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DragonCon 2013

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Aug 27th, 2013
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I will be at DragonCon for both Dishonored and Jack of Hearts!

“Dragon*Con is the largest multimedia, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe!  Held every Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, GA, Dragon*Con boasts close to 40 fan-based tracks, a film festival, Atlanta’s largest parade throughout downtown, an art show, comics and pop art exhibits and displays, nightly concerts and parties, bands and DJs, tons of costume contests, over a hundred dealers and exhibitors, and almost 4000 hours of panels, workshops, and gaming.” -www.DragonCon.com

If you are planning on being there, stop by and say “hi”.

I will be at the following:

Designing Awesome Videogames (panel)
Time: Fri, 8/30/13 @ 02:30 pm
Location: Grand Salon D – Hilton
Description: An all-star lineup of videogame designers, behind Dishonored, Unreal, Saint’s Row, Wasteland, and more!

Dishonored: Behind the Scenes (panel)
Time: Sat, 8/31/13 @ 07:00 pm
Location: Grand Salon D – Hilton
Description: Learn the secrets of the dark city of Dunwall from the talented design team at Arkane Studios.

Ricardo Bare – JACK OF HEARTS (book reading)
Time: Sun, 9/01/13 @ 11:30 am
Location: Roswell – Hyatt

Writing for Videogames (panel)
Time: Mon, 9/02/13 @ 01:00 pm
Location: Grand Salon D – Hilton
Description: A discussion of the dozens of endings and weeks of branching dialogue needed for this type of writing.

Jack of Hearts Lives!

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Jan 16th, 2013
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I should have made an official announcement a long time ago, but things got a little hectic last year. There was this little game I was working on at the time called Dishonored, and it made thinking about anything else really difficult. But now the game is finished and out, and if you’re a gamer I hope you get a chance to play it. I’m really proud of it and all the work the team at Arkane did. I work with some really incredible people.

So, what I should have mentioned last year is that my first novel, Jack of Hearts, is going to be published. That’s right. Achievement unlocked at last. This is something I’ve been striving toward for a long time. Something I dreamed of as a kid, looking for Tanelorn with Prince Corum, visiting the Silent Planet, and following the Black company among others. It’s been a long grueling road, put off for years at a time, and I couldn’t have gotten here without the support of my amazing wife, a cloud of exceptionally talented and inspiring friends (some of them fellow game developers at Arkane Studios), and extended family. You know who you are and you rock.

Jack of Hearts is coming out in the spring of 2013 and will be published by the wonderful people at Belle Bridge Books. Click here to read more about the book.

I realize that many things which lead to our successes or failures are beyond any one person’s control, and so I feel incredibly blessed and grateful.

One last thing. As you might know if you’ve seen the site before, (or know me) I like to sketch as a I write. So, here’s a quick sketch I did of Jack the other night.

He has no heart.

Writing Level-?: That dog cannot swim.

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Dec 13th, 2010
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The other day while coming home on the metro, my wife looked over at me and said, “What are you doing?”

Busted. Her question yanked me out of something I now realize probably looks kind of creepy. A little crazy perhaps. I wasn’t even conscious of how obvious it was until she called me on it: I was standing there, staring out the glass into the tunnel, talking under my breath, mouthing complete sentences. I do this a lot lately. Walking to and from work. Standing in the elevator. Sitting at my desk. I mutter things like, “Yesterday I ate chocolate.” Or “That dog cannot swim.”

Only, it’s in mangled French, because that’s where I am right now. In France. In the beautiful city of Lyon, the gastronomic paradise of things like quenelles, charcuterie-ized donkey flesh, and of course delicious regional cheeses. The game development studio I work for, Arkane, has an office here. I’ve been here for nearly three months, and will be here for another three months, at least. My family and I are loving it.

The downside: it’s lobbed a grenade into my writing routine.

Back home in Austin, it was easier. I had my own space to write. I wrote in the morning before work, or sometimes in the evening. I had a semi-consistent pattern. But here, it’s more like guerrilla warfare—hit and run sessions where I snatch 10 minutes here, a half-hour there. I have no fixed position from which to give battle.

Instead, most of my time and energy is consumed by the very busy (and tremendously exciting) phase of the project the dev team is currently in, not to mention the added strain of our family adjusting to living on a different continent. Then, add to that the fact that I’m also trying to learn how to speak the language. Hence, the weird self-mutterings my wife witnessed.

I’ve gotten to the point where can carry on basic, albeit halting, conversations with people. Afterwards, like a someone stewing over an argument, I replay the entire exchange in my mind, reforming the phrases I should have said, correcting mistakes, re-hearing the sounds they made to pluck out the words I missed on the first pass.

Because when a native French person speaks at full speed, it’s hard to catch everything when you’re brain isn’t accustomed to the way the language sounds. Where exactly did that one word end and the next one begin? Plus, French has this beautiful, but maddeningly difficult, feature called liasons. Generally, you don’t pronounce the last consonant of French words—that is, unless the next word begins with vowel. Then it’s like a combo-ing moves together in a fighting game. Game over for me. Here’s a typical encounter:

Work colleague approaches me and a rapid, unbroken wave of nasally yet silky sounds flow out of his mouth. Something like:


If I’m not ready, it takes about a second for my brain to go, “French! He said something in French. Quick—transition!” At which point I start repeating the sounds he made in my head. A few words crystallize at a time:

“NOUS allonzalahboolansherree. TU vuvanear AVEC NOUS?”

We’re going somewhere? You with us?

Meanwhile, my colleague is still looking at me, starting to register amusement at the semi-stunned look in my eyes that happens while my brain is furiously decoding the French signal. A few seconds later, I’ve got the message nearly translated and I’m about to respond, but he decides to have mercy and switches to English (because everyone I work with speaks passable to superb English, smarty-pants game developers that they are):

“We’re going to get some lunch at the bakery,” he says. “Do you want to come?”

Dammit! I almost had it! Too slow. But, I respond with a sheepish, “Oui.”

Okay, maybe it’s not quite that bad. But it is taxing. Just listening takes significant effort.

So, anyway, all of this is partially the cause for my recent silence on the interwebs. But the writing continues to make progress (in fact, I’m working on a few exciting things I hope to be able to post about soon), it’s just an irregular, lurching, sort of progress, until things once again resemble some version of normal.

Until then, Ce chien ne peut pas nager, mais il peut retenir son souffle pour longtemps.

Writing Level-Up: Near Successes

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May 21st, 2010
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Yesterday, Raphael Colantonio (founder and CEO of Arkane Studios) delivered a five-minute micro-talk at the Austin IGDA. Before giving his speech, he rehearsed it in front of some of us at the office. It was a great talk. Over the years, Arkane has had its share of successes. But they’ve also experienced some gut-wrenching setbacks and have had their hearts broken over a few titles. Depending on where you’re standing and what you value, it might be easy to look at their history and call all of those negative experiences failures. But Raf doesn’t. Looking back from where Arkane is now, he believes they matter. They are part of a larger, unfolding drama that has given Arkane valuable developer  experience, strengthened their resolve, and facilitated meeting some amazing people. So he calls them “Near-Successes”.

I think that’s a really healthy attitude and I think the same can hold true for writing. Went to a critique group and got your precious prose smacked around? Necessary Near Success. Had an agent tell you there’s no merit whatsoever in the genre you happen to be writing in? Necessary Near Success. Have a stack of rejection slips thick enough to stop bullets? All near successes.

From now on, every time I get a rejection in the mail I’m going to call it a “Near Success.” After all, if you look at it from a certain point of view, it’s true. You  may have seen the great A Million Bad Words post before, or heard about Malcom Gladwells 10,000 hours rule. Both great ideas that say you can’t skip. You’ve got to put in the hours.

For some reason I’ve always pictured a magician pulling an infinite stream of scarves out of his mouth, pulling and pulling past all the janky, ratty rags, until he gets to the bright silk. Weird right?

Whatever you’re writing, no matter how much you beat yourself up or think it’s a total crap-a-lanche, you can’t stop. Ride it out and write it out so you can get to the good stuff.

About Me

Ricardo Bare
Austin, Tx

Ricardo Bare is a writer and game designer living near Austin, Texas. Currently he works as a game designer for Arkane Studios, which in 2012 released Dishonored. Ricardo started his career in the games industry working on the Deus Ex series, winner of the BAFTA and numerous other Game of the Year awards.

Ricardo is the author of Jack of Hearts and Fool of Fate, the first two books in a young adult fantasy series.


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