This Post Is Dedicated To Zombies

I thought you might want to know what I’m working on when I’m not translating stuff. Which is the extended version of Zombies and Elephants. And when I say extended I mean f***ing huge.

I’ve mentioned this project before, but at that point I was only planning to do a better version of the original game, which was after all mostly written in 72 sleepless, horrible, panicky hours to meet the Fear of Twine deadline. And the original game shows that. There were a million choices and details that I still wanted to add. Towards the end the paragaphs keep getting longer, until it reads more like a novel with the occasional interactive bit. And I wanted to fix all that. In Ren’Py, because that gives me a lot more options in terms of audiovisual presentation.

And then I thought… but I could improve it. Make it bigger, better. A proper full-length horror game. So now I’m doing the bigger, better, entirely new version of Zombies and Elephants – it will probably not even have that title – which will incorporate the original game (albeit heavily rewritten) as one of five parts.

Pesky other projects keep getting in the way, so I’m cautious about setting a release date, but I hope it will be done in the next few months. Three of its chapters are already done.

We also hope to release The Sea Will Claim Everything on Steam soon, and that version will also have some significant improvements. And of course there’s The Council of Crows and… some other stuff. I’m not saying anything just yet. It’s gonna be pretty damn cool. Honest.

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Στη σκιά του Αόρατου Βασιλιά

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«Στη σκιά του Αόρατου Βασιλιά»

Κείμενο: Ιονάς Κυρατζής
Εικονογράφηση: Βερένα Κυρατζή
Κατηγορία: Εικονογραφημένη παιδική λογοτεχνία

Μερικά βιβλία δεν είναι μονάχα ιστορίες, είναι ολόκληροι κόσμοι. Τα ανοίγεις και ταξιδεύεις. Το βιβλίο που κρατάς στα χέρια σου θα σε μεταφέρει σε δύο πολύ μακρινές χώρες, όπου θα γνωρίσεις περίεργα και όμορφα πλάσματα με ανθρώπινα ιδανικά. Για παρέα θα ’χεις μια πανέξυπνη γάτα που τη λένε Ελένη. Μαζί της θα δεις αρχαίες πόλεις και τον μεγαλύτερο πλάτανο του κόσμου, θα μάθεις για τον Πόλεμο των Κουνουπιών και ίσως ανακαλύψεις το μυστικό του Αόρατου Βασιλιά.

Μόλις κυκλοφόρησε!

(Our first children’s book is now in bookshops in Greece. This is so awesome, words fail me.)

What Happend in 2012 and What Will Happen in 2013

As Jonas has said over on his blog, 2012 has been a turbulent year. Difficult, but also hugely rewarding.

This post was supposed to be about what we did in 2012 and, more importantly, which creative projects lie before us in 2013, but as I sit here and try writing that post I become aware of something that needs to be written first.

I had an accident in May 2012. I haven’t written about the incident on this blog, but this will come as no surprise to those of you who read Jonas’s blog regularly.

The accident itself has left little in the way of permanent physical scars. I have a patch of pink skin on my shoulder that will probably never tan again and a smallish scar above my right eyebrow. It will remain visible for the rest of my life, but as the months pass I’ve more of less gotten used to the sight.

What’s more shocking are the psychological scars. I’ve always been someone who just got back on the horse after falling off. I believe, firmly, that since the past happens to be unchangeable it’s no bloody use lamenting it. What’s done is done. The accident was maybe the first time in my life where I played the “what if”-game to exhaustion. What if I’d gotten out of the house earlier that day? What if I hadn’t ironed the blouse that I wore? What if it had rained? What if I had stopped at the bakery for a bun? And all it did was depress me, deeply, because “what if” could never happen.

Depression didn’t end there. Self-pity aside, and there was a lot of self-pity in those early weeks, there was also the enormous injustice of it all to deal with. Not only is the German legal system heavily weighed against the poor (doubly so against the non-motorized poor), I was also faced with a more criminal kind of injustice. There was, suddenly, a witness to the accident that was willing to testify against me. I was supposed to have crossed the intersection in the red. This wasn’t only infuriating because it is a lie, but also because walking/driving across a red light is a personal pet peeve of mine. In my life I’ve maybe crossed a handful of intersections in the red. All as a pedestrian, which doesn’t make it any less wrong, this is just to illustrate that I remember these incidents because they bother me. The latest one, ironically, was just two weeks after the accident, when I was so distraught over the whole wittness-appears-out-of-nowhere-thing that I crossed a street without looking. To make matters worse, the first police officer that I spoke to seemed to be convinced that I was guilty. He, a life-long car-driver, seemed actually convinced that cyclists should be shot on sight. Would you like a helping of injustice with your injustice? My mother once told me that she feels ashamed, bordering on angry, when she goes grocery shopping and the cashier asks her to lift her shopping basket from the cart to see if there’s stuff hidden underneath – I fear I’ve inherited the same impulse. Only the cashier from the story is probably only following orders whereas what I was experiencing was downright malice.

(The “witness”, incidentally, only contacted the police via the phone and could never be reached again. It’s no longer a problem.)

I apologize for rambling. I suspect that I could keep talking and writing about the accident, adding detail upon detail, and I still wouldn’t have recounted all the things that made me depressed in the weeks and months that followed. What of my bicycle, for example? I loved that bike. It was old and worn, but if I could save one object from our burning house (cats and husbands are not objects!) I would have picked that bike. (It’s a thought experiment I sometimes make… don’t ask.) The bike is trash now. The fork burst in the impact, the frame has micro-fractures. It’s very uncertain if I’ll ever see any money for that. What of the taxi driver? I never thought I was vengeful, but if he never gets behind the wheel of a car again… well, that would be something, wouldn’t it? Won’t happen though. All praise the German legal system.

Rambling. Again. Sorry. The point is that I was very depressed. So depressed that at times I would do nothing but weep for hours. I lost my creativity. Everything seemed pointless. If something like that can happen, what point is there in attempting to create something? Jonas did his best to help. And he did. He was my rock. He was relentlessly positive. Wouldn’t let me depressed, no matter what. He took care of me when I felt too miserable to leave the house. He was, maybe the biggest balm of all, outraged and fuming at each new, horrible turn that the whole affair took. His own creativity suffered, and for him being uncreative is intolerable, but he wouldn’t give up. But sometimes it wasn’t enough. And so, for months and months on end, I vegetated. I only left the house to go to work, avoided meeting friends and family whenever I could.

It improved when we went to Greece in September, but my creativity still was AWOL.

The funny thing is that I don’t quite know how it came back. I know when, though. One week in late November we were talking about making a new Lands of Dream game, maybe in time for Christmas (haha) and there it was. Suddenly I was drawing again. It was as if something inside me suddenly said “now, now, young lady, that’s enough moping, let’s do something.”

Not writing, not yet. The thing that really stopped me from blogging, besides the fact that everything seemed just too much effort in post-accident-life, was that I knew that I would have to write about the scars at some point. I started writing that article a dozen times, and never finished. Not only did it depress me, I also was never happy with what I said. I’m not happy with this post either, but I think I’ve finally understood that it just needs to get out. Capturing the accident in writing seems to rob the beast of some of its strength.

When I started this was supposed to be a post about what a great creative year 2013 was going to be and this is now how I’ll end this post. Jonas recently wrote a short overview of what he is going to be doing in 2013 and I’ll be involved in some of these projects, so you might want to have a look at that.

Besides that I will try to focus on getting back on top of writing things. Not only blogging, that goes without saying, but also short stories and my novel (which is still, sadly, in need of editing). Maybe even a screenplay or two. I always, foremost of all, wanted to be a writer. Drawing, painting and cooking is all very well, but writing is what I need to do.

Speaking of drawing… there will be at least one Lands of Dream game in 2013, maybe even more than one. And painting. Lots of painting. We’ll re-open the Compendium soon, and I’ll also try to get some sort of exhibition space for my acrylic-on-canvas Lands of Dream paintings. Or a way of selling them. Or both. But definitely something.

And finally there will also be lots of cooking in 2013. I have dozens of recipes that I want to share and a dozen more that I want to try out. This obviously also involves doing more episodes of The Starving Artists Kitchen.

So yes, 2013 is going to be great.

Teaser

New Game? You Bet!

Yes, we’re working on a new game. Or rather I’m working on a new game and Jonas is working on half a dozen other things and will catch up with me eventually. No, I can’t tell you what it is called yet. Yes, it will be awesome.

A Message From Cat

Cat, who hates the evil thing that makes noise and bright lights (ie: the camera), was too lazy to slink away when I started taking pictures yesterday. I thought that was very sweet of her. Doesn’t she look sweet? And not annoyed at all…

She’s told me that, in exchange for her services as a model, I should remind people that TSWCE is on special offer until Friday. Save 42% and make a cat happy.

What… you say you’ve already got a copy? Mhm… well, then go and get another. Or get one for a friend. Or a family member. Or that random person that you saw on the bus yesterday. No… not that one. The one that smelled of cheese. Think of it as a post-thanksgiving-pre-christmas-gift. Our cat overlords will be pleased with your purchase.

A Quick One

Fifteen
And we’re back in Germany. Seems like we’ve only been gone for a few minutes. The weather is abysmal, gray and wet and cold, and it’s impossible to imagine that just a few days ago we were in 35°C and the sun was shining. I have to force myself to be creative, drag the words from my mind and cast them on the page before they get washed away by the gray.

I’ll do my best, though. I’ve finally, after what seems like aeons, started working on my book again. And the list of blog posts I’ve been meaning to write is by now longer than a Patrick Rothfuss manuscript. (I’m mostly linking to this because, well… Christ, Patrick, learn to edit, that thing is like the literary equivalent of the bloated, rotting carcass of a whale!) Life stubbornly keeps happening. Movies and TV shows are being watched. Books are being read. Games are being played. Food is being cooked. So there should be plenty to write about.

Here are a few short things that I need to mention before I slink back to my novel:

  • New images on Flickr. Yay. This time with lots of scary monsters.
  • Jonas has some nice and sad thoughts on austerity and how it affects people and animals in Greece.
  • Animals again: read an interview with Julian the Announcement Fox over at LandsOfDream.net
  • And lastly I’ll leave you with a link to an amazing cartoon by XKCD. Get a snack and some lemonade, take plenty of time, and enjoy.

Crash Boom Bang

So I’ve been gone for a while. But this time I’ve got a really good excuse: I was hit by a car.

I’m currently working on a really, really long blog post about the accident itself, but also about the humiliation and absurdities that the German legal system puts the victim through in the aftermath. Some people say that you’ve got to experience everything at least once, but I can now say with some certainty that they’re full of s**t.

For now let’s say that the wounds have mostly healed, the scar is slowly fading and I’m back to blogging. I read a whole slew of interesting books, took oodles of photos and played games that need talking about. And life is also still happening. For now, here’s a picture of a butterfly.
Butterfly