No Time To Play
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Weekly Links #219


I may not be the best person to write about game development tools.

In the circles I frequent, everyone seems to use either Unity or Unreal Engine 4. Godot is also mentioned now and then, though more in the way of people being curious about it. And all I can do is sit and listen.

Look, tools are great. They've been around since the days of 8-bit computers. It's as much fun to make them and fool around with them than to code and play games, respectively. But nowadays they're often so large and complex that for an old programmer like me it can be less of a time investment to just re-learn C++. Call it force of habit if you like.

So what to do? Well, for one thing someone has to make those tools, and mine actually got a few people to play with them. And for all the market seems crowded, it's a lot less so than the market for games. But a tool maker also has to use their own tools, at least sometimes, in order to make a good job. But every time I think of a new game idea, my first instict is to just go ahead and code it.

Is it even possible to help others when I can't even help myself?

But for now let's set philosophy aside and see this week's news.

This Thursday opens up with a new analysis of the visual novel market by The Bunny Advocate, this time a comparison of the Japanese and western fandoms. While there is considerable overlap in taste (the best works are generally agreed upon), the differences are telling. Japanese fans for instance tend to prefer stories set in high-school, with male protagonists, and care about the writing. Western fans on the other hand prefer more diverse and mature stories, but not so much pornography, and are picky about the artwork -- something I can anecdotally confirm. They also seem to lean towards stories involving action and violence, conflict in general, which once again confirms my growing suspicions that on this side of the planet we have have a skewed idea of what stories are made of.

Do read the whole thing, because there are many more insights to be found.

It's been another week when working on two projects at once meant I couldn't focus on gaming news. In my defense, I actually managed to release Robots in Spring, albeit in a reduced form, with only three games. Hoping to get a couple more done before the end of May, including the titular entry, then I'll see. In the mean time, you can find it all on; your support and feedback will help me go on. Thank you.

As part of his work-in-progress book on interactive fiction, this week Brian Rushton treats us to a series of "author highlights", starting with Andrew Plotkin, Adam Cadre and Emily Short. While brief and strictly factual, they can be very useful as a "who's who" for people not familiar with the community. It will be interesting to see where this goes next, especially once the big names run out. Until then, check back often, both here and on the forum.

That's it this time. Enjoy the Sunday!