Monday, September 16, 2013

New Game Project: Lovecraft’s creatures invade tablets, etc.

EDITOR’S NOTES:  I must receive solicitations for an average of three Kickstarter campaigns per week. While I support this method of raising funds for creative efforts, it’s impossible to donate on a regular basis. So I choose them carefully and try to avoid posting here every time I contribute - - I prefer to reserve that for what I consider the “extra special” projects.  This recent project is of special interest, so I’m going to share some information about it with you . . . . . .

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Here’s is the web link to a generous amount of information about the game, if you prefer to explore that on your own  . . . . .

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2096318262/the-moaning-words-investigation-into-the-cthulhu-m?ref=live

Otherwise, read on . . . . . . .

THE MOANING WORDS ON KICKSTARTER

The newest creation from renowned French publisher Byook  is  THE MOANING WORDS, an innovative reading and gaming experience based on the eerie  Cthulhu Mythos of  author H.P. Lovecraft and other creators of weird fiction.  The game will be free to play, and was developed by Byook in partnership with author Alan Dean Foster.

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THE MOANING WORDS is a vast and dark investigation into this world and is comprised of 18 episodes or chapters.  Foster’s story contains the game within it, involving interactive storytelling, decision-making and cooperation with other readers, a narrative card game, and illustrated riddles.  THE MOANING WORDS will be available on smartphones, tablets, and computers.  

My first exposure to THE MOANING WORDS occurred while attending the NECRONOMICON (H.P. Lovecraft convention) in Providence, Rhode Island August 22-25, 2013.  Author Alan Dean Foster read from the first chapter during a presentation there, with a question and answer session that followed.

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Foster’s opening narrative of the story quickly establishes the uneasy setting and atmosphere, with an incident that occurs along a river walkway in France.  The story takes place in contemporary times in various global settings and involves three  main characters:  a French poet/education student;  a female archaeology student; and a descendant of Russian origin. 

During the question and answer session, Foster explained that there were no structural constraints placed upon his writing. He was given complete freedom with the story.  After writing the entire story, the collaboration with Byook began.  Foster’s story is the template that the game was built upon.   Players can read and manipulate the novel at the same time.  Foster wrote all the dialogue and then Byook developed the alternatives.  Each chapter has a minimum of 4 permutations.

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In THE MOANING WORDS, you are in charge of the story. As you shape your own adventure you will face hundreds of challenging decisions, and experience one of many different endings. Your choices can change everything. With your decisions you can modify the entire narrative, negotiate with characters, develop deep relationships between your favorite protagonists, and collect items.

In each episode, you can invite your friends to unlock additional choices, secrets, special rewards, and bonuses. Recruit your contacts from Facebook or the Game Center and experience the story together in a brand new interactive way. With your friends, influence the fate of the three protagonists. Finally, share and compare your adventures.

Play and alter destiny in THE MOANING WORDS.  The investigation is enriched with narrative gameplay experiences.  Each
episode will challenge  reasoning and critical thinking skills.
The narrative card game battles within the game have the power to alter the course of  the story. Winning/losing will result in drastic consequences.

Here is an example taken from the app:
During the second episode of the investigation, the card game will
influence the murderous intents of one of the characters. The card
game’s result will decide whether the killer surrenders to his blood
lust or not. Will you be skilled enough to save the victim?
THe  illustrated riddles help to intensify your involvement during the story, sometimes as brain-teasers.
Solving these mysteries will allow you to progress through the investigation.

In addition to this, readers/players will also be able to:

  • Discover tons of interactive stories written by the community
  • Write your own interactive tale with our free tool and share it in the app.
  • Read original stories from H.P Lovecraft enriched with pictures and sound effects.
  • Get challenged in unlimited Card battles to collect more than 100 cards. With each card, unlock a Secret File about the whole Cthulhu Mythos

About Alan Dean Foster
Alan Dean Foster is an American author, writer of science fiction with many series to his credit.  He was a writer for the Star Wars series as well as an author of many “Lovecraftian” tales.

About BYOOK
Created in 2009, BYOOK is a publisher of enhanced reading experiences.  We believe our apps will revolutionize reading habits.  The team is composed of talented graphic designers, skilled developers, and mobile app and video game marketing and sales experts.  Today we want to innovate again by creating a reading experience with heavy gaming experience and interactive storytelling.

THE MOANING WORDS is a little over halfway towards reaching the $20,000 Kickstarter goal. The money is intended to cover production costs mainly, with the campaign ending in one week.  The producers have put together some new rewards for all backers every time they raise an additional $666 dollars.  That will take 15 steps to reach the $10,000 needed to complete the campaign. When each step is reached, all contributors receive one or more additional cards, all exclusives. There are up to 27 additional cards to collect, which will be delivered either by mail or digital (ready-to-print).

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There is also a referral program to reward contributors to help spread the work.  Full details are on THE MOANING WORDS website, but the illustration below explains some of the details.

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