Mr. Platformer

Hey, I’m back! And I’ve got a new game for everyone, check it out here:

[Play Online (HTML5)]
[Download for Windows/Mac/Linux on itch.io]

I’m gonna try to keep this short, but, aghhhhh, I think I probably do need to say something:

Back in April, I got covid for the first time. I was unlucky – it hit me pretty hard. I wasn’t really able to do much of anything for months.

Fortunately, though, I now seem to be on the way to a full recovery.

This game started as a tiny Ludum Dare project, and it was the last thing I was working on when I got sick. Maybe I should have just abandoned it at that point? But… it became a really good recovery project for me. A nice, low stakes thing to poke at whenever I had the energy. As I got better, and as I continue to get better, I worked on the game more and more, until the last couple of weeks where I was back to just working on it full time. Releasing this game feels like part of my recovery, like I can start thinking about bigger things again.

Anyway – I hope you all enjoy it, I’m really happy with how it turned out. And thanks for buying my games and supporting my work, and making it possible for me to do things like take a few months out to recover <3

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C.H.A.I.N.G.E.D.

Hey all, got a new game for you! This one’s been on the backburner for a little while now. I contributed a chapter to the new Haunted PS1 chain game out today, called C.H.A.I.N.G.E.D.

[Download on itch.io]

I discovered this project in its exciting early stages on the Haunted PS1 Discord. Once I heard what they were attempting, I couldn’t wait to sign up and take part!

The really cool thing about this project is its structure – each chapter ends with a choice between two paths, and each path is a completely different game. This is not the first time I’ve seen a forking-path chain game proposed, but I’m pretty sure it’s the first time anyone has actually pulled it off.

My game is buried deep, and is a bit slight – to be honest was a little bit of a 3D learning project for me – but I’m very happy with how it turned out, and more than that, it’s super cool to have been a part of this ambitious project! I think the end result is really special, and I can’t wait to see people discover all its many paths.

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May: Healthposting

So hey! Not gonna do a monthly blog post this month – in fact, I’m planning to take a little break from regular blog posts, and from updating my freeware blog Terry’s Free Game of the Week.

I’m ok, but I’ve had some old health issues flare up recently, maybe complicated by catching covid for the first time a month ago. So, I’m gonna take an extended break, and focus on healing up. I’ll still be around, just, er, lurking, I guess!

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April: Another new project

What I’ve been working on recently

So, Mr. Platformer didn’t go anywhere. That’s fine, I’ve already started working on a new game! (It still feels a bit fragile, though, so I’m not ready to share anything about it just yet. Maybe next month.)

At this point, I feel like I should explain what I’m actually trying to do here? My process is basically just to churn through as many ideas as possible, and look for the ones that feel special. Most of my ideas go nowhere, which can be discouraging. But it seems like this is the only thing that really works for me.

My goal is to figure out what my next big game is. I really want to be working on that next big game!

My secret new project is pretty exciting. It’s already fun, and I have a lot of ideas I want to explore. I think, maybe, it could be that next big game. (They all could, though.)

I guess I’m doing Ludum Dare?

This weekend is Ludum Dare! I haven’t done one of these since 2020, but I’m excited to give it a go again, and test out some of the new skills I’ve been learning this year. Probably gonna make a 2D thing in Godot!

I don’t have the best track record with 48 hour jams – and these days, a weekend doesn’t feel like enough time to make something I’m happy with. I never even got around to finishing up the post-compo version of my last Ludum Dare entry (in the gif above) – maybe my standards are too high now, or something.

Which is really stupid, and I know it. I’m looking forward to making some absolute trash this weekend. A real bad videogame!

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March: In-Between Projects

Posted in terrynews

What I’ve been working on recently

Hello again! Not much to say this month, because I’ve mostly been on holiday. I’m doing bits and pieces of work in-between, and in-between that, I’ve been poking at a holiday project, which I’ve been calling Mr. Platformer. I mostly started this as an excuse to play around with GBStudio, which I’ve wanted to do for ages!

It came from brainstorming ideas that felt like a good fit for the constraints of a gameboy – the thing I’m playing around with here is flipping between two colours, and areas that let you swap between them. The weirdly non-obvious thing here is that you actually flip the colours around so that you’re always on the background colour, which is way more exciting that just e.g. flipping the player colour around. I can’t really articulate why this is – it just feels better.

What’s the plan here?

So actually, this idea is one I’ve played about with before! Back in 2010, at a game jam in Cambridge, I did something very similar for a VMU themed jam – see the gif above! I didn’t get more than a couple of rooms in to it, but I’ve always like the vibes here.

Honestly, I dunno if I’ll finish Mr. Platformer? I’m sure it’ll show up in something I make eventually, though.

2 Comments

February: Near misses

Posted in terrynews

What I’ve been working on recently

Aghhh. It really, really sucks when something promising just doesn’t work out.

So, I decided to shelve the 3D game I’ve been working on recently. At first, this game seemed to have a lot of potential: I love how it looks, and I love how it feels to be in. I love the dreamlike feeling of exploring a 3D space with a lot of verticality.

But I’ve learned to trust my gut about these things by now, and this one just wasn’t coming together like it should.

I thought about sharing a playable build; but I think it’s a bit too wonky for that. So I just made a quick video instead:

Designing good levels for this was surprisingly hard. I was aiming for a particular kind of feeling here, and therefore had lots of rules about what I wanted to do (slow floaty movement; no enemies; a weird DOS energy mechanic that I was very attached to) and maybe too many constraints on what I didn’t want to do. So progress was really slow, and lots of ideas didn’t pan out.

Well, it was a fantastic learning project at least – I’ve learnt a ton of new stuff thanks to this! Maybe I’ll come back to eventually, who knows.

And is this process in the room with us right now?

When I rebooted this whole monthly devlog thing, I knew at some point I was gonna have a post like this. Fact is, most of what I work on doesn’t work out, which sucks! I’ve learnt to just accept it as “the process”, because honestly I don’t feel like I really have a say in it anyway. It’s just how it works. Pfffftttttttt

Ok, well, back to the empty project file. I’ve got a clean slate now, which is exciting, and I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it yet. See you next month!

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January: The third dimension

Posted in terrynews

What I’ve been working on recently

Hey, welcome back! It’s a new year and I’m excited to get working on some new things! Or, you know, to continue working on the thing I started near the end of last year. Here’s some screenshots I took today:

It’s very much still a “I’m learning 3D!” project, but I think it’s gonna end up being pretty fun.

This has been another month for just sitting down and learning new stuff, which takes forever, but is really starting to pay off. I’ve learnt more in the past couple of months than I have in years. There are things I know how to make now which I couldn’t even consider making before!

As for this game: There’s still a little way to go – I only have one finished level, and I want a lot more – but I’m pretty sure I’ll have it all wrapped up by the time next month’s blog post rolls around.

A crash course in 3D

Since the main thing I’ve been doing lately is watching tutorials, I thought I’d share my notes! The three main things I’ve been learning are Godot, Blender, and TrenchBroom.

For Godot:

I sort of learnt a lot of the Godot basics back when I made Triangle Run – since then, it’s mostly just been practice and google. But I did put together a bunch of links in the “Where do I start?” section of the Stop Waiting For Godot jam page that’s still worth a look! (It also gets into the “Why Godot and not X” question, if you’re curious about that.)

The BEST Godot tutorials I’ve come across, though, are Miziziziz’s series on youtube. I normally find video tutorials excruciating – but these are about as to-the-point as you can get. To an extent that’s actually hilarious – be prepared to pause every five seconds to check what he’s doing. These are probably no good if you’re an absolute beginner, but if you have at least some experience with other gamedev tools, they’re amazing.

For Blender:

Man, I wish I’d just learnt Blender sooner. Blender used to have a reputation for being impossible to learn, but these days it’s actually great, and really intuitive to use.

The thing about Blender is; it’s an extremely powerful piece of software, and you can do a lot with it – but to actually make 3D models for games, you only really to need to learn like, 8 things, and then you can ignore everything else.

Everybody recommends the Donut tutorial, and everyone is right: it’s excellent. That’s my donut in the gif at the top of this section! (edit: not everyone – turns out donut guy is a bit of a dickhead. That link has some details, as well as some alternative tutorial links.)

The first couple of parts cover the basics of mesh editing, and from there, it goes through a bunch of advanced features like shaders and geometry nodes and lighting. None of that later stuff is useful for what I actually want to make, but I found it fascinating to see the zoomed out view of what’s possible with the tool – somehow it made the basic stuff less scary. The tutorial starts here!

For TrenchBroom:

TrenchBroom is my big discovery this month. It’s an open source level editor for making Quake maps!

There is a plugin for Godot called Qodot, which lets you load in Quake .map files directly into the editor. Getting it all set up is unfortunately a little bit of a faff, but it’s worth it because then you get to use TrenchBroom, and TrenchBroom is incredible. It’s so much fun to use, and it’s super fast to iterate on your work.

For actually learning to use TrenchBroom, you should check out the dumptruck_ds tutorials on youtube, which are a series of nice short 5 to 10 minute tutorials on getting up and running. It opens with the most reassuring 15 seconds I’ve ever seen in a tutorial, highly recommended.

(You can actually mostly skip through the first dumptruck_ds tutorial, since it assumes you’re trying to make maps for Quake and mostly talks about setting that up.)

That about covers it! Hey, if you’ve got any other 3D tutorial suggestions, please drop em in the comments! I’ve still got a lot to learn here!

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One last project for 2022

Hello! Time for December’s episode of “here’s what I’ve been working on recently, and also here’s another thing“! I guess I’m gonna try to do these every month, roughly? That seems doable.

What I’ve been working on recently

Since my last blog post, I had a go at making something for this year’s #7dfps – short video above! (I livetooted my attempt over on Mastodon, if you’re interested in the details.)

I called it quits on day 5 though. Partially, because I was running out of steam, but also partially because I like where it seems to be heading, and I really don’t want to rush it. I’ve now had a few days to recover, and I’m excited for it to be my new main project for a while. Going to keep poking at it when I can, over Christmas and the new year.

It’s a bit unexpected, but I’m starting to really like working in 3D. Godot is a lot of fun! And I’m finding (to my surprise) that I really enjoy 3D modelling! I don’t know why it took me so long to just sit down and learn how to use Blender. It’s nice to have a new project that lets me practice these new interests.

The Dicey Dungeons Christmas Special

For today’s “something else”, I just wanna give a shout out to a new Dicey Dungeons mod that came out today – it’s an update to last year’s collab mod “Christmas Special“, with 8 new episodes! The update is available in two flavours – as a standalone with just the new episodes, or in a big megamod with last year’s episodes as well.

[Christmas Special 2]

I played through the new episodes near the end of development, and there’s some really good stuff in there! I particularly like the Robot episode, which explores a forbidden design space that nobody was meant to contemplate. Here were my thoughts, in order:

  • oh my god, how are you doing this
  • why is this not crashing the game
  • I can’t believe you made a whole episode around this idea

And: while I’m recommending Dicey mods, I wanna give another shout out to Tennis, which came out earlier this year and which I liked a bunch. Not only is it packed with great ideas, but the mechanics made me laugh out loud more than once!

3 Comments

Begin/Again

Posted in terrynews

Hi there! Welcome to the first in (possibly) a regular new series of blog posts about what I’m up to. Blogging! Why not!

Here is my new plan: now that twitter is gone forever, every couple of weeks, I’m gonna try to make a short post about what I’m up to. If you wanna follow along, I’ll post links on Mastodon and Cohost. Also I’m pretty sure this site’s RSS feed is still a thing, but I’ve never really understood how RSS works?? Anyway here we go

What I’ve been working on recently

I’ve been trying to finally get to grips with 3D. It’s about time!

I’ve made some 3D things in the past of course, but I’ve always felt like I was cheating. The truth is, I only really know a couple of basic tricks – like how to stick cubes together to fake a 3D model. I get out of my depth pretty quickly, and everything takes me ages. I had no idea how lighting and shaders work, or how to make a real 3D model, or how to rig and animate something, etc.

So, I’ve gone back to basics, learning it all for real – I’m working my way through the Blender donut tutorial, and slowly learning how to do things in Godot. This is absolutely exhausting – but I am slowly starting to get somewhere with it. Making big steps forward, but starting off with 30 steps back. My screenshot above is, uh, where I am right now.

I totally failed at making something for the Haunted PS1 Halloween jam – but 7DFPS is coming up, and I’m hoping I can make something small for that instead. Hopefully I’ll have something to say about that next time.

Leaving Twitter

I figure a good structure for these new blog posts is:
– Something I’ve been working on
– Something ELSE

Today’s “something else” is that I’ve stopped using twitter.

Obviously, this feels like an incredibly dumb thing to do – I’ve been active there for more than a decade, I have 62k followers, it is the MAIN way I communicate with people online, and the main way I tell people what I’ve been working on. But man, it’s just been harder and harder to justify staying there. Like the skeleton once said, if it sucks, hit da bricks.

It’s not just the Musk stuff, although that’s obviously a big factor – truth be told, twitter has been a source of stress for me for a while now. I’ve thought about quitting multiple times! I know this is kind of a good problem to have and all, but once you hit a certain follower count, twitter stops being fun. Even when it’s not necessarily negative, it starts to feels like you’re on stage at all times, and it’s stressful! Or at least, it was for me. (And it’s *addictive*, in a way I found genuinely distracting.)

If twitter somehow survives in the medium to long term, I’ll guess I might reactivate it to post the occasional big news, like a newsletter you forgot you signed up to. But I think I’m done with posting there regularly. Excited for the new things, whatever they might end up being.

12 Comments

Super Hexagon, 10 years on

Posted in super hexagon

So, hey! Today is the 10th anniversary of Super Hexagon’s original release. I know, I can barely believe it either. I don’t have any big plans today, sorry – but I wanted to mark the occasion here. <3

I still don’t really know how to think about Super Hexagon, sometimes. It was a game that just sort of came along, while I was working on something else, a game I very much made for myself, tuned to my own reflexes. I didn’t expect any kind of reaction to it, let alone the one it got. I would never have imagined that anyone would still be playing it 10 years on. I’m unbelievably proud of this thing.

I released VVVVVV’s source code on its 10 year anniversary a few years ago, a lot of people have been asking me if I’d do the same for Super Hexagon, and… maybe? I do like the idea! But not today. There’s no rush. Super Hexagon is actually still being worked on, with updates coming to keep it running well on modern hardware – so making the source available is a bit messy right now. Maybe in the future!

Anyway. Please enjoy these weird early development screenshots from the game, which I enjoyed rediscovering!

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