I have a short week again, due to a dearth of news and not much to comment about those I do have. But then I figured out an angle for the first link of the week, and it all rolled out from there.
The Speccy Jam is, as the name suggest, a game jam where developers gather to make games that look as much as possible as if they were made for the eponymous 8-bit microcomputer. Interestingly, the games don’t have to be genuine Spectrum software — which reminded me of a friend who, seeing Spectral Dungeons and Escape From Cnossus, thought they were just excellent immitations rather than the real thing running on emulation. And you know, I can see the appeal of adopting the graphical style while doing away with some of the more annoying limitations. But then the purist in me starts yelling, “but it’s so easy to make genuine Speccy games!” And it fills me with doubt.
I’ve no idea when my browser started supporting WebGL. It wasn’t last time I checked, but when was that? Possibly months ago… before the last OS upgrade. Oh well, that must be it.
You can use the good old WASD keys to move around. I was going for a Sentinel vibe, but failed, and cheap tricks couldn’t fill the gap. (Amusingly, using the software renderer comes closer to what I had in mind.) To top it all, I worked just as much on figuring out Three.js as I had previously on setting up various 2.5D engines from scratch. And at least this one had style.
Oh well, on to the real news.
I don’t even know where to start. Paradoxically, it’s because of too few links this time, rather than too many. How do you tie together thematically a handful of completely different topics?
Oh well. Two weeks ago I was writing about Kickstarter projects that fail after being funded. Well, here’s a postmortem of one that succeeded. As it turns out, that takes a lot more than just enthusiasm. And money is never as much as it appears.
Welcome. We’re all used by now with Kickstarter projects failing even after being fully funded, and while it doesn’t seem to deter backers — people clearly understand that sh*t happens — the question remains: what should developers do once it’s clear that they won’t be able to deliver on their promises? Over on Twitter, Shamus Young has an answer, and I can’t help but agree.
Idea: If you Kickstart a game & the project fails, then as a gesture of good faith you could release source & assets. http://t.co/O3lB68ZG75
— Shamus Young (@shamusyoung) July 18, 2014
This would 1) Show you DID work on it. 2) Give the community SOMETHING. 3) Let others learn from your mistakes.
— Shamus Young (@shamusyoung) July 18, 2014
That’s hardly unprecedented. At least two high-profile MMOs (Ryzom and Myst Online) went open source after failing in the market, and they hadn’t even been kickstarted, a.k.a. “already paid for in advance”. For a game that was, it’s just common sense, you know?
But there’s another excellent reason to do so.
I didn’t expect to finish my game in just one more week, but here it is. Somehow, in only a few coding sessions, I managed to:
- Add a third enemy and rebalance everything.
- Add sound effects and music.
- Implement the missing help/options screens.
Here’s the result. It doesn’t look much different, and it’s hardly complete; preferences aren’t saved, there’s no highscore list and there’s just one 5-minute level — which makes it more of a demo. But it feels like a product rather than an experiment, and that’s what matters.
And now, for more interesting news.
This week I was supposed to rant about my work in progress some more, but I just so happen to have a bunch of links to discuss, so I’ll just show you this:
Yes, after many wasted days and a coding marathon, the basic gameplay is all in place. The game is fast, furious and fun. And I just spent entirely too much time putting together a miserable animated GIF. Don’t worry, you’re not missing much; sound isn’t in yet.
Let me tell you how I ended up with that. Read and laugh. Or weep, as the case may be.
This is a week with very few links. My hope was to compensate with lots of news about my upcoming game, but personal problems conspired to hold back my progress. All I have to show for now is this one screenshot:
I know, it doesn’t exactly look glorious. It’s much more interesting in motion, trust me. But before I’m ready to make a video, there’s something I’d like to point out — something you can’t see in the image.
I meant to work on my game some more before this week’s issue, but an impromptu trip messed up my schedule something fierce. Luckily, I’m hardly hurting for content.
I’ll start with a fascinating post-mortem. Via Gamasutra, here’s the story of a hobbyist programmer’s game that was 13 years in the making!
The story, itself told with skill and humor, covers six big problems that marked the project. Three of them are very, very familiar.
It seems appropriate that I’d have a week with few links again just as I have an announcement to make. I also have a game creation tool to review, and some ranting at the game industry, and that’s enough for now so let’s go.
The big news is that I’m returning to game development! I’ve been absent for a year, and I won’t be long most likely, but still. Here’s what I have so far:
Yep… that’s a first-person shoot’em up with voxel art — meaning the game is only rendered with voxels. I ran into difficulties right off the bat, which is why all I have now is scrolling scenery, but it’s coming along nicely. No, I won’t have a HTML5 version this time. Sorry.