Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Long Night

The Long Night, my first foray into fantasy has a history that is almost as long a checked as The Age of Chaos. Though I will try and encapsulate the whole story in a single post.

The genesis of the story doesn't come from literature or a movie, but a video game and not even one that involved swords and sorcery. It was in fact the airport level in Solider of Fortune 2, a military FPS title that planted the seed. In that level the basic gun load out his a pistol with a flashlight, to go with some of the dark areas of the level. This was a few years before Doom3 made it sheik and kind of aggravating. Around the same time another game came out, Neverwinter Nights. Neverwinter while a disappointing follow-up to Baulder's Gate 2 did come with the simplest campaign creation tool ever.

While building a town to set an adventure in, I started playing with the lighting tools and realized that I could sap all the light from the level making the player rely on a torch and little bits of fire. That pulled me back to that level in SOF2 with the flashlight. That town would become Hilltop, and the module would be Neverwinter Evil (Yes a reference to Resident Evil.) The basic plot for the Long Night was born then. Alex and I worked on the mod following the player as he tried to save the world, going from farmlands to Hilltop and then a crypt and the mountain, which is the basic movement of the book.

I abandoned the mod because well it sucked, what can I say game design isn't my strong suit, and it screamed out for a party, which Neverwinter didn't let you have, and was probably my biggest fault with the game.

Cut ahead to 2009 when BioWare again resurrected the story with the release of Dragon Age. In the spirit of Neverwinter Nights Dragon Age had a map editor and I wanted to bring what I was now calling The Darkener to that platform. I had a party system and a dark setting that worked much better with my story. So before the game came out I sat down and started outlining the plot the people, and the basic events that would happen, and drew a few maps here and there, about half a legal pad worth of notes. While waiting for the game to come out, I started writing the first few chapters of the story just to get a feel for the world that I was going to create. This would turn out to be the first three Alen chapters. I then sat this aside as the exercise had been fulfilled, I was making a game damn it not writing a book.

Once Dragon Age came out, I discovered that the tools were far more complicated then the ones for Neverwinter had been. So knowing that all trying to make The Darkener was going to produce was screaming and fights with Liz I sat it aside.

While waiting for Dragon Age to come out I started reading A Game of Thrones (if you haven't read this book, stop reading my blog and go read it.....OK so we are down to just people who have read GOT? good.) Anyway, after finishing Dragon Age I devoured the first four published books in the series.The utter brilliance that is George RR Martian made me want to write again.

That was when I picked up The Conflict Within again, and finished that ten year old battle.  I knew then that I didn't want to work on that. Sitting next to my computer was the legal pad with my game notes, and I already had about five thousand words of that written so it seemed like a better choice.

From their I dove in and finished the outline in tandem with writing the book, setting a date to finish the first draft by, and that was the release of God of War 3. I finished the first draft in February of 2010 and hope to publish my long gestating fantasy in late October, Halloween would probably be a great do to it.

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