HA! Now that I’ve lured you onto my “About” page, I guess I’ll rattle on about myself for a moment. I’m Chris. Christopher David Hartpence, actually. In a former life, I was an IT guy, but I always had a love-hate relationship with the corporate world. I knew that some day, somehow, some way, I would give it the good old American Double Eagle and strike out on my own. It took a while, but I finally did just that.
As I write these words, I’ve been supporting myself as a freelance writer for two years now. It’s a positively silly way to make a living, and I made just about every mistake in the book before I figured it all out.
If you’re curious about making a living as a writer, you’ll find a lot of material here to help you on your journey. You should know, however, that it’s not for the faint of heart. When people ask me about it, I like to tell them that for the first few months, until you get your name “out there,” making a living freelancing is a lot like trying to make a living by scrounging around in the cushions of your sofa for loose change. Get used to the taste of Ramin, and ten for a dollar boxed Mac and Cheese.
Once you DO get your name out there though, and once people see that hey! This guy can actually write and stuff, it gets a lot easier. Easier still because if you bear with me, eventually this site will contain posts that outline all the stupid mistakes I made so you can avoid making them yourself.
The blog is meant to be about more than just that though. In addition to the writing, I’m also a game designer. A couple years ago, a buddy of mine asked me a question that quite literally changed my life. The question was this: “Chris, do you think it’s possible to design a (computer) game in such a way that the simple act of playing it can ‘change stuff’ in the real, physical world?”
My first impulse was that the notion was ridiculous. Of course that wasn’t possible. The digital world is the digital, the physical world is the physical, and there’s just no point of intersection.
But the idea would not leave me alone. It stayed there, like a shard of glass in my mind, because what if…I mean, what IF it was possible to do something like that?
So I started experimenting.
For six months I put the question through every game design theory I knew, and even invented a couple of new ones (and a new kind of math) in an attempt to answer the question in the affirmative.
I got nothing but headaches for my efforts, and was about to give up.
In fact, I HAD given up. I got roaringly drunk, and was about to Skype my buddy Daniel and tell him not to ever, EVER ask me a question like that again. My fingers were actually poised over the keyboard to type the message when I saw it…just hovering there about six inches above the monitor in virtual space. In my mind’s eye.
A graphical representation of exactly how it could be made to work.
I wrote a short, rambling, drunken draft of the idea and sent it to Daniel, asking him to “break it.” To show me the flaw in my thinking.
After two weeks, he concluded that he couldn’t.
It was only then that he told me he’d only been kidding around when he asked me that question, but from that kidding around, a new game was born. One that really CAN change stuff in the real world when you play it, so in addition to stuff about the writing, you’ll find stuff about the game too. It’ll be fabulous. Wait and see.
Thanks for sticking with me, and shoot me a note if you want to see a post on a particular somethingorother.