• My Life,  Writing Resources

    2011 Wrap-up

    Overview So how did I do in 2011, writing-wise? Overall, I was very productive. I had set myself a lower word target goal than I had managed in 2010 (I had anticipated having less writing time) but I actually ended up exceeding that, writing over 430 000 words. About 130 000 of those words were written in November and the first two weeks of December as I completed my nanowrimo novel. Unfortunately on other fronts the year was more disappointing. I met my quota of sales but still did not manage any ‘pro’ level sales (though I’m thrilled to have broken into a couple new markets that I really enjoy…

  • My Life


    Looking over some posts from December last year I remembered that I had asked what kind of content people wanted to see more of on the blog. And then I realized I had completely ignored the one suggestion I had been given! More cookies! So to amend that I’m posting the link to a shortbread recipe I made earlier in the month. It was very easy (which was good since I had never made these cookies before). A warning: These cookies are crumbly… best to freeze them before eating. And for newcomers to the blog, here’s the page where I describe my journey into crafting spider cookies*. * Please note.…

  • The Lazy Designer

    The Lazy Designer Book 2 – Update

    When I released book 1 of the Lazy Designer I had said that if it met certain financial goals I’d take some time away from my fiction writing to write a second game design book. Now that I’ve met the goals (thank you to everybody who has bought a copy!) I’m revisiting the outline I constructed earlier. The second book looks to be comprised of the following sections: Designing Experience – general design principles to construct an enjoyable game while balancing this against building a game an actual development team can complete in a timely manner. Will go into prototyping, iterative development. Data Management – team structure, a high level…

  • Brent's Toys,  My Life

    Meat Eater or Plant Eater?

    So I was talking with my 3yr old the other day and trying to explain to him that a tauntaun was a herbivore. I was explaining that one way to tell was because it had horns and that predators generally don’t have horns. Which led us to the Wampa. I really don’t think it should have horns. It is a blood-thirsty predator after all. We got into quite the debate over that but finally we decided it was probably an aberration, an omnivore that due to the frigid conditions on Hoth had to adapt by eating tauntaun meat. The horns are just vestigial remnants. And then the kid picked up…

  • Game Reviews

    Dragon Age Redemption

    I’ve finally gotten around to watching the six episodes in the web series “Dragon Age Redemption” starring Felicia Day. What did I think? Well I’ll qualify what follows with two points: I don’t like web series. I find they have too much preamble and postamble for a few minutes of entertainment. I don’t generally go out of my way to watch them. Having been involved with the development of Dragon Age Origins I cringe a bit when I see the Dragon Age world used by outsiders. But… Overall I enjoyed it. It was less campy than I feared (though still somewhat campy). The production values were higher than I had…

  • Writing Resources

    The Novel is Finished

    About six weeks ago, at the start of nanowrimo, I wrote my first words for the novel I’m still affectionately calling ‘Novel #4’. Today I wrote the final words*. All told, during these six weeks I’ve written 126 000 words, a few more than the 100 000 I had been aiming towards. Why did the novel end up a bit longer than I had planned? Honestly I think it was because I didn’t want the story to end. I know how it needed to end but I became too attached to some of the characters (not Wanderer specifically, he’s the backbone through the story arc driving the world he lives…

  • My Life

    Sad Plant

    So, my son brought home seeds from school last year and we planted them and they have grown into this… thing. Anybody know what kind of plant it is? Or what I should be doing for it? It is looking kind of grungy but I’m afraid of touching it… and my son guards it ferociously. If it were to croak I don’t think he’d be in a forgiving mood.

  • My Life,  Writing Resources

    On Spec Subscriptions for the Holidays (and an announcement)

    As a different sort of gift for the readers you know you might consider giving them a magazine subscription. I’ve always enjoyed getting magazine subscriptions, especially when they were to magazine I might not otherwise have known about. If you know somebody interested in fiction — specifically science fiction, fantasy, and horror — might I suggest On Spec Magazine? This is a fantastic Canadian magazine and I’m not just saying it because I’ve sold three stories to them (“A Ragman’s Vow”, “From the Sea” and “Touch the Dead”). I was a fan of the magazine long before I started selling fiction to them. So if you are interested, the subscription…

  • The Lazy Designer

    Rules of Play

    Rules of Play (by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman). To be honest I was a little concerned when I started reading this book. I’m always uncomfortable when people need to go out of their way to start justifying ‘games as art’. As a practical designer I really could care less what others think of games. I just want to learn how to build them better and faster. So I was worried that the book, which is a collection of methods by which game designers can understand game design and largely academic in tone, would offer me nothing of practical value. I was wrong. There is value in this book, particularly…

  • The Lazy Designer

    Giving the Gift of Programming (or: How did you learn to code?)

    So I’ll start right away with a question for the programmers reading this: How did you learn to program? The reason I’m asking is that I was assembling a ‘programming package’ for my nephew… basically a bit of a programming tutorial to get him started with coding… but then I realized that operating systems don’t have default compilers installed anymore. And that got me to thinking. I learned to program because my early machines (starting with the Adam) had the Basic language available to use. As a kid I made dozens of RPGs using Basic… it just seemed the thing to do because it was built into the computer and…