Friday 29 September 2017

The NEW Tedagame!

It's now late 2017. That's 20 years since my original plan to create an endless, do anything game. In that time I've made six different failed attempts at coding it (first in C++, then with SLUDGE, then AGS, then three online versions.)  On the way I also made five full size adventure games and two dozen online "choose your own adventure" type games. The current Tedagame site has the most recent eight. But these were an admission of failure: I really wanted the game to be automated, with characters walking, clicking on objects, etc.

One month ago I had a breakthrough. I think I can now code the original idea, but in a super simple way. After a month of experimenting I am further ahead than I was after six months of the previous attempt. This will actually work!!! Here are some test screenshots. The finished version will look a lot nicer, this is just testing the code.

So once again I say to my every patient imaginary readers, watch this space! It doesn't matter how long the journey takes, it's where you finish that matters. Tedagame will change the world. You just watch.

Monday 17 July 2017

3. The First Men In the Moon

The First Men in the Moon is now live.


Every time I visit this blog and there are zero views I feel happy. I guess it's my autism, and my idealism. I want this to be right, and it isn;t quite there yet. I don't want to have to apologise or explain. But I do want it online because I do think it's good. It's just not as good as I want it. But it will be.

Schedule redux

I expect to hit my stride by the end of the first year, when I hit story 16, some time around March 2018. By that point I will have a nice routine: a continuous building story with an episode on the first day of every month. Those are the nuts and bolts. After that I can focus on making the writing and story and art better. It's not about the hits. It's about the art. When the art is right the hits will come, and I don't want them until that date.


This story is quite a landmark: this joins up the first five stories: stories 2,4 and 5 have improved beginnings and endings, so it now makes a continual story.

The nest story will be the first ione where we start to see Axel, the hero, as a fleshed out person with feelings and struggles beyond the simple "save the world" and that pages problems.

This is the most colourful story yet. I try to draw everything in black and white with just a few lines, as it's quicker, but when dealing with alien creatures and landscapes I need to use more lines and colour, just so you can see what's happening. 

Blog and HTML

Let me apologise for the terrible formatting on this blog. Blogger is a wonderfully useful service, but creates horrible, bloated HTML. So these paragraphs and headings keep changing style, and there is very little I can do about it except apologise. This is why the game is entirely coded by hand. It's the only way to keep control. I want the game to do what I want, I don't want it to fight against me.

That's all for now!

Wednesday 21 June 2017

2. From The Earth To The Moon

Why I don't advertise

This latest episode illustrates why I don't believe in advertising. Informing friends, yes. Making an easy to access blog, yes. Improving the product? Heck yes!! But shouting "this is great, look at this" to strangers? No! No! No!! Because this story, on the surface, has little to offer. What matters is the stuff you can't see... yet!

The latest release might seem to be evidence of a project in decline: it's the shortest, it's the most delayed, on the surface it's the least interesting story, certainly the least popular of the classic novels, and it's the first announcement to get zero likes on Facebook. :)  So advertising this would be an uphill struggle. It would also be disastrous for the game!

Imagine if I did what Facebook keeps asking me to do, and paid them money for advertising. Let's imagine that Facebook was somehow phenomenally successful, and thousands of people got to see this installment. Most of them would never come back. Because the game is like a hotel, and right now it's still a building site. I have a wall here, a part of the roof, and I'm still digging some foundations. If I invite people to stay in this hotel you an imagine the feedback I'd get! But I can see what they cannot: I can see the bigger picture. I can see where this is going, and what it will be one day. And I am very happy with its progress.

Like I said, from the outside the game seems to be in decline. Two years ago I was still trying to make this a 3D universe where every atom could be explored. One year ago I had revised my ambitions but was still trying to create an animated universe. Six months ago the game was launched as plain text and still images, many of them drawn in ten minutes or less. And since then the gap between installments has grown larger, with more apologies, and less to show. A game in decline, right? That's how it looks from outside. But let's pull aside the curtain and see what is happening behind the scenes.

A decline in ambition?

Since 1997, when I first began planning this, the idea has been the same: an endless game, biased toward big ideas, where the user can do anything. And that is finally what we have. 

Great inventions involve numerous failed attempts before they get it right. When Swan invented the light bulb it took fifteen years of trying different ways. The final success, in 1875, depended largely on developments in technology. And so it is with TEDAgame: back in 1997 it was not practical for users to create their own stories, but now it is. And the game had to be designed for the desktop, but now it makes more sense to strip it back to basics for the busy user on the phone. I now have the game I always wanted: users can do anything. And unlike my earlier attempts, this is easy to make and share. Which means, unlike the previous attempts, this can work.

A decline in output?

When I am late with a story it's because I'm working on other projects. But these are all linked. The foundation of TEDAgame is the ideas: while I develop the stories I am also developing the underlying logic at the same time. The goal is for ideas that really make sense. This month for example I spent several weeks (of spare time) upgrading my AnswersAnswers site. I also spent time improving my Jack Kirby site, as TEDAgame is inspired by his work. It is also inspired by the game Zak McKracken. So, when I improve my Kirby Fantastic Four site, or my Zak site, this is all part of the same project. Remember: TEDAgame is not a superficial thing. It is only as strong as its underlying ideas, so sometimes I need to take time working on those.

As for being a slow month, if only you knew! (By the way, nobody has accused me of being slow, this blog post is simply my awareness that this is how it must look.)

July 2017: the busiest yet

This month I released From the Earth To The Moon. Tonight I hope to release a new, much improved front end to the game. In just ten days (the end of July) I hope to release a full length story, The First men In The Moon. At the same time I will upgrade the previously released Journey to the Center of the Earth and  Goddess of Atvatabar, so that episodes 1,2,3,4 and 5 work as a continuous cliff hanger adventure. And then I start work on episode 6, where we begin to find some answers!

You ain't seen nothin' yet.

Tuesday 2 May 2017

The purpose of life

The latest update is an expanded "after death" section for War of The Worlds. After that I plan for a new episode on the first day of every month.

I had intended to just add a couple of extra scenes. But it's all about mind expansion, so a tiny edit ended up much, much bigger than planned. It deals with the biggest questions of all:
  1. What are the limits to the idea of "endless, do anything"?
  2. What are aliens really like?
  3. What is the final end to the Martian saga? If they come back in greater numbers, what then?
  4. What is the purpose of life? (Inspired by reading about Luigi Fantappiè's theory of synergy versus entropy)
I think most books and movies get these topics wrong:
  1. Eternity should be infinitely bigger and more interesting than now. It should not be just an extension of what we currently think.
  2. Aliens are not like us!!! They would not have human level intelligence and technology. I am weary of stories where aliens are just stand-ins for humans. I'm looking at you, Star Wars, Independence Day, Star Trek (though to be fair, Star Trek does have some good ideas), the Marvel Universe, etc, etc. And if they are like us then watch out! I think Jack Kirby had it right. His aliens were big. before other writers shrunk them down to human level.
  3. I do not want Martians to be defeated then disappear, and I definitely don't want them to just come back again and again like in a bad comic. I want this to mean something, and mean something BIG.
  4. I want satisfying answers: can we really expand forever? Would we want to? What would we do? Does perfection mean no more change? No freedom? no conflict of any kind?
I like the idea that, in many years' time, when people have explored years of TEDAgame developing its ideas, they will go back and see the very first story in a completely new light. They will see that the Martians were the opposite of what they thought.

The answers were always staring us in the face, always available from the very start, just like in real life.

I am not trying to hide anything. I am trying to show ideas, no artificially keep secrets as a trick to make you read. That is probably why I will never be rich in the current economy. I do not believe in artificial scarcity.

Oh, and what is the purpose of life? To create order forever. This can only happen based on complete freedom for all, because conflict wastes resources, which makes you weaker, so you eventually fail. Order creates freedom creates harmony, beauty, and everything we could possibly want.

And this can only happen because the universe, being made of numbers, is infinite in all directions. There will always be interesting conflicts at the edges, and the edges expand forever.

Monday 10 April 2017

The next 15 stories: my tribute to Jack Kirby

A few years ago (circa 2005 I think?) I posted on the Fantastic Four message board about my plans to create a homage to Jack Kirby's FF using classic novels. This is that homage. I think it is safe to talk about now, because there is nothing here that Marvel can sue me for:
  • I do not use any of the names or other details from the FF. 
  • I do not copy anything from the FF, 
  • I just use the public domain that inspired the FF. Going back to the public domain roots!
For example, Reed Richards is the classic scientist-adventurer as seen in many Victorian science fiction novels, such as "From the Earth To The Moon". Dr Doom is the "evil" scientist such as in Guy Boothby's "Dr Nikola" or Jules Verne's "Master of the World".

The next year in TEDAgame

Period 1: outer space and underground (precursors to Fantastic Four issue 1)

Issue 1: War of the Worlds: this is like the 1950s monster comics, where the word is currently in danger of invasion.Issues planned for the next year:

Issue 2: From the Earth to the Moon. Our heroes realise they need to invent space travel in order to defeat the Martians. This is like the start of Fantastic Four issue 1, where they race to get into space.

Issue 3: The First Men In The Moon. They reach the moon and discover that the real action takes place underground. This is like the Mole Man story.

Issue 4: Journey to the Centre of the Earth. This continues the Mole Man story. I already finished this story, but will need to edit it to fit as a continuation of issue 3.

Issue 5: The Goddess of Atvatabar. I was always intrigued by underground stories, so I go deeper! This is my homage to Kirby's "Kala, Queen of the Netherworld" who incidentally later appeared in the soft reboot of the FF after Kirby and Lee left (FF 126).

Period 2: shape changing and reality (precursors to FF 2-3)

Issue 6: The Germ Growers (1892, Robert Potter): why can't we find the aliens, even underground? Because they are shape changers. This also explains the germs from issue 1, and  neatly links to the moon and subspace.

Issue 7: William Wilson (based on the short story by Edgar Allan Poe). This is about doppelgangers, and follows from the idea of a parallel society living underground (in the previous issue). This is my homage to FF 2. I add the alien angle because, ever since the War of the Worlds, I hint that god-like aliens are watching us, and in that context none of these stories are accidental.

Issue 8: The Realm of the Unreal (based on a short story by Ambrose Bierce, he of Devils Dictionary fame): about a stage hypnotist who can make you think you do and see things. This builds on the "we are being watched and controlled" paranoia, and is my homage to FF 3.

Issue 9: Life Is A Dream (based on a play about a king who is persuaded that something he really did, did not happen). This builds on the hypnosis theme, and also explains why historians ignore the War of the Worlds and the hollow Earth, even though (in my stories) they are real.

Period 3: Captain Nemo and Dr Nikola (precursors to FF 4-5)

Issue 10: 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: this links to the Goddess of Atvatabar (which began at sea) and the general search for the illuminati. It is of course my homage to FF 4. I may or may not add Verne's sequels at this point (In Search of the Castaways and Mysterious Island): 

Issue 11: Dr Nikola: my homage to FF 5.

Period 5: time travel (precursors to FF 5)

Issue 12: The Clock That Went Backwards (short story by Edward Page Mitchell: if anybody here likes H.G.Wells, Mitchell did it all first, and better, in my opinion) This is the natural join between the earlier themes (scientists who know more than you and me, stuff going on in history that we don't notice, and hypnosis) and the next theme of time travel.

Issue 13: The Time Machine: this is another story I already finished, but I think it fits best (With a little adapting) here.

Issue 14: Gilgamesh. I think this can follow from the Time Machine: because after visiting the future you want to visit the past.

Period 6: world conquest (precursors to FF6)

Issues 15 and 16: Robur the Conqueror and Master of the World (Jules' Verne's story about a man who invents a world beating flying machine). This is my homage to FF 6. I will probably combine Dr Nikola and Robur into one. Captain Nemo is of course my homage to to the Sub-Mariner. The superhero aspects come in later as we move to the cosmic god stories. 

This covers the first year: a story a month, plus the four stories I have already done that just need to be edited to fit. This timing is another homage to the FF, as the first six issues were bi-monthly, so they also took a year.

Period 7: the galaxy (precursors to FF7)

Issue 17: Voltaire's Micromegas (1752): we begin to learn about the wider universe. This is the start of my homage to FF 7.

Issue 18: Station X, by G. McLeod Winsor: more about the invasion and telepathy.

Issue 19: "Wireless" by Kipling: how this wireless telepathy connects people. 

Coming next: travelling to worlds beyond the solar system

All of these plans are constantly under revision. \:\)  The first year is me finding my feet. The second year will be looking for feedback. Rome was not built in a day!

So now you know.

Thursday 6 April 2017

1: The War of The Worlds

This is the first issue! The origin story! It all starts here! From now on, TEDAgame will be a continuous story, with a cliffhanger ending each month.

Over the next few months the existing stories will be adapted slightly so they fit into the continuous story. E.g. Journey to the Center of the Earth" will probably become episode 5. Gilgamesh will probably fit somewhere around episode 15.

Monthly episodes

I'm still developing the idea, but by this summer (June or so) each new story should come out reliably on the first of each month. This is basically a monthly comic, except you decide what happens, and you can add whatever you want. This is how all comics should be, in my opinion.

Saturday 18 March 2017

The Goddess of Atvatabar

The Goddess of Atvatabar is now live!

It's a few days late as usual, so from now on all dates will say "estimated". Atvatabar is a milestone story for several reasons:
  1. The first joined-up story:
    I've added new pages to Journey to the Centre of the Earth so that the stories now join up. At the end of Joueny, where Jules Verne's book returns to the surface, you can now go deeper and discover Atvatabar. And vice versa.
  2. The first joined-up character:
    In Goddess the hero needs to make a decision about his girlfriend. This is the first step toward a single character story that moves forward between episodes (see next post).
  3. The last un-numbered story:
    the next story will be the origin story, "issue 1". From that point, each story will be numbered, Eventually the first four stories will be edited and re-numbered to they form a consistent story that moves forward.
Enjoy. :)