I’m still writing my review of Planescape Torment, which should hopefully be up by next week, but in the mean time I thought I’d give my patreon backers a few updates:
First of all, thanks to Jared and John for becoming my second and third backers on Patreon. I’ve already hit my first two milestones, which means that the WordPress Wordads will soon be joining the Darkspawn in the black abyss of the deep roads and my blog will be moving to a private host instead of WordPress.com. WordPress is a great site and it’s served me well, but it does have it’s limitations. I’ve been wanting to redesign the site for years now so that readers could see and read articles in an intuitive way, where as now it’s easy to miss the fact that an article might be part of a larger series. Unfortunately to do that on WordPress requires you buying one of their Premium Themes, which are ridiculously expensive, it would be far more cost effective to move my stuff to a private server and then I can tweak the wordpress code however I like. Thanks to Eric, John and Jared I can now do just that.
I’m currently in the process of looking for a good host, so hopefully in the next few weeks I’ll be on a private server with a completely revamped website layout. In theory this shouldn’t affect you at all, the site will still be at the same URL (www.johnswritersblock.com), the switch should happen entirely in the background. However that’s just the theory, so in the case something goes terribly, terribly wrong and my site leads you to a 404 error or something similar, send me an email at email@example.com and hopefully I can get it fixed quickly.
Secondly, my Patreon now has a fancy Header graphic thanks to a terrific artist I know!
Thanks to the outpouring of support I’ve already received, both in actual dollars and supportive messages from people who couldn’t afford to contribute, I’ve been thinking of expanding the Writer’s Block to include my own works of fiction. I’ve been reluctant to do this because, and this isn’t easy to admit, I can talk the talk but walking the walk scares the shit out of me. Yes, I love getting up on my soapbox and criticizing writers who, even if they failed, put themselves out there and tried to tell a story. As badly as I piled onto the writers of Dragon Age: Inquisition, they at least actually published a story for the world to see, and I respect that. Unfortunately because my ego is held together with chewed bubble gum and ancient mummy-wrappings I’ve always been a bit reluctant to open up myself to similar criticism.
Well no more. I already have a series of stories that will be published on http://www.fantasyrockopera.com, one of my freelance writing clients. I also have a science fiction short story that’s near to completion that I’ll be publishing.
Now only will this help me become a better writer, but I’m hoping it’ll also greatly improve my chances at finding a job in the game industry. The one thing holding me back, I think, is my lack of actual content that I created with my own fingers. The storytelling reviews and copy writing experience on my résumé is all well and good; it shows my experience in professional settings and the ability to relay complex information to an audience, but it doesn’t really showcase my creativity. At least not in a way that would make a potential game company look at it and say “yeah, this guy could create a world for our game.” Basically I’m Gordon Freeman in Half-Life 2, I go around ripping things off the wall with a gravity gun and giggling like a maniac.
I’ve also recently gotten back into playing Freespace 2, one of the greatest space simulators ever made: it also happens to feature a powerful mission creator so simple even a poorly trained monkey could use it. I used to make dozens of my own campaign when the game came out in 1999, so with everything I know now and the much more powerful FRED editor provided by the Open Source Project, I should be able to create some really cool stories. Not only will this get my own stories out there, but it’ll give me a chance to experience making a story using gameplay and having to keep things like game balance and pacing in mind while creating a story. After my Planescape Torment review, I’ll be doing a review of Freespace 1 and 2 and why they did a terrific job telling their stories.
So prepare yourselves, for stories are coming. They might be bad, but they’ll be mine. So we’ll just see how this goes. My Patreon page may eventually expand to include milestones for short stories and perhaps novels at some point, but for now, just enjoy.
And support my Patreon if you can, and if you can’t, share it on Twitter and Facebook!
Thanks for the update! Check your patreon messages. How is planescape going so far?
I’m pretty sure I’m near the end, but then again I’ve thought that before and suddenly the story takes another turn. I’ve been writing the article as I’m playing though, so hopefully it won’t take too long after I’ve finished the game to post the article. Unless of course the ending is fucked, in which case I’ll have to rewrite the whole thing to rage at it. But given how exemplary the writing has been so far and the amount of praise this game has gotten, that’s probably unlikely.
Really though I’m so impressed with this game, I mean the writing is way ahead of its time in terms of quality. All the characters are terrific too, especially Mort. Love his smartass remarks when you die.
Though the game has also made me appreciate a lot of the modern improvements RPGs have made, like being able to stack commands and having a quickbar for abilities. Also 3D environments are great, transitioning between all these 2D maps has been really disorienting.
I certainly agree on the combat part. It was interesting playing planescape, then playing a modern CRPG (Divinity Original Sin). I am curious if you felt that if the game ended at a certain moment (you know or will know the one) it would have been really good resolution (I think the actual ending is good resolution, but there is a point where it really felt the game could have basically ended right at that moment and it would have been great).
I think Planescape is one of the strongest role playing (emphasis on role) out there, but I would certainly agree that the gameplay is dated. The game is at its strongest when you are just exploring the setting. The only game hub or town I found on par was Clock Town in Majora’s Mask.