Weekly Links #97
Hello, everyone. As I was saying last time, the IFComp results were
announced on Monday, and this year I was intrigued by several of the
games for a change. Actually playing them hasn't been so smooth. One
is Windows-only, and I can't be bothered to install Wine. Another has
illegible gray-on-black text that also overlaps in places. (Does it
perhaps expect a maximized browser window?) Yet a third runs in real
time and doesn't even pause after a screenful of text. Dear game
developers: accessibility matters.
But there's a gem or two among them — see my review of Untold
Riches. I also tried Scarlet Sails, but gave up when
my only available option was unacceptably stupid. Thanks for reminding
me that a historical pirate's life was short, squalid and painful.
Somewhat off-topic, right-wing military sci-fi has a tarnished
reputation nowadays (which has made a lot of puppies sad, but that's
another story). Still, I used to enjoy the early Honor Harrington
books when I was younger, so it was nice to hear that a Honorverse
tabletop RPG is coming next year. What roleplayer hasn't
dreamed of commanding vast fleets in battle while dealing with
political intrigue on the side, and even the occasional duel? Not to
mention that from tabletop to videogames there's just one step. We can
expect more goodies from the franchise in the coming years.
In actual game development news, the authors of a recently Kickstarted
game have published their early brainstorming process, and it's
an instructive read. Note the increasingly wacky and complicated ideas,
none of which makes me want to even bother starting the game. That's
what happens when you set out to make one for the sake of it. If you
don't even care about your own driving idea as an author, how are you
going to finish your creation, never mind getting your audience to
give a damn?
In art, you must have something to say. Doesn't have to be profound.
It just has to matter — to you, the author. And as it turns out, most
ideas that matter can be readily expressed in a non-interactive format.
I'll end with a cool use of procedural generation, for
once not to create game content, but the kind of fluff that makes the
player believe they're having an impact on the virtual world. Which,
as Undertale spectacularly demonstrated in recent months, is a thing
players are hungry for.
Until next time, consider what you're giving your audience.