Ithaka Update #2

The human called Jonas wrote this on his website:

The time we spent in Greece was great for Ithaka of the Clouds. Verena did a lot of drawing every day and, after some stylistic experiments, finished most of the images for the first part of the game. Yes, the game is divided into parts… but I really don’t want to spoil this stuff for you, so I won’t tell you everything. The first part is not the biggest part of the game, but it is fairly extensive and very important to the story, and being able to engage with it as we did in Greece really helped us to further define and shape what the game will be about.

I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone else, but one of the things that terrifies me about working on a new project is that trying to imagine something that is still just an abstract concept isn’t really possible. I remain quite nervous until the project turns into something specific, until it has characters and places and ideas I can work with, even if they’re flawed and require revision. That’s where we are with Ithaka now: it has people in it. And creatures. I believe I can honestly say that they include some of our daftest ideas yet, and that’s coming from the people who brought you a sentient piece of toast. So, yeah. The valley of the trolls is starting to feel like a real place now.

In other good news, Helen Trevillion, the composer of The Strange and Somewhat Sinister Tale of the House at Desert Bridge and The Book of Living Magic and most of The Fabulous Screech will be contributing some music to Ithaka! I’m extremely pleased about this, since Ithaka ties the previous games together on a variety of levels and it would feel wrong not to have some of Helen’s music in there. I still can’t believe how lucky I’ve been with the composers I’ve worked with over the years.

The updated versions of The Book of Living Magic and Desert Bridge are both still scheduled for later this year, and there might even be some other surprises. As for Ithaka itself, it will still take us at least six months. The reason for this is that I think we should not, under any circumstances, rush the game. We’re working on it constantly and we’re not wasting your money, but I think the only way to do the story justice is not to let ourselves be forced into cutting the game down to meet a self-imposed deadline. That’s the freedom crowdfunding has given us, the freedom to make the game right, and we want to embrace that. If you enjoyed our previous games, believe me when I say that the result will be worth it.

(Let me put this another way: a week ago or so Verena drew an image with ninety mushrooms in it. Ninety. God. Damn. Mushrooms. Yes, the images are bigger than those in The Sea Will Claim Everything. No, I have no idea how I’m going to write so many mushroom puns after having already filled several games with them.)

Now I will go back to work, and later Verena and I will celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary. Yay!

Thanks again for your support, everyone.

An Interview with Professor R.L. Smith

The work of Professor R.L. Smith hardly requires introduction; her books of history in particular are amongst the most cherished and acclaimed in all the Lands of Dream, noted for their beautiful language, devotion to detail, and carefully laid-out Marxist analysis. She is also noted for the inclusion of part of her life story in the Book of Living Magic, and in various translations and transubstantiations of that work.

We met Professor Smith in her office in the Infinite Cellar of Oneiropolis University, where she is currently researching her next work, Ithaka of the Clouds.

Honoured to meet you, Professor Smith.

Please, just call me Raven. I got used to the name a long time ago.

Speaking of a long time ago, how do you view the events recorded in the Book of Living Magic?

Fondly, I would say, in a way that sometimes breaks my heart. It was such an innocent time in my life, when it seemed you could just walk away from an unjust system and find freedom on your own. Back then, it really did seem possible that to change the world, you needed to change yourself. Now I’ve come to realize that changing yourself does matter, but only in so far as it means actively opposing the powers that be. I was making that choice, though I’m not sure I fully understood the extent of the consequences. I suppose few do, at first.

And how do you feel about the transubstantiated version of your story?

It’s not bad. I can’t complain. It can’t fully capture the experience of really opening the Book of Living Magic, but it carries enough of the truth in it that those who have never seen the Mountains of Oddness will get a glimpse of that beautiful land and its stories. And after all, I’m pretty much trying to accomplish the same thing with Ithaka of the Clouds.

I was going to ask about that. What exactly are you working on?

Well, as you probably know, troll stories are, by their nature, like the Book of Living Magic. Many scholars believe, in fact, that the Book of Living Magic was created by a troll, or at least made in the troll way. Ithaka of the Clouds is one of the most beloved troll stories, though its fame does not extend as far outside the troll diaspora as it deserves to.

My project is twofold: to make the story and its historical context better known in the Lands of Dream, and to create a transubstantiated version for those lands where the authorities would not allow the importing or distribution of troll stories. In the process I am also translating and annotating a remarkable work called The Book of Trollish Wisdom that was recently discovered in the reading toilets of Undertree Library.

Why have you chosen to work on Ithaka of the Clouds? What is it about this story that appeals to you?

Partially because I believe it deserves to be known, partially because I believe it is deeply relevant to the events of our time. Understanding the past is the only way to change the future; and sometimes this understanding can also give us hope, in ourselves and in the world.

What do you make of the recent attempts to silence your colleague and collaborator, Kohlrabian Dialecticus?

A disgrace, but not a surprise. Always watch for those who claim not to be friends of Urizen, but do not fight in the struggle against him.

Agents of his?

No, liberals.

Do you think your radicalism has caused you problems over the years? Many think that to speak out so loudly is to invite trouble.

Urizen marches on Oneiropolis. How much more trouble could we be in? How much worse do things have to get before certain “moderates” let go of their precious illusions? But I’m not as worried as you might think. Here in Oneiropolis itself, the doctrines of self-delusion have never caught root.

Do you have any plans for after Ithaka?

I do, actually. If the political situation permits it, my old friend Provatica and I will go out on the road. Ithaka of the Clouds has inspired me, you might say, or perhaps simply reminded me of the value of seeing the world with your own eyes.

Another adventure, then! We look forward to hearing about it, and to Ithaka of the Clouds. Thanks for your time.

You’re welcome. By the way, was that mushroom already growing on you when you came in? If not, you might want to drink this potion. Quickly.

Oneiropolis Compendium: The Moddey Dhoo

The Black Dog, as illustrated by Verena Kyratzes, from the Oneiropolis Compendium

It’s taken far too long to finish this new entry in the Compendium, which was promised a long time ago, but I’m glad it’s finally here, despite accidents and surgeries and other painful things.

The Road to Underhome

I don’t know if this is wise from a marketing standpoint, but I’ve decided to upload a copy of The Road to Underhome, so far only available as a PDF with downloads of The Sea Will Claim Everything, to the Lands of Dream website. I’m not sure why I’ve decided to do this – perhaps because it’s more likely to be read here, or because it just feels like it belongs on the site – but I think it’s the right choice. I was in a strange emotional state when I wrote it, and bits of it are a little rough, but it says things I needed to say, and provides insight into how and why a game like The Sea Will Claim Everything gets made.

Do note that it’s meant to be read by people who have finished the game, so give it a wide berth if you don’t want any spoilers at all or if this kind of text ruins the reality of the game for you.

Indie Royale

The Sea Will Claim Everything is now available as part of the Indie Royale Lunar Bundle. Yay!

If you have any problems, please do get in touch.

A Busy Silence

Hi all,

Julian the Announcement Fox here. It’s been a bit quiet on the site, hasn’t it? Yeah. Sorry about that. You see, Jonas has been having some issues. Something to do with canals, apparently. And roots. I don’t know what he’s been doing, but it must involve rivers and plants. And apparently also some screaming, though I don’t know why.

Don’t worry, though, he’s not given up on the Lands of Dream. In fact, when not busy with roots and rivers, he’s been working with his editor on finishing a children’s book set in the Lands of Dream. It’s coming out very soon, actually – though it’s in Greek, so you may have to wait for a translation. Still. It’s a book! In the Lands of Dream! Exciting. One of my cousins is in it, apparently. Say hi if you see him.

I’ll try to get Jonas to update more often again.

Yours truly,

Julian the Announcement Fox

YAY

Reposted from Indiegogo:

It is done! And you did it. All of you. Thank you so much! We are very, very grateful.

It’s amazing and heartwarming that not only will we get to make Ithaka of the Clouds, we will also get to go back and polish the previous Lands of Dream games so that the whole cycle works properly as one. That so many people would care – not thousands, not millions, but enough to make it happen – is genuinely inspiring. We’ll do our best not to disappoint you.

Now, a bit of organizational stuff. Those of you who ordered a perk that comes with a copy of The Sea Will Claim Everything will be getting an email from me later today. Some of you wrote in to change your perks; you’ll also be getting an email to confirm. Finally, those who ordered perks that include something of yours ending up in the game will also be contacted soon.

There’s only one problem, which is that (with stunningly precise timing) I have developed a terrible jaw pain and my dentist is on holiday. If there are some delays, that is the reason. But not to worry, we’ve got all your information and Bob the Spider will be tracking you down and- I mean, you will be getting your perks. Yes. Absolutely. No spiders involved.

And once again – thank you all so much.

Love,
Jonas & Verena & Cat & Chris

… and Bob the Spider!

Clearer Stretch Goals

I’ve been asked to clarify our stretch goals for Ithaka of the Clouds, so I’ve made a list. With numbers and stuff.

$13,500 – remake The Strange and Somewhat Sinister Tale of the House at Desert Bridge

$14,000 – update The Book of Living Magic, add minor improvements to The Fabulous Screech

$15,000 – remake The Museum of Broken Memories

$20,000 – remake Phenomenon 32

$50,000 – remake The Fabulous Screech as FPS/RTS hybrid

$100,000 – remake Phenomenon 32 five times

$500,000 – build a house out of cream cheese

$1,000,000 – remake Call of Duty as Marxist text adventure

$25,000,000 – make a pretty good science fiction movie

$99,999,999 – build working replica of Babylon 5

$1,000,000,000 – buy tuna for cat

This Is Actually Happening

This landscape does not have a description.

Enough people have gotten together and contributed money that a game about gay trolls based on the poetry of Kavafis is actually happening.

Seriously.

Wow.

I don’t know how many people are out there who want interactive storytelling rooted in literature and poetry and philosophy, with political undertones and bad puns… but there are enough.

Ithaka of the Clouds is a game that will exist.

We can’t thank you enough.

ohai

iz cute

(Because nothing says “thoughtful, intelligent art” like a lolcat. Right?)

Also: read about stretch goals.

  • Monkeys