Tuesday, December 30, 2014

WIN the entire audiobook series of So Say the Waiters

Want to win 24 hours of audiobooks? That's right, a whole damn day of books. All three So Say the Waiters audiobooks. All you have to do is post this link to Facebook: 


and email me to let me know you did it. Do this before January 15th and you'll be entered to win $60 worth of So Say the Waiters. Awesome, right?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

a Serial set in Baltimore

Strangely enough, this Baltimore set serial was written a mile away from where Serial's story takes place. Episode one came out in September 2012. This serial doesn't have murder or drugs or anything that Baltimore is stereotypically known for. In fact, it celebrates Baltimore's art and music scenes as well as the 12 O'Clock Boyz, one of the city's wildest subcultures.

Get most of it for free here (eBook):



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

TICKLE TORTURE - Iraq constraint poem - 2005

Originally written and designed in 2005, this map of Iraq was an interactive prose poem. You could click on the provinces and a pop-up poem would be accompanied with the image below. Each province had a poem and an image. To make Tickle Torture complete, I used the name of the province as a constraint in the poems. Each word begins with the letters of the province's name and they repeat until the poem ends:


"acrid legislation again nauseates bachelors and rabble-rousers across lands afar..." 
I wanted to juxtapose images of domesticity with the violent text to show America's apathy towards the human rights violations in Iraq. It was important that these photos mimicked the compositions of the photos that were taken at Abu Ghraib -- pig piles, horsing around, force feeding, and humiliation. Reading the poems now, they seem insane. But I think I was writing from an almost insane perspective. The Coalition was acting in such an inhuman way that I we, as a country, were collectively ill.

This was a year after the sieges of Fallujah which lead to me writing Falcons on the Floor and MLKNG SCKLS.


overwhelmed by a powerful minority in AL-ANBAR

acrid legislation again nauseates bachelors and rabble-rousers across lands afar. Notice barbaric admirals racing aeronautics, launching able-bodied national boys afire, rocket adorned limbs acrobatic northward. Bartenders and repairmen lock and noggin before about-face registration after longsuffering abysmal nightshifts behind archenemy radars. All lame-duck ambassadors negotiate barbarically, abbreviated notations barking at radio announcers, legions anchored near broadcasting affiliates robbing all liberty. Answer no back and river a lie, auspicious Natalie books a room and lights another Newport, bathes and rests as lavender air necklaces ballroom audiences, roaring applause loosen ancient networks. Barely alive, republican and liberals astonish news barons and retired anchors

trounced by youths in BADILONIA

both adolescents darted in, lewd, ornery, naked in army blazers. Armed dandelions ill-treating landowners on night interrogation amiss bastardizing apes dillydallying inflated Legos, opening napes indulgent and bleeding. Anacondas dangle imps loincloth off nearly italicized anuses, bondages adhere dads insecure, leaning over negotiations illegal almost. Barnyard antics do ill, leave organs nearly iconoclastic and badly assaulted, damaged internally like open naves. I’ve analyzed brats after deathblows inserted lovingly on nude inmates, allowed bankrupt anecdotes dagger immunity, lancing opposition nebulas ideology agape. Both adulterated daughters incised letters over nibbled insurgent, abracadabra bad Aladdin, don’t imitate lessons observed. Natalie imitated a bastard and deliberately investigated lampshades, opened naked in armored burkas and didn’t initially let Orin know, implied allegiance, bagged a doozy immoral leech

BAGHDAD, a hotbed for bad guys

baby’s-breathe and gasoline have Dinar accelerating downward, bet all gamecocks helplessly. Doodle aggressive, dangerous bids against heehaw dolts avenging daddy. Begrudge acculturation, God head deities attack downtowns, bridges and grandiose hotels, decimate attractive districts, bombard ambassador’s gaudy harems. Deacon assigned, do bazooka anti-ballistic gallstones halfcocked, directed at dictators baroque and gangly, hanky-panky dudes across dudes, bodies abed gratuitous heads, diptychs as dialog bids “adieu good hero!” Deficits add defense bills and go headstrong, defiling Allah’s daughters, bellyaching annoyingly, “gosh her demeanor ain’t damsel”, boring and grouchy Heathers dodging able-bodied drafts because army galleons head death and dames belong at gated homelands

horseplay in a BASORA Howard Johnson

brawny armadas sashay over ranges and bound across sororities of rose-colored alley. Bloody alamedas surge onward, rouse amassments, boys aiming sabers, ordinary rebels aching beliefs among sisters. Orin ransacked abominable Baghdadians and suffocated opinions, rammed Adam’s beefcake apples, suppressed oral ritual aglow, battered accomplices (so oppressively) rightwing architects boasted alarm. Sorrowful Orin raucously acclaimed, “bastards, amoral Shiites, ostracized rebels all bow, acropolis surrenders, oxblood running aqueducts bleed as syrupy oxide!” Renegades always bounce at signs of retreat, a bomber attaches sizzling oysters, rifles at bureaucrats and storms orthodontists rented asylums, blast apart storefronts, offices, rheumatic apartment buildings. Apostils (so ornate) run away, Baghdad afire so Orin runs after, bayonets another soldier

unidentifiable bodies in DAHUK, stray dogs & no food

difficult axis, hidden underbelly kicked dirty angle, he urinated kazoos despite able husky urbane kidneys, drizzled almond hurl, upchucked knots dipped abnormal hunks. Understand, kids don’t allow humans ultimate kinetic damnation, adolescents hang unabashed killers, deglove appendages, husk up knickers dermis and heckle unsuspected kinder. Dastardly amateurs have unrestricted karate duels, dance around haggard urchins, knuckle down aggressive Hamas uprisings. Known deaths are hidden, umpteen Kremlins debunked and hurry-scurry kerosene dribbled Acura hollows urban Koran dormrooms. AWOL hushpuppies, unarmed knockabouts dissert armaments, happily underhand Kodak debauchery and howl “uncle!”

no hotel to be found in DI QAR

David initiated quiet air raids, deadeye Illinoisian quietly aiming remote darts into quads and rooftops, detonating improvised quakes around rotundas decamping immigrants. Quixotic avatars ramble delirious, imagine quarterbacks arriving, recruits dropped, impacted quadriceps aggravating rural dialects. Interrogating quasi aggressors, rough David implied questions about remote diplomats imitating queens as rouge disguises. Immingling quick arrows, red-blooded David issued quadruple artless roundhouses directly into quarantined Arabs, daylights irradiated quizzically. Ancient rituals do illustrate , quartered and rightly drawn impastos, quaff airy renditions, draft illegal quarrels and rites disrespected invade quant auditoriums, revengeful desert igloos quiver

discontent among the natives in DIYALA

does ibuprofen yield amulets, lackadaisical avocado drowsiness in you? Angry, lazy, and drug induced youths anonymously lambaste archaic democracy. Invalid yoyo attorneys lecture at disorderly, indignant youngsters. Affidavits lie and documents yammer autobiographical lechery as debaucheries yodel, “Allah, let all determined insurgents yap at Louisiana Argonauts, dismantle idealistic Yankees and leave administrations dumfounded. Ignore yesterday’s alert, lynch Americans and damn infidels!” Your Advil lasts all day, into yesteryears as lollipop amphetamine droop irises, yaw apertures larger awesome diameter. Invalid youths, arm-less and diseased, injured Yorker adapting loose appendages, drag itchy yards across long all-nighters drenched in yogurt adrenaline. Lounging anxious dudes, intestines yanked and limbs amputated, don’t interrupt you, artificial Lieutenants aikido downriver, incoherent yelping accent languages abolished

the wounded, IRBIL

intoxicated rebellious boys influence legions, infamous renegades boast inebriated lunacy in rundown bars. I’ve launched incontrollable ribald bursts immixing lampoons, ignorant ruses, balderdash into laugh infusible. Rehashed babble inspires little, irony recycled births insubordinate lords inserting religious beliefs into livers. Injured rangers bubble intestinal liquid, ink, red blood irrupting, leaks informative rumors, ballads inciting linguistic revolutions buried in litigation. Instruments rocket ballyhoo, inspectors lodge in rubble, buildings imploded like inverted raincoats, biographers italicizing liberal

no hallway is safe in KERBALA

kids experiment, ransack babes and love all Kirstens, Erins, Rachaels, Bonnys and Lauras. Anglo-Saxon khaki elites relish barbarically as lesser apes kneel execution ready, bowing at laughing aggressors kicking everyone’s rhubarb, balls and linear algebra. Know-it-alls exclaim, “rejoice boys, Apaches lynched and kvetching extremists run blindly, all lambkill accomplished, kennel each rebel, bastard and librarian!” Kids ecstasy, roll beans and lick acid, knock elixir rounds back as legacy alumni knuckle easel refined beverage artisans, liberals are knapped excessively, republicans bang at lady’s asses, knees, rib bones and lapels, arms kinking evangelists rant Babylonian attractions loudly and keynote excitedly. Ramadan brings awakened linguists ascending Koran eureka, robed Baath allies leaf almanacs, Kafka encrypted right-minded bugs allowing little autocracy

hungry hungry MAYSAN

men avoid you, staying away, never messaging, answering “yup”, sometimes a nonchalant, “mmm” and yesterday saying “ah, never mind” All yahoos, smug assholes, negative misogynists and yuppie sexists alamode nymphs, mayonnaise young silhouettes as night molts and yen strengthens. Absentminded nimrods militarize armored yearlings, students and new medics airlift yellowbellies, sew amber napes mortared after yesterday’s suicide attack. Nibbling man’s agenda yawns satiated and no mouth’s appetite yearns so anorexic, neurotically masticating alien yoke, swallowing applesauce, Nutella, mustard and yellow sauces, Asian nonfat marmalades, yummy sour Anhui nourishment, Mexican avocado yogurts, salsas and naranja margaritas. Appointed yokozunas swell as nations, malevolent and yanked segregated, applaud nomadic militants

happy to have you in AL-MUTANNA

anglophiles lollygag months, uncles toss away nanoseconds, nix and assassinate minutes until time nicknames nine-to-fivers and neurotic nickel-and-dimers, annually annihilating life’s most theological aspects. Nocturnal nationalists, anti academic leaders make uniforms tight around new Napoleon armies, a little man unifying theocracies. Aunts nurture nephews and administer love, mothers unflinchingly toil all night, never arguing about lending money. Underpaid techs abandon networks, news anchors (aplomb lecturers making uranium tattles) arrest nobodies, neutralize adolescents and laser mosques until towers affirm nuclear. Numbskulls autograph amendments loosely, make upheavals totally Alamo, netting nettlesome anarchists and lowbrow media universally to amplify nothing newsworthy. Appointees amputate liberal mouths, usurp teachers and nullify Nietzsche accolades

NAYAF, I saw you and you was I

neighbor aftermath, you all-out falling naked, arriving yellowy and fearing nucleuses. A yearbook autographed feverishly, names and youthful amendments feature nerds, athletes, yahoos and freaks nervously appeasing yuppie American figureheads. No-good arithmetic, you and favorites (necklaces and yarn) always failing notebooks, armoire years and filth novelty, atom yielding and fire noxious. All your afternoon friends napalmed, archways yoked and fortitudes nebbish after yea-sayer arm frigates, navy aircraft, yawning, “apprehend foreign nationals, artillery young arcade fire, now and years after freedom!” Necking, apprehensive youngsters applaud fighters, ninja appareled yowling antipersonnel, Fidel nameless and yes

NINIVE party

no, I’ve never invented villains, evildoers, nobody ignitable, neurosis institutional, veiled enemies negotiating injustices narcotic. I’ve violently emptied nines into neighbors, injured veneer executives, needled infections, nuked invalids vaulting excrement, neutralized intelligent neoconservative idiots voting excommunicative. Natalie interviewed nicotine insurgents voicing expressive nuisance, innocent nationals interpreting vesper eagles, nitrogen incumbents nonchalantly invoking volatile explosives. Natalie’s introspection never involved very elaborate notes, internal networks intervened verbatim executions, nihilistically inserted nickelodeon ignorance via electronic news

food fighting in AL-QADISIYAH

automatons love quaaludes and drug intoxicated soldiers, Icarus yokels arson hash and light quaffed aerosols dizzying inoculated sons. Ill-mannered Yankees appropriate homemade apparatuses, lick quality acid disguised in sculptured insignia. Yummy anniversaries, holidays about liberty, quaint ale dowsed inebriates squeal illiterate yaaahs and hurrahs at lily-livered Quebec. Atomic deserts implode states, injure young action heroes and liquefy quartz appendixes, decompose intestine, soften impregnable yacht aortas hiccupping acrid Listerine. Quiche (anthrax dusted in suitcases) infiltrates yet another homestead and lieutenants quagmire a desert in shambles

SALAH-AD-DIN, crawling with the appalling

sovereign alliances liquidate and hostile antiheros declare death. Inebriated national security ack-ack long-range as happy adversaries detain delirious infidels, notorious sheriffs and locust ameba. Hallelujah and dusted disease, infants neck soothing at lounging apron handlers and dribble drool, inking nasty snot and loogies at headmistresses. Assassin dwarfs, dainty in navy suits, assault lips and heads, avenge dad, dig inside nose sulfur and livers. Angled henchmen arrive, delivering documents into Natalie’s suitcase and leather attaché, hearsay aluminum diskettes declassifying internal nodes so alleged. Leaked attachments headline all day, developed infectious negatives sail across lagoons, assailing horizons and Demerol democracy in newsstands satiated.

forced to feed in SULEYMANIYA

stateside universities lament, educated youths mobilize and network, initiating yes action, solidarity understanding, liberating everyone yawning motionless and napping. Institutional yolk and saucy urban language exclaim yards, miles and nations in yellowing anguish, swollen ulcer lips eat yogurt militarism and nude interrogation, yelping agents suture ultraviolent lashes every yonder Monday and night. Intestinal yarn and stomachs upchuck empanada yoyos, meaty albatross, narratives inside your appendix solidify, urns leak enslaved year memory. Aggravated Natalie immigrated yesterday and sat unfazed, left exercising yoga methods and nice insurance, yerba antidotes, safe utopian lodges, elite yachts, majesty and notoriety. Incubating Yankee armaments safely umbrella literary embedded younkers, maids and newsy interviewers yap apprehensively. She uses less, eventually yashmak masked and nightly incognito, yowling at soldier’s uniforms leaking extremist yuck


autoclaved teeth touch aluminum metal, incisors meet and tin topples atmospheric monuments in memoriam, abominable totems tremble as men ignite mortars at them, trashing and maiming iconography. Media archetypes tell tall apocalyptic misleading information, morbid accounts tickle torture audiences mesmerized in motels, apartments, twixt towers and mansions. In-between mouths, air transmits tabloid atrocities, message instant memos across talky telephones and mimeographing internets mail attachments that tantrum adult men in Maine and Tennessee, Texas and Massachusetts. Inert maws anoint tongues tapping at mammary italics, malleable amorphous teats, touching and massaging intelligent minds as theories terminate and mingle idealistic meat and tofu

just a taste in WASIT

white and satiated imperial teens, washed-up abolitionist savages imitate totally wasted animatronic soldiers, it’s their whatever attitudes soaked in Tylenol water and sashaying ideology that wanes Arab salutation. Information tasting watchdogs attack sitting inmates, tare wall-to-wall arm sockets, incapacitate tendons wiggling apart, snapping innards, taunting warlords and suiciders. Immigrants trade wampum and swap indigenous tales, waist armed saints ignite TNT widows and strap imploding totes while atoms sail into train wharfs and slam inside transit ways. Autos swerve, idling towards workplaces and subway inmates, tunnels wigwag and shutdown into twilight walking and suits imitate tourists, wordless and speech insipid

Friday, November 14, 2014

Free - So Say the Waiters

eBook 2 is free. eBook 1 is $2.99 for Kindle and FREE for Nook and iBooks. That's 600 pages for $2.99 or totally free. Go get taken

Friday, October 10, 2014

Shadow of Mordor - The Nemesis System will change the RPG industry

Let me say this: the Nemesis System will change the RPG industry
You won’t find a more engrossing open-world next-gen action game than Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. I’m having as much fun with it as Dragons Dogma, which is to say, a lot of fun. It’s got all the elements to make a successful RPG—upgrades galore, loot finding, varied action, good pacing, a compelling story—but where the real world-building begins is in the Nemesis System. This is one of the smartest and nuanced mechanics I’ve ever seen in a game. Other writers have described it before, and probably better than I can, but I will say that it adds a level of realism and player investment that I’ve never seen before.

Dying by the hands of an Orc that killed you before and leveled up in the Orc ranks (because of your death)… that’s humiliating. I wanted to hunt down that rhyming, spitting butthole-eyed toad and turn his throat into a sprinkler. In time, I did. And man, it felt good.
Mastering the controls takes a little while if you aren’t familiar with other fighting games like the recent Batman series. In about 2 hours, I was grinning with every beautifully choreographed execution kill. So yeah, the developers mashed up the best of Assassin’s Creed and Batman, blended together tried-and-true RPG elements, and worked hard to make this world real. What did they get? A hit. They hit it out of the park. I’ll go as far as to say that the Nemesis System has raised the bar and will set a standard for AI and new types of storytelling.
I can’t wait to see where they take this in the inevitable sequel. Hats off to WB Games.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

So Say the Waiters book 3 release party

So Say the Waiters book 3 release party
Thursday, September 25th 7pm
Baltimore MD

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Amazon.com Beta Testing Popular Discussion Topics


Because I am serially checking in on the progress of So Say the Waiters, I noticed that Amazon just launched a tool that organizes reviews by popular topic. You can see that “Characters”, “Writing”, and “Action” are highlighted in the screen gab above. I like this for a few reasons. A savvy reader will know what kind of fiction they enjoy—be it character driven novels or action packed plots. This lets a new reader filter hundred, sometimes thousands of reviews into manageable blurbs. Alternatively, it can show faults in the novel. Some action-based books have flat characters because the author is relying too much on plot. Consumers can quickly (or, more quickly) see if that’s something that reviewers have pointed out.
I also like it because I can quickly see trends in my fans’ (or haters’) reviews. It’s an effective tool for understanding your work on a popular level. The internet, if anything, is honest. Anonymous reviewers, as I’ve quickly learned, do not hold back. Hell, they’re downright mean. They told me that Henry is a crybaby in the first book of So Say the Waiters. They’re right. I overdid that part and regret it a little.
I hope Amazon keeps experimenting with features like these. They helpful not only to the consumer, but the content creator. I’d love to see what topics Amazon filters out, though. What key words will never pop up in the topic menu.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

So Say the Waiters update / TV option / audio book / box set

Wow, haven't posted here in a while. So, big updates. Firstly, the audio book is 2/3s finished. Midnight Treehouse in NYC is producing the entire series and I couldn't be happier. It's really weird hearing a narrator bring all of these (8-10?) characters to life. After listening to about twelve hours, I'm absolutely convinced that Pete, the narrator, is the best guy for the job.  
Book three is finished and with my editor. I never imaged I would ever write a 900 page novel, but there it is. I'm planning on publishing the last book of the series, book three, this summer.
Nolen Strals of Post Typography is drawing illustrations for the three covers which will essentially rebrand the entire series. That's exciting for a number of reasons. 1. I never loved the covers I designed. Book two looks pretty cool with the twisted tire, but people who aren't familiar with the series have no idea what it means. 2. Nolen is an old friend from college and a local Baltimore punk / graphic design hero. He's perfect for the job. Plus, his old band is mentioned in book three.
This brings us to the box set. All three books, now that they will be rebranded, will make a nice box set. I'm trying to figure out how to package them together in an inexpensive way. A zip-tie binding all three together? I don't know. No matter what, when all three books are lined up, they will look awesome.
Lastly, and this is the big one, I finally signed the final, final draft of the option. Word is, my producer has another high profile producer/actor on board, but I can't name who it is yet. This positions us to pitch to major cable networks with a good chance at filming the pilot. Keep checking the So Say the Waiters Facebook page for more info. We are already talking about who will make the best Dani and Henry.  

I'm also keeping the price of book one really low to get new readers into the series. Spread the link around if you have a second.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cat Hole (autographed)

102 pages / perfectly bound / matte cover / $9.99
most of these poems were originally published by Newlights Press.

The tattoo / underneath the tattoo / speaks the language I want to learn.”  Justin Sirois has always been one of my favorite living poets.  “You have / everything you need / when you’re naked”, I trust, I trust ALL his discourse with our throbbing excitement for communion.  His poems are our best possible use for ears.  If I don’t know you and you LOVE these poems as much as I do, let’s get together to read them out loud over a delicious slice of something.  “Lick the window / & your reflection licks back” is a delicious something we all love.  It’s important they know to have a copy of this book resting on my heart when they cremate me.



The poems in The Heads by Justin Sirois make me feel so many things. They are not “temples,” but “squishy” things that “I love to put my face in.” I like it that way. These are poems that are part of life, constantly affirming and reaffirming it. A life that greets you with its magic. As when "What fits in the hand/ grows into armfuls." Or when you "sex this bathroom until the bathroom ain't for/ bathing no more." Everywhere is the “imagery” of life that “repeats in heaps of beauty." These are also poems that are part of the digital America we live in now and so they make that alternate existence beautiful. I hear echoes of Walt Whitman, Eileen Myles, and Blake Butler in these poems. I hear echoes of old folk songs. Most importantly, I hear the breathing of an indefatigable in these lines. One that is living and listening. Let's follow it.

Dorothea Lasky


"When you realize the new Old Spice ads might be working on you, when you're trying to split the difference between desk jobs and shoulder licks, when you're old enough for raunch to go holy but still young enough for GIFs to go infinite—that's when you know you're in the LoS of Justin Sirois's barking and bounding poems. The Heads are singing to the super ugly animals that pace the medians. They are twitching to put back some magic. They are winking that the word "okay" is the most useful word in the room, and they are hoping to be together with you because the only way a head gets a name is when another takes it in."

Mike Young

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers and Falcons on the Floor

A literary critic and professor at SUNY Buffalo is writing an article contrasting The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers and my novel Falcons on the Floor. The Yellow Birds is a well respected novel with multiple awards and it was put out by a large publisher. It was short listed for the National Book Award and it got the PEN/Hemingway prize along with The Guardian's First Book Prize. Authors like Tom Wolf blurbed it. It has over 11,000 ratings on Goodreads. 

On the other hand, a small press published Falcons on the Floor. It had no agent or publicist. All the promotions were done by Adam Robinson or me. Although it got a lot of praise by magazines and journals and even Dahr Jamail (Al Jazeera producer and author of Beyond the Green Zone) and Alphonso Lingis. It received no prizes. Compared to The Yellow Birds, almost no one outside the indie lit community read Falcons on the Floor

From what I know of the article, it's pretty critical of The Yellow Birds. I'm curious to see what it says not just about the novels, but about Kevin Powers who is also a poet. I know these are two very different novels, but they do have similar motives.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

great review on 200 Books A Year

So Say the Waiters is the first instalment in a series focused on the people using and making the app. It’s weird, wonderful, and au currant, with a grimy window into the life of Baltimore hipsters.


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Baltimore Pratt Library's 10 most memorable reads - So Say the Waiters

"This is a shameless plug for a Baltimore writer, but I honestly had more fun reading this book than almost anything else this year. It's a page-turning exploration of loneliness in the age of social media (yes, really), a character-driven drama full of unexpected twists and a cyberpunk-ish look at life in certain circles of Baltimore." -- Emmett Buckley, librarian, fiction Department, Central Library"

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lou Reed's 'Perfect Day' Playstation 4 commercial a missed opportunity

As much as I like this commercial, I think Sony really missed an amazing opportunity. Think about the subtle and maybe not so subtle power it would have had if they chose two women instead of two men. This would have been the ad that everyone other than gamers would have talked about. It would have appealed to not only hardcore gamers (Sony's key audience), but to minority players. Women are routinely verbally attacked when playing online multi-player games. I've witnessed it myself. If Sony chose to give a nod to this marginalized audience, think about the appeal this ad would have had. Male players would be thrilled to see female players featured. Female players would have been surprised and empowered. Maybe it's time for Microsoft to do a counter ad with badass women having their own perfect day?


Ryse, Son of Rome would have benefited from this

With a melee game that is so concerned with armor and hand-to-hand combat, don't you think Ryse, Son of Rome would have benefited from this combat system? Imagine weakening woe's armor with targeted strikes instead of one boring and redundant shield thrust.

Name: The Aim Select Posture (ASP) Menu

Justin Sirois copyright 2013
Breakdown for handheld melee weapons

Single posture handheld weapons provide a limited range of attack.

Watch any film with a sword fight and you won’t see two people holding their weapons with two hands the entire time. And you definitely won’t see them swinging the same two or three swings over and over. Watch a third person game created in the past ten years and you’ll see what I just described – a stiff and limited posture for holding handheld weapons.

Although this mechanic has worked for a while, there is room for improvement. The Aim Select Posture (ASP) Menu is the solution.

What ASP does for melee weapons.

The Aim Select Posture menu (ASP) adds a dynamic dimension to third-person games by giving the player eight additional options to hold their weapon. Depending on the scenario and environment, a player will choose the best aiming posture to gain an advantage over their enemy.

By holding down the right button the game pauses and a circular menu appears, much like Red Dead Redemption’s weapon select menu (refer to diagram). This menu lets the player select eight different postures / angles for holding a sword, dagger, axe, or mace in one hand. Depending on the posture selected, the third-person camera angle pans slightly out and over the shoulder, giving the player an advantage.

Some postures include:
  • Right handed, over the head for striking the head for more damage or over shields or knocking off helmets
  • Right handed, over the right shoulder for striking exposed necks for beheading
  • Right handed, from the side for striking exposed arms, either damaging or dismembering
  • Right handed hip height for concealment or damaging / dismembering exposed legs / chopping tentacles 
  • Right handed below waist for jabbing to keep enemies at bay or striking exposed areas

 A balanced approach

Armored and non-armored enemies dictate varying game play:
Enemies with different types of armor will make ASP selecting crucial for making critical strikes. Smarter enemies will switch their own postures during battle to keep the player on his toes. Helmets, breastplates, shields, chainmail, and other armor types will make the game play infinitely variable, as players will have to study their enemy’s weaknesses.

Unarmored enemies including beasts will be vulnerable in different ways. Striking quicker, more agile enemies in the legs will be key to fending off large groups. Hacking tentacles might make an enemies bleed out making head strikes unnecessary. Jabbing certain flying enemies might be more efficient.

And of course, hacking through a horde of unarmored enemies after some tedious posture switching battles will be rewarding.

Switch it up:
Different types of enemies will engage the player at once. Knowing what type of weapon be it a quick, dagger or a slower broadsword, will make fighting more effective. Temporarily disabling certain enemies with low (leg) attacks, letting a player engage a heavier armed 2nd enemy will add strategy to the fight.

An important feature might be a regular strike button, one that just slashes. This button would not only deliver a medium "generic" attack, it would return the posture to a regular stance. When the play wants to select a specific poster, they will access the ASP menu. 

Level design will be infinitely variable as different waves of enemies (armor classes) engage the player. 

Critical strikes:
Powerful, over-the-head strikes will be harder and harder to accomplish throughout the game. Whittling down an enemies armor and health will expose their appendages for critical strikes. The harder the enemy, the more whittling, but that final head shot (decapitated, split in two, or crushed) will be the most rewarding points during game play.

Focus Mechanic:
A simple push of a button would slow down time and zoom in on an enemy, much like Fallout 3's "select fire" mechanic. This would give the player time to evaluate the enemy's armor and understand where to strike. The player can re-evaluate the damage the enemy has taken at any time during the fight. 

Weak vs. powerful strikes:
Like other games, there could be a weak strike and a more powerful (slow) strike button (A and X button). Coupled with the 8 varieties of ASP posturing, the variables double. Maybe an over-the-head powerful strike is slower than a weak over-the-head strike, but if you nail it, the power is devastating. Heads explode, not sever. Similarly, if a player is in a low posture for leg slashing and uses a weak strike, maybe it is much faster than a powerful leg strike. The possibilities are nearly limitless when applying these strikes to enemy armor classes and types of skins, scales, or fur.

Fun with armor:
Think about the possibilities with knocking off an enemy's armor. A critical strike to the head might knock off a helmet. It rolls away, but another enemy picks it up and wears it as he attacks you. Imagine knocking  a large weapon or shield out of a large enemy's hand only to have a smaller enemy try to use the same weapon or shield. It slows them down and makes them almost easier to kill. 

A free hand:
When using the ASP, the character’s free hand will be useful. When surrounded, a free hand can shove (using the B button) one enemy when the player turns to strike another. Picking up and throwing severed limbs or decapitated heads (that you’ve just cut off) could distract enemies and beasts. Knowing that a certain beasts prefers human flesh, you can lob a human arm into a group of beasts and attack them from behind. Lobbing a severed head of a human at an unsuspecting human enemy might scare them, making them drop a weapon or shield.

ASP will give player added agility and speed when a one-handed weapon is selected.

The ASP will allow players to conceal a dagger or small weapon by their side to stealthy close encounters.  Posturing from the hip will make the character turn slightly to conceal the weapon. This might be handy for around-town encounters or when trying to trick an enemy. 

Incentives and rewards
Throughout the game, players will gain experience that will help steady one-handed striking. Players will choose a weapon class they want to develop first, making them more proficient in small, medium, or large weapons. Switching between weapon classes within battle will be key which will make the game play varied and ever-changing.

Players will adapt
The benefits of different postures will quickly become obvious to the player. Players will adapt their own style according to their favorite weapons.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

buy MLKNG SCKLS (autographed)


Very limited amount left - Autographed
and you also get a free limited edition print by Connor Willumsen