No Time To Play

Archive for October, 2014

Weekly Links #42: Interactive Fiction edition

by on Oct.26, 2014, under News

With the Interactive Fiction Competition in full swing, it’s no surprise that people talk about IF more than usual. Enough that even jaded ol’ me can find a bunch of news worth mentioning.

I’ll start with a signal boost: Jimmy Maher, a.k.a. The Digital Antiquarian has launched a Patreon to help fund his efforts of documenting the history of narrative computer games. His isn’t just any blog either: you’ll seldom find better documented, more balanced write-ups on any popular topic like that. There’s something to be said about having an academic background, it seems.

So if you can, give Jimmy a hand. He more than deserves it.
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Weekly Links #41

by on Oct.19, 2014, under Case study, News

Having recently worked on two projects that involve voxels, I couldn’t help but notice that for an obsolete rendering technology there seem to be quite a few game engines based on them. Most are quite different from the kind of thing I do (though many seem to rely on procedural generation… why am I not surprised). But a friend just pointed me at the current Humble Indie Bundle, and it includes one project that features remarkable similarities to my own work.

Note the pseudo-3D camera (with just two degrees of freedom!) and the very small scene size — 128x128x64, probably chosen because it’s near the psychological treshold of one million voxels. It also has physics — and I don’t understand why everyone sees “voxels” and thinks “destructible environments” — plus a manual editor of the sort I recently criticized, but which may work well enough if all you’re ever making with it is tiny “3D tiles”, as the case appears to be here.

Also, why is everyone so keen on releasing their engine and toolchain before they have a solid game made with them?

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Weekly Links #40

by on Oct.12, 2014, under Miscellaneous, News

This is the second time in just a few weeks that I almost didn’t have a newsletter, so I’m going to ramble a little more than usual about the couple of topics I do have. First is that the little toy I’ve been working on is nearly ready for release (in fact I’ve been sending review copies already). And yes, I tried using the system look and feel this time, just for kicks. Looks surprisingly good.


But what is VoxelDesc, exactly? It’s a voxel painting application, except instead of being mouse-driven as you might expect, everything is done via a command line backed by a powerful scripting language — Javascript for now, because that’s the default in Java 6/7. I came up with the idea after noticing how tedious other voxel editors are: you need to click your mouse, very precisely, a lot of times, in order to make the simplest object. My experience with POV-Ray suggested that a declarative, procedural approach should be a lot more effective.

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Weekly Links #39: controversy edition

by on Oct.06, 2014, under Miscellaneous, News, Opinion

Howdy, everyone! I’ve been working on a new pet project as of late, and for once it’s neither a story nor a game. Say hello to VoxelDesc, a voxel painting program that uses a command line instead of the usual click-click-click.


As of this writing, it’s not nearly ready for prime time, but it’s progressing fast enough. Soon I’ll be able to see if it’s a good tool for making game art, or whatever other uses people might find for it. Stay tuned.

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