Returning to Your Roots

Part of this week was going to be set aside for considering the restart of my computer game company. It has been languishing since 8 days after the release of our first 2D game Groundhog Hunt.

On that day, I found out my wife had cancer.

Games went on hold, except for my brief attempt to create a game for cancer patients. I’ll revisit that game and finish it one day, Like several of the games I have worked on or shelved due to various issues it is simply something that I know I will return to until it is done.  I’m rather tenacious that way.

Anyway, the list of things to get my company back in gear is rather long, including catching up on the latest technology and the business news.  So I set aside time for reading up on all my back issues of Gamasutra.  I did research on rebuilding my website with modern tools.  I looked at a half dozen game engines across a spectrum of different genres.  I seriously considered if I even WANTED to restart the whole thing.

I haven’t answered that question yet.  I want to make sure I know the scope of the whole thing before I make the decision.  I noticed that I always made everybody else’s game and never made the one’s I wanted.  Maybe if I took it back to being a hobby I could work on what I wanted to.  But one thing that I did decide to do that wasn’t all business.  I went back to my roots.  I got copies of all the games I remember that motivated me to want to make games in the first place.  It’s been an interesting time revisiting tools and old games.

Old games aren’t always that pretty to revisit.  With time the errors become more visible.  Back then there was a lot more experimentation because the field was new.  Games that you have the fondest memories of can be the hardest to deal with.  It’s not just the poor graphics, or the tinny audio.  It’s the uneven game balance, the difficult UI, the over the top attempt to display every possible nuance of game play on a 300×200 screen.

The game industry has matured.  But interestingly one game, for me, has held up.  Myst.

The Masterpiece Edition buffed up the screen resolution a bit, but it didn’t matter.  It is flawed, to be sure, but the audio is sill compelling, the puzzles are still fun, and the underlying story of a father betrayed by his own children is still a tour de force.

I realize that nowadays Myst is considered by many to be a hack game and something that it is easy to throw stones at.  But as someone who was around when it arrived… it changed everything, at least for me.

From the moment I saw it I wanted to make worlds like that.  I found out about 3D and more than anything I wanted to make Myst worlds that you could wander around in.  I studied VRML, and cardboard glasses with plastic red and blue lenses.  I tried io-glasses, I tried shutter glasses.  But the speed, the technology, was never quite there.  So, I waited.  I kept trying, but always there was something technological that kept me from being able to make the worlds I wanted.

I made my first game in 1973.  I saw Myst in 1993.  In 2013 I became aware of a resurgence in interest in VR.  I figure if I start working on my own right now I MIGHT have the VR game that I wanted… by 2033?  It would make an interesting hobby in my old age.

I should shoot for 2023.  Fifty years seems like a reasonable amount of time to wait for what I want.  Then I can spend ten years expanding it – for fun.  I can do that.

Like I said.  I can be tenacious.

 

 

Game and Writing Announcements for Easter

Yay! Announcements on game development, and writing progress.

Seems like a good day to announce that I have decided to “resurrect” my game company.

My plan going forward is to return to the early days where I worked on the kinds of games I like to build, and play. The first ones will be simple fun titles while I build up my skill set to current standards. As I get more time (and perhaps hire more talent) I’ll expand to doing more complex titles. I have licenses to several game engines. So, I can pick and choose which engine will get me get the game I’m interested in making with the least amount of additional effort.

Expect to see a new website for the Pariah Games in the coming weeks. The old one served me well when I was promoting the work of budding high school students, but I think a face lift is in order going forward.

On the writing front I am happy to announce that after about 40 years I have returned to the ranks of the published authors.

Interestingly, the first thing that got to print this time was a poem, written under my own name. I write fiction under the name David Nash to make it easier to find on the bookshelves. I write non-fiction under my own name because you are generally looking for the information and not the author.

Anyway, although two short fiction pieces were accepted before the poem, it got to print first. The fiction pieces should be coming out soon and I’ll plug them when they are published.

The book, which contains poetry, stories, and reflections is called “Valley of Ice” and is published by Collins Press. It is available in paper and electronic forms.

ISBN’s are:
ISBN-13: 978-1495989353
ISBN-10: 1495989356

Website is: http://www.colpub.com/

Finally, I have gotten back enough feedback from my initial readers that I can begin the final edits on the sci-fi novel. With a little effort it should be ready sometime in May. I’ll let people know a bit more about it as the time draws near.

I got a lot of useful feedback, some great suggestions, and a couple of requests to start on the sequel right away.

I have a couple other writing projects in front of it, but I do have a sequel in mind. We’ll have to see how the public likes the first one.

That’s it for now. Hope you all have a happy, quiet and pleasant holiday.