Neal Stephenson and the good folks at the Subutai Corporation are looking to raise $500,000 on Kickstarter to fund CLANG, a rich, detailed and faithful swordfighting game. I've heard tell of the Stephenson swordfighting practice sessions, and particularly of the incredible swordfighters in his orbit. The idea of a game that is as faithful to the sport as its creator is fascinating.
In the last couple of years, affordable new gear has come on the market that makes it possible to move, and control a swordfighter's actions, in a much more intuitive way than pulling a plastic trigger or pounding a key on a keyboard. So it's time to step back, dump the tired conventions that have grown up around trigger-based sword games, and build something that will enable players to inhabit the mind, body, and world of a real swordfighter.
CLANG will begin with the Queen of Weapons: the two-handed longsword used in Europe during late medieval and early renaissance times. This is a well-documented style that has enjoyed a revival in recent years thanks to the efforts of scholars and martial artists worldwide.
At first, it'll be a PC arena game based on one-on-one dueling (which is a relatively simple and attainable goal; we don't want to mess this up by overreaching). Dueling, however, is only the tip of the sword blade. During the past few years, we have been developing a rich world, brimming with all manner of adventure tales waiting to be written--and to be played. In conjunction with 47 North, Amazon.com's new science fiction publishing house, we've already begun publishing some of those stories, and we have plenty more in the hopper. Once we get CLANG off the ground we intend to weave game and story content together in a way that'll enhance both the playing and the reading experience.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.