GameDev News for 5 April 2021



Hello, everyone! Looks like this year I'll focus mostly on ports. The first one is a modest old game, Lost in the Jungle, that now runs natively in Linux for what it's worth. By the way: turns out I can easily and reliably build for 32-bit Linux again, so don't throw out that old PC yet!

More news to come. In the mean time, let's see the latest headlines:

  • Once again game stores are shutting down, and once again people are discussing how we could (and should) preserve all those games. And yes, it's tricky not just due to copyrights, or new consoles coming up all the time. I hadn't even thought about issues like TV plugs! But you know... having just made yet another game port, with more on the way, I can't help but think that if even one of the platforms I make my games for survives, so will the games, even if they weren't open source, and they are. That alone is reason to port them widely. Even if we're no longer in the Tower of Babel that was the 80s computing. Oh wait. The simple, self-contained machines from back then are precisely those most easily emulated nowadays, whose games will run forever.
  • Ever wanted to know what Jane Jensen was up to after Gabriel Knight and Sierra stopped being a thing? I hadn't thought of that, but Vice Magazine has us covered. It's a fascinating story, too, and it made me realize something. Just like real-time strategies didn't go anywhere but simply evolved into more focused genres like tower defense and MOBA, adventures became many little things, like room escape games, hidden object games and walking simulators. And there's nothing wrong with that, though it does betray an environment where few games can be large and ambitious anymore. But the wheel still turns.
  • On the forums there's another excellent discussion about worldbuilding, specifically how to rationalize fantastic elements, and the consensus appears to be, don't sweat the details! It's fantasy, not hard sci-fi, that's kind of the whole point. And having recently written a novella of my own, in a new setting that runs on surrealism, I can tell you that 1) it's exactly what readers loved about it, and 2) it still has a surprising amount of internal logic. Despite being devised on the fly, or as I like to think, because of that. So yeah. Just worry about telling a good story.

Last but not least, as of a few days ago the Spring Thing 2021 games are out, and the forums are abuzz with reviews. Enjoy, and see you next time!


Tags: meta, preservation, adventure, rpg, worldbuilding