The cyberpunk sword-fighting techniques of Neal Stephenson

Posted by Shane McGlaun

Geeks who are into science fiction and cyberpunk are undoubtedly familiar with Neal Stephenson

Indeed, Stephenson has authored a number of popular books, including Snow Crash, The Baroque Cycle, Cryptonomicon, Anathem and Reamde. However, Stephenson's latest and greatest project has little to do with his literary works.

Yes, Stephenson now says his career as an author of science and historical fiction turned him into a "swordsmanship geek." As such, the veteran scribe claims he is disappointed with the way sword fighting is portrayed in existing video games and has started a Kickstarter project to revolutionize digital fencing.

The goal? To create a video game that will put the player into the body and mind of a real sword fighter - allowing complicated movements and attacks to be executed. To be sure, Stephenson is looking to develop a video game, specifically for sword dueling, called "CLANG." Supposedly, the title will kick off with a single weapon, the two-handed longsword.

If the project manages to raise the $500,000 it is seeking for development and production, CLANG will arrive on the PC (initially) as a one-on-one multiplayer dueling game.

"Dueling, however, is only the tip of the sword blade. During the past few years, we have been developing a rich world, brimming with all manner of adventure tales waiting to be written - and to be played," Stephenson explained.

"In conjunction with 47 North, Amazon.com's new science fiction publishing house, we've already begun publishing some of those stories, and we have plenty more in the hopper. Once we get CLANG off the ground we intend to weave game and story content together in a way that'll enhance both the playing and the reading experience."

The big difference between CLANG and existing sword fighting games, such as SoulCalibur? Fast and accurate responses. The game will apparently make use of commercial, third-party off-the-shelf controllers that can be purchased by anyone, perhaps leveraging tech such as Kinect for Windows or similar technology.

Of course, Stephenson's developers won't be the only ones working on the game, as the CLANG team plans on developing MASEs or Marshall Arts System Embodiments. Essentially, this will allow CLANG developers and third-party devs to create their own fighting styles. The project has at least 3163 backers, pledgeing $165,229 towards a $500,000 target. The project has 28 more days to go to reach its funding goal, which ends Monday, July 9.