Shooter Jennings, creator of “From Here to Eternity”

Not many folks are developing new BBS door games these days. But one of the few is Shooter Jennings, who is currently beta testing his game, “From Here to Eternity” on his BBS, Bit Sunrise (Web, Telnet). Make sure you visit his board and try the game!

Jennings is best known for his musical career. The only son of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, Shooter began his musical career with the rock band Stargunn in 2001, then released his first solo record, “Put the ‘O’ Back in Country” in 2005.

As he explains during our discussion, Jennings worked with computers from a young age. Later in life, he even developed a point-and-click adventure game in Flash to accompany his album ‘Black Ribbons.’

This interview was conducted by Skype on Sept. 16, 2015. It has been edited for length and clarity.

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Josh: Let’s get right into it!

Shooter Jennings portrait in ANSI, by James Bodie / Misfit for Blocktronics.

Shooter Jennings portrait in ANSI, by James Bodie / Misfit for Blocktronics.

Shooter: Yeah man, I’m good. I’m just excited that you wanted to talk about this stuff. I’ve been following Break Into Chat since I read one of your first posts about that game you were building with your daughter. I thought it was very cool, that you were working on the project with her, and that you were still figuring out new things.

I know you have questions. But doesn’t it seem like that whole world, the door got shut very quickly on it? And it seems like there’s a lot of people who are going back to the BBS thing and exploring what you can do with it with the internet and all of that. It seems like there was still a lot left to be messed with that just never got messed with, you know?

Yeah, I think you’re right on. There was a lot of untapped potential … Part of it was bandwidth, because we were tethered to dial up, and now we live in an age where things are instantaneous. It’s also the age of APIs and data everywhere. So you can pull in all kinds of information sources, and use different libraries that weren’t even intended for BBSes, but now you can adapt them to do stuff. This is a time when you can do cool stuff in BBSing.

I think a lot of folks will be surprised to know that somebody who has released albums and been in movies and on TV is even interested in working on a BBS game. For you, what is the attraction of working on a BBS door game?

Man, it’s so weird. It’s nostalgia for me, is how it begins. I started to mess around with computers when I was about 7 years old. My parents got an Apple IIe and I instantly saw it as this thing with so much potential and it just changed my life. I was a big computer guy. I would build PCs and I loved PC gaming. I’m a Sierra Online freak. Those old games were huge for me.

When I discovered BBSes, the first thing I wanted to do was run one. I think I ran a Wildcat one first. I know I ran Vision for a long time, then I ran PC Board for a while. I started messing around with making my own PPEs [PCBoard Programming Executables] for it back then.

There was another sysop in town, my buddy HitMan. That’s his name on my BBS. He’s been my friend since I was a little kid. We would hang out with other sysops, or we would go to 2600 meetings and things in town. I was very much not a cool kid. I didn’t hang out with musicians or anything. I was really isolated to my computer world and online world.

Back then I had a copy of Macromedia Director, and I would mess with that a lot and try to make my own games in it, too. … On my TurboGrafx there was a game called J.B. Harold Murder Club that a lot of people don’t even remember. It was on a TurbGrafx CD, and I was lucky enough to have one of those. That game was about walking around and talking to people and solving this murder. The story was well-written and the music was really cool. When I was trying to make games back then, I was aiming [to make] that kind of thing.

Around 2000, I made up my mind I was going to move to L.A. I had been using computers in music for a long time at this point and I had gotten together a real band. I put that side of my personality on hold, the BBS/computer/nerd/making-a-game …

… Programming?

Yeah. I put that on hold. I went to LA and dove into this band. After we broke up, I did my first solo record. Kind of like I got shot out of a cannon.

If I look back, I see myself clawing back to that part of my life that I had so abruptly shut the door on. I still played games and I was still into that stuff, but my focus was on these first records and touring and being excited about touring.

There was one point when I came down from all of it and I was like “God, there’s a big part of my personality that I’m missing.” That was around the time that I left Universal. … I started clawing back to the old shore and just saying “If I can just reconnect to that person, I’ll feel better.” And it really took a lot. Through a failed relationship and heavy duty stuff that went down.

… I don’t mean to ramble, but I’m just setting up why I have a BBS and everything. After I finally got back to myself, I married an awesome person I’ve known my whole life, my wife Misty. Things with my kids are great. Everything started to stabilize and I had more time for myself.

My buddy Hitman (James) and I reconnected and became really close again. I said “Hey man, I’m going to put up another BBS.” I put up a Synchronet one, but I kept having major problems with Synchronet software. It kept erasing my entire file and message bases randomly.

I started looking around and I was like “Aw man, Wildcat! They still make that software.” I mean, Wildcat was like the most uncool BBS software ever, but there’s this kind of Rusty and Edie’s nostalgic look to it that now I kind of find cool. It’s so uncool that in my head it was cool, so I was like “Aw, I’m gonna try it.”

You have to buy it. So I said, “If I do this, I really have to stick to my BBS.” So I bought a two-node version of it and installed it. [Shooter’s BBS is Bit Sunrise. If you need a telnet client, try SyncTerm]

When I turned it on and I saw the code, I had this idea about having an app that would let you tweet from the BBS. I wrote to Robert Wolfe and he showed me how to do it. And then I figured out a different way of doing it. Mine actually uses PuTTY and goes into a Raspberry Pi and does it. Then when I did that, I said “Hey, I can do this! I made this thing work. … Okay, I wanna make a game.”

I started throwing around a couple ideas and I went down the road a minute on each one of those ideas. Then the idea for [From Here to Eternity] hit me. And I just kind of went after it, man.

Screen capture of combat interaction from the BBS door game "From Here to Eternity." ANSI art by Luciano Ayres / Enzo of Blocktronics.

Screen capture of combat interaction from the BBS door game “From Here to Eternity.” ANSI art by James Bodie / Misfit of Blocktronics.

I worked on it about half a year. Building the battle engine and building all these tedious things that I was going to throw back to many times during the game. And then my good friend “The Colonel” Jon Hensley, who was my manager, my partner, my label, he passed away on June 1.

When that happened, this [game] was totally a healing thing for me. I threw myself into it. Every free minute I had, I was writing code for this thing. … I don’t know if you’ve ever lost anyone really close to you. I had lost my dad, but I was young … But somebody when you’re an adult … It was just heavy. That first period of everybody talking about him and everything, I just threw myself into this, because I didn’t want to deal with that. He really cared that I was doing [this game], so I said “I’m gonna finish this thing.” From that point on, I went into triple-overdrive, and I actually got it done.

It’s the most obtuse thing in the world. It’s a BBS door game. … If I wanted to make money, I chose probably the worst format to make money.

For whatever it was worth, it spoke to me. The language was easy and it’s hard-wired into the BBS, so it was easy for me to do stuff with users. There was a guy who was so helpful in teaching me how to load and save to files and stuff like that. After a while I was able to get it.

I have not lost someone as close as what you’re talking about, but … we live in Ferguson, Missouri. The whole country knows about the stuff happening here. It didn’t impact us directly, but there have been uncertain and sometimes scary times, especially in the early days when we didn’t understand what was going on. I can sympathize with what you’re saying. Working on code can take your mind off the worries and the things that get you down.

… I’d like to ask you a few questions about “From Here to Eternity,” and then I want to circle back to the Flash game you wrote to go with your “Black Ribbons” album.

You mentioned on Reddit that you intended to offer a cash prize in Bitcoin using ChangeTip. We talked earlier about how we can do things now that we couldn’t do back then. This would certainly distinguish your game from games that came before. Tell me about what you had in mind for the financial model for the game.

[It would be] bait to get enough people to try to play. When I launched the beta, a ton of people logged in to play it. If you go into the player-vs.-player arena, there are about 40-50 people. But only about 10 people have been coming back.

The person who is winning the game is my closest friend. He was not involved in any of the programming. Now he’s gotten far into it, and I’m watching him go through this game, and when he hits a snag, I’m like “Oh shit, that’s a fuck-up in the code.” And I go back. I’ve been thankful that he and a couple other friends have been competing to try to beat it.

You know, the point of the game is that it becomes a bloodbath toward the end of it. Essentially, when you work hard, you obtain all these items. But if I increase in experience and attack [and defeat] you, I can take all [the items] from you. At the end, the only way to win is one person has to have every artifact. Once somebody has ventured through all of it, then it’s like this bloody bloodbath to get everybody dead.

I just wanted to see if people would actually play all the way through and attempt it. So I was going to offer like one Bitcoin.

… I could actually make my BBS pay someone on Twitter easily. I’m working with Robert on this thing where [the BBS] will read incoming tweets. If someone tags you or something, it will read that and pull it in. … ChangeTip has APIs too, so it’s like, I’m going to throw a dollar into my account on the BBS, and it basically transfers from your wallet to your wallet on our [BBS].

Then you could [give players] 10 lives to play this game. But [if they die], it costs 10 cents to play it again, or else you have to wait another day.

You could make a pot and people win the pot if they win the whole game. That would be fun, I think, but it would become gambling.

The other part that is hard for me is that I have built this game with so much copyrighted content by other people in it. If we take money, then it’s like a copyright issue. So, that’s why I am going to do it once we finish this [beta], once I see that this game gets beat, and it works correctly. … But when it happens, you know, for this first round I just want to see if greed will drive people enough to win $240; will drive them enough to try and finish this game and get competitive about it.

… It’s pretty easy. Just like any adventure game, like King’s Quest. Once you figure out what you’re supposed to, you can zoom through the whole game. I tried to build it like one of those games, but only one person can take each item. That’s why now when someone logs in, they can go to Snake Mountain and there’s nothing in there. Because people have already killed those dudes and taken that artifact.

Which is what we’re trying to get a feel for. How many days are really needed? How far do people get up in XP by the 15th day? I was guesstimating, but people got way higher than I thought they’d get. So I’m adjusting parts of the game.

Seems like balancing is always one of the big challenges. Balancing the game in a way that is fair and that it’s also fun.

Yeah. It’s been fun, because I’ve memorized everything so much about the game. When I see someone doing something, I know exactly what they need to do. Halfway through this [beta] round, and I realized all the big bad guys that are below the southern oracle in this game need to have their experience [set dynamically] instead of it being a [fixed] number that I set … No matter how strong you get, they are always equally as hard. …

My dream was for it to be just challenging enough where somebody would have to play it two or three full rounds to beat it. And by the time they did, I would be done with the sequel. (laughs) That is what I was hoping to do, but I don’t know if that will happen.

You mentioned copyrighted material. Are you referring to the characters that you’re pulling in from movies and books?

Yeah. It’s got “The Goonies,” “Back to the Future,” “The Shining,” “Dark Tower,” Skeletor, and all of that. “Lord of the Rings,” “Neverending Story,” the Ultima series, “Highlander.” When you start digging further into it, there’s shit from everywhere in there. I read ‘Ready Player One.’ Have you read that book?

No, I haven’t read it yet.

When you read that book, you’re going to flip your lid. This guy created a virtual reality world that everyone used that was like an online thing. All these tests and stuff had to do with “War Games” and “Dungeons and Dragons” and stuff. A lot of stuff. Music from your childhood. It’s really nuts. It feels like the book is written for you.

[I thought] why couldn’t we build a game that’s like Zork meets Legend of the Red Dragon, but it’s all these movies and stuff from our childhood crammed into this space. It was inspired by reading that book and saying “I’m going to do my version of that, but make three times as many pop culture [references].”

The other thing that inspired me was the “South Park” episode where they go to Imaginationland and there’s all those characters. … Just mix all of it up into one space.

I got this cat from [ANSI art group] Blocktronics to do portraits for each of the zones. I didn’t have any visuals. I really wanted to have these cinematic moments when you would go through an area. I was begging in IRC channels. At the very last minute he came through and saved me.

I’ve come across several of them while playing the game. They’re pretty awesome.

Yeah, he was really cool, man. His name was Luciano Ayres. He wrote me back from a cold email I sent to Blocktronics, and I was just like “I’ve got a week left and no one is responding to me and I need like 10 portraits.” And he zoomed through them. Each one was better than the last. It was amazing.

Screen capture of the intro to the Moria section of the BBS door game "From Here to Eternity." ANSI art by Luciano Ayres / Enzo of Blocktronics.

Screen capture of the intro to the Moria section of the BBS door game “From Here to Eternity.” ANSI art by Luciano Ayres / Enzo of Blocktronics.

You talked about watching people play during the beta testing round. I’ve tried it several times over the last week or so. I played it this morning and I ran into a problem. I was in the Mines of Moria and I went to the Southern Pass, and I started getting whaled on by bad guy after bad guy. It was a loop I couldn’t get out of. I would defeat one guy and immediately another guy would start fighting me, until after about 12 different attacks I got killed.

Because the trolls’ bridge is now washed out with the weather … the minute that happens, the southern pass opens. I guess I’m giving something away by saying that. There’s a 20 percent chance you’ll run into a bad guy when you’re walking around outside. I thought I only increased it to 30 percent, but I may have gone heavier, just for that pass. If I did, I should back it down.

There’s so many tiny little factors. The one thing we hadn’t really tested much was that tunnel. You could have made it through, but the odds were too high on the rolls, and you got caught in a loop of bad odds. I’ll revisit that.

I don’t want to make anything too hard. There’s already a bunch of instant kills. That’s why we have respawn tokens all over the place. That’s another thing we’re sussing out: how many is a good number for the starting number of respawn tokens? At first people just blaze through them and don’t realize what it’s like to have to wait a full day to play again. You want to teach them their lesson, but also give them the wisdom to save the things.

That’s a real interesting thought. By virtue of who you are, I imagine that you’ll be able to attract people to try this game who otherwise would never darken the door of a BBS. But they probably do need some kind of education because a BBS door game is not like any other game that you play today. The notion of waiting a day, or running out of turns and you can’t come back in until tomorrow morning, it’s all foreign to folks.

Yeah, it is. But it’s part of the greatness that I remember from when I was young.

Legend of the Red Dragon was such a pain the ass. You would just go in there and it was so linear. LoRD had no storyline, it had no nothing. It was just advancing until you get to level 12 and you can go kill the dragon. Once that happens, it resets. But there was so much fun to it! So I was taking that model that you can kill other people even when they’re not online, you can go into battle with them. …

When I started, I did about the best thing I could have done, man, because I’m not good at pre-organizing. I’m never good at that. I don’t rehearse that often. It just kills the mood for me. So pre-organizing before I started coding, I actually did that. And I’m surprised.

While I was working out the battle engine on the side, I wrote out this whole plan and it ended up being almost 300 separate rooms. About 225 of them have descriptions. It’s got lots of stuff buried in it. There’s these big quests and some of them are smaller and easier. Some of the stuff is really simple to figure out. Some of it is kind of tougher.

Only one person beat Black Ribbons [the Flash game he wrote in 2010]. It was too hard in moments. Even though a couple people got really far in it, one thing or another would be hard. … Black Ribbons, once I wrote it, was hard to adjust.

But with [From Here to Eternity], I’ve got the ability to adjust a lot of elements and reset elements by going into the data files. So if something messes up or somebody accidentally gets an artifact by accident — which happened right off the bat — I’m able to fix that and keep the game moving.

Let’s talk about the Black Ribbons game for a minute. This is a Flash game that was a companion to your Black Ribbons album. The album was a conceptual album, with Stephen King voicing the character of a radio DJ called “Will o’ the Wisp” who’s about to get taken off the air. The album has a very dystopian feel. Was the game something you wanted to do from the very beginning, or did you get the idea as you were building the album? Did you develop it entirely on your own?

I had a couple things left to do on the album and we were six months from release. So I started building what I thought was going to be my website in Flash. My idea was to make it look like Will o’ the Wisp’s basement with this reel-to-reel machine and this computer. So I built that, and it worked.

All of a sudden I was like “Hey this is like Rise of the Dragon,” which was a dynamic Sierra game back in the day that I loved. When that game came out, it was dark and dirty and about drugs. When you look at it [today], it has a very PG, Ken and Roberta Williams, Sierra feel. But at the time it felt dangerous. I love that.

Anyway, the point is [Black Ribbons] looked like that. I was taking stock images, chopping them up and putting them in, animating them and stuff. So, it started as one room, but then I was like “Man, I could make a whole thing.” So I just started building that out.

Screen shot of Shooter Jennings' "Black Ribbons" Flash point-and-click adventure game.

Screen shot of Shooter Jennings’ “Black Ribbons” Flash point-and-click adventure game.

I went about it with no plan. I put some cool puzzles in it and made it work. The beginning of the game with the map turned out very much like that J.B. Harold’s Murder Club I was talking about. Once I got to a certain point, I built this kind of Lethal Enforcers-type section. You’re just clicking bad guys and stuff. After that, I didn’t know what to do, but I knew it needed a third act. I didn’t really have an ending, and I didn’t have a plan, so I came up with one. I like [the ending], but it was far less challenging than the first couple acts.

With [From Here to Eternity], I wanted a plan. A finish and an end plan. The Black Ribbons game, once I got into it, it’s like I’m not finished until it’s done and it works. That’s just how I am. I do that with music, I do that with anything. When I’m producing a record for somebody else, I’m gonna drive the train until it’s done. And I really won’t be able to focus on anything else, either. You can ask my wife.

While I was doing [From Here to Eternity], every second I had I was glued to this thing, fixing code, adding stuff. When I had to write descriptions for 225 rooms … I was just like, “Man, if I could just skip that part, I could be done with the game so much faster.” And I’m dyslexic about east and west. Half the rooms would say “go east” when it was the other way. But I was able to get through it.

Once I got to that Sept. 1 deadline, all of the sudden I had this room that was crashing the game, the whole BBS. If one person hit this error, it would kick everyone off the BBS and I would have to restart the computer. I was like “What the fuck is happening right now?” I was just losing my mind.

The night before, I had done a video chat with Lord British [Richard Garriott] and the team who are doing Shroud of the Avatar, the guys who built Ultima and Ultima Online. I’ve been working with them, doing some music for their game, and have just become friends with them.

The night before the release, I’m on this Google Hangout that’s being streamed. Lord British brought up the game because I had told them about it before. Lord British logs into the BBS on the Google Hangout, and, dude, my computer … I got like a hundred calls instantly. This legion of geeks, man, just came on the BBS and the game didn’t work. It was crashing everywhere. I was like “AWWW! The moment! That was my moment and I wasn’t ready!” I stayed up all night trying to solve this thing.

All of a sudden I think, “Wait a minute. What was the last thing you put in? It didn’t crash.” It was Camp Crystal Lake. So I took it out, and the game worked. I was like “Fuck, I’m launching without Camp Crystal Lake. I’ll run it as a separate module and I’ll work on it until it’s fixed.” That’s what ended up happening. When the Lord British logged on, and all of these dudes, it just maxed all the nodes out, and I’d never seen anything like that happen. I was like “I blew it!”

That’s gotta be thrilling, though, having people coming and giving it a shot. That’s awesome.

Man, it is. And it’s funny because you were … I think the first time you ever came on my radar was with ‘Doubles’, because I was trying to install that on my Synchronet board before I switched to Wildcat. I thought “Somebody’s gotta be writing new games.” So I googled “new games.” And I had been playing that 2048 game on my phone, and I was like, “Somebody did this! That’s genius!” So I downloaded it. … But I’m not good at Javascript. That’s part of why I’m stuck working in this format. It really speaks to me. I can do VisualBasic and BASIC and cruise through it. But C++ and Javascript, I’m still complete noob. Any time I tried figure out how to get Doubles or Synchronet to work, I got lost. Just completely lost.

But you were on my radar really early because of that. Then I ran across the Break Into Chat thing.

You know, the Electric Dreams podcast seemed so exciting to me, and I wanted my BBS to be an official distro site and all this, but it seems like it’s crashed and he’s not really doing it again.

He had a really great start. The first episodes Mike did sounded pretty good, but I think he got into it and underestimated the amount of work that would be required. And he had new demands. That’s how it usually goes in retrocomputing. There’s always something in life that keeps from you being able to spend the time you’d like to.

I love the retrocomputing thing, man. I’m on Reddit, on /r/retrobattlestations. I’m on mechanical keyboards, I’m a nut over that stuff.

I’ve found myself collecting over the last couple years. I have a Tandy 1000 HX, a CoCo 3, an Apple IIe, a Spectrum ZX. I have gotten them at great deals over time. I love messing with them. I’ve got a [Roland] MT32 module in my 486. I can play Monkey Island the way it was supposed to sound and look and stuff.

I saw a picture of your mechanical keyboard on Reddit. It was pretty sweet looking.

Aw, my Poker. That’s the little one with the robot faces on it.

Yeah. A pink key and a green key and stuff.

Yeah, man. The keycap thing is like an addiction. That Poker is the best keyboard ever built. It’s amazing. It’s aluminum. You can carry it with you because it has no arrow keys or anything. I put those little robots so my fingers could feel the W and the I. When I was coding, if I wanted to use the arrow keys, I had to hold down function and the up-arrow key was the I. The other finger was for like gaming, for the W. I have a different computer upstairs with a backlit keyboard. That looks cool, but that Poker is my favorite for everything: gaming, coding, typing. It just feels awesome and it’s heavy duty.

All that stuff is fun and the more I dig into it, the more I want to keep digging into it. I want to find new ways to draw people back into that BBS world. There’s a million experiments that have not been done. For instance, you could build a Bitcoin block chain backup with the Fidonet, where every transaction is distributed over a network like that. People in countries where the internet is censored and Bitcoin is illegal, they could literally be getting the block chain through Fidonet, through dial-ups.

I think you’d definitely find a receptive audience of folks in the BBS community who are interested in those same kind of ideas.

Yeah, man. I just like knowing there are other BBSes out there. It feels like there’s still a light in the fog. I bought US Robotics modem, an external modem. I can still dial up. Some pretty different out-there BBSes that are out there. It’s kind of a comforting feeling in a weird way, you know.

Yeah, I bet. I got an Atari Mega STe computer last year, similar to the computer I used through junior high, high school, and college. It’s neat to fire it up and it’s the same comfortable feeling from when I was a kid. It is amazing to me the ways that people have figured out to keep these machines online, that you can connect one of these old machines to the internet and it works.

Yeah, man. … I ordered this thing for my Apple IIe, it’s called an Uthernet card. This dude only makes a handful of them a year. It’s so you can do Ethernet into the Apple. Then you use a CompactFlash card to put this thing called Contiki on it. Then you can literally do IRC and email and everything from your Apple II. I’m dying to be able to do that.

I just got a device kind of like that, called CosmosEx. Raspberry Pi-based device that plugs into your Ethernet and then it does a whole bunch of stuff with the Atari. It’s got a really cool app that they’ve developed that does screencasting over the web. You can let people drive your actual Atari from a web browser. They’re mousing around and double-clicking on hard drive icons and launching games and stuff. And they’re literally controlling your Atari remotely through this device and this app. It’s mind-blowing.

Man, that’s so cool!

Well, I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me. I’m excited about the game, some of the new ideas that you’re trying out. I hope that folks will call in to your BBS, because there’s still some beta testing time left. And that they’ll be there for when the game has its first formal launch.

I hope so, too. Right now there’s 13 days. Unless my friend just screws up royally, I think he will be able to beat it this weekend. I think he’s that close. When that happens, then for 3 days, [the game] will essentially be down and it will just announce that this person won. When it resets, if he wins, his character will be copied over into this other file which will be ready for whenever I do a sequel or followup. Anybody who’s beat it will be transferred over … So you’ll have the same experience when you play the [sequel]. That’s my intention.

So I think the game could start sooner than later. … But once I know exactly that we’re three days away from starting the real thing, then I’ll put some ads out there on Usenet, onto IRC, do some things like that.

And who knows. Nobody may ever beat it, and that may be the end of the story. But if that’s the case, then I’ll package it and give it out for free [for sysops] to install on their BBSes. Because if I don’t get traction, maybe somebody else will. It only runs through WinServer, [though other BBS systems could] use wcRun.

I appreciate you talking to me about it. As you can tell, I’ve talked to no one about this, so it’s been bottled up in me.

No, it’s great. Let me know when you do the launch.

Yeah, all right. It’ll either be in 13 days, or 3 days after someone beats it. That’s what I’m kind of gonna see. But I will definitely let you know. … And hopefully we’ll have some people playing it.

I appreciate the time man. … It’ll be nice to keep up with what you’re doing, too. I’m excited … The parallax scrolling thing is so genius man. It’s amazing that no one ever ever did that. I hope you finish that game or you make a couple games. Imagine what you could do with a space game with that. Being able to move certain rows of stars separate from other stars. It’d be really incredible. So, I hope you keep having time to mess around with that.

I really appreciate that. … I’m the opposite of how you approached your game. You mapped it out and developed a plan of what you wanted the game to be like. Since this is my daughter’s game, I feel like we still haven’t found the right story or world for the game. So I’ve been doing all these experiments to see what’s possible. Similar to what you were talking about: What can we do that is different from other BBS games that hasn’t been tried? Parallax scrolling or making an immersive, graphical, pixel-art world that you can move around in, almost like a regular video game. A lot of those experiments have turned out pretty well. Now I have to go back and do the part I didn’t do yet, and come up with a world.

(laughs) I get it, though. I crashed and burned three ideas before I said, “Okay I’m going to plan this out.” At the same time, it wasn’t until I looked at it like a puzzler in the sense that you’ve got go here to get the key to open this door. And I gave myself 20 artifacts and 20 items. When I started doing that, then it all kind of fell into place. But up until then, I did the same thing.

Well, thanks again for your time. It’s been great talking with you. Good luck with the game!

Thank you, man.

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