Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Bonus Art

Things I do around Christmas time - commmission lots of artists to make individual pictures for my fun, rather than having to deal solely with people for business purposes which is much more stressful. Not all of that art is related to my games or appropriate for this blog, but this one is...

Callum by =Azzedar-san on deviantART

Prince Callum, from The Royal Trap

Thursday, 12 December 2013


I'm doing a holiday game giveaway over on my forums - write a (short) fanfic or a bit of art for Long Live The Queen to win free games!

Click here for more details.

(The art one is partly so that people who haven't played the game at all can still compete, as you don't need to know anything about the characters to do a doodle.)

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Mood Whiplash

Yes, I bought a copy of 'If My Heart Had Wings', yes, I know about the controversy and you don't need to get into that with me. I wasn't really planning on playing it any time soon but I've been sick for two weeks now and a relaxing visual novel sounded like it would kill some time.

It's a pretty game at a high resolution and it's about following your dream to have a flying club so it should be uplifting, right? Like The Place Promised In Our Early Days?

So I got a lovely atmospheric intro with windmills and gliders and hints of bitterseet backstory and only a little bit of wacky anime (a pet duck with a hat). The introduction of Kotori in her wheelchair is a little too Datable Heroine Moe to be believable but it's okay, a few heavy-handed tropes on first meeting help you set things up.

... And then we slammed into the farcical anime plot.

Look, I know it's a classic trope. Boy somehow has to live in a girls' dorm (sometimes even passing himself off as a girl), hijinks ensue. But everything about it is stupid, especially in this case. The 'Dorm' is practically the size of Downton Abbey and is decked out inside in the same luxurious Olde English style. It takes an army of servants to maintain that shit. I'm supposed to believe that this building is being used to house a sum total of FIVE schoolgirls, and the only staff person onsite is one single schoolboy, the protagonist? And that he's not even taking time off school to do this job?

I can accept this in a ridiculous slapstick comedy because things aren't supposed to make a whole lot of sense. I understand that unrealistically spacious living arrangements are a common fantasy in Japan precisely because they're so crowded. I understand that many people just want to handwave how the eroge protagonist gets close to all the lovely ladies so we can get on with the dating.

But this thing was pitched like a drama! The dream of flight! Rising above your limitations!

... And then a goddamned duck wearing a hat came running across the plush red carpet carrying a pair of panties.


Saturday, 9 November 2013

Long Live The Queen on Steam!

It's finally out! Click there to go get the game - it's on discount for launch week.

If you haven't been keeping up with development/beta, there's a bunch of new content that's been added in for the Steam launch, including some new characters and a set of graphics for the epilogues. And yes, as requested, there are trading cards, so you can collect all the deaths.

But don't listen to me talk about it, go explore!

... can I sleep yet?

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Nod or shake

vague game idea that might be fun or might be too much of a pain...

Imagine playing something like The Little Mermaid (not Disney's version) - you're stranded in a new world, you can't speak to anyone, you have enemies trying to discredit you, and you're trying to accomplish some task, whether it be romance or something else.

As an adventure game, you can go around picking up objects, combining them, and showing them to people. You can also communicate in sign, except of course that you don't know sign at first and you have to pick up new symbols as the game progresses by interacting with other people, who will eventually show you ways to refer to different things.

So at first pretty much all you can manage is 'yes' or 'no' but slowly you develop a more complex vocabulary.

Could even use real sign language for an educational bonus, if you had sufficiently good animation.

this is why we invented 'don't read the comments'

Whiny, but hey, this is a blog for whining. I am sick of beating my head against the desk at people who insist on complaining that Game X is not Game Y, when it never at all claimed to be Game Y.

Imagine if every review of a Zelda game were just constantly whining that Link can't jump as well as Mario and none of his powerups make Link big or let him shoot fireballs so the game is obviously meh.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

as for the monstrosities

That would be this:

Secret Flirts - Nintendo DS

Do not buy this game unless you are addicted to collecting terrible games just so you can impress people with how bad your taste is. Which is okay. Some people are into that. Some people gift Secret of the Magic Crystals to each other.

If you want to know why I'm mocking it, check out this Let's Play thread. Nuff said.

High School Dreams

I know, you totally want to see a Western 3d hot-pink mall-bunny dating sim, like, for sure.

Compared to some of the monstrosities I've seen on DS, though? This doesn't actually look that bad. I mean, it's still the sort of bizarre shopping-focused fictional high school experience that is alien to me outside of television, but at least the people involved have put some effort in and the writing on display doesn't make me want to track the authors down and shove them into lockers. And the game's only five bucks so if the style works for you, have fun.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

i still DESPISE new blogger but this is too long to tweet

Things I have still shrinkwrapped, some of which are new today:

Yukkuri Panic Escalation - because I heard a spoiler about something that happens late in one of the routes that kind of creeped me out, and it's not really known for being plotty anyway, I just bought it as vague yuri support. I'm bound to at least test it one of these days... right?

Shikkoku no Sharnoth -What a Beautiful Tomorrow- - well, okay, the box isn't english, but there's a patch out, right? Althuogh I don't actually know if the patch patches this version. My hesitance on playing it is because from looking at an LP it looked a little hard to follow. I intend to get to it but only when I have time to focus, not when I'm looking for quick amusement. There may be Research Purposes involved.

Saya no Uta - Just got it, will probably look in Nov/Dec, have reasons for not getting into it now.

OtoBoku - I watched the beginning of the anime and it was boring, the art is not that good, and I don't know if I will ever play it but... well, now I have a box. I have at least some interest in the concept so I'll give it a chance eventually... On the other hand I don't entirely want to touch this while Black Closet is in development because I don't really want Japanese girls-school tropes slipping in among the ones I'm deriving from my own experiences.

If My Heart Had Wings - this is probably going to sit on my shelf forever. I'm not actually interested in any of the main concepts. I was just padding out an order.

Welcome to adulthood. We buy all the games and then we don't play them.

(Dear google - look how precipitously my posting dropped off when you insisted on changing everyone's Posting Experience. How about you stop screwing things up?)

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Black Closet - Elsa

Yes, the PC / Student Council President is a fixed character, not a draw-your-own. Due to game design, though, you don't see much of her other than CGs. She does not have a side image or a minion card, she is the hand that HOLDS the cards.

Elsa's profile

While her look and some of her basic personality is fixed, this is a game where every single time the protagonist speaks, you get to choose what she says, so there's still plenty of room to push things in your own direction.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Maldita Castilla

Was bored today and browsing through a thread of LPs of "hard games", thus stumbling across this little gem, inspired by Ghosts n Goblins (which I never actually played)

Anyway, it looks pretty neat and is apparently free so should be checked out!

Monday, 26 August 2013

Nonet Concerto Distortion

Nonet Concerto Distortion

New action game on DLsite which is at least halfway playable by an English-speaker, although I'm missing an awful lot of the details and settings. Main menu runs on arrowkeys/ZXC and the actual game part is 3d-person 3d with WASD and left/right mouse buttons to shoot. I think you're a magical girl running around a labyrinth blasting stuff. Also has PvP which I haven't tried. More than that I can't really tell you, sorry.

Friday, 16 August 2013

School Days

So, this game. I'm not playing for the infamy or with a walkthrough, I'm just blundering through it and thinking about the technical/narrative underpinnings. My first full run made a reasonable amount of sense. However, backing up and changing one key decision, everything's falling apart... and not just in the mad yandere way. Events seem to unfold in an inconsistent manner. I'm not sure if I'm just making weird choices so my point balance is making it all fall together oddly, or if there are actual bugs, or if the game is SUPPOSED to make this little sense.

So obviously a little spoileryness following....

(Note that I haven't read walkthroughs and have no idea how much of the game is fixed and how much is playthrough-dependent.)

Example 1: By the time of the festival, Kotonoha and I were pretty much on a break. We said we weren't going to see each other for a while. She wanted to get back together properly and wanted me to go around the festival with her, but didn't quite manage to say so. I went around the festival with Otome (in front of Kotonoha, it's not like she didn't know) and then ended up dancing with Sekai at the bonfire. End of episode. I figured this was clearly breaking up with Kotonoha, since we were already apart and I had completely avoided her festival romance plan. And I thought I was possibly starting a relationship with Sekai.

Next episode begins with me having mad orgies with Sekai while refusing to be seen with her in public (wait, what?) and considering Kotonoha my girlfriend and doing romantic things with her (wait, what?) So, between episodes, the situation drastically changed in ways to make me more of a jerk, none of which I had actually said I was doing. How does that make any sense? It would be one thing if the game decided just that I hadn't explicitly broken up with K yet, but to make us actively get back together and hang out all the time again, between episodes, just to make me into a two-timer, seems pretty unfair!

Example 2: So Kotonoha comes over to see me. I explicitly choose that she CANNOT come into my house and that I love Sekai. Next scene, Kotonoha is inside my house (wait, what?) and throwing herself at me, and I'm claiming to have never slept with Sekai (not only is this going against the choice I just made, but Kotonoha SAW us having sex earlier!) WHAT.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Black Closet - Rowan

Oops, I almost forgot about Rowan. That's... Kind of a common reaction.

Rowan's Profile

Naturally, she's the minion with the best starting Stealth score. And you desperately need someone who can carry out tasks without getting caught. Better hope she's really on your side!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Black Closet - Mallory

The Ingenue. The Pollyanna. The New Girl. And the shortest girl on the team.

Mallory's Profile

No surprise that Social is her top starting skill.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Black Closet - Vonne

Behind every great leader is an awesomely organised assistant.

Vonne's profile

At least, as long as she's on your side and not secretly betraying you...

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Black Closet - Thaïs

Thais's Profile

A spoiled brat prone to throwing temper tantrums, sure, but you have to expect there's more to her past that shell. One of the characters who's evolved the most in production.

In gameplay terms, she starts out with the best score in Intimidation so tends to get deployed when you need to rough someone up - er, convince them.

Toki to Towa

No, I'm not playing it, I don't do consoles. However, some interesting elements came up in a review, so I'm going to muse on them even though I haven't played the game. If you're trying to avoid all spoilers, skedaddle.

The storyline involves a guy who dies on his wedding day and his wife trying to change the past to save him. It also happens that she has some kind of split-personality thing going on, so there are two of her with different skills that get switched back and forth between.

However... who, exactly, is the player meant to be empathising with? "Girl tries to save her man" sounds like you'd think she's meant to be the protagonist. Let's look at a few of the bits from the IGN review.

Sidebar text:
You will witness your own death at your wedding before traveling back in time with your wife-to-be in order to track down your killer!

So the sidebar seems to be going for "you're the guy".

However, the gameplay instructions seem clear that you are controlling Toki/Towa.

... Most of the time, anyway. Then there's:

the flimsy dating-sim sequences, in which you assume control of her fiance/dragon

Reviews talk about him as a pervert trying to see multiple girls naked, so I have no idea if these "dating" sections are just interacting with the dual Toki/Towa, or if he's taking a break from his wife trying to save his life to run around and score with other babes.

Nonetheless, the inclusion of this element seems to make it pretty clear who they think the player REALLY is.

Batman games are not generally interspersed with sections where you play Silver St. Cloud trying to decide between the "Batman" and "Bruce Wayne" personas. (Should they be?)

Even the IGN reviewer, who was complaining about this perspective issue, slides a little bit in that direction:

What's more, which of the two you end up with boils down to one ultimate decision anyway, making the smaller ones you make along the way meaningless.

Who you're with. Not who you're playing.

Looking over on Kotaku, they mention that the rest of the cast is pretty much cute girls, and that:

Due to Zack's predicament (namely being trapped in the body of a baby dragon), he is relegated to a computer-controlled support role in battle, while the player fights monsters with gun, dagger, and magic as Toki or Towa. This is an interesting reversal of the normal knight/princess relationship, as it is Zack who must be protected.

Yet it is Zack who is the narrator and player proxy character, not Toki or Towa. He's the only character whose thoughts the player is allowed to hear, and the player is occasionally allowed to choose how he interacts with Toki and Towa as well. And while Zack is the butt of the occasional joke, it is his excellent dead-pan humor in the face of danger that makes him capable of carrying the story—even if he is a bit of a pervert at times.

At its heart, is this game really a standard bishoujo romp with a perverted male lead and a cast of hot babes, faintly protesting "Oh, but the girl is the hero!" as an olive branch to female players / disguise of bishoujo roots from people who fear hentai / sales gimmick to stand out?

Or is it an innovative female-protagonist adventure that got male-pandering elements jammed onto it for marketing reasons?

Or something else completely?

Will those people who scoff that a woman could not possibly be the one doing the saving even notice this thing exists? And if they do, what do they think of it? I can't exactly ask, since it's not like I'd know any of those people!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Black Closet - Althea

Introducing the first of your minions - er, loyal Student Council members.

Althea's Profile

Like you, Althea is a senior, which means that you've had a lot of years of history together, and university looming on the horizon. If, that is, the school doesn't come crashing down in a scandal first.

Most elegant young ladies keep their love lives under wraps. Althea is unusual among St. Claudine's students in being openly a lesbian... and willing to play "prince" for girls who aren't quite sure what they want. She flirts with just about everyone, except you.

(And if you're familiar with a game character of the same name in development, it's a coincidence! Neither of us knew the other had such a character going, and they're not exactly similar.)

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

As You Wish

As part of our ongoing campaign to conquer Greenlight (and then, THE WORLD) we have commissioned an awesome new trailer for Long Live The Queen:

(If you can't see that because of blogfeed, link to the trailer here)

The campaign has passed 11,000 yes votes and is still going, slow but steady, so all hope is not lost! We also got a bit of coverage on Rock Paper Shotgun, even if they did (hopefully accidentally!) end up somewhat referencing a hentai game in the title... Don't look it up, spare your innocent eyes!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

The House in Fata Morgana

Remember way back when I posted about this gothy Japanese visual novel?

Well! It seems that the circle is actually considering an English version in conjunction with Playism! However, they need support to demonstrate that people are willing to buy something like this.

If you'd like to see this game in English, please go to this Playism blog post, leave a comment, and help spread the word!

Friday, 31 May 2013

Our Darker Purpose

(almost wrote that as 'our darker purple') Did I mention I'm a sucker for dark graphics?

Thursday, 2 May 2013

On app stores and the mobile market

I still haven't actually put a toe out there myself, but I read articles about those who do.

We Can't Make It Here Anymore

Fake Geek Guy

So someone who I won't name (please don't track him down, that's really not the point here) is doing a playthrough of Magical Diary and generally moaning about what horrible suffering it is to have to play this thing. However, one interesting bit in the latest post jumped out at me:

Pass Blue Magic class and learn the spell Truesight. It allows magic users to see through illusions in the current area. So basically Dispel Illusion, for us nerdy D&D types, gotcha.

Or, you know, TRUE SIGHT. For us nerdy D&D types.

True Seeing (d20 SRD)
True Sight (Baldur's Gate)

Long May She Reign

There is now a listing for Long Live The Queen on Steam's greenlight.

If you would like this game to be available there and get some new updates as well, click on through and vote Yes now!

Monday, 15 April 2013

sales talk

While it certainly isn't selling badly, The Royal Trap is not selling as fast as Long Live The Queen did on its launch. I wouldn't jump to conclusions about that, since there are all kinds of possible reasons behind that... although I can already predict what some of the pet theories will be.

1. Serendipity - I had the Steam launch for Magical Diary at the same time (on purpose) which probably brought more visitors to the site to try out the new game.
2. Marketing - I pushed LLTQ at more review sites than I did The Royal Trap, and ran more ads. I haven't quite figured out a good short fast pitch for TRT.
3. Wider Appeal - LLTQ has more market crossover because of the crunchy numbers and dark/political elements combined with the cuteness. TRT isn't just a pure visual novel, it's a WALL OF TEXT, and despite my efforts to point out the intrigue and plot rollercoaster aspects, it's probably mostly drawing the otome crowd.

I enjoy writing plot rollercoasters but it does give me trouble figuring out my advertising sometimes when I don't want to give away all the ridiculous stuff that's going to happen, but it's the ridiculous surprises that make a game interesting, if you see the problem...

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Sunday, 7 April 2013

wow, way to suck, 5th cell

Assuming this is accurate:

And I hate hate HATE the backstory. There’s a backstory now. The games never needed plot before, but apparently Fifth Cell decided what this game REALLY needed was a damsel in distress story to drive the so-called action. Maxwell now has a twin sister who will slowly turn into a rock if he doesn’t collect enough starites. Her only jobs are to narrate the opening (vicious waste of your Jennifer Hale, here) and stand in one place looking sad.

I’m told if you find 60 starites, you unlock Lily as an avatar. In the meantime, I can unlock and play ANY ONE of Maxwell and Lily’s forty brothers!


….Screw you, Fifth Cell.

... I now regret having bought as many of their games as I have. What the hell.

Yes, I do resent paper-thin damsel-in-distress stories. I do not hate all damsel-in-distress stories, particularly if there's an actual STORY. But a game which doesn't need a plot and then slaps "save the girl" on it for no reason, I feel like they're either making some weird assumptions about their players or actively trying to send a message.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

the floor is not always your friend

... but I like leading Bob to a horrible doom!

I think it's a student IGF game? Dunno. There's a browser playable version at least, and it's all very Surreal Art entertainment. The 'sleep' bit before each level is too long though IMO.

Go back to bed.

Friday, 22 March 2013


I am not really into Minecraft stuff, but this is pretty cool

Thursday, 21 March 2013

fuck you apple

If you ever needed proof that games are a valid medium, how about watching them getting censored for being political?

Carry on, nothing to see here! Please, keep buying your Clicky Tower and pay no attention to the beating behind the curtain....

Sunday, 17 March 2013

gee thanks google

Searches related to "magical diary":

magical diary walkthrough

magical diary review

magical diary download

magical diary sequel

magical diary wolf hall

secret of the magic crystals

... noooooooo.......

On a happier note, I do actually have someone working on some new test sprites! It might EVENTUALLY get underway!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

video killed the radio star

Inspired by a certain LP forum, thinking of "The Movies" and thinking of people squeeing over anime romance... what about a management sim in which you are running a music video production studio?

The obvious comparison is Star Project, but in this case, you're not creating a star, you're creating the background that stars come in and use. You're hiring backup dancers, building sets, preparing makeup and costumes, etc. You have limited interaction with the REAL stars, who mostly diva in and complain about stuff, but your individual studio members (all random/custom, no set plots) can develop complex procedural relationships over time, and the current state of their relationships affects how they work together. It can slow down your production schedule if your dancers are off snogging in the changing room... or if your makeup artist hates her ex so much that she carries out sabotage...

Like The Movies, you're mostly trying to keep your studio afloat and raise your reputation, while producing little video sequences that you can save and watch. Add features to allow players to sync their own songs to videos, and I think people would have fun with it...

Definitely not working on this myself, just an idea. Maybe I just want to see everyone in fishnets, torn clothes, and wild 80s hair.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

supersize me

Experimenting with the possibility of releasing a higher-resolution version of The Royal Trap.

For comparison, a screenshot of the normal-size game (gaaaaah, blogger wants to wrap everything in its 'friendly' interfaces which completely ruins the point of trying to show things at different sizes, have to use links instead):


And a screenshot at the higher resolution:


The CGs are easy enough to replace because I have them in big-size anyway, but there are a few times where I made use of the fact that I had large graphics to do special effects, which will now have to either be dropped or be fuzzy. Same thing for the couple of times I used the sprites at source resolution for closeups. And since I wasn't coding with rescaling in mind in the first place, there's a lot of hard-coded silliness that will have to be adjusted by hand.

On the bright side, I'm planning to make this CD-only, so I can completely ignore things like filesize. The original version will be on the disc as well, so if someone's computer does not like the resolution I'm using, they can always fall back to the old one.

But we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

when can i buy language chips for my brain?

The frustration of stumbling over cool gothy-looking things on DLsite (usual warning - site is pervy, this link is not) that I cannot play because Japanese...

There's more information, screenshots, and a trailer here.

I don't know, maybe it's good that I can't play all these games, I'd get distracted?

Saturday, 9 March 2013


So, yeah, that Simcity thing. I suppose I should post and show some sympathy for the complete idiots that bought the game.

... Not doing so good at the sympathy part, am I?

As long as you are dumb enough to buy things on launch day that don't even work and are designed to stop working after a year or two, some companies will keep doing this. STOP BUYING THEIR CRAP. DO YOUR RESEARCH. BUY FROM PEOPLE WHO MAKE GAMES THAT WORK. WHY IS THIS SO DIFFICULT.

the ratio of lemon to insanity

The game contains 1,376 screens of dialogue.
These screens contain a total of 14,533 words,
for an average of 10.6 words per screen.
The game contains 206 menus.

... This is for the scratch file in which I'm testing the early "dates", which are almost entirely plot-free and just hanging around with all your possible girlfriends, chatting and flirting and stuff. Except YOU CHOOSE EVERYTHING YOU SAY AND DO.

My brain is a maze of twisty little branching passages, all alike.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

extreme placeholder edition

Another quick glimpse of "What on earth are you working on?"

Art and interface and all very obviously nowhere near done; the logic behind the actual mystery-solving stuff is complicated and most of our time is going into that, prettifying it can wait!

Monday, 4 March 2013

which results in conversations that make sense to no one but us

"Welcome to the Poseidon Academy for Wayward Youth."

"Mistress Selene commands you to KNEEL."

"Your dualfork() will be issued when you have pleased the PROGRAMMERS and the PUNKS."

Sunday, 3 March 2013


Interface design is not really one of my skills. However, I lack the patience to wait for artists to do everything, so I always fool around with it anyway.

Of course, once my icons are squeezed down into super-compact form it's almost impossible to make them out. I wonder if anyone can even hazard a guess as to what this is all meant to represent...

(Even if I do keep these, you'll see the icons better in the zoomed-in cards, and the skills would be explained first, so it wouldn't be QUITE this mysterious...)

Monday, 25 February 2013

The Royal Trap

Madeleine Valois is a prince's companion. Her job is to guide and advise him, to make him look good so that he can land a royal bride. It is her responsibility to keep him out of trouble - not to let him walk blindly into a political minefield, not to let him get arrested for a crime he didn't commit, and definitely not to let him fall in love with her.

Unfortunately, events are not going according to plan...

Newly released! Guide Madeleine through the dangers of swords, pistols, and palace intrigue, while trying to secure her own future and just possibly find romance along the way.

This is a pure visual novel featuring 115K words and around fifteen possible endings... including the possibility of your ignominious demise. Expect plot twists and backstabbing. What palace would be complete without them?

Download free demos at The Royal Trap webpage.

Friday, 15 February 2013

surprise sale

If you haven't heard, Magical Diary is on massive discount on Steam as part of the Linux Launch Party madness.

I didn't know it was happening until about five minutes before it did. :) So while TRT is still not quite ready yet, I did at least manage to get you all something special for Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

since I don't do the tumbling thing

a link to a list of freeware games. Largely 2d/pixelly, tending to platformers, adventures, and horror. But trying to quickly sum it up will always get it wrong, so go look for yourself.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Super Diamond Rumba!

At a glance this reminds me a bit of my now mostly-forgotten skating game, by the combination of sliding tiles to create a playspace that a character moves through. Looks like this is probably EASIER than mine was though. I am always too complicated for casual.

Jump to about 45 seconds in to get past the text explanations if you don't read Japanese. If you can read Japanese or want to play anyway, the game is here.

And DAMMIT google why do you keep trying to make blogger as unusable as possible? I thought you FIXED that wrapping-in-the-middle-of-words nonsense.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

tablet VNs

This came up on another forum but seemed sufficiently relevant to some interests that I thought I'd repost it.

While there are a number of games originally designed for the cellphone market and a few ports, the ports are often buggy, and there are few games really designed to work well on tablets. (Technically we have a tablet version of Magical Diary but only for a really obscure tablet that nobody has.)

For people wanting to play more visual novels on tablets, this was suggested:

While as discussed above there isn't much in the way of VN's for table devices ( besides an x86 win8 tablet )
I have discovered an alternate way of playing VN's on my Ipad. I use an app called Splashtop Streamer
( http://www.splashtop.com/splashtop2 ) Essentially it's a $5 remote access app for iOS, Android (and Mac and
PC I think) It allows you to access your computer and run programs on your Mac or PC from anywhere you have an internet connection. So far I haven't had much problem using it to stream VN's to my iPad, sometimes it is necessary to screw around with the display resolution as Splashtop doesn't like full screen programs. All that being said, VN's on the iPad's retina display are bloody gorgeous.

There however are a few cons
1. It eats up my Ipad's battery life.
2. Since it's essentially a video stream that CAN'T really buffer ahead, there is the occasional hiccup where sound cuts out and stops reading inputs ( however given the static nature of VN's it isn't really a problem)
3. A little stuttery on 3g/4g
4. People give you weird looks if you're playing an 18+ scene and are in a public place.

(Not a personal recommendation on my part, I do not own an ipad and do not have any relationship with the app in question, I just thought some folks might be interested.)

Wednesday, 9 January 2013


I've only had this game for like a day or two and I'm probably going to have maxed out all stars within the week I can't help it I love Kirby.

It does seem a little on the easy side even for a Kirby game but who cares, KIRBY.

(It's Squeak Squad I'm playing at the moment.)

once they're hooked you can change the rules

Pondering game mechanics for RPGs I will never write.

So, you start off as PUNY FIRST LEVEL SCUM struggling your way through deadly dungeons. Only there are these wonderful magic potions you can use which temporarily boost your effective level. And they stack. Take a few of these and suddenly you're super-powered and can slaughter the opposition.

Of course, they have limited duration... and while you're boosted, you don't earn XP.

But that's okay! You don't need XP when you've got power potions! As long as you can kill stuff fast enough to earn enough gold to buy more potions, everything is fine!

... until you get later in the game and somebody achieves a stranglehold on the power potion supply. Now, if you want more, you're going to have to work for us... or else you're going to find yourself in big trouble up against the monsters in the current level of the game.

Sure, it'll get eyerolls as an obvious drug metaphor, but the point is that it ties in gameplay mechanics and story consequences without having to railroad or make a huge ooga-booga moral posture about it. And it doesn't have to be a drug metaphor - ANY sort of reliance comes with weaknesses. Your DRM could turn on you. Your publisher could drop you. Your job could fire you. Windows could release a new OS that doesn't allow games to run.

If you've planned ahead, carefully balanced your resources, and not relied too heavily on the power potions, you may have levelled up for real and still have a supply handy to take on the final boss.

If you've planned ahead, the company layoffs hopefully won't leave you at a complete loose end.

If you're relying on one thing only, then all anyone has to do to control you is to control that one thing.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

even if you didnt pull the plug but just tripped over it

So, Zynga is shutting down bunches more games I've never played but some hooked players care a lot about and Sony is working on a patent to ensure that your game discs will work once and only once and after that you have to buy them again.

People. PLEASE. Buy games from us nice developers who don't believe in DRM and don't let this sort of nonsense take over the industry! Buy games that you can keep!

keeping books

So I threw together a little bit of a webpage for The Royal Trap - don't get excited, though, most of it just says "Coming Soon"

I should work on getting a better recording of the opening video so I can fill in the trailer entry on there properly.

Still about 6.5 CGs still to go, and since they're coming in at one a week, that should let you estimate how long it'll be before the first sales can start.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

other people's retro

There have been a lot of videogames in the past. Most of which I've never played. Most of which probably I've never even heard of. Sometimes this is for the best.

.... say what?

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

secrets and lies

Since it's the new year, I suppose I should give a small sample of what I'm working on.

Still adding CGs to The Royal Trap. I should probably make an official page for it soon. I haven't touched the story in quite a while, just waiting for all the art to come in so I can put together the beta-purchase version, hopefully in February.

Otherwise, working on the weird secret project I've mentioned occasionally, the one that really isn't a VN and doesn't entirely fit into any established category. It's... a social-battle mystery-solving card game with side romances? And, since I felt it was about time I did one, it is entirely yuri. You can play them as friends if you want, but there's no boys in this game.

That is NOT FINAL ART!!! it's just a little mockup I put together to demonstrate some of the current ideas.

And as I've admitted elsewhere... I need to find a new artist (or small studio preferably), throw out what little was done, and start over on Magical Diary: Wolf Hall. Stating this in public will hopefully give me the guts to go through with it!