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”.
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 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.
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!
So, uh, what else is there?
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.
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!