At last! Steam pressure is up, tyres are checked and the velosteam is prepared for the Steam Highwayman’s third adventure, Steam Highwayman III: The Reeking Metropolis. The Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the illustration and publication will run from 7pm (GMT), Thursday 23rd January 2020, until Saturday 22nd February.

Over the next month, I’ll be revealing more about the campaign, including:

There’s plenty of time to have your say about what you’d like to see in the upcoming book, as I’m still writing it, as well as sharing your ideas about the Kickstarter itself.

So put the 23rd of January in your calendar – I can’t wait to share more of the project with you!

Want to find out more about what’s in Steam Highwayman III: The Reeking Metropolis? Head over to the dedicated page.

4 thoughts on “Steam Highwayman III Kickstarter Campaign Announcement

  1. Can’t wait Martin! It’s going to be great

    Just as a reminder to everyone else, I’ve called dibs on being backer no. 1. Thanks!

  2. This is great news Martin!

    I’m on record as having posted a rather critical review of SH 1 on the Gamebook News website. I wish the site administrator had gotten around to reviewing SH 2, because I would have followed up with comments that I found SH 2 to be a big improvement! The adventure felt much more streamlined, and I also appreciated the differentiation between different types of items and the resulting adjustment in carrying capacity.

    The Readers’s Companion was also a great help (perhaps you could design one for book 1??)

    A few constructive criticisms as I look forward to book 3. The map in SH 2 felt less confusing and cluttered, but there were still a few places that were either difficult to immediately locate, or had a contradiction between the original map and the player’s companion.

    Basically, when the text offers me several places to drive to on the open highway, I feel that I should be able to immediately spot them by glancing at the map and looking in various directions from my current location. Perhaps this will be less of an issue in a city-based location for book 3, but of course future books will return to the countryside.

    I also find having to locate a bank to exchange notes to be rather cumbersome. My own house rule is that I simply assume vendors accept whatever manner of currency I have- pounds, pence or otherwise.

    And a note about items- there seem to be scores of items available to purchase in markets, but many of them don’t appear to have any use for the character. I do like some variety, but the sheer amount of items seems to be a little overkill. It can be a little frustrating spending my hard earned cash on various items, and often getting no return.

    Food in particular is puzzling- there are many types available, but only passing references to the player ever eating, and this is always presented as optional.

    At any rate, I will definitely back the next book. I love how the world is growing and look forward to exploring more of it.

    P.S. Glad to know you’re still able to plug along considering the new addition to your family- my own gamebook writing went on hiatus when my daughter was born several years ago!

  3. Hi Gaetano – thanks for that very encouraging – and thought-provoking response.

    First of all, I’m really glad you’ve been enjoying SH2. I think it was a big improvement, as a gamebook and as a story, on SH1 – and your critical opinions on Gamebook News were a big part of that. Specifically, your points about it being difficult to get going or to find adventure gave me a lot of thought and the new ambush system I wrote for SH2 – as well as other tweaks – were my response. So please don’t hold back on the criticism! I know, deep down, that SH is a project worth pursuing, so I can take pretty much any critique nowadays, since I’m keen on sharing the world and the stories.

    Improving the maps for gameplay is a big focus of mine at the moment. I’ll be redrawing both existing maps and doing the map(s) of London in the coming months for printing as large foldable maps – I may get in contact with you regarding playability etc.

    Also, food. Essentially, I think that the food list is an embedded fossil left over from a distant ancestral version of SH that included the need to eat regularly… But like other bodily functions, and refueling and watering the velosteam, I realised that the system didn’t really add a lot to the game and cut it. However, there are a few places where the foodstuffs have specific, story-based purposes (as Ben Roberts is always asking for, for his favourite pork pies) and in SH3 and onwards I’m only including foods in these specific places.

    It’s a funny thing really. I began by wanting to imitate Fabled Lands, but couldn’t stop myself from adding in things that gave my books the colour and feel of my own world. Some of these have worked and some haven’t, and I realise that although SH1 is absolutely still playable, it really was more of a trial piece than I realised. Fabled Lands 1 also feels like a trial in a few respects, but really it was a fantastic foundation for the rest of the series – although I believe Jamie T was writing Book 1 while Dave M wrote book 2 – and both authors had a lot more experience writing (shorter) gamebooks previously.

    That said, there’ll be some more experimentation in SH3! I enjoyed adding secret links into SH2 and have been thinking of fluid ways to do the same in SH3. I’ve begun to decide what I want to do with the punchcards I threw in… But I really am trying my best to keep to the plan!

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