No Time To Play
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Weekly Links #214


Hello, everyone! I was hoping to post another update before today, but couldn't resist the coincidence: issue: #214 of Weekly Links is also the 214th post on the Tumblr blog -- likely the only time this will ever happen. Besides, I slowed down again as of late, and it's time to take another break from working on Adventure Prompt. Spring calls, not to mention all the other projects that need some love now and then.

Otherwise, not much of an overarching theme this week, but still a bunch of fun news.

I'm writing these lines while having a very nice talk with someone who is compiling a list of games made on Linux -- as in, with Linux as an integral part of the development process, not just where a native build was performed by some script. And as it happens, I've been using Linux exclusively since before starting No Time To Play, though sometimes with Windows tools running under Wine. Not counting compilers, of course, because those are necessary anyway if I want to have native Windows builds. Also not counting tools like Texture, that run in a browser (but then, wouldn't that also exclude Twine? hard to draw a line sometimes). It still leaves plenty of different ways you can make and test games for Windows without ever leaving your Linux desktop, and it's funny how I never thought about it being anything special. But just like many games are Windows-only because that's what most people use exclusively, often so are tools. And that can lead to a vicious circle. So let's help break out of it.

Via Raphael Lucas comes the news that the legendary Fighting Fantasy series of gamebooks is coming back to life, and reading about the author's process brings back memories of my own valiant attempts to write one as a kid, after reading one third of a library's worth of them (another third being science for kids, and the rest French comics). Needless to say, I never finished, but damn if it wasn't a lot easier when little things like making sense or having structure simply didn't matter. And hey, working on it on the train, with a thick notebook and big folding map of passages, while other passengers looked on in bewilderment, is a childhood memory I'll always cherish.

Over on Gamasutra, there's a postmortem of an idle game released on, and apart from the always useful marketing data (tip: don't neglect Linux and people still on 32-bit machines), there's some useful advice hidden in there. Like making some smaller games first to get the hang of it, especially if you have little prior experience. Or how crunch doesn't actually help you release faster -- and didn't we just talk about that last week? Putting every member of the team where they fit best and do the most work is also important, and easy to overlook. You do want someone to take care of the little details! Last but not least, "rigorous cutting of unnecessary features", to quote exactly, is a must. So yes, definitely worth reading.

Can't remember if I mentioned it here before, but The Spectrum Show Magazine is the PDF supplement to an YouTube channel dedicated to the classic 8-bit computer. I discovered it roughly a year ago if memory serves, but only watched a few episodes, instead reading all the back issues, and even contributing to one with the occasion of a game jam. Well, issue #21 is just out, with some regular features like the text adventure column and the one on programming languages available for the machine (this time Forth). There's also an article about Brazilian clones from back in the day, and another on a modern Speccy laptop based on hardware recreation, which to be honest sounds a lot more interesting than the Next. It's also the first time I catch the editor with a serious error, as the review of a modern game mysteriously has text referring to some old lemon instead! Oh well, this is basically the side show to a one-man show that's been going on for years and years already, and involves a lot of hard work. So be forgiving, and give it some love.

With that, I'll let you enjoy this Sunday. See you!