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

GameDev News for 5 July 2021 (RPG edition)

Hello, everyone! As of this writing, The Unwanted Hero has been out for a while, as usual on No Time To Play and on So far people seem reasonably interested in it, but feedback has been nil. Still, enjoy, and let's see what news we can scrounge up at the start of July:

And because that would make for a short newsletter, let's add that:

Last but not least, I've been cleaning up redundant links, both from the link section and other pages of the website. The long-term goal is to get rid of the former, since nobody likes it, but I said the same about the wiki, and no way that's going to happen. Oh well.

Until next time, enjoy the summer, and thanks for reading!

Tags: meta, tabletop, rpg, adventure, interactive fiction

GameDev News for 25 June 2021

Great news, everyone! As of this writing, The Unwanted Hero is one small change away from going to beta-testers. Until launch, here's one last screenshot:

Screenshot from a text-based RPG with a book-like user interface showing an inventory screen with a list of consumables and equipment slots.

I might even have secured cover art, thanks to a generous friend who didn't ask for money. Maybe someday I'll be able to afford proper commissions again.

Until then, let's see the news, again under the cut, but without commentary.

Read more... Tags: meta, tabletop, rpg, publishing, interactive fiction, adventure, business

GameDev News for 15 June 2021

Hello, everyone! After a short detour, work resumed apace on The Unwanted Hero. It doesn't look much different however, so here's a screenshot from the end of last month that I've been sitting on:

Screenshot from a text-based RPG with a book-like user interface, showing a level-up screen with a choice of attributes to upgrade.

On the flipside, the game is proving more work than expected, so part 1 might not be ready in time for the next newsletter. Should still be done in the first days of July, so thank you for your patience.

Meanwhile, let's see other news, again under the cut.

Read more... Tags: meta, tabletop, rpg, business, representation

GameDev News for 5 June 2021

In April 2020, I revived Ramus after a 7-year hiatus. I revived it... then promptly set it aside again for another 13 months.

Thankfully Ramus still has a big fan (hi, Roger!) on top of newfound attention from unlikely corners of the internet. Even as I was in the middle of another project, Roger's thoughtful feedback gave me much to think about. And it paid off! A day-long detour turned into a flurry of activity, as I added a small but useful feature, then much-needed documentation improvements, and in the end a complete overhaul of the new scripting system. Which in turn called for that section of the manual to be redone from scratch.

It was a lot of work... yet it only took three days and a half. Ramus is just that hackable. And damn if it doesn't feel good to see the sample game look every bit as good as the original, with all the same features to be found in a much bigger system. Text even fades in nicely now, thanks to a few lines of CSS. I had no idea how easy it had become as of late!

So here it is: enjoy version 2.5, and see you soon, because now I can finally port a more complex game to Ramus, which in turn should reveal other needed improvements. They always do. All part of the fun.

Thanks for reading. Now let's see what's up in the world of game development at the start of summer. Below the cut this time, for obvious reasons.

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

GameDev News for 25 May 2021

OMG, I'm actually doing it! The Unwanted Hero is a text-based RPG with extensive randomization, and prequel of sorts to my similar game from exactly two years ago:

Screenshot from a text-based RPG with a book-like user interface, showing a battle screen.

But The Unwanted Hero has been a dream for five years now. In fact this is my fourth attempt to make it, or some such; third time definitely wasn't the charm!

Early reactions are enthusiastic, so maybe this game won't flop like its predecessor. Makes sense; there seems to be a revival of text-based RPGs, even within the interactive fiction community. Which says a lot to me, but that's a story for another write-up.

In the mean time let's see some news, starting with the briefest:

  • A big thank you to my friend David, whose generous donation (coupled with a few book sales earlier this month) ensures I can secure the domain name here for another year when the bill comes at the end of June.
  • In unrelated news, game developers will be happy to hear that SpookyGhost is now free and open source! This is a procedural animation tool with a unique approach, that should be very helpful to beginners and pros alike.

But this week we also have some news discussed in depth, so see under the cut.

Read more... Tags: text-based, rpg, graphics, tools, business, history

GameDev News for 15 May 2021

Hello, everyone! As promised last time, my new creation Tipsy Turtle is now online on the companion website (and also on

Screenshot of an application window showing a pattern of colored lines on a black background. At the bottom is a text box with a line of code presumably used to generate the image.

With this (as announced in the site-wide newsfeed), I could now finally put together the long-needed game graphics section. Here's to more useful resources for making games.

With only vague plans for the upcoming months, let me give you the other news instead. Sadly just two pieces today:

  • From Hardcore Gaming 101 The Legacy of the Star Control II Universe, occasioned by the upcoming re-release of the first Mass Effect.
  • And from Aaron A. Reed's 50 Years of Text Games, the 1989 title Monster Island, or how people used to play MMORPGs when few had computers or internet.

Not much then, but good stuff. Enjoy, and see you next time.

Tags: graphics, tools, mmo, rpg, history

GameDev News for 5 May 2021 (interactive fiction edition)

Hello, everyone! I rested for a while after releasing WireView 3D, but soon started thinking of another tool to make. After a false start, it's now coming along nicely, and should be done by mid-May. Watch the side channels until then, and for today, let's see the news.

I'll start with a question: In Dungeons and Dragons you can be almost anything, so why the backlash over a combat wheelchair? Read the article to find out, though you probably suspect. And otherwise we have some headlines from the world of interactive fiction. In reverse chronological order:

Last but not least, let me highlight this Android game I've been playing called Fateful Lore: a cute little JRPG that doesn't take itself seriously and only wants you to have fun with it. Playable in 15-minute bursts, without a map or notes, and very forgiving, this is more like running around a big backyard whacking weeds with a stick and getting chased by scary-looking bugs.

Which makes it just the thing for me. Until next time, enjoy, and see you!

Tags: meta, rpg, representation, interactive fiction, tools

GameDev News for 25 April 2021

It took some work, but I got it done in time for this newsletter. Behold, the native port of WireView 3D:

Screenshot of an application showing a futuristic aircraft rendered in wireframe 3D, with a chalkboard-like effect.

It's hosted on the companion website, like many things I made lately, but no less worthy for that. In fact, people seem to love the idea. And that's very encouraging.

Until the next cool thing to make, let's see the news, for once under the cut.

Read more... Tags: graphics, interactive fiction, tools, indie, hardware