Archive for the 'distractionware' Category

Just a random idea

There’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for the last couple of weeks, but I’m not really sure if it’s worth the effort.

There are a lot of really hard indie games out there – usually I can get through them, but every so often I go looking for a walkthrough to get past some really tough part.

Finding them usually isn’t all that easy – sometimes the author’s site links directly to one, but sometimes it’s tricky. They’re usually hosted on free sites and the like that don’t show up on google for some reason, and the only way to get them (usually) is to find a forum about the game and start trawling through it. There’s a good La Mulana walkthrough, for example, but it’s not exactly easy to find – and recently I’ve been playing An Untitled Story to get 100% completion, but the site that was hosting that walkthrough’s gone down…

It really would be quite nice if there was some little site somewhere that specialised in walkthroughs for indie games, and hosted them. I know I’d find it a useful resource.

I’m thinking of putting one up. I suppose I could write the framework myself (it would give me an excuse to finally learn PHP and MySQL coding like I’ve been meaning to), but I’d prefer to use a premade solution, if one exists…

Any ideas? Anyone like to help? I could use a good web designer’s assistance 🙂 Or even if you know where I can find some indie game walkthroughs, please post a link in the comments!

Here are a few walkthroughs that I already know about:
“An Untitled Story” knowledge base – Currently down for some reason 🙁
The “La Mulana” blog – Contains resources and maps from the game.
Let’s Play La Mulana – A complete video walkthrough of the game in over 70 parts.
“Jet Set Willy Online” Map – A map of JSWO, including all the new areas.
“Trilby: The Art of Theft” walkthrough – A relatively new walkthrough for the game.
“Cave Story” guides – A couple of very good guides to the game available here.

Also worth looking at:
JayIsGames – JayIsGames puts together walkthroughs of a lot of difficult flash games.
Baf’s Guide to the IF archive – The IF archive lists walkthroughs for various IF games if they’re available. A lot of newer puzzle IF now actually include walkthroughs in-game, accessible by typing “help”.

…Or maybe this whole thing is unnecessary. After all, you don’t really need a walkthrough for most indie games, and if you do, there’s usually one available if you don’t mind looking for it.

…On the other hand, because I’ve mentioned walkthroughs on this site before as well as various indie games, I occasionally get search results looking for walkthroughs to games that I would have never imagined needing a walkthrough for. “Knytt Stories”, for example. Or “Poizoned Mind”, which was particularly baffling, considering that all you have to do to finish that is talk to everyone over and over again.

Anyway, just throwing the idea out there.

In other news, can you believe I’ve updated the site practically every day this month? 😯 Because I can’t.


Cool, this thing has tags now

If you visit the frontpage of the site from time to time, you might have already seen this: I’ve finally updated my Articles page. I realised that I’d had a note saying that I was going update it for over a year now, and it just seemed a bit silly.

Seeing as I’m writing for TIGSource and Indygamer Blogspot now (don’t sell the site Tim! 😥 ), I thought it might be nice to keep track of what I post there. Probably only interesting to me, really, but at least it gives me something to put on that criminally bare articles page. I also took a few random posts from the blog and called them “articles” for the hell of it. So now there’s lots of stuff on the articles page, heh.

[Edit: Furthermore: ARTICLES]

I’m not finished mucking about with the site. There’s some other stuff I’m looking into that I’ll post about in a few days once I’ve had a chance to think about it a bit.

Oh, I also updated to the latest version of WordPress. Apparently it has tags, but I’m not sure how to get them working.

Anyway, work on Indie Brawl is ongoing; right now it looks like a multiplayer version of Cave Story… 🙂 hmm… that’s not a bad idea actually…


Stumbled Upon

Looks like someone’s linked to my site from Stumble Upon, and my traffic’s just quintupled multiplied by an astonishing factor. Hope the site doesn’t fall over when I’m away…

Haven’t mentioned my little platformer in a few days, have I? I’ve added a few bits and pieces since I got back from Galway on Sunday, but nothing too serious. I actually ended up making a ridiculously overpowered map editor, considering the scale of the project:

(They’re just temporary tiles, by the way)

Right, I’m off. See ya in a few days 🙂

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A little update

I know it’s been a bit quiet around here lately – sorry about that. The reason it’s taking me so long to put these game proposals together isn’t because they’re so long, or detailed, or whatever – it’s mostly because I’m finding this kinda work a little tedious, and it’s left me a bit demotivated. I don’t like sitting down to my laptop and trying to force myself to write this stuff out in detail. My problem isn’t that I’m really busy – it’s that I’m spending a lot of time posting on forums and browsing reddit and playing indie games, and basically procrastinating anyway I can.

I’m getting a bit sick of the feeling that I have to start typing about these games everytime I sit down to use the computer – so instead I’m just not going to worry about it – for now, anyway. I’ve got a pretty good idea what I’m going to do come October, and I’d really rather not put it to a timetable just yet.

In other words, I’m taking a break from the blog for a while 😀

Things are probably going to be a bit quiet around here until late September or so. I’ll probably still be posting new indie games and things like that to the forum, though 🙂 Just today I found an excellent new C64 game called Joe Gunn, well worth checking out!


I for one welcome our new moderator overlords

I started a forum! Not sure if it’s going to stay, but I thought it might be fun to try for a while.

Right now it’s just a vanilla SMF, but I’m going to do some messing about with it to make it a fun place to hang out. Here are some rough ideas I’ve had for improvements:

(1) A bot will respond to every new topic with the reply “OMG FIRST POST!!!!1”.
(2) Every Sunday, all members with an even number of posts will be permanently banned.
(3) After every 14 posts, the bot will reply with “Second Page 8)”.
(4) A word censor will replace all instances of “!” with “!!!!!!1111”.
(4) The word censor will also replace the use of the word “heh” with this image:

(5) Semicolons will be replaced with this image:

Have fun!


I don’t know what I’m doing: Part 3

I gave my notice today at work. A generous eight weeks.

My last day is Friday, the 31st of August. No going back now.


I don’t know what I’m doing: Part 2

Part 1, case you missed it.

So the other week I posted about my plans for later in the year. Honestly, I wish I could start right now, but this is tricky, and I don’t want to mess it up. I have a savings target that I predict I’ll hit within three months. In the meantime, I intend to plan my approach to this carefully, and to try and conceive and prototype a few suitable game ideas.

The very first considerations I need make, I think, are the new constraints that result from this decision. Judging by the kinda things I’ve been posting here, it’s probably pretty obvious what kinda project I’d go for, if I could. The classic 40 hour, epic, plot driven RPG (and I’ve got quite a few of those in mind). But I don’t think that’s a realistic goal. Or a very smart one.

My biggest constraint is time. I have six months (which suddenly doesn’t seem like very long at all), so I can’t work on anything that’ll likely take longer than that. That basically rules out any RPG project I have in mind.

This constraint implies another: content. If I’m going to work on a game that I can realistically finish in a couple of months, then I need to start thinking a lot smaller. It seems to me that the fundamental difference between a game that takes a long time to finish and a game that’s finished quickly is the amount of content in it. It’s why Darwinia took years, and Defcon took months, I suppose. (And yeah, I know that’s probably obvious, but then there are other ways to cut corners that I don’t really want to consider.)

But you know what? Thinking about it this week, I figured the transition from making any random thing to making a living as a game designer would involve a total change in perspective. But I’m wrong. The only real constraint here is time. Anything else is self-imposed.

I suppose someone might think about this and come to a different conclusion – after all, if I want to make a living out of this – if I want to still be able to do this in six months time, then don’t I need to think about making something that’s going to sell?


All I need to focus on is making something that’s good. And I need to do it before I run out of money=time. And that’s it. I actually had myself really worked up with thoughts like “Oh, I can’t make that, I won’t sell a single copy” and “What can I do to make my game appeal to female gamers?” and “Making a murder simulator is a really bad idea, I hear they ban those now”. Sheesh. My head’s been totally in the wrong place.

What I need to do, I think, is continue like this changes nothing. In order words, to go on making games that are interesting and exciting to me, just bearing in mind that I’ve got a time limit. And anyway, I’m wrong again. Time is something I will have. Lots of. I won’t be doing anything else, after all.

Fuck, I hope I don’t get “writer’s” block again…

Does that make sense? Or nonsense? Hmm. A part three is needed, I think.


I don’t know what I’m doing: Part 1

Heya. Sorry I haven’t updated properly in so long. I have something of an announcement.

I’ve spent a good deal of this year in my old college library after work, making incremental updates to my RPG engine. I try to get to the library about three times a week, (occasionally more and often less), and spend around three hours there – about half an hour of which is spent getting reacquainted with whatever problem I was having the last day. I suppose I average about six hours a week, excluding weekends. There’s only so much you can do with that – and to be honest, it’s just really demotivating to move at such a slow pace.

When I finished college, I made a basic plan for the next few years. I want to be a game designer, but I know I can’t just walk into a job like that. I need a portfolio, at the very least, or better yet experience making games. My plan was to start by making shareware games in my spare time, and down the line make my way into the industry as a designer… but it’s not going to happen at this rate. More and more I’m starting to feel like the only way I’m ever going to get anywhere is to take a big chance and just go for it.

So here’s the announcement: within the next couple of months, I’m going to quit my job and attempt to make a living as an independent game designer.

Thanks for that insight, A Triangle Morning 😀

I don’t mean to be negative, but I know it’s a venture that’s probably doomed to failure. From what I’ve read, it seems very few indie games (outside of casual gaming) make anything at all… All the same, I figure it’s better to give it a shot as soon as I can, when the consequences of failure are comparatively small. Hey, worst case scenario I run out of money and have to find a new job! (well, actually worst case scenario I run out of money and I’m unable to find a new job, but whatever).

I hope to have enough savings to do this full time for about six months, and I may get a two-day-a-week part time job to help with the rent, allowing me to hold out even longer. This week I’ve been thinking about different possibilities for games to work on, which I hope to post about over the next few days. Trying to support myself through game design throws up some interesting constraints that I’m going to have to work around…

If anyone out there is still reading this, let me know what you think. Thanks!

BTW, yey or nay on the shoutbox?


Something random I posted on a forum

On this thread, Handling character death.

Hmm, anyway, real reason I’m posting: couple of years ago I was working on a game called Project Distraction that was going to do something really radical with this.

Essentially, the game was going to completely do away with the usual RPG response to a character getting wounded in battle. Each section of the game was going to have a little subscript that dealt with the different wounded character possibilities.

Say “Ado” and “Remy” are in a party together, for example, and Remy got injured in battle. Depending on the situation the characters were in, it would trigger a plot event and try to write the situation into the game. There was this one section where they were trying to find some bombs that had been set in a building, and in that case Ado would just tell her to try to make her own way out while he continued on – or in another section they’re both trapped and trying to get out of somewhere, and if one character got injured it would trigger a subquest where the injured character would lie against a wall somewhere while the other one looked for some medicine…

And so on. The game would also remember things that happened, and adjust specific scenes of the game respectively – like in the first case above, instead of a celebratory scene at the end, Remy would spend a while moping about how she just got in the way.

In certain scenes, getting injured in battle would mean that a character would die permanently. And then every so often for the rest of the game, the other characters would reminisce about them.

I hoped this approach would make the player feel like they’re playing a game where the ending hadn’t really been decided. Like anything could happen.

I guess it’s probably obvious enough why I never went ahead with this –
(1) It was way too much work. I worked out that it would involve at least tripling the amount of dialogue that I’d have to write.
(2) It became impossibly complicated when considering multiple characters.
(3) It would have meant that good players would see very little of the game’s interesting side – in fact, if the game was any good, it would mean that players would replay the game killing off random characters at certain points just to see what would happen, which wouldn’t have been a good thing.
(4) There was a real danger that the game *wouldn’t* have been any good, and that this mechanic would have turned the game from something entertaining into a complete chore.

Still. I wonder if it’s worthwhile making a minigame on this basis? An hour long RPG that did this might be a fun experiment… 🙂

[yeah, sorry, it’s a bit rushed – I’ll clean it up later]


It’s so depressing…

Someone found my site by searching for Final Fantasy VII Windowed Mode.

Oh the times! Oh the customs!

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