Weekly Links #301



Happy New Year, everyone, and welcome to 2020. I took some time over the holidays to release a small text adventure called Kitty and the Sea (IFDB link); you can read more details over there, since it's technically not a No Time To Play project, but I did use it as the prompt for an article about the link between walking simulators and interactive fiction.

Minimal, abstract art depicting a cat's paw print overimposed on a seascape: seagulls gliding over the water, under a warm sun.

On a related note, my previous newsletter was unusually popular for some reason, and that factors into my plans for the months ahead. Details below the cut, along with a couple of classic game retrospectives to give 2020 a good start.

This is a special year for No Time To Play: in early August, 8 months and change from now, this site will be ten years old! I hope to publish a second book around that time (the first book is still available as well). After that, there will have to be some changes, because I'll be 43 years old by then, and 10 years of someone's life is a lot of time by any measure. For one thing, this is likely the last year of Weekly Links as you know it, because the pressure of posting a good set of links every single week is getting to be a bit much. I so needed this last holiday break. And have you noticed how many recent newsletters had no links at all? Quality over quantity and all that.

Until then, I have plans for another game. And another port. Been working on a new RPG ruleset, too. More writing is also a given, though I'm not sure about what yet. Last but not least, I'll have to see about future-proofing this site even more than it already is. Details in due time.

2020 starts well, with a retrospective of Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun by Hardcore Gaming 101. It's worth highlighting not just because of how long and detailed it is, but also for its happy ending, because the game was a success despite the usual litany of troubles:

  • ambitious scope;
  • repeated delays;
  • a studio acquisition.

Even better, it turns out the game still has a following 20 years later, and mods rivaling the original's one official expansion in size and quality. Which is hardly unique, but it is rare, and worth celebrating in any event. Good to know!

As we kick off another year, the amazing Fabien Sanglard (who was mentioned on this blog before) posts a detailed analysis of Another World. It's a classic adventure game famous for doing polygonal 3D in 1991... on 16-bit machines... on the CPU: a remarkable feat to complement its artistic merits. The write-up is very technical, but thankfully broken up in short parts, each of them easy to digest. As of this writing, it covers the game's architecture, then the Amiga and Atari ST ports, with more to come. And you know, once again I must ask, what exactly are we doing three decades later with computers literally millions of times more powerful?

As it happens, I'm trying to answer the question again these days, and early reactions are very positive, proving just how much ground we've left unexplored.

Last but not least, there's a new resource site out there, named simply Start Making Games. Good luck in 2020!


Tags: interactive fiction, strategy, classics, graphics, programming