Teen Titans Go!

Just got my comp copies of the Teen Titans Go! story I wrote, Silicon Valley Cyborg. You can probably guess at the plot.

I am a HUGE!!! fan of the show. Writing this particular comic was actually the most fun writing gig I’ve ever had. I love writing comedy, but so rarely get to.

I think the ish turned out really well, and have to give my editor Alex Antone some credit. He definitely made it a stronger story.

This is my second kids script. I also did a yet to be announced sports graphic novel. Both projects are among my favorites and have my fingers crossed that I will get to do more kid content.

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IGF Games – Dance Dance Dungeon Crawl

Interesting games at the IGF this year. My favorite – whose name I’ve forgotten, I call dance dance dungeon crawl. It’s the dance mechanics of DDR, with a top down dungeon crawl game. As you dance, you move about the dungeon. Really pretty clever.

I’m a sucker for westerns, and there was a neat western retro looking title.

But the oddest of the bunch was some motion tracking granny boudoir fan dance game. Shudder.

OnLive, CloudLift and Me

OnLiveMost of my blog posts are about my not-day job – writing. But I just started a new gig with cloud gaming company OnLive, who pioneered the idea of playing your games via the cloud back in 2010. I’ve been a fan of the company for a loooooong time, so when the opportunity came up to run product and marketing, I jumped at the chance.

Today, I finally get to reveal the new gig, but more importantly, we’re announcing our new service, CloudLift, which brings the flexibility of cloud gaming to games you already own. Have a copy of Batman: Arkham Origins? Get CloudLift and we sync your cloud saves to our service so you can take your game with you. Log back into Steam to play locally, and we sync that save back to your desktop. It’s awesome tech and something the team here has done incredibly well.

Is the Chromebook a writer’s paradise?

I usually do my writing on an 11″ MacBook Air. It’s light, fast and it runs my favorite screenwriting tools. But it does occasionally get a bit too warm for my sensitive palms and lap. With Chromebook prices hovering around $200, I thought I’d get one and see if they were good for anything more than just web browsing.

chromebookIf you’re not familiar with Chromebooks, they are low cost laptops running a special variant of Linux called the Chrome OS, by Google. All of the programs on a Chromebook run in a web browser. And, for the most part, only work when you’re connected to the internet. So, with no files and no applications, can you do any real work on it?

The answer is either “sorta” or “no.” For me, it’s a no. Want to know why?

First off, the options for formatted screenwriting are very limited. As in one. Celtx, a web/mobile/desktop production solution for film production. The script writing tool handles the basics and supports import/export, but since I’m writing comics and novels for the most part, and Celtx formatting options are so limited, I had a devil of a time adapting it to my comic book writing workflow. And it really isn’t a solution for novels at all. Celtx also operates on a subscription revenue model. Some people like renting software. I hate it. So there’s that. If you’re really just writing screenplays, Celtx might do the trick, but compared to a dedicated desktop app, it’s lagy and very limiting. But what about novels?

On my MacBook Air I use the amazingly versatile Scrivener from Literature & Latte. What can’t it do? Write for you, but anything else it pretty much has covered. It can handle any type of script formatting as well as doing complex long form prose. The thing that makes Scrivener so awesome is that it allows you to break your project into chunks of text that can be as big or small as you want them to be and they are kept in a hierarchical file order that you can easily move around or disable or flag for revisions. Once you figure out how you want to use it, it is almost impossible to write in any other app. Especially prose. So what is an aspiring Chromebook novelist to do?

Try Scriptito. It is basically Scrivener in a browser. The webapp offers a similar hierarchical file structure of text chunks and the ability to group text chunks in folders. I spent several hours trying to get started on a short story project. It took some doing, but I finally got the hang of using the writing component. Scriptito large does as promised, but the UX still needs a lot of work. There were no help files or tutorials and it took me five minutes to figure out how to create a text container.Scriptito appears to be what I would consider an open beta. You are limited to just five projects and 8gb of storage in the Scriptito cloud and there are no paid subscription options yet. It’s no replacement for Scrivener – yet. But it could be.

So can you use a Chromebook for script writing or novel writing? If you can live with the way Celtx works and charges, the answer to script writing is yes. Kinda. The web version of Celtx really doesn’t hold a candle to any desktop apps. For novel writing the yes is less qualified. There are a lot of linear writing apps – Google Drive to name one that comes bundled on a Chromebook – but if you’ve discovered the writing Nirvana that is Scrivener, you have to pin your hopes on Scriptito’s continued evolution.

If price is the main barrier to you having a writing platform, then a Chromebook and Celtx and Scriptito will get the job done for $200 down and $10 a month. It is the writing that makes the writer, after all, not the tools. Chaucer had to use a quill pen. But if you can choose between a real laptop and Scrivener or a Chromebook, the laptop and installed apps is hands down the way to go.

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Line of Defense Tactics Out Now!

Out today: Line Of Defense Tactics for iOS, Mac and Android! It is the game I wrote, based on the comic I wrote, based on the Line Of Defense MMO that Derek Smart created. And it is in “Best New Games” for both iOS and Mac app stores.

The game roughly follows the storyline from Issue 0 of the Line of Defense comic book series. You can get issue 0 for free via Comixology (link above) or for free as a PDF right here.

screen568x568The player controls Crater, Mash, Roach and Thumper, soldiers with Galactic Command, as they infiltrate an Insurgent controlled planet to nab a weapon of planetary destruction. Over the course of the game you get to fly a space ship in real time tactical combat, operate a massive mech-like armored vehicle and order around four bad ass GALCOM killing machines. Lots of good fun!

First 3 levels are free. You like strategy games? Go download! Then read the comic. Or do it the other way around. Either way you get lots of good free space marine fun.

Certainty is the enemy

Sometimes the zeitgeist up and gob smacks me. Two of the things I’ve done so far this week is watch the documentary Mitt on Netflix and read Simon Critchley’s NYT opinion piece about the 70′s documentary The Ascent of Man by Dr. Jacob Bronowski, which I remember seeing as a kid myself.

20140204-095113.jpgWatching Mitt directly challenged my impressions of Romney as an out of touch elite willing to say anything to be president. I came away from the documentary with the impression that Romney is probably a pretty decent guy, who loves his grand kids, and genuinely cares about people and the country. I still wouldn’t vote for him, but the media (both right and left) generated construct of Mitt Romney has been pretty thoroughly demolished for me.

Critchley’s op-ed is about the perils of certainty, as demonstrated by Dr. Bronowski more than a quarter century ago. The fulcrum of the piece is a five minute segment of the 12 hour documentary in which Dr. Bronowski ties absolute certainty to fanaticism and Auschwitz.

I try to maintain an open mind, to see issues and events from alternative view points, but the combination of Mitt and Critchley’s piece was like a boot to the ass driving home the message that certainty, more than anything else, is the enemy.

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Riddick

Finally got around to seeing Riddick. I didn’t really have high hopes for it, so I was mildly to enjoy it as much as I did.

The story was practically a re-write of Pitch Black with worse dialog and cookie cutter characters, but it was fun nonetheless. Plus I finally got to see how the whole Necromonger thing wrapped up. Sort of.

Not as wonderful a surprise as Dredd was, but I don’t regret giving up two hours of my life to see it.