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Wednesday
Nov302011

Registration Ends Tonight, Voting Ends Tomorrow!

We're extending voter registration until Midnight tonight. So if you want to register, do it now. Unless you're reading it later, in which case it's too late.

And of course tomorrow the voting is done - so send in your ballot by 11:59 PM, December 1st, EST.

Monday
Nov282011

Voting for Mob Rules: The Story Thus Far

Well, it was Thanksgiving Weekend here in the U.S., and we ended up starting voting on “Black Friday,” which might not have been the best plan but seems to be working out fine. Our busiest day so far turned out to be Sunday, starting around 5:00 PM EST, which is when Joystiq posted a great little piece about our free votes, Plan B. There’s been a great response and a ton of new visitors to the site.

Going into this project, I really had no sense of what the scale of the thing was going to be. Obviously we didn’t come close to getting the number of Kickstarter supporters we hoped for (I’ll have a complete post-mortem on that later this week). We had around 70 supporters, about a third of which were people we already knew. When I put out the calls to those kind folks to jump over and register to vote here, about half of them did, which is about what I expected. So, at one point, I was thinking this whole thing was going to be decided by 40 or so voters, half of whom we knew.

Our plan was (and is) to spend this week trying to get new voters to sign up. My goal on Friday was to get that number up to 100. Thanks to Joystiq and the other great sites that have picked up the story since then, we’ve already beaten that goal: we’ve got 133 registered voters, about half of whom have already cast their ballots and the vast majority of whom are total strangers. That’s what we want, and it’s great to see.

I’m not going to reveal which games are winning and which are falling behind in the polls, but there are some clear and interesting trends. We’re using a system of ranked voting, which I really like, especially for a decision like this where it really is about shades of preference. I will say that while the First Choice for people is spread across all three games, there is a game that gets more Second Choices than the others. It also has just about as many First Choices, so that was putting it ahead for awhile. Lately the front-runner has shifted again. I don’t want to influence anyone’s votes, so no naming names. It’s still definitely any game’s game.

Part of me wishes the whole thing ended today, so we could know the winner. Originally we planned to launch the Kickstarter and vote and everything else a whole month sooner, but that didn’t work out for various delays in web site stuff (stuff that ended up not working out at all). But I want to assure everyone that we’re working hard already - Jonathan has been programming full time and has coded the core systems that apply across all the games - movement, animation, combat, special abilities, a level editor, and basic AI scripting are all in place. This week should see more AI and hopefully audio. So come Friday, when we know what game we’re making, we can hit the ground running and start building the prototype right away.

In the meantime, registration is still open! So if you haven’t, now is the time to vote. Also, if you’re one of the people who has registered but hasn’t voted, check your email for your ballot and send it in!

Friday
Nov252011

The Polls Are Open!

At last, the day has come! Time to decide our fate and pick the game the Mob Rules will make first. Email ballots have gone out to registered voters, and the polls will stay open until 11:59 PM, EST on December 1st. It’s not too late to register and it’s still totally free.

Mob Rules Games uses ranked or positional voting. Each voter ranks the three games according to First Choice, Second Choice, and Third Choice. When tallying the final vote count, we weight the votes based on their position. So a First Choice vote is worth three times as much as a Third Choice Vote.

Voting begins right now and ends December 1st at 11:59 PM, EST. It’s not too late for new voters to register, just click here, fill out your name and email, and you’ll receive a ballot via email.

Monday
Nov212011

Plan B - We're Still Making a Game!

So, our Kickstarter didn't really come together for us. We learned some good lessons though, and we did get some really awesome support from people. I'll do a whole post some time about why things might not have worked out the way we'd hoped, but that's not the important thing right now.

The important thing right now is, we are still making a game! And you still get to vote on which game we make!

Check out the front page of this site, which explains it all.

Or just go register right now!

Friday
Nov182011

Tipping Into Madness

I learned about the Vaunters about twelve hours before everyone else in this city did. I saw smoke coming from an apartment building four blocks away, just as the sun was setting. I’m always tempted to use the Temporal Anomaly Generator to get around the city quickly - and a lot of the times I do, but it drains the battery is something fierce on my feet, plus it was only four blocks. I ran.

Fires are tricky. They’re like bullets. When I’m in my chrono-bubble, my time-stream is sped up, which lets me move through the world as if you were all frozen in time. I’m not moving super fast, so I don’t have to worry about my own kinetic energy when I bump into something like a wall or person. But I’m also making contact with everything 1000 times as often as at normal time, so bullets and fire are still just as deadly if I brush up against them. The one time let a toe slip into the edge of a house fire, the tip of my boot burned away instantly. Thankfully it was my old, pointy-toed pair.

So, like I said, fires are tricky. But if I get there early enough, before it spreads, I can usually find enough room to maneuver and pull people free. In that house fire where I lost my boot, I even had time to grab the dog and both cats. I rounded the corner, expecting to see onlookers and hopefully the fire brigade. Instead I saw people fleeing the street and five mad-men throwing wine bottles filled with gasoline at a building.


I jammed the activate button on my T.A.G., which is something I do more and more when I encounter the unknown (which is also something I seem to be doing more and more). They were shirtless, wearing gold-colored masks and amulets in the form of a golden apple. I was immediately put in mind of some sort of Greek tragedy come to nightmare life. I might have thought they’d actually stepped out of some other time, but for the bottles of 1924 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild filled with gasoline instead of Bordeaux.

There wasn’t anything I could do about the fire bomb the nearest one had already thrown - it  was too high and too far gone. I slipped past him and hurried to his comrade, who was just about to hurl his bottle. The next thing I did seemed like a good idea at the time, but if I’d thought it through, I might have balked at the decision. I’m glad I didn’t think it through.

Moving people and things by hand while I’m in my bubble is tough, hard work. Because just touching them is like tapping someone a thousand times on the shoulder, I can hurt them or myself if I’m not careful, usually both (you should see how much padding is in my boots now). But early on in the lab I discovered how to extend my T.A.G.’s field to charge another person or object with just enough energy to make them react with my own field. Basically, I’m it’s sort of like a magnetic or gravitational interaction, allowing me to push them away or pull them closer to me by adjusting the positive or negative charges. It drains the batteries, but it’s worth it.

And what I did here was not much of a drain. Not compared to what it would have taken to pull the family of seven out from the fifth floor of the walk-up. I just pivoted the masked man in place, turning him to face his friend. Then I did the same to the other one. The other two I needed to pull down the street, lining them up next to their friend.

When I shut off the T.A.G., I made myself watch. People’s minds are already made up, their bodies already following orders. When they snap back into normal time (from my point of view), it takes them a second to even register that something has changed. The first guy’s bottle still hit the building, crashing through a window. I’d be up in there and putting it out in a second. The second man’s bottle crashed among the four madmen I’d bunched together, igniting in turn their own, un-thrown bombs. I was behind the suddenly very surprised attacker who wasn’t on fire. I couldn’t plug my ears to block out the screaming, because I was hitting him over the head with my sap.

The papers reported it as a bumbling attempt at arson by some drunken idiots who set themselves on fire. They were the only ones hurt, and back then, no one had heard of Jack o’ Bedlam. But we know now that he didn’t take the defeat very well at all. We’ve seen since that he’s only gotten worse. My plan is to get even better at what I do in response, and if that means being as ruthless as Jack o’ Bedlam is insane, then maybe that’s how it has to be. 

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