Letting Go While Holding On

Dear Insane Children,

Strange Days indeed. I hope you’re all staying safe and warm somewhere. Share your situation in the comments below. We need to hear from each other and support each other – now more than ever! 

Here in Shanghai, we’re OK. Our 14-day home isolation period ended on Saturday night. On Sunday, we drove into the city center. The drive from Qingpu to the heart of Shanghai usually takes about an hour – though it’s only 18km in distance. This weekend? It took us about 20 minutes from door-to-door. That’s crazy! I’ve not seen traffic (or lack of it) like that in 10+ years. The streets are empty. And the restaurant where we went for lunch… only had guests at 4 tables (out of about 50).

Things are certainly not back to “normal” here in Shanghai. 

What’s it like where you are? 

I Am Become Death

Omri started work on a new illustration (main image above) and I wrote some notes: 

I like it as a start. That Mercury symbol… is related to War and Anger. 

The arms remind me of Vishnu. “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

For the musical notes I recommend you listen to (and borrow score from): 


(Richard Wagner – Götterdämmerung – Siegfried’s Funeral March)

Götterdämmerung (German: [??œt??d?m????]; Twilight of the Gods),[1] WWV 86D, is the last in Richard Wagner’s cycle of four music dramas titled Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung, or The Ring for short).

The title is a translation into German of the Old Norse phrase Ragnarök, which in Norse mythology refers to a prophesied war among various beings and gods that ultimately results in the burning, immersion in water, and renewal of the world.

War is Chaos. War leads to Death. Death is Dissolution. Dissolution leads to Rebirth. 

Run with that! 

Let us know in the comments below your thoughts on Omri’s illustration and my feedback. 


Many of you are, like me, fans of Nine Inch Nails and their various spin-offs and influences. One of our supporters (thanks, Tom Resnick) brought to my attention that NIN just released TWO FREE ALBUMS of amazing instrumental music. 

Perfect mood music for our efforts on Alice: Asylum! 

And… the march of the pigs… 

In The Mood

Now that you’re in the mood for Asylum work…

I sent this email to the Asylum team yesterday:   

It’s taken me two weeks since my return from Thailand to catch up on all things Mysterious, shipping, and biz/legal/finance here in Shanghai. But I finally have a clear calendar and relatively open task list so… we can get back to work on Asylum. Yay! 

As you all know, the deal with (Insert Hollywood TV/film group) fell through. But at the same time that deal was going away, we got a note from EA Australia about another media company (REDACTED Productions) who are interested in Alice as a TV/film project. That interest also means EA (a different team from the one we’ve been working with) is taking a fresh look at Alice and the progress we’ve made so far. 

There are also some nibbles from the guys at Epic. And here’s news to explain why… 


For both the EA and Epic conversations, we would really benefit from the Game Design Bible being in a more complete state. In the time since we started fleshing out Asylum, we’ve put together tons of great art, design ideas, and story snippets… but it’s time to bring it all together into a document we can share with potential financiers and publishers. 

That effort has started inside this Google Doc: 


See the attached PDF for an example from Alex of what the final Design Bible will look like in terms of final format, layout, and content. 

The Google Doc currently contains a copy/paste of all the content collected over on the Alice: Asylum Wiki. Going forward, we’ll put our story, art, design efforts into the Google Doc – that means that work on the wiki (including Crowd Design) will pause for the duration of this phase. We need to refine and condense all of our ideas. That content can then be filtered into the Design Bible itself.

Already you can see that this provides a much more presentable format for our efforts. 

To manage this process, we’re going to take schedule and task guidance from Alex. He’s working on setting up a project management structure using Monday (monday.com) and invites to that system will be sent to you all soon. 

Omri will continue working with the artists to provide direction and to produce key concept images. 

Artists keep making art! ? 

While all of this is going on, we still need to feed the Patreon machine. That’s where we get the bulk of the funding for our team’s overhead. Art Prints are a big part of this – so we’ll want to make sure that there are plenty of Key Concepts which can be converted into Art Prints – the “Tea Port” illustration from Dario or Omri’s “Judgement” are good examples of this. A section will be added in Monday for this as well.

So… expect to see an invite to Monday soon. And then you’ll see tasks related to all of this appearing in Monday. 

These are strange days. But we are – so far – fortune to have the support of our Patrons and a clear mission in front of us to keep our minds and hands occupied. 

Let me know if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions. 

Now… I am going to get to work on some story stuff! 

That should give you (and the team) a clear idea of what we’re doing in the coming months. 

I’ve attached the Alice3_Book_Draft PDF to this post. And you can click on the link above for the Google Doc where we’re putting all this effort. 


I know I say it often but I really can’t say it enough. Especially in this crazy time. 

Your support makes it possible for a team of EIGHT People (Norm, Alex, Omri, Jen, Martin, Joey, Dario, American) to focus their creative energies on the Alice: Asylum project. 

You’re keeping the lights on at a time when so many people and businesses are forced to close up shop. We’re lucky to have a production model suited to this situation. But luckier still to have the support and trust of our Insane Children!

I am truly humbled. And I sincerely hope that our efforts and output match your hopes and expectations. 

Let me know in the comments below your thoughts on what I’ve outlined here. Are there areas where you’d like to see improvements? Things that are unclear? 

Tell me! I’m listening 🙂 

OH, Live Streams!

Yes, I know many of you are hoping for a Live Stream again soon. I will work on the tech issues related to that today. And will aim to host one on my Thursday (Wednesday in the US) at the usual time (around 6PM PST) … if everything is running smoothly. Expect an update on that as soon as I make sure all systems are A-OK. 

From Shanghai with Humble Appreciation, 


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