A new job is on the horizon for me! Starting in the new academic year, I am moving on from my video game desing teaching role at the college to lecture at Southampton Solent University! I am really looking forward to the new changes and opportunities over there. The university has some truly amazing facilities for video games- and I’m already working out lectures for the game art students over there.
The Civilization Battle Royale Novel hit 120,000 words this week with its 92nd chapter. The novel is a little over two thirds of the way to completion judging by the progress of the game over on Reddit, which is itself close to finishing.
On the side, I’ve also been running a new D&D campaign for my close friends, using some custom rules and homebrew content to develop a science fiction setting. The first puzzle of the campaign involved them having to stop their capsule from spinning chaotically as they entered the atmosphere of another planet. The control panels of course had no markings on them, the labels having long since rubbed off- but they did adjust the pitch, roll and yaw of the craft. It proved for some entertaining if panicked experimentation on their part, but they did land successfully.
Hi there folks. The wheel of time turns, and I can’t believe it’s March already. A few little tidbits to share with you guys; check out the latest trailer for The Missing Few, a video game project I have been working on for the last two years as a technical artist. I just uploaded the 72nd (!) chapter of the Civilization Battle Royale novel. With this latest installment, the book is now over a hundred thousand words in length and drawing into its final phase, as great futuristic empires battle it out for global dominance.
The title says it all. Sixty chapters now- covering the first 4700 years of the great game. In that time, countless nations have risen and fallen, technologies developed and made obsolete, and religions have spread and faded. The world now broils in the atomic age, and boy are some things going to be changing. As always, the page for the project has the entire book up for grabs, totally free.
My next main book, Tales from Aquis just went through its third major proofreading. I’m currently working on structuring the second act of the book, which is shaping up quite nicely.
It’s been a while since I did one of these- but I thought I would jump back into the frey with another of Brandon Sanderson’s projects; Warbreaker. This book has a special place with me, owing to the unusual manner in which it was written. Sanderson wrote and edited this book publicly- that is, regularly uploading drafts for all to see here on the internet- and eventually released the book as a free download when it was done. It was a stroke of genius; and an important inspiration for the Civilization Battle Royale Novel I’ve been working on. I loved how open the process was. It’s not something that suits every book of course- I wouldn’t dream of writing a Dragon Creek book in that manner- but still, I find it amazing.
Onto the book itself. The story is another of his powerful high fantasy epics. Siri, a princess of a tiny alpine nation is forced into an arranged marriage with the God-King of Hallandren, a powerful nation with armies of undead soldiers. Unless she can muster political means to stave off invasion, her home will be overrun by the armies of Hallandren in a long and bloody war. The book hinges around its rich magic system- with wealthy magicians using the souls of the poor as an energy source- and a large cast of colourful characters. It’s definitely worth checking out; and it is up for free on Sanderson’s website.
Hi there folks. The prologue of the Civilization Battle Royale novel was first uploaded on the 12th of October, 2016. 51 chapters later, today is therefore the anniversary of the novel!
I have a couple of announcements to make. First off, the novel is going to be moving to Thursdays at 18:00. In part this was because my schedule with work and so on has changed, but the developers and I also agreed that moving it out to the quieter end of the CBR week would be a good idea generally.
Rather than leave a larger-than-normal gap between chapters, I decided to launch chapter 52 today. As we move into the second year of the novel, we move into a new age of the world out there- this chapter is set in 1 AD, where Henry Morgan is plotting from a beach in the Azores. The age of intercontinental empires is well and truly at hand.
The Civilization Battle Royale novel, which you have surely been reading up to this point, is of course based on a simulation over on Reddit, where AI players control large nations and armies in a heavily modded version of Civilization V. About a year ago they ran into difficulty with the save file there, and things were looking pretty dire. Today, after paintstakingly recreating the game tile by tile in a fresh save, the game resumed, and they are ploughing on ahead with new content. I’d like to congratulate the community who worked on that on their steadfast resolve and thank them for the sheer amount of work that goes into running such a beast. The simulation holds the Guiness World Record for the most viewed strategy game of all time, and is now about two thousand years ahead of where the novel is at this point in time, so if anyone wants to have a sneak peak at where the book is going to take us you can of course view the original game. I’m watching the new developments there with bated breath, and I’m already dreaming about what the novel will be like by the time it gets up to that point.
Of course, the novel is still rolling; a new chapter has launched every week since last October. Come to think of it, we are rapidly approaching our first anniversary on that front. Regardless, go experience the Civilization Battle Royale, in whatever incarnation you most enjoy.
Hi there folks. The aforementioned D&D campaign got up and running over the last month, and it’s been a lot of fun. It began with a module I wrote called Mansion of Nothing, in which the party cleared out a haunted house and delved into its secrets therein. Of course, once they had cleansed the whole thing they decided to keep it, and it’s become quite the base of operations for them in their adventures. We have four characters in play- Phlanne the sea-elf, Trixie the mischievous pixie, Franque the drunk and Bonnie the six foot human who believed until very recently that she was a dwarf. Needless to say, they are an incredibly functional team.
In the most recent session, they were sailing through dangerous seas, and pursued by pirates. Noticing that the pirates seemed to be using magic to keep pace, our witty sea-elf leapt overboard, swam over and released the anchor of the enemy ship. The magic of course ripped the pirate ship in two and threw the crew overboard. It was a feat of unexpected brilliance, and I awarded them a ton of pirate loot for it.
This month also saw, as always, five more chapters of the Civilization Battle Royale novel. Those five are The Brazilian Bulletin, To Stand the Test of Time, One Last Dance, The Northern Storm and The Battle of Appalachia. The epic saga of our world continues, as rifles and artillery quickly become a neccessity on the battlefield. As always, those are available on the page for the project.
So this week I went off to the Isle of Man to visit my family, catching a plane out of Manchester. Just as we reached 4,000ft one of the two engines failed. The captain kept control of the vehicle just fine, and started us round in a circle. I can only presume he was using the rudder and flaperons to compensate as otherwise the plane would go into a roll or spin, seeing as both the centre of lift and the centre of thrust were now off to one side.
He flew us round in a circle and got us permission to land on a nearby runway, and we returned to the ground just fine. A fleet of fire engines were waiting on the runway as a precaution, as the captain did not know why the engine had failed. They weren’t needed thankfully, and the following day the airline was borrowing planes from another company to get us moving again.
Those planes are designed to stay airborne with one engine and all, but I still find it rather harrowing.
I’ve been planning a fresh D&D campaign for some friends who are visiting from the Netherlands this weekend. This has provided me with the opportunity to finally try the fifth edition; I’ve been using the fourth since 2011 and never bothered to switch over until now. Well, fifth edition has been around for three years now, so I thought it was worth a shot. We’ve yet to run my new campaign, but even a cursory look at the books gives me the impression that fifth edition is a whole lot more streamlined. I’ll not give anything away on the campaign in case my players read this, but it should be entertaining.
The latest five chapters of Civilization Battle Royale are up of course; World’s End, Cold Winds in Europe, Rifling, A Continent in Turmoil and The Last Day. I’m particularly fond of that last one. This book could well be over a hundred chapters when completed; it’s swiftly becoming the most lengthy and comprehensive text I’ve ever written. One of the most important themes in the book is the nature of time; the stories of Civilization are told over six thousand years of course. If you haven’t read it yet, go do it; it’s all up for free on this site.
For those who have been following this blog for a few years, you may be aware that Tales from Aquis started out its life as a tabletop role-playing scenario I wrote and ran back in 2013. I still have the materials for the original scenario, and over this week at the college I’ve been running it again for my students. It’s been quite entertaining to see how differently they react to my friends from University who played the original- and how some of them have made the same mistakes. I have modified it from the 2013 version, it incorporates a lot of the stuff that was added for the novelisation in later years, and it’s really been an excellent way to test my knowledge of the world and push at the boundaries of what I have built. The core of the book is down on paper at this point; its a case of editing what I have and further embellishing on certain aspects of it for the most part.
This last month has also seen the release of five more chapters of the Civilization Battle Royale Novel, as always, go check the page for the project. The new chapters are entitled Eyes to the South, One Night in Jerusalem, Another Returns, New Toys and Breath Before the Storm.