Monday, November 1, 2010

Zarf Goes Independent: Hadean Lands

Hadean Lands cover art

Two weeks ago I put up a teaser image, which drew a lot of nice comments and anticipation within the IF community. (Thank you!) But one image in one blog post does not a lifestyle make, and today the real fun begins.

Here's the scoop: at the end of this year, I plan to quit my job and start working on interactive fiction full time. Yes, really. The space madness has struck and it's time to do this thing. I can't do this in my spare time any more; I have too much work to finish in the IF world, and it eats at me every time I leave for my day job.

Go to the Kickstarter page to watch the awesome introductory video! (A Gameshelf production, of course.) You can also play the teaser scene of Hadean Lands on my web site.

IF is bigger this year -- probably the biggest it's been since Infocom fell apart. (You all caught that scene on Big Bang Theory, right?) I don't mean that it's challenging Portal for the hearts and thumbs of the gaming world; but people are interested and people are playing. So I think that IF on the iPhone (iPad, iPod Touch) will sell. And I'm willing to touch the mirror and try it.

You'll note I just linked to Kickstarter. Here's the cone under the scoop: I am asking for donations to get this IF project off the ground. Hadean Lands will be a full-length game -- think Dreamhold size -- so it will take some time to write.

But this is not solely a song of "give Zarf money to write an iPhone text adventure". I have other plans. You know how I keep saying things like "Yes, I certainly do have to add CSS to Glk" and "Yes, I certainly do have to add a clock API to Glulx" and "Yes, for the love of Zog, I certainly do have to add graphics to Quixe"? And then I look sad and complain about my lack of free time? That has to stop.

So, starting in January, I will be splitting my time between Hadean Lands and open-source IF infrastructure projects. (And other iPhone projects to be named later.) One major open-source project, of course, will be a Glulx interpreter for iPhone. That way, anybody (who's signed up as an iPhone developer) can put a Glulx game in the App Store -- complete with artwork, help screens, embedded feelies, Gamecenter integration for achievements... All the trimmings. (If at all possible I'll make this usable with Z-code as well. Yes, iPhone Frotz already exists, but that's not a path for single-game publication.)

Want to support this plan? Give me buckets of money.

Don't have an Apple mobile device? Naturally, you'll want to support my Glulx work regardless. And I would like to do Android (Kindle, anything, etc) versions of this game somday -- those ports just aren't part of the initial schedule.

But I have a special offer: only as a Kickstarter reward, you can pre-order the Special Limited Edition of Hadean Lands, which comes on CD. That will be playable on any Glulx interpreter (Mac, Windows, Linux, or any web browser). This will only be available by donating on Kickstarter during the month of November! So eat up.

And, as they say, thank you for your support.

Comments imported from Gameshelf

rivenwanderer (Nov 1, 2010 at 12:25 AM):

Rats! I'm in the middle of working out a spacefaring alchemy worldbuilding... thingy. I'll have to avoid paying attention to this project of yours for a month or so to prevent accidental plagiarism (not that the audience of my artwork will even know all the details I'm plotting out, but I still want it to be my own universe and not someone else's).

I am donating, though! Donating and then closing the tab very quickly :p

Ruber Eaglenest (Nov 1, 2010 at 12:26 PM):

I wish you the best of lucks. It is pretty amazing to see some people taking this kind of risks and going indie to publish IF, I'm pretty glad!

I will support you the next month, because now I'm broke :)

Andrew Plotkin (Nov 1, 2010 at 10:08 PM):

Thanks! And sorry about the subject collision. I could name books I've read that used similar tropes; everything goes around in the mixer eventually.

Flit (Nov 6, 2010 at 6:02 AM):

Holy shit man, look at all the donations. And now an interview at RPS! Hail zarf!

Andrew Plotkin (Nov 6, 2010 at 11:53 AM):

I know! It's nuts. And thank you.

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