Let a billion videogames bloom

Everything game development: news, lessons, discussion

Weekly Links #306

09 February 2020 — No Time To Play

I had more screenshots to show you this week, but things precipitated, and Glittering Light 2 is now gameplay complete! So as planned initially, I released it right here and on Itch, where it quickly accumulated an impressive number of views and plays, not least due to a signal boost from Leaf on the official Twitter account. Thank you!

Montage of screenshots from a videogame, showing cover art, stats, a minimap, and a game over screen.

As noted in both places, while the game is fully playable, it's also completely silent now, so I'm not counting it as finished quite yet. Audio to come soon.

In other news, we have a retrospective of Loom, with my own comments on world building and game design lessons, then a couple of headlines with little comment. Details under the cut.


The week starts with a retrospective of Loom, intended as an eulogy to the cult classic adventure game. Right away however it manages to illustrate perfectly well why it was soon overshadowed by the likes of Monkey Island. First is the problem of a fantasy world that goes out of its way to be original for the sake of it, then struggles to explain the audience why they should care. Contrast with its better-known sibling, which goes "cartoon pirates! boom!" and sets to work telling a fun story about that. And then there's a game mechanic that also goes out of its way to be original for the sake of it. What do you mean, basic actions like opening a container are spells that you have to learn anew every time you replay the game, and have to cast flawlessly for them to work? Congrats, that just cheapened magic while making even the simplest tasks into hard work.

Experiments are good even if they fail. But they will fail unless performed with a clear goal. Showing off how creative you are doesn't qualify.

Oh and by the way: that audio drama prologue? Maybe the choice of medium was novel, but the practice had famous precedent like the novellas included with Elite and Lords of Midnight. Which were cheaper to produce, cheaper to print, and more accessible to players whose first language wasn't English. Surprise!


I was hoping for more content this week, but can only offer two other headlines:

Thank you for reading, and see you next Sunday.

Tags: meta, roguelike, adventure, worldbuilding, game-design

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