We Love Mind Control Rocket

One little side project that I’m working on at the moment is a little strategy game for TIGSource’s VGNG contest. I hope to have it finished by Tuesday week. The game’s about political manipulation: will post more in the next few days! For now, check out the forum thread on TIGSource for a bit more info.

Sorry it’s been so quiet around here: but don’t worry, it’s a good sign. I’ve been real busy lately.


Then it becomes secrets, and no one knows secrets

Thought I should make some sort of official deceleration that I’m scrapping one of my projects – Indie Brawl. My theory was that nobody at TIGSource really cared that I’d put it on the backburner given that there were so many other things going on over there, but that clearly isn’t the case. Someone brought it up again, and it’s obvious that there are a lot of people over there itching to get started at it. Seeing as I’m the bottleneck here, I asked if anybody else wanted to code it instead, and Alec Halowka (of Aquaria fame) volunteered. He’s even going to use the spiffy Aquaria engine as a framework, so we should see something playable relatively soon!

Honestly, as much as I liked the project, I’m glad to be rid of it. I didn’t really have the time I thought I’d have for it and I’ll have even less in the new year (more on that later). Plus, I was just feeling responsible for holding it back, which I hated.

Oh, I’m also shelving The Tower temporarily. I want to come back to it later to explore some graphical thing I’m doing, but basically, I’m starting fresh in the new year with none of my old projects around my neck. I think I’ve spent long enough experimenting. Time I did something a bit more ambitious, no?


The fall of Buster X. Drake

I said a couple of days ago that I’d see where I was in a few days with my TIGSource Text The Halls contest entry. Well, here I am. It’s not going to work out 🙁 What with being home for Christmas and everything, I’m just not working hard enough at it, and I’m not close enough to completing it to have a reasonable shot at doing it in the next few days. I have a fair bit of work done on it I suppose, but the sequences I really wanted to do, the driving forces behind the original concept – they remain unwritten.

It’s no big deal, really. It was kinda fun to take a break from The Tower for a while (which has become a fairly serious project), and it was great to have an excuse to finally sit down and use Inform – which has to be the most beautiful language I’ve ever worked with. I don’t even know where to start – here’s an example from the documentation that creates a few rooms from Colossal Cave:

The Cobble Crawl is a room. “You are crawling over cobbles in a low passage. There is a dim light at the east end of the passage.”

A wicker cage is here. “There is a small wicker cage discarded nearby.”

The Debris Room is west of the Crawl. “You are in a debris room filled with stuff washed in from the surface. A low wide passage with cobbles becomes plugged with mud and debris here, but an awkward canyon leads upward and west. A note on the wall says, ‘Magic word XYZZY’.”

The black rod is here. “A three foot black rod with a rusty star on one end lies nearby.”

Above the Debris Room is the Sloping E/W Canyon. West of the Canyon is the Orange River Chamber.

I am kinda sorry that all I posted about it at TIGSource was that crazy picture that Akhel mustered up for me in #tigirc (which had nothing whatsoever to do with my game, heh).


Leon: “This is no ritual; it’s terrorism.”

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve talked about any of my projects, so I thought it was time for an update.

Aside from the usual coding and all that, I’ve been busy with a business issue which I haven’t talked about here till now.

Essentially, I’ve been looking for funding to continue with what I’m doing next year. My local county enterprise board have turned me down, but there’s something else that I’m looking into which currently looks quite hopeful. Applying to both programmes meant putting together a proposal, which actually ended up taking a lot of work. Essentially, I wrote up a document talking about Independent Gaming as a business, showing that a market existed by demonstrating some success stories, and proving that I had the ability to make something that could compete. I thought it was pretty good, but the first group I showed it to didn’t – they weren’t able to support me because I’m not far enough along. Which I guess is fair enough; after all, I haven’t made a cent at this so far, and it looks like it could be a while before I do.

There’s a European National Development Plan funded course with some financial assistance that I’m going to apply to next, but failing that, my next action will probably be to apply for a loan. But that’s next year’s problem, I guess.

Now. As for my projects!

First of all, I haven’t abandoned Indie Brawl – I’ve just set it to one side. The engine driving it is basically finished – I just need to add enemy AI and any game specific stuff that we may end up needing in the future. Once these other things are out of the way, I’ll revive it. Anyway, there’s a ton of stuff happening on TIGSource at the moment, so I don’t think it’s really being missed.

Secondly, I’m also still working on my November contest entry to RPGDX (tentatively titled “The Tower”). Lots of things have been added (including a cool state based AI system and some stealth stuff). However, as I’ve expanded the project a bit I want to completely redo the graphics – and I’m afraid I don’t want to post any more about it till then. I’ve decided that it’s definitely worth developing, though.

Lastly, I’m working on a new project – a text adventure for TIGSource’s Text the Halls mini contest. Right now it’s kinda up in the air, and I don’t know if I’m going to see it through to the end. The big problem I have is that I can’t settle on a tone. At the moment it’s like it’s two games – on the one hand it’s quite a serious spy drama with lots of political intrigue, on the other it’s a ridiculously silly over-the-top secret agent story with Resident Evil 4 style dialogue and explosions every couple of steps.

I’m going to give a few days before I decide what I’m doing with it.


The Art of Theft – Trilby Rank playthrough

trilbyBar maybe Trilby Ranking the Bonus Heist at some future date, I’ve finished my Art of Theft playthrough, and managed a Trilby Rank on each stage. Now I am truly a master thief. To deny it would be foolish!

I had fun with this little video playthrough! Actually I can’t remember when I last came across a game I so compulsively wanted to master.

To round the whole thing off, I posted the whole sequence of videos over at TIGSource, along with each level’s introductory text. Check it out here.

I’ve yet to play Yahtzee’s other games, but on the strength of this I think I’ll make some time over Christmas to work through them, starting with 5 Days a Stranger, probably. Or Fantabulous Wonderment, which (as a Star Control 2 fan) I really like the look of.


Trilby: The Art of Theft – Heist 1


I just posted a big review of Yahtzee’s new game Trilby: The Art of Theft over at TIGSource. It basically says that it’s brilliant, that all games should be like it, etcetera, etcetera. I also posted an annoucement a few days ago at Indygamer Blogspot when I first came across it. It’s the first game I’ve come across while writing for TIGSource that I liked enough to cross post, heh. It’s really good – if you’re into indie games at all you should check it out – I’m adding it to my favourites list.

I made a video to demonstrate it, since it’s hard to get the atmosphere of this one across in screenshots.

Heist 1: 1 minute and 32 seconds, $635 in loot, no tasers or alarms.