GameDev News for 15 October 2021 (game history edition)

Hello, everyone! It's mid-October, and winter is coming early in the northern hemisphere. In the way of good news, plenty of people seem interested in OutNoted, though few tried it so far. Even better news: it spawned another project that I hope to announce next time.

There aren't so many links today either, but what's there is quite good. To wit:

  • In early October, HG101 covers Doom, and the introduction made me laugh out loud. There's also an in-depth comparison of the various console ports. Of course the sequels get articles of their own.
  • Then we have a French language story that makes some surprising connections: Why visual novels are in first person.
  • On a related note, there's an excellent question on the LemmaSoft forums: How do you write a plot?
  • And for its 20th anniversary, ScummVM has a massive new version, including among others Glulx support, giving it the ability to play hundreds, maybe thousands of text adventures. See also the more personal coverage from Vintage Is the New Old.
  • Last but not least, The 50 Years of Text Games project has reached 2009 and Fallen London, or Echo Bazaar as it was called at the time; I reviewed it in 2011, and played for many more years after that.

That's it for today. Not bad for these gray, gloomy times. See you around!

Tags: tools, adventure, history, writing, retrogaming

GameDev News for 5 October 2021

Hello, everyone! I've been working on yet another hare-brained scheme lately, and just happened to release a big new version yesterday. Meet OutNoted, an outline note-taking editor for the desktop:

Screenshot of a desktop application showing a tree of text notes in the main work area, along with a toolbar and other widgets. There aren't any icons.

It's hosted on the sister site, and I'll just let you take a look. But first, some news. Only a few today:

And in more positive news:

But it's time to end the first newsletter of Spooky Month. Have fun, and see you!

Tags: tools, publishing, history

GameDev News for 25 September 2021

Hello, everyone! The big news today is that I finally got around to finishing Gamebooks & Goonies. That's the ruleset for Unwanted Hero, that I've been planning to write down since early summer and only got around to recently. So far there hasn't been any feedback, but people seem interested enough.

Also in the housekeeping department, after paying the last hosting bill my PayPal is now empty, so the next one will have to come out of my pocket. No worries, I have money, but it will be a sour note on which to end the eight-year run of this newsletter.

Speaking of sour notes, let me get some bad news out of the way. Earlier this month, Clive Sinclair died, and I'm sad to see how incomplete coverage is, even from the best source. He was a pioneer in many more fields, people.

In the way of more current issues, we have an opinion piece asking game companies (and others) to Please Stop Closing Forums And Moving People To Discord. Seriously, please. It's not the same thing at all, in fact it's much worse, and won't shift your moderation issues onto somebody else, as you seem to hope.

The rest of this newsletter is under the cut, with more material about retrogaming and history in general.

Read more... Tags: meta, rpg, community, retrogaming, history

GameDev News for 15 September 2021

Hello, everyone! I've been busy with another of my websites as of late, not to mention real-life issues, so there wasn't much time to look into games. I'll keep this short. Sorry about that.

  • For one thing, HG101 covers the classic NES game Battle City, that I played so much (yes, it was a bootleg multicart plugged into a Famiclone, thank you), and then the equally classic RPG Wasteland, followed by exhaustive coverage on the entire series, including spin-offs.
  • Then we have a couple of forum threads: one ostensibly about RPGs, discusses the Medieval Stasis trope, obviously an issue for any writers / worldbuilders and not just game designers; the other illustrates how people still haven't figured out that Twine is a compiler for multiple story formats. Big communications failure right there, but I tried to point it out many times only to be brushed off. Well, fine then.
  • Last but not least, still in the interactive fiction department, Aaron A. Reed's 50 Years of Text Games series has reached 2004 and with it The Fire Tower. So I was right! There really were no walking simulators before that, in any videogame family.

But this is really all I have today. Enjoy, and see you at the end of September. Oh! One more thing: a very nice write-up about The Golden Age of Shareware CDs. It's not entirely on-topic here, but still close enough, and well worth a read. Cheers!

Tags: classics, rpg, interactive fiction

GameDev News for 5 September 2021 (classic games edition)

Hello, everyone! The latest changes to the site are working out. People are finding and (hopefully) reading the revived wiki journal. Likewise the game API guide in its new location. Still not buying the book, but one can't have them all. Oh, and ever since I mirrored my interactive fiction articles to my personal website, they're finally getting visits. Over there.

In the way of news, we learn about:

Okay, so this is a short intro, but we have to continue under the cut, for the capsule review of a tabletop RPG that wasn't planned, and then I have opinions about the retrospective of several classic text adventures.

Read more... Tags: meta, classics, game design, tabletop, rpg, interactive fiction

GameDev News for 25 August 2021

Hello, everyone! It was a busy week in the way of game-related news, though I mostly did some web design. But! A post on Mastodon prompted me to write half a page of thoughts on programming and community, specifically with regard to software forges. Yep, I'm officially posting on the wiki again, so that's something.

Next we have a couple of interactive fiction news:

  • Fundraising has started for the Interactive Fiction Competition;
  • and Robin Johnson released GrueScript, a tool for making text adventures with a hybrid parser / point&click interface.

The latter means a lot to me. It's what I tried to do with Adventure Prompt almost five years ago and failed. GrueScript is different, coming straight from the horse's mouth. Sure enough, it's already enjoying a much better reception. And it uses the kind of scripting language I described last summer, presumably also inspired by ScottKit and similar tools. Talk about having my work validated.

Otherwise, we have retrospectives of Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within and Tomb Rider. And also for retrogaming enthusiasts, two new ways they can enjoy old games:

Got to make more time for this kind of thing. Meanwhile, have fun, and see you!

Tags: meta, interactive fiction, tools, retrogaming, preservation

GameDev News for 15 August 2021

Hello, everyone! As of this week, No Time To Play is 11 years old, and we're settling into a new normal. I even found a couple of short posts from last autumn to rekindle journaling on the wiki. Things might just work out after all.

Otherwise, we have a couple of write-ups for historians and artists:

Then, something for game designers and marketers:

We also have Hardcore Gaming 101 reviewing Heretic and Hexen. But not much else because this week I'm avoiding mainstream news.

On this note, enjoy what's left of the summer, and see you next time.

Tags: meta, history, graphics, game design, business, classics

GameDev News for 5 August 2021

Hello, everyone! July was the best month of 2021 for No Time To Play, with the previous newsletter the most popular of the month. All the recent activity must have helped. Speaking of which: you might have noticed some changes around here, too. Yep, links are now better placed throughout the site, and there's a new journal page on the wiki, too.

Otherwise, it's been a year since I changed the newsletter format. The new one didn't help as much as I hoped, but it helped. It lessened the pressure, and allowed me to carry on for a while longer, without much of a change in quality.

In the way of news, the height of summer was dominated by the Activision Blizzard scandal. A few highlights:

We also have some bits of game history:

Last but not least, a nice piece on game design: Losing is Fun, from Blubberquark software. I don't agree with everything, but it's still a largely good read.

With that, enjoy the coming weekend and see you next time.

Tags: meta, business, history, interactive fiction, game design

GameDev News for 25 July 2021

Hello, everyone! As of this writing, my Game Programming Interfaces book has a new home on the main website, clearing up that much more space on the wiki for content that's actually dynamic. You should notice a change here, too, by the time you're reading this. But more about this next time, to mark a year since our Weekly Links became GameDev News.

In the way of news, this Sunday there's a bunch of headlines:

That makes for a rather short editorial. Luckily this week I have more to say about a couple of items. See below the cut.

Read more... Tags: meta, worldbuilding, mmo, rpg, community, adventure, history

GameDev News for 15 July 2021

Welcome, readers! With everyone seemingly on vacation this month, I couldn't find any news worth mentioning here. So instead I'm going to focus on what's going on at No Time To Play.

For one thing, I finished porting City of Dead Leaves to Ramus: a better showcase for the system, thanks to the need for advanced scripting, but also possibly the best version of the game yet, that restores most of the text cut from the Alan game, plus some that was written for the Texture version, and should play better than either.

Let's see if players agree, though, because I didn't get it tested yet.

In other news: as of this writing, the No Time To Play domain is secure for another year. If nothing bad happens, I plan to keep this site going for a long while yet. That said, the blog will come to an end in December, and updates will continue elsewhere. Current plans include:

  • repurposing the link section;
  • bringing the wiki back to life;
  • continuing the search for ways to expand our online presence.

It's the last point that worries me, because I won't be able to keep the site going forever, and I want it to survive. But so far the problem has proved slippery: I don't even know where to start looking.

I still have a few months to think about it, if not more. See you around.

Tags: meta, interactive fiction