Interview with game developer Mike Voit

Please note, that is interview was given for the Bloodletting.org game. We used In Character names for some of those mentioned in the interview to protect their privacy.

 

1.    What was the inspiration to create Bloodletting?

The inspiration came from a game called Mafia.org. Very similar with forums for RP and the ability to kill those that piss you off. That game has morphed into a game called mafiareturns. But the original is where the inspiration came from. I couldn’t code so…in 2004 I met Dracula when he came to work in Virginia. We were both in the Air Force and stationed together there. I heard he could code and told him about my idea. He was sold instantly and we started developing the game. Two years later after lots of planning, taking time off to finish degrees and Dracula getting married, we launched the game. In its initial format, it resembled Damnation a lot more. Mafia.org was a one character – one death game. You die, you start over with a new character from the beginning.

 

2.    Where do you and the team get the inspiration for details on the gameplay from?

I get a lot of ideas from other games I play. I might sign up for a game and it sucks as bad as you can imagine but they have one feature that attracts me, so I start developing it for inclusion in BL. City Searches idea came from a game I played called HoboWars and FC tributes came from another vampire game I played for a bit. Other times I just get an idea and bounce it off of DK. If we both agree it will work, we add it.

 

3.    Do you speak with other game developers for ideas? Are other developers eager to provide input on things they’ve done and tried to help you along in creating your own unique twists?

The only developer I have ever worked with is the creator of mafiareturns. He used to be the main coder in mafia.org and I pitched him my idea for BL back in 2004. So he drove down to Virginia from Jersey and sat with me for the entire day loading php and mySQL on my computer so I could get started. Unfortunately I have no skill in coding, so the stuff just sat there until I met Dracula later that year.

 

4.    What idea came first for the game? The gameplay aspect, or the writing? What do you feel pulls at you the most?

They both were worked on concurrently. The appeal to me for mafia was the interaction in the forums. They had some phenomenal writers over there. Otter being one of them. So when I was designing the game I was approaching it from both angles. For those that wanted to write and those that wanted to smash buttons. I myself, have a love for the writing aspect of it and I try to create an environment that foments that activity.

 

5.    How has Arctic Moon Studios, and the people of Bloodletting, changed aspects of your life over the years?

Well AMS for one has brought me a great friendship in the form of DK and Dracula. DK and I used to do a lot of Theater in Virginia. Me acting, he Stage Managing. When I sent out a mass email to all my contacts in email asking them to sign up for the new game Drac and I had just developed, DK was one of the first ones to do so. I soon learned he could code and as a player he started assisting Drac and I. When we decided to form Arctic Moon Studios, we initially asked DK if he wanted to be a part of it. He said no and we were rightfully bummed out about it. Just before we registered the company however, we asked him again and he agreed. He has become one of my dearest friends. I even performed his wedding ceremony. All three of us regularly get together for trips and talk on the phone.

Bloodletting is another thing all together. We used to do regular BL meets throughout the country and had the chance to meet players at them. Stalker and Tala Hemming became early and close friends. Stalker is considered family. He came to my retirement and my father in law’s interment at Arlington cemetery. Edward Broccoli (sp?   Lol..Brollachan) and I have a venture we are working on. Otter and I used to talk regularly but then he discovered girls and jujitsu, Bastet writes to me all the time when I am deployed. I performed Mackenzie’s wedding ceremony. But there are sad moments that come with it as well. Mallory Quarters we met several years ago at the very first BL meet. She became a dear friend to both me and my wife. We went to New Orleans regularly and always stayed with her. When I got the call in late 2017 that she had passed away in her sleep, it was devastating. It’s sad whenever I learn we have lost a player, and there has been a few. But Jen (Mallory) was like family to us. In the early days of the game we had a player use an exploit in the source code to kill all of the other players in the game. We thought that was the end of Bloodletting. It was a brand new game, up only about a month. Luckily for us two things happened. First DK, who was still just a player that assisted with coding and database management, had backed up the server only a few hours earlier, mitigating the damage. Second, Jen (Mallory) made to enormous donations to the game so we could ensure the security of it. Jen was a very wealthy woman who made her fortune as one of the largest pumpkin farmers east of the Mississippi. She loved to game and she loved Bloodletting. My wife and I loved her and we miss her a lot. So when you see her online 24/7, that’s one of my tributes to my friend.

The player behind Lisbeth has become a great confidante for me over the years as well. I know I am forgetting people but it’s late here and I am fighting off a virus. Please don’t be offended if you don’t see yourself mentioned here.

The player behind Smith, I consider a friend. I was actually able to meet him in England several years ago and have a few beers with him.

Shenanoska, an old time player is a friend as well.

 

6.   Do you read all the stories posted? Has there ever been a storyline so moving, it stuck with you?

I wish! I used to read them all when there was just a few entries. But alas, life gets in the way. I do try to read as much as I can. I don’t think I could pick out one storyline. Even the poorly written ones are amazing in the fact that someone at least tried to create something.

 

7.    Characters come and go. Is there any that you truly miss seeing their antics?

I miss the troublemakers. The ones that want to start wars and execute the mundane. I miss the mother out of the Platypire in all honesty.

 

8.    You’ve had to make hard choices over the years when it come to the rules. Has anyone ever really threatened you due to their own violation of the rules? Do you get ‘hate mail’?

The only hate mail we ever got was from a player that we were working on a lot of projects with. She was so involved in every aspect of the game. Then one day we received a very nasty email from her that to this day I still have no idea what prompted it. We responded with our own letter telling her that what she said was highly unprofessional and she shouldn’t have made threats and demands to us. That led to her, her husband and at least one other player quitting for good. She posted our letter to her so we posted hers to show we weren’t randomly attacking her. I truly miss her presence in game. I used to talk with her all the time via video or phone and she was just a bubbly personality. I have no idea what prompted the letter from her in the first place.

I have sent a threatening message to a player. The one that exploited the code. I sent him an email letting him know I had no issue driving to his house and beating the  **** out of him in front of his parents. I included his home address so he knew I wasn’t BSing.

Former players have posted unkind words on FB. But that’s about it.

 

9.   Over the years, you and the team have implemented new and exciting things for the Realm and its players. However, something new, and much bigger, seems to be coming for 2019; you’ve dropped a few hints to many things. Just how many things are on the horizon for 2019? Can you give us some specifics…please? Pretty please?

Houses are going to become more important. Potions are being developed. Special features and areas are in the works for the level 20s. Skills are being developed. One thing people have to keep in mind though, is that it is just DK and I really. I do have Smith assisting me on a project and Dracula has indicated he wants to get more involved. But we are limited in personnel and resources. If people want to see features roll out faster, they need to keep their Alts legal. In the past I haven’t been as strict on that rule, but when we had to make a decision earlier this year whether to keep going because of lack of funds, I had to get more on top of the illegal Alt situation.

 

Thank you Mike, for giving me your time and for all you do for everyone on Bloodletting!

The Worm Reviews Partner

the worm reviews

To all my fellow authors and writers, I’d like to invite you to take a look at a new partner of mine.

The Worm Reviews is a book review site, looking for books, both new and old, to read and gives reviews on, giving you all a little more exposure. The Worm welcomes ALL genres.

If you would like your book reviewed, please send it my way at beth.mcmarlin@gmail.com, preferably in a PDF format with ‘book review’ in the subject line.

You can also submit your work directly to the site itself.

Take advantage of this great opportunity. Its completely free, and can earn you a little bit more exposure and book sales!

 

Be sweet, my darlings!

Revving up for NaNoWriMo 2018

As always, I participate in National Novel Writing Month in November. I am even a municipal Liaison for my Region way down yonder in the South of Alabama.

This year, I will be writing something new. A collection of Short Stories, hopefully each story will be approximately 1700 words. That’s 30 Short Stories.

And as most know, I write mostly Horror Genre…or a little smut. OOO…good times!

So I have my space for my group set up with dates and times for those wanting to write in a larger setting for conversation and help with any road bumps. We are even going to have a pizza party on Nov. 30, and I am putting together a gift bag for our writer that breaks the 50k limit and goes beyond.

The last two years have seen the group gatherings fall shorter and shorter, but will organization with the library, we have been able to get some good TV, radio and other promotional things going.

I may do a blog a day as well, just to vent any frustrations, give samples of what I am writing, etc..

So, keep alert for more prattling from me, the Queen of Rambling!

Love ya Darlings!

Long Overdue

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Once again, the real world has sucked me into a whirling vortex of chaos.

Thankfully, things are starting to calm down…hopefully.

I have been lax on writing…everything.. My pen-pals are left wanting, my book, my rp games.  My brain is just kaput.

Other than that, however, my life is going okay. My chronic back pain is still there, but I have renewed my gym membership to help strengthen the muscles of my lower spine and generally get myself fit again.

Having a houseful is stressful. The step grandchild is going through some serious rough times right now, all due to the abandonment of her mother. She throws tantrums, she is disrespectful, she is angry. But, you cant blame her too much. I mean, she is 5 (6 this week) and hasn’t heard from her mother in two months. That woman just needs to fall off the world.

Its been stressful on everyone, but me, especially, that my meds just cant block out the squealing and crying and tantrums. I want to give sympathy, but when she acts out, I don’t want to in turn lash out at her myself. So I keep to myself in my office.

I have been watching a lot of movies of late. I found a movie site with a treasure trove of horror movies, however most of them are low budget. Some are pretty good though, despite the unknown actors and big budgets.

All the cats are doing great. All vying for my attention that causes a little bit of in fighting, but, they are my kids, so I try to give each their own attention and special treats.

As mentioned before, I am back on a gym routine. Its not just for my back…I have been feeling more than a little pudgy lately, and would like to get fit once again. I believe it will raise my self esteem greatly.

My writing is going no where at the time. And yet, it hasn’t really been bothering me too much. I had read an article of authors that spend years working on follow up books because of various blocks and obstacles in their path, and it set my mind at ease. I don’t have to crank out book after book if its not going to be quality or if my characters aren’t true to their core, which is my greatest set back at the time. My mind keeps deviating from Addison’s core personality and I am very unhappy with it. So, I have set it aside.

The significant other has been out of work for the last three months due to a partial knee replacement. Lemme tellya…so ready for him to get back to work. >.<

Well, that’s a small update. Right now all the cats have decided my desk is the place to be, stepping on my keyboard and sticking their butts in my face. Typical cat behavior.

So, I will sign off for now.

I hope all you lovers out there have a wonderful Valentines Day!

New Year with Cheezy Horror Flix

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So I have been ringing in the new year with some of the most horrible Horror Movies ever. I have a rather large list, but just today I watched this series of movies, Bad Ben, Steelmanville Road (prequel) and Badder Ben.

They were just awful, yet enthralling. The f/x were way laughable. The premise was hilarious. They characters themselves were worth a chuckle because the acting was so terrible.

The reason I stuck it out on these horrid movies was because I am a die hard ‘found footage’ movie fanatic. I love found footage movies. I have watched quite a few of them, going off of a list I found online. Some of the best ones out there, however, are subtitled due to being foreign films. I hate having to read a movie…too much chance I will visually miss something important.

We had a lovely Christmas and New Years in my household, and over this past weekend I got to meet my daughters future in-laws. They are great, and we will come together to build a fantastic family.

I have been trying to get the cats to take a picture of them in my carry on bag and duffel bags. Normal, they would be all fighting for who gets to sit in them. Now, when I want a picture of it, they are blatantly ignoring them. Little turds.

Things seem to be nice, quiet and happy here of late, and I am really enjoying it. I sent a bunch of mail out in December. Cards and letters. I got a lot in return as well. I love my pen pals. And my email buddies. Its nice to have more than just the cats to talk to, because they always turn out ignoring me to lick various parts of their bodies, or looking at me in that ‘I am cat, I am judging you’ way.

More to come soon. Been working on a few writing pieces here and there. Gaming a lot. We are at war, so that’s always fun!

Be sweet, my lovelies.

Self Doubt Runs Rampant

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So, lately I have been having some serious self doubts about myself and my abilities. All my abilities…as a parent, grandparent, partner, writer, artist…

It started in November. It just started as a small inkling behind the eyes…a small thought here and there. A doubt in judgement here and there, and it just escalated.

Then I was sitting here the night before last working on something and I thought…should I continue to even try? My book is far from being as perfect as I want it. My writing doesn’t feel as smooth anymore. I have lost many followers and readers.

Should I keep my Zoe Ambler persona, all the time and work. Should I just let it go? Should I refocus elsewhere?

I am feeling very inadequate of late. Its a nagging feeling that is bringing me down more and more. I can attribute some of it to the holiday season. I always get a little depressed this time of year, no matter how well things are going.

However, I dont seem very productive. Mind you, we are all busy this time of year. This is a big book time. Here I am with the promise of a new book, yet not producing the final product.

I have family things going on that I was not prepared for.

I just have to question myself on why I keep up with things when I seem to be failing and falling behind. Am I disappointing anyone? The answer to that may leave me in tears.

I had a dream. I have talent. I am squandering it, I know. I am just not finding it within myself to chase these things. I feel so very let down.

Perhaps after the holidays I will feel better…if not, some hard decisions will have to be made.

Take care, my sweets~

Holiday card time…

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So the holiday season is upon us once again. One of my favorite things about the season is receiving mail and cards. I also really dig sending them as well, because I find some truly entertaining cards.

As I often do throughout the year, I invite you to email me your address at zoe.ambler5@gmail.com, or send me your contact info via my ‘Contact’ page. My home address is listed there as well, if you want to just jump write in and shoot me a snail mail.

I have quite a few people I correspond with now, and more is always welcome. Sometimes you may get several letters back to back, sometimes I am a little slow. However, I answer all letters, and when I send cards, they are usually pretty unique.

So please help make this old hags holidays a little brighter and become one of my pen pals. You wont regret it. ~.^

zoe.ambler5@gmail.com

Zoe Ambler – 2300 Moates Road, Enterprise AL 36330

Love you guys to bits!

Sick mama, sick fur-babies…

sick kitty 2

Howdy All…

I’d love to be able to tell you all is right in the world in Zoe-Land, but alas, it is not.

I was taken down by a terrible stomach/intestinal flu for the last few days. Today is the first day I have felt remotely like myself. It was horrible though. Absolutely horrible.

On top of that, three out of six of my kitty cats are sick with upper-respiratory infections. Quinn and Baxter are doing alright, but Spencer, my baby, isn’t doing that great. He had a trip to the vet yesterday for some steroids, antibiotics, eye drops and a ‘Camel Hump’ (IV solution placed sub dermally at between the shoulder and neck area to keep the baby hydrated). He is not eating, drinking or using the litter.

Today I found the poor little man laboring by breathing out of his mouth and drooling horribly, so back to the vet he went. Thankfully, it’s nothing as alarming as my heart and head seemed to make it. He has developed a sore in his mouth, hence the drooling, and he simply can’t breathe from his little nose being stopped up, so that’s why he is breathing through his mouth. The vet said to continue with the daily anti-biotic, try to temp him to eat some soft food or tuna that has been heated in the microwave just enough to make it stinky (if a cat can’t smell it, they won’t eat it) and keep watch over him.

Jeffrey has the sneezes, but he also has allergies, so that may be his reason for sneezing. He isn’t showing any other signs of being sick. He is grumpier than usual though. Sid and Seifer are just fine, however. We are attributing their good health to the fact that they are used to being outdoors, and have heartier immune systems.

Yesterday marked the midway point for NaNoWriMo. I am working really well on my writing, my word count grows every day. I will surpass the 50k mark well before the 30th.

On a more depressing note, as a Municipal Liaison, attendance at the libraries this year is nearly none existent. In the whole month, I have had one participant show for an event. I did note, however, that participation in my entire region is way down from previous years. People who have not participated in the group Write-Ins, but still wrote from home or work, updating their word counts, are not even participating in writing at all this year. Donations are way down. I had a long talk with the library director this evening about it, and he said numbers for their events are way down as well.

I have to mention here, that working with both the director and event planner here at the county libraries (this county has like 5 libraries) has been wonderful. These guys are so accommodating. They have helped me since day one of being a Municipal Liaison 3 years ago.

We are sort of chalking up everything to being ‘2017, the bad year for everything possible’.

Gaming news…there really isn’t any. I have been avoiding my game for the most part because I tend to lose too much focus on NaNoWriMo when I try to do both, as they are both writing based. My little character is slumbering with her hubby, being quiet for once.

Well, that’s our little game of catch up for now. I’ll try not to take so long before my next post, and will keep updates on Spencer.

Be sweet, my lovelies ~

When things just don’t go right…

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So the past few days have been a little annoying for me. Things just don’t seem to be lining up right and running smoothly.

My fancy Antique typewriter? Well, I had many a plan for writing fun with it. So, the significant other and myself sat down yesterday morning to clean it up and replace the tape.  Only, said significant other is the type who needs to know all about the inner workings of things. He broke something. The typewriter is now useless unless I can find someone local who can work on a vintage typewriter. I think I found someone, I mean, he advertises typewriter repair…but what is on his web-page a newer examples. We shall see come Monday. Until then, I have been kind of giving Mr I Have To Know What This Little Piece Of Metal Does is getting the silent treatment.

My NaNoWriMo projects. This year, I am feeling overwhelmed. Nothing has changed since last year, I just feel stressed for some reason. I am also torn between plotting and pantsing. I mean, I have 15 stories and outlines on my external drive to choose from, but do I want to go that route, or do I want to sit down on November 1st and just start typing with abandon?

Online gaming. My character and her husband have been planning a special celebration. It is being done in both the role play writing forum and in a live Discord channel chat this evening. I have had the role play writing thread started like two weeks ago, and there are only 4 participants out of 16. Its aggravating. Now, some people in are group just don’t have time to sit down and write a long form role play segment. However, I have given ample time to just make a single post of their character interacting. Tonight, we will see how the live event goes. I will be disappointed, and I’ll admit, pretty hurt, if people don’t come and play it out, seeing as they gather for nearly every other event, especially in Discord, where we can have music and live talk rather than just typing. We shall see.

We are actually getting cooler weather here in the south. I admit, I am torn. I miss my heat, however, the cooler temperatures are nice. Especially at night because all the cats want to cuddle with me in bed. The downfall of the cooler temperatures is the bugs. Most bugs go die or hibernate or whatever…except roaches. I am getting crazy amounts of roaches and water-bugs coming into the house. Now, its not uncommon for them to get in in the summer due to the cow field and crops on this little back road. But, I am getting a lot more than usual. The moment you open the door they fly in. And spiders…a lot more spiders. Thanks to the cats, we aren’t having any problems with field mice…yet. An assortment of wild critters have been trying to get into the garbage can lately, like possums and raccoons, but that’s pretty normal. The coyote packs are bigger this year, and making all kinds of racket in the back at the treeline at night. All that I can deal with…except the bugs. Ew.

I have a feral mama cat and a single kitten that I have been feeding. I place food on both the front and back porch every evening for them when I bring my rowdy bunch in. I know where the mama cat is keeping herself and the kitten during the day, and for hiding, but I would like to bring them into a safer area, closer to the house, with better conditions. I plan on having the two men in this house build the kittehs a shelter big enough for both mama and baby, blankets and to keep food and water inside for them. Its just a matter of getting the men-folk to get off their butts and doing it.

Well, I suppose I have whined enough for now. My next post will be a review of a show or two I’ve managed to sit down and watch. Currently I am watching the second season of Stranger Things. Love that show.

Be sweet, my darlings!

Tats, Good Friends and Writing

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So, above you can see my two latest tattoos. I call them my zombknee’s. Mind you, they are still in their icky stage, right before the peel. Today, all I can say is ‘itch, itch, itch’ and ‘moisturize, moisturize, moisturize’. They itch so badly. And I had to wear pants today instead of my usual shorts because I had to adult.

However, when adulting, someone needs to speak up and remind me that that doesn’t mean I can get away with wearing a white shirt. Yes, said shirt now has a food stain on it. ~facepalms~ What makes it so irritating is that it was my final bite…right before I put my left overs in the to-go boxes. ~cries~

Said food stain came from an awesome afternoon with a wonderful friend. I had met her online years ago on the NaNoWriMo website Regional Forums. We didn’t meet face to face until the next year when I volunteered to be a Municipal Liaison. Since then, we have met, had Write-Ins and enjoy nice little sneak away lunches just the two of us.

We usually indulge in an Indian food place down in Dothan. I don’t think anyone else in my house enjoys it, so it works for me for getting a little variety. Today I actually tried a different appetizer and entrée. Go me for trying new things!!

Today I tried the vegetable fritters with two different chutney sauces, and my entrée was Butter Chicken. I usually have Samosas and Beef Biryani. I was pleasantly surprised with my choice. And my friend really helped me a lot, because decisions are not an easy thing for me when trying new things. She knows what is what, how spicy I should go, and explained what true Indian curry was. It was great. And we had great conversation. Always a good time with her, and hopefully she will be able to get back to her writing for NaNoWriMo. We both have been feeling the lulls in our work.

I am undecided on what I am working on for NaNoWriMo this year. When updating my novel page on the website, I placed up a book series I have in my head. Its erotica. Now, however, I am leaning toward a short story compilation of brand new stories. I love doing compilations. My only issue is sometimes I get sidetracked and my theme goes off the rails. I want to do a horror/thriller compilation. I have a ton of good ideas for that in my head, and it may be easier for me to focus on several smaller chunk stories than working on what will become a series of books.

Decisions, decisions.

Well, that’s all for now, darlings…be sweet!