Author Neal Stephenson Kickstarts a Video Game: “Clang”
I’ve been a fan of Neal Stephenson’s novels for a while now, but until I read this recent article on io9, I didn’t realize he was obsessed with sword fighting.
Turns out the extravagantly goateed “Snow Crash” author and a team of collaborators have been delving deep into what they call “Western Martial Arts,” using historical sources to perfect authentic tactics. Fed-up with the unsatisfying sword mechanics in modern video games, which rely on button-presses, magical effects, and repetitive animations, they set out to develop a game engine that could capture melee combat at the same level of obsessive detail as FPS titles.
To that end, they launched a Kickstarter for their game — “CLANG” — which is already sitting pretty at $55,000 with almost an entire month to go. The trailer above delivers the details — keep your eyes peeled for a Gabe Newell cameo — and the project certainly looks promising. Stephenson’s complaints about the unsatisfying swordplay in modern gaming are incisive, passionate, and convincing.
Control will depend on a “low-latency, high-precision motion controller” which will also be a “commercial, third-party, off-the-shelf controller that anyone can buy today.” Such devices are more common on paper than they are in reality, however. Hopefully Stephensen and his collaborators, known as Subotai Corporation, can deliver the precision gamers have craved in motion control since the day it was announced. If the project succeeds, they hope to license the technology to other developers, which will provide the story and scope that CLANG is skimping on in order to focus on the swordplay.
If you’re interested, or even downright overjoyed, like I am, hit the Kickstarter link above. If you give $10,000, you get a real, steel longsword.