Writers, Interactivity and Kindles

If you follow the online chatter about Book Apps, you soon notice that it comes largely from tech companies and conference organisers. The voice of publishers can also be heard, occassionally, but writers (and to be specific, writers of non-childrens fiction) are noticeably quiet.
Kindles at The Unquiet Library
Writers, by and large, and not slow to spot opportunities, so I’ve been talking to a lot of them to understand their relative lack of interest in experimenting with this emerging form. What follows is not a representative sample of authors, of course, and I’m about to generalise wildly when I merge all those different conversations into the following statement. That said, the general concern was this:

If they can’t sell what they write on Kindle, then it’s not worth their time writing it.

Or in other words, iPads and Kindle Fires and forthcoming Windows tablets are all well and good, but the Kindle doesn’t support .epub3 so there’s no point playing around with the potential that offers. There was more to it than that, of course –  there was the expected creative concern about the nature of interactive fiction, if not the desire to engage with the problem. There was interest in the idea that some developers may actually have some money which they have yet to burn through. But more prominently, there was a desire for readers, and in particular the hardcore readers who read, buy, and talk about books a lot.

One claim that published and self-published writers alike make is that publishers currently have zero interest in building the careers of writers (which is odd, as this is exactly how publishers will succeed in the future). As a result, even established authors see indie and self publishing forming at least a part of their future. There ia a growing understanding that, despite iPads and Kobo and the like, the only ebooks which actually sell are Kindle. So, if they couldn’t put it out on Kindle and reach the existing, installed base of Kindle ereaders, then it wasn’t for them.

All of which begs the question of what interactivity you can currently bring to a Kindle, and the answer is very little. You can link through to different parts of the text, but you can’t use tracking variables or make decisions about where to go based on the reader’s past choices. Hacking your way around such limitations can allow you to be quite creative, however (and indeed the writer Richard Blandford and myself have worked out a very cunning way to publish his random short story collection The Shuffle on Kindle.)

Another writer who has engaged with these limitations is Caroline Smailes. Her eBook 99 Reasons Why tells the story of troubled 22 year old in the North East (one of those literary characters that stick in your head long after you finish the book). It also offers 11 different endings. When the story reaches its conclusion it presents the reader with a quiz to select the ending that they’ll receive. The quiz aspect is faked on the Kindle by repeating a few pages with different links, giving varying routes through what appears to the reader to just be three simple questions.

The different endings are not just different because of the events that they describe, but they also differ by revealing new facts about the characters, meaning that the whole of the story is changed by the ending that the reader makes – it’s as if some film goers saw a film that reveals Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s dad, whereas others see a film that says Obi Wan is his father. This works thematically because Smailes’ main character is defined by her ignorance about the truth of her life and of her family situation.

The differing endings of 99 Reasons Why is an interesting experiment which I’d highly recommend (it’s well worth the £2.99 price), and one that gained the author a lot of publicity (always a good thing), but it is not something that would necessarily work with other stories.

Why can’t Kindle do anything more advanced? Here’s the thing – it can, but not in the UK. A development kit called Kindle Active Content will allow your Kindle to all the clever stuff you need to produce interactive fictions similar to Frankenstein on the iPad. More importantly, it is back compatible to all but the very first Kindle model, meaning that you could sell these things to the existing installed base of eReaders – the one thing that seemed to be the deal-breaker for all the writers I spoke to.

It’s sounds great, it sounds ideal – but for some reason it is US only. US readers can read/play involved Choose Your Own Adventure-type books, such as Warlock Of Firetop Mountain (ah, that takes me back…)And if it can run something like that, then the possibilities for more narrative-based experiments are pretty huge.

There does not appear to be any announced date or even a commitment to bring Kindle Active Content out to the rest of the world, however. It may well prove to be one of those baffling Amazon decisions, such as their refusal to release the Kindle Fire over here. All of which is a shame, because it is exactly the thing that writers I’ve spoken to are asking for. It is easy to see how something like the Inklewriter system would then be able to work for Kindle.

If Amazon get their act together, then we could see some really groundbeaking stuff start to appear. As seems to be the norm these days, however, the ball’s in Amazon’s court.

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Writing Interactive Fiction

In my last post I looked at inklewriter, one of a number of interactive or branching fiction writing systems that are starting to emerge. I concluded that the only way to really get to grips with it would be to knuckle down and actually write something with it. Well, I’ve done that now, so I think I’m qualified to report that inklewriter is a pretty wonderful thing.

Fork in the Road Literal

First thing to note is that it’s surprisingly easy and intuitive. The programme very quickly disappears from your mind as you write in the same way that your word processor (should) disappear. Having assumed that a more top-down, flow chart based system would have made more sense, I can now see why they have gone for this ‘here’s a blank page, get on with it’ approach. You quickly fall into a similar ‘flow’ to writing linear fiction.

This is not to say that writing interactive fiction itself is easy, of course, just that the challenges are creative rather than technical. And there are more creative challenges in interactive than non-interactive, as I’ll discuss. It’s like a chess player being presented with a bigger board that has more pieces – more or less the same game, but there’s more to think about. However the whole point of writing, as far as I can tell, is because creative problems are a real buzz, so this is clearly a good thing.

Basically, I loved it.

So, given this new tool and time to write a short story, what did I do?

Firstly, I had no interest in writing something where the reader can affect the plot or steer the story. You may recall when I wrote about the interactive Frankenstein app I admired how the reader’s role had shifted from that of an observer to something more akin to the narrator’s conscience. I wanted to experiment with this (although other options, such as a recounted narrative like Rhyme of The Ancient Mariner, or a trial/judgement/murder mystery format also seem promising.)

Starting to write such a story, however, quickly made it apparent that the ‘narrator’s conscience’ model wasn’t quite right, because a conscience doesn’t constantly need to be informed of back story or motive. The reader, then, is still the observer of before but they have somehow become more involved. It is like the veil of paper that separates the reader from the story is just a little thinner now.

So, my choice of story attempted to capitalise on that. The story I wrote, First Against The Floor, came from the idea that with terrorism or revolution, it’s not who you kill that’s important, but how you kill them. It’s morally dubious as all hell, in other words, but it does thrust the poor reader into an unacceptable situation and force them to think and react. I was trying to use the interactive format to help me ‘drag the reader in’ to an absurd situation, as the saying goes.

I’m not saying I succeeded, of course. Only that that was the intention.

The other major factor that I was exploring was pacing. In particular, I was thinking about the almost hypnotic rhythm you got from old turn-based games such as Civ II – that ‘decide, act, observe, decide, act, observe…’ rhythm that is hard to break and makes it almost impossible to stop playing. I’d noticed a similar rhythm when reading graphic stuff a panel at a time in the Comixology app: ‘move to next panel, absorb image, read text, move to next panel, absorb image, read text…’ My thinking here was that if you could get a rhythm like that going in interactive fiction, combined with the more involved observer described above, then people would really get absorbed in these things and they would have a qualitative difference over regular fiction. As a result I found myself using lots of tricks like adding ‘fake interaction’ in order to keep that rhythm.

With hindsight, however, I may have made it too pacey. Aiming for this rhythm changed my writing style quite noticeably. I would recommend reading a couple of pages of my novel from here – you can download a free sample – and comparing it to this interactive short. In particular, I found myself being far less descriptive, in order to keep these bite size little chunks of plot small and self-contained. I suspect that despite everything I said about the format drawing the reader in, this lack of description may have had an opposite effect and cancelled that out a bit.

Another surprise was the tone completely shifted. When I started, the intention was for it to be a bit of a farce. With the reader suddenly added to the mix, however, the protaganist was put on their back foot and had had to justify himself. He had to believe in all the extreme politics that was originally going to be glibby sketched over. Jokes were then cut because they no longer fitted the tone, and the amount of suspense kept growing. I was aiming for Chris Morris but ended up with Jack Bauer. Short stories rarely turn out like you planned of course, but I certainly wasn’t expecting the finished result.

Still, you live and learn, and that’s what’s experiments are for. I also recall I had some obsession with the amount of text that fits nicely on a smartphone screen when I was writing, although with hindsight that’s a fairly dumb thing to focus on.

So, have a read of my effort and if you sense the potential in the format then consider writing something yourself. Reading the tutorials on the site will set you up nicely. The software is still in beta so there will be options that you will find yourself missing, such as a word count (writers do love their word counts) and the ability to save locally and export. I’d suggest using Chrome instead of Firefox as this has a built-in spellcheck, which inklewriter currently lacks. It’s early days – I think tracking variable are currently being introduced – but if you want to see how you write in a different landscape you will have a lot of fun.

I’m also curious as to how such a system could be used for non-fiction.

Click here to read my first interactive short, First Against The Floor (Warning: bad language and unacceptable politics, but hey.)

Inklewriter launches

A few weeks back I got excited by the Dave Morris‘ interactive take on Frankenstein. What struck me as significant was that, while I had been expecting something similar to a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, what he had done was far more subtle. You can read my thoughts on this here, but overall I was struck with a new sense of potential about branching fiction.

And guess what? A writer-facing version of the tech has been placed online by inklestudios of Cambridge. It’s still in beta, but it allows anyone to write and share similar interactive fiction. You can find it here: http://writer.inklestudios.com/

So what’s it like? Well, first impressions are very good. There’s a bunch of tutorials which take you through how the system works and constantly challenges you to experiment with it. These tutorials make it seem pretty simple and useable. There’s no conditional logic or tracking variables – yet – and there’s no way to export your story as a stand alone .epub3 file, but all in all it’s a pretty unexpected and wonderful little gift from the Internets.

Of course, putting this online makes complete sense. If branching fiction is to move away from the quest-based ‘adventure’ model to the more interesting things that Frankenstein hinted at, then giving writers the ability to play around with the form and see what they come up with is a necessary step.

What surprised me most was more what it wasn’t. I expected something with a top-down, flow chart structure, rather than the ‘here’s a blank page, start at the top’ approach. This may be more a quirk of my approach to writing, or a side-effect of having a background in computers. For my own fiction I tend to write in Scrivener, which matches my way of thinking – I think in structure and I tend to ‘build’ stories rather than let them flow out. For most writers, however, I suspect this would be a far more comfortable approach.

But the big question is, what’s it like to actually write branching fiction in? And the only way to find that out is to roll up your sleeves and write something. So, that is what I will do.

*checks schedule*

I’m not entirely sure when I’ll do that, admittedly, but do it I shall. Wish me luck!

Frankenstein

I nearly didn’t take a look at the new interactive Frankenstein novel, despite the good press it has been getting. It was described as short chunks of text followed by branching choices that change the story, so I assumed that it was another ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book.

There’s nothing wrong with a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books, of course. I used to love them as a kid. But their basic model has the reader making decisions for the protaganist, who essentially becomes an avatar for the reader during some form of quest, and that is a model which can be done better in videogames than in prose. It’s not the future of the novel.

What Frankenstein does is much cleverer, however. Here’s the promo vid:

Dave Morris’ retelling of Mary Shelley’s story is great. It moves the story a few decades earlier in order to use our hindsight about the French Revolution, which is ripe with the themes of horror and rebirth. The Hollywood imagery of castles and lightning are stepped over, and it is thankfully much less interested than Mary Shelley in long, long digressions about just how fantastic mountains are. Frankenstein is a story where it easy to go horribly wrong with the tone – just ask Kenneth Branagh – but there are no misteps here.  That’s not our primary interest here, though.  What’s interesting is how this is different to a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book.

In a linear 1st person novel, the book’s narrator talks at the reader and the reader’s role is that of an observer or an audience. That’s also the case here, but instead of being an observer, the reader’s choices create a conversation with the narrator. The conversation is well done, flowing naturally and somehow avoiding skipping over key backstory or plot points.

So what is your role, as the reader, in this? You are not physically present, and you converse only with the narrator. You only have a minor impact on the events. What you have become, in actuality, is best described as the narrator’s conscience. Your role is to react to the narrator’s actions, and to challenge them to justify themselves. And this is why the Frankenstein app is so significant – it’s a first person prose narrative which has shifted the reader’s role from ‘observer’ to ‘conscience’.

And this new role is a hell of a perspective to experience the story of Frankenstein from. Being the conscience of Victor Frankenstein as his mind cracks under the realiastion of what he has done is quite an experience, as is being the conscience of the monster itself after the narrator changes, and you escape the laboratory and discover the streets of Paris.

True, when the book switches to using the monster as a narrator, it switches back to the 2nd person (“you can see a house”, etc) and becomes more of a traditional Choose Your Own Adventure, with your choices ‘controlling’ the monster more than arguing with it. This does make some sense in context, however, with the newly-hatched creature not initially having the mental faculties to justify itself to you.

When I started this blog, I was looking to see if the experimental melding of narrative and interactivity would produce something that was more than the sum of its parts. There’s been many examples that have been interesting or promising, but overall it was not looking good. I had originally described these emerging book apps as an ‘unwanted Frankenstein media,’ so it is a pleasing coincidence that it is the Frankenstein book app where the potential of this new form finally comes to life.

I think what they’ve done here is, in the future, going to be remembered as very significant. I’d recommend that all writers of fiction have a good look at the monster Dave Morris has created.

Frankenstein was written by Dave Morris, developed by inkle and published by Profile Books. It (currently) costs £2.99 from the App Store. (Long-term followers of this blog will note that it is another example of a book app appearing in the App Store rather than the iBooks Store, and another example of a developer hoovering up a classic, out of copyright character rather than creating something new.)

The Numberlys – app review

The Amazing Flying Books of Morris Lessmore, the debut release from Moonbot Studios, was a milestone in book app development. It won numerous ‘Best App of 2011’ awards, and the animation that the short film it was based on received an Oscar nomination yesterday. (You can currently download this for free, BTW).

So what did I do when I wrote about it previously? I moaned. I said it wasn’t actually aimed at children. It was aimed at animation lecturers. What a miserable sod I am! But now Moonbot have released their next app, so I have another chance to marvel at their visuals without being a total Grinch.

This is the Numberlys, a story about how the alphabet was invented by some frustrated number-things:

And the Numberlys is a wonderful app, beautifully created and full of original touches. It’s not wonderful for the audience you would think it is aimed at, admittedly. But for a completely different audience? For them, it is wonderful.

Because you’d think it was aimed at 4-6 year olds, wouldn’t you? Being an ‘alphabet app’ and everything, listed as suitable for ‘4+’? But if you were making something for that audience, you probably wouldn’t do so in black or white. Or, indeed, include no visual imagery that four-year-olds can relate to, or even understand. 1920s German expressionist cinema, modernist architecture, the dehumanising impact of mass production – these are not part of a four-year-old’s life. There is a truly lovely sequence, repeated a number of times, of cogs, pistons and steam funnels. This will be utterly incomprehensible to this audience. They simply won’t understand anything about what they are looking at.

As a tool for teaching the alphabet, it goes against all the educational guidelines you can imagine. All text is shown IN BLOCK CAPITALS THROUGHOUT, for a start. It’s in a lovely art-deco font so it works for visual impact, but this is not how children learn to read. There are no lower case letters in the app at all. When letters are referred to audibly it is always by their names (‘ay’) and not their sounds (‘ah’). Each letter of the alphabet is revealed in order over the course of 20 minutes or so, so it is not trying to teach the order of the letters by repetition.

At one point in the app, it has an intermission. It displays a grey screen and the word INTERMISSION, and plays background music at you until you click past. I was reminded of how Monty Python put an intermission in (I think) the video release of The Holy Grail back in the ’80s, which was very funny in context. The context being, of course, that the audience was old enough to remember a time when intermissions were common in cinemas, and so would recognise it as being out of place in the VHS medium. Four-to-six year olds, however, do not have knowledge of out-of-date cinema practices. Nor can they even read the word INTERMISSION, which is displayed in caps and not spoken aloud.

So, for alphabet-learning children, it’s a total non-starter. But go a bit older than that, say 7-12? Then it’s terrific. The character design and animation are first class, and the characters are totally engaging. The music is even better – there’s an award-worthy musical score if ever I heard one. The imagination on show, the craft, the humour – all wonderful. More importantly, the pacing and the variety of the interactive elements is really well done (there is an interactive element for the creation of each letter in the alphabet. They are too tricky for 4 year olds but perfect for older kids). The ‘comedy German’ voice over – think Borat-style almost-racist – really appeals to this age group. They are also, of course, more comfortable with fantasy worlds that have no elements of their own world to relate to, and so the homage to 1920s German expressionist cinema should not trouble them.

In fact, the app is so perfectly suited to this age group that they will probably overlook the fact that it’s about the alphabet.

Still, you have to wonder. The “who is this for?” conversation – do they not have those at Moonbot?

What would a ‘GarageBand for ebooks’ mean for mainstream publishers?

Rumours abound this morning that Apple will announce a ‘GarageBand for ebooks’ at their media event on Thursday. These are, of course, just rumours, but they have a certain, inevitable ring to them so let’s run with them for a moment.

Such an announcement seems likely to be couched in terms of the academic textbook market, if only to avoid worrying mainstream publishers who are in dire need of pills for their nerves as it is. “First they came for the academic publishers, but I did not speak out because I’m not an academic publisher…”, etc.  But a simple way for anyone to make epub3 rich-content books? How exactly would that impact on mainstream publishing?

To get some perspective on that, think about this:  Are book apps viewed more as ‘apps’ than ‘books’?

Not so long ago, the Kindle was dismissed as a non-starter because physical books had some qualitative aspect that readers needed – the smell of the paper, the sound of the spine cracking on first opening, the visual impact on a bookshelf and so forth. People simply didn’t want e-readers, it was argued, in much the same way that vinyl was inherently special and so would never be replaced by CD or download.

Sony eBook ReaderBut that was then. Now readers buy more ebooks than physical books (from Amazon, at least). It turns out that readers didn’t love books because of their physical properties, but because of what they contained. And with their entire library now smaller and lighter than a paperback, and with books suddenly cheaper, readers suddenly began to love their Kindles in the same way they had previously loved physical books (something I can readily understand – there is a slight pearlescent sheen to the Sony ereader screen that I find most pleasing.) Serious readers now do much, if not most, of their reading on e-ink devices.

But not on the iPad. It’s not as good for reading as the Kindle. The main argument is that reading a computer screen for long periods will hurt your eyes (I held this view for a while, until I realised that I did actually read a computer screen all day, I just hadn’t noticed.) It is also too heavy and it keeps blacking the screen (both due to battery matters), and it’s hard to read in sunlight. Then there is the constant mental nag to check Twitter or some other distraction while you are reading, and the fact that you can never find the damn thing because your kids have been at it. And why put up with that when the Kindle is so good?

So despite (or maybe because of?) the extra things you can do with a backlit LED or LCD screen, a divide has opened up. E-ink readers are the hardware of choice for lengthy reading and tablets and smartphones are more associated with web browsing and apps. Those book apps that do appear, usually confusingly in the app store rather than iBooks, are either enhanced versions of established classics or short form fiction predominantly aimed at children. Book apps are more ‘apps’ than ‘books’. And by and large publishers seem pretty comfortable about this.

But will mainstream fiction remain apart from the social and visual tricks that epub3 offers? Consider, for example, the iPad version of The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman (disclaimer: this is published by the same imprint that published by Tim Leary biography). (Other disclaimer: it is also extremely short, at 14,000 words, which slightly ruins my argument a little… But ignore the length and lets focus on it as a piece of new contemporary fiction, okay?)

The book itself is fabulous. Here’s a promo vid:

The iBooks version and the Kindle version are the same price, but unlike most contemporary fiction the iBooks version actually makes use of the iPad’s screen. It doesn’t do much. But it does something. And that something is just enough to make the iBooks version a better buy than the Kindle version.

You can see what it does if you download the free sample. There’s an animated title page and animated reveals of the first letter of each chapter. And… well that’s it. As I say, it’s not much, but it is nice and it does give the impression that someone has made an effort, that the book is a little bit special. A little visual flourish between chapters works well because it doesn’t interfere with reading but instead acts as a little reward and gives you a sense of progress, much like a cut-scene in a game. And of course, it’s not hard to do – the lovely line drawings were done for the physical edition, and it doesn’t take that much more effort to play about with them in After Effects.

Here, then, is a simple, effective little addition that makes a piece of contemporary fiction more appealing on a backlit screen than an e-ink screen. If more modern novels do this and do it well, then we would see a shift from the novel being viewed as a static string of text, like a .pdf, into something that takes advantage of epub3 or HTML5. The book app could become more ‘book’ than ‘app’.

But we aren’t seeing that – yet. The Tiny Wife aside, traditional publishers are showing little interest in digital beyond kindle ebooks. The companies that are making book apps, meanwhile, behave and think far more like app companies than book companies, both in their culture (they are far more open than publishers) and their products (which are focused on short experiences).

Yet with a ‘GarageBand for ebooks’ available, and assuming Apple are reasonable about distribution (a long shot, I know), it’s easy to imagine epub3 versions of contemporary fiction becoming established on the iPad and Kindle Fire (and normal Kindles, if e-ink develops in the way predicted.)

The question is, then, will these enhanced novels come from the regular publishers, or from elsewhere? That, I think, is a question that only publishers can answer.

10 Things We’ve Learnt About Book Apps in 2011

New Year is nearly upon us and it’s time to take stock of what we’ve discovered so far. Here’s 10 things I didn’t know about book apps at the start of the year.
iPad Season

1. They are called ‘book apps’.
There have been a lot of differing terms being thrown around to label these strange new forms: iStories, Enhanced ebooks, vooks, animated books, interactive books and so forth. I went for the neutral ‘tablet books’. These clever and considered names fought each other for the hearts and minds of publishers and readers, but while all that was going on people needed something to call them and, like it or not, the term ‘book apps’ was the one that rolled off the tongue.

2. Most lose money.
Blame Angry Birds if you like, but apps are still linked in people’s minds with coining it in. They are like the lottery, in that the hopeful thought ‘I could be rich‘ rings louder than the more honest ‘I am throwing away a lot of my money’. This is useful when getting funding for a startup, but problematic nine months later.

The amount of book apps – particularly children’s book apps – is extraordinary. The problem, however, is that no-one knows they exist. They disappear into the App Store and are never seen again. In terms of which ones do well, quality helps but it is not enough. Marketing and hype currently seem to be more important. Which is no fun.

3. No-one knows what the budget for a book app should be.
Or no-one I’ve spoken to, anyway.

4. No-one knows what they should cost.
The general assumption is that book apps will only sell at low price points – after all, low barriers to entry tends to create a low price, low quality market. Yet the few book apps that apparently make money are often more expensive, such as those from Faber & Faber. So, who knows? Nobody knows anything, as William Goldman concluded about screenwriting, but if a market for £5+ book apps doesn’t emerge, then it could all get a bit grim.

5. Epub3 could make things much better…
…but Apple and Amazon probably won’t allow that. Epub3, finally released a month or so ago, brings a lot more multimedia clout to the .epub format and would lead to book apps coming in from the app store cold and being sold alongside normal ebooks. This would be a very good thing. Unfortunately, Apple and Amazon… are Apple and Amazon. So expect ugly proprietary systems, production workflows for multiple versions and the horror that is iTunes for some time to come.

6. Fiction apps are terrific.
Who would have thought it? Straight fiction seemed the least suitable candidate for a digital makeover and yet the subtle addition of atmosphere through audio and visual design, plus the potential for readings by authors or performers, have been tried and they work really well.

See, for example, Papercut or Dracula.

7. There is a thin line between ‘interactive book’ and ‘crap game’.
On the other hand, despite the assumption that it would be interactivity that would enhance books, it is much harder to find examples where interactivity actually works well – in that it improves the experience. More frequently, it is a distraction, a novelty or a pain in the arse.

This is complicated a little by the huge amount of book apps that are aimed at children, because children just love playing on iPads. It is difficult, in other words, to tell when they are enjoying the content itself, not the act of using the tablet. This is a whole can of worms and should probably be a more detailed post sometime. But for now, the meeting of reading and interactivity is not yet a proven winner.

8. File size could be an issue.
When a 434-line poem becomes a 1GB app, to be stored on a 16GB machine, then you can see file size becoming a barrier. Of course, we’ll eventually move to 4G and cloud storage and so on, so this should sort itself out. But it is worth keeping an eye on in the short to medium term.

9. Non-fiction can work well but…
…it often feels like it should be a website – constantly updating, encyclopedic and allowing comments – and that it only exists as a standalone book app because you can’t really charge money for websites.

10. It’s going to get less experimental from here on in.
Call this more of a hunch, if you like, but I think we’ve reaching that point where it becomes more about refining than inventing. This isn’t a bad thing, for that best stuff is yet to come. But it will be less about being adventurous for the hell of it and more about finding practical, working models.

So, that’s what 2011 had to teach us. 2012 should be interesting, shouldn’t it? All being well, the Kindle Fire will greatly increase the market, and an app-specific work by a major author will grab the attention of the mainstream. So until then – happy new year!

*blows party blower*

SINGAPORE 2011 New Year Countdown :: VECTORAMA Firework ::