Project Clean Slate

Hey! I thought it was time for one of my long-overdue catch up posts. Here’s what I’ve been up to recently!

I’m back in London

So, uh, I guess here’s a very brief summary of the past two years: I was in Australia at the start of the pandemic, and when flights started getting cancelled and borders started closing, I essentially got stuck there. Which, it turns out, was extraordinarily good luck. There’s nowhere else I would have rather been during all this. But visas and work and life gave me plenty of reasons to come back, so in August, after 18 months, I returned to London! Here I am again!

Settling back into London has been a bit of an adjustment. My way of dealing with that has been to pour myself into work – so I’m doing something I’ve been calling “project clean slate”. Basically, I’m tackling years worth of little jobs, bug fixes, and long term maintenance jobs that I’ve been putting off forever. My goal is to come out the other side of this with no lingering jobs hanging over me, and a clean slate to start on whatever’s next.

That means: taking a look at what needs to be done to maintain my three commercial games, and a big list of miscellaneous “other stuff”.

Dicey Dungeons

It’s weird for me to think around this, but Dicey Dungeons is now kind of an old game? Like, we launched it over two years ago! Weird because for me, it’s still my main job – most of what I do on a day-to-day basis is Dicey related. I just released an update on Steam last week, in fact. A lot of this work should be coming to fruition in the near future, excitingly.

The big question to answer here is; yes, we are still doing the mobile ports! Yes, I know they’re taking a long time. I’m sorry! But we’re really close now! Sometime in the next couple of months, probably.

We could in theory rush them out sooner than that, but I’d rather not… for one, I wanna get them right, but also… I’ve been working on something cool that I want to debut with the mobile versions.

For the past year, I’ve been slowly working on a new DLC for the game. It’s six brand new episodes, free to everyone who owns the game. I’m getting the band back together for one last show!

That’s all I’m ready to say about this for now – but I’m very, very excited to start talking about it for real.


VVVVVV

VVVVVV is actually in really great shape these days, mostly due to the recent PC open source update! The game’s running like brand new again.

The mobile versions are maybe a little rustier, but they actually still work *pretty* well, I think. I did an iOS update in 2017 to bring it up to 64-bit, and then a similar one on Android in 2019. I think it’d be nice to port the open source improvements to mobile eventually, but that doesn’t really feel urgent. As for the console versions, they’re out of my hands, but they’re very solid versions of the game that aren’t going anywhere, so that’s fine. VVVVVV is in a good place.


Super Hexagon

Of my three commercial games, Super Hexagon is currently the most neglected, I think. Over the next few months, I really want to do something about that!

First and most urgent is getting the Android version back up and running! The Android 11 update last year broke the game completely, so I had to take it down off the store. However, thanks to Daniel Rosser, we have a fix almost ready to go! (Hey, actually, do you want to help test it? I’m doing a google play beta version very soon, if you’re interested!) The iOS version is relatively up to date, but we’ll probably do an update there too just to bring it up to speed and keep it running nicely into the future.

After that, the PC version could really use an update – it was originally built on Windows 7, after all, so that’s next. After that? Well, we’ll see – I think a Switch port might be interesting, but I don’t want to promise anything!

Other stuff

So, uh, what else is there?

Bosca Ceoil

Bosca Ceoil is my music making app from a couple of years back. I released it as Open Source, and I’d really like to keep it up and running – it actually gets pretty widely used in game jams these days, which is nice! Right now, it doesn’t really work on Mac or Linux (without quite a lot of hacking, at least). So it’d be nice to fix that.

What I’d really like to do, though, if I had infinite time, is a full Haxe rewrite. That way I could make nice modern native versions for Windows, Mac and Linux, which would run better and support fancy native features like Midi keyboards that were too much of a hassle to get working in Adobe AIR. It would be a chance to fix some long standing bugs too, like, uh, how when you press escape the application immediately exits without saving your work.

Porting the application would be pretty simple, I reckon – a couple of days should do it. The blocker is the audio library that it depends on, SiON, which doesn’t have a working haxe port. I’ve done a little bit of work to try and get the haxe port working, and I have have a couple of promising leads… but it’s a little bit beyond me, to be honest. Maybe at some point I’ll try to find someone who can help?

Terry’s Free Game of the Week

So, this is a weekly blog where I post about interesting freeware games that I’ve played recently. I find myself drawn to projects like this because… I guess I want more things like this to exist? That said…

For whatever reason, the blog isn’t really getting a lot of readers. Which is not really a big deal, you know, whatever – it’s been a good project for me, in terms of having a place to articulate why I like what I like, and it gives me a good reason to keep up with freeware. And while I can’t say I’m getting better at writing, exactly, I am starting to find it easier.

I have to wonder, though: if this blog is just for me, maybe there are more productive things I could be doing with my time? I dunno! I guess I’ll see out the year at least, and re-assess then.

FF8 Script Twitter Bot

Oh yeah, I made a twitter bot which just tweets random lines from Final Fantasy VIII, lol. I’m slowly adding lines to its database, which is a more manual process than you might expect. It’s a fun side-project, though – it’s been a really interesting script to pour over line by line! Man, I should make another RPG.

My old flash games

Sadly, thanks to the death of flash, basically all of my freeware games from before 2016 no longer work! This *sucks*. Right now the only way you can really play any of them is through the BlueMaxima Flashpoint project (essentially a downloadable flash emulator). I’ve been sort of hoping that projects like ruffle would get to the point where everything would just magically start working again, but it seems like they’ve still a long way to go.

So – one thing I could do is port them, individually, from Flash to Haxe. Which is actually not as much work as it sounds! But it’s a lot of programming work that I’m really not that good at, and I’m not sure it’s a good use of my time when I could be making exciting new things instead. I dunno. Eventually I might try to save one or two of the ones I care about the most.

Future Plans

After all this, what’s next? It’s gonna be a while before I get through all this, but I am thinking a lot about what I want to do when that happens. This sorta feels like the start of a new chapter for me.

I think it’s probably time I sat down and learned a few new tricks. I really like haxe, but recently I’ve been feeling like not working with a modern game engine is holding me back a bit. After all, ideally I would do a lot less programming and a lot more game making.

Godot seems really promising, and I think I would really enjoy spending a little more time with it, making some dumb freeware games while I figure out what I want to really want to work on next. Who knows!

* 14 Comments

14 Comments so far

  1. A cat on October 28th, 2021

    Hey you’re incredible and the things that you make are inspirational and beautiful and I don’t have much more to say than that but you’re an incredible designer and person and you’ve left your mark on me and thousands of others and I think that’s great

    Take care! <3

  2. Terry on October 28th, 2021

    Oh! Ahh, thank you very much!

  3. A bird on October 28th, 2021

    I must concur with A cat. Terry, you’re just the best. I hope your work is fun and fulfilling. I’ll buy anything you make. Wishing you health and contentment.

  4. Soydgo on October 29th, 2021

    Thanks for this. I hope you keep updating the free game blog, I’m an avid reader. I’ve noticed it doesn’t get much interaction, I’ll try to comment sometimes.

  5. Zanzlanz on October 29th, 2021

    Welcome back! Wonderful update post all around! It’s inspiring to see you immersed in your craft and carefully balancing legacy work with new work.

    Ruffle’s support for AS2 games has been incredible so far. But they’re still working hard to get a glimpse of that AS3 functionality. For mostly-code projects, manual porting probably will be the best way to go for a while still. But it’s exciting to see the Flash resurrection happening!

    Coincidentally, this week I’ve also been looking into the whole sample streaming situation to port an old Flash audio project. Seems the Web Audio API isn’t great for real-time synthesis like Flash was, but you can sort of hack it together with the right setup of tiny buffers. But it’s cool to hear OpenFL’s native support has progressed with that! I think another option is hxRtAudio for native platforms?

    All the best wishes, excited to see what’s next šŸ™‚

  6. taco360 on October 29th, 2021

    hey hey, welcome back! really cool to see how much you still care about your older projects, continuing to support and update them after so long is inspiring. good luck, and looking forward to seeing where all this goes šŸ˜€

  7. Anonymous on October 29th, 2021

    hi terry! VVVVVV was such a cool game i got on the 3ds when i was around 14. 5 years later, it inspired me to start working on my own game! I’m not very good at it, and im struggling to find the energy to keep working with it (i also wrote myself into a spaghetti code mess). Either way, you’ve been a huge inspiration to me so thank you!

  8. Anonymous on October 29th, 2021

    Hi Terry, just wanted to voice that I really appreciate your Free Game of the Week posts! I totally understand if you don’t feel like it’s a worthwhile endeavor but just wanted to let you know you’re not just shouting into the void with that. Really enjoyed your deep dive into Roblox as well!

  9. Valentino on November 4th, 2021

    Hi Terry! Words cannot explain how much I have enjoyed playing super hexagon! I only have good memories about competing with friends to see who could get the longest time haha. I am waiting for the Android 11 update, definitely want to play it again!! šŸ™‚

  10. Tevin on November 18th, 2021

    No Way!! SUPER HEXAGON
    i’m gonna try to blow this up on twitch.
    super hyped to start playing again too!
    I’m hyped terry, you’re the man!

  11. Emil on November 25th, 2021

    Hi!

    Just played Dicey Dungeons on Xbox Game Pass and it is truly amazing! I played one of the alphas many moons ago and it was already really interesting back then. Love the art and music but the gameplay is truly inspired and really makes me want to try my hand at designing something similar someday.

    Cheers!

  12. En-dot on November 27th, 2021

    With Dicey Dungeons, you’ve brilliantly scratched an itch with my 14yo math-gaming logic puzzler son (and me, his derpy mom, I am also an acolyte). Now he wants more, more, more! Any chance you could make a post about how to feed the voracious brains of math-probabilities-logic gamers?

  13. diceLibrarian on December 4th, 2021

    Hey, thanks for keeping us posted, I actually have this blog as a pinned tab.

    I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

  14. Anonymous on December 5th, 2021

    Dicey Dungeons remains one of my all-time favorite games and I keep coming back to it. I own it on Switch and PC. Iā€™m very excited to hear there will be a DLC update (!!!) and I am looking forward to reliving the magic from scratch once the iOS version releases.

Leave a reply