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Everything game development: news, lessons, discussion

Weekly Links #303

19 January 2020 — No Time To Play

Hello, everyone! Soon after posting my previous newsletter, I managed to figure out what game to make, exactly, out of the three or so ideas I had for my new prototype. It's going to be a sequel to Glittering Light, that will hopefully do the concept justice for a change.

Screenshot from a roguelike game using ASCII art in 3D to depict a palace interior with red brick walls and colorful markings on the floors.

In other news, it has recently come to my attention that keypress events are deprecated in modern browsers. Had to update my venerable keyboard handler, that I've used in half a dozen games or more by now. Which also improved compatibility with Chrome and derived browsers. You can see the new one at work in Electric Rogue (also on Itch.io and Game Jolt). Enjoy!

From external sources, this week we have a write-up on the design of game verbs, vector font recommendations, and some links with little or no comment. Details below the cut.


On Wednesday, we have a nice Gamasutra blog about the use of verbs in a retro sandbox RPG reminiscent of early Ultima games. Note in particular the remarks about combinatorial explosion and choices that only impact player self-expression: two game design aspects that seldom get a mention outside of interactive fiction. Then it moves on to the issue of making the game respond to the player and encourage them to keep going: another thing mentioned often on this blog. Last there's the bit about players being able to at least explore the game world and get something out of the experience if they can't figure out how to play.

Something old 8-bit games made sure to offer, and it meant the world to a kid who didn't speak English yet.


On Saturday, a fellow game developer asks for recommendations on (sources of) vector fonts, as required by many libraries and frameworks. I probably mentioned it before, but my go-to place for fonts is the Open Font Library. As for specific choices, it depends on your game flavor:

  • Cinzel works great for an Antiquity vibe (Roman in particular);
  • Nova, especially the Nova Cut flavor, is perfect for Medieval fantasy;
  • as for Bedstead, it's become my font of choice for sci-fi games and not only: I'm making my third game with it these days; unlike the others it's monospaced, but that's part of the fun.

Either way, all three are high-quality, with good support for various languages, and not too big either. Hope this helps!


Last but not least, in the way of brief news:

  • A very nice tutorial on procedural generation of parallax backgrounds.
  • The IF Archive gains metadata.
  • The story of Kinoautomat, the world's first interactive movie, created in the former Czechoslovakia all the way back in 1967! Just in case you thought this stuff is somehow new. Article in French, by the way. Highly recommended, too, as it includes little-known details about the history of film and its relationship with theatre, and musings about the relationship both have with the audience.

With that, enjoy the Sunday and see you next time. Thanks for reading!

Tags: game-design, graphics, programming

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