Tag Archives: the silver lining

For the Thrill of It

Standard

I love this.

The last week has been fantastic. Busy, cramped, a ton to do and a ton going on, but dammit I love it. Everything’s in the moment and happening fast and it’s fantastic.

We launched our Cognition Kickstarter six days ago with a $25,000 goal. Right now we have $14,045 pledged to us already. Already! We have 36 more days yet to go! We’ve been blown away by how fast that number has risen and how high. While we picked our goal amount with care, going for something significant, ambitious, but that we were confident was possible, this has still been an unexpected show of generosity and support that just warms the heart and feels…well, yeah, fantastic!

So, y’know, there’s that. 🙂

On top of that, we’re releasing Episode 4 of The Silver Lining on Sunday and there’s a lot to be done. The game to finalize and polish and test, but that’s not my role. Mine, right now, is Public Relations. And damned if I don’t love it during release week and the weeks that follow. The fast pace, emails flying in and out, talking with press contacts, arranging interviews, doing interviews, answering questions, posting to the websites, it’s thrilling and I’m good at it. And that feels fantastic, too.

If I ever doubt it, times like this reaffirm for me that yes, yes this is what I want to do. Create things, tell a story, put my heart into it, and tell the world about it.

Phoenix Online Party!

Standard

Hello friends who read this blog! In a fun act of shameless self promotion (and it’s my blog, so damn right I’ve got no shame about it!), here’s the news:

Phoenix Online is having a party, and you’re all invited!

To celebrate the upcoming release–and to reveal some HUGE news–we’re having a live pre-release chat party next weekend! As The Silver Lining builds to its dramatic climax and the Phoenix Online team turns our attention to the future, we wanted to put together something extra special for the fans who have supported us during this long, exciting journey.

So mark your calendars for October 29th at 2:00 PM Eastern. You’ll see the Episode 4 trailer, hear new details about the episode (including the exact date of the early November release date–it’s so close we can taste it!), and be one of the very first people to hear about the commercial game we’ll be announcing on Halloween! That’s right, we’ll be spilling the beans to you–the fans–at the party, before we send out the press release!

Even better: Jane Jensen herself will be there!

We’ll also have special guests Fable Foundry to talk about The Art of Sierra and some other great new projects, and Romano Molenaar, comic artist with prominent work on X-Men, Tomb Raider, and The Darkness–find out at the party how he’s involved with us!

We hope you’ll set aside some time for this once-in-a-lifetime event and join us at the Pre-Release Party, October 29th, 11:00 AM PDT / 2:00 PM EDT/ 8:00 PM GMT/ 9:00 CET on Ustream! We hope we see you there!

Your time zone isn’t listed? Find out what time the party is where you are here!

Goals in 2011 & Aspiration: Game Designer

Standard

I found a post I’d made on my previous online journal about goals for the year 2011. I’ve done okay with these, but not 100%. Some are a little beyond my direct control, but most of them aren’t. But, there are also 4 big fat months of 2011 left yet, so I can make good on as much as possible!

One of these was to finish writing Ghostlight. This I have not yet done, but if I push myself, it’s possible. Now we’re talking first draft business here, not a remotely finished product, but the first draft feels like the hardest part. And though I’m considering changes that range from cutting or adding minor characters to snipping out notions I no longer want in there to wondering about rewriting the whole damn thing in 3rd person instead of 1st person, when I can at least have a final draft completed, start to finish, that’ll be huge for me. In short, this one is still on the docket, and I’m going to work at making it happen!

One of my other goals was to get some chunk of a proposed game script done, of which just about nothing has gotten done, but the game designer landscape is a constantly changing one for me. That game is no longer first or even second or third in the docket behind other potential projects. And that’s a good enough place to talk about another aspiration of mine, game design.

When I was a kid, I discovered Sierra games. Adventure games where you took on the role of a person–a space-age janitor, a spunky princess, a prince-turned-slave, etc–and walked around a world, looking at things, collecting a ton of inventory items, solving puzzles with logic and not with force of arms. I LOVED these games. It was like a storybook come to life, and I loved me some storybooks. Pretty much from then on, a pipe dream of mine was to create adventure games.

Fast forward to 2002, and I’ve just graduated college with an English major, basically meaning I’ve got no job and very few prospects. It was a shitty time for graduating, moreso with a liberal arts degree. I find a website for a fanmade, unofficial, King’s Quest 9, a sequel to the Sierra series that built itself upon myths, fairy tales, and folklore, that I had adored most of my life. They were looking for a staff writer among other things. So hell yes I signed myself up for that! I submitted an application, a trial piece of writing, and over the next few years I was the co-writer on a script that was insanely large and impossible to turn into a game, not that we knew that, because none of us knew anything about creating computer games back then. But between temp jobs and other obstacles in my life at the time, it was a dream come true.

After two cease-and-desists that fans fought vehemently to get reversed for us, last summer, we at Phoenix Online Studios at long last released The Silver Lining, Episode 1 (of 5)*. The dream was reality. We had made a computer game (well, part of one), and we were making it happen. We were game designers, dammit! We’ve released three full Episodes now, and are working on the final two, while also working on turning this non-commercial company into a commercial one. I’m a designer and the PR Director, and I love it. It’s unquestionably a passion for me.

It’s hard to say how much getting this game released meant to me. I can use words, and I will, but the swell of pride, accomplishment, being part of something bigger than myself…it’s beyond just words. If you’ve felt it, you know it. Something we worked on for eight years, something that was almost taken away from us by “the Man” not once but twice, something that enough other people believed in to make the effort to fight for it, for us…it’s something that will always make me smile. I hope this group goes much further and does much more, but knowing we’ve done this much already is kind of astounding to me. I–we–have gotten this far, and that absolutely counts for something.

 

*Details and shameless promotion! The Silver Lining is a family-friendly adventure game based on the best-selling King’s Quest games made by Sierra in the 80’s and 90’s. It is also FREE! Yes, free! You can play the whole dang thing at no charge. It is only playable for the PC right now, although we plan to have a Mac version eventually, and we have released so far 3 out of 5 planned episodes.