Saturday, February 02, 2008

Writer's Desk

Grubb Street will be shut down for the next week, during which I will be doing some minor upgrades, putting in new curbs, and repainting the hydrants. But before I set up the barricades, here are a few things I want to mention:

The Guild Wars Bonus Mission Pack is now available in the online store. This was a "special" project that we did that turns Guild Wars into an RPG as opposed to MMORPG. It consists of four adventures, each one allowing you play one of the heroes of Tyria - Gwen, Turai Ossa, Saul, and Togo, at a key moment of history. From a design end, we used this project as a test bed to bend the Guild Wars engine in ways that it had never been bent before. If you're a present or former player of Guild Wars, you might want to check it out - the trailer is here.

Six Arabian Nights has been released by Wolf Baur's Open Design project to his sponsors, and the POD (Print on Demand) version will be up in a week or so. I have a contribution in this one, and I would tell you more about it, but it would just spoil it. Wolf will be making an appearance in the Second Life universe, at Wordsmith Hall, on the 3rd of this month. Check out the details here.

I have finished two issues of a comic book for Devil's Due. I will speak more of it when I can (which should be soon). In writing the story, I got to go back to an old stomping ground for the first time in many years.

Our resident Tolkien scholar, John Rateliff, has an webcast interview up on the National Review website. Yeah, it makes my head spin, too. Check it out here.

Finally, a quick update on the Writer's Strike. Things are pretty quiet right now, since both sides are in "informal talks", which means progress may or may not be made. The producers managed to hammer out a tenative deal with the Director's Guild, a deal which the Screen Actors Guild just hates, but it is showing some process. In the meantime, an ever-growing number of independent producers have accepted the WGA deal and are back in production. These currently include:
The Film Department
Intermedia (Gangs of New York, The Wedding Planner)
RKO Productions Inc
Lionsgate (3:10 to Yuma)
Marvel Studios (Bringing the mighty Marvel Universe to the screen)
Yari Film Group
The Weinstein Company (Grindhouse, Rambo)
United Artists (Tom Cruise incarnation)
Sidney Kimmel Entertainment)
Spyglass Entertainment (Bruce Almighty, Balls of Fury, Underdog)
Media Rights Capital
Jackson Bites (New media)
Mandate Films
Worldwide Pants (Letterman)

This list is interesting, no only because it is getting so long, but because some of these guys, like Spyglasss and Weinstein) are distributed by the Bigs, while others, like UA are flat-out owned by the large production houses that have been dragging their feet. What gives?

And in my office, there have been three occasions when a coworker has quoted me how good Letterman has been. There have been no occasions of how good non-writer Leno has been. The rest of the design department doesn't care, since they spend their late-nights playing World of Warcraft.

More later (like in about a week),