Writing about things you don’t have a great deal of experience in is always difficult, in the case of chapter 10 of The Turing Crisis (see my first post for details) it was computer games, specifically a person who was playing computer games.
I am not a gamer myself, the most I can bring myself to try is the throwaway ones you get on phones where you only have to remember one or two controls, up/down, left/right, that sort of thing. So when I approached this chapter I had to put myself in the position of the sort of guy who spends serious amounts of time sat in front of a PC. Thankfully, at the time, I worked in IT and so had a great deal of source material to work with, and although I’m not keen on basing characters in my stories on real people I actually knew one or two people who were actually like this, only not as intelligent, or successful, or attractive!!!
This guy, I don’t actually remember his name because it was a hell of a long time ago that my brother and I discussed and planned all this stuff, but he was also in massive debt and frankly, looking for ways to make himself less of a target for the debt collecters who are after him.
The Artificial Intelligence in the book becomes sentient, then this guy, who is a researcher on the project, possibly one of the more senior people now I come to think about it, steals the AI and runs away with it, obviously having some big plan for a way to use it for his own ends.
Sadly the plan (which I just had another look at only reaches the middle of the third act (my brother wanted to plan it in the classical way with three acts). But it is actually quite a good idea and I think I will revisit it when I get a chance, see if I can finish the plan and actually write it. I didn’t get round to finishing this chapter either, but it should give you a vague idea of the tone of the book.
The screen flashed in to high definition life, Hunter blinked, which would only have made the bags under his eyes more obvious if anyone had been there with him to see them. The splash screen for the game didn’t take long to display and pretty swiftly he was on-line and ready for action, he decided that the chain gun would be most appropriate so he hit ‘7’ and headed into the breach.
The room was darkened, he had even gone so far as to paint the walls black to make the gaming more immersive, he lived by himself in a nice semi-detached three bedroom house which he had only been able to afford because his parents had died when he was 17 leaving him money specifically to buy somewhere to live, he had chosen Sherwood at the time not only because of the opportunity to make amusing references to Robin Hood but because it was cheap and was within walking distance of the University that he spent so much time at.
Outside the ‘Game Room’ as he dubbed it there was a short hallway which led to the other bedrooms and the toilet, in contrast to the room he was currently occupying the rest of the upstairs looked a little tired, the originally white paint had a yellow tinge and there was wallpaper peeling away in the third bedroom. The bathroom tended to stay a little damp, even though he had replaced the fan for a more powerful one a couple of years back, this meant there was a slight smell of mould and the tiles had lines of black between them where bacteria had got a foothold.
From the games room occasional angry shouts of “take that motherfucker”, or “die, bastard” emerged every so often, they didn’t reverberate around the house but could be heard from downstairs as dull versions of themselves, the house had solid brick walls so the noises didn’t travel well between rooms. Downstairs a large sitting room was mainly overwhelmed by a huge flat screen TV which filled one corner of the room and had a myriad of electronic devices sat underneath it.
The room was devoid of furniture but a little too closely to the A/V kit was a gaming chair with all the associated controllers and remotes for each of the games systems, recorders and streaming media devices.
The cupboard sized hallway at the bottom of the stairs also led to the dining room, this had various piles of crap piled up at one end which included comics, magazines, bits of second hand computer kit, boxes with things like ‘clothes’ or ‘plates’ scrawled on them, some of them were on their sides and obviously empty but still covered in dust. There was also a seemingly random guitar neck poking out of the middle of the mess.
A small doorway led through to the kitchen which had appliances that had seen better days, the cooker was dark green and probably had a manufacturing date stamped on it with the number 1970 in it somewhere, the microwave on the bench was better but didn’t look like it had been cleaned for a good while, there was a stack of dishes, many of which looked like they had been used a number of times prior to being placed next to the sink for cleaning.
“You utter wanker” could be heard from the room above the dining room, Hunter had done a good job of forgetting about his monetary worries by using credit to buy himself shiny new hardware which he then used to play the latest games on when he wasn’t using high stake gambling websites to try and make his overspent money back from. The speakers were ringing to the sound of machine guns and cries from his opponents when there was a knock at the front door.
Hunter autonomically hit the ‘¬’ key to pause the game. He sat quietly for thirty seconds wondering if he had imagined the knocking through the haze of blood and shouting on screen but then the knocking came again, only louder and somehow more severe. He hit the light button on his watch, it read 21:38 which seemed a bit late for anyone he would usually expect. He rolled his seat away from the desk across the bed-less room and peeked through the blinds to see who was down there, but without making it extremely obvious he was there he could only see the top of two darkly haired heads.