Yikes, time rolls ever forward and we find ourselves at the back-end of April and encroaching on the month that is May. What the blazes has been going on for us over the last couple of months and what is coming up? Well let us fill you in…
Starship Traveller Engage!
It was a great feeling to finally release the Traveller into the cosmos with both Clinton, Kamina and Ben (Kosmina) spending the last few months powering through the Seltsian Void, bringing Steve Jackson’s classic Fighting Fantasy gamebook to the next generation. Thankfully they had some valuable allies warp in from the neutral zone in the shape of Simon Lissaman (internal illustrations) and Dan Maxwell (cover and user-interface), who brought the gamebook visually to life. For old-school FF fans (yes, we’re looking at you 35+ year olds) it certainly was life, but not as they knew it previously because, for the first time, we created brand new illustrations for an FF title, rather than re-colourising older classic art. The gamble seems to have paid off as we’re getting lots of love from fans and reviewers alike about the new lick of paint as well as lots of positives about the key design changes we made to the interactive story too. High commendation must also go to Ryan Grogan too for his amazing soundtrack!
“It’s interesting because in the increasingly large mobile gamebook scene, I find Starship Traveller stands out for exactly the same reasons it did 30 (oh my, is it really 30?) years ago. We’ve got lots of fantasy books, some horror books, a few modern books, but this energetic take on classic sci-fi is a breath of fresh air, not just for its theme, but also its eccentricities, both good and bad. The absolute best Fighting Fantasy books are still to come, but this is one of the real classics in the series, so if you enjoy gamebooks or goofy sci-fi, I encourage you to give it a try.” – Touch Arcade – 4.5 out of 5
“Considering its age, Starship Traveller still feels incredibly fresh and newcomers are going to love Jackson and Livingstone’s universe, with its richly-cultured aliens and startling discoveries. Combined with Tin Man’s highly polished re-packaging, this makes for a top-class fantasy adventure you will keep coming back to.” - Super Game Droid – 4.5 out of 5
Bostonian Superhero Adventures!
If you’ve been following Neil on Twitter or our TMG Facebook page then you won’t have failed to see that we were over in Boston a few weeks ago exhibiting at the 2014 Penny Arcade Expo. We were once again proudly part of the indie MEGABOOTH, a collective of 92 indie game developers showing off 104 games, which makes the collective space the largest booth on the showfloor, even outsizing the offerings from companies like Bethesda, Blizzard and Riot Games. Clinton flew in from Australia, Ariel jumped on a train/bus from New York and Neil flew in from the UK, armed with banners, buttons, flyers, postcards and two headless superheroes!
We had three of our games on show including GA8: Curse of the Assassin and the first Spellcaster gamebook, The Forgotten Spell. The big event for the TMG booth however was our very first playable version of Appointment with F.E.A.R. We had this running from a Mac on a large vertically-mounted TV (donated kindly by Intel) and controllable with an Xbox controller! As you will see from the video below (check out the demo auto-running in the background), AWF is a huge departure from anything we’ve done before and uses our new gamebook engine that Ben Britten has been working hard on over the last few months. The new engine gives us a new level of flexibility when dealing with interactive text and opens up many possibilities, the first of which will be our new chooseable path style interactive comic format, perfect for AWF and the our Judge Dredd sequel!
Big thanks go out Clinton, who was a Tin Man Machine over the four days, and to Ariel Magnes for making the trip south to Boston and giving us much needed support. Also a big hug to Liam Esler who popped up and manned the booth at crucial points too. Also never-ending thanks to the MEGABOOTH organisers, Kelly Wallick, Chris Floyd, Eric Chon, Ryan Burrel and all the enforcers and helpers.
So what’s next I hear you cry? As well as Appointment with F.E.A.R. we’re also in the middle of developing a further three titles, using our regular gamebook engine. First up is Sagas of Fire*Wolf which is our take on Herbie Brennan’s epic four-book series, Sagas of the Demonspawn. All the books have been devoured into our gamebook editing tools and we’re currently designing the user-interface and redeveloping the combat system somewhat. The original books were a little on the hard side (actually almost impossible!) so we’ll be adjusting a few things and play-testing to get the balance just right. This is is the first time we’ve combined four books together in one volume so readers will be able to read the whole series in one-go, start to finish (should you survive that is!). We’ve had a whole new set of artwork commissioned (by Starship Traveller‘s Simon Lissaman) that is almost complete and we’ll also be including the original artwork by Geoff Taylor and John Blanche too for those who like their gamebooks retro!
Secondly we have the second gamebook in the Spellcaster Trilogy from Louisa Dent Pearce. The Gatekeeper’s Oath follows on from The Forgotten Spell in the quest to save the Kind of Suidemor. You must find a way to unlock the gates of his castle, by seeking out a gatekeeper and finding the password. Olcrada is after you again and you need to learn special Elder Magic in order to keep his elemental followers at bay! As with the first book, you can expect some magical writing and some dark but beautiful new artwork created by Tony Hough (Fighting Fantasy and Warhammer 40k illustrator).
Thirdly, we have a secret release in a few months. All we’ll say for the moment is ‘Fighting Fantasy’ and ‘as yet unannouced’. Let’s leave it at that eh?
Finally, while we’re in an FF mood – we’ll also be announcing the results of our recent poll along with the winning entrant in a future blog post! Stay tuned.