[GMG] Interface Zero 2.0: Kickstarter Thread

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Kodyax
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#21 Postby Kodyax » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:05 pm

And the kickstarter for this starts when?

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#22 Postby DavidJ » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:41 pm

Kodyax wrote:And the kickstarter for this starts when?


We're not going to begin this puppy until every little detail is planned out. We're also not going to begin it until the book is 90% complete and ready for editing and layout.

My deadline for finishing the book is mid-January with the kickstarter beginning on February 1st.

These things take time and I don't want to promise delivery on something until I know for a fact it'll be 100% completed on time.

Until then, I'll continue to talk about this and show you guys where thing are and what we've got planned.
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#23 Postby Kodyax » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:53 pm

I'll make a note of it.

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#24 Postby DavidJ » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:13 pm

sorry about the delay.

I'm just not interested in setting myself up to fail.
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#25 Postby Kodyax » Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:13 pm

Quite understandable, if anything it gives me a rest from projects to distract me.

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#26 Postby DavidJ » Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:59 am

Here's an update for the upcoming "Interface Zero 2.0: Full Metal Cyberpunk" Kickstarter.

I'm pleased to announce Ed Greenwood will be doing a Novella set in the IZ universe as one of our Stretch goals!
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#27 Postby Ringer » Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:58 am

OK, that is pretty cool.

Good choice to have the book just about ready to go before you begin the kickstarter. this was recently done by Reality Blurs with tremulus, and I can say with great satisfaction that within 2 weeks of ending, i have a PDF of the game.

Delivering in a successful manner is key. Just keep updating us, to keep the fires going!

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#28 Postby Jux » Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:30 pm

thurak wrote:No name for this beast yet. but he's a badass.

Balls of steel.

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#29 Postby Kodyax » Sat Oct 20, 2012 3:25 am

thurak wrote:Here's an update for the upcoming "Interface Zero 2.0: Full Metal Cyberpunk" Kickstarter.

I'm pleased to announce Ed Greenwood will be doing a Novella set in the IZ universe as one of our Stretch goals!


Ed Greenwood doing a novella for IZ? Now that would be freaking cool! I definitely need to keep an eye out for this.

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#30 Postby DavidJ » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:12 pm

Just thought I'd share the forward for IZ 2.0 with ya'll:

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As you read this book, you're going to realize Interface Zero 2.0 isn't a traditional cyberpunk setting. It's not all about raging against the "Big Bad" megacorporate machine because they are messing up the entire world. Nor is Interface Zero 2.0 just another grim and gritty "living on the edge and celebrating the fact that you survived another run on a corp" type of game. Sure, those elements are welcome, even mandatory in the world as it exists in 2090, but here's the deal. We want Interface Zero 2.0 to be more than that.

We want it to reflect (however abstractly) the world you see when you walk out your door, or browse the internet on your iPAD. We want Interface Zero 2.0 to have relevance to the world as it exists now, and to do that, we have to draw from what is happening around us in the world, in technology, in culture, rather than rely on what was cool two decades ago. We must do this because the world we live in today isn't the same world my generation grew up in; the generation that gave us cyberpunk. To do that though, we have to ask ourselves "What IS cyberpunk?"

Or perhaps, as is more pertinent to this discussion, we should first ask "What WAS cyberpunk?"

I'm 43 years old. I was lucky enough to see Blade Runner when it first came out, and I remember watching all the movies that came out during that crazy decade as well, movies (and anime) like Akira, Freejack, Repo Man, Alien, Aliens, They live, Judge Dredd, Robocop, Road Warrior, TRON, Escape from New York, Outland, Terminator, The Running Man, Scanners, Total Recall, Max Headroom...

I could go on and on, and that's just movies and TV of the 80's. The 90's brought us tons of cool stuff too, like the iconic Ghost In the Shell, Dark Angel and of course, the sublime cyberpunk movie known as The Matrix.

Ok I'm starting to geek out here. Let's get back on point.

You can't write cyberpunk without paying homage to 1984 (probably the best dystopic novel ever written) Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?(The novel Blade Runner was based on), Neuromancer, Mona Lisa Overdrive, Count Zero, Johnny Mnemonic, Burning Chrome, Snow Crash (Thanks for turning me on to this book Sean!); again, I could go on and on.

The generation¬—"X," just in case you were wondering— that gave birth to the genre we all know as cyberpunk grew up under the umbrella of the constant threat of nuclear war. Politically speaking, the decade was largely about President Reagan facing off against an array of Communist leaders —Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov, Konstantin Chernenko, Andrei Gromyko (who was largely a figurehead) and finally the last leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev.

It's interesting to note that the first three [Brezhnev, Andropov and Chernenko] actually died while in office, and under Gorbachev's leadership, the Soviet Union finally collapsed. That's a decade of political instability in what—at that point in time—was a formidable-yet-declining nuclear superpower going bankrupt from both an insane "M.A.D.-spawned" arms race and a costly (and ultimately unsuccessful) war in Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen.

The counter-culture of the Eighties reflected this geo-political drama, not only in the afore-mentioned movies and literature, but also in the music and even fashion trends. Punk Rock, Hard Core, Blue Mohawks, loud, gawdy, shredded apocalyptic "war" fashion (SPIKED CLOTHING BABY!) and apocalyptic culture fused into this aggressive beast dominated by tribes of youth labeling themselves Punks, MOD's, Thrashers, Skaters, Straight-Edger's, Rockers—and believe me when I tell you this is just a sampling of the monikers we embraced in that decade.

And let us not forget the computer geeks, or Nerds, as they were more commonly known back then. While popular culture mocked and reviled these young men and women with their taped-together glasses, their MENSA-level IQ's, their pocket protectors and general lack of any muscular definition, they were quietly building the world in which we now find ourselves (between the swirlies and the time spent in their school lockers of course).

So from a cultural viewpoint, the "punk" in cyberpunk—in my humble opinion—is firmly rooted in the geo-political atmosphere and various media of the 80's, though it could be argued one could (and perhaps should) go back as far as the works of George Orwell, or Aldus Huxley to really see the "proto-genre," if you will.

Of course, cyberpunk isn't cyberpunk without advanced technologies like cybernetics and especially computers. It could be argued that computers didn't really become truly popular on a global scale until right around 1996-1998 when the Internet exploded into public consciousness with the dot com bubble, but here's the thing. I don't care what Al Gore says, he didn't invent the internet. It's been around since the 1960's.

But I digress.

In 1982 the movie TRON took viewers inside the machine and revealed a virtual world filled with AI's, glittering data lines and Intrusion Countermeasures that made Kevin Flynn—the main character—play gladiator 'esque games where death was very real; but always remember that William Gibson did it first.

Johnny Mnemonic, Burning Chrome, and later the quintessential sprawl trilogy—Neuromancer, Mona Lisa Overdrive and Count Zero¬—hardwired cyberpunk into the consciousness of film makers, readers and writers—especially rpg writers—over the next two and a half decades, which brings me to the next thing I want to talk about; cyberpunk games.

We've seen numerous cyberpunk-styled rpgs over the years. R. Talsorian Games brought us Cyberpunk 2020 and other iterations of the game, FASA created Shadowrun, Steve Jackson Games published GURPS Cyberpunk, and Iron Crown Enterprises also published Cyberspace. In their own way all of them perfectly captured the feel and tone of the '80's cyberpunk scene. Most recently, Eclipse Phase has brought us a very unique look at life in the solar system—very cyberpunk, very transhuman, very cool. Of these, I have to say that Shadowrun has been the most inspiring to me as a writer and a gamer.

Shadowrun is this perfect synthesis of magic, man and machine, with transhuman elements in the form of easily identifiable fantasy icons; dwarves, elves, orcs, and trolls being the primary "meta-human" concepts available for play in 2074 (2050 in the First edition of the book). For me, Shadowrun set the bar in terms of what I wanted to try and achieve with Interface Zero, not in terms of plot or races, or even concepts like hacking, cyberware and magic, but in terms of "Cool."

Shadowrun is just cool.

I'm not going to go into all the reason why the RPG is so cool. I don't have enough space and I suspect many of you are already familiar with the game, so I'd be preaching to the choir anyhow. But as cool as Shadowrun and all the other cyberpunk games that surfaced in the latter half of the '80s and early '90s are, every one of them are firmly rooted in that gloriously decadent, wild decade of sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Don't get me wrong, that's not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination. We're talking about games that broke ground in the industry, games that made not only cyberpunk a great genre to play in, but also made it cool to play modern and postmodern rpgs in general. Don't think I'm bashing them, because I'm not. I love them. It's just that I believe Interface Zero 2.0 isn't entirely about what cyberpunk WAS; it needs to be about what cyberpunk IS, and perhaps even what it WILL become. Which brings me back to the first (albeit modified) question I asked:

What IS cyberpunk in the year 2013?

I once read a definition of the cyberpunk genre that defines cyberpunk as " High tech and Low life." It's a good, simple statement that really says nothing at all about the heart of the genre, but just defines the two terms which comprise the name "cyber [high tech] and punk [low life].

"High tech and Low life" are simply trappings, salad dressing to give the genre flavor. In my opinion, cyberpunk is so much more than just technology and life in the gutter, but if we must condense the entire genre into a simple phrase, I ask that you consider this one:

Cyberpunk is freedom vs. control.

Now here's a longer definition.

Cyberpunk is the power of social media. It's no longer being wired into the machine, but having the machine exist all around you in the form of Cloud Networks that, via GPS and wireless technologies, allow you to access your Facebook page, or Twitter account, or your YouTube channel from almost anywhere. It's families texting at the dinner table rather than talking.

Cyberpunk is touch screen technology and powerful computers so small you can carry them around in a backpack, or your purse.

Cyberpunk is babies playing with iPads and not understanding how "dead tree" magazines and books work. It's the irony that you express your individuality using the same mediums as everyone else.

Cyberpunk is reading this book on your favorite electronic reading device which you purchased with digital money.

Cyberpunk isn't tattoos, because everyone has tattoos. It's not dyed hair, because everyone (at least the cool ones) has dyed hair. Nor is it punk rock, or heavy metal, shock rock or any other type of music with a mineral theme. Cyberpunk is Hip Hop, corn rows, bandana masks, wearing your pants down around your ankles, Techno-music, Thug Life, flash mobs and raves. It's custom made grills for your teeth, extreme body piercing, branding, bone grafts and other forms of scarification.

Cyberpunk is the mind-numbing irony of "reality" television, the strange social relevance of Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton and Snooky. It's even about super stars like Justin Beiber and Lady Gaga.

Cyberpunk is Gangnam style.

Cyberpunk is about drugs that make you go crazy and eat people.

Cyberpunk is Fight Club.

Cyberpunk is a black ops team bringing justice to a terrorist and a measure of closure to the families of victims of terror.

Cyberpunk is a teenager so scared of being bullied, he feels the need to carry a gun to school.

Cyberpunk is WikiLeaks.

Cyberpunk is the spirit of a man standing in front of a line of tanks in Tiananmen square reborn in Occupy Wall Street, Occupy L.A, Occupy London and Occupy [insert your city here]. It's Tahrir Square in Cairo, Enron, the Economic Crisis of 2008/2009, the slow death of the European Union, Austerity and Quantitative easing ad-infinitum.

Cyberpunk is the war on terror. It's the so-called Axis of Evil. It's not open warfare, but insurgency. Cyberpunk is predator drones, stealth bombers and hellfire missiles, watching war being waged live in High Definition on CNN and the resultant desensitization to the violence. It's the privatization of mercenary groups like Black Water and conspiracy theories about everything from executive orders laying the foundation for a police state to the shootings in a movie theater in Aurora Colorado, and the Mayan Calendar marking the end of the world.

Cyberpunk is a meme so strong, it compels you to form an opinion on a topic you didn't know anything about five minutes ago.

Cyberpunk is the ongoing struggle for the right to live your life as you see fit, and the efforts of those who would keep you from exercising that right.

This is the world we're going to reveal to you within the pages of this book—a world that echoes both 2013 and the cyberpunk of the 80's and early 90's, because even though the world has changed, the beginnings of the genre are just as important to what Interface Zero is, and what it can be.

-------------
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#31 Postby ProfMarks » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:35 pm

I was sold before, but if I wasn't I'd be declaring....

Take my money!

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#32 Postby Kodyax » Tue Nov 06, 2012 4:29 am

Very nice forward, I am going to enjoy reading and trying to find a group to run this setting.

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#33 Postby DavidJ » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:52 am

Thanks guys.
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#34 Postby GlassJaw » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:25 pm

Sounds great. Looking forward to the Kickstarter.
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#35 Postby ValhallaGH » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:21 pm

A very interesting and thought provoking post. Thanks for sharing, David.

I'll mention that the 'sound bite' that helped me grok cyberpunk was from the relevant TVTropes page. Specifically "Transhumanism is about how technology will eventually help us overcome the problems that have, up until now, been endemic to human nature. Cyberpunk is about how technology won't."
I'm curious how you'd compare that statement with your post. The two seem to be focusing on different aspects of the genre, but there is also a difference. But you're a busy guy, so I'll understand if you don't have the time and focus for that comparison.
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#36 Postby DavidJ » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:53 pm

ValhallaGH wrote:A very interesting and thought provoking post. Thanks for sharing, David.

I'll mention that the 'sound bite' that helped me grok cyberpunk was from the relevant TVTropes page. Specifically "Transhumanism is about how technology will eventually help us overcome the problems that have, up until now, been endemic to human nature. Cyberpunk is about how technology won't."

I'm curious how you'd compare that statement with your post. The two seem to be focusing on different aspects of the genre, but there is also a difference. But you're a busy guy, so I'll understand if you don't have the time and focus for that comparison.


Interesting quote. Thanks for sharing that!

I'm not sure that I'm looking to make the claim that transhumanism is somehow a cure for humanity's flaws and cyberpunk isn't. I see both as somehting of a means to an end, and that is something deeply personal in terms of how a character adopts transhuman elements (by choosing to become a hybrid, or a simulacra), or adopts "cyber" elements, like choosing to play an android, or an AI (there's a bit of a difference), or whether or not the character gets cybernetics installed.

In terms of directly addressing it's impact in interface Zero with regards to the setting, the two elements don't have to be mutually exclusive, or contradictory.

For example, you'll certainly find instances of Hybrids or simulacra who have cybernetics installed in their bodies. Conversely, you'll find people who have no compunctions about hacking off an arm and replacing it with a metal one, but think Hybrids are crossing some sort of line.

I guess in the end it really depends on how YOU want to address it in your campaign. I'm going to paint in broad strokes, give you a framework to use both, or none of the above, if that's what you want.
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#37 Postby DavidJ » Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:18 pm

Also, I have to disagree with the premise of the author's statement-that cyberpunk and transhumanism are somehow two distinct genres.

They aren't. Transhumanism is an element of Cyberpunk, just like Technology, dystopia and the mega corporate influence on society are elements of cyberpunk.

I suppose you can create a purely transhumanism game, but then you have to ask yourself, is it dystopic, or is it something more like Star trek?

What's the hook of just playing genetically modified humans?

Will there by cybernetics?

If you add in all these elements, you'll find that you're actually creating a cyberpunk game.
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#38 Postby DavidJ » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:02 pm

I"m hesitant to post the links to this video series, because it has some similarities to one of the metaplots I've been working on for IZ 2.0, BUT that said, it's like these people hijacked my brain and I can't help but share this with you, because this isn't just reminiscent of how a Tendril Access processor works in the game, it IS the Tendril Access Processor (albeit named differently).

http://hplusdigitalseries.com/
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#39 Postby Jux » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:33 am

My money! Do you have it!?

thurak wrote:What IS cyberpunk in the year 2013?


Cyberpunk is being more worried about losing your google account than losing your passport.

Cyberpunk is the feeling of solitude among 500 FB friends.

Cyberpunk is the need to take a photo of yourself in cool trip/event/party to pimp your FB profile.

Cyberpunk is e-sports, the fact that Starcraft 2 is national sport in South Korea.
Last edited by Jux on Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:20 am, edited 2 times in total.

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#40 Postby DavidJ » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:07 am

Jux wrote:My money! Do you have it!?

thurak wrote:What IS cyberpunk in the year 2013?


Cyberpunk is being more worried about losing your google account than losing your passport.

Cyberpunk is the feeling of solitude among 500 FB friends.

Cyberpunk is the need to take a photo of yourself in cool trip/event/party to pimp one's FB.

Cyberpunk e-sport, the fact that Starcraft 2 is national sport in South Korea.


Good ones!

I'd totally forgotten about "E-sports."
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