No Time To Play

Weekly Links #28

by on Jul.21, 2014, under News

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.

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.

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Weekly Links #27

by on Jul.15, 2014, under Gamedev, News

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.

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Weekly Links #26

by on Jul.08, 2014, under Miscellaneous, 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.
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Weekly Links #25: You Aren’t Going To Need It

by on Jun.30, 2014, under Gamedev, News

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.

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Weekly Links #24

by on Jun.24, 2014, under News, Opinion

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.
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Weekly Links #23

by on Jun.16, 2014, under Gamedev, News, Review

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:

attack-vector-title attack-vector

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.
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by on Jun.12, 2014, under Miscellaneous

“Also, there’s a certain irony in developers lavishly spending more and more on scenery and then giving us less and less time to admire it.” — Shamus Young

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Weekly Links #22

by on Jun.10, 2014, under News

I must be getting used to this. Despite the fact that I was really busy over the weekend (the good kind of busy, mind), a good bunch of links accumulated here. It’s going to be a very visual issue, so let’s get to the point.

You know I’m a big fan of Lords of Midnight, possibly the most unique strategy game ever. More than once, I decried the fact that ever since the original ZX Spectrum release nobody quite managed another title like it — even the official sequel wasn’t as beloved. At least there’s the modern edition keeping it alive.

Well, alerts us of a brand new game based on the same concept, with an Arabian Nights theme and all the goodies one would expect from a game made in 2014. See for yourselves:

Never mind playing it… wish I would have made Legions of Ashworld myself. Good work there, folks.
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Weekly Links #21

by on Jun.03, 2014, under Gamedev, News, Opinion

It doesn’t happen often that I have one overarching theme for this newsletter; usually it’s just that I discuss a single link at length. This time it’s different. Get ready for yet another big rant about 3D graphics. But not just yet.

I want to start with a little video. Via Shamus Young, here’s a fascinating viewpoint on what the mechanics of Civilization (the game) betray about the developers’ view on the actual human civilization. Too long, didn’t watch version: remember Fry’s reaction to the theme park version of history in the pilot episode of Futurama?

Incidentally, the point they make in the video is very similar to Aaron Reed’s critique of the Star Wars prequels from a few months ago: somehow, along the way, we’ve grown used to the idea that history is a preordained series of events, rather than being shaped naturally by the actions and interactions of many individuals. To the degree that we acknowledge people at all, it’s a handful of historical figures seen as demigods who did everything by themselves…

Troubling, isn’t it?
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Weekly Links #20

by on May.26, 2014, under News, Opinion

All right, this week’s links sure seemed to be more numerous before I started writing the newsletter. At least I have more to comment than usual (to compensate for all those weeks when I don’t have much to say). Ups and downs I guess… oh well, let’s get started.

I’ll start with this humorous tweet pointing out the difference between what developers thought players wanted out of a mobile game, and what they turned out to want:

I daresay this parallels the way enthusiasts thought tablets were going to replace PCs… until they tried doing actual work on tablets. Or how the baroque web design from years ago has been replaced by clean white pages that make it easy to find the one thing you went there for, most likely some piece of information. That’s the problem with techies: all too often, we forget that most people don’t give a damn about all the cool stuff we can do with our toys: they have real work to do and very little time or attention to spare. As for games… Let’s just say that when I’m playing on a tablet, I’m not going to squint at that tiny screen to admire your wonderful 3D art… the details of which won’t render well in 800×480 anyway. Doubly so if I happen to be playing on the metro, with countless distractions around.
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