Saturday, 29 December 2012

albus vs barlowe, hard mode (max 50)

Because tips for this battle are hard to find (most FAQs focus only on Shanoa mode) and this took a stupid number of tries, my suggestions to anyone else trying this:

1. Grind up to level 25 if you're not there yet. I was at 22 when I started this and getting nowhere. This makes a big difference, because:

2. When you first enter the boss fight room, if you do enough damage quickly enough, he will disappear without attacking. So if you've leveled up enough, jump when you enter the room and use your rapid-fire gun on him, and he should spazz out and disappear without doing anything.

3. You can *repeat* that several times once you know the timing. Don't chase him after he disappears - wait a moment, then fire off a Max Shot to the right. He'll start to come onto the screen and get hit by it. Jump and rapid-shoot him again and he should, once again, disappear. As long as you can hold this pattern you can get in damage to him at no danger to yourself.

4. Eventually he will manage to attack, and obviously each attack has its own pattern to dodge. For the Fire attack I found that running a little ways to the side, then double jumping into the air and warping the other direction is an easy and repeatable way to avoid all the fireballs. Step left, hop hop, warp right, hop hop, warp left, etc. The Ice attack you have to stay off the ground, and the Globus attack, if you time it right you can use the invincibility aspect of the flame-kick.

5. Stay on the left side of the room; if you ever get away from it run/warp back there fast. Because if he ever does his Electrical Cage attack, you must warp to the far right of the room and duck in the corner until he's done - and this only works if he started his cage move by moving to the right. Which he'll do if he was on the left side of the room. If he starts electrifying on the right, you're screwed.

6. When you get him down enough to start using the rush attacks, invincible fire kicks all over the place should protect you.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Your opinions are bad and you should feel bad

Baffled by the people I keep encountering lately who seem firmly convinced that stories are not art unless they cater to a very specific aesthetic. Preferably one that involves as much sex, racism, and misogyny as possible, because only the grimdark holds aesthetic value.

4chan is currently arguing that the English VN market is doomed because there are people who vocally prefer non-sexist stories, and this is inherently antagonistic to 'art' and destroying the entire medium.

Or this guy, talking about how he didn't want to buy a VN with no explicit rape scenes:


If I want great stories where nothing can happen (because age ratings do not permit actually evil characters who do actual evil and actual relationships where people, heaven forbid, actually love and make love to other) there are literally thousands of other games and games companies who do that.


While I have sympathy for his original complaint (buying what he thought was an H-game only to find out it was the expurgated version), I raise an eyebrow at this being described as a story where "nothing can happen". So, you know, traveling to alternate worlds, fighting epic battles against outer and inner demons, making friends, being betrayed, heroes sacrificing their lives, overthrowing a corrupt political system, what have you, all of this is nothing if you can't explicitly see young girls being raped?

Of course, he was probably just annoyed and ranting a bit rather than meaning it seriously. We all do that... (looking up at blog title)

Thursday, 20 December 2012

December 2012 Big Visual Novel Sales

So it's becoming something of a tradition in the gaming world to have massive blowout sales in December, right? May as well join in the fun.

So, for this month, almost all of my games can be purchased (in download format) for $5 each. Simple, flat-rate, no fuss. How much of a discount that is depends on how much the game cost to begin with!

To get this offer you'll need to use a special discount code - instructions for this and several other December-only offers can be found at this webpage. If anything on there isn't working, please let me know!

In other development news, The Royal Trap is still merrily ticking along gathering artwork, and I hope to be able to release it in the first quarter of 2013.

I am currently playing around with something so experimental that I can't properly describe it, and so early/artless that screenshots would look like nothing but a bunch of lines and boxes anyway. It is distinctly not a visual novel, but might be classable as a dating sim... sort of... but NOT a stat-raiser. It involves schoolgirls, solving mysteries, and having things like Object Cards and Location Cards. At least, it does at the moment. This is still early enough that wild new ideas and completely new plot arcs are popping up and being shot down all over the place.

Sorry for the lack of information regarding future developments on Magical Diary. Due to life being life and change happening over time, it looks like in order to move forward I will have to give up on my plans for someday being able to release a cohesive mega-game of freshman year... because it does seem that I'm going to have to throw out all the existing art and start over. This is always a painful thing to do, even when it's a good idea. Nobody likes letting go of a plan, or wasting a bunch of half-made assets. So this is why Wolf Hall has never gotten off the drawing board. my new year's resolution - to bite the bullet, give up on the old, and look for the new.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

well, what did you expect?

According to this news story, people who eagerly disabled their phone security in order to download "free" versions of games that they should know perfectly well are not actually free, found their phones hijacked and zombified.

It's a point I raise sometimes when dealing with Yahoo Answers requests for pirate links. If you're obtaining goods from someone you know perfectly well obtained them illegally, someone who clearly has no problem with stealing and ripping others off, do you think they'll hesitate to rip YOU off?

Sure, there are 'honest' pirates who think information deserves to be free. There are dealers who sell exactly the drug and concentration that they claim to be selling. And sometimes goods really do fall off a truck. But if you're going to deal in risky business, learn to evaluate risk!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Order of Ecclesia

So, I have finished my first run through. It did involve a lot of walkthrough-checking. I don't really feel bad about that; I like finding all the Stuff. Sometimes I will play sections or fights without having read ahead and then go back later with the guide to see what I missed.

I have a minor twinge of stubborn annoyance that I had to rely on an insanely cheap trick to beat Dracula in the end... I don't know if I would have felt better if I'd thought of that myself, or if only beating him the way I was originally trying to fight would have felt like 'enough'. I could do the first half of the fight with no damage easily enough but I could neither get the hang of the patterns of phase 2 nor, on my own, deal enough damage fast enough to be able to overlook them.

(Cheap trick: Light+Dark Union, Union-boost ring, Death ring, Dominus. Deals obscene damage at a safe distance... and that 'distance' part is pretty important when you have the Death ring on.)

Final stats: lvl 40, about 15 hours, 99.something% map completion (see, I wasn't scrupulously checking the guide!)

Thursday, 13 December 2012

silly gamer conversations

(Paraphrasing, of course)

"Do you have the Witcher 2?"

"No, I have 1. Still in its box."

"It's on huge sale at GOG."

"Oh. Huh. ... yeah, but I have a zillion games in my backlog already. I have never played 75% of the games I own at GOG."

"If you have 1 you should get 2."

"I have had 1 for almost two years and still haven't played it. And I only have 1 because someone bought it for me, I think. If someone wants to buy 2 for me sometime, cool, but otherwise I should restrain myself to things I have some slim chance of using."

"It's only cheap today."

"It'll be cheap again someday."

"... this is true, and something these sales rely on you forgetting."

Saturday, 8 December 2012

podcast

If you saw me reference people talking about Long Live The Queen, you can find the podcast in question here. It's fairly brief, just a few minutes around the 20-minute mark.

I maintain a foolishly optimistic glimmer of hope for the narrative category of the IGF. A girl can dream, can't she?

news tidbits

Haven't been posting even though I have been gaming, because I've been playing Ecclesia and my comments at the end of a session are usually "ARGH THAT STUPID (whatever just killed me)" which therefore goes to twitter rather than a full blog post.

Couple of interesting bits off slashdot:

Nintendo of Europe is blocking Wii U content in the region that is rated PEGI 18+ between the hours of 3 a.m. and 11 p.m., according to a Eurogamer report. Under these stipulations, the four-hour window of 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. is the only time users can purchase games like ZombiU or Assassin's Creed III or even view trailers for such games.

Which as noted in comments is possibly more blocking the adults with jobs who need their sleep than the teenagers who are willing to stay up to the wee hours.

Over the last month, both game publishers and gaming communities alike were surprised to find their GameSpy multiplayer support suddenly disabled by GLU Mobile, who purchased GameSpy from IGN this August. Many games, including Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2, Microsoft Flight Simulator X, Swat 4, Sniper Elite, Hidden and Dangerous 2, Wings of War, Star Wars: Battlefront are no longer able to find (and in some cases even host) multiplayer games. While games like Neverwinter Nights are still able to directly connect to servers if players know the IP address...

... Which is a reminder that any game you have which relies on external multiplayer servers can disappear at any moment. Not that this stops most people from buying things.

They're generally old games, but it's still annoying to find that your game has just stopped working.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

not trying to strike a match here

So I spotted someone on the web describing one of my games as the "WORST DATING SIM EVER." This caught my interest - is this someone who actually plays these games? Why is this game the 'worst ever'? Worst GAME ever I don't usually bother following up with because that tends to mean someone who is totally disinterested in either the graphical or gameplay style, but why worst dating sim? What is it being compared to?

... Of course, I had an inkling of what the actual answer probably was, and was not surprised when he answered and proved me right.

"Because you have to play a girl."

Definitely THE worst ever, huh?

(Note - Obviously I do not demand that people who are not into this stuff suddenly force themselves to play and pretend to like it, what fun would that be? Just... Think of the assumptions packed in there.)

Saturday, 1 December 2012

futile torchlight

MMORPGs are morally wrong and should never have been allowed to exist.

God bless Paragon City.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

John Carter (of mars)

So, off topic for this blog really, but having finally seen the film I can muse about it.

I feel like the movie was kinda 'eh' but certainly fun and deserves better than to be carted around as an enormous flop... of course, I liked Waterworld, so I may have a taste for enormous flops.

The graphics were awesome (and it was probably even more fun to see on a big screen) and some of the characters were pretty cool. However:

Many characters names I never figured out even by the end. Is this bad? Dunno. All the weird names are easier to get the hang of in text... so when I was looking actors up on imdb later for many characters I had no clue who was who. Not really important though, I guess.

I was not at all sold on the romance. It just didn't click for me. They seemed more like friends, the chemistry wasn't there. The tragic backstory did not feel well-resolved, and the Big Moment which was supposed to show his change of heart just confused me - the parallel was not as clear as they seemed to think it was!

Dejah, while overall an okay character, was not well-served by the dialog. Combined with the massive power of the enemies (more on this later), her inability to articulate why marriage was such a terrible idea made her seem like a whiny brat. "I would do anything to save my people! Except kiss that man!" Sure, being forced into marriage sucks, but if it's being done as a political alliance you can turn this to potential advantage in the resulting union... or if the guy's enough of a bastard and you have planning time you can set him up for assassination. It really all depends on circumstances. Wearing a wedding dress does not have to mean your utter submission forever... unless it does in their culture, or the wedding is going to involve some sort of mind control, or you have Virgin Powers that will be irrevocably lost, or you strongly suspect your 'husband' will immediately kill you once he can claim your inheritance, or so on. All of these things would make a big difference! But she wasn't really able to voice much objection other than "I have a vague feeling that if I marry him the planet will be doomed!" which made her seem more like a bratty teenager than a brave rebel.

The bad guys. What the hell? First off, their power levels were WAY too high and WAY too inconsistent. They're everywhere, they see everything, they can evaporate thousands with a single wave of their hands... except when the climax happens and then suddenly they can only kill people really slowly or make blue glowing swords? I think I've complained elsewhere how inconsistent power levels destroy my ability to plan or predict and ruin my enjoyment of stories. I can't appreciate a clever plan if it's not a clever plan because it only works because the villains decide to not bother using their powers for no reason.

Also... the bad guys' plans make no sense at all, they just seem to be doing things for the lulz. "Have some power! Blow some shit up! But don't blow her up, you have to marry her first and then kill her. Why? Um... Because we said so." Why they don't simply murder everyone with their waves of blue power makes no sense. Why they don't simply kill John at the end makes no sense. Why they do almost anything makes no sense. They would have been far more interesting if they were much weaker and forced to do everything through subterfuge and subtle powers. If you revel in destruction but are far too weak to create destruction yourselves, then screwing around with warring cultures makes sense.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

where did that come from

Apparently there's a PC version of scribblenauts now? Although their website didn't want to tell me it existed and was only pushing WiiU (not bloody likely considering the day one bricking) and 3DS (obviously no, not until they drop the region-lock) at me.

It's sad when people searching for pirate copies and thus tripping some of my flags do a better job of advertising than the actual sales team...

Monday, 19 November 2012

giant enemy crab

IT KEEPS POKING ME

slowly picking up the attack patterns. got through to what may be the last stage but my thumbs were getting too tired to master the art of climbing via slingshot effect.

It's not actually HARD when you read the patterns right, but it takes long enough to get sore fingers.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Order of Ecclesia

This is actually my first Castlevania game ever, although I'm familiar with the basic idea. My first life was soon wasted partly because this game is a little bad about feedback - maybe it's obvious if you've played previous games, but it wasn't that clear to me that all my attacks have costs of some kind. When I press a button that moments ago Did Something and now Does Nothing, I tend to stand there in confusion pressing the button over and over again trying to figure out WTF is wrong (is the game not registering my keypress or what?) But if the problem is actually that I'm out of X, pressing the button more is not going to help, and I'm going to be very quickly overwhelmed by critters.

Now that I'm aware of the attack gauge and the separate heart cost of unions, things make more sense.

And now I can experience GoddamnedBats firsthand! (The bats are not NEARLY as annoying as the things that try to eat my head.)

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

many years late to the party

Okay, so this has been out for a long time but I was searching for relaxing games and discovered 'Auditorium', a strange little flash thing where you direct rays of light into targets in order to make pretty piano music. It is, indeed, soothing, while still being enough of a puzzle to satisfy my 'game' needs.

I took a screenshot but it's so pointless without the motion and the sound, you really should just go and look at the flash demo instead.

Friday, 9 November 2012

a camera is a window of opportunity

So, wait. Apparently the new Xbox will be monitoring your game-playing and movie-watching so that it can refuse to let you do things if you have too many friends over?

You don't have a license for that party, do you, son?

crowns have teeth you know

Now that the script is mostly (although not completely) in the can I'm taking time to poke around at interface bits, like the title screen and the CG gallery.



This art is still not final yet, I have a long time to go before this game is complete artwise...

There's a slight delay in the music because of where exactly it switches from splashscreen to official menu screen, and that particular track having a little bit of padding at the start, necessary for other uses in the game. I don't currently see any way to adjust the music more precisely than by simply listing a file for config.main_menu_music. Right now the delay sort of goes with the banner's appearance, so I'm not sure it's a terrible thing.

Should probably start poking at the jukebox after this. I personally don't like them but some people tend to want the option.

Tobari and the Night of the Curious Moon

Haven't seen one of these in a while! It's an old-school indie platformer... not the new super arty breed, but a cute Japanese thing. Well, originally Japanese. This version is fully English. Nothing amazingly special in the little bit I played of it, and the controls are kinda slidy, but if you like anime girls and cute things...



You go around whacking people with your magic staff. Some monsters will drop powerups. You can carry two powerups at a time and switch between them, or drop them to get back to your default or carry another.

And as I mentioned, free demo. (As usual, there are adult works elsewhere on DLsite, but this link is safe and leads to the non-adult part of the site.)

Monday, 29 October 2012

on the Big Misunderstanding

One thing that people complain about a lot in romance novels is the enormous misunderstandings between hero and heroine that tend to arise from hearing one small thing out of context and making zero effort to find out if it's true or not and going all huge overreacty. Idiot Ball! Too Stupid To Live! We Could Have Avoided All This!

... Therefore it tends to surprise me when I see just how much players of games will viciously turn on a character not for their actions, but for saying one or two words that don't flatter the PC. Even when the person who spoke those words explains and apologises for causing any misunderstanding.

Hot love interest breaks hearts for fun and tries to murder you? It's okay, he probably had a tough childhood.

Female friend accidentally said one word about you that was taken out of context by someone else? SHE'S AN EVIL BITCH WHO SHOULD DIE IN A FIRE AFTER BEING STABBED WITH A THOUSAND KNIVES AND LEFT FOR ANTS TO CRAWL ON.

I mean, at least in Minnie's case there are perfectly good reasons for the PC to suspect that the disclosure may not have been innocent. I'm still amazed at the sheer level of vitriol I've seen some people hurl at her.

But Lucy? Said one small thing under visible pressure and immediately jumped to Christina's defense when other people overreacted. Yet apparently this makes her the worst person imaginable?

(This is not a criticism at said Let's Play, it's just that I can't comment it in the thread because that would be inappropriate, and I wanted to get this off my chest. :) Seriously, I am surprised just how angry I've seen multiple people get at characters for what looks to me like really small things. Is my conception of social dynamics way out of line, or is theirs?)

Friday, 26 October 2012

now that's what I call casual


Mochi Stacker - It takes about three seconds to play. But those three seconds are oddly entertaining. Casual in a nutshell.

(Trying semagic now as scribefire worked to post with but broke my version of firefox in other ways. Google, We Could Have Avoided All This if you weren't being such total jerks!)

Thursday, 25 October 2012

money and the app store

Another helpful little artist about how rich you are(n't) likely to get on the iphone

current filesize breakdown

So, the main script is kinda-sorta done, the art is slowly coming in and will take a long time to complete, and that means I have all the time in the world for polish and tweaking. Right? Eh.

At the moment I'm looking over files and filesize. I've been going through the music and lengthening some of it where possible, figuring that this is never going to be tiny and longer loops are worth it. On the other hand I'm also trying to figure out where I can cut back without losing anything.

Looking just at the source, not a compiled build, the main directory (script files and UI bits) is around 5MB. Sound-and-music folder is, urgh, 40MB but I need that. Backgrounds and chapter titles, all in believed-to-be-final format, come to 20MB. CG folder is currently 11MB and will balloon as the rest of the art comes in. The 'cache' folder (I'm not even sure what's up with that, something to do with imagemaps) is at 8MB. That leaves character art, currently at 38MB. I can get that down a good bit lower, but... yeah. This is never going to come out under 100.

... And I haven't even considered the opening sequence yet. Ow.

Most customers can probably handle reasonable sized downloads in this age... but a massive pain for uploading multiple distributions!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

more IGF

Rhythm Odyssey - Okay, I largely ignore the audio-based games because there are ALWAYS "Look, a shooter that uses music from your hard drive" and "Look a game with no graphics!" all over the iGF, but this one at least looks kinda different. Might get dull pretty fast though, if you're just tapping to the beat.

Sang-Froid Tales of Werewolves - Another one I think I remember looking at on Greenlight.

Simony Uh. What? A name, a mysterious illustrated book page, no description, and a random documentary linked as your video? Guess I'm just not deep enough, dude.

Spaceteam - Frantically yelling technobabble at each other? That could be fun. Requires many devices I'd never have though.

Tembusu Bemused - "All characters and dialogues are caricatures of real-life professionals
and professors working at Tembusu College and the research that they do." Eh. The logo is the most awesome thing about this entry.

Tengami - Interesting visuals but I don't feel like I get it really.

The Age of Decadence - do I even need to say anything about this? But again, it'll be tough for a game of this length to get judging properly.

The Trouble with Robots - I keep reading that as rabbits. That's the trouble with looking through such a long list!

Third Eye Crime - I like the use of stealth and misdirection.

Wildfire Worlds - I am amused by the desire to create chaos and curious how this works.

igf next batch

Flightless - fun mechanic, looks well put-together

FLY'N - awesomeness previously noted

FTL - Had a lot of interest last year even though incomplete, is likely to do better now.

God of Blades - Clicked for more info because of "70s synth-prog-landscape oddities" As a mobile game it's not really something I'd ever be playing but I appreciate the effort.

Gone Home - a quiet little adventure? Curious. Not really in the interface style I like though.

Guacamelee - Interested in the visual style, looks playable enough... and another kidnapped girl. And hey, a few games down there's a kidnapped mayor's daughter too. Doesn't anybody ever kidnap sons?

ibb and obb - I'm sure I've heard of this somewhere...

in verbis virtus - "Spellcasting! F I R E!" ... Could be fun but voice recognition tends to be fuzzy; if you have to pronounce spells correctly that could get frustrating.

Inquisitor - I think I saw this on greenlight and was interested?

Kentucky Route Zero - Well, the setting makes me a bit curious but I really can't tell much about the game.

Mechanice - Mechanically interesting at least, don't see much Augmented Reality

MicroVenture - roguelike with procedural storytelling? Interesting.

Might of Ancient Remnants - you lost me at "the first". I hate overblown marketing claims!

Mr. Travel - Interesting purpose though I worry that the idea of travel safety may end up being inherently xenophobic?

Ninja Shadow Warrior - okay I do kinda want to play that. But how does it compensate for different player shapes?

Path of Exile - Sounds like I'd play it, but not the sort of thing I'm looking for in an IGF title

Pavilion - I'm curious, but the video is mysterious enough that that's about all I can say

Primordia - I really should get around to *playing* more of these guys' games, shouldn't i?

For that matter I should probably link these entries. Blame the trouble I've been having with blogging lately, I'm still working out the kinks of this plugin.

igf quickies batch 2

Cargo Commander - ... sounds potentially awesome, similar in theme to the roguelike that we're REALLY NOT WORKING ON REALLY over here. But while the ideas sound quite similar just a glance at the video and it's a VERY different game.

Contrast - I think I've looked at this before and been curious about it.

Cradle - It's a sci-fi adventure. It has a yurt. I am all for this.

Cubetractor - Interesting mechanic, cute retro arcade look. Could do without the inflated language in the promo though :)

Dark Scavenger - Heard interesting things abotu this in the past.

Deadlight - A bit obvious on ticking off the appeal boxes but may do well with people other than me. Really not rubbing me right.

Delver's Drop - wow that's an uninformative main image. the game itself is a zelda-style with too many light effects. eh.

Don't Starve - Interesting visual style, vague hints of possibly cool story and gameplay, curious to know more.

Dramagame - Online LARP? Online LARP. I wonder if anyone's ever entered space station 13 here?

Drawception - ... I am surprised this was legally allowed to enter. If it wins anything I will go on a huge rant about how much the IGF sucks. But I can't be the only one who's looking at that with disapproval, surely.

Drox Operative - it describes itself with RPG in the title and mentions a backstory but all the video shows is shooty shooty shooty. Not Interested.

Dungeon Hearts - Wow. Worst Video Ever. 1:30 of the heroes running in place in their run animation as different environments scroll by beneath them. Gameplay shown - none. Story shown - none. Point - none.

Dust and Dustforce, two games I've both heard of and tend to get confused!

Eador - Strategy game with a branching plot and roleplaying choices? I am interested.

Eets Munchies - Hey, an Eets sequel? That's been a while!

Fighting Words - From a quick glance it sounds like it would be more fun as an actual card game for party nights...

Finitris: I'm not sure I get it but I'm curious.

browsing the IGF Entry list

just doing the really shallow quick takes approach to titles as I see 'em

1000 Amps - Puzzly, minimalistic, I'd poke at it for a few minutes but until then I don't know if it'd stick.

A Duck Has An Adventure - I'd play it but I bet that's an iphone game. (checks) Or an android game. Same difference.

A Million Minions - This might be amusing to play the way it's intended, but it doesn't look like it would last more than a few minutes of lols.

Alcarys Complex - See previous discussions about the extreme difficulty that a long story-based RPG is going to face.

Anodyne - I do like the graphical presentation although I'm not sure I'd be up for it over long stretches of time.

ATUM - Cryptic description. I am vaguely intrigued. Watching video, I really want to know what on earth is going on here. I enjoy the animation as well.

Axiom Verge - This looks pretty cool but honestly the aesthetic is probably a little TOO retro for me, and the demo video doesn't explain what the promo text is talking about re: glitches as gameplay.

Big Huggin - A game played with hugs. Less weird than a game played with kissing I guess.

bit Dungeon - aw man do we HAVE to do the Damsel In Distress Man Is Heroic shit again? really? really? From the look of it it doesn't even NEED a plot and said 'plot' will never be mentioned again so why do we have to stick this tired crap on it? PLEASE STOP DOING THIS GUYS.

Bosnobo - Hey, a critters game. I had Creatures way back when, I like training baby AIs. But how does it play? THe video's not very informative.

BUDLR - Neat concept. Does it work? The demo video shows the confused audience immediately dying. This gameplay doesn't really seem well-designed for the mass chaos of EVERYONE trying to enter commands.

Burgle Vs - I was interested enough by the idea to check the video but the video doesn't really show anything interesting.

Camera Obscura - Vague buzzwordy description leads to a platform game with a slightly different mechanic. Not sure it has enough staying power.

Card Hunter - This looks kinda neat. I don't think I'd play it but I'd like to watch.

(More later)

Monday, 22 October 2012

no takebacks!

I know I'm a rarity these days in *actually* caring about DRM in a monetary sense and, like, buying things from people who don't use it, instead of grumping and then having a huge Steam collection anyway.

Needless to say, I also don't own a Kindle or any DRMed ebooks. Why? Because if Amazon gets some wires crossed and decides you're a terrorist or something, they can remotely wipe your whole reading collection and refuse to give it back. No refunds.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

stop raidin my tombs!

Idea for a game that is not the right genre for me to be any good at making it -

You are a native of a culture that is currently being invaded by "explorers" (adventurers, whathaveyou). They have taken you captive and are forcing you to help them explore the Ancient Secret Ruined Temple in search of treasure, because you can read the language and work all the complicated locks and traps to get them to the gold. But you don't like these jerks, so as you go along you're doing your best to set off all the traps in a way that will whittle down the numbers of your captors.

So you're snaking along with this chain of adventurers behind you, trying to lead them into death traps. Sort of like a reverse Lemmings - once they figure out something is dangerous the rest of them will avoid it, so you have to catch them by surprise!

(Testing another blog-posting tool, let's see if this works.)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

biting the hand that feeds

FUCKING GOOGLE FIX THE FUCKING BLOGGER ALREADY FUCK

anyway.

http://i.imgur.com/wD4X6.png

iphone. gatekeeping.

I CANNOT POST LIKE THIS.

Friday, 12 October 2012

this interface still sucks, blogger

On freemium, and on how a wildly popular game can continue to be a numbers disaster if you're not very, very careful with how you organise your income streams...

Outwitters

and dear god blogger WHY? WHY do you put all my labels in a hidden panel and then when I unhide them, display them all jumbled together and broken mid-word across line boundaries so they're incredibly hard to read and I can't find anything? GOOGLE WHY DO YOU SUCK SO HARD AT USER INTERFACE DESIGN????

Monday, 1 October 2012

incomprehensible musing

The funny thing is, when I snagged the names Togami and Junko for use in Long Live The Queen, it was because I figured Togami was about to be dead and out of the story, and everyone had forgotten about Junko anyway.

(This only makes sense if you read a certain Let's Play thread, including the current JUNKOS meme.)

Saturday, 29 September 2012

oh god not this interface again

i'm going to have to look for modification addons because the new blogger is so ugly, aren't I?

anyway, did anyone ever make a proper female version of Leisure Suit Larry? No, I don't mean Passionate Patti.

I mean a game where you're a Plain Jane and kind of a loser, but you're plucky and determined and SURE that SOMEWHERE there is a hot guy who will really appreciate you, and you'll go to any lengths to find him. Every guy you meet throws obstacles in your path, so you're going on increasingly improbable escapades to get their attention and get shot down again, and by the end of the story you have become an unlikely heroine (and of course, accidentally landed pretty much in the lap of Mr Right.)

... I have this mental image of the poor bedraggled heroine crawling through ventilation shafts, smeared with dirt, wrench in teeth, trying to reach and disarm the bomb that her LAST failed date (who turned out to be an EVIL SPY) told her about before tying her up (she escaped, obviously), and this leading her to collapse at the feet of the sexy secret agent boyfriend option...

Friday, 21 September 2012

spaaaaaaaace

desire to make something geeky and crunchy to hide from all these words I'm having to write: overwhelming!

actual practical use of roguelike space dungeons: very little!

do you like them dangerous?

A teasing glimpse of our current project, The Royal Trap:
(also, as I'm sure you know, the new blogger interface is a nightmare of unusable design and hurts my eyes to look at, which may kill any desire I once had to post new things. why, google, why?)

Friday, 14 September 2012

which one of us is real

So I was doing one of my regular websearches for Magical Diary and found myself in a forum thread. Looked like a normal thread on a normal forum, all the posters had avatars, the posts were intelligible English and meaningfully related to each other, the answers were logical answers for the questions being asked.

Only problem? I *wrote* one of those posts. The contents of a post were, entirely, my words from a reply I wrote someone on Yahoo Answers, months ago. The previous post was the question I had been replying to.

The entire forum was fake.

But if you didn't know where the words came from, could you see anything but a bustling forum filled with helpful individuals asking and answering questions, with the occasional helpful little advertising link tucked unobtrusively into the middle?

This isn't the first time I've come across it, but it was the first one I recall that looked so realistic on the surface. Most of the ones I've encountered have had sufficiently poor configuration that it's obvious something fishy is going on.

I've known that Yahoo Answers was serving as a prime source for spambots for quite a while - I encounter them now and then on my own forum. But they're difficult to deal with because it's hard to prove what they're up to until they start dropping payload links... and they're even harder for other forum members to recognise. They sound human, so other humans will try to talk to them.

If you don't know your own writing, you could end up having a conversation with the reflected ghost of yourself, your own words now turned to the service of evil...

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

this dream belongs to all of us

More thoughts on the closure of City of Heroes and why it matters more than just another game shutting down: the vast amount of player-created content at risk.



Friday, 7 September 2012

news tidbits

I'm sponsoring a small visual novel writing contest this month. It's silly. You will need to be creative. There are prizes. Go for it.

Development on The Royal Trap continues. Three of the four planned initial routes are written, and we have an awesome new CG artist helping get things moving along.

Cool new bonus stuff will be coming to LLTQ in the next couple of months. There will be art. I can't show you anything yet! But there will be entertaining new reasons to murder Elodie that is, to seek out rare events.

Greenlight news - we have two pages up at the moment.


Science Girls
- If this gets voted up high enough to pass, it will get a graphical overhaul with cool new visual effects for battle, better maps on the alien world, etc, while at the same time being sold way cheaper because that's sort of what Steam expects from a silly little RPG like this. Should it then actually sell some copies, it might have a sequel someday. Otherwise, probably never. So if you actually liked this poor little game, cheerlead for it!

Date Warp - If this one passes, the price will drop by half and existing customers will get free Steam keys, but this game is done so no huge changes would pop up. Vote for it to boost VNs on Steam and to get yourself a discount. :)

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

i can't not post that

I must post a link to this UNUSUAL vn screenshot seen on tumblr.

Not exactly porn, but NOT SAFE FOR WORK

(or for having a mouthful of drink)

Sunday, 2 September 2012

buried under backlog

I am so far behind in my gaming that when I went to GOG to redeem the gift someone sent me (the Back To THe FUture adventure games I'd been kinda interested in) I discovered a bunch of other games I'd purchased and totally forgotten about...

Friday, 31 August 2012

the future of ownership

So, apparently City of Heroes is shutting down. I have the sads.

It's pretty much the only MMORPG I ever really played. Sure, I've been bullied into free trials of things here and there, and I spent a brief period of time in World of Warcraft before having my account hacked and deciding it wasn't worth the hassle. In ALL of these cases someone pretty much had to buy the game for me and tell me to play it because there's no way I'll waste money on these things.

And this is why. Now the game will be gone. The game that we spent quite a lot of money on over the years... a handful of monthly fees for me, a lot more plus the box copies and then all the weird DLC crap my husband bought after it went f2p. The game that was pretty entertaining to load up just to play witht he character creator even if you didn't feel like playing. Gone.

Of course, it should also be obvious that I haven't touched the thing in who knows how long. I'm far too busy and MMORPGs don't play well with my distracted gaming style and occasional net interruptions. But as usual it is still highly irritating that the game I played (primarily as a single-player experience because I'm not social, but occasionally with my husband) will be taken away and there's not much I can do about it (other than hunt for legally dubious fan servers which probably exist somewhere, I don't know).

Insert my usual rant about DRM and MMORPGs and all that nonsense, I'm honestly getting tired of saying it. I'm tired of being asked to pay for things that will be taken away from me. I'm tired of knowing that this is apparently a better business model than actually selling stuff like I do. Sigh.

Fly'n

Another interesting item spotted through someone's greenlight thread:



This isn't quite a complete game yet though, it's due out this fall. I think. But it looks adorable and the sort of thing I'm into.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Scheherazade is hard to spell!

Here's an interesting project from the makers of Academagia:



(Click through to see video properly)

And like Academagia or Long Live The Queen, it looks like there are a lot of skills and you'll be able to make use of them to shape the way your character handles her adventures. I don't know yet if it will be as VICIOUS as LLTQ though :)

The main game's webpage is here. It's not done yet.

Project can also be found on Greenlight... as, for that matter, can several other games, such as Science Girls and Date Warp. So if you want to see this sort of thing on Steam, get in there. Otherwise, stay tuned for more info when this title is complete.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

corporate takeover from hell

Plot bunny I'm not likely to pursue - a story set in a game design company. Your bosses have just completely screwed you over, selling the company to a new owner and forcing you to lose your benefits and take a massive paycut. There's office politics and romance going on, and everyone's very edgy and whispering behind your back. But at you go along you realise that there are worse things at work than your project being turned into an adware vehicle... because this is actually a lovecraftian horror story and your new owner has PLANS.

RPG meandering

So, in our large stack of game plans we may never finish, I've had Spiky looking at the feasibility of trying to do something like an old Baldur's Gate style RPG. Don't get your hopes up, it may never happen.

This game would have a defined set of characters available in your party although you would have some options to tweak them as you leveled up. For various reasons I don't want a mage class. There will be magic, but I'm currently envisioning it as ITEM based and something that everyone can use. This may be a bad idea, as it's making it harder to figure out my character types. Concepts being played with so far:

The Hunter - Ranged-weapon specialist with a mechanical bent. Starts with a rifle (this setting is punky enough for guns, but not handguns) May choose to use bows later because they're more quiet. Can track, pick locks, set and remove traps. Cannot move with stealth, but can hide in position and wait for something to walk up and BOOM headshot.

The Gymnast - This is the one who can sneak and scout without being detected. Can jump over small obstacles, or the heads of enemies, giving her terrain-covering powers no one else has. Is a melee fighter who prefers small, light weapons and speed attacks. Knowledge of anatomy gives her special attacks to temporarily disable enemies as well as damage (trip, hamstring). Can also enter dodge mode and make herself harder to hit.

The Amazon - The strength-based melee fighter with a little bit of beserker. Uses heavier weapons. Can charge at enemies and knock them back. Also has a range of special powers I can't describe because spoilers, but just assume this is your power hitter.

The Cheerleader - This is one of the character types I'm not so clear on. Intent is to be a leader/buffer type character who can boost the powers of her teammates. If this is turn-based, she can pass her action points to others, which is a big deal. If it's not turn-based it's a little more confusing how to make her sufficiently useful. Not sure what her own personal combat powers should look like either. A search suggests there is a cheerleader class in one of the Disgaea games, maybe I should look there.

The Oracle - This was not an original party member, but I was looking at Sinister Design's comments on tactical combat which claimed that four just isn't enough for a party. So this is a 'maybe' character who I'm still having trouble with the usefulness of. It's NOT a wizard, but a Psionics/Divination class. She can Detect stuff. Find traps, spot invisible/stealthy monsters, locate nearest X (monster, rest point, exit?), determine remaining health of enemies, etc. Has a special attack along the lines of True Strike to allow her to do massive damage. Can tag an individual monster and get a bonus against it because she's sensing what it will do next. Can enter Counterattack mode and get a free hit against anything that hits her (predicting the openings they'll leave).

Are these sufficiently differentiated and understandable?

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

ef - the first tale

There's a trial version out now for ef - the first tale (Link goes to site with NSFW stuff on it, although I doubt the trial itself contains any such.)

While I currently suspect the game is a little too slow-life-stuff for my personal tastes*, it is worth taking a look at for the way they try to break up the static views of typical VN conversations. It requires more art than most of us indies can pull off, but hey, technique is technique.

If you don't want to download the trial, you can also get a look at the style through this handy video of the first half hour or so of the game.



(Linked here in small size because of the blog layout, but you probably want to go through and have a better look at proper res.)



* - which would be why I bought Kara no Shoujo instead. Also, I'm having a tough time finding a decent review of just the first tale in order to figure out whether I'd really want to play all the way through.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Old School Dungeoning

There's a contest over on The Secret DM for people to win cool prizes by designing and submitting old-school dungeons in honor of Gary Gygax. So get out your graph paper!

Follow the link above for all the details on exactly what to make, where to send it, and what cool prizes you can receive.

scenic anchorhead, guided tour

So, shuffling Spiky through the game, so far things we had to consult Help for:

obtaining the key to the attic door, because the puzzle is SO old and SO hoary that it's fallen completely out of favor by now and I'd forgotten that used to be a thing

obtaining the small copper key, because the particular mode of pushing someone into telling us things didn't quite occur to us, even though we had the relevant information and had puzzled at it

My memory of the game as a whole is shaky enough that I'm not capable of providing too many spoilers and can mostly help with puzzles honestly. I remember the ending (too well) and bits and pieces of the upcoming dangers but not enough to matter.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Underrail

Check out this indie RPG project!

I haven't had time to play the demo yet, but from the video it looks like... ah, heck, why waste my time summing up when I can just cut and paste?





Summary

Underrail is an old school turn-based isometric indie role playing game that focuses on exploration and combat. It's inspired by western RPG classics such as Fallout, Arcanum, Neverwinter Nights and System Shock 2.


Story

The game is set in a distant future, when the life on the Earth’s surface has long since been made impossible and the remnants of humanity now dwell in the Underrail, a vast system of metro station-states that, it seems, are the last bastions of a fading race.

The player takes control of one of the denizens of such a station-state whose life is about to become all that much more interesting and dangerous, as our protagonist is caught amidst the conflicting factions of the Underrail as they secretly but violently struggle for the Humanity’s last gem of hope.


Features

Great character customization possibilities through stats, skills, feats, items and more that allows for many different play-styles

Tactical turn based combat that utilizes weapons, energy shields, grenades, psi abilities and more

Vast underground world to explore: city states, abandoned building complexes, natural caverns, secret areas and more

Elaborate item crafting system

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Kara No Shojo

Two girls with the same name. No voice acting. See, if there were side images, this would be easier! :)

Friday, 24 August 2012

oops

So I realised that Spiky had never played Anchorhead. And as I love story-based games and he digs Lovecraft, I had to bully him into playing RIGHT NOW.

Admittedly we did not download the new fancy deluxe version of the game. And maybe the linux interpreter he's using is fiddlier than some. But we seem to be having a lot more parser trouble than I expected, with a lot of need to frustratingly rephrase things in order to get commands to be accepted (I don't mean wrong verb, I mean disambiguation problems.)

And while it was partly his fault for wrestling with an object that clearly wasn't meant to be used that way, he seems to have managed to make a useful object actually disappear from the game. He took a box containing Stuff and tried to put it inside another box, which failed, but the Stuff went silently poof at this point. No indication given, so it took a very long time to realise that the Stuff was gone...

But don't let this dissuade you. If you haven't played it, you still ought to. Just don't try to cram boxes inside smaller boxes!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

late night thoughts

I wonder how much "dumbing down" of games comes out of the deep frustration of writers/developers watching players/reviewers insistently miss the point over and over again.

Not just games, though. I've seen reviews of authors whose works got much more Anvilicious as they went along. Part of me is wondering if that comes out of the little voices in their heads screaming "FOR GOODNESS SAKE I AM TRYING TO SAY THAT MISOGYNY IS BAD!" to people who Just Don't Get It.

Unspeakably Epic

While I have somewhat fallen out of the old IF scene, I do occasionally manage to read a game or two, and I have very fond memories of games experienced only through reading reviews.

This review is worth whole new kinds of gold stars. Warning, though, the game in question involves adult content, and the review itself contains some language that will set off a few Safe For Work filters.

Monday, 20 August 2012

signal boost

Reposting from the Let's Play thread:

Dangan Ronpa is now available on iOS. A free download from the Japanese appstore gets you the first chapter of the game, with the rest available as in-app purchase. The whole game costs 2000 yen, which is about $25. Considering it probably costs about three times as much to import the game, I'd say it's a good price to pay.

The app is universal, customised for both the iPhone and the iPad (iPhone 4 or 4S required). It features retina graphics that look better than PSP in the appstore screenshots. An Android version is also supposed to come out, but the news I've read only mentioned iOS for now.

Getting a Japanese account to download the free chapter is easy and guides are readily available elsewhere. Once downloaded, you can switch back to your original iTunes account and still play the game. If you want to buy the game without a Japanese credit card, there are several places online that sell Japanese iTunes gift cards you can use to charge the account with.

Here's the iTunes link. If you like this game and LP, I'd like nothing more than if you give some money back to the creators. Now there's a fairly easy way to do so. Who knows, maybe if they see a bunch of downloads from non-Japanese IP addresses they might think again about an official localisation.


In case you've missed my earlier comments, this is an awesome semi-VN (There are choices, but the plot doesn't actually branch, and there are a lot of minigames) involving murder mysteries and bizarre characters, currently Japanese only and being Let's Played on Something Awful.

As I do not have an iphone or ipad this is still not much use to me, and I have no idea how many people are willing to jump through these hoops for a game they still can't really read, but one can always hope. I'd certainly love to see these games brought over into English. 999 did okay, right?

... however, if anyone knows where I can lay hands on a monobear hoodie, DO WANT.

Friday, 17 August 2012

just your friendly reminder

While Steam is a DRM that most people like, it still is one. Your games still work at their sufferance. And they can hold those games hostage whenever they want.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

cinewhatic?

And then on the other side, you have (old) games like this thing which clearly had A plot... but what on earth was it?



(Apparently there's a wiki and it makes sense to somebody but...)

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Remember Me

No, not the dating sim. This:



I have really confused mixed reactions to this. I often hear people complaining about games turning too much into movies. This is the first time I've noticed seeing a game *really* advertised as if it were a movie... and looking at that, I think I'm going to be disappointed that it isn't one.

Because whatever it is, I can't actually play it... I'm shit at big fancy 3d consoles. So any curiosity I have about the plot will never be answered.

Maybe they'll make an anime of it! (Yeah right.)

(Also unsurprisingly youtube commenters continue to be subhuman trolls and at least one is commenting that they don't want to play any game where they have to play as a female because that's gay.)

Monday, 13 August 2012

oh THAT's what the fuss was about on twitter

Some people assume we all read the same sources and make cryptic references without context!

So, okay, this happened:

A developer of Borderlands 2 has infuriated many gamers after describing a new, easier version of the shooter as "girlfriend mode".

John Hemingway, lead designer at Gearbox Software, made the comments to Eurogamer while on a studio tour.

The 'mode' in question takes the form of a fifth character class, where one early skill called "close enough" lets players with poor aim progress through the game. Designed to help new gamers, and those who "suck at first-person shooters", Hemingway said the "girlfriend mode" essentially makes it impossible to miss a target.

"I want to make, for the lack of a better term, the girlfriend skill tree," Hemingway told Eurogamer. "This is, I love Borderlands and I want to share it with someone but they suck at first-person shooters."


What it is, is a perfectly reasonable feature to add... described by an idiot who makes sex-based assumptions and thinks they're no big deal.

And no surprise, the president of the company jumps onto the internet not to apologise for poor communication/sensitivity skills, but to defend his team and insist that "There is no universe where Hemmingway is a sexist - all the women at Gearbox would beat his and anyone else's ass."

Yeah, you know? That doesn't actually make someone not sexist. (For that matter, getting your ass kicked "by a girl" makes some people more resentful.)

I don't know either of these dudes, obviously. With no further context, it doesn't sound like the guy is a woman-hating kind of sexist. I certainly wouldn't assume that he has ever or would ever hurt anyone. That would be a ludicrous leap to make.

But does he make sexist assumptions? DUH. YES. RIGHT THERE.

Is this a rare thing? No. Heck, even I make those assumptions at times because we're so used to hearing these stereotypes over and over again that we tend to believe them even if we ought to know better. I'll assume that certain games and certain hangouts are "a guy thing" and that anyone present is probably male. But when pointed out that I'm being an idiot? I can say "Oops, sorry."

Friday, 10 August 2012

it is a puzzlement

Why would you bother putting complicated gameplay in your game if it was going to take multiple hours of straight reading in order to get there? Surely anyone who would be pulled into the game by the promise of the battles rather than the reading would have tried to strangle you to death long before then.

And sure, I've had some sulks from a few players about Magical Diary's RPG side being smaller than they hoped it would be, but at least it didn't take you five hours to find a dungeon. Princess Waltz also sort of underuses its mechanic, but again, I don't remember it being *too* ridiculous about getting to your first fight, and it wasn't really billed as an RPG anyway.

Been a while since I played it, though. Perhaps I forget.

Anyway, I suppose I should update my promotion of Aselia the Eternal to warn that it's not a good idea for someone who is looking for an RPG but doesn't dig visual novels.

Friday, 27 July 2012

good old sales

The only thing that jumps out at me in the current promotion is the Journeyman Project which I've heard good things about but never looked into. However, backlog. Enh.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

gloombuckets

You can tell I'm moody because I've been playing Spirit Tracks again. "Life already sucks, so shitty game can't make it worse!"

(No, nothing's actually wrong, just general bleh.)

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Games I want to play but do not currently have the time to write

Space Hulk Explorer Roguelike: You play a salvager who finds randomly-generated huge spaceships floating around, and you go through them looking for loot. Different skills for different classes (including different abilities to identify the weird stuff you turn up) and your score in the end is based on the value of what you bring back to your shuttle and how long you were gone. If you live.

All-Girl Dungeon Crawl: A yuri game not needing to waste much time with things like plot and explanation! You're an all-girl gang of dungeon divers, you go kill things and take their stuff,when you set up camp to rest you go into dialog mode and then you can argue over loot-splitting and romance people.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet

Been playing this a little bit on PC (cursing the thoroughly obnoxious Games For Windows requirement every time; having to launch steam was bad enough, having to log into both is REALLY ANNOYING) and have gotten far enough to splash into some underwater sections.

Which may have been a bad idea on the dev's part, as it suddenly makes the comparison to Aquaria inevitable in my mind. They are, after all, both fun cool stylish 'metroidvania' things where you are flying/swimming around instead of walking and jumping. On the other hand, neat as this thing looks, drawing the comparison makes it jump out to me that Aquaria was better in most respects.

If the title screen is accurate about how much of the game I've covered, this thing can't be very long. And while it's cool to fly around in, it's sort of lacking in even a pretense of a plot. I mean sure there was a tiny bit of setup at the beginning but it pretty much vanished immediately, along with all my fellow ships.

It also seems a good bit easier than Aquaria, at least when you're not doing something insanely stupid by trying to use the wrong tool for a section. This isn't really a bad thing, as you may recall me sulking that Aquaria's difficulty seemed at odds with its potential joy of exploration, but... in a way it's the inverse. Aquaria was a pretty place where I wanted to spend more time just chillin'. This place LOOKS so dark and scary that it's surprising to me that it hasn't, so far, presented much of a challenge.

signals

Almost anyone reading this who cares probably already knows, but the Carpe Fulgur pack is on 75% off deal today on Steam.

Friday, 13 July 2012

I HATE YOU

So after a long delay I tried to pick up Spirit Tracks again while waiting for something to download. I had time to kill. I could put up with some really pointless filler. Right?

... that was before the next quest it threw at me is something that if you take even a single point of damage you have to start over from the beginning and each attempt takes about half an hour. Half an hour of staring mindlessly at the screen waiting to reach your destination, with one or two attacks to dodge sprinkled somewhere in there.

Back into the SHIT GAME pile you go, then.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

false quiet

I've put myself in something of a bind here - I'm actually posting quite a lot about games but I can't post it *here*. Because I'm doing a Let's Play of a game in a situation where I think it would be inappropriate to do it under an account that is blatantly _MY_ account. Not because I'm ashamed of my words, but because I'm obviously in this business.

So I don't want it to come across as "Hanako Games mocks the competition and thinks she's so much better than them! THAT SNOT!" I don't want it to look like I'm trying to shill my own games by having fun with someone else's.

I may be the only person in the world who cares about stupid things like that. :)

(If you saw me talking about LP on twitter, this is a different game. The one I ordered in the mail is something I could indeed Let's Play under my own name because it's in a completely different genre and twenty years out of date.)

It's hardly direct competition anyway... my customers aren't interested in this game (I know, I've already tried to sell it to them!). But if you're curious what I'm up to, look around in brokenforum's LP section for someone doing a game that is both an RPG and a visual novel. Like I said, I'm not ashamed of my words, I'm just trying to diffuse potential conflict of commercial interest. (Er, did I mean defuse? Oh well, I suppose either works.)

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

science take two

While I"m making Higgs boson jokes, someone else made a little game on the subject called Ms Particle Man

... How come on this computer every time I add a link it tries to insert a "blank.gif"?

Monday, 9 July 2012

for science!

Doing a limited-time deep discount on a bundle of Date Warp and Science Girls, FOR SCIENCE! Won't last more than a couple of days, so check it out now.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

stealing my groove

Apparently there's an interesting 3DS title called 'Rhythm Thief And The Emperor's Treasure' due out soon, but due to Nintendo's shenanigans, I still can't buy a 3DS.

I don't want to buy shitty pirate carts, I don't want to steal games, I want to be able to buy them. WHY YOU HATE ME NINTENDO?

Monday, 2 July 2012

what a tweeest

A story where the Crazy Antagonist appears to have an unbelievably impossible ability to predict everything that the party is going to do and keep screwing you up, because it turns out in the end that the *antagonist* was caught in a GroundhogDayLoop. All this madness you're going through for the first time, they've been able to perfect in order to guide you to the true goal!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

why do i keep playing this game?

I *hate* this game. All its mechanics were designed to annoy me. It makes me want to punch it repeatedly. WHY AM I STILL PLAYING obviously i hate myself :(

stupid train

Saturday, 30 June 2012

actually made me hit the power-off button in disgust

Trying to reach the stamp stand in the sand temple. That is NOT the SLIGHTEST bit fair. That is not a clever puzzle. That is something that would be achievable IF THE CONTROLS WEREN'T HORRENDOUS.

I am not sure whether I'm going to continue with this game at this point. My extreme fed-up-ness with the trains combined with the number of puzzles now that don't feel at all like I'm doing something wrong but more like the controls are designed to make my character randomly kill himself all the time...


edit: okay, fine, I got past it and stamped my book, but the point remains that I don't enjoy puzzles where I feel like I'm wrestling more with the controls and their blatant refusal to do what I clicked than with my reflexes and decisions.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

i ain't afraid of no ghost

So looks like someone is attempting to make a hidden object / RPG combo (for the ipad, so I can't actually play it.)

I had a vague idea for how to mix up the super-fancy-shiny-arty Hidden Object game style popular in casual portals and a proper RPG once. To get the standard cluttered house full of junk, it was to be about GHOSTBUSTING. You frantically search for objects invested with ectoplasm or whatever in order to help you defeat the spooks.

Obviously never going to do it though, so feel free to play with that.

notes dump

Since I think it's highly unlikely I'm ever actually going to work on this, a handful of notes originally written down for the Experimental RPG About Fighting Cthulhu With The Power Of Rock

---

Your stats:
Volume (affects how powerful your skills are)
Health (duh)
Resistance (absorbing damage)
Dancing (dodging)
Tone (accuracy)


Things the vocalist can do: (tank)

Taunt a monster for attention
Attack a monster
Get in front of an ally to protect them
Heal self
Reflect attack (advanced tactic)
Start a summon by hand-clapping (advanced tactic)

Things the guitar can do: (dps)

Attack = Strum (different rhythms indicating different kinds of attacks?)
Big Attack = Riff (different riffs indicating different kinds of attacks) Must complete measure without interruption or it's lost
Increasing Damage = Sustain (damage it does keeps going up over time but if interrupted you're dead air until the end)
Area Damage = Whammy (Must be already sustaining, but spreads the damage out over a group instead of focusing on one target)
Clear Ailments = Slide

Things the bass can do: (heal/support)

Group Regeneration = Steady Pulse
Boost Volume = Amp Up
Boost Tone = Build Tension
Boost Dancing = Back Beat
Heal Team Member = Release Tension
Weak Attack = Rumble
Group Resist = Subwoofer

dear nintendo

I do not care about bigger screens.

I don't even care about longer battery life.

Make a 3DS without region lock and I'll buy it despite hating 3d.

Continue having region lock and I'll continue playing my old DS. There are still lots of games for it I haven't played yet!

Monday, 25 June 2012

EAT FLAMING LAVA

So, I've been poking my way through the fire mountain temple dungeon whatever. The puzzles in this one are pretty straightforward. It's the controls that are driving me batty. I don't *normally* find the stylus controls this awkward, but the imprecision of stylus-based movement has led to things like Link deciding to walk straight forward into lava instead of making the short hop to the safe ledge I am indicating, or Link's speed changing randomly when trying to dodge moving fire barriers / blade thingies.

But that's just general stylus movement. The real pickle and place where I died multiple times is something I think is downright annoying design.

There's a locked room you enter where you end up on a narrow platform with lava on both sides. On the other side of the lava are four skeletons. The skeletons throw things at you.

A skeleton can be 'easily' defeated by first shooting it with the bow, then grabbing and throwing its skull with the whip.

Problem: This requires selecting the bow weapon, clicking on the 'activation' circle in the corner of the map, holding down the stylus at the skeleton to aim, releasing the stylus in the right place to shoot the skeleton and make its skull fall, clicking on the activation circle to switch out of bow mode, clicking on the menu button to bring up weapon-switching, clicking on the whip icon to change weapons, clicking on the activation circle to switch into active whip mode, clicking the whip on the skeleton, then clicking the whip somewhere else to throw the skull. That's a lot of fiddly selections.

While you are doing this, the skeletons are THROWING THINGS at you. If any of these missiles hit you, the game is likely to suddenly change the 'mode' you were in, so that if you were following the above sequence of clicks, the next click you make will suddenly do something completely different than you had intended. Like, say, making you walk into the lava for damage. Or leap across the lava to 'attack' the skeleton with your sword, which does nothing except drop you into the lava for damage.

Did I mention that while you are in active whip or bow mode, you can't move? So you can't DODGE the missiles that are about to completely screw up your action.

Did I mention that after shooting the skeleton, there's only a brief time limit before the skull reforms into a full skeleton and you have to start over?

Did I mention there are multiple locations where you can hit a skeleton with a bow but not with a whip, meaning that after you switch into whip mode you'll flail uselessly for a while before realising that you can't hit anything and have to start over?

Did I mention that large 'activation' circle in the corner of the screen, which conveniently happens to position itself right OVER one of the four skeletons, so that when you try to whip it, if you're unlucky, you just keep switching in and out of whip mode?

There may well be an easier way to do this... everywhere else in the castle I used ONLY the whip against skeletons like that and it did fine. It didn't seem to work here, because there were too many of them and they kept throwing bones at me so I couldn't manage to get enough progress using just the whip. I may simply be dumb. But MAN that was annoying.

and then there were none

Things I don't have time to write: A murder mystery in which most of the cast is trying to kill most of the cast, and the plot branches insanely based on which ones of them you've managed to intercept at which stages (because if you stop Person A from dying, they might kill Person B later, and that might mean Person B doesn't kill Person C...)

It's the combination of the months I've been following the Dangan Ronpa Let's Play, plus reminiscing about the Colonel's Bequest and how the ending really let down the complication they'd been building until that point, and finding Jisei/Kansei much too short and simple for my plotting tastes.

I like snowballing catastrophe.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

there'll be another along in half an hour

While I generally enjoy the Zelda DS games, I am resentful of the sheer amount of time I have to waste riding this train around. Especially when I'm having to do things like ride around flipping switches so I have a loooong wait before I get back to the game... and I can't zone out because there are stupid enemies around and sometimes the train will randomly not go the way I told it to...

I can't relax and enjoy it, and I can't enjoy it as a challenge because it's stupid and limiting and (of course) literally on rails.

And there's this grumpy voice in my head complaining that if I put more MINDLESS PADDING like this in my games some people would cheer that I'd made the playtime longer...

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

rose colored rear view mirrors

Vaguely glancing at the Let's Play True Love thread is a bit of a shock.

I remember liking this game.

This shouldn't be a shock, it's a pretty clear influence on a lot of my work, Summer Session being the most obvious. (For some people, it was TokiMemo that was the big influence, but I've never played it, even the girls sides, and don't know all that much about it.)

So it's a surprise to me to look back at this game and go "Wow, that's awful."

The art really hasn't aged well. It's not just the number of colors, which wasn't really their fault, we did have more technical limitations then. It's not just the particular style of huge eyes and harsh technicolor highlights which was in vogue in that particular era of anime but makes people cringe nowadays. Even my untrained eye is finding the anatomy pretty ropy.

And that protagonist... what a creeper!

I liked this game? I must have been seriously bored.

Of course, compared to the other h-games of the era, it doesn't look quite so bad. Some of those ancient relics are truly... special. Someone even mailed me a free legit box copy of DOR once just to prove how painfully bad it was. (AND IT WAS.)

Really, it's hard to imagine how I got into this field when I look back at what I had to try and catch my interest!

Monday, 18 June 2012

fits and spurts

Been a bit unwell for the past week, so I haven't really been doing much except trying to keep up with all the Let's Plays and occasionally clearing a bit of Spirit Tracks.

The last stages of that fire-and-ice boss got rather annoying!

In other portable news, I've heard that Hakuoki still isn't out for the Vita, and the 999 sequel doesn't play very well on it, so I guess there's no reason for me to buy one. We should all be well aware of why I'm not buying a 3DS. Alas.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Rune Raiders

Little fantasy turn-based tile-based action thingamabob. I couldn't quite call it an RPG even though I know it gets filed that way sometimes, but it's cute and you have wizards and dragons, isn't that enough?



Game Link

(Also available as an app for iphone or android but I don't have those phones so it means nothing to me.)

Thursday, 7 June 2012

immersion breaking

I have no interest in playing this little 'My Moviestar' social game, but I am geekily confused by the demo screens.

Appeared in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? That's Kirsten Dunst. I love Kirsten Dunst. And Neon is no Kirsten Dunst. She's not even blond! (Okay, Spiderman fans are used to KD not being blond, but she was blond in this movie....)

Also appeared in Bring It On... as Missy, Torrance's friend? But... Kirsten Dunst was in that movie. She played Torrance. Not Missy. I AM SO CONFUSED NOW! ARE YOU PSEUDO-KD OR AREN'T YOU???

Don't trust EA farther than you can throw them

Have a bit of a bank cockup over a very small purchase? Lose access to all your past games that you paid for.

Really, it seems like the only way to deal safely with some of these systems is to open a new account every time you buy a game, so that you minimise the potential damage...

Or, you know, you could do your homework and buy games from nice indies who don't use DRM instead of jumping on the biggest AAA title? But who am I kidding?

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Magical Diary

So, if you haven't heard by now, Magical Diary is out on Steam.

If you bought it from me directly and want a Steam key to add the game to your library, forward your email receipt to my support address. The achievements you've already earned in-game should automatically unlock when you launch the Steam version if you install it to the same computer you were using before.

If you haven't already bought it... what are you waiting for? Limited-time discount GO GO GO.

Monday, 4 June 2012

seen on gamefaqs

Don't buy it, this game is about dating GUYS.

Like wtf, why would anyone want to play a game where you date a guy????



Hear that, straight women, gay men, and other male-inclined entities of the world? YOU DO NOT EXIST!

On the other hand, while I've had people earnestly tell me that I should be selling a game with a male protagonist because "almost all the people who buy games are male", and a couple things like the above, I still manage to avoid the really nasty stuff like this BBC article on harassment in gamer culture.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Rule The World Or Die Trying - Long Live The Queen!

Our newest release - a deceptively cute, pink, sparkly sim game about being repeatedly killed in as many ways as possible.



Basically, you're this fourteen-year-old princess who's just inherited the throne because the last queen (your mother) died under mysterious circumstances. So you're frantically trying to learn how to manage a country, while all around you EVERYTHING IS TRYING TO KILL YOU in order to get power for themselves. Evil relatives, invasions, civil war, uprisings, assassinations, feuds, eldritch abominations...

... no, I'm not kidding about that last one either.

Juggle a huge pile of stats and make decisions that you can't possibly know the consequences of and then watch them loop around and bite you in the back. And die. And start over again with a better plan.

Also, the outfits are adorable. But don't be fooled into buying this for any very young kids, you'll scar them for life.

Available for PC, Mac, and Linux. Click below for the free demos.

Long Live The Queen

What better way to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee?

Saturday, 2 June 2012

the little things that make it all worthwhile

silly dev-related stuff that amuses me:

Figuring out where people come up with some of the names they use for their characters in yearbook posts.

Listening to someone doing a Let's Play of one of my games, having them read a line of dialogue aloud, snark at it, click to continue, and then discover that the game just made the the exact same followup snark.

Friday, 1 June 2012

i accidentally a purchase

I really didn't need more games.

But Spiky dropped his silver DS a while back, shattering the hinge, and after he managed to wire it back together discovered that the wireless receptor seems to be kaput, so in order to keep playing 2-player games we needed a new DS. And in the process of finding one for sale locally, discovered someone selling a stack of pretty decent DS titles for $10 each.

So now I have:

Chrono Trigger (I played a little bit of this once a loooong time ago but never finished it)
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (Oddly I'm not sure I've ever actually played a Castlevania game)
Mario & Luigi Bowser's Inside Story (I played the last entry in this series and had fun with it)
KORG DS-10 Plus (... I don't actually know what I'm going to do with this, BUT IT'S AWESOME and I couldn't resist the price.)

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

temptation level: mild

The full Space Quest Collection is on Daily Deal on Steam.

I've never bought from Steam.

It's certainly a decent price.

But I have a huge backlog. And I've already played almost all of those games anyway.

And I've never bought from Steam.

But... I might have a reason to at some point...

Enh. If this were next week, there'd be a chance I might give in. As it is I think I'll pass.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Fanime Artist Alley Sales Figures

A lot of us indie types don't talk sales figures much, for a lot of reasons - mostly because it immediately opens you up to a bunch of pointless heckling and comparisons and judgments by people who don't really know what they're talking about.

However, talking about sales of games at a particular event may be useful to those of you thinking about having a booth of your own in an artist alley, so hey. Why not? (However, I'm just back, tired, and still have a cold. My numbers may not be 100% accurate.)

Event: Fanime 2012
Attendance figures not public yet, but guess 15,000 - 20,000
Days: 4 (Friday 2-8, Sat 10:30-7, Sun 10:30-7, Mon 10:30-3)
No power provided, so other than the OLPC running the Date Warp OP briefly until the battery died, we had no computers or demo capability.

Magical Diary: 22 copies. Complete sellout including misprint discs. Possibly should have brought more.

Science Girls: 19 copies.

Cute Knight Kingdom: 16 - sold out of full boxes (we brought fewer of this game) and went into half-price misprints.

Date Warp: 11 copies.

Long Live The Queen (debut): 31 copies, total sellout and a couple of disappointed people who came back too late. Should have brought more!

Why less for Date Warp than the others? My guess is that while it's one of the higher-priced items on the table, it's also been available at more cons than any other game (so lots of con-going people have it already) and the new box design isn't as cool as the old CD-shaped box (and the covers didn't print as well).

I was surprised that people were happy to buy the $5 CKK misprint discs when there was no box, thus no screenshots and no clue except my vague explanation of what kind of game it even was. But, well, bargain!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

so I heard your DRM sucks

I decided a long time ago that I wasn't going to buy Diablo 3 due to the always-online stuff, and therefore quit paying any attention to it. I've simply filtered out most discussion of the subject in the same way I ignore conversations about World of Warcraft or the latest Playstation 3 title: Not Relevant.

I'm now seeing comments in forums that despite all the security, Diablo 3 has already been hacked.

So what was the point?

(However, looking at the article I was sent, it sounds more like account theft in the WOW sense than DRM cracking. Not that this is much help to the person whose account gets stolen, rendering their paid-for game even more junk than it was to begin with.)

Friday, 18 May 2012

bad brain! stop doing that!

(fragments of random conversation, restructured to remove chat details)

Maybe you process stress as gloom. So while I'm GOING CRAZEEEEEEEE you just form little black clouds.

Little black ships. Big black ships. Then they eat the sky.

... must not try to design a game out of that.

Why not? ... aside from the fact that TOO MANY GAMES TO MAKE

The image in my mind is no the image in your mind, I don't think, but it is WEIRD and has potential for WEIRD USES. Gloomy people walking through city skyscraper streets with their emotions manifesting as little black battleships around their heads, engaged in some sort of ongoing war This is a neat visual but #%@ if I know how to make use of it in anything.

... I suppose you could have a 3d walkaround mode where you SEE people trapped in their glooms, and then you enter retro shooter mode to defeat their psyches?

ACK STOP DESIGNING GAMES

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Cherry Tree High Comedy Club

A little VN newly released in English, but with no demo available. What's a player to do? I haven't had time to go through the whole game yet, but I did buy a copy so that I can give you a little bit more information on this game.

In some ways, it feels more like a socially-fixated high-end RPG Maker game than a visual novel. That isn't entirely a bad thing, though, as it is cute as a button.




You play Miley Verisse, an orange-haired tornado with a tendency to crack jokes every few words, as she tries to gather enough victims recruits to form an official new school club. Problem is, she's only got about a month to do it, and by school rules people can only be part of one club at a time (and most of them already are, or aren't because they hate clubs). So she's going to have to be ridiculously outgoing and use all her charms to try and win over the available girls and guys. To do that, she has to level up her social skills and Topics Of Conversation.




So you go around seeing movies, reading magazines, and watching TV in order to find things to talk about and help you make friends.

It's the interface and especially the control scheme that make this feel more like a console RPG. You have cute animated sprites and they move around and interact with each other. No mouse controls - you'll need the arrow keys and space/enter. When walking around, you can talk to people by walking over them and pressing space. You can also 'run' by holding down space while you move.

Menus will talk about pressing 'OK' and 'Cancel' without actually telling you what those keys are. Space/Enter/C will work for OK. For 'Cancel' type options, press X.

Saving the game you can only do in the evenings by talking to your roommate Harriet. She's your own personal save point and sidekick!

There is no demo for this game, but it's also only $8, so if it sounds like fun it's not much to gamble. You can buy it here.

I may post about it more later if I get back to it, but I am crazy busy (and the no-mouse thing is *slightly* annoying, but I know some people don't care as much.) This is pretty much just to give you the information you would get from the non-existent demo.

Friday, 4 May 2012

today in gamer culture

as seen on the steam forums

Her? As in it was written by a woman? I see... Hm, on second thoughts maybe I'll just skip this title.

It looked good like a good game, but it's not really a game or at least not what I would define as a game.

I'm glad I decided to ask here on the Forums instead of buying on impulse, saved myself a few pounds and a subsequent rage post expressing my dissatisfaction.

Warlock - Master of the Arcane is coming out on the 8th, think I'll just get it when it comes out.

Anyway, a big thanks to everyone for informing me about this game, especially those who dropped that the writer was a female.


Now, obviously, this is just one person, and the post got a lot of "WTF???" followups. I am not claiming that all or even most gamers are like this.

Person tried to justify that most books written by women don't resonate with em. Which is a reasonable preference to have; I find that female authors on average click better with me than male ones do. However, I still read things by male authors - and some of them have exactly the same characteristics I like in my female authors. Because all men are not the same!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

If I were the sort of person who organises game conference experiences

There's an article on the BBC about a guy who's 'invented' a camera that, instead of printing a picture, prints a little description of whatever you just took a picture of.

Of course, we don't actually have that technology yet - it's really sending the photo to amazon's Mechanical Turk, where a human is describing the picture and sending that information back. (A spot-on perfect use for mechanical turk really!)

What interested me, though, was how much the sample description sounded like something you would encounter in an old text adventure. The 'inventor' seems to see this as a downside, wanting to coach people to put a little more humanity into their descriptions. I don't - think of the opportunities! You could set up *real world* text adventures, with players in helmet cameras able to see only a text description of what they were 'looking' at, but the freedom to look and move in all directions... well, carefully.

Hanako Games development updates

There's so much going on, and so little that's in a good position to tell you about! (But if nothing else, jump down to the end of this and answer the question.)

Magical Diary



Today's patch (1.0.32) replaces the slightly dull trophy room with custom icons for each achievement. Not a big deal, but it makes recording your progress a bit more fun and colorful.

Long Live The Queen

Still waiting on title screen art before it can go into official beta. No one's at fault here, a bunch of unbelievable life craziness hit all three of the key participants in this project.




On the bright side the long delay got me to look at the way class results / skill increases are displayed, and make them more animated and less dull.

The Royal Trap

So far only one route has been completed... and that's the one featuring Mister Sparkly.



Lots more writing to do. There are at least three more full routes to go, with another still hovering in a 'maybe'.

I've also put a bit more work into game menus, giving them some simple animation and dressing up the load/save screen (haven't done options yet though.)

Summer Visual Novel Writing Contest...

... doesn't actually have any information about it yet, other than to say that yes, I do think I'm going to try running it. Someone is working on a character sprite, and I will get together a rules post for approval probably next week when I'm less overworked.

And then, the question...

If I said I was working on a project called "Black Lily Veil", what would you expect it to be about?

(Just trying to see what associations this title would bring up in people's minds. I'm not actually working on that idea... yet.)