Saturday, May 24, 2014

New Ice Climbers Game + Playable Demo!!!


That was not clickbait. I have created new concepts for an Ice Climbers game and there is a playable demo level that you can go try right now. Yes, I’m nuts.

Perhaps I’m the only person who still loves the original Ice Climber for NES. It’s hard, the controls are not modern, but somehow I still love how it plays. It was such a simple concept: Climb up a mountain, kill birds and monsters, get vegetables. Nintendo has an eye for taking simple concepts and weird premises and making them into games. It’s wonderful.

A condor takes the Climbers for a ride! Woo!
Unfortunately, there was never a followup to Ice Climber. Super Smash Bros. brought them back in a major way, reenvisioning the characters and pairing them as a team. Smash 64 had been my favorite game, and when they added my favorite retro game’s lead characters, it was like heaven.

But, unlike Pit with Kid Icarus, the Ice Climbers never got a new game. Well, I changed that over the past month with my new demo….
 
ICE CLIMBERS: DAWN OF THE EGGPLANT!

It uses the LittleBIGPlanet 2 engine for Playstation 3. I wired sackbots to become playable Ice Climbers that function as a team (like in Smash). It’s pretty neat, so I hope that you check it out! In LBP2, search for “Ice Climbers: Dawn of the Eggplant” or search for my PSN username, which is “oxyborb” to try it out! Also, if you play my demo, you get the assets I've made to make your own Ice Climbers level! No joke! Go make more and leave a comment so I can try it too!

Click here to see my level's page!

I created this to bring fresh ideas and attempt to modernize Ice Climbers a bit for a new game. I hoped someday, maybe, someone at Nintendo might see it or play it and realize the potential for a new game. There are multiple powers you can choose from as you navigate the level.

 The Ice Shot from Smash is in, and, as you can see, it launches a freezie along the ground. Other ideas from Smash I’ve brought over are the ability to throw tethers from Nana to Popo so that you can scale mountains. I imagine if Nintendo made a new Ice Climbers game, you might see more of the duel hammer twirling and stuff, but I didn’t include that due to the limitations of LBP2’s engine.



 



Of course, you can use your basic mallet swing to break ice blocks and fight. Here is a
picture of Popo fighting a Topi enemy. In my level, you can also choose to throw mallets into the air.









New ideas I came up with include a freeze gun that you can use to build bridges across gaps, the ability to grab your following ice climber and throw her, and a giant iceberg attack to flatten enemies. You can also use the iceberg to get across water, since polar water is too cold to swim in. It’s pretty neat to hop from island to island like this.

The art style for a true sequel to the game could be very well done in a Paper Mario cartoon look, as can be seen here, but my fantasy is that the new game would be developed by the same people that made Castle Crashers, The Behemoth games studio. That art style mixed with frantic mallet mashing would be awesome! I actually talked to one of the developers when I went to PAX Prime about that idea, but he seemed disinterested. Oh well.

I’ve also thought about how cool a 3D game would be, like… what if the first level from Super Mario 64, that one with the giant mountain, were like an Ice Climbers game. Climbing to the top to win. That would rule. However, I feel like a downloadable game might be more of a good first step to bring them back and make them popular again.

Anyway, that’s my concept, go play my demo! Nintendo, if you’re listening, feel free to email me, oxyborb@gmail.com. I got more ideas in my head for you! Hahaha, as if. I also made a killer Pikminlevel in LBP2 where you control an army of pikmin in a sidescroller. It’s awesome!

For a grand finale, here’s a sneak peak of the demo’s boss!







Thursday, May 15, 2014

Why I Stopped Reading Your SP Novel’s Advertisement


“Writers who believe in supporting Writers” is a Facebook group I’ve joined, just because I’m interested in seeing how people go about marketing their self-published work. I like clicking through the links, seeing what others are doing with their blogs, and what sort of concepts people write about. I also judge. Not harshly, but for the purposes of learning.

One trend I’ve noticed people doing is beginning advertisements with something like:

The Best Things in Life Sometimes Really Are Free!

Now Reduced to 99 Cents!

★★★★★ AMAZING OFFER, 100K PAGES FOR LESS THAN A BUCK! ★★★★★

So they begin with the cheap price, and then go into their cover pitch, but by then I’m already lost. You see, the price doesn’t matter to me. Ten times a dollar is still cheap entertainment (that's $10), and I can get almost any book I want in paperback for that amount. Ten is not much more than a buck.

What I don't have to waste is time. Nobody buys a book because it's cheap; people buy books because it interests them! I would pay 50 bucks if the book sounded interesting enough, so when I see an advertisement starting with the price I am already lost. Almost every self-published book usually drops to 99 cents, so my time is already being wasted by hearing it from you in your ad.

It seems like more people try to sell their self-published work by calling it cheap rather than pitching me on the actual story. That bugs me. Sell me on the book, not on the price. Tell us why your book is unique and interesting rather than beg and plead for someone, anyone to buy it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Politics and me

I've had a falling out with political discussion.

I just don't like it anymore.

I used to enjoy debating politics with people, but there have been a few changes in my life that made me... not necessarily apathetic, but... I just don't want any part in the discussion.

For one thing, I want to publish books, and I don't want anyone to not purchase my books on the basis of my political orientation. I know that's a cop-out, but it's true. I want to write books for children, and I don't want ______ political person to hate me so much that they won't let their kid read my work. My work is non-political; I just want to tell fun stories and get kids reading. If anything, literacy for kids is my personal mission. I think there comes a point where a writer needs to decide if they want to be all-encompassing or politically motivated, and I want to be all-encompassing. I want liberals and conservatives alike to buy my books and enjoy them. I plan to never donate money I make off of books to political causes (FYI, the thing I want to donate money to is clean drinking water charities for poor people in other parts of the world). I want buyers to be at-ease with me. I really do.

The second motivation I have for being a-political is the bigger reason: I just want to love everyone.

My oldest friend told me once that she didn't like certain people on facebook because they were always angry about politics, and it enlightened me. Who does like someone who is always angry? Not me. Slamming other people based off of their values and feelings is useless and makes you hold anger in your heart. You see this sort of thing a lot on twitter trends. Hashtags like, #SayThreeWordsAbout(insert political group). That kind of thing does nothing but spreads hate. Pulls us apart. I think the only way for any good to happen is to come together, and political debate does nothing for unity.

I might not agree with someone, but the path to political understanding comes from seeing their perspective, not from broadcasting your own. That leads me to my third reason:

Most people don't care if they're wrong. This was a huge realization for me, because I truly care to know when I'm wrong/mistaken about things. I like to be corrected if I get my facts messed up. I like to see where other people are coming from. I admit when I'm wrong. Truth is, though, most people don't want to know if they're wrong. Even if they do know, most people don't care. Most people don't care if the logic doesn't flow; they'll keep on debating the point long after it is disproven. This is the essence for why debate does nothing, I've found. People want to be heard, not to hear.

So, although I'm not apolitical or apathetic, I have chosen to back off of it completely, for my writing career and for myself.


Follow me @Oxyborb and check out my website at http://www.harrisonaye.com Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 5, 2014

#amwriting Pixelic

So, I’m setting aside The Unraveler for a few weeks. I just completed a major draft, and I need some time to get away from it all and refresh before delving back into the editing process. I have a few people reading it, so hopefully I’ll get some new feedback, too!

But I have other things to work on. Now, I #amwriting a few separate things:

First, I’ve been working on the first 3 chapters of the sequel book to The Unraveler. I am not planning on writing that entire book until I’ve sold the first, but I wanted to have the first few chapters done so that way I can add a preview chapter if my publisher desires it, and also so that way I know what direction I’m headed in if a sequel is greenlit. The Unraveler stands alone as a book, but I’d love to continue writing in that world if I can find an audience for it.

That said, I’ve been working on a series plan (in the case that sales allow me to continue it into a series) and a marketing plan with all of my specific ideas for how to move books. I’ve been doing a ton of research trying to figure out my market. I also have created a few unique and cheap strategies that I hope will set me apart. I’ve heard that agents often ask for marketing plans when taking on new clients, so I want to be prepared. I aim to impress!

The other awesome thing I’m working on is a new, new book. The title is…




(just a quick logo I cooked up for fun)

Pixelic is going to be about a superfamous all-girl rockband that is constantly running (touring) away from a spinster with the face of death and wooden hands. Well, one day, the guitarist for Pixelic quits, and they are forced to throw an unlikely fanboy named Wrobel (just a dude with a guitar that works at a crappy café) onto stage. His world changes forever as he learns the secrets to why Pixelic can do things with their music and lightshow that no other band has done before and why the tour never stops…

Pixelic 
I just wrote that blurb in the last five minutes, so it’s not refined and glossy-perfect yet… but I wanted to say what I’m working on anyway. Pixelic is a book I’m excited to do because I used to play in local bands. I love using poetry and insane visuals, and that is what my new book is at its core. Also, the monster I’ve created for it is one of the best I’ve ever dreamed up. No joke.

I’ve also accidentally been writing short stories and poetry. Not because I set out to, but because ideas have popped into my head and screamed at me to write them. I really should try and submit some to online magazines or something. I’m not huge into short stories, personally. I enjoy reading big thick books more than shorts. I’ve thought about writing an Unraveler prequel story to post to my blog and draw interest… but I feel like I’d never be able to write a prequel that would be as good as the actual full-length book. I don’t know.

Anyway, that’s it for what I #amwriting (which is an awesome tag to use on twitter, btw). Thanks for keeping up with me! Hit me up on twitter! @Oxyborb


Saturday, May 3, 2014

My Nintendo Diet


Kind of an oxymoron, right? Well, that is what I wanted to attempt to do in this previous blog post. That was in December of 2013. I know, crazy, right? Why didn’t I ever update my blog about my progress?

le sigh

I know, excuses to not follow through with weight loss are a dime a dozen, but I ran into an issue. I had been doing so well for like 3 weeks, checking every day and doing an hour of exercise. Eating healthy and nixing my soda intake. But… then… my Wii Fit game disk got scratched up so bad it wouldn’t work. My Nintendo was on the fritz, too. So, yeah, I sorta got discouraged. And busy, and excuse, excuse… sorry.

BUT NOW I’M BACK, FROM OUTERSPACE!

I bought myself a Wii U and the new version of Wii Fit, which comes with a step-counter. It’s a much-improved version, and so I’m going to once again try and make this diet thing happen. No, really. I mean it.

I’ve been tooling around with it, trying to decide which games and exercises will be a regular part of my workouts. I dig the new rock climbing game and the water-shooter. The trampoline isn’t fun, but it got my heart beating. I took a walk—I really love the new step counter. It tallies up your steps and calories like experience points and shows how far you would have gotten if you had been in New York or other major cities. It’s fun.

Because I need working out to be a game. I need it to be like earning experience points, because working out hurts and is boring. I’m not a hamster; I don’t like running and running and not getting anywhere, not doing anything else. Video game workouts seem to me to be the one thing that might make my mind occupied enough to keep at it.

Anyway, we’ll see.

I am going to try and do another blog about this after doing this for a few weeks, so I’ll update here if I do. Click that little follow button on the sidebar to keep up with my posts! Follow me @Oxyborb and check out my website at http://www.harrisonaye.com Thanks for reading!