Archive for February, 2008

Dinner with Janny Wurts

Posted: February 19, 2008 in interactive fiction, Textfyre

This past Saturday night I arranged a dinner meeting with a favorite fantasy fiction author of mine, Janny Wurts. Janny brought Don Maitz, her husband and I flew Michael Gentry up from Virginia to join in a discussion about her work being introduced to interactive fiction within the confines of Textfyre.

Janny is extraordinary and if you doubt me, take a look at her website and review her artwork. Then I highly recommend that if you haven’t already, or if maybe you stopped short of reading through all of her books, that you should read every single word she’s written. Seriously, Janny writes as if every word is a first born child, every sentence as if it were her blood, and every character is drawn directly from her heart and soul. Even if you stumble through the complexity and density of her prose, trust me when I say that the payoffs are profound and worth every minute of your time.

During our dinner she pulled out The Paravian Sketchbook and Mike and I were floored. This sketchbook contains pencil drawings of various settings within the world of Athera and are some of the most detailed and beautiful artworks I have ever seen. I’ve been to the Vatican. the Louvre, and various other European galleries and Janny’s artistry can easily be described as brilliant.

Eventually we discussed how Janny might become involved in Textfyre, but before too long we had to call it a night. Even so, we had a great conversation and there’s hope that Janny will bring her brilliance, in part or whole, to helping Textfyre create great games.

I’ve talked often about hurdles in the development of Textfyre as a business. We’ve had to work through procedural issues, development issues, content issues, game engine issues, artwork issues, investor issues, and user interface issues. We still have marketing, sales, partnership, and other issues on the horizon.

In late 2007 I was finally able to hire Jesse McGrew for the game engine, but I still couldn’t find anyone to fit into the development of the user interface. This is obviously one of the most critical components of Textfyre since the vision is to present something that is easy, attractive, and yet retains the simple beauty of interactive fiction.

After trying to get a local Flash developer involved, then trying to hire a consulting firm, I finally contacted Peter Mattsson, the creator of Flaxo, a Flash-based z-machine interpreter. Peter is going to help finish the Windows version of the user interface. Peter also has offered to help build a Flash version of uor games for Linux and Mac environments, but we’re still trying to figure out the technical details.

On the investor front, we’re getting ready for a presentation on February 20th with a Chicago-based angel investor. This Saturday, Mike Gentry and I are having dinner with Janny Wurts, a noted fantasy author who I’m trying to entice into helping with content or to become an advisor. I’d also ask that if anyone knows of a potential angel investor to talk to them about Textfyre and get us together.

On the marketing front, I’ve been developing the advertisement plan for our launch and this going very well.

The development of Textfyre has been exciting and every time we fine ourselves facing a challenge, we have always managed to define it, plan a course of action, and meet that challenge head on.