Skip to main content

Neal Stephenson’s swordfighting Kickstarter fund has already raised $190,000

They say the pen is mightier than the sword, but historical fiction writer Neal Stephenson is taking some time off from his Bic ballpoint in favor of pointier alternatives, to bullish effect. The author of Cryptonomicon and Snow Crash is working on a new project that would bring more realistic sword-based combat to the realm of first-person gameplay. Two days into fundraising on Kickstarter, Subutai Corporation, the company founded by Mr. Stephenson to create Clang, an open-source swordfighting developer toolkit, has already received over $190,000 of its stated $500,000 goal and still has 28 days left until its July 9 deadline.

The Kickstarter fund, if successful, will be used to produce a playable prototype focused upon hyper-realistic hand-to-hand combat that third-party developers would then be able to expand upon. The initial game, says Stephenson in the Kickstarter launch video, will be “an arena game with lots of fighting – not a whole lot in the way of plot or character development.”

“But,” he continues, “that’s kind of what we do for a living, so we can always add that stuff in later once this thing is up on its feet.”

Despite Clang’s stated plans to keep its goals basic, it’s not having any trouble attracting the interest of investors and partners alike. In addition to its wildly first 48 hours of fundraising, cameos by Gabe Newell, co-founder of Valve (Half-Life, Left 4 Dead) in the project’s Kickstarter video, have hopeful fans speculating that Valve will use the Clang API (application programming interface) once its available to improve its already-popular Half-Life series.

The project hopes to play on the eagerness of, as Stephenson says, “geeks in suits of armor, geeks in front of computer work stations, a lot of people out there who like to play games with swordfighting in them who might be ready to step it up to something a little bit more interesting.” Or, as Gabe Newell is quoted as saying later in the same video, “Every thirteen-year-old kid on Earth wants to see a knight fighting a samurai – no, wants to be a knight fighting a samurai.”

Mr. Stephenson’s own passion for real-world swordfighting – which he discovered while doing research for his novels – is evident in the Kickstarter videos on the fund’s page. In one, Stephenson expresses his frustration that swordfighting games offer a fraction of the customizability of first-person shooter games:

“When we play any given sword-based combat game, we’re left with a glaringly absent suite of customization options… The obsessive attention to real-world detail, so interesting to people who play shooters, has been absent in the sword world, despite the fact that there’s a galaxy of real weapons styles and variations just waiting to be incorporated into games.”

Stephenson says he hopes because he is “nerd famous,” he will be able to attract support for the project and it looks like, so far, the nerds are coming through.

Lena Kim
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Lena is a freelance writer and reporter based in San Francisco and has written for various arts/culture and tech blogs…
Best Xbox Series X and Series S deals: discounts and bundles
Microsoft Xbox Series X and Series S game consoles.

The latest generation of the Xbox has some excellent upgrades, such as a quick pause-and-play function and the option to buy a cheaper digital-only option. Luckily, both the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are easier to come by now compared to when they launched and stock was low. That means there are a lot of great deals you can take advantage of right now, and, much like with PlayStation deals, looking around for the best deals will get you much better prices. To that end, we've gone out and scoured all the big and small retailers for some of our favorite deals out there.
Xbox Core Wireless Controller -- $57, was $65

Whichever Xbox you buy, you get a standard controller but how about having one that shows off some of your personality? Or one that means you can play games on the couch with your buddies or family. That's where the Xbox Core Wireless Controller is so useful. Available in many different colors, you get all the benefits of an ergonomic design with sculpted surfaces and refined geometry for enhanced comfort. Up to 40 hours of battery life is convenient while it connects via Xbox Wireless and Bluetooth so you can use it with your PC, phone or tablet too.

Read more
Best Buy deals: Save on laptops, TVs, appliances, and more
best buy shuts down insignia line smart home products store 2 768x768

Best Buy is always a great retailer to turn to if you’re looking for some savings. There are almost always Best Buy deals taking place on TVs, appliances, and devices we use to navigate the digital world. In fact, right now at Best Buy you can find some of the best TV deals, best laptop deals, and best phone deals that can be shopped, and we haven’t even mentioned the deals on tablets and home audio equipment currently taking place at Best Buy. We’ve rounded up all of the best Best Buy deals you can shop right now and categorized them for your convenience below, so read onward for some great opportunities to save.
Best Buy TV deals

There may be no better place to purchase one of the best TVs than Best Buy. There is almost always some huge savings to find on TVs at Best Buy, and that’s certainly the case right now. You’ll find deals top TV brands like Sony, Samsung, and LG, and more budget-friendly brands like TCL and Hisense are in play, too.

Read more
Amazon’s Fallout series is crossing over with two Fallout games
Ella Purnell in Fallout.

A TV show based on the Fallout series of video games debuted on Amazon Prime this week, and now Fallout Shelter and Fallout 76 are both getting new content themed around the show.

Free-to-play vault management game Fallout Shelter will get a new eight-mission questline. Playing through this quest will net players six new vault dwellers, including Ella Purnell's Lucy, Aaron Moten's Maximus, and Walton Goggins' The Ghoul. Bethesda is also adding other items themed around the series to the game, including a pre-war Cowboy outfit, The Ghoul's revolver, a wedding dress, and a Vault 33 jumpsuit. That last item will be available for free to anyone who logs into the game between today and May 7.

Read more