Sunday, December 11, 2011

YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!

I thought it had been a while and that I should really post an update about the many projects I've been working on. It's been a bit crazy with the whole "day-job in retail at Christmas" getting more and more like Helm's Deep with every day (except the wall is the counter, the orcs are customers, and I don't have a bow), but despite all of that, I've still been writing.

My lovely wife managed to easily hit the "NaNoWriMo" target, and she's continuing until the book is finished (possibly even tomorrow). The book sounds awesome, about ghosts attached to books, unsolved murders, getting infected with ink, and other cool stuff. Hopefully, after another draft/edit we'll look into getting it out there for people to read.

And talking of getting things out to read, I've posted a blog post below about the movie Tintin. I'd originally written it for the SyFy Channel blog, but the blog is on a small hiatus and as the US audiences are about to get the movie, I thought I'd post it on here. Check out the movie, it's great.

Besides that, the first Kickstarter for Conspiracy X (the Extraterrestrials Sourcebook) finished well over its target. Excellent. The second Kickstarter for the Paranormal Sourcebook has already reached its target, but it's still running if you'd like to preorder the book and get your name in the book!

I got a little sidetracked from my NaNoWriMo attempt at around the 30,000 word mark with a couple of other projects creeping into view. No great loss I guess, my fiction was just too damn weird for public consumption...

These other projects have also distracted me a little from working on WILD, but I'm still thinking about it, researching it, and working out mentally how the whole thing will work. One upshot of this research took me back to the film SuckerPunch. I'd already looked in depth at the movie in an earlier post, but watching it again recently with Zack Snyder's "Maximum Movie Mode" on BluRay, Snyder confirmed that the whole thing takes place in that fraction of a second, and he did let slip (despite wanting to leave it vague) that he considered the other girls to be fragments of Babydoll's personality. It's nice when you have a theory about something and the creator confirms it later for you...

Okay, that's it, I need sleep. I call it "research"...

G'night all.

Tintin Review

Tintin’s latest movie outing has ditched the 2D animation and the (sometimes bizarre) live action approach and recruited some of the biggest names in film and television - but is it any good and, more importantly, is it a faithful Tintin movie?

I’ve never been an obsessive Tintin fan, but he’s always been present. I remember watching the old Hergé’s Adventures of Tintin TV series as a kid, and when I was first trying to get into comics someone printed a review of my first comic calling me a “goth Hergé”, which I took as a huge complement. My best day-job was working for a company named after a Tintin book (Ottakar’s), so I was naturally cautious going in to Spielberg’s first foray into the realms of 3D motion capture animation.

Luckily, I had nothing to worry about. From the opening title sequence done in excellent retro-style, looking just like stylised panels from the original comics - a sequence you’ll want to rewatch on DVD to spot all the references to other Tintin tales (much as you will during the rest of the film), to the brilliant Hergé cameo as the street cartoonist, you can tell that this has been carefully crafted by people with a genuine love of Tintin.

While the animation sometimes strays close to the “uncanny valley”, the design of the characters is marvelous. Tintin himself is perfect, while all of the support characters look fantastic - though Andy Serkis steals the show with his portrayal of the tormented and alcoholic Captain Haddock.

Taking elements from three of the original Hergé stories (The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure), Doctor Who’s Steven Moffat (who provided the initial script) and the genius pairing of Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish, have created a superb script with witty and often hilarious dialog, blending the three stories seamlessly into a very coherent whole that manages to pack a lot in. I remember looking at my watch about 90 minutes in thinking “wow, they’ve covered loads!” but it never felt long. In fact, as the last scenes played out, I would have been happy to have had the film continue for another couple of hours to continue the adventures.


The thing that you may have to do before you go to see this is dismiss your memories of Beowulf or Polar Express - this is a film that really couldn’t have been live action, though at times it’s convincingly close. The whole motorcycle/sidecar chase sequence is dazzling and will have you whooping with every gravity defying twist and laughing at the ludicrous destruction.

This is possibly Spielberg’s finest family film since Jurassic Park, and certainly should not be missed. I honestly can’t fault it, and can’t wait to go and see it again. 9/10 (maybe even a 10...)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Conspiracy X 2.0 - The Paranormal Sourcebook

A little while ago I posted on here about Eden Studios and the work I did for them for Conspiracy X 2.0 - mentioning how the second book, "The Extraterrestrials Sourcebook" was finally seeing print thanks to a Kickstarter campaign that would fund the print run, and give those who preordered loads of cool extra bonuses.

Well, we're at it again. Launching just yesterday, Eden have decided to get the Paranormal Sourcebook into print for the first time (it's not been released before, not even as a PDF) using Kickstarter (Click Here to go to the Page).

The Paranormal Sourcebook collects the three original paranormal phenomena sourcebooks for the original Conspiracy X system (Shadows of the Mind (Psychics), Forsaken Rites (Magic and the Occult) and Cryptozoology (strange creatures)) and converts them into Unisystem.

I guess the big deal with this one is that it not only converts the material to Unisystem, but it also covers how to use Seepage (the psychic phenomena that's causing all the weird stuff) in other Unisystem games like WitchCraft and Armageddon, and how it relates to their use of Essence - the natural magical element in the universe.
It's all cool stuff.

And, of course, if it goes well, we'll hopefully see book 4 - The Conspiracies Sourcebook sometime next year... (fingers crossed).

Friday, November 18, 2011

INK

Yeah, I know, it’s been a quiet month on here so far. You have NaNoWriMo to thank for that. I don’t know what I’m doing trying to keep up with the wife’s writing, especially as there are times that I’m convinced no one in their right mind would want to read the mass of bizarre and weird drivel that is coming out of my head.

I’m not officially doing NaNoWriMo, just trying to keep up with the word-count, which is handy as not only am I writing the most bizarre fiction put to paper, but I’m also trying to keep up with the RPG writing. Now working on two projects - WILD and a pitch for a licensed property. I don’t know if anything will come of the latter, but it’s worth a try.

As it’s been quiet, I thought I’d draw your attention to another movie that was recommended to me by one of my nieces’ husband (thanks Simon!). I’d not even heard of Ink, but he’d seen that I was writing something about dreams and recommend it to me.

Ink tells a couple of parallel stories that meet in one universe. We’re introduced to the concept early on in the film that there are forces at work that influence our dreams. One of the earliest scenes shows a street where half a dozen shamanic ninjas (called "Storytellers") appear in what looks like camera flashes. No one can see them, but they enter peoples’ houses, into their bedrooms, and touch their faces, giving them pleasant dreams. Shortly afterwards, we see the nasty equivalents - really creepy looking guys in rubbery suits (called "Incubi"), with bizarre screens attached to their faces. If they influence your dreams, you can be sure of a traumatic time.

At the start of the film, a young girl, Emma, is kidnapped by Ink. Ink is a strange creature - the best way to describe him is if you imagine a shorter Hagrid from Harry Potter, only a master of martial arts, and a nose like those urRu creatures from The Dark Crystal. Ink has been told by the Incubi that acquiring this girl and sacrificing her will allow him to be accepted into their ranks.

While this is happening, the Storytellers are trying to get Emma back, and need the assistance of her estranged father, John, who was forced away from his daughter due to his dedication to his career making him a drunk, drug taking, obsessive. It’s hard to describe much more without giving too much away. All I can say is that the story is split between Emma being lead through the dream realms by Ink, as he collects the necessary items to let him deliver her to the Incubi, and the story of John being protected and guided by Storytellers he can't see to reach out to his comatose daughter in the real world to try to save her.

The film is very low budget, but doesn’t look like it. The effects are cool - the nasty dudes are really, really creepy... almost like something from Dark City (one of my favourite films of all time). The martial arts scenes look very real, none of the Hollywood glamour, it’s visceral and frantic. There’s a great bit at the beginning when the Storytellers are trying to stop Ink from kidnapping Emma - as they break the furniture in the real world, the objects around them reverse and reconstruct themselves while the fight continues. Very cool.

None of the actors are recognisible from anything else, but they’re all very good. Quinn Hunchar is excellent as Emma, and Chris Kelly playing her father is brilliant as the tormented soul that he is.

It was one of those films where I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen next - it was great, and unpredictable, and I really can’t recommend it highly enough.

You should be able to pick up the DVD/BluRay anywhere, or you could head over to JaminWinans.com and get the film straight from the director - he'll even sign it for you, and you can get some cool merchandise, watch the trailer and support independent film!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NaNo New Mo...

Okay, so I'm supposed to be doing NaNoWriMo (but not in an official capacity), and writing shed-loads. I'm up to just over 10,000 words since the start of the month, which is all new stuff to the Case of Lost Possibilities that I started years ago, almost doubling it in length. Dunno if any of it's any good though. I may just be spouting nonsense.

I've had a couple of days of failing the word-count, but luckily I wrote a lot in the first couple of days that evens it out.

However, I've got another project that I'm working on (not WILD, though I haven't forgotten about that, it's still in the works). This is mostly why I didn't sign up officially for NaNoWriMo - I knew something like this would crop up and I couldn't submit say 30,000 words of fiction and 20,000 of RPG writing. That's not how the month works. But it does with me. As long as I'm writing, that's a good thing.

I wonder if Blog post words count?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

NaNoWriMo

So the wife is going to be undertaking NaNoWriMo in just a couple of days - 30 days of writing to try to produce a 50,000 word novel in just one month (hence the name - NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth). I'd thought about doing it as well, but I have a major set-back... to qualify as a "winner", your novel has to be 100% new stuff, no using any writing you've done before. But, I've decided I'm going to try and keep up... not in an official NaNoWriMo capacity, as I'd like to try to continue the work I'd started before on "The Case of Lost Possibilities" (man, I need a new title for that).

Also, it means that if I get stuck writing the book, I can flit back to writing RPG stuff (while I'm still working on how the game system works).

So, why am I suddenly inspired to write fiction?

"Lost Possibilities" started out as a comic that didn't make it to page 1. I'd been brainstorming ideas with Mark Hiblen about a guy with a suitcase that would be a quantum entity - it could contain anything until you actually opened it and quantified its contents.

Nothing happened with it, but a few years ago I was inspired to get back to writing it as prose rather than a comic. I'd done around 8,000-10,000 words before I decided it was just too bizarre and weird to actually be read by anyone. I'd posted about half of it online at my other blog (which I've since taken down as no one was reading it) and just gave up for the time being, thinking that maybe, one day, further down the line, I'd go back to it.

I'd originally put it online in chunks inspired by David Wong's "John Dies at the End". I'd read the first couple of chapters online years ago, had it in my Safari bookmarks for ages, and never really got around to reading the rest. But his was a great success story - the novel posted online was read by people, gained cult status, had a limited print run, was picked up by the director of Phantasm (yay!) and has become a film and had a big commercial print run...



I recently finished reading the book (just a couple of days ago, actually) and it's easily gone into my top 10 favourite books. But what really struck me was (a) how weird it was, and (b) how it was like David Wong (not his real name) had used the Soy Sauce to pluck ideas and stuff from out of my brain. Always weird when you have that moment when you finish a book and say "That's just like something I'd have written!"

So, inspired by the coolness of Wong's book (which you should all read by the way, or at least check out the film when it comes out) and how similar it is to my writing, I've decided to go back to "Lost Possibilites" and see if I can bash it into a coherent whole. I'll probably get so far, give up, and then have this same experience next year when I read "John Dies at the End 2" (aka "This book is full of spiders - seriously dude, don't touch it!")

So, while I'm not on NaNoWriMo, I'll be posting what my word counts are as the month progresses...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Conspiracy X 2.0 - The Extraterrestrials Sourcebook

Bit of a diversion from talking about WILD and movies/TV series that feature dreams, as I wanted to bring to your attention one of my past projects - Conspiracy X 2.0.

I started work on Conspiracy X 2.0 in 2002, shortly after my father died. I guess it was a way for me to cope with it all, concentrating on writing the RPG, so ConX has a bit of a personal meaning for me. I loved the game anyway, after it was first recommended to me many, many moons ago by a friend of mine, Jason. He knew I was an obsessive X-Files fan and said "hey, check this out!" and loaned me the original core rulebook.

While I loved the setting, I was a bit baffled by the system. I get it now, but at the time I thought it was a bit over-complicated, so never actually ran it as a game. But, so blown away was I by the game setting, I started talking to those lovely people at Eden about writing and producing a Conspiracy X comic (this was back in my hay-day as a comic publisher - see the previous post). One thing lead to another, which lead to my work on Terra Primate, plugging the game system into a setting I'd been given, so the logical progression was to take Conspiracy X's awesome setting and to plug in Eden's house system - Unisystem.

As I said, I started work on this in 2002, and the core rulebook hit the shelves over four years later, and was nominated for an Ennie Award in the 2007 Ennies.

But then, one thing after another happened, and Eden were unable to get any more books out. The Extraterrestrials Sourcebook (collecting the three original ConX alien books, Exodus, Atlantis Rising and Nemesis) was released as a PDF (in 2009) but it's not the same as a lovely book is it?

Anyway, Eden have come up with a solution. They've put the Extraterrestrials Sourcebook up as a Kickstarter project, hoping to raise the $5000 needed to get the books printed. If you pledge, you'll not only get a copy of the PDF (and the book if you pledge enough) but also the more you pledge, the more you get like signed bookplates, t-shirts and your name in the credits!

And, even more exciting, if the book gets funded, then book 3 (The Paranormal Sourcebook) is more likely to get printed, and then book 4 (The Conspiracies Sourcebook)... and I may actually get paid for writing them!!

So head on over to Kickstarter and have a look - check out the little video I filmed for Eden, and maybe pledge some money. If you're new to Conspiracy X, I'd go for the $75 option and get the corebook as well. It's an awesome game, with one of the coolest settings for an RPG!

Monday, October 10, 2011

What's in a Name?

When I first started this blog, I had a couple of people ask, "Why 'Autocratik'?" But when I added the header to the blog, with the red flag, it prompted even more questions, "Why the flag, dude?"

So, here's a quick answer to both of those questions.

Set the way-back machine to 1998. Since school I've kinda only really wanted to do one of two things. Write RPGs and draw comics. Well, in 1998 I had a go at the latter. I was unemployed, living off of the wifey's meager income from her job in graphic design, and I set up a company to publish comics. It was just at the tail end of the boom in black and white independent comics, and after going to a couple of comic conventions and talking to the indie guys who were actually getting their stuff out there, I thought I should give it a go.

And so Autocratik Press was born.


I created this comic series called "Missing", an epic drama set in an alternate (then) future at the turn of the millennium, in a vast hotel on the border between Scotland and an England under American rule. It was my "Twin Peaks", a soap opera like cast of dozens - the suicidal runaway, the local sheriff, suited criminals, dandy highwaymen on powered surfboards who held up the traffic on the flooded roads north, and the psychotic boyfriend seeking revenge. I had about 90 issues planned, but the indie comic scene was fading a little, and I had my distribution pulled.

Debs published a few little microzines, deeply moving stories of love and haunting, and groups of goths, under the Autocratik imprint, and I published a very cool one-shot by the legendary D'Israeli D'Emon Draughtsman, artist of Batman, Sandman, and more. A sequel to his awesome Timulo strip that used to run in British magazine "Deadline", "Consequences" was an epic and beautifully illustrated tale of hit-nuns and giant fish. You can read it in this excellent collection along with the original Timulo strip by purchasing the Timularo (The Complete Timulo) Collection.

In the top left corner of every issue of Missing, and Consequences, was the Autocratik Press logo. Inspired by Soviet propaganda, it was Debs and me with the red flag, leading the revolution in publishing. It was fun while it lasted, and Autocratik closed its publishing doors late 1999.

However, if I hadn't been working on comics, I'd have never contacted a certain game company about doing a comic for their RPG, which lead to writing books, and... well, that's another story.

When pondering the idea of going solo and doing my own game, there was only one name that came to mind - Autocratik.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Moment of Clarity

I had this moment of clarity a couple of days ago. Chatting to one of my day-job collegues I said "I kinda want to create a new game system for the new RPG, so it's all mine..."

He said to go for it. So I am...

Then, chatting to the wife last night I told her that I was going to design a whole new system for WILD.

She said, "As it's about dreams, the game system should be called REM."

And I said, "That's it!!! Rapid diE Movement!!!"

So there we go... the name of the new game system - RAPID DIE MOVEMENT.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Inception

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a long piece about Zach Snyder’s flawed movie Sucker Punch, one of the big influences on the WILD RPG. This time, I’m going to look at the biggest influence on the game, Christopher Nolan’s Inception.


Okay, I confess, I’m a huge fan of Inception. Just about everything in the film is what I want from a narrative – it’s multi-levelled, good action, clever, has a nice twist that you can sort of work out on the way, it’s ambiguous in its ending which leaves you discussing it for hours on the way home. It’s just awesome. Saw it a few times in the cinema, then had to go again when the local IMAX reran it just to get the huge screen and deafening levels of soundtrack.

I guess it helped being a Nolan fan, especially after Memento and The Prestige (both awesome, multilayered acts of smart storytelling). It also helped having a great cast - Leonardo DiCaprio was great, which was a really pleasant surprise after seeing Shutter Island a couple of weeks before (which I found incredibly predictable), and the rest of the cast were suitably awesome.

Maybe it’s just my usual movie failing that I really love films that I can’t see how they’re going to end. If I get about an hour in and I can consciously feel myself thinking “I have no idea where this is going” then I’m kinda sold. I had a similar moment about an hour into a low budget movie called Ink (which I’ll write about later) when I suddenly realised the twist and thought, “wow, it took this long to see how it’s going to finish, that’s a sign of a good film.”

Anyway, back to Inception. It does have its faults. Just a couple, in my opinion.

The first is The Rules.

Unlike Sucker Punch, Inception set out the rules clearly in the 1st act. As an audience we’re told how time works in the dream, how if you die in the dream you wake up unless you’re under the sedatives the PASIV device (the dream machine) require to maintain multiple layers of dreams. We’re also told how the “Kicks” work, and how the environment around you influences your dreams.

This means in the 1st layer of the dream, when Yusuf is driving, when the van is flipping about or screeching around corners, the dreamers feel a sense of gravity shift. This means that when the van is driving off the bridge, acting as the Kick from level 1, the dreamers in level 2 are thrust into weightlessness, and Arthur has to come up with a way of triggering a Kick to get them back from the dream of the mountain fortress.

So after spending so long establishing the rules, why did they break them? If the van’s in freefall off of the bridge, and Arthur can push the unconscious dreamers around in zero gravity, why does the feeling of weightlessness not continue into the 3rd level? In the mountain fortress dream, there’s no weird gravity shifts or anything. If the rules were behaving completely through all of the levels, the final sequence (not including Limbo, as it’s understandable if that defies the rules) should all be in zero gravity, with Bond-style commandos floating above the base and being catapulted about by recoil…

Guess that would have been tricky to film. Awesome looking, but tricky…

Anyway, the second thing - that’s not so much of a problem with Inception, more just a disappointment – is that we’re shown the potential and it never really comes to being.

There’s a great and memorable sequence with Ariadne being shown dream architecture for the first time where she bends Paris in on itself, and then creates corridors with mirrors and stuff like that. It really shows off the power of lucid dreaming – being aware that you’re dreaming and being able to manipulate your environment.


While Cobb warns her that too many changes will cause his subconscious to fight back to suppress the changes and remove the foreign element in his mind, we’re shown the real potential of what Ariadne could do – not just to create the mazes and mindscapes for the dreams they’ll enter, but also to bend stuff around like The Matrix or Dark City.

However, once they’re within the dreams in the mission, nothing like this happens. Sure Arthur gets to play around with some Penrose Stairs to defeat some armed goons, but that’s about it.

I guess Nolan wanted to go for relatively mundane dreams as most of the people who were hosting the dreams were not wildly eccentric characters. After all, Robert Fischer’s mind is filled with the troubles of big business and the death of his father, so his imagination is more like a Bond film, and not, for example, steampunk Nazis, dragons and mech-suits like Sucker Punch.

I guess that’s where the game came in. I really wanted to be able to merge the two together – to have the rules, the technology and the multiple layers of something like Inception, and have the scope and bizarreness of the fantasy-scapes of Sucker Punch.

Again, I must point out that while I’ve been mildly critical of some elements of Inception, it is one of my favourite films of all time. It’s up there with The Matrix, Fight Club and Dark City for me, my top 5. I really hope that Nolan goes for a sequel, or that his plans for a video game come to fruition, so that we can see the potential of going into some wilder dreams and being a little more experimental with dream-logic – more like the film that heavily inspired it, Paprika (another movie I’ll discuss at a later date).

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Sucker for SuckerPunch

As you probably guessed by the name of the RPG, WILD is based in the world of dreams. I always imagined it as if Inception and SuckerPunch had an evil child, but there are plenty of other inspirations that I'll come to over the course of writing the game and this blog.


Besides Inception, the other big influence is Zach Snyder's incredibly flawed masterpiece of fandom, SuckerPunch. A film that I hated when I first left the cinema. As the hours passed, and I thought more about it, I realised (a) it wasn't as bad as I (and everyone else) initially thought and (b) it could have been fixed with a few simple changes and explanations.

So here we go with my "How to Fix SuckerPunch"... (there will be spoilers if you haven't seen the movie and are intending to):

1) Lose the middle level

SuckerPunch is a little like Inception in the way that it takes place upon multiple levels of "reality". In SuckerPunch, there are three clearly defined levels.

Level One - Reality - Where Babydoll has been institutionalised into Lennox House, an asylum where she is sent by her abusive stepfather and where she's destined to have a lobotomy.

Level Two - Escapism - Where Babydoll reimagines Lennox House as a brothel, and the inmates are all burlesque performers and prostitutes.

Level Three - High Fantasy - Where Babydoll escapes to when she has to do any of her "dances", where steampunk nazis and orcs battle in her twisted imagination.

The events of each level mostly effects the other (which I'll come to later). That is, they need a map to escape the asylum, which is also there in the brothel, which is being held by steampunk nazis, and stealing it in steampunk nazi-land steals a copy not only in the brothel reality but also in the really-real world.

So my first fix is to lose the middle level - Level Two - completely. From what we discover, Blue is taking the girls off to have his wicked way with them in the asylum anyway, and he may be allowing people to do this for a small fee anyway. This is scary enough that Babydoll would want to escape into a fantasy world. We don't need her being forced to dance saucily in front of strangers. With what Blue has set up in the real world, she'll want to escape mentally anyway and it makes more sense.

2) Have consistent rules.

That said, the rules of how things work between the levels don't entirely make sense. Sorry if this gets a bit spoilery...

Towards the end of the movie, Blue shoots Blondie and Amber in Level Two. They weren't really necessary as characters, and they had absolutely NO BACKGROUND or motivation at all. If they had some background, just some additional dialogue to explain why they're there, and who they are, we may have felt something when they were shot, but alas... no.

However, when we return to the real world (Level One), there's no mention of this at all. Blue still works at Lennox House, there's references to the escape and we see how the Level Two escape effected Level One, but there's no mention of what happened to Blondie and Amber. Did Blue kill them in Level One as well? If so, how is he still working there? Did they survive? Did they exist at all? If they were figments of Babydoll or SweetPea's imagination, surely we should know about this?

Also, the Wise Man turns up but only in Levels One and Three. If the Wise Man was imparting wisdom to the girls, giving them missions and stuff, how is he there in Level One? Is Level One actually reality at all? Maybe even Level One is a fantasy... a fantasy of Zach Snyder...

3) Don't make the audience side with the Dragon.

The third big fantasy trip into Level Three (after Babydoll's samurai encounter and the steampunk nazi mission) is to fly a bomber over a castle, being attacked by Orcs, to break into the castle to kill a dragon to steal its "fire-making" crystals.

Now, my big problem is that (like a lot of the film) the motivation was missing from this whole sequence. Was the dragon a threat to anyone? No. It was asleep, in a castle, under a load of Orcs, being attacked by another load of Orcs. Was the mother dragon a threat? No. It was just pissed off that some scantily clad girls broke into the castle and killed her baby, just for a light.

At that moment, I should have been cheering for Babydoll and her swishing short skirt and ninja powers, but instead I was more sympathetic to the dragons. The baby one was just a baby, and she cut its throat open, and the mother was visibly upset by having her child killed.

Sure, it worked in Aliens as the children were plentiful, had been shown to be a threat and had killed 90% of the marines. Also Cameron had made it a battle of mothers both protecting their infants.

If Snyder had shown the dragons to be evil, terrorising villages and burning houses, the whole Dragonslayer sacrificing virgins thing, then we wouldn't feel so bad when both dragons are killed unnecessarily.

If the whole thing is just symbolic of the loss of innocence by making Babydoll slaughter something innocent, surely something more should have been made of it? Or is the typical audience so used to dragons=bad that we're expected not to question it, just as we're to expect steam-nazis to be evil (or shiny robots for that matter - though at least they had a bomb and were going to blow up a city).

If the baby dragon is just symbolic of the lighter, and the big dragon is representative of the mayor, then the stealing of the lighter is shown by killing the baby dragon, surely we should end Babydoll's dance with her kneeling on his head with a big knife through his skull?

Maybe I'm thinking about this too much.

4) When does this all happen?

There's a bit that throws me - didn't notice it first time. When Babydoll is being shown around Lennox House (Level One) we have a little musical montage of her doing chores, crying, few more chores, therapy, then the dude from Mad Men turns up and it's lobotomy time. Cut to - on stage (Level Two) with SweetPea dressed as Babydoll, complaining that this isn't exactly erotic entertainment.

We then get the rest of the film up until SweetPea's escape, and then we're back to lobotomy time. Implying that the whole of the film takes place in that fraction of a second before the hammer drives the nail home.

Now, I read this as the whole of the middle of the film is her head, in that fraction of a second before the lobotomy takes place. Babydoll is gone in her fantasy land, but actually, her fantasy land is being SweetPea, and she's escaped to safety.

But, then Zach Snyder starts with the whole "This was never my story" thing - but this implies that everyone and everything in the middle bit is a part of her mind. I guess Babydoll has taken their physical appearances from those she sees at Lennox House in Level One, which means that each of the "team" represents a different aspect of her personality -




Babydoll - going by her name, is how people see her. Pretty, fragile, like a doll.
SweetPea - is the person she wants to be. Capable, leading, in control of her life, if damaged by her past.
Rocket - again, I guess the name implies that she's fiery and rebelious, but kept in check by her controlling side (SweetPea), and being SweetPea's sister, again partly what Babydoll wants to be.

Okay, so that makes sense... which means that Blondie is the part of her persona that trusts authority, cries a lot and has no personality, and Amber is the part of her persona that flies planes and has no background.

And the weird thing is, thinking about this while I'm writing this blog has actually made me like the film a bit more... It just could have done with a bit more... of... something.

--

Don't get me wrong, I do like SuckerPunch. It looks amazing, the visuals are astounding, and the soundtrack is fab, but it could have been so much more. Maybe another draft of the script, or maybe an even more extended edit than the BluRay.

Though nothing forgives the deleted scene with the High Roller they added back in. That's just sensualising a medical procedure. Ew.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Is all that we see or seem...

...but a dream within a dream?

I've been without a blog for a while now. It kinda felt strange. I had a few blogs, one was "What is Aegis Prime?" that chronicled my working on Conspiracy X 2.0 for Eden Studios. I had a real blast working on that game, and have written the four main core rulebooks for the Unisystem version of the game, but alas, nothing really seemed to be happening with the books... the second one made it to PDF, but not to print, so I closed that blog down.

My other blog wasn't really a blog, more an online publication of my attempt at writing fiction. Called "The Case of Lost Possibilities", it focused on a strange lead character struggling to stay awake after sixty hours, running away from shadowy forces that may have been entirely in his mind, who were after a mysterious briefcase that held anything. It was a quantum entity - Schroedinger's Suitcase if you will. It could contain anything, and did contain anything until someone opened it and quantified its contents. It was a little surreal, but I thought I'd stop releasing it online as it did get a little raunchy towards the middle.

So, why a blog now?

I just wanted to keep a record of ideas, inspirations and general weirdness while I worked on my new RPG - WILD.

WILD is a bit of a departure for me, as I've worked mostly on other people's ideas. My first attempt at RPG writing was for Ghostbusters, and since then I've really worked either on other people's RPGs (All Flesh Must Be Eaten, Conspiracy X) or on licensed properties (Army of Darkness, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Doctor Who).

WILD is all mine. Not a licensed game, and while it draws from a number of inspirations, the setting and rules are all my creation.

What's it about? It's odd, but I hope that the title will explain it all...

WILD isn't a word. It's an Acronym...

Wake Initiated Lucid Dream