Category: Updates

Lovely Pleasant Teatime Simulator in Rock, Paper, Shotgun

Well, this is unexpected! Lovely Pleasant Teatime Simulator – the game I put together on a whim last month – has been featured as one of Rock, Paper, Shotgun‘s free games of the week.

This isn’t the first time a game I’ve worked on has been put in front of people like this, but it is the first time it’s happened with something that’s entirely my own work. It’s great to see it reaching so many people! Just over the past two or three days it’s become the most played game I’ve ever produced, overtaking Blacklight 1995 which I released almost five years ago. For comparison, Teatime Simulator has been out less than a month. Continue reading

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Lovely Pleasant Teatime Simulator

I have a brand new Twine game for you, and this one comes with Prizes!

Lovely Pleasant Teatime Simulator is a relaxing narrative game about—

Actually, you know what? I’m not gonna bother. You know this isn’t really a straightforward Afternoon Tea simulator, and I know you know, so there’s really no point in me typing up a description pretending that it is. Continue reading

Flash Fiction Day 2018

Stories written for Flash Fiction Day 2018: I’ll be updating this post throughout the day if you want to keep up. If you’d like to get involved with this event yourself, you can sign up here! As long as it’s still June 16th in your time zone, it’s not too late!


23:59

1

“Hey, isn’t it Flash Fiction Day today?”

“OH SHI-

00:00

The Official Flash Fiction Day 2018 Blog Post

Welcome fans of flash fiction! During the 24 hours of June 16th (in their respective time zones), the people listed here will be attempting to produce as many flash fiction pieces (between one and one thousand words inclusive in length) as possible.

If you haven’t signed up already, it’s not too late! Just leave a comment on this sign-up post letting me know you’re a new writer who wants to join in. You can then leave a link to your Flash Fiction Day post below. Separating sign-ups and submissions like this makes it easier for me to work out if I’m adding a whole new participant to the event or if I’m just pasting a link next to a name that’s already in there.

Here’s the plan for the day:

  1. The event begins at the very start of June 16th, your local time. You can start writing any time after that.
  2. Write your first piece of flash fiction. Maximum 1,000 words, minimum 1 word. (I have read every conceivable 0 word story and am now bored of the genre.)
  3. Publish a blog post (or equivalent) titled “Flash Fiction Day Submissions” (or something more imaginative) containing that story.
  4. Post a link to your post on my official FFD post (not this sign-up one). I’ll approve it and add the link to the post itself as quickly as possible.
  5. Write more stories! Add those new stories to your FFD post (possibly with a note to say what time you started/finished them). You should end up with something that looks a little like this.
  6. That’s it! All your stories for the day are available in one place where readers can easily find them.
  7. When June 16th ends, so does the event. Of course, you’re free to stop writing earlier if you like.

And here are the people who’ll be doing it!

Anonymous

blackflamingo777

CherryBerry545 (Flash Fiction Day Submittions 2018)

DamonWakes (Flash Fiction Day 2018)

Domaex

doodlerTM

GDeyke (Flash Fiction Day [2018])

Glasses-And-Blades

jdeyke (Flash Fiction Day 2018)

Lance Greenfield (Flash Fiction: The Bottle Dungeon)

Lulu Allison

lion-essrampant

OneWithTheStars (Kaleidoscope 2018)

Psycho-Semantics (Flash Fiction Day 2018)

Sakkeru

sEvennall

snickiedude

squanpie

The-Inkling (Flash Fiction Day 2018)

theboyrage

toxic–sunrise

Volequeen

WindySilver (Flash Fiction Day, June 16th 2018. My entries.)

WizardandGalaxy (Flash Fiction Day 2018 Submissions)

June 16th: Flash Fiction Day 2018

This year National Flash Fiction Day is June 16th, and so that’s the day I’ll be hosting my annual flash fiction extravaganza. The rules are simple, so I’m just going to go ahead and copy the same ones as last year:

Before June 16th:

  1. Comment on this post letting me know you want to take part.
  2. I put together an “official” Flash Fiction Day post listing all the participants.

On June 16th:

  1. The event begins at the very start of June 16th, your local time. You can start writing any time after that.
  2. Write your first piece of flash fiction. Maximum 1,000 words, minimum 1 word. (I have read every conceivable 0 word story and am now bored of the genre.)
  3. Publish a blog post (or equivalent) titled “Flash Fiction Day Submissions” (or something more imaginative) containing that story.
  4. Post a link to your post on my official FFD post (not this sign-up one). I’ll approve it and add the link to the post itself as quickly as possible.
  5. Write more stories! Add those new stories to your FFD post (possibly with a note to say what time you started/finished them). You should end up with something that looks a little like this.
  6. That’s it! All your stories for the day are available in one place where readers can easily find them.
  7. When June 16th ends, so does the event. Of course, you’re free to stop writing earlier if you like.

That’s pretty much it! If you’re interested in the event, all you have to do now is leave a comment on this post letting me know and I’ll add your name to the list. You don’t need an account – or even to provide an email address – to comment (though if you do decide to comment without an account, please remember to enter the same name you intend to use on the day).

Remember: even though this event will run for 24 hours, it’s not mandatory, recommended, or probably even advisable to spend that entire time writing. Even if you write just one story you wouldn’t have otherwise, the day will have been a success. Even if you try and fail to write one story, that’s a good effort. And even if you’re some sort of literary Rambo who’s going to try and get their story count into triple figures during the event, it’s probably still a good idea to get some tactical sleepytime at some point.

Places to Meet Me in June 2018

Last week I was at Feral Vector for a full three days during which I navigated the grim future of the Business Wasteland (during one of the events), became a superpowered horticultural student of Jeff Goldblum (during another of the events) and was forced to repeatedly fend off some uncharacteristically friendly moles (for real – it was super weird).

That was a great opportunity to meet some of the people I largely know from online, but if you’re more local then you might like to check out these other events closer to home:


DIY Southampton: TODAY! (9/6/18)

This was probably the highlight of the things I went to last year, and it’s happening again! For the seventh time. (Clearly I was kind of late to jump on this particular bandwagon.) What makes this one so great is that it combines tables of work by local artists, authors and artisans with a huge range of performances spread across two stages. I’ll be on the cafe stage myself at 16:50 for a live reading of Ultraviolent Unicorn Deathmatch of Destiny. The event as a whole will be running 13:00-20:00 at Planet Sounds, Southampton. Continue reading

Codename Caerus Application Deadline Extended to June 7th

Codename Caerus – my portfolio-building game project – has had a phenomenal level of interest since I announced it a couple of weeks ago, and although I’ve yet to look through all the example pieces people have sent in, I’m now pretty much certain we’ll be able to get a great team together. Every role has at least one person going for it, and in most cases more than that. I’ve been hugely impressed by some of the work people have chosen to share.

However, if you’ve been meaning to put your name forward to work on this game and haven’t yet got around to it, don’t worry. You haven’t missed your chance.

I’m still on the lookout for anyone else who’d like to work on this thing!

In a way, you’ve actually got more of a chance than you did when I first announced this project because I’m extending the deadline to apply. When I decided to stop taking applications at the end of the month, I neglected to consider that I’d be attending Feral Vector from May 31st to June 2nd. Continue reading

Codename Caerus

So I made a trip to London for EGX Rezzed last month, and up until now I’ve totally neglected to write anything about it for two reasons:

  1. I’m still just a little freaked out over how many people recognised me as “that Girth Loinhammer guy.”
  2. The event gave me an idea for something big and it took a while to come up with a plan for it:

I want to get a team together to make a game.

At this point I feel as though I’ve got a pretty good number of games to my name – I’ve even set up a separate website as a portfolio – but it would really help to have a few more team projects out there for people to enjoy. I expect plenty of other people are in the same position. So far I’ve mostly worked alone, and (with the exception of the two commercially released videogames I’ve had a hand in) when I haven’t it’s generally been for Game Jams. Game Jams are great, of course, but the results are never particularly polished and they don’t really demonstrate the ability to work with a team on an extended project. As a writer, I don’t feel as though there are all that many opportunities already out there. Some, certainly, but far from oodles.

That’s why I’m planning to set something up: not having a title for the game itself yet, I’ll refer to this whole endeavour as Codename Caerus for now. This will be an opportunity for anybody who wants to get more of a foothold in games to work on something polished and substantial as part of a team. Continue reading

Project Procrustes Has Been Solved

As you might have guessed by the suspicious timing, Project Procrustes (and its accompanying competition) was my April Fools’ prank for 2018. This one was subtle, and unless you worked your way through a substantial portion of the game, chances are you won’t even have noticed what was going on. However, two people managed to finish the thing on April 1st, so given the challenge involved I’d consider that quite a success.

Phil McArthur completed the game staggeringly swiftly, tweeting a line from the final passage within a couple of hours of release:

However, since he already owned Kingdom: New Lands (the game I was offering to the first person to complete Project Procrustes), he very kindly decided not to share a screenshot of the ending, giving someone else a chance to solve it and win the prize.

That person was G. Deyke!

Don’t go clicking for the original tweet if you still want to explore Project Procrustes for yourself: the screenshot (necessary for me to verify it had been properly completed) contains both spoilers for the story and some hefty hints on how to complete it yourself.

Despite having been made as a joke, I’m hoping that Project Procrustes will serve as a portfolio piece when I’m looking for work in games. As well as being a substantial piece of interactive fiction in general, it includes a sophisticated character creator, a very versatile battle system, and easily the most refined design of anything I’ve made so far. It’s very finely tuned and I put it through a lot of testing.

Revealing the joke here would also reveal quite a chunk of the solution to the game, but if you’ve been trying to work your way through and have found yourself hopelessly stuck, here are some very general clues:

  • Project Procrustes is tougher than you think it is. Find yourself hitting the back button looking for a choice that won’t kill off your character? You can stop looking: there probably isn’t one.
  • Reaching the true ending of the game will take a lot of lateral thinking. Focus on what you have to do, not what you’re supposed to.
  • There’s a reason Project Procrustes has such a naff title: a little familiarity with Greek myth could help you out a lot.

And one more thing. Don’t expect to get anywhere importing the flowchart back into Twine:

Announcing Project Procrustes

Project Procrustes is my latest work of interactive fiction, and I’m pleased to say that (besides Girth Loinhammer’s Most Exponential Adventure), it’s the largest yet! It clocks in at 23,649 words according to Twine’s built-in counter, though I’ve put considerable effort into making the text of individual passages react to past choices, so you’re not likely to see most of those words unless you play through many many times.

Like the other titles in my “Project” series, Project Procrustes focuses on one particular element of player interaction and explores it as fully as possible. In this case, that element is character customisation. All my previous Twine works have seen you taking on the role of a particular pre-selected character – whether that’s the nameless officer in Blacklight 1995 or the far too fleshed-out Girth Loinhammer in Exponential Adventure – and then the story branches out from there. Project Procrustes, on the other hand, provides you with a very sophisticated character creation tool up front and lets you begin your adventure as one of four classes (each with their own strengths and weaknesses) with points distributed across four essential stats. You can alter your character’s name and appearance too.

These early choices will prove extremely important over the course of your quest: the default barbarian protagonist might be able to casually blunder through enemy encounters, but a rogue would do better to try and avoid getting into such scuffles in the first place (and, to that end, is better equipped to avoid being seen). I strongly recommend trying a few different classes with their stats distributed in different ways: the prospect of flinging spells about may be very tempting, but you’ll be missing a lot of the game if you only ever play as a mage.

To make things interesting and hopefully get this game some extra attention (as it turned out to be a far, far bigger project than I initially planned), I’ll be sending a Steam key for Noio’s excellent Kingdom: New Lands to the first person to share a screenshot of Project Procrustes’ true ending. To avoid any confusion (since there are a couple of occasions in the game when your character can choose to simply walk away from their quest), this is the passage that ends with green text and does not include a “Restart?” or “SAVE GAME” link.

Happy questing – and may the best barbarian, rogue, mage or hunter win!

Please be aware that, having released Project Procrustes with this little competition in mind, I’ve taken certain precautions to prevent cheating. Revealing my methods would almost certainly make them less effective, so I’ll simply say that I believe I’ve been thorough enough that if you can reach that end screen without progressing through the game in the intended fashion (and without me noticing), you’ll have earned your Steam key anyway.