Hi, Neal Stephenson here. My career as an author of science and historical fiction has turned me into a swordsmanship geek. As such, I'm dissatisfied with how swordfighting is portrayed in existing video games. These could be so much more fun than they are. Time for a revolution.
In the last couple of years, affordable new gear has come on the market that makes it possible to move, and control a swordfighter's actions, in a much more intuitive way than pulling a plastic trigger or pounding a key on a keyboard. So it's time to step back, dump the tired conventions that have grown up around trigger-based sword games, and build something that will enable players to inhabit the mind, body, and world of a real swordfighter.
CLANG will begin with the Queen of Weapons: the two-handed longsword used in Europe during late medieval and early renaissance times. This is a well-documented style that has enjoyed a revival in recent years thanks to the efforts of scholars and martial artists worldwide.
At first, it'll be a PC arena game based on one-on-one multiplayer dueling (which is a relatively simple and attainable goal; we don't want to mess this up by overreaching). Dueling, however, is only the tip of the sword blade. During the past few years, we have been developing a rich world, brimming with all manner of adventure tales waiting to be written--and to be played. In conjunction with 47 North, Amazon.com's new science fiction publishing house, we've already begun publishing some of those stories, and we have plenty more in the hopper. Once we get CLANG off the ground we intend to weave game and story content together in a way that'll enhance both the playing and the reading experience.
"How will this be different than SoulCalibur?" you ask. .....
Low-latency, high-precision motion controller: Critical to a satisfying sword fight is fast, accurate response. This is especially important for CLANG given the depth and complexity of moves that are used in real sword arts. Initially, CLANG will make use of a commercial, third-party, off-the-shelf controller that anyone can buy today
Depth: Roundhouse swings and crude blocks just aren't enough. Real sword fighting involves multiple attacks delivered from different stances, pommel strikes, grappling, feints, and parries.
Expandability: Implementing the longsword style will oblige us to construct a toolkit that can then be used--by us, or by others--to create other examples of what we're calling MASEs (Martial Arts System Embodiments). If your thing is Japanese kenjutsu or Viking sword-and-board, then in principle CLANG should support it.
In Which Neal goes into detail, as is his wont, regarding Clang:
Please read Technical Update #1 for details on CLANG design elements such as MASEs and In/Out of System movements.
Technical Update #2 covers our plans for the combat UI.
In Technical Update #3 Neal discusses timing, lag and tachypsychia.
Technical Update #4 goes more deeply into Sword Sync and Force Feedback.
Video update for reaching 50% of our goal. In this video, Neal takes you on a further tour of our secret facilities and introduces you to two very special characters.
Video update: It is all in the memo.From the video archives of the Top Secret Sword Lab
Mike Yahn, Stunt and Fight Coordinator
Dan Mahon as Olaf
3ric Johanson, Nathan Pegram, and Hackerbot Labs
Jack Mcfarland as The Hipster
And an extra special thanks to Brady Hall, video director and editor.
Mr. Stephenson's Bartitsuit was tailored by Duchess, Clothier
- (30 days)