Tag Archives: Kickstarter

And They’re Gone! Books Have Shipped.

No more remainAll of the books, cards, and patches are on their way to being delivered; posters and scrolls are shipping direct from the printers. Enjoy!

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70,000 Sure is a Lot of Words!

Sorry that I’ve gone dark for so long and deprived you of updates! J. R. Blackwell returned the text to me with her editorial remarks and I’ve been making my way through, tweaking, adjusting, correcting, and polishing with her excellent guidance. This is the “how the sausage is made” part of the process, with lots of minutiae so there’s just not much to share. Nothing exciting at least. So while I continue to trawl my way through all these words, let’s enjoy some pleasant distractions.

Pilot Launch Suit Design

Jennifer Rodgers, our esteemed illustrator has been working on more designs for the illustrations of Tears and here’s her first draft of the pilot’s Launch Suits.


The astute viewer will notice a few references to religious iconography in the patterns. It will be more obvious once the pilots have their neural exchange halos attached. Continue reading

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Campaign Success!

The Tears of a Machine kickstarter campaign has been a success! We’re fully funded to get the game through editing, art, layout, and printing. Here’s the last update of the funding drive.

Offering the book in accessible format did a lot to help me find the support I needed. I’m going to make every effort to keep the level of quality just as high in creating the synchronized audio version of the text.

Thank you once more, to all my backers and supporters.

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The Bully – Part 3

Klaus can’t stay lost in thought forever. It’s time for the next scene of the episode. This is a Trial scene, a prolonged conflict. It will take a series of Challenges and Actions for people playing this scene to work our their story. 

“Do you think I’m completely stupid?” shouted George.

George and his two toadies marched down the aisles. Klaus scrambled to grab up his things and run but it was too late. With a few quick strides they had him surrounded again.

“Just one punch,” said George. “Then I’ll call it even. You tell your commander you walked into a door or fell or something.”

Klaus stammered again, cursing himself on the inside for his weakness and looked around for an escape.

“I’m going easy on you, you know? You deserve worse for disrespecting me, and all just ’cause you’re a pilot. Because you’re so special. Maybe everyone else thinks you’re going to save the world but I know better. Without soldiers dying on the ground to hold back the Mayzor you’d never save anyone.” George leaned back, winding up a haymaker punch. Continue reading

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July 24, 2013 · 10:30 am

The Bully – Part 2

It’s time for the next scene. We’ll fill in the story with some of Klaus’ ruminations, explaining more about who he is and where he comes from.

Klaus went to physical training after lunch. He had been sheltered as a child, his mother terrified of the open sky overhead that had snatched away her husband. She worked two jobs to afford an apartment only three blocks from an emergency shelter. Klaus was left with little more than his books.

The months of training since he had joined the Preservation Force were toughening him up and he noticed the flab of inactivity fading but he was still short and nervous and never did very well in sports.

Today was worse than usual. No matter what he did his thoughts drifted back to George with mixture of anger and fear. What do I do now?

“Klaus!” He jerked back to reality just in time to reach up and bat a ball away from his head.

“Good reflexes. But this is soccer, not volleyball.” Trainer Levinson picked up the ball and handed it over to the opposing team. Bettina from Fortress Company rolled her eyes at him and smirked to her teammates. Continue reading

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July 22, 2013 · 10:30 am

The Cloistered Research Council

Some more world-building today. Get to know the most mysterious super-geniuses of the world of Tears of a Machine.


A shadowy organization of cutting-edge researchers and scientists, the Cloistered Research Council are responsible for the robotic SAInts, the floating Citadels of Earth’s Preservation Forces and the MetaTron telepathic communications system that ties them all together. Their knowledge demands respect because it is the best chance humanity has to survive the alien attacks and strike back. Continue reading

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If you can read this, help someone else to read it too.

You’ve seen it in the Tears of a Machine kickstarter project write-up and in the stretch goals, but I’m going to say a little more about the subject of an accessible game manual.

For 13 years I’ve worked at Learning Ally, a non-profit organization that serves students with print disabilities. I’ve gone through dyslexia simulation exercises and teaching sessions about the way that the brain develops to handle written language, all so that I could better understand the challenges that a student with learning differences must face. The simplest way for me to explain it is to imagine that you’re learning algebra but your book is written in a foreign language. You can understand the concepts and the symbols but have to puzzle them out from among the surrounding words, slowly. Bit by bit.

Now, go to your bookshelf or the folder of PDFs on your computer and open up an RPG manual (preferably one of those big 200+ page ones that cost you 50 bucks) and drink in the wall of text. That’s what it is for many people. A wall. Mild dyslexia is almost commonplace; as many as 1 in 5 students could benefit from having access to their school books in alternative formats.  There are imaginative and intelligent people who are held back by how information is delivered and by the stigma of “disability.” With the same information presented in a different format they are just as quick to learn as many others. I want to give them the opportunity to enjoy my game without barriers.

How will I make Tears of a Machine accessible? The DAISY Consortium is an international organization devoted to the same goals of Learning Ally, to remove the barriers of print comprehension from information. They provide an assortment of free and open source tools for the creation of accessible books and audio. Because I have access to the raw text I can use many of these tools to convert it into these formats: Continue reading

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