Journal

Much of the old blog's contents consists of timeless articles, that are now scattered throughout the various thematic sections; however, some blog posts were highly time-dependent, and were preserved as such. A separate page for posts made from 2011 to 2015 was considered, and rejected: old posts belong with the new. Mind the five-year gap.


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2023-12-24 Updates

As of this writing, I've been posting game development news with (more or less) regularity for ten years. It's time to rest.

I'm tired. Some of the stuff I do still draws a little attention, like the new link directory. Headlines, not so much. And most of what's in the news these days sounds terrible. Even when it comes to game development. No need to amplify the bad stuff even more.

The site, of course, remains in place, and I intend to keep working on it. Not sure what to add, exactly. Suggestions are welcome. Been trying to study my analytics and figure out what people like, but it doesn't help much, so please talk to me.

Until then, this wiki definitely needs love, mainly in the form of wiki-like content, as opposed to archived blog posts.

Speaking of which, you can find older newsletters in the blog archive, and the oldest (from before the big change) in the site archive. Hope this helps.

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2023-11-24 Assorted

This time it's been more than a month since the last link roundup. Should have posted this three days ago, but in my defense I was busy writing fiction instead.

To begin with, lately I've noticed multiple headlines about game history and preservation; a story that never ends:

In other news, we have some game design advice for indie game developers: I played over 100 visual novels in one month and here’s my advice to devs. It's not clickbait! And in the way of marketing, I'm told about Gaming Content Creators Now Making Independent Websites, which is excellent news (there was another one, but I lost the link).

Last but not least, something big that doesn't interest me, but matters for many other people: Opera Software announces a fair pricing scheme for GameMaker. To say the tides are turning is an understatement. Good on them, and see you in December.

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2023-09-21 Assorted

I was going to wait until the end of the month, but a lot of things happened.

To begin with, a couple of interactive fiction write-ups were published right at the end of August, both from The Rosebush, a relatively new publication:

My beef with both is, after so many years game developers and critics alike remain afraid that audiences won't suspend disbelief or accept genre conventions. Today more than ever, in fact. Hence an obsession with mimesis, but also a fear of user interfaces.

At least that's more fun to think about that the latest drama, wherein yet another major game company decided to kill the golden goose and piss off the people who make their business work. PC Gamer explains Why every game developer is mad right now, and for a more personal account see Unity’s Trap.

Luckily it turns out you can go From Unity to Godot in a Weekend (pro tip: before you pull a stunt like this, make sure your captive audience really is). And there are many more alternatives to try out there. See:

and many others. Last but not least, Fiction-interactive.fr asks (in French): "Everything is political", even interactive fiction?. To which all I can answer is, name two memorable Infocom games. Trinity and A Mind Forever Voyaging, perhaps?

See you next time.

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2023-08-28 Updates

It hasn't been two weeks since the last post here, but it's been a long time since the last update, and it's a good idea to have one of those now and then.

To get the bad news out of the way: a few days ago, while I was trying to reblog something on Tumblr, the No Time To Play sideblog vanished before my eyes. Nothing of value was lost, except for memories, but it's still a shocking reminder of how corporations will fuck you over at the drop of a hat, without explanation. No, I didn't contact support. Doubt it will help. I can keep posting right here where things stay put because I pay for it out of pocket.

(Reminder to pretty please support No Time To Play if you're reading this.)

On the plus side, as announced in the site-wide newsfeed, I finally got around to making a page about the QBJS compiler, for once not a one-off review but an ongoing collection of notes and samples. Got more of them elsewhere, but this is made by a fellow creator from itch.io, and I have high hopes for its future.

Last but not least, I finally got around to making a home page for the text-based version of Glittering Light, that also hosts the native port I wrote about in 2020 then set aside. Another thing I want to change.

Meanwhile, you can still find me on Mastodon, where if something happens there will be advance warning and a chance to move.

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2023-08-15 Assorted

This link roundup is both early and late. July was a busy month in the world of videogames, so by the start of August there were enough headlines. It just slipped my mind somehow. But it's all for the better, as you'll see at the end.

  • To begin with: Enter the Matrix: exploring a unique tie-in game at 20; in their own words: "Twenty years ago, Enter the Matrix attempted to revolutionise the relationship between movies and their tie-in games. The developer’s only enemy was technology…" Fascinating story.
  • Still in the way of game history, The Digital Antiquarian tells us about Going Rogue; the origins of the seminal genre. Worth reading even for people in the know.
  • Also in the same department, we learn from Aaron A. Reed about The rise and fall of type-in text games, another old experiment that didn't pan out.

On a related note: New study reveals most classic video games are completely unavailable; "87% Missing" is a phrase that should worry everyone. But now let's turn back to the present:

You can't automate personal experience, and something like My Gamestory will always bring back my own happy memories. Until next time, try not to forget.

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2023-07-02 Assorted

Even with six weeks passing between entries, it still feels like I don't have enough links for the journal, yet every time they turn out to be enough.

To begin with, back in May someone was telling us About the Time I wrote an Inform 7 Game. And still in the way of interactive fiction, NME informs us that Emily Short deserves her flowers. She certainly does! In their own words, "We pull focus on the ‘Fallen London’ narrative legend’s storied career and her new game ‘Mask Of The Rose’". And to go from interactive fiction to artificial intelligence, fittingly enough, Mike Cook warns that Automation Isn't Coming To Save Us (Time). To cap with something more positive, June ended for me with A Chronology of First CD-ROM Games. Good stuff!

This would make a pretty short update, but as promised, this time I have some highlights. For one thing, Fairy Tale, an idle game with a story as beautiful as it's simple. (Beware that it starts as you open the page, and there's no pause function.) The link is courtesy of Aywren, a fellow RPG and small web enthusiast. Last but not least, I'd like you to meet Renkon, a blogger and zinester from Japan with a knack for amplifying the voices of small creators.

That's it for today. Enjoy the summer, and see you!

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2023-05-21 Assorted

Back again. Little of interest happened in April, but May picked up again, so it's time for another link roundup.

After this little warm-up, we have a couple of headlines occasioned by the release of a much-awaited game:

Last but not least, two chunks of videogame history:

All in all that makes for quite a few of them. Until next time, enjoy!

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2023-03-09 Assorted

Whew. Back. After skipping last month entirely, I thought this new journal ended for good. But stuff happens, and I'm still here. You're not rid of me yet.

To open with the oldest headlines:

Then some things I did:

There was more, but instead let's move to March and some food for thought:

The latter in particular talks about small, cozy virtual worlds like we've had since 1980, when they were text-based. When it can be about hanging out, having fun, and most of all being kind. So that strikes a chord. Cheers.

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2023-01-25 Programming

So, what is it with programmers relying on shared libraries for the longest time, despite notorious problems? Modern languages created this century all use static linking by default, and people love them for it, because software distribution is a (largely unsolved) problem.

Don't get me wrong, shared libraries have their place, for things like:

  • plugins and foreign function interfaces;
  • basic operating system services like user interfaces (think curses).

(By the way: a standard user interface package is the #1 requested feature in any programming language that doesn't have one. Developers, get a clue already.)

But otherwise? Fixing a bug in many apps at once doesn't happen. What happens instead is DLL hell. Memory savings? Arguably, though it doesn't seem to help in most operating systems, and then you have Electron-based apps. Reusing libraries? People almost always do that by linking against them, and for that you need the development version anyway.

Magical solutions make you lose sight of desired outcomes. Watch out.

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2023-01-14 Assorted

Hey, everyone. It's a new year, and I'm back after all. Amazing what difference one friend can make. Not much more happened in late December, apart from a nice write-up about the (now completed) DOS Game Jam. Other links went directly to various parts of the main website, because reasons; I should get better at pointing them out, but it's kinda hard with a large set of static pages.

Then came January, when yet another corporation has been trying to kill its golden goose. Because why should we have nice things in late-stage capitalism?

You've guessed it, this is about the D&D licensing debacle. A story in links:

Followed by two announcements in quick succession:

At which point I grew tired and stopped tracking the headlines. Look: this has long ceased being about money. Corporations by now have more money than they'd ever know what to do with. This has been all about control for decades now.

Let's get that into our heads already, for our own sake and the world's.

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