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"Three weeks and no updates on Fun Space Game: The Game in Extra Punctuation? Mana Bar keeping you busy? I am really enjoying reading the thought process behind game design."
- Joseph McCain, via email

I kind of hoped everyone would stop caring, but since you ask; yes, I've been too busy to do much work on FSG:TG. I'm also getting a little bit bogged down in creating the model of the first Wheel ship. Probably because I'll have to do some more programming once it's finished, and nothing good ever comes of that.

But I have been thinking ahead, specifically about the protagonist and how to characterize him. Once again, the things we already know about him from the gameplay choices can fill in a few blanks. We know he's a pilot who makes a living salvaging junk from crash sites, so he doesn't exactly have a stable income and he's not too proud to be a bottom feeder. And we know that at some point he'll be willing to antagonize a huge, resourceful organization of armed fanatics despite having only a tiny salvage vessel to his name. So this all paints a picture of a man who has perhaps fallen from grace and no longer gives a shit whether he lives or dies.

What I'm reminded of at this point is Niko Bellic. Regardless of my opinion on GTA4 as a whole, Niko is one of my favorite game characters of all time. The GTA games have always had to walk a bit of a tightrope with their protagonists. Since there is a 100% certainty of players acting like psychotic dickburgers, the main character's personality has to contain the possibility of suddenly flipping out and putting a rear bumper through an old lady's pelvis. In all the previous games they took fairly easy routes: In GTA3, they just went with a silent protagonist. In Vice City, Tommy Vercetti was just an angry lunatic. In San Andreas, CJ was a fairly normal bloke trying to help his fellow man, and that rang most falsely of all as swath after swath of pedestrians fell 'neath his iron steed.

But in IV, they managed to create a very human, very relatable character who could still believably lose his mind. A cynical veteran; so jaded, so completely broken by all the horrors he'd both witnessed and executed that absolutely nothing could shock him anymore, not even his own actions. That really spoke to something in me. Either that or his sexy accent.

Yahtzee is a British-born, currently Australian-based writer and gamer with a sweet hat and a chip on his shoulder. When he isn't talking very fast into a headset mic he also designs freeware adventure games and writes the back page column for PC Gamer, who are too important to mention us. His personal site is www.fullyramblomatic.com.

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