Weekly Links #223
Greetings, readers. The big news this week is Microsoft buying GitHub. Much virtual ink has been spilled about it, and I won't add any more. Regardless of my personal opinion, which I'll keep to myself, the fact remains that several members and friends of No Time To Play are on GitHub, and none of them has announced any intention to migrate. So for now our presence there has to stay in place; there is simply no alternative. GitHub is not just a place to host source code; I can do that just fine on our official website, or any number of other places. GitHub is about the community that grows around open source software. That's why everyone flocked to one place for so long, and why we're in this bind now.
That said, people are moving. The interactive fiction community for instance is headed for GitLab, and I might just follow them. A few graphics projects that should have been on Open Game Art from the start are now over there. And then, I'll see. One thing is certain: change has to happen.
Everyone makes their own choices, but nobody lives in a vacuum. Think carefully.
As of this Wednesday, my latest article, Using Python and Tkinter for desktop games, is now online. With this, I've just completed a series of game programming guides started roughly a year ago. They cover various APIs you can use for that purpose, some well-known, others less so. As planned from the start, the entire collection will go on sale as a book(let) once I get around to preparing it. So watch this space!
A week after the launch of Cultist Simulator, Alexis Kennedy writes about how it went, and many of his tips for success sound very familiar:
- have a dedicated marketing person;
- have a thick skin;
- make a lot of noise about your game;
- be famous;
- be lucky.
The moral is, of course, that most indies aren't going to afford most of that, since they're just bedroom coders. It's still always possible to end up with a hit, so keep trying. Just don't expect miracles, because disappointment is always behind the corner.
As the weekend draws near, Rock, Paper, Shotgun runs a retrospective of Unreal, which just turned 20. It's all worth reading, but mostly I noticed the bits about dynamic music, practical FX (they used those in Doom too, you know), and of course the obligatory bit about crunch. As for me, I only played Unreal Tournament out of that series, which isn't the same thing, but it is part of my memories about the great shooters of that era. So, a nice trip down memory lane. Enjoy!
It's Caturday, and suitably enough, Hardcore Gaming 101 treats us to a hilarious retrospective of Alley Cat. It was one of my favorite games as a teen, when all I had was an 8086 with green screen and no hard drive, so the article is quite the nostalgia trip. But they go even further, discussing other versions, as well as the various failed attempts to remake the game. Guess it's not as simplistic as it may seem to young programmers, now is it.
And yeah, the game was pretty damn hard. Even on minimal difficulty, I found some of the minigames completely unplayable, and the rest barely so. It was still amazingly fun and, as HG101 points out, remarkably immersive despite its surreal setup. More game design lessons to relearn, then.