Some side projects, featuring the return of Buster Drake

I’ve set up a redirect from the frontpage to this blog until I actually have something worth putting up there! Somebody told me that it sucked, and they were right. Also, I got sick of updating it. This makes much more sense anyway – splash pages are, like, so ’90s.

Believe it or not, my April Fool’s post was dead serious. I really am working on a puzzle game. Though the word “puzzle” could be a bit misleading – it’s a word that’s come to encompass a load of games that I wouldn’t really consider to be puzzle games – you know, gem matching, falling blocks, all that nonsense. The game I’m working on isn’t anything like that. It’s more like this.

That game (which I still haven’t thought of a title for) is pretty much my main project right now, but it’s not the only thing I’m working on. I’ve been meaning to write a catch up post for ages now, but it’s been held up by the fact that it’s too soon for me to talk about my main, super serious project. So instead, here’s everything else I’m working on at the moment:

We Love Mind Control Rocket

Because of my other projects I haven’t touched this in about two weeks, but I’m going to make a big push this weekend to finish the update. One one hand, polishing a game that’s basically complete is really tedious, and I’d really prefer to just move on at this point, but on the other, I know there’s potential for a good game here – and if I don’t do it now, it’ll likely get pushed aside and eventually shelved, and I don’t want that to happen.

The update is a massive departure from the gameplay of the contest version – which wasn’t anything like how I originally wanted the game to play – it sort of just emerged from incomplete features that I had implemented.

Untitled Futility/Dream Logic Game

This started as a sort of parallel game for the VGNG contest at TIGSource under the title “Boring Magic Power”, but it’s since become something very different, so I don’t know what I’m calling it at the moment.

There’s an interesting theory about dreams that I’ve always liked: it says that dreams are a way for us to practice handling difficult real life situations that may come up. They give us a chance to improvise, and just see how things play out. Not everybody can relate to this, I guess, but it’s always been the case for me – my dreams are like scenes from soap operas.

This game is a bit autobiographical (to a point, anyway) – I’m trying to make a point about fear of change, about taking chances, and so on. In the game, the main character works in a repetitive office job, and it plays out by offering you meaningless choices that either don’t really matter or lead to ruin. The point of the game is that nothing ever works out: any attempts to break out of the monotony of day to day living leads to failure, and eventually, to a repetitive and bleak lifestyle. Even rather innocuous choices lead to worse case scenarios – in the example in the screenshot above, if you run through the traffic lights you might knock over a cyclist, or get hit by a truck, and so on.

I’m using the Mind Control Rocket engine, so there isn’t really a lot of coding work involved – it really just involves putting together a script and getting some appropriate photographs. So I don’t know when (or if) it’ll be finished – really there’s just a few days work involved, but I’m waiting for inspiration to strike, to develop a clearer idea of what I want the game to say.

Benzido over at TIGSource has a somewhat similar idea in mind, so I put together this mockup for him with the engine πŸ™‚

Buster Drake: The one with the descent into hell

Buster Drake is a character I came up with for the Text the Halls Interactive Fiction contest at TIGSource last Christmas. I was too busy to finish it, but the gist of the game was that you played this really over the top secret agent on an infiltration mission, and you had a load of high tech gadgets at your disposal that you had to use to solve typical little text adventure puzzles.

I’m not entirely sure why I decided to reuse the character for this – RPGDX were holding an ASCII RPG contest, and I had my mind made up that I’d really like to try making a shooter (since I’d never tried to make one before). It tied in enough with the old text adventure idea that I thought it would be a good chance to use some of the ideas.

I really liked where this was going, but then out of nowhere TIGSource announced their VGNG content and I decided to go with it instead, putting this on hold. I haven’t really gotten back to it, but most of the hard work is done – the engine’s finished, so it’s down to creating the content, which I figure would take about two weeks. I know it’ll work – I’m using the aiming system from Warning Forever, which worked out far better than I expected it would – it’s already fun to move about and shoot things, and there are some really nifty ideas with enemies that I’m dying to try out… Unfortunately, I think I pretty much have to put it on hold. I mean, I love the idea and I really want to work on it, but I’ve already taken over a month out with all these side projects.

What I’m probably going to do is spend about a month working on the puzzle game, and then revisit this. It’s either that or scrap it altogether πŸ™

(By the way, in case you’re wondering, I came up with the title while watching episodes of Friends πŸ˜€ )

Space/Void

About a month ago, Cactus posted on his forums looking for level designers for a couple of games that he had in the pipeline. One of them was Space/Void – and I volunteered to help.

That’s the only screenshot he’s put up of it yet, but the game’s actually more or less finished. I made some levels for it and sent them his way, all he’s got left to do is to add a few game elements and some final touches (menus, save function, and so on). Given his prodigious release rate, I don’t expect we’ll have too long to wait before it’s ready – which is great, because it’s excellent, heh. It’s a total departure from the sorta games Cactus usually makes.

* 8 Comments

8 Comments so far

  1. icecube on May 1st, 2008

    I just started trying to figure out a game based upon dreams today….also: I owe you food (or money). And I have worked since. Only I’ve just finished, so I have time to eat now. I don’t have your number, having lost it last weekend. Call me, and we can sort something out.

    Look forward to the evolution of BD. And: oops…I’ve forgotten.

    Later,

  2. Pacian on May 3rd, 2008

    The dream game: Orwell’s Keep the Aspidistra Flying meets Gilliam’s Brazil? πŸ™‚

  3. Terry on May 3rd, 2008

    The dream game: Orwell’s Keep the Aspidistra Flying meets Gilliam’s Brazil? πŸ™‚

    Probably not, seeing as I haven’t read/watched either πŸ˜€ Brazil looks interesting, I’ve just never gotten around to it, and the other I’ve been meaning to read ever since seeing Adam Cadre’s review, (but again…). Right now, I’d have to name Which Way Adventure as a primary influence for that project πŸ™‚

    I don’t have your number, having lost it last weekend. Call me, and we can sort something out.

    Sorry, your number doesn’t work! Send me an email – I’ll probably be in town next week, we can get lunch or something!

  4. icecube on May 3rd, 2008

    I don’t think I know your email address any more terry! (unless you still use your maths one?)

    aaaaaaaaah!

  5. Terry on May 3rd, 2008

    Yep, that’ll work πŸ™‚

  6. Stephen on May 3rd, 2008

    Hi Terry, Stephen here, just thought I let you know Megan’s book is up for sale now. We are both excited about it. Check out this link, I hope it shows up as a link Poetry Book

  7. Terry on May 3rd, 2008

    Congrats! I’ll check it out πŸ™‚

  8. Terry on May 4th, 2008

    Wow, the shipping to Ireland on that site is insane! I think I might wait for the Amazon release to pick it up…

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