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Magneter och mirakel

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This is the first of the posts in which I explain and motivate the items on my 101-in-1001 list. The list itself can be viewed here, where you can also find a list of all posts related to the list. If you want to follow my progress in more detail, you should check my profile page at the Day Zero Project.

Publish my role-playing game Magneter och mirakel

It shouldn’t take five years to write a role-playing game, even if you rewrite the text from scratch twice and the final result is almost one million characters. It’s time to publish this game and it’s time to do it pretty soon. Read more here about my biggest writing project so far. I plan to publish Magneter och mirakel early next year, hopefully before the end of March so it’s ready for the annual gaming convention in Gothenburg on Easter. Note that the game is already written and this goal is about having it published. The game itself took thousands of hours to write.

Perceived difficulty: 3/10
Estimated time needed: 20 hours
Progress so far: 10%

Publish the story-telling game Nostalgia

This is perhaps the best gaming concept I’ve ever been involved in, but Martin and I didn’t make the most of the concept’s potential when we published Nostalgi in Swedish many years ago. This is the new edition, re-written from scratch and in English. I’m writing it mostly on my own and this time the full potential of the concept will be realised in the final product. Read more about Nostalgia here. In the best of worlds, Nostalgia will also be published in early 2011.

Perceived difficulty: 6/10
Estimated time needed: 50 hours
Progress so far: 25%

Publish yet another Kaleidoskop game

Writing role-playing games is one of the things I like doing most, and if it weren’t for the problem of illustrations and all the practical problems involved in publishing, I would write a lot more. Still, I have the ambition to publish at least one major game during the relevant time period. It might not be something I write entirely on my own, but I don’t mean small contributions to other Kaleidoskop games.

Perceived difficulty: ?/10
Estimated time needed: 50 hours
Progress so far: 0%

Contribute 20 articles to Haragada

This is also a game based on a cool concept (albeit not as cool as Nostalgia and rather more focused on setting). It’s a collaborative project and a revision of an earlier game with the same name, although there will be few similarities between the two editions (the next version might be more than ten times longer, for instance). I don’t plan to be heavily involved in high-level work on this project, but I will do my bit and contribute at least 20 articles in various lengths.

Perceived difficulty: 3/10
Estimated time needed: 20 hours
Progress so far: 35%

Complete my current novel

As is the case with Magneter och mirakel above, it simply isn’t okay that it should take many, many years to write a novel, especially when the reason that it hasn’t been completed yet is that I’m lazy, not that I’m a perfectionist who takes too much time on details. Read more about the novel here. I have finished the first part out of four and the planning for the two coming parts is mostly completed.

Perceived difficulty: 9/10
Estimated time needed: 100 hours
Progress so far: 20%

Write another novel (about Taiwan)

This will be a novel based on my experiences living in Taiwan. It will be some kind of pseudo autobiography, meaning that it’s about me but will not be an account of my stay in Taiwan. This project is just a collection of ideas, but I definitely want to write something about my two years in Taiwan.

Perceived difficulty: 9/10
Estimated time needed: 200 hours
Progress so far: 2%

Write ten short stories

Writing short stories is partly a preparation for novel writing, but it’s also part of it. For instance, I plan to write a short story collection which deals with the same issues as the first novel mentioned above. It will be directly related to that project and apart from experimenting with style, I want to explore the setting more.

Perceived difficulty: 6/10
Estimated time needed: 20 hours
Progress so far: 10%

Write an article about the snel hest meme

Yes, I like horses. No, not real horses, I like the abstract concept of a horse. This is extremely hard to explain to other people, even Swedish people who know what snel hest is, because this is more than just a silly mathematical equation. I’ve tried to explain this in Swedish, English and Chinese, but I still haven’t written anything about this idiosyncrasy of mine. Let’s change that!

Perceived difficulty: 2/10
Estimated time needed: 2 hours
Progress so far: 0%

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It began almost six years ago with a stray thought ricocheting off the lyrics of Pink Floyd‘s last song, High Hopes, and it ended Wednesday this week. Admittedly, the role-playing game I set out to write in 2004 (in Swedish) is very different from the finished text now on my hard drive. In fact, the only thing that is still left is the name, Magneter och mirakel, and the core concept of a world of magnets and miracles (see this post for more about the game itself). The game has been read, revised and play tested numerous times along the way. It has also been completely rewritten from scratch twice. In fact, I had a version I dared to call “complete” as far back as September 2009 (in Swedish). Perhaps it was foolish of me to spend so much time on a single project (although I have contributed to and written other games as well), but now at last I hope that I can fully engage my creative energy elsewhere.

So, what do I mean when I say that the text is finished? It means that I’ve written approximately 900 000 characters and that I’m satisfied with the result. However, that doesn’t mean that you will be able to buy Magneter och mirakel tomorrow, because there are two major tasks left: illustrations and layout. The first one is by far the biggest problem (and yes, I truly regard it as a problem). If producing games only consisted of writing or if I were a skilled artist myself, this hobby would be a lot more pleasant. Alas, that’s not the case, which means I’ll need to find someone else to do this for me. I trust that the end result will be satisfactory, but it might take time and money. Layout can be solved within Kaleidoskop, which doesn’t mean iẗ́’s less important, but it’s a problem that I have a plan for how to solve.

Still, having finished the text is by far the biggest step in the process and has required hundreds and hundreds of hours of work, and having finished such a large-scale project feels very good. Not only does it give me great pleasure to know that I’ve managed to take somethings as small as a single sentence and turn it into a well-thought out product, but it will also enable me to move on to other projects (such as my novel). It remains to be seen if other people also think my creation is worthwhile, but to be honest, that is not the important thing here.

So does this  is the last thing I’ll write about Magneter och mirakel here? I doubt I will write much about this projcet on this website in the future, perhaps only when it’s time to publish or if something interesting happens. This does not mean that I won’t write anything about it, nothing could be further from the truth, but since the game is written in Swedish, I think Kaleidoskop.se is a far better channel for information, previews, announcements and discussions. For now, however, my work with Magneter och mirakel is over and it’s time to move on!

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Those of you who already know me fairly well can pretty much guess what I’ll do as soon as any vacation starts.Those of you who aren’t very familiar with me yet, well, this is a chance to get to know me better. In my life, I try to match what I want to do and what I have to do for some reason, a goal which has been almost fully accomplished since I started studying Chinese. This means that I’m not studying because of tests, homework or anything, I’m studying because that’s what I want to do. The same goes for most things I do.

Then it naturally follows that just because there is a vacation (such as the winter vacation that started a couple of days ago), it doesn’t mean that my situation becomes radically different. Sure, it does mean that the pressure decreases and I gain more control of what I’m doing (something which has been sadly lacking lately), but remember, I’m already doing what I want to do! Why change? Instead of sleeping ten hours a day, eating and drinking nothing but cookies and pearl tea, and spending the rest of the time idling online, I have some things I really want to do (this post only covers productive and study related topics, so don’t thin that I’ll be staying at home for five weeks):

– Finish Magneter och mirakel
Novel and/or short fiction writing
– Finish going through the Far Eastern 3000 Character Dictionary
– Read up on study efficiency (Study Hacks and Scott H. Young would be a good start)
– Fight down my Chinese character revision queue to zero again
– Read and write more extensively in Chinese
– Complete the first eight-week cycle of my exercise program and plan the next step

As you can see, at least some of these are no clear-cut goals that can be ticked off, but that’s okay, because this isn’t a to-do list; I simply want to make clear what I’m doing at the moment. Some of these projects have been abandoned for too long, others deserve completion for other reasons. A five-week winter vacation is not a time to start hibernating, it’s the time to, in a wakeful state, continue pursuing my dreams.

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So far this year, I have mentioned Magneter och mirakel seven times, but except for saying that it’s “my role-playing project” or likewise, I haven’t really explained what the project is about, or at least not in English. Although it’s in Swedish, it’s still a big part of my creative output right now and has been for a long time, which means I should have written about it here a long time ago. The fact is that the project is about as old as this website (more than five years in other words); now it’s nearing completion.

Magneter och mirakel easily translates into Magnets and miracles in English and is a story-focused role-playing game set in a world with powerful and important magnets, as well as various kinds of miracles. It’s a world in colour rather than black and white, with few or no obvious poles of good and evil. where I have used various fictional elements to pose interesting questions about human society. The game can perhaps be categorised as steam punk, but with electricity instead of steam. Gnomes supply the humans with advanced technology and some associated tools and equipment, creating a society similar to that of early industrialisation in Europe: the rise of the British colonial empire, it’s Victorian values and the problems of a changing society.

More importantly, though, Magneter och mirakel is the project into which I’ve poured most of my creative energy for the past five years. The project has expanded in almost every sense of the word since its early days and is now difficult to summarise quickly (which is probably a sign of bad design). It has been through play testing as well as reading by other writers; now the text is almost completed. Just falling short of one million characters, this is easily the longest text I’ve ever written, and it will also be Kaleidoskop‘s longest game.

That being said, it might take a while before the game is published. I need to find a suitable and not too expensive artist to illustrate the game, as well as someone to help me with designing the book itself. I have candidates, but so far, no real agreements have been made and no work has been done.

I have been very hesitant to say anything about a time table for publication, but I’ll hazard a guess this time. Play-testing some rules and adventures this summer will probably make me change some minor problems, but I don’t plan to change anything big, because the game has been through quite a lot already and the most serious flaws were removed long ago. After that, it really depends on many factors over which I have little or no influence, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Magneter och mirakel is available around this time next year.

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The most recent edition of the Swedish gaming magazine Fenix features a vote for the best Swedish role-playing game published last year, along with a vote for the best expansion. Even though it should come as no surprise to me, it still jolted me to see that I had written one entirely on my own, co-authored another and contributed to a third. Because of the fact that most information about this is in Swedish, I feel that I should write something about these projects and why I would be happy if you went to the Fenix website to vote.

Tornet mot stjärnorna (English “The Tower to the Stars“) is an expansion to the role-playing game Skymningshem: Andra imperiet, published by Rävsvans förlag, focusing on high-level conspiracies in a sprawling universe. The problem this time is that the enemy, if it is an enemy, is not a race of slimy aliens, but an idea (a meme if you are familiar with that terminology). The text is written by me in its entirety, although I owe much to the original creator of the game,  Krister Sundelin, who also hired me to write the text. It’s my first freelancing project and means much to me in so many ways that I should probably have written a separate post about it earlier. Now, however it’s merely something I’m proud of to have completed.

Nostalgi (English: “Nostalgia“) is a short and to-the-point game about a group of old heroes or heroines who retell their youthful stories of adventure and bravery to their grandchildren. The goal of the game is to present oneself as the greatest of the heroes, exploiting the fact that no one really remembers what actually happened. Haggling about what happened, scoring minor, ego-boosting points and generally trying to impress the children are all integral parts of this game. I co-wrote and co-developed Nostalgi with Martin Ackerfors, and even though we’ve been thinking of an English version, the game is currently only available in Swedish. Nostalgi is published by Kaleidoskop.

Haragada, also published by Kaleidoskop, is a game focused on life (or as it happens in most cases, death) revolving around the decadent desert city of Haragada. It’s a game of sword and sorcery, using rules heavily inclined towards creating a good story. The game is a collaboration between all members of Kaleidoskop, and is thus in itself an interesting creation for me.

This seems quite impressive, and perhaps it is, but to me, it’s merely the result of work I’ve done a long time ago. Tornet mot stjärnorna took roughly 200 hours to write, but it was almost finished more than a year ago, and even though the other projects were not so voluminous, they were also completed almost a year ago. So, what lies ahead? Will the vote for the best game and expansion in 2009 also hold three items to which I’ve contributed?

No, probably not, at least not three independent projects like last year. I hope that I will be able to publish my major game, Magneter och mirakel (English: “Magnets and miracles”) in 2009, but I won’t promise anything. The text is almost done, but there is layout an illustrations still to be done or decided upon, which will take time and energy I don’t feel I have at the moment. I’m in no hurry to publish this game, but it will be the most comprehensive of all Kaleidoskop’s games so far when I do.

However, Haragada was a project completed almost as fast as it was instigated, and since it turned out alright, I’m prepared to do something similar this year, granted time and good ideas. Also, some minor writing projects might be completed, but considering that I have a novel to write and Chinese to learn, I think it unlikely that as many projects will come to fruition during 2009 as did in 2008. Regardless of this, the major thing here is that a lot happened in 2008 and looking back, I feel immensely proud and satisfied.

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Nyx 1.03

Det här är den fjärde officiella versionen av Nyx (länk till kategori och förklaring) och är omarbetad på många sätt jämfört med versionen innan, i första hand baserat på speltest:

• Systemet är mer slimmat än tidigare. Taktikvalet som tidigare fanns ansågs mest tillföra mer slump, vilket var onödigt krångligt och inte passade in i systemet i övrigt.
• Exemplen har skrivits om för att tydligare illustrerar hur reglerna kan användas. Som vanligt har korrekturändringar också gjorts.
• Stöd för hur man hanterar aspekter hos statister, föremål, scener och annat. Detta inkluderar hur man använder andras aspekter eller använder aspekter gemensamt i gruppen.
• Numera genererar alla slag någon form av skada, även de individuella slagen.
• Nu finns information om hur andra får använda Nyx.

Ladda hem Nyx 1.03 (PDF, 168K)

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Nyx 1.02

Det här är den tredje versionen av Nyx (länk till kategori och förklaring). Varje person startar nu med fem aspektpoäng istället för tio. Tanken är att detta ska göra att både aspekternas positiva och negativa sidor ska komma in i spel så tidigt som möjligt. Utöver detta har ett antal kosmetiska förändringar genomförts.

Ladda hem Nyx 1.02 (PDF, 152K)

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Nyx 1.01

Den här versionen av Nyx (länk till kategori och förklaring) är till sin funktion identisk med 1.0, men innehåller en hel del korrigeringar av språk och utformning. Mekaniken för aspekter förklaras nu på ett annat sätt och ett flertal stavfel och andra språkliga konstigheter har åtgärdats.

Ladda hem Nyx 1.01 (PDF, 146K)

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Nyx 1.0

Detta är den första officiella versionen av Nyx (länk till kategori och förklaring) och reglerna har speltestats under flera tillfällen. Exemplen är hämtade från Magneter och mirakel, vilket ska bytas ut mot mer generiska exempel senare. Texten omfattar fjorton sidor, varav sex är regler, fyra är exempel och fyra är fluff.

Ladda hem Nyx 1.0 (PDF, 140K)

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Allmänt svammel

Det här inlägget är lite allmänt svammel om saker jag tycker att jag borde skriva lite om här på sidan. På menyn hittar vi: nackspärr, läckage i köket, uppsatsskrivande, 1000 ord, Antioch samt ny rollspelskampanj.

Nackspärr fick jag helt omotiverat i lördags. Jag vaknade och lade mig och läste lite Watchmen innan Alva vaknade till liv. Sedan, när jag vred på huvudet en smula, smällde det till rejält i nacken och jag fick väldigt ont. Värst blev det dock under natten då jag hade så ont att jag inte riktigt visste vart jag skulle ta vägen (värktabletter hjälpte inte). Jag somnade någon gång framåt morgonkvisten och det var betydligt bättre när jag vaknade. Idag är det nästan helt bra, om än lite stelt.

Läckage är sällan roligt, men det är som tur är första gången jag råkar ut för det. Det är rören under diskhon i köket som läcker en smula. Det är inte så mycket att det inte går att hantera, men det är väl lika bra att få det fixat men en gång. Nu har jag bara ställt en hink under. Dropp, dropp, dropp.

Uppsatsskrivandet är jag nästan klar med nu, dokumentet ligger och lurar på den andra skärmen; tittar lite utmanande på mig. Det handlar om ett reflektionsdokument från en uppgift vi utförde på praktiken. Jag tänkte nog lägga upp den här när jag är klar, utifall att någon är intresserad. Ämnet är Internet i skolan och hur man ska lära eleverna att bli källkritiska och sådant.

På min 101-lista har jag skrivit upp att jag ska lära mig 1000 nya ord på engelska och jag är snart klar med det. Jag är faktiskt en bra bit in på nästa 1000-lista med ord, men jag har ännu inte hunnit lära mig alla ord på den gamla. Det svåraste nu är att jag vill skriva ut det och kunna bläddra i listan och lära mig den på det sättet. Haken är att den tar ungefär 320 sidor, vilket är lite mer än jag känner för att skriva ut. Det kommer en mer uttömmande post om detta när jag väl är klar.

Antioch är det rollspel jag och ett par vänner spelar online. Det som hänt nu är att jag och Gastono har bestämt oss för att kolla över alla loggar, sortera dem och döpa om dem till något vettigt. Vi ska också skriva nya kapitelsammanfattningar och fixa till en hel del annat. Det är ett rätt tråkigt jobb, men det går framåt. Just nu är loggarna utspridda i mängder format och på olika platser, vilket är väldigt farligt då risken är hög att saker de faller mellan stolarna. Vi närmar oss 200 spelmöten, för övrigt. Heja oss! Är du intresserad av att delta, kika på hemsidan.

Nu över till mer rollspel: Förra tisdagen började jag, Yassilus, Walium och Rävnos att spela en kampanj i mitt rollspel Magneter och mirakel. Kampanjen är döpt till Exil och alla spelar personer som av olika anledningar lämnat sitt hemland för att till slut sammanstråla i Vindhem i Sunnanland. Jag får se hur det blir med rapportering från spelandet, men något ska det nog bli. Håll ut till dess!

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