Category Archives: Fiction Inspiration

This fiction library details the novels that inspire our company, our game, and our work.

7 Books That Influenced Guardian

When producing any work of art as big as a video game, there are lots of influences along the way. Books, movies, TV shows. The cultural zeitgeist is always percolating in the author or game designer’s subconscious.

So I decided to take my brain out and look at which books influenced my thinking of our game, codenamed Guardian.

The Laid Series by Miller and Lee – Not as much for the colony level, but the idea of Scouts and Master Traders would be a much bigger idea in future levels of game. I particularly liked the idea that Master Traders are decided on by the other Master Traders. It would be an interesting mechanic to try and put into a game.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – I’ve already written a whole review of this book, which you can read here.

Reamde by Neil Stephenson – Fans of Stephenson may wonder why Snow Crash isn’t in here, but really our online world is very different from the Metaverse. It was the internal/external economy – and its real world implications – that influences my ideas of an online game.

The Monkeys Thought It Was All In Fun by Orson Scott Card – Really this isn’t a novel, but rather a short story. It is also probably the biggest influence because it has this idea you could build a nation in a game that could be so perfect it would have implications to real world games.

Tunnel In The Sky by Robert Heinlein. This book opens with our young main character at the earth teleportation hub watching various groups go through gates to far away colonies.  Teleportation gates used to create colonies that long predated Stargate.

Also the main character is in a colony leadership program at his school and the majority of the content of the book happens on his final assignment for that program.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – For game play purposes, we need to have colonists that want to go to space but are kind of wimps and will run away the moment things get tough. I always think of the people of the Capital when envisioning our colonists. They have all their needs met but are kind of useless. Now remove the oppression of all the districts and you have the home world in Guardian.

There Will be Dragons by John Ringo – At the beginning of this book there is a perfect society watched over by an all-knowing computer where anything is possible.

Ready Player One, Our First Fiction Library Addition

I can’t remember the last time I purchased a paper fictional book. I’ve gone totally digital for a number of reasons that I won’t go into here, but tonight, with much help from a friendly staff member at the Abilene Books a Million, I found and purchased two copies of Ernest Cline’s novel Ready Player One.

Ernest Cline and me at 2012 Austin Comiccon

I already own both the Kindle version and the Audible version — which is read by Wil Wheaton, who is the perfect reader for this book. Matter of fact, when I met Ernest at an Austin’s comic convention a few years ago, I didn’t have anything for him to sign. So I got a picture with him instead.

Why is this the first book added to the company fiction library? Well if you are asking that, you haven’t read the book. It’s an obvious addition and the OASIS is an obvious influence on Colony Manager. Just like how Snow Crash would be.

And why do we have a fiction library? Because of the article, “No Dickheads! A Guide to Building Happy, Healthy, and Creative Teams.” That was the first article I made my team read.

Interestingly, the things I remembered out of the article were the “wall of fame,” as I called it, where you print and post work people do in the studio, the cooking, the families, and the meetings where people can listen in. Stephanie remembered the books and the reading. She’s the word-lover in the company. I have little doubt she’ll be the first to pick up one of these codexes and read it.

If you haven’t read Ready Player One, let me include the words on the back here. It does a much better job of telling you about the book than I normally do.

         In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

If you haven’t read it, go out and do so now.

My 2012 Review of Ready Player One