Neal Stephenson, SciFi Author, Crowdsources $500,000 for New Sword-Fighting Video Game

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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