Did you know this is a good defensive posture? I didn’t!

Well, by the time you see this, the Kickstarter will probably be over.  It’s OK, it made its target.

I heard about this earlier– oh, Neal Stephenson is making a swordfighting game, that’s nice.  But I checked it out tonight, and it looks like it’ll be awesome.  It’s going to use a motion controller, starting with the Razer Hydra, which is $99.  I may do my own Kickstarter to be able to afford one.  They want to make it controllable by mouse/keyboard as well, but they judge, correctly I think, that this is the one application that actually needs fine motion control.

But they really had me when they talked about basing the system on the longsword combat described in the Fior di Battaglia of about 1420.  When researching the PCK, I looked a little at swordfighting– enough to know that most people’s ideas about it are terribly wrong, and that much of our real knowledge comes from a few medieval and Renaissance manuals such as this one.  So it was evident that Stephenson knows his stuff.

Interestingly, the actual mechanics translate well into a game situation.  You generally start in one of a small number of defensive stances.  Each stance allows certain attacks, and these in turn invite certain counter-attacks.  It makes a rich strategic system which nicely tracks with computer animation.  (If you want, you’ll be able to stand any way you want, and swing the sword around according to gut instinct.  You’ll get chopped up, of course.)

Getting the UI to model the fight in a satisfying way should be tricky, but it seems like they understand the challenges and I’m eager to see what they come up with.