Thursday, 23 April 2015

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Avengers: Age Of Ultron left me giddy, and also exhausted. The shawarma scene at the end of the first film? That was me. I ate and went to bed and then got up again to talk about it. My thoughts, which I can safely predict are going to be a bit rambling:

Wednesday, 22 April 2015


DC Super Hero Girls is a new development in female-friendly superhero works. Not sure what it says that two of the seven heroes are Batman spinoffs and two more are Batman villains, but never mind. It’s a pity Amethyst isn’t in the lineup, and that her cartoon was a one-off.

This could be a major step in bringing in potential fans who feel excluded. Or, if done badly, it could be a cringe-inducing mess, but let’s try and stay positive here.

How do you market to people who feel left out?

(I like that Batgirl’s yellow Docs from her recent awesome comics revamp make the jump.)

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Father Ted

Father Ted celebrates its twentieth anniversary this evening. It shows what you can do with a small regular cast and a flexible approach to reality.

You let Dougal do a funeral?!


Got a Star Wars game? Got an R2 unit you’d like a visual reference for? This gallery of custom variants by ninety artists based on the Sideshow Toys figure contains several that could work... as well as plenty that are bonkers. Insane crossover bonus: R2-Dalek. And Oscar the Grouch living in an old R2.

The Power Of Fiction

In the real world, fiction can change the world - give people insights and create feelings they wouldn't otherwise have.

The Alan Wake games take it totally literally, running with the premise of being able to make stories real - and giving that power to a crime and horror writer who has to take a stand against horror turning real.

Alan Wake 2 got as far as a pitch, with some interesting monsters (hunched figures jumping on and over cars, and especially the guy turning into a flock of ravens, borrowed for the scaled-down sequel American Nightmare) and used making fiction real as a puzzle and a weapon. Set up the scene of an accident, cause the accident to happen. The bit at the end feels like kind of a stretch, though.

Set some parameters (like defining a Weird Level in rules terms?) and it could be an interesting power, particularly when two creators start using it against each other...

Too weird for Masters Of The Universe

Via Rose Bailey, who has been thinking about a kid-friendly fantasy superhero setting:

The original mini-comics that came with the Masters Of The Universe toys, before the first cartoon, are going to be re-released in a single book. And they have some pretty weird stuff in them, even by the standards of a setting built out of gimmicks for action figures before anyone decided it needed a plot. Example: the many-armed giant god who lives in the centre of the planet and holds the continents in place from below. And who never got a figure until 2012. I particularly like how casual He-Man is about the whole thing.

There’s a lot to be said for a setting that can take that sort of thing being dropped in for the sake of one adventure...

Monday, 20 April 2015

Miniaturising your setting

Tiny Ant-Man billboards. Love it.

Miniaturising characters, expanding them to giant size, or presenting them with a Lilliputian or Brobdingnagian version of the world, is one of those classic high Weird Level ideas. It needs magic and/or a whole lot of technobabble to get away with this one.

There seems to be quite a lot of it about right now...

This year we’ll see a live-action version of DC’s Atom as well as Marvel’s Ant-Man, taking advantage of how well modern effects can cope with this. Phil Masters has recently published a FATE-based wainscot fantasy RPG called The Small Folk about Borrowers-style stories of tiny people in our big world.

Ever shrunk (or embiggened) your characters?

Sunday, 19 April 2015

"Reality, what's that?"

Joss Whedon on The Avengers, working within existing parameters, what comes next, exhaustion, and some Buffy and Firefly.

“The first question we always ask is: ‘What is the way in for someone who has never seen a superhero movie?’ You need to be thinking about everybody all the time.”

On the subject of reviving series, as is happening elsewhere:

“I love these shows,” he says. “And I think about it sometimes but I’m very wary of the monkey’s paw where something you love comes back but not quite as good. Firefly was filmed with a sword of Damocles over its head every episode. That meant every episode had to be as good as we could humanly make it. We didn’t have time to experiment or explore ideas that were just OK. We had to know what the next story needed to be. It drove us in a way we might not have been driven if we were in a place that had supported what we were doing. I think about revisiting a lot of those things but I also think, well, what else you got? I don’t want to be done creating new universes.”

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Making a near future that won't date

Suggestions from io9. Unlikely to be an issue at the gaming table unless, say, your cyberpunk game runs a very long time, but good when you come to write settings down.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Ghost Stories Of An Antiquary

My brother has just acquired three first edition M.R. James books. The ghost stories are very familiar of course, the non-fiction book about Abbeys is not. And it has colour photos and fold-out maps! It would be such a good handout.

But I don’t dare fold the maps out. Partially because they’re old, but mostly because I know how that ends in an M.R. James story.

Caring in interactive fiction

... is much the same as caring in other fiction, as Dave Morris says.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Star Wars Episode VII, second trailer

The Force Awakens.

Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie... the mask of Kylo Ren... running and explosions and new and different Stormtroopers and more!

As if a million voices cried out, and suddenly squee-ed...

Excitement level - approximately original Episode I trailer. probably slightly below due to, well, Episode I. But damn that was a good trailer it had...

And this was at the end of a Star Wars Celebration panel with old and new stars... including BB-8.

Transferable game design lessons from LARP

Tatiana Delgado on what she learned from designing LARPs and took into other forms of gaming.

Shared via Cat Tobin

The Spirit, the animated movie that never was

Ouch. Right in the what-I-always-wanted.

3D printable miniatures of every Monster in the Manual

From Tiamat to the Gazebo.