Writing about Horror, Sci-Fi and Interactive Fiction

Author: Brian (page 1 of 4)

Aliens: Colonial Marines made me Hate Aliens

Not too long ago, had you asked me to pick my favorite movie from the Aliens franchise, I would have said – hands down – Aliens. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen that movie. And then, not too long ago I played Aliens: Colonial Marines.

Now I hate it.

Well done, Gearbox Software. Insert nonsensical swearing here.

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Update Schedule

Years ago, I ran a blog that reported zombie news. It was actually pretty fun and during the peak of the blog, I was updating the site five times a day. Needless to say, I burned out on zombies far sooner than people around me (although I have a soft spot for zombies).

Restarting this blog, I figure it would be good to set a publication schedule. Not so much for you, but rather for me! A deadline can be a powerful thing.

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Twine 2 Tutorial: Getting Loopy with Twine Loops

Computers love repetition. It’s what they are good at. Give a repeatable task to a computer and you will make a happy pile of silicon.

When writing programs, you end up writing lots of loops. With interactive stories, your mileage may vary. You may just write very text-centric stories, favoring links instead of code. In that case, you might not write a single loop.

Other times, you’ll want to utilize loops to process or act on your story data. This tutorial will get you started with Twine loops.

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Crystal Lake Memories

When I was a kid – and I’m about to age myself here – Friday the 13th was huge. With each year, we got a new sequel that featured sex-starved teens murdered by a very soft-spoken hockey enthusiast (or his mom).

Watching these movies was a rite of passage as a kid. Every sleepover party featured a Friday the 13th movie. We all pretended to watch when in truth, most of us closed our eyes during the bloody parts. Or at least, I did.

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Review: Cell by Stephen King

This is an old audiobook review that I wrote for Cell. I originally published it on this site in 2014. And hey, what is old is new again so enjoy!

A long time ago in a college far away, I sat down with a group of other beginning writers and started my first creative writing class. After the instructor went through all the necessary business, he asked the class a very easy question. “What writer has had the greatest influence in your life?”

My answer was Stephen King. The room went silent like I had farted the national anthem.

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Alien: Into Charybdis Review

When the movie Alien was made in 1979, it sent shockwaves throughout the public. Whereas Star Wars featured a universe teeming with adventure for every daydreaming farmboy, Alien was a cold icy void where a horrible death was all but inevitable.

Had Hollywood moved on, I think Alien would have been thought of as one of those revered cult favorites that surf just over the crest of obscurity. But as we know, that’s not what happened.

Rather, one of the best and worst things happened to it. It acquired a sequel and because of that sequel, the legacy of Alien lives on. In this case, by a book written by Alex White, author of what I consider the best Alien book of all time, The Cold Forge. (I’ve read a few of them). Does this book hold up? Keep reading to find out in my Alien: Into Charybdis review.

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Twine 2 Tutorial: Branching Your Narrative With the If Macro

In this tutorial series, you defined some passages, created some variables and you even developed a simple inventory system. Unfortunately, your story doesn’t react to player choice.

For example, when the player starts your story, they choose the difficulty level of the story. In easy mode, the story places objects in fixed locations. In hard mode, the story places objects in random locations.

That’s just one choice and your story has lots of other choices to consider. Thankfully, there’s a macro for that; the (if: ) macro.

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DM Advice: Story Trumps Dice

Being a dungeon master is difficult. I want my players to have fun. I want them to feel like pulp genre heroes. Yet, I also want to be fair from a ruling perspective.

The other day, I ran into a conundrum. One player is a Goliath Barbarian aptly named Rocksmasher. His strength is pretty high and he runs Totem of the Bear, making him a muscle powerhouse.

So when he told me he wanted to tear a door I had no idea what to do. I mean, what does a DM do in that situation?

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Rest in Peace, Yaphet Kotto

When I was five years old, I bought two packs of movie trading cards. I loved movies as a kid and movie trading cards were my substitute for baseball cards. One package was the recently released Superman movie, starring Christopher Reeve. The other was for the sci-fi horror film, Alien.

In the resulting years, I’ve grown to be a huge fan of the series so, by extension, Yaphet Kotto (technician Dennis Parker) has always been apart of my life.

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Twine 2 Tutorial: Creating a Basic Inventory

A common question for many new Twine authors is creating an inventory system. There are many different ways to create inventory, but for this story, you’re going to start easy and later, scale up to advanced.

In this story, players need to collect certain items. First, they need to find Bernie’s chili recipe to turn it over to the authorities. Next they need to find pickup keys and the gasoline to escape. Optionally, they can try to find a flashlight to pass through a dark area in the campground.

On easy mode, the objects start in the same location every time. On hard mode, the locations are randomized. You’ll get started by adding objects in easy mode.

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