Is Violence the Answer??: A Look at a Video Game!!

I know that, as a writer, I should probably talk about stories and novels and writing and stuff, but I’m talking mostly about the story and writing of a video game, so whatever! I have a big overview of what I’ve been reading for the past 8 or 9 months in the works but I want to finish reading this one book first.

So, anyway, what’s this post about? A very… interesting video game I came across yesterday–actually, the demo of a video game being funded on Kickstarter. It’s called UnderTale, and the point I am going to make here is that it really makes ya think. Okay so first play the demo if you want to try it and don’t want to be spoiled.

So, as you can tell by the description on the Kickstarter, this is a game where you can win every “enemy” encounter without killing them. “Crazy talk!” you say. “Video games are about beating up your enemies, usually physically, sometimes verbally!” Yeah, and movies, and stories, and music, and the news, and congress, and… See where I’m going with this? It’s old news that we have a culture of violence and every form of media is violent and oh my gooourd we must not let the kids know of death and blood is evil and argjarhrejfndk, but the point is that something like this really brings it right to you.

Here’s the point: Near the end of the demo you have to… face off against the only other character in the game who’s nice to you, Toriel. Pretty much. Well, at least at first. Most video games would have this “oh okay attack the nice person and when defeated they will let you keep going.” NOT THIS GAME! There’s no “defeating” in this game; no “fainting”; you beat an enemy, you freakin’ kill it.

But, remember, in this game, you don’t have to kill enemies. You can spare them. You don’t get any experience… which, strangely enough, increases your “love” instead of “level”, but still, you don’t have to hurt anyone. You don’t have to hurt the nice character. I suspect that the game was made so that it’s intentional that you’re likely to kill Toriel the first time: with each hit, the damage you do seems to increase. Then you might try to go back and not kill her–turns out that seems to be involved in the game’s plot. Of course, in real life we don’t have a save feature.

What am I trying to say with this post? I dunno, I just couldn’t think of something better for a blog post today. I said I wanted to start making one every few days, right? HA! Just kiddin’; I think this is an interesting line of thought that too much credence is put into violence as a solution in media, and I will fully admit right now I will be looking through my second novel with this in mind later.

Of course, that’s not to say that an intergalactic invasion and demonic resurgence could be easily solved through diplomacy. And I’m still a terrible person because after going back and saving Toriel I went back again and killed her on purpose. GYAAAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHhahhaahah… ah ha ha ha…

All in all this is a cool game. Even though this post is under the category of Review that wasn’t the main point, but since it is, I might as well say something on the game, which I guess is just go try out the demo; the genre isn’t actually my kind of game, but the story looks amazing.

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150 Encyclopedia Entries; Also, What’s Going on with Me

I’ve talked quite a bit on Obscure Authors Alliance about writing an encyclopedia for a novel’s universe.

My encyclopedia has now reached 150 entries for species, characters, organiztaions, and locations. From the uniquely-shelled arkents to the pragmatic wrallots; from the unfortunately-named Aĉçöís̈ɲđị0 to the giant, yet not massive, Zykardo; 150 entries is a lot. There’s almost 232 words per average here: 34,782 total. And I tend to just work on this during my free time.

Anyway, aside from that, I’ve been working on the personal summary for my 3rd novel (I know, hardly anything said on my 2nd and I’m mentioning my 3rd! But it really is 2 or 3 months before I should have started on it–I just got excited by a friend releasing his novel, so now every few days I work a bit on the summary). I’m also considering starting on some revision for a short story I finished writing a month or two ago.

I know, I know. “What about the 2nd novel??” you ask. Well, frankly, I don’t know who this “you” is. Or are. I’m not sure, I went from using you as a pronoun to a regular noun so it went from 2nd person to 3rd person. Regardless, I’m on the verge of starting the big revision project for that, and yet I pause–I really want to actually get a paying job so I have some money before I get back to heavy writing work. Mostly because I don’t want to break apart writing work with the stress from actually looking for a job.

I currently have about $50 to my name and in about a month I have twice that due in student loans. I don’t think noveling will pay that off just yet. Remind me why taking out a grillion dollars of student loan money was worth a college degree?? Look, all I’m saying is, maybe I should have waited for Obama’s America to reach the colleges and make all colleging free forever.

Anyway, that’s what’s up with me. My plan is to start revising the next novel next month–I want at least 3 months to work on that before NaNoWriMo comes up.

Also, I may or may not start trying to have a new blog post every few days on whatever the hex I can come up with to say, and once a day on Twitter. Will I make this goal? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But I can try!

Character Profile: Sal

We’ve seen a war machine and ghosts, a buzzsaw and a bratty kid… and now we get to Sal. He’s a snake. Literally, he’s a snake—no appendages, long, green, striped… he’s got a big, HUGE head with a mouth that could swallow a television set whole. And the head is… kind of shaped like a circus tent; the top half is, you know, has two tips at the top that sort of gently slope outwards, while the bottom half is mirrored. He’s got triangle-shaped eyes, too, striped green, and, really, his entire body is just striped green.

Sal’s size belies his attitude, but his attitude belies his prowess. He’s kind of a doofus. He acts foolish and makes a lot of stupid remarks, but he’s no fool—he can actually be quite clever and is quicker to trick than to be tricked. Still, he’s a bit of a nutty goof. He’s got some tricks up his skin, though—first, The Conqueror’s gene splicer multiplied his size and length, and it also made him able to spit up acid that can melt through just about anything it touches. Now that’s potent!

Regarding The Conqueror’s new agents, Sal’s the fifth. There’s also a sixth—but this special, overwhelming final agent can only be discovered in my new novel—this is the final character profile for a while. It’s been two weeks since my first novel came out, and it’s time to get back to work on my second. (After I find a paying job.)

Character Profile: Wrodin

Today for Father’s Day, I have a character who has never had a father!

One of the islands that the crystals wash up onto is deserted—devoid of any life, actually. Not even plants. Instead, it’s covered in junk and scrap metal. It looked as if a thousand factories building metal objects exploded. And one of these metal objects is hit with The Conqueror’s animator.

Wrodin is a machine built for war. When closed it’s just a red sphere, but the two halves can split open to reveal a black cylinder connecting them (where the obligatory “living inanimate object eyes” appear). As a war machine, it comes fitted with a vast array of weapons: explosive shells, missiles, rockets, energy guns, bullets, miniature versions of itself, its own weight, and a massive energy blast that can cut through solid steel.

Wrodin is fixated on war. Aiming to be The Conqueror’s top general, it desires nothing more than to sweep the cosmos by The Conqueror’s side, blowing up anyone who stands in their way—the slubes included. But with Wrodin on his side, The Conqueror had better invade quick—Wrodin might just blow everything up in its raging passion for destruction.

Character Profile: Czar Spiest

One of the more mysterious parts of the island Hackney where Nottle and Gelago City are located. On the east side of the island is an old, overgrown manor known as Spiest Manor. There live the spooky and silly spiest, white, floating balls with a single capsule-shaped eye and oversized arms. These spiest, according to the scanners on The Conqueror’s space station, are imbued with supernatural energy. Ghosts!

The spiest aren’t necessarily bad—they just enjoy pranks and spooks, but it’s usually all in good fun. They are secretive, though, and very few, if anyone outside of the spiest, knows just what the full extent of their powers are. SO LET’S RAMP UP THAT POWER TO THE MAX!

The Conqueror sends down another gene splicer to Spiest Manor and one of the spiest gets turned into a huge, hulking, monstrous, beastly… okay, so it’s really only big, giant even, but it does become able to shoot a laser out of its eye.

With its new power, this spiest declares itself to be the new czar of spiest: Czar Spiest. It plans to shift the image of the spiest from harmless, if not spooky, pranksters to truly terrifying… little white balls that are actually kind of adorable. I mean, uh, to truly terrifying ghouls of horror!

Character Profile: Terrent

Terrent is a real terror. At least, if you think bratty kids who complain if not everything goes their way (and then complain even if it does) are terrors, and who doesn’t, right?? Anyway, the second agent The Conqueror recruits is using his gene splicer, which takes a rather strange target—a kid, a child, a turtle only 8 years of age.

After being zapped by the gene splicer, Terrent gets a mean streak and technological adeptness: he finds a shard of the crystal, and then does the logical thing and starts shooting torpedoes at a harbor. He does what he wants, and he does it for fun (and sometimes nachos).

Terrent thinks of himself as cool and as better than most everyone else, is easily irritated and easily irritating, and tends to shout bad insults at people. His ability to rig up devices quickly can come in handy, but the fact he’s quick to anger and then quick to make a fuss like the universe revolves around him makes him just as annoying as he is useful.

Most of the characters we’ve seen so far have been kind of rooted in technology? Well, that’ll change next time…

Remember that stream I mentioned a few days ago??

The stream is up on Youtube now! Watch as I awkwardly try to speak above the buzzing of my microphone, causing me to breathe loudly and into the mic and turn into a hurricane!

What fun!

(I suggest watching it on full screen so you can actually read the chat I added to the side there, unless you don’t give two cares about the chat, which is understandable given not much happens in it.)

Character Profile: Sawn

When The Conqueror realizes the crystal is being gathered up by inhabitants of the planet he intends to invade, he decides to show them his might—but covertly. He doesn’t want them realizing he’s there, so he begins to recruit agents from the planet below using his technology, starting with an animator.

Sawn is a buzzsaw. That’s really all there is to it. It’s a buzzsaw brought to life through nanotechnology, and now it has two big, red eyes on its side. It’s quick to anger and quick to just about everything else. Floats like a bee, stings like an angry blade of death. It relishes in destruction, whether it’s sawing through wood or living tissue.

As it was given sapience by The Conqueror, it aims to rebuild the crystal and kill whoever gets in its way. But this is only the first agent The Conqueror creates, and there are more to come…

Character Profile: The Conqueror

The main antagonist of my new novel (released today!) Slubes is an intergalactic tyrant who travels the cosmos and conquers worlds–as the name suggests. With four long tentacles and a rather small body, the vast amount of his mass comes from a giant, menacing, bulbous head that lets him tower over most anyone and glare at them with his teardrop-shaped eyes. Also, the back of his head is replaced with a glass case, so you can see his brain!

The Conqueror is a megalomaniac, sure, but he also has a high belief in his qualifications for rule. That is, he’s really smart. He’s calculating and scheming, but quick to anger. Everyone is below him—even if he has respect for someone, they’re still below him in his eyes (of course it helps that he’s taller than a lot of people).

The Conqueror is the instigator of these events; he comes to Mintop in a scouting space station to examine the planet before he launches a full invasion. In scanning the planet, he comes across a crystal with a vast amount of energy contained within. His plans to take it for himself go awry, though, but he doesn’t intend to let such a powerful artifact slip from his grasp.

My novel is out now—you can read all about The Conqueror’s plans and how the trio of slubes face them by getting it here! Before you do, though, here’s one more excerpt:

The rebels yelped; they were grabbed by The Conqueror’s long tentacles and pulled away. He held the four rebels each in one tentacle.

“You thought you could rebel against The Great Conqueror!?” shouted The Great Conqueror as he held them at eye level.

“I thought you were just ‘The Conqueror’,” a rebel said with all the cheek a creature without cheeks could muster.

“Great or not, you have made a fatal mistake,” The Conqueror told it. Every previous attempt to rebel against him had failed, and the resulting public torture… It led to a stronger grip on the planet that saw the torture. But for a spleech to try and rebel…

“So… you’re not actually great?” asked the rebel.

…and then try to mock him!? The Conqueror tightened his grip on that rebel and threatened, “I would watch what you say, for there is nothing stopping me from squeezing the life out of you.” He suspected there were more rebels and would need to interrogate these four. However, one less captive would not matter…

While this exchange was going on, one of the rebels freed its mechanical tentacle. The end of it opened and shot out a bomb. It exploded, blasting the control panel apart.

“NO!” cried The Conqueror. The computer smoked and fell silent, ceasing all activity.

The spleech began working furiously to get a status update on the crystal. “We’re losing visual on the crystal, sir!”

“Power signals decreasing!”

“They’re spreading out!”

“Crystal gem entering Mintop atmosphere!”

“Sir! It appears the crystal is breaking apart in the atmosphere!”

“What!?” The screen before them showed dots on the map of Mintop. Each dot marked where the crystal landed after breaking up. “This rather multiplies the problem, then…”

“Sorry, Conqueror,” said the cheeky rebel, “but your crystal is in another ca-” The Conqueror cut it off by tightening his grip again.

The Conqueror ordered in some guards. “Lock these rebels up. Interrogate them. Find out who else dares to go against the might of The Conqueror.” He wanted to interrogate them himself, but he now had more pressing concerns. Turning to the spleech at the computers, he said, “Find those shards! This isn’t over! I will have that crystal!”

Ebook Version, Author Page, More Stuff Soon

Good morning! Or afternoon! Wait, wait… good noon!

The… um, Kindle version of Slubes is now available on Amazon. Over the next week I’ll be looking into having it available elsewhere (I’ve heard of Smashwords as a place, so, maybe), although as I’ve made my preference for the physical copy clear I won’t be making a big deal of it.

I also have an author page on Amazon now, although since you’re here at my blog there won’t be much there besides all the books (all one book) available at one place.

As a reminder, here’s the page for the paperback copy. And by reminder, I mean I edited last night’s post after the page went up in less than an hour. This is possibly because, as it turns out, I accidentally made them available early–about a week early for the paperback and 2 weeks early for the ebook! Ha ha ha ha I panicked more than I should have.

Anyhowzit, I just got up and my mouth feels like a swamp cave, so I’m gonna go do some stuff, then get back to this with posting a new Character Profile. After that I have some updating to do around the place.