No Time To Play

Tag: game difficulty

Laser Sky progress report

by on Sep.22, 2016, under Gamedev

I wasn’t planning on posting updates today, since real life problems and bad weather conspired to keep me down, but in retrospect the game has progressed noticeably anyway, even if it didn’t feel like that at first.

So, a week ago I announced my new game, a good old shoot’em up called Laser Sky simply because the name was available — as opposed to pretty much anything involving the word “neon”. (Do you know how hard it is to come up with original titles these days? RogueBot for instance is used by a whole bunch of other projects, from a variety of fields. Hopefully nobody sues.)


Anyway, at the time Laser Sky was just beginning to feel like a game, but still lacked variety. So one of the first things to add was power-ups. The first one restores lost energy, or else gives points if you’re topped up — power-ups should never become useless! The second gives you an extra gun (then a third in the tail, which was sorely needed), and after that it erases the heat build-up, that gets significant even though with two guns you fire more slowly. The whole thing took some balancing work, because more guns should be more powerful overall, but still come at a cost. With a bit of special-casing, and otherwise fewer changes than expected, that too worked out great. It requires a change in strategy that just makes sense, and feels satisfying. Not bad for just one addition!

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Weekly Links #57

by on Feb.15, 2015, under Miscellaneous, News

I shouldn’t have continued this newsletter past New Year. Once again all I have for you is a couple of links, and not even a progress report, having failed to keep working on my game. At least I learned a new thing or two, but my enthusiasm truly is gone and it’s time to admit it.

So here’s a resolution: no matter what happens, this newsletter ends with issue #75, right before No Time To Play’s fifth anniversary. There’s a good chance I won’t have the money to renew the domain anyway, in which case it’s all moot. Sorry about that.

But for now, this week’s topics are game accessibility and artificial intelligence — two things I care about despite not being very skilled in providing either.

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Weekly Links #53

by on Jan.19, 2015, under Gamedev, News

Hello, everyone. After my rant about game complexity last week, it occurred to me that someone who’s been reading this blog from the start might deem me hypocritical, seeing how I once praised the manual for Master of Orion. Then again, I learned to play the game by having a friend show me the basics for a few minutes; the manual only helped clarified a few things. Same with Civilization, or the early SimCities. So you see, it’s not about games being hard. (I never came close to winning MoO, before or after reading the manual.) It’s about games being too complicated to friggin’ play, let alone have fun with, unless you’re willing to put in countless hours.

And now, on to game development news.

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Weekly Links #52

by on Jan.14, 2015, under Miscellaneous, Opinion

Hello, everyone! This week we have postmortems of two important gamedev events that happened this autumn. Having participated in one of them, and being tied by nostalgia to the other, I found the parallels especially interesting. I’m talking of course about the Procedural Generation Jam and the Interactive Fiction Competition, and I’ll get back to both of them in a moment.

But first, a personal anecdote. This weekend, I spent half a day with a particular group of old friends — a rare enough event. As it happens, we had a PS4 at the place where we met, with a healthy library of several dozen games. And because someone briefly dropped by with their 7-year-old boy, it was a no-brainer to try and find a game or two in there for him.

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Weekly Links #25: You Aren’t Going To Need It

by on Jun.30, 2014, under Gamedev, News

This is a week with very few links. My hope was to compensate with lots of news about my upcoming game, but personal problems conspired to hold back my progress. All I have to show for now is this one screenshot:


I know, it doesn’t exactly look glorious. It’s much more interesting in motion, trust me. But before I’m ready to make a video, there’s something I’d like to point out — something you can’t see in the image.

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Weekly Links #22

by on Jun.10, 2014, under News

I must be getting used to this. Despite the fact that I was really busy over the weekend (the good kind of busy, mind), a good bunch of links accumulated here. It’s going to be a very visual issue, so let’s get to the point.

You know I’m a big fan of Lords of Midnight, possibly the most unique strategy game ever. More than once, I decried the fact that ever since the original ZX Spectrum release nobody quite managed another title like it — even the official sequel wasn’t as beloved. At least there’s the modern edition keeping it alive.

Well, alerts us of a brand new game based on the same concept, with an Arabian Nights theme and all the goodies one would expect from a game made in 2014. See for yourselves:

Never mind playing it… wish I would have made Legions of Ashworld myself. Good work there, folks.
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Announcing Escape from Cnossus

by on Jul.10, 2013, under Gamedev

Hot on the heels of Spectral Dungeons, here comes my second roguelike for the ZX Spectrum. Developed in half the time (due to the reuse of more than half the code, not to mention the added experience), Escape from Cnossus improves on the formula with a less generic theme, more complex and pretty levels and interesting decisions to make.

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Configurable Games, Anyone?

by on May.03, 2011, under Case study, Gamedev, Opinion

Hello, ladies and gentlemen;

Felix has been kind enough to give me permission to make a mess of post on this site, so in the proud tradition of programmers everywhere: Hello, world!

Let me warn you; the first part of this is going to read a little bit like a rant, but I promise it gets constructive.  And I’m not ranting against things I hate, I’m ranting about things I wish could be better.  Things, in fact, that I love.  To my mind, this is vital for game developers to see; we, as a collective, need to always learn and strive to make better products.  We need to learn from the good and from the bad, and always play with an open mind.

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My love-hate relationship with roguelikes

by on Apr.04, 2011, under Case study

I liked roguelikes ever since I discovered the genre, possibly in 2002 or 2003 — around the same time I stumbled into the modern IF community. But while my involvement with the latter was significant, the former remained a marginal interest at best, despite attempts to change that.

Wait, what are roguelikes? For younger gamers, they are the ancestors of Diablo, although that might seem hard to believe when you see the latter next to, say, Nethack. Connoisseurs will tell you it’s one of the oldest computer game genres, along with text adventures, and with the same timeless appeal due to the use of text as a medium.

They can also be some of the most frustrating computer games out there.

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