Updates and a Recruitment Call

Keepers of the Flame, the first full-length novel in the American Heirs trilogy, has passed the first round of edits. The manuscript now stands at around 121350 words, about 215 A4-sized pages. Currently I’m sourcing for cover artists, editors and beta readers, and raising funds to pay the development costs. There may also be some minor changes to the manuscript, so the word count is not firm yet. I’m hoping for a Q4 2014 release, though late Q3 is an option.

For newcomers, American Heirs is a military science fiction/post-cyberpunk set in a North America recovering from global collapse, when the Apocalypse is a distant memory and humanity is getting back up on its feet. Keepers of the Flame is a direct sequel to American Sons, taking place a year after the climatic battle to save the Republic of Cascadia, what was once called the Pacific Northwest. As the Combat Studies Unit hunts down the remnants of the terrorist group the Sons of America,  the SOA strikes back, hoping to burn down the New World and bring back their idea of America. On the other side of the continent, a new American empire expands into the ancient American heartlands — and into a Cascadian enclave. Confronted by threats foreign and domestic, Cascadia must steel itself for a war unlike anything it has ever experienced in its short history.

And as the flames of war grow brighter and hotter, a machine god awakes…

With Keepers of the Flame mostly sorted out, I am ready to announce my next project: an independent video game in collaboration with local musician Ryuu Shun Hayashi.

Tentatively titled Odyssey, it is a space opera role-playing game trilogy  that puts the players in the boots of Cory Bates, a team leader for the Strategic Services Command of the Terran Empire. We are working on the first episode, tentatively titled Odyssey: Remnants of Terra. In the Odyssey universe, the Terran Empire is locked in a brutal decades-long war with the Free Star Alliance. Now, the Terran Empire faces the threat of rebellion on the Fringe World of Bellaphon. Bates and his team, assigned to the prototype starship Imperium, are tasked with the local militia in putting down the insurgents. But the mission goes terribly wrong, the Imperium suffers critical damage, and they are stranded in space for over a hundred years in cryogenic suspension. When the crew revives, they find themselves in a corner of the universe that has forgotten the Empire and the Alliance. They decide to set a course for Old Earth, to find out what happened and make their way home.

But first, they need to repair the ship. Without trade goods, fuel, supplies, or indeed anything that can be used as currency, their only option is to sell their guns to the highest bidder. And in so doing, they will change this part of the universe, and themselves, for better — or for worse.

We are using RPG Maker VX Ace as our development platform. Our current goal is to produce the prologue, which covers the mission to Bellaphon. It will be a free demo to represent the game, and attract investment and talent. Features include decision branches and multiple endings; persistent choices that last throughout the series; and gameplay that rewards strategic thinking, tactical planning, resource management and combined arms. Progress is smooth, and we expect a Christmas release date.

For my novel, I’m looking for beta readers who can read hard military science fiction aimed at the American market. While I have cover artists and editors in mind, but I’m open to quotes from Singaporeans as well.

As for the game, there is a critical need for a capable digital artist. RPG Maker is geared towards ‘classic’ RPGs like Final Fantasy; the chipsets are suited for a high fantasy setting, not a high-tech one. We need someone who can create custom 16- or 32-bit chipsets, concept art and promotional graphics for a sci fi environment. We prefer people based in Singapore so we can meet in person, but there are no real restrictions on nationality or location. The prologue can still go ahead without custom art, but with the art it would be a better representation of the game’s overall vision. Odyssey is running on a shoestring budget; we cannot at this time offer upfront payment, but we are open to profit-sharing with the possibility of future work.

If you think you can help out, drop me an email, and we can see how if we can help each other.