Sunless Sea

The zee does not forgive. And it will not forgive you.

Hello, I'm Richard

And in case you were wondering, I'm a UK based freelance journalist, game writer/designer, occasional consulant, and general user of words, including "scarecrow" and "Metroid". Usually even spelled correctly! Drop me an e-mail, follow me on Twitter, and if you like what you're seeing, maybe hire me to help you make cool things?

Sunless Sea And Me: Zubmariner

"Under the zee... under the zee... everything's AAARGH! AAARGH! AAAARGH!"

What’s that bubbling from the deep? Yes, finally the Sunless Sea expansion Zubmariner is out, and if you don’t mind me saying so, I think it’s pretty darn good. I wrote two of the ports for this one, an elephants graveyard called the Gant Pole where the beasts of the zee go to die, and the port of Nook, a silent society living in and harvesting the flesh of a giant eel in the name of Freedom. And that’s just some of what’s to be found on the Zee floor, including the crystal city of Anthe, the dreamlike Dahut, and vast numbers of wrecks, new monsters, and other reasons that sensible people stay on the surface.

This probably calls for a ‘mwah-ha-ha’. Ahem. Mwah-ha-ha…

Calling Time On Patreon

A quick marker for the end of an era, with thanks to everyone who made it possible

Ah, that intro video. Filmed with the assumption of getting, maybe, £5...

Ah, that intro video. Filmed with the assumption of getting, maybe, £5…

So, for the last couple of years, I’ve been making a whole load of content funded by Patreon. It’s been fun, and I’m hugely grateful to everyone who’s chipped in. That said, I’ve decided to call time on the experiment, for now at least. I sent a more comprehensive explanation to my Patreons the other day, but essentially it boils down to this year in particular’s workload having made it impossible to keep up a level of content that I felt comfortable people paying for (and paying a surprising amount, even after long lapses!) It’s a measure of how generous everyone’s been that not one person has complained about the quiet year, and surprisingly few have walked, but that doesn’t matter. The last thing I want is to abuse that generosity.

The basic reasons for the gap? Two, really. The first is that this year’s workload, mostly games writing rather than writing about games, has led to a lot of burning the candle at both ends and then heating up the middle part for good measure. The other is that, ultimately, the audience wasn’t really growing beyond a really tight knit group of readers and watchers. I’m really glad that everyone seemed to be enjoying it, but it’s still kinda dispiriting to, say, spend a week-plus making something like a Shooting Crap video knowing that even a year later the old ones weren’t typically breaking 5000 views. I could have sat around and let things dwindle, but again, that wouldn’t have been fair, and this felt like a good time to move on. I’m not saying there won’t be more silly stuff like; just that if they happen, it’ll be because I felt like making them for the fun of it. Also, to some extent, I want to take back at least some of my gaming to actually enjoy, rather than most games being research subjects or material rather than something to kick back and enjoy.

Who knows, I may even finally finish Dark Souls! Its first area, anyway.

But Before Moving, A Recap…

Before closing this chapter, I thought I’d take a moment to link back to some of my favourite Patreon sponsored pieces for the last couple of years. Once again, a million, billion thanks to everyone who’s donated, from the folks who dropped in for a few months, to those who’ve been there from the start. AKA “The True Heroes Here”. Hopefully you’ll keep checking out my stuff in the future even though it’s no longer on your dime. And if you’ve missed anything, here’s some places to start.

The Shooting Crap Collection – Ever since Crap Shoot ended over at PC Gamer, people have asked for it back. I’d hoped doing it in video form would get more attention. Sadly, not. But I’m pretty pleased with how these videos went – a snarky but not hateful retrospective look at some games I liked and others I really didn’t. Video (especially audio) isn’t my comfort zone, but I think I got okay at it after a while.
Hearthstone, Anxiety And Me – Definitely the most personal of the Patreon posts, and one which struck a real chord with a lot of people. It’s infuriating how these days you can’t say that you don’t want to spend your time with angry, insult-spewing idiots without people droning on about salt and whatever. Hearthstone remains one of my favourite comfort games. Though I do love me some Overwatch too.
Arkham Knight: Abridged – Even if fewer people read them than I hoped, I liked the Abridged Games series, and I think this last one was my favourite – a game full of awesome stuff but which still kept dropping its pants. Incidentally, for more scripts like this, check out Playthroughline. Of my own, other favourites would be Tomb Raider, Watch Dogs and Thief
And Now, The Inevitable Sierra MOBA – Okay, so occasionally things got a little bit too ‘amusing me and me only’. But this mash-up of League of Legends that reimagines some of the classic Sierra heroes as Dota style players still amuses me. And may amuse you, if you’re ‘cool’. Besides, all those goofy graphics took longer to create than you’d think! May as well give them another quick airing.
80 Days – One of my favourite IF games in years deserved a suitably silly article. I do like the ‘jokey playthrough’ style of games, even if it can occasionally make it seem like you’re mocking something you don’t like. Absolutely not in this case. 80 Days was amazing and I loved it immensely. Not enough not to take the occasional pop at it, but mostly that’s because of Phileas Fogg rather than the game itself.
Return To Alpha Centauri – And another one of those – this time a narrated playthrough of what’s still the greatest 4X space game of all time. This one was written while anticipating Beyond Earth, which unfortunately didn’t warrant the anticipation even a little bit, but a great chance to remember what made it so great. And live commenting the game via the characters was really fun.
Book Week – I’ve read a lot of game tie-in books, and most of them are dreadful. For the fun of it, I ordered a whole load in and for a week, looked in detail at one a day. And oh my, were they worth it. I’m particularly fond of King’s Quest: The Floating Castle for having a better villain than any of the games, and Worlds of Power: Castlevania 2 for the strangest take on vampire hunting I’ve ever read. Also, Doom!

And while there’s others I’m tempted to link, and a few specific videos I’m particularly proud of, I’ll leave it there. Almost everything is still up for reading and viewing, so whether you pledged or not, dig in and enjoy. And if you did, once again, thanks a squillion times over for your support. Catch you on the next project, I hope.

The Long Journey Home

Endless adventures. One destination. Get your crew Home.

What is there to be found on this strange planet?

What is there to be found on this strange planet?

Phew! To say that I’m busy at the moment is to leave no word for ‘Aaaargh!’. So, just a couple of quick notices first – there is a Shooting Crap video coming this month, and hopefully the first of a new thing as well, now that my PC is well set up for streaming. But what am I working on that’s taking so much time?

Meet The Long Journey Home, which I’m writing for Daedalic Studio West. It’s an RPG! It’s a roguelike! It’s a procedurally generated universe that you won’t find boring after seeing a few systems of it! And I’m super, super excited about it. Creative lead Andreas Suika has put together nothing short of a team of wizards to make this thing happen, and I’m thrilled to tag along behind them, cack-handedly throwing words at a screen in the hope that they all sound good. Seriously though, this game is doing a lot of stuff that I’ve wanted to see these things do for literally decades, including treating the crew as a vital part of the mission (complete with personalities, skills, arguments etc) instead of just stats, combining ‘proper’ RPG questing with an unpredictable universe, and offering basically all the freedom that you’d actually get if you were trapped at the wrong side of the universe on a slowly collapsing ship.

It’s Farscape. It’s Voyager. It’s Star Control II. It’s a lot of more obscure franchises and European SF worlds wrapped up into one, designed to play differently every time you play. Can’t wait to show you more of it, but check out the website for at least a few more details.

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