Thursday, March 20, 2014

So why destroy the universe if you're just going to recreate it...

...about a millisecond later and pretty much exactly the same as it was before?

I've encountered this in at least three stories in the past few years: once in a children's fantasy series (novels), once in Doctor Who, and once in a ten book epic that started out decades ago (1977!). Is it a thing now? Is it the zeitgeist? Is there a zeitgeist?

It's like a few years before that, I noticed a couple of "why do the dead not die?"* type of fantasy books, a sort of modern day approach to the traditional harrowing of hell.

But probably it's me seeing meaning in what are merely coincidences.

So yeah. While the "destroy the universe" thing is an old, old trope, I used to associate it with the rebirth of a new universe. After Ragnorak and the Fimbulwinter, the survivors creep out of the woods and start a new life. The New Sun finishes off the old Urth and brings in a new age. The dinosaurs march off to their doom but then new species rise up and multiply. The elements cycle around in each age, yadda yadda yadda. The point is, it's not the same freaking universe all over again!

Do people not want to let things go?

Why do the dead not die?

It must be something in the air.

Argh. I myself did the apocalypse thing for my 2008 NaNo! (I used the biblical Book of Revelation... and Norse mythology, because... uh... I can't resist Norse gods.) Did I do that "recreate the same universe" thing too? *facepalms* *goes to reread the last chapter* Oh yeah. I had it split between three main characters. One gathered up all the dead human souls and went off to start a new universe somewhere (freed of the supernatural, a fresh start, old memories wiped), one stayed behind to rule the wreckage of old earth in the body of Baphomet, and one plotted with Odin to make an assassin to kill God. (And then Odin faded away.) I think. Heh.

I didn't hit the giant reset button in the sky! Instead of restoring from a backup, I reformatted and went back to factory settings? While the corrupted data files were carried off onto a flash drive somewhere. Go me. Or something. But clearly I'm an indecisive wimp. (Three endings? What the hell? I need to go back and revise that novel.)

I dunno. I just feel it's something of a cop-out to return everything back the way it was. It's especially bad if most people don't even remember that anything happened at all. It's the same with the "wipe their memories and return them to their old lives" endings. They're almost as annoying as "it was just a dream!" We went through all of that, but if no one can tell the difference, did it really happen? Maybe the universe ended in between the previous sentence and this one. Does it matter? It leaves the reader/viewer with that hollow aftertaste.

I guess people are scared of dying. I'm scared of dying! But that's why I want my fiction to be braver than me, so that I can borrow that courage.

Let's see how many more reset-apocalypses I come across in the next few years... It looks like P. C. Hodgell's Kencyrath series is going down that DESTROY! PRESERVE! CREATE! road. But hopefully it will be the "new birth" version rather than the "clone-memory-implant" version. But it's not as urgent an apocalypse as some I've seen, so who knows how many more books it will be before the Big Kaboom.

* Ursula LeGuin, in "The Other Wind". Because Ursula LeGuin is Teh Awesome. Yeah.

Friday, March 7, 2014

So now I want to do a point-and-click adventure...

Hello, March! March 2014!? Gah.

I dropped all my coding projects last year when November and NaNoWriMo came around and demanded that I participate. Err. Ok, yeah, all my own choice. D'oh! But in any case, I didn't do any coding for the next couple of months. February rolled in and I had forgotten all the ActionScript 3 I had been trying to learn. So before I picked up my incomplete project again, I basically started over again with learning the language. What's the easiest game to code? A point and click adventure! Yeah!

I remember playing a bunch of those back in the day. And more recently, too, in the form of those "room escape" puzzles. I dunno. I kinda like them.

So one thing led to another and I basically coded my own point-and-click-adventure engine. And it seems a shame to waste the effort on a pathetic lame prototype. What to do, what to do?

Obviously, I must now make my own point-and-click adventure game! I swear, the code bunnies are as bad as the plot bunnies. But... but... hey! Shiny new idea!

So, it will be a series based on fairy tales... the first one will be built around the idea of "Help! My stepmother is trying to get me killed!" It's funny how a lot of traditional fairy tales are already like classic adventure games. (To kill the monster, you need to find its life, which is hidden inside obscure object A which is inside obscure object B in obscure location C etc. etc., and in order to find that out, you have to help the friendly NPC with their problems...)

Stop stop stop...

Never mind all that. Must... finish... other... project... first. It's amazing how many twiddly little details you need to do for even the simplest game. Achievement medals? Save game? Multiple saved games? Animated tutorial sequence? Better sound effects? Ugh. The TODO list just gets longer and longer.

But I gotta say, while coding is similar to fiction writing in the sense of "it's nice to have written something", the actual process of writing code and testing/debugging is more enjoyable for me than writing fiction and editing/revising.