No Time To Play

Archive for October, 2017

Weekly Links #192

by on Oct.15, 2017, under News

Life is ironic sometimes. Just as I’m migrating this site off WordPress (work is continuing, by the way, just more slowly now to avoid burnout), another major gaming website just went in the opposite direction. Hopefully it will work out for them. Already they’ve been running into the problem, pointed out by Martin Fowler years ago, that blogs tend to bury still-relevant content under an avalanche of new posts. And as I learned from bitter experience, a CMS can make it harder to maintain content, unintuitive as it may seem.

In other news, we learn that source code for the classic platformer Aladdin has been recovered, and actually compiles, yielding all kinds of fascinating insights. Not so lucky are fans of the 1997 Blade Runner game, whose source is lost forever. On a related note, we have the story of how RPG Maker got to be looked down upon. I rant enough about copyright and engine snobbery alike, so I won’t insist. Just remember how much we used to learn by taking old things apart… and consider how little we’re able to do it now. No wonder progress has slowed down to a crawl in many fields, while people have to keep reinventing the wheel.

Last but not least, while I’m busy recycling old content, figured I might as well do the same with a handful of 3D models, remade in a form usable in games in the hope someone might find them useful.

This is it for the week. Enjoy!

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Weekly Links #191

by on Oct.08, 2017, under News

Oh my. As of this week, the IFComp 2017 is on, and it’s the biggest edition ever for the second year in a row, at no less than 79 entries! Judges seem undaunted, but if you want to help them it will be appreciated. On that note, can’t help but wonder what will happen if this trend continues. The community has grown large, and while that’s awesome, certain traditions like the IFComp might need more than updated rules, going forward.

In other news, we have an article about the challenges of adapting games from other media, and a more technical write-up on why porting games to PC is hard. The latter won’t be a surprise to anyone who understand the difference between a console with its fixed hardware configuration and PCs with their myriad options, but clearly some gamers need this explained point by point.

From the same source we get a comparative review of three roguelikes, much like those I used to do (how time flies). And elsewhere entirely, via Vintage is the New Old, there’s the story of rediscovering a 35-year-old type-in game and meeting its author — who turns out to be a really interesting person.

Last but not least, Jimmy Maher’s history of narrative computer games has reached Lemmings, and it’s a fascinating chapter indeed, especially given the context he built over the previous month.

Have fun, and see you next week.

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Weekly Links #190: retrospective edition

by on Oct.01, 2017, under News

Hello, everyone! As announced a few days ago on the other blog, our new website is coming along nicely, including a redesigned game showcase. The migration is about halfway done, or almost (not counting the newsletter), so we’re on track for a New Year switchover if all goes well.

In other news, we have two pieces on the history and influence of Metroid and Ultima Online, respectively, the latter written by none other than Raph Koster himself. We also have a history of real-time strategy games (long read!) with which I have a quibble: look, admittedly the first Dune failed to influence the genre, but to dismiss it as a mere adventure game? Kids these days… You haven’t played it, have you?

On a very much related note, a Thimbleweed Park developer explains how they made the game into more than just a nostalgic throwback. And without any connection, have some tips on interactive storytelling that can apply just as easily to a computer RPG as to a tabletop game.

Last but not least, the Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation just announced setting up a Twine knowledge base that will gather solutions to common problems in a single, easy to search location.

But I’d rather not overextend myself today. See you next week.

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