Hello there,

I'm Rob Sherman. I'm a game designer, writer and musician. I made The Black Crown Project (http://blackcrownproject.com) amongst other things, and I am currently in residence at the British Library, using their collections relating to Arctic exploration to create games, writings, songs, interactive maps and many other things.

You can find out more about the project at the following links:




Comments: 113 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

DontPressAltF484 karma

Are you planning to answer any of these questions?

bonfiredog32 karma

Hello, I'm very sorry I haven't answered these questions. I have been running a drop-in studio at the Library today, and I thought it would be much quieter than it has been. I will answer all your questions as soon as I've driven home, showered, bathed in wine, sprinkled myself with cloves, unctioned, punctioned and baked at a high heat for half an hour.

So, soon.

DontPressAltF47 karma

You may want to bake lower, and slower... To seal in those savory juices.

bonfiredog3 karma

I have no savoury juices. I'm really a crudely-rendered sugar sculpture of a man.

AnneRat6 karma

In the British Library's Arctic collection, are there hand written journals from early explorers?

Also, what has been your best experience so far of being a writer-in-residence at the library? Thanks.

bonfiredog2 karma

There are some, yes, but many of those journals are at institutions like the Scott Polar Institute in Cambridge, though oddly Scott's last diary (with the last entry on the day he died, is in the collections, and can be explored digitally here:http://www.bl.uk/scottsdiary

My best experience, I think, was visiting the King's Tower, which an enormous black monolith stuck as a pillar through the centre of the Library. Most staff aren't even allowed in there, but I was given a tour, luckily. It hold's Charles II's library, as well as several others which were 'founding collections' of the Library when it was part of the British Museum. The sheer presence of it, compared to the quiet, cloistered atmosphere on the inside, made quite an impression on me.

See it here: http://www.platform505.com/wp-content/uploads/Kings-Library-Tower-British-Library-St-Pancras_edited-1.jpg

HaroldUK5 karma


bonfiredog1 karma

The main problem here is cost of development, both in terms of technology and man-hours, the latter being the most expensive. Until the cost of developing games comes down, and the cost of living in the Western world goes up, and the industry economy settles down, this will continue to occur.

Of course, much production of media takes place at a financial disadvantage to the producer; look at the amount of work that goes into a book that sells for £7.99, of which the writer receives, typically, 12.5% (as long as they have paid off their advance). Unfortunately, game production, when run as a business where returns are more important, finds this way of doing business unsustainable. They cannot be the author, producing works of art (perhaps) and using that knowledge as part of their sustenance.

I hope that a combination of better education in game production, allowing people to take their own ideas and designs and practically produce them, as well as the development of semantic game design tools which offer a great degree of control over the end product, might ameliorate. I'm not sure. I'm in the middle of it all.

yacob_uk4 karma

As a game maker, how well do you think games are going to be preserved by the Library, and what will the engagement experience will feel like in 100 years?

bonfiredog3 karma

I would hope that games would be preserved, and this in and of itself is not especially difficult; the Library is very good at preserving and storing physical objects, questions of funding aside. However, the key comes in your second question; the experience. This is an intangible in games which is tied to the display media, the machine used (original or emulated?) and the control schemata. The burden of keeping all of that ancillary equipment up to date, working and available to the public is extremely difficult. Currently the Library doesn't really engage with it outside the Digital Curation department, who I am working with and who are marvellous; it is very difficult to have playable displays in any exhibition, for example, for a variety of logistical, security and political reasons. However, even if there was support, archiving digital formats, which are so dependent on binary programming, is ridiculous. I've been speaking to one of their programmers about the headaches about preserving a 'simple' Word document.

So, in short, I have no idea about the engagement experience in 10 years, let along 100. I have a fear that we will lose a lot of the formative pieces, at least in an institutional sense, because of decaying technology standards, lack of funding, and the sheer difficulty of making this media available to future researchers. Preserving a book is relatively easy; dry, cool, dark boxes. The variables in digital preservation are dizzying, but great work is already being undertaken.

See: http://www.dpconline.org/

sleepysponge4 karma

What are your tips to success and what was one of the hardest times of your life and how did you get through it?

bonfiredog1 karma

This is a good one.

The hardest times of my life relate to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which I lived with for many years without knowing what it was. It has impacted on my social life, my love life and my work enormously, oddly in positive and negative ways, though the negative far outweighs all else. My last project was a litany of panic attacks, self-loathing, and loneliness, despite being surrounded by support and love. I try to be fairly candid with this condition now, as I spent many years not knowing what was wrong with me. It got so bad that I was seriously considering running away from my life entirely, because I believed that I was evil, wrong or merely 'bad' and I could not burden my family and friends with all that coming out.

I am much better now.

In terms of tips, perhaps the most important is to not give a tiny, tiny poop what people might think of you. I'm sure there are many here who think that what I do is easy, or pointless, or bizarre, or awful, or pretentious, or narcissistic; I have in fact had many comments to that effect on my work. However, anything done with an ounce of heart is worth pursuing, and if there is a fizz in your gut to the effect that what you are doing has 'rightness', is 'right', it most likely is, in the extremely subjective experience of your life.

Also, the best way to go through life is pretending to be a child. Be disarmingly honest (see above) and look at the world with wonder. Don't believe in cynicism. Be lovely.

bonfiredog1 karma

This is a good one.

The hardest times of my life relate to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which I lived with for many years without knowing what it was. It has impacted on my social life, my love life and my work enormously, oddly in positive and negative ways, though the negative far outweighs all else. My last project was a litany of panic attacks, self-loathing, and loneliness, despite being surrounded by support and love. I try to be fairly candid with this condition now, as I spent many years not knowing what was wrong with me. It got so bad that I was seriously considering running away from my life entirely, because I believed that I was evil, wrong or merely 'bad' and I could not burden my family and friends with all that coming out.

I am much better now.

In terms of tips, perhaps the most important is to not give a tiny, tiny poop what people might think of you. I'm sure there are many here who think that what I do is easy, or pointless, or bizarre, or awful, or pretentious, or narcissistic; I have in fact had many comments to that effect on my work. However, anything done with an ounce of heart is worth pursuing, and if there is a fizz in your gut to the effect that what you are doing has 'rightness', is 'right', it most likely is, in the extremely subjective experience of your life.

Also, the best way to go through life is pretending to be a child. Be disarmingly honest (see above) and look at the world with wonder. Don't believe in cynicism. Be lovely.

sidy244 karma

How did you get into being a game designer? Was it an opportunity offered, or a career which you actively sought?

LeopardKhan4 karma

He wrote two text-based adventure games. You can learn to do that in a couple of hours on Code Academy, if you'd like.

bonfiredog3 karma

It is extremely easy to learn the mechanical production of what I do, yes.

bonfiredog3 karma

I started out as a writer and a game player, and found a peculiar route into it through a book publisher. The writing I produced, while analogue, had an element of exploration, with non-ergodic, as it is called, arrangements; shortly, you could read the story in many orders and layers. I got to speak to somebody at Random House, the book publisher, in their digital department, who was interested in doing something with games. After that, it was a series of pieces of luck, meetings, pleasant lunches (usually cream-based) and opportunism.

cameron1314 karma

What games have you designed and what games do you plan on designing? ( sorry if this is insulting)

bonfiredog2 karma

This isn't insulting at all, you silly sausage. I've designed games called 'The Black Crown Project', 'The Spare Set' and now I am designing a suite of games called 'On My Wife's Back'.

In the future, I would like to produce games outside of pure text and static graphics. I also would like to work on the currently-primitive AI of games, as well as improving my theories on narrative design.

that_blind_panda3 karma

Do you prefer a hot cup of Roobois or Milo?

bonfiredog2 karma

I don't know what Milo is, but I've just started drinking Rooibos before bed; I used to think it tasted like chalk, but I like it now.

alesman3 karma

How did you become a resident at the British Library?

Is it a harder sell to use their materials for digital/interactive products, or were they just as receptive to that as writings?

How are you using their archives? I'm assuming that most of their archives aren't digitized and you're using most materials hands-on? What's your experience been like there?

bonfiredog3 karma

The story is here: http://onmywifesback.tumblr.com/introduction

But essentially I was asked to give a talk on my previous project by the Library's digital department, I got speaking to people there about taking in my archive. Stella, one of the curators, heard that there was funding going (externally) for a Writer-in-Residence, and we applied and succeeded.

Digital projects are certainly viewed with more scrutiny, which perhaps is understandable; they are an older institution, with a very defined way of working, and digital projects carry risks and unknowns if they have never been attempted before. While my experience there has been broadly excellent, I think the obstacles that I have encountered wouldn't have been there if I had been less difficult and just written a book.

I spent about two months in the Rare Books Reading Room, just poring through texts. I used the web a fair amount (mostly off the BL domain) as quite a lot of polar scholarship happens on private research blogs. I've also been lucky to have access to some of the private areas of the BL, and been hands-on with some pretty wonderful things; Shakepeare's first folio, the first printed Chaucer, and the rest. My residency is as much about the Library as the Arctic, as a space, and so being in the Library, a beautiful, calm, place, is very important. I got to visit the basements, eight storeys of them, and I was in heaven. The bottom one is so deep that it is below the water table, and you can hear Tube trains rattling past just beyond the wall.

Dr_WickedOreo2 karma

Good day to you!

In the current gaming industry, what do you think is the most important characteristic for a game to have?

bonfiredog3 karma

Probably a resting state similar to a bullfrog.

Nikazio2 karma

Are the answers gonna be available as DLC?

bonfiredog1 karma

I don't know... I'll send you a link to my Paypal, or my Patreon (you love Patreon, yes?) and we can see what happens?

Chilipotato2 karma

Favourite dinosaur?

Brodivh6 karma

This AMA, because it apparently went extinct.

bonfiredog3 karma


bonfiredog1 karma

Anything with an extremely small brain. They are a little like the software bugs of early Earth.

megazver2 karma

Will you release BCP as a standalone game? I hate the Storynexus action economy mechanics and the pay model was not something I was willing to spend any money on, but I would love to buy it as a single-purchase, stand-alone, no grind bullshit game like Inkle and Choice Of Games release.

EDIT: Do I get a special prize for being the only person here who's actually played your game?

bonfiredog1 karma

The plan is to do something with BCP that is not proprietary, certainly. Storynexus works very well for certain types of games, and what we did not foresee was that BCP was not that sort of game. Unfortunately, Inkle and Choice Of Games games are still wedded to that software, and I would like my work to remain as much 'mine' as possible. I'm not sure how this will happen, but I am talking to Random House about this at the moment.

Also, you do get a special prize! Come to the British Library and I will buy you a milky tea (no sugar).

Also also, I think most of the people who have written something about my game haven't played it, so you are in a super-duper small set.

gfdt1 karma

What is your favorite game you didn't work on?

bonfiredog1 karma

The Elder Scrolls series, if you don't include any of the NPCs, AI functionality or quests. I have played those more than any other.

BlackLotus041 karma

Hello Mr. Sherman,

I'm about to graduate with a master's degree in computer science. I have been looking for job offerings as game developer, but so far I have only found positions that require previous experience in the field. What do you think is the best way for a newly-graduate like me, or any other person interested in the field, to get into game development? How did you get into the field?

bonfiredog1 karma

I answered this above, really, but the best thing to do is get a job as related as you can, learn new skills, mod, create games in your spare time, try and get on indie projects, look for funding oppurtunities; everybody's route is different, and while you can read elsewhere on this thread what happened to me (and it really did, at first, happen 'to' me) I don't think it would be useful to you.

OhThatNeal1 karma

What considerations are you making toward accessibility for this interactive content you are creating?

bonfiredog1 karma

I would welcome some suggestions, if you have them. I work mostly on the web, and so most text is scalable, and any other accessibility option that a modern browser has should be supported. When I have time, I try and create recordings of my work, especially my longer work, and a few fans help me out with this. It's a difficult task, I won't lie, but I recognise its importance.

al666in1 karma

The British Library rules!

  1. What's the weirdest book you've come across?
  2. Are there authors/illustrators with whom you were previously unfamiliar, but would now recommend outside of your own research purposes?
  3. Nice tumblr, followed! Your handwriting is terrible. No question here.
  4. How did you decide to work under a Free Culture license, and does it affect your approach to the work itself? Is that standard British Library procedure? Are there other projects of a similar scope that you know of, operating under the same sort of public domain approach to copyright?

bonfiredog2 karma

It does, doesn't it?

  1. No questions asked, 'Kaladliit'; a pamphlet produced in Greenland, written in Dutch, describing, I presume, Greenlandic interactions with Dutch settlers. I cannot read or speak Dutch, so I ended up accidentally creating my own stories as I looked at the woodcut illustrations; a man-bear beheading a Viking, Greenlandic chasing a man down with clubs, a great shadow-man flying over a couple in a kayak, and a Greenlandic man lifting his shirt and pressing the barrel of a Dutch soldier's gun to his belly. It was also in dreadful condition, and these foul-smelling flakes of treated paper fell all over me and into my pockets when I opened the phase box.

  2. Edward Tufte, if you are interested in information display, is fairly fantastic. Algernon Swinburne was a 19th century English poet who was apparently lauded at the time, though I think he is fairly dreadful. The books I read of his are all 'privately published', and I feel a little sorry for him; a life lived, just like mine, with added success, and now some fat arse is sitting there judging him. Still, he's dreadful.

  3. Thank you. The handwriting isn't mine; it's Isaak Scinbank's.

  4. I decided to work under the Free Culture license to honour the philosophy of the British Library, which even though it is the repository of the nation's knowledge, with priceless treasures under its roof, almost all of it is available for free, to any member of the public, and some of their staff work for their entire lives to ensure that this is so. The British Library would not own any copyright on my work anyway, and so it is entirely my decision to honour their institiutions. I cannot say that I know of any other people like me working that way, but the open-source movement is a constant inspiration, and I'm a firm believer in open rights on the internet.

As for how it affects my work; it doesn't. I work as I always have, and the fact that others might use my work doesn't change that at all. I look forward to seeing what, if anything, is done with it.

pcmaniac61 karma

Which are the books that you keep coming back to?

bonfiredog1 karma

In poetry, Ted Hughes, Auden, Whitman. In prose, Richard Adams, Calvino, Marquez.

blood_coffee1 karma

Are you going to answer any of these questions..? It's been three hours.

Anyway. Did you meet any resistance in following this career path?

bonfiredog2 karma

Hello impatient person! No, no resistance, apart from lack of money and understanding, at times. My parents are very supportive, and I've been so helped by others along the way my gratitude is giving way to suspicion.

HiBills1 karma

How did you get into the position you're in? What courses did you take in college/university? How did you start up in the video game industry?

bonfiredog1 karma

I got into this position through luck, accident and hard work once those occurences had come about. I took English Literature BA, and then a Creative Writing MA, and any game design/production that I have learnt has been self-taught or through osmosis through talented, legitimate designers that I have worked with.

I came into the videogames industry through the publishing industry; I produced a digital text adventure with Random House UK, which was their first foray into videogames. I moved off from there on my own.

RyanB3131 karma

I'm considering going into the gaming industry after college (currently junior in High School), what are some pros and cons of your job and how long doss it take to be financially stable in the career?

bonfiredog1 karma

I don't think I am the right person to speak to. I am not a traditional game designer, and my flirtations with the 'industry' have not been fruitful. Much of what has happened to me has been serendipity, combined with too much hard work. In my line, the pay is beyond dreadful, but I can look down in the morning to start work, look up again and it is dark. It is a rewarding way to spend your life, just not monetarily.

I am at odds with much of the industry (in fact, people might criticise me and say that I make a living out of those odds) and so cannot offer you much advice in this. I imagine that if you can get into an industry leader early, you'll be fine. But game companies go down like pushed corks, very often. It's a vital, growing medium to work in, but it is very mercantile, risky and at times dreadful.

hockeyrugby1 karma

Considering you are paid to work on arctic exploration, can you give me a really good fun fact about Martin Frobisher??

bonfiredog2 karma

I've read a few of the original printed accounts of Frobisher's explorations in the Arctic. He was an unpleasant sod, wasn't he?

One of my 'favourite' facts is an account of some of his early interactions with the Inuit. Apparently an Inuit pathfinder pulled his kayak alongside Frobisher's carrack, to say hello, and Frobisher's men extended their hands down to him, in an apparent gesture of thanks. As soon as the Inuit was in reach, they lunged, pulling him out of his kayak and onboard. They immediately set sail for home, hoping to either sell the Inuit as a curiosity or instead present him to the Queen as a court pet.

The Inuit bit his own tongue off in protest, and died.

Zeno_Zaros1 karma

Hello, I'm currently in University getting my Computer Science major. I want to get into indie game design with a few friends of mine. Any tips on where we should start, or any classes that would be beneficial?

bonfiredog1 karma

Not really! Ask your university whether they have any schemes or classes that might help you. The British Library runs a competition with games design students (and computer science, I believe) every year called Off The Map: http://offthemap.gamecity.org/

Start by making something small, or working on projects that are already off the ground and need help. Plan something small first, try it, get slightly bigger, repeat until baked.

baconmosh1 karma

Hey Sherman, who's the second best corner in the NFL? Who's the most difficult receiver to cover?

bonfiredog3 karma

I couldn't say second-best, but the best is a corner in a cornfield just outside Minneapolis. It isn't an official corner, but it is one where a lot of children play.

I couldn't think of anything funny or euphemistic to say about receivers.

BillionBeast1 karma

What exactly happened between you and Michael Crabtree at the end of the NFC championship game last year?

bonfiredog2 karma

We went on a day tour of National Trust properties in Sussex, with a hamper of picnic eggs in the back seats, and I wished that, instead, those seats held our beautiful children.

LegendaryG_host1 karma

Have you been on any AAA title game production?

bonfiredog2 karma

No, sorry. I have applied for jobs within the industry, but I feel more and more that it is probably a blessing that my formative years professionally did not happen there. I feel more and more detached from 'gaming', as a monoculture, as I get older.

_LMiller1 karma

How do you have your coffee? I prefer mine black.

bonfiredog1 karma

Black, no sugar, thick. Turkish coffee is the best.

Liraquin1 karma

if i were to start in the sound/game/track/themes area, what would you give me as advice?

bonfiredog2 karma

I'm not entirely sure; though I am a muscian, I've not even really written soundtracks or scapes for my own games. I wish I could offer more advice, but I imagine the general advice serves; help with indie projects and mod projects (start at the TIGSource forums), start a portfolio &c.

It is not harmful sending unsolicited emails to people who you respect, admire and who might be able to help you in the industry, as long as you have something to show them, and show no animosity if they do not respond. They're all horribly overworked.

levibr111 karma

Would you say game design is a great career for someone who like video games?

bonfiredog1 karma

Probably not. If you are interested in how they work, experiment and philosophize about mechanics, or have a specific skill which is careerable, then perhaps. Being an enthusiast of something is nowhere near enough when considering a career. Not only are the things that people are passionate about often competitive and poorly-paid, the reality of turning your passion into work may kill it for you. This has not happened to me, but then I have never really considered myself a rabid gamer. I am more interested in the theories behind them, than the experience of playing them. Of course, this may be because I am dissatisfied with most play experiences currently available, and wish to create better ones, whilst being enthralled by a certain few which helps me keep faith. I'm not sure. This is why I didn't become a chef, though some of my family think I could have been one; I cook to relax. It's a key part of winding down. I believe that I would hate it as a job.

131045982101 karma

What're your thoughts on the University of London increasing the Warbug Institute's rent? http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/11/books/warburg-institute-threatened-by-funding-woes.html

bonfiredog1 karma

This is very difficult to have a coherent opinion on.

I of course support the access of knowledge, and such an institutionalised body of knowledge, absolutely. Access and preservation are key, and being cynical or opportunistic about it is undesirable.

However, I think when something like this happens to a collection like this, the default is to cry havoc, talk about corruption or opportunism or the collapse of democratic learning and all these things. Unfortunately, the Warburg Institute is not just a concept, an ideal, in people's heads. It is slowly-rotting paper and putrid leather and phase boxes and bricks and mortar and thermometers and air conditioning and security guards and curators and cleaners and and and. These cost huge amounts of money anywhere in the world, and if you know London you will realise that Bloomsbury is a special, quantum dimension of the underworld which is the London property market. The University staff today are not just inheritors of responsibilities, myths and legacies from the past; they are the inheritors of debts, and they exist in a world where the arts are chronically underfunded, where certain high-level segments of government are arguing that the arts should have no state funding at all. In that sort of climate, without rich kings to fund them and some of the only large benefactors being private companies who cannot provide for the wider cultural sphere without their own personal interests being served, I sympathise enormously with the university. They are fighting against economic and political trends that are global. I see this day-to-day working in public institutions, with talented, passionate people unable to save the institutions for which they have worked all their lives, and which thousands before them have always done.

It makes me very sad, in actual fact.

Goblins_and_Ghouls1 karma

What games have you designed?

bonfiredog1 karma

I've designed the 'Black Crown Project', which is unfortunately no longer available online (though it may return). I have designed another game, 'The Spare Set', for the UK charity Shelter, and I am currently produced a suite of games for the British Library. I also modded before university, and when I was a child on holiday in Spain I made a roleplaying card game on the back of menus.

OhSnepSon1 karma

What other things have inspired you to make your games, writings, and songs other than Arctic exploration?

bonfiredog2 karma

Oh, lots! One of the major ones of this project has been the practice of asemic writing; producing texts that have no semantic content. It is, formally, 'scribbles', but has the appearance of text. It has been used to make art, as therapy, and as many other things. Do look it up; I produce a fair amount of it myself, and did before I even knew what it was.

NeverEnufWTF-1 karma

How risky a click is that Tumblr link?

bonfiredog2 karma

SomeShmoe-1 karma

How should I get my gf into anal?

I'm been using my fingers a bit, but she only seems into it when I get her good and warmed up.

She's so tiny that I think my massive dong scares her away from my idea.

Someone should design a game about that conundrum.

bonfiredog5 karma

I think the mechanics inherent in such a game would be difficult. As your girlfriend seems to have a complex psychological relationship to anal sex, perhaps because of the pressure that you are putting on her. This isn't to mention the issue of your priapism.

It might be a more interesting game to simulate the conversations between you two in bed at night. I think it might be quite static, with a vague mountainous shape of you two sitting under the covers. The conversation would be uncomfortable to play, I imagine, with coercive tactics being the most effective route to a 'win', reminding of slights unapologised, the antics of celebrities, how her body is a political landscape which has numerous powers over and under it.

It would play a little trumpet blare, when you did it, and nothing else.

sn0r-3 karma

  1. How does it make you feel writing that you're going to do an AMA and not showing up for the actual questions?

  2. How do you think your games will ever sell if you come across as a tardy and inconsiderate person by not answering any questions?

  3. How will the British Library respond if we called them and asked for a copy of Battletoads?

bonfiredog2 karma

  1. It feels pretty good, actually. When I found that I didn't have the time yesterday, as the drop-in studio that I was running filled up with humans, I felt awful. I have terrible anxiety and leaving this thread, with the entitlement pouring out of it, was very difficult. However, I came through the self-doubt and loathing and am here to answer the questions, and my career has not imploded, and my life is not worse. This is vindicating in the extreme.

  2. Oh, I think I might have really hurt you, it seems, from the temerity in your questions. They seem quite rubbed raw. If this is the case, I'm very sorry. My games don't really sell in the traditional sense anyway, so I have tried not to worry about this. I work more in R&D with videogames, not commercially, but I suppose that I had to make a choice to risk my reputation, didn't I? It's a conundrum.

  3. I imagine they have a copy of Battletoads. They aren't the main repository in the UK for videogames, but they have over 150 million items, so it is probably in there somewhere. However, they won't have an NES or an Amiga set up for you to play it on, and it is not a lending library, but if you had a reading pass you could look at the nice box, I suppose.

Why don't you come in? We can look at the nice box together, and try and repair my reputation together as well.

sn0r1 karma

Well.. you posted an AMA and didn't show up.. but the fact you took time to reply a day later with an amusingly written apology makes up for a lot in my book.

My apologies as well for flying off the handle. It'd been a hard day for both of us I suspect. :)

A real question from me, though, as a follow-up, if you're still willing to answer: It surprises me that they do have videogames in the British Library. What's the strangest thing (anything, books, manuscripts, vidya games, etc) you've come across in the library?

bonfiredog1 karma

It was, indeed, entirely outside my control.

I'm not sure how many games they have there, and they certainly don't consider themselves as a specialist repository. One of the strangest things I have found was Aleister Crowley chanting in Enochian (Black Magic angel language) that he recorded himself:


Toronto_Raptors-9 karma

How do you protect yourself from the villainous SJWs and feminists who are trying to force you to ruin video games?

JRDerpwing1 karma

Placate them by providing burqa skins for all heroes.

bonfiredog2 karma

I cannot contribute to this thread. I don't have the capacity.