Neal Stephenson (Cryptonomicon, Snow Crash, Anathem) is a hardworking man. In addition to not getting any of his sci-fi novels made into movies, hanging out at Google, writing some of the most fascinating nonfiction in print or online, and being awesome, he’s working on a project called Clang, a first-person swordfighting game, and he’s funding it through Kickstarter. As of yesterday he exceeded his goal of $500,000 with over 9,000 backers. And why not? Like most of Stephenson’s ideas, it’s brilliant.

Stephenson—a self-described “swordsmanship geek”—explains in the video above why he’s decided to create a realistic sword fighting game, in a gaming scene riddled with high-tech first-person shooters. And even though Stephenson admits to being only a “casual gamer,” as you can see, he’s deadly serious about the development of Clang. Watch him test several different medieval weapon designs to replicate the weight and feel of a real blade and create the intense interactive experience of games like Medal of Honor and Metal Gear Solid.

Stephenson and his team are making use of a cutting-edge tracking technology developed by a company called Sixense, which promises very low latency and “unparalleled precision.” The Clang team are confident that their tracking technology, embedded in the Razer Hydra game controller, will bring the thrills and challenges of Medieval sword fighting into the hands of fellow geeks very soon.

Josh Jones is currently a doctoral student in English at Fordham University and a co-founder and former managing editor of Guernica / A Magazine of Arts and Politics.


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