Tochmarc Emire

Might as well come clean now: for the last week or so I’ve been working on an entry for TIGSource’s Demake contest. I’m not anymore; I decided to call it quits last night. I hadn’t posted about it because I was taking kind of an unusual approach to the theme, in the spirit of this idea:

Arne said: It would be interesting to tackle a franchise or movie setting rather than a game. Like, you’re pretending to do an unauthorized E.T. game for the Atari 2600, before the official game comes out. Would make an interesting competition I think. ‘Unauthorized movie game done in the mid 80’s’. Then you’ll have to be creative and show that movie games can be great and represent the soul of the movie, even with ‘primitive’ graphics. It doesn’t take long before total immersion kicks in, regardless of gfx, if the game is well made. I could imagine that it’s possible to do an Alien game which is very scary. There was one for the C64 but I never played it.

My idea was to make an adaptation of an old Irish Legend, Tochmarc Emire, in the style of a SNES jRPG. jRPGs have always been heavily inspired by world mythology; long story short, I thought it might be interesting to reverse that and retell one of these legends in a style inspired by jRPGs.

Turns out there are a lot of interesting connections – to name just a few: Cúchulainn is 16 when the events in the story take place, his life is driven by a prophesy, in battle he can enter a trance called the ríastrad which gives him superhuman strength and stamina, he’s trained by a powerful warrior from a distant land, he eventually has to fight to the death against his best friend and foster-brother… I could go on, but the point is that the legend lends itself really well to the jRPG structure.

By far the most interesting connection, though, is the music – This post on Game|Life goes into a great deal of detail on the connection between Irish Traditional music and Video Game music – in particular, RPG music. In fact, there’s actually an album of Nobuo Uematsu’s music from Final Fantasy IV arranged like Irish Trad music (Celtic Moon). One of the big things I wanted to do with this project was to explore that connection a bit more, and I’d actually selected a load of my favorite trad songs as the game’s soundtrack. It’s probably not the sorta thing I’d usually do, but I figured given the contest’s “bootleg” nature I might get away with it.

..You know what? I was going to upload them with the game anyway, so I might as well share a few examples here:

Breton Tune [STEAMPACKET]:
(for a town)
Rockfield [Lúnasa]:
(for the bosses)
Wandering Fish [KiLA]:
(for the world map)

Well, anyway. That’s all put to one side. I could sorta justify taking one week out to work on it, but I can’t justify two weeks. And anyway, I totally underestimated how long it was going to take. It’s not even close to finished as it stands. So that’s it – another project scrapped.



Something kinda weird happened today – I got an automated email from this blog saying “Password Lost and Changed”. Then I had a look around and noticed that someone had added a link to a dodgy looking download site to the links on the sidebar there. I haven’t a clue what to make of it, but I’ve updated to the latest version of wordpress and changed the password 😯

Bloody hell – is this something I should be worried about? Has anyone out there had this happen before? Maybe it’s time to look into different software, I dunno how secure wordpress is really…


Stereoscopy and Stuff

Posted in other games

This year’s Gamma theme is Stereoscopy – basically, games that require 3D glasses. I’m not sure if I’m going to take part yet, but it’s a cool enough theme that I figured I’d at least look into it. I ordered a pair of glasses off ebay, and they arrived this morning – have a look!

Snazzy, huh? Even if I don’t end up making anything for the exhibition (submission date isn’t till mid october), it’ll be worth having the glasses so I can play all the entrants. 🙂

Cool and all as it is, it’s not an easy theme to work with – the golden rule for participants is that your game must use this effect in such a way that it’s central to the gameplay. Games that just use it as a visual gimmick won’t be considered. Which is kinda tough, because the whole thing basically *is* a visual gimmick. I’ve been thinking it over a lot since it was announced, but it’s extremely difficult to come up with something that wouldn’t just work equally well or better in standard 3D.

I figure the key to this is to allow the player to manipulate the actual elements which create the effect – I’m thinking, vaguely, of a puzzle game where the player controls the blue layer of a level with one analogue stick and the red layer with another, but I haven’t got anything more concrete than that yet. Part of the problem is that I don’t know very much about the effect yet – I’ll need to experiment a bit first.

Anyway, I’ve been searching about for some decent images to try out the glasses with, and that’s already been very educational. First lesson I’ve learned – images with a lot of red or blue don’t come out well. Some images look fantastic with the glasses; others just give you a headache. I’ve complied a few of the better ones in case anyone wants to see some good examples; they’re after the jump…

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Reformat the Planet

Posted in interludes

I saw this on TIGSource – a documentary on chiptune music, the New York scene in particular. It’s well worth watching if you have an hour or so to spare.

Here’s the catch – if you want to watch it, you need to watch it TODAY. Like, right now. For some reason they’re taking it away after that 😥 Check it out here while you still can!

I really like the documentary’s central idea – that Chiptune is to Electronica as Punk is to Rock – in other words, it’s what happens when you strip away all the fat from something complicated and you’re left with the core concept. Same could be said about a lot of indie game development.


Not again, TIGSource

I keep meaning to mention this: about a month ago, my trad band, Geansaí Dearg went out and bought some proper mics for the whole band and recorded a few songs for a demo. They’re all up on that myspace page, so check it out and let me know what you think! (If nothing else, make sure to listen to Cush’s lovely version of Brid óg ní Mháille…) We’re actually just back from Portlaois after playing three gigs in the local pubs for the World Fleadh, which went really really well. Got another gig this Thursday too.

All of this is great, of course, but practices and gigs have been taking up a fair bit of my time recently 🙁 Hopefully things will settle down for a while now so I can get a bit of solid work done on Ciellus.

Speaking of distractions, TIGSource have announced their new contest – it’s one I’ve been anticipating for a while:

I’m not entering. I know I say that about all the contests, but I like, really really mean it this time. but if I was entering I’d demake Canis Canem Edit and call it Dog Eat Dog