Well, it’s not what I set out to make more than TWO YEARS ago, but I’m about to send Raid on the Silver City (RSC), or at least a sliver of it, out to some of my wonderful editors, for that initial sieve.
It makes me feel better about myself when I think of RSC as a learning experience, which it is. To me, these two years have equivalated to a university degree, without anyone pointing the way or giving me deadlines, marks, and feedback. I’ve learnt so much about writing, interactive fiction, general development, and myself, and suffered and sacrificed for it. Overall, I chose a stupidly difficult project for a first project and failed to maintain a balance, terribly. I’ve only recently realised that the quality of my work would be just as high, or higher, if I’d worked (at an actual paid job); placed a greater value on and dedicated more time to family, friends, and my partner; and kept physically fit. I gave myself too much time, and the pressure just wasn’t there. But I suppose all of this is part of the learning process, every month wasted, every rewrite, every nail ripped from my fingertips.
What is RSC now?
RSC is a work of choice-based interactive fiction, and interactive fiction is something that lingers in the unhealthy grey area between a book and a video game. There are many types of interactive fiction, though I designed RSC to read much more like a book than a video game. It’s made of text and hyperlink-styled choices (and some illustrations and diagrams, which are nested in the UI).
How much of RSC is in the editing phase?
In short, 1/9. Haha…
There are three playable characters (PCs) in RSC, and each PC’s story is comprised of three major branches — the onset major branch, the primary major branch, and the second major branch. The onset major branch ends with a pivotal choice between the primary major branch and the secondary major branch, and a “hard” (true/narrative) ending can only be reached near the end of a primary major branch or secondary major branch.
This diagram should help.
This next diagram represents all three PCs and their current progress (when used in conjunction with the diagram above).
The interactivity (remember, this is interactive fiction) exists inside each of these branches, mostly in the form of hyperlink-styled choices. I refer to a body of text and the hyperlink-styled choices below it as a “passage.”
This is a screenshot of how a passage in RSC appears to the reader. It’s simple, as it should have been from the start.
I won’t go into Twine, the program with which I created RSC; the large-scale and small-scale structures of interactive fiction; variables, of which I used Boolean and integer; or anything else “below the surface.” That suffering I’ll reserve for my editors.
What I’m about to send to my editors is only about 55,000 words (as opposed to the half a million sitting in limbo or the bin). It’s a nice, manageable about of work, for everyone.
So, as you have probably figured, RSC is still in development; when I publish it on itch.io, I’ll actually be listing it as “in development.”
Why only publish RSC as “in development”?
It comes back to a lack of feedback and RSC being a stupidly difficult first project.
It’s gone on for too fucking long, and I’ve been in the dark, with repetitive strain injury, for too fucking long. I need feedback to grow as a writer, and I need to move on from RSC to grow as a writer and person. There are far more lucrative projects that I have in mind — some short stories, a novella, a novel, and even a children’s book — and other aspects of my life that I need to pay far more attention to, like adulting and returning the colour to my face. RSC is only one project in what I hope will be a long and successful writing career. I will finish it, yes, but not now, not yet.
When will this “sliver” of RSC be published?
It really depends on this editing process. I’ve never done it before, not like this. On top of that, I’m moving out and away one month from now, so the shit’s an inch from the ceiling fan.
What about some more editors?
If you are interested in editing RSC, contact me. Once it’s gone through the first sieve, I’ll need as many editors and alpha (or is it beta?) readers as I can get.
What about some content?
Well, if it works out, I might return to posting short stories to this blog, like the old days, but I’ll also try and keep you updated on RSC and my other — much smaller — projects, for which I’m excited.
It’s good to feel excited again.
What is and who made that fantastic featured image?
It’s some early concept art for the Storm Wall, a city on Lorelei, the island on which RSC is set.
And Roderick Fernandes illustrated it, of course.
Check out his Artstation profile.