For two weeks now the organisers of the Southampton Global Game Jam have been running Southampton Game Jam 2020 @ Home to help give people something to do while stuck at home due to the Covid-19 lockdown. That’s exactly seven times as long as the usual 48-hour event that takes place every year, but with everything else that’s been going on (and having just rushed GUNBABY into the Spring Thing Festival) I found I couldn’t quite manage to produce a game of my own.
I did, however, end up making some small contributions to G. Deyke’s Quarantine Quest: a Twine game set during a futuristic pandemic. The theme for the jam was “Alone/Together” and, while I might be biased, I think this one tackles it quite neatly.
There were 15 submissions for the jam altogether in the end, so do check those out too. I can personally recommend Gestalt, Journal, and Robotic Anxieties. (Robotic Anxieties is, as far as I’m aware, the only other interactive fiction piece produced for this event so if that’s your sort of thing then be sure to give that one a look.) You’ll also be able to catch a live showcase of all the games on Twitch from 7pm Southampton time – exactly an hour from when this was posted!
If you follow me on Twitter, you might already have heard about GUNBABY, the narrative game about a baby with a lot of guns. Well, I’m happy to announce that it’s now available to play as part of 2020’s Spring Thing Festival!
If you’re looking for something calm and gentle to play during these tough times of ours…this isn’t it. However, if you fancy an interactive tale of comedic ultraviolence and not much else then this might be just your sort of thing all the same. You can click here to jump straight into the game. Continue reading
A serialised version of my prehistoric fantasy novel, Face of Glass, will be running on The Pigeonhole from the 18th of March 2020. You can sign up free through this link, but be quick! There are only so many slots available.
You might recall that The Pigeonhole serialised Ten Little Astronauts shortly before the book launched. That was a really interesting few days, and if you didn’t grab a slot that time, I highly recommend giving it a go for Face of Glass. It isn’t just an opportunity to read the book for free: you’ll have the option to leave comments in the margin, and I’ll be following along myself to answer any questions.
Because there’s a community coming together to read the book all at the same time – which will be released in eight staves, one each day – the whole thing is a bit of an event. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can just enjoy the book and never open up the comments. But if you fancy getting involved and/or seeing other readers’ takes on the story as it unfolds, it’s well worth getting a slot even if you’ve read Face of Glass already.
Finally, regardless of whether or not you plan to sign up for a slot yourself, if you’d care to share this news around then you’d really be doing me a favour. I’m just one guy – I don’t have some big publicity department to help me out – and with events like this especially it can be a challenge to get the word out before it’s come and gone. It would be great to see as many people as possible all making a start on Face of Glass when the first stave goes out on March 18th!
This weekend was Global Game Jam 2020, and although I had planned to tackle my fifth consecutive attempt at the event over in Brighton (back where I first started), I ended up going for a third year at the University of Southampton. The weekend was bookended by work on Friday and a competition deadline on Monday so all in all it was easier to avoid any long journeys. I took a fairly relaxed approach to the challenge (not sleeping under a computer desk like last year) and, with the help of Paul Robins, put together a project I’m really quite happy with. The theme this year was “repair.”
Mash Mash Restoration is the first Game Jam project I’ve taken the lead in that wasn’t made in Twine. I put it together in GDevelop 5 (much like Flappy Bard, Cookie Cracker and Bananarchy). As the title mich suggest, it’s (almost) a rhythm game in which you use three different sorts of repair tools spread across three conveyor belts in order to fix an endless stream of broken(?) robots. Continue reading
I got a chance to show Bananarchy at a game developers’ event in Southampton last night, and as you might expect its fruit-based control scheme attracted a fair bit of attention.
Later on in the evening I did a quick interview with Voice FM, which you should be able to catch sometime around 7pm tonight. You can tune in on 103.9 FM if you’re in the area, or use the “listen live” option online if you’re farther afield. At least a couple of other games people I know were also interviewed, so it should be well worth watching out for!
EDIT: The programme is now available on Catch Up through this link. My interview begins at 1:34:00, but do have a listen to the other developers featured in the second hour: they’re working on some fantastic things!
The 25th Interactive Fiction Competition is now over, and the results are in! Girth Loinhammer and the Quest for the Unsee Elixir came 33rd in the end, which may not be a Top Ten result but I’m still pretty happy with. There were 82 entries altogether so that’s very much in the top half of the rankings, and apparently high enough to score a small cash prize and possibly some other stuff. (IFComp is pretty generous when it comes to runners-up: if you’re on the fence about submitting something in 2020, I highly recommend giving it a go.)
The range of responses from the judges is interesting: the game attracted more votes than most (I’m guessing because people saw the title, thought “Haha what?” and clicked it), and managed to snag every possible score from one to ten. It didn’t divide opinion enough to earn me the Golden Banana of Discord (which, as you can imagine, I really really would have liked to win), but clearly there were at least a few people out there with strong feelings about it, and quite a few more who got a chuckle out of it. For something I hammered together in about a week, I think that’s a pretty good response.
I’ll be aiming to produce a slightly more ambitious version of the game in the not too distant future, which I’ll hopefully make available as an actual printed gamebook. There should also be an ebook, an online version, and probably a mobile app.
Girth Loinhammer and the Quest for the Unsee Elixir got a mention in Part 2 of The Short Game‘s IFComp 2019 podcast! (That bit starts at 00:39:27 if you want to skip ahead.)
It’s great to see the game reaching people in any form – this being my first time entering IFComp, I’ve been pleasantly surprised just how many players have already given it a go – but it’s especially nice for it to be so well received!
If you haven’t yet played Unsee Elixir, this might be a nice little lead-in to it, and if you haven’t got involved in IFComp at all, it the podcast as a whole might point you towards some good ones to try. You’ve got until November 15th, you only need to rate five to be a judge for the event, and naturally it’s easier to manage that number in that time if you throw a few short ones into the mix. For an introduction to the entire event (and a few more games), do check out Part 1 of their IFComp podcast as well.
Since Girth Loinhammer’s Most Exponential Adventure will be returning to EGX next week, I thought it was about time I uploaded the audio from its appearance at EGX Rezzed back in April.
If you’d like to catch Exponential Adventure at the main EGX event, it’ll be running from 13:00 to 13:45 on Friday the 18th of November. Even if you’re not there in person, the Fringe Theatre schedule suggests that you should be able to catch it streaming live on the official EGX YouTube channel, so you can still enjoy my live interactive* theatre thingy from the comfort of your own home!
*Unfortunately you can’t actually interact with it over the internet.** You’ll only be able to have a hand in the story if you’re there in the ExCeL centre.
**I guess technically you could still yell at your computer screen, but I won’t be able to hear you. Also, you’ll probably get some funny looks from anyone who can hear you. Especially if you’re in a library.
Here’s something I’ve been waiting to share for a while: the lineup of games on show at WordPlay 2019 has now been announced!
WordPlay will be running on November 9th and 10th at the Toronto Reference Library. This is the same event that featured Wolf at the Door in 2018, and I’m pleased to say that they offered me the opportunity to judge games for the shortlist this time around! If you’re anywhere nearby that weekend, do drop in: I wasn’t sent everything that was submitted, but what I did play through was exceptionally good. It was tough to whittle it down to just the top few of those, and I’ve got no doubt that what the other judges chose must be similarly excellent.
I had big plans to enter IFComp this year with a big fancy sci-fi game, but they were pretty much scuppered by a perfect storm of things getting in the way: I got called up for jury service again (making me the only person I know who’s done it twice), I snagged some extra freelance work, and EGX accepted my Fringe Theatre panel (also making me the only person I know who’s done it twice).
Since that plan went out the window, I came up with a new one:
It’s exactly what it looks like.
The scenario is going to be pretty familiar if you played Girth Loinhammer’s Most Exponential Adventure: Girth Loinhammer (Dungeon Lord) is unsatisfied with the public perception of his seriously evil dungeon, but this time – more than that – he’s traumatised by a certain something he was unfortunate enough to witness during its day-to-day operation. A certain something he wishes to unsee. Continue reading