Whoops! I meant to write about this when it originally came out, in April, but never quite got around to collecting my thoughts. Here is a very rushed subset of them.
The game is extremely NSFW, but the commentary below is not.
(I originally drafted this just after publishing the game, but then decided to start a whole series about its development and wasn’t sure what to do with this! But it’s solid and serves a different purpose, so here it is.)
It’s been a while, but I made another PICO-8 game! It’s a little platformer with light puzzling, where you help Star Anise find his best friend Branch Commander Twig. It’s only half an hour long at worst, and it’s even playable on a phone!
This is the one-and-a-halfth entry in the Star Anise Chronicles series, which after several false starts, finally kicked off over Christmas with a… uh… interactive fiction game. Expect the series to continue with even more whiplash-inducing theme shifts.
More technical considerations will go in the “gamedev from scratch” series, but read on for some overall thoughts on the design. Both contain spoilers, of course, so I do urge you to play the game first.
Happy new year!
For December, I had the absolutely ludicrous idea to do an advent calendar, whereupon I would make and release a thing every day until Christmas.
It didn’t go quite as planned! But some pretty good stuff still came out of it.
I’ve been mad my entire life that one of these didn’t seem to exist. ZDoom can print arbitrary text, of course, but only if you fuck around writing and compiling an ACS script or whatever! There’s no console command for it! Outrageous!!!
So I finally made this. It took like ten hours, which I have to say, is fucking incredible.
This is a tool for making particle wipes, a type of transition whose name I made up because I don’t think they have a well-known name! They can be used in Ren’Py, RPG Maker, or anything that lets you write a shader.
Most of my games have done screen transitions with simple fades, and I wanted to try something different here, but I couldn’t find a tool to make the effect I wanted. So I wrote my own. If you’re interested, here’s how it works:
🚨🔞 HEADS UP: This game is super duper NSFW. It contains explicit cartoon porn. You have been warned! 🔞🚨
This is the game glip and I (and a co-writer) made for my horny game jam, Strawberry Jam 2. It’s a goofy visual novel about, well… sex, mostly. A few folks with no interest in the subject matter have played it and still enjoyed it, which seems like a great sign.
(Oh, right, and the jam is over, and has 63 entries! Like last year, they run the gamut from “highly abstract and thoughtful” to “let’s put porn in a game”.)
Some lingering thoughts about the process itself:
I’m running a game jam, and this announcement is before the jam starts! What a concept!
The idea is simple: you have all of February to make a horny game.
(This jam is, as you may have guessed, NSFW. 🔞)
Does this ever happen to you?
[TODO: insert black and white gif of someone struggling to read the GDQ schedule because it’s a single long table and it’s hard to even keep track of what day you’re looking at, let alone find out what’s going on right now]
Well, no more! Thanks to the power of IavaScript, now it’s like the picture above, which I guess gave it away huh.
Not very useful now, since I forgot to even post about it here before AGDQ ended, but presumably useful in SGDQ since they never seem to change this page at all.
Wait! Before you click on the “install” link above. Firefox users will need Greasemonkey. Chrome used to support user scripts natively, and legends say it still does, but there are so many walls around extensions now that I couldn’t figure out how to make it work, so just get Tampermonkey, which is also available for most other browsers.
I realize, with all the cognitive speed and grace of a cat falling out of a chair, that I have my own website where I can announce things that I am doing.
Here is a thing that I am having done: it’s GAMES MADE QUICK??? 2.0, a game jam that runs concurrently with Games Done Quick. The inspiration was that I once spent the entire week of AGDQ doing nothing but watching the stream, which completely ruined my momentum and cost me the following week as well while I struggled to get back up to speed. What a catastrophe!
So my solution was to spend the week making a game instead, which prompted someone to suggest that I make a jam out of it, and so I did. The results were NEON PHASE and also the original GAMES MADE QUICK???.
It’s a bit late to join now, but look forward to the jam during SGDQ, which runs the last week of June! In the meantime, perhaps peruse the fruits of this season’s labor, or at least glance over my thoughts on some of them.
On a recent game night, glip and I stumbled upon bitsy — a tiny game maker for “games where you can walk around and talk to people and be somewhere.” It’s enough of a genre to have become a top tag on itch, so we flicked through a couple games.
What we found were tiny windows into numerous little worlds, ill-defined yet crisply rendered in chunky two-colored pixels. Indeed, all you can do is walk around and talk to people and be somewhere, but the somewheres are strangely captivating. My favorite was the last days of our castle, with a day on the town in a close second (though it cheated and extended the engine a bit), but there are several hundred of these tiny windows available. Just single, short, minimal, interactive glimpses of an idea.
I’ve been wanting to do more of that, so I gave it a shot today. The result is Roguelike Simulator, a game that condenses the NetHack experience into about ninety seconds.
A full replacement of Doomguy’s vast array of 42 expressions.
You can get it yourself if you want to play Doom as me, for some reason? It does nothing but replace a few sprites, so it works with any Doom flavor (including vanilla) on 1, 2, or Final. Just run Doom with
-file eeveemug.wad. With GZDoom, you can load it automatically.
It all started after last year’s AGDQ, when I lamented having spent the entire week just watching speedruns instead of doing anything, and thus having lost my rhythm for days afterwards.
This year, several friends reminded me of this simultaneously, so I begrudgingly went looking for something to focus on during AGDQ. I’d already been working on Isaac’s Descent HD, so why not keep it up? Work on a video game while watching video games.
Working on a game for a week sounded an awful lot like a game jam, so I jokingly tweeted about a game jam whose express purpose was to not completely waste the week staring at a Twitch stream. Then someone suggested I make it an actual jam on itch.io. Then Mel asked to do a game with me.
And so, thanks to an almost comical sequence of events, we made NEON PHASE — a half-hour explorey platformer.
Difficulty: very easy
I was rolling a Doom random level theme generator for speedmapping purposes, and one of the prompts it gave was “The Wreckage”. I didn’t really know how to make that in Doom in only an hour, but I did know how to make it in Mario, so I did.
The additional rules were “no monsters” and “no stairs”, so neither of those things appear in this level. It’s quick and entirely atmospheric. I like it. Though it’d be slightly better if I’d correctly named it “The Wreckage”. Oh well.
Inktober is an ancient and hallowed art tradition, dating all the way back to sometime, when it was started by someone. The idea is simple: draw something in ink every day. Real ink. You know. On paper.
I tried this last year. I quit after four days. Probably because I tried to do it without pencil sketches, and I’m really not very good at drawing things correctly the first time. I’d hoped that forcing myself to do it would spark some improvement, but all it really produced was half a week of frustration and bad artwork.
This year, I was convinced to try again without unnecessarily handicapping myself, so I did that. Three weeks and more than forty ink drawings later, here are some thoughts.
(This is called the “Compo”; there’s also a 72-hour “Jam” which is much more chill, but I did hard mode. Usually there’s a ratings round, but not this time, for reasons.)
But wait! Read on a bit first.
Mel and I made a game!
We’d wanted to a small game together for a while. Last month’s post about embedding Lua reminded me of the existence of the PICO-8, a “fantasy console” with 8-bit-ish limitations and built-in editing tools. Both of us have a bad habit of letting ambitions spiral way out of control, so “built-in limitations” sounded pretty good to me. I bought the console ($15, or free with the $20 Voxatron alpha) on a whim and started tinkering with it.
The result: Under Construction!
You can play in your very own web browser, assuming you have a keyboard. Also, that image is the actual cartridge, which you can save and play directly if you happen to have PICO-8. It’s also in the PICO-8 BBS.
(A couple people using Chrome on OS X have reported a very early crash, which seems to be a bug outside of my control. Safari works, and merely restarting Chrome has fixed it for at least one person.)
I don’t have too much to say about the game itself; hopefully, it speaks for itself. If not, there’s a little more on its Floraverse post.
I do have some things to say about making it. Also I am really, really tired, so apologies if this is even more meandering than usual.