programs in the books actually had graphics the illustrations helped you visualize what was actually happening.

They sparked your imaginations and turned a bunch of text prompts into a game that was occurring in your head and on the computer. I guess the difference between this kind of game and a modern computer game is like the difference between reading a book and watching a movie. When you read a book your imagination fills in the blanks, with wonderful graphics, when you watch a movie you are stuck with someone else’s vision and someone else’s rubbish acting.

You can get the book in two versions, one with the original art and one without. To be honest I don’t see why you would get the one without the art because the art brought the games to life.

via Retro Thing