Tagged: game design

Make Your Twine Games More Accessible

If you’re interested in learning to make games with Twine – and especially if you’re interested in using them to build up a portfolio – it’s well worth considering how to reach as many players as possible.

Anything that runs in a browser (such as a Twine game) will tend to be played more often that something must be installed, and anything that’s primarily text and choice -based (like most Twine games) is generally more accessible to players with disabilities than something that depends primarily on using quick reflexes to respond to graphics on screen. By making just a few small adjustments to your Twine games – such as ensuring your text is clearly legible, and adding descriptions to any visual media included along with it – you can boost their reach even further!

This post offers a few quick tips, as well as links to further resources if you want to look into the subject in a little more detail:

Hey all, After our group discussion about my “Disability Media” Twine project on Frost accessibility, I went on to do some further research on how to make Twine and the HTML you put in it as accessible as possible. I hope to update this post as I learn more, because this is actually to some […]

via Brief Understandings of HTML Accessibility — Electronic Literature & Digital Writing [2]

Flappy Bard

Here’s my first HTML5 game – Flappy Bard! You might be wondering why you’re hearing about this one after April 1st’s Cookie Cracker. Well, there are two reasons:

  1. I made Flappy Bard as a birthday present for my sister and wanted her to have a chance to give it a go before it went out to the general public.
  2. I thought that Cookie Cracker would make a better April Fool’s joke if people weren’t already aware that I could create this sort of thing.

Flappy Bard is essentially a clone of the classic Flappy Bird, but with some small changes to the way in which obstacles are spawned and an overall Shakespearian theme. Continue reading

Twine for Beginners: Styling Text

Twine offers several handy options when it comes to displaying text in particular ways. From straightforward bold or italics to more eye-catching animated effects, there are a whole range of features built right in and this tutorial will show you how to use them.

The following techniques are all very simple, but if you’ve never used Twine before then you might like to start off with this tutorial which offers a very basic introduction to it. You might also be interested in my tutorial covering how to colour text in Twine, which this one will also touch upon.

Much of this tutorial is so simple that you could probably get the hang of it simply by reading through the example piece, Snazzy Susan and the Majestic Markup. However, the tutorial below will go into slightly more detail as well as linking to other guides and resources, so if you find that you’re struggling with anything then do pop back. Continue reading

Twine for Beginners: Colouring Text

Colouring text in Twine is incredibly simple, but also incredibly useful. If you’re dealing with important information – whether that’s a particularly significant word or phrase, or a stat the player must recognise at a glance – then it helps to format it in some way that immediately sets it apart from the rest of the text on screen.

If you’re unfamiliar with Twine, you might like to familiarise yourself with it using this tutorial which will get you started in just four clicks – and possibly take a glance at some of the others in the series – but many of the following techniques will be very straightforward. If all you want to do is change the colour of specific bits of text in Twine, this tutorial will help you do just that.

In fact, this tutorial is so simple that you can probably just glance through the example story, Snazzy Susan and the Majestic Markup, which will contain most of the following information (as well as a few examples of how to style text in other ways). This post will only go into marginally more detail, but will also link to some handy external resources so do pop back if you get stuck. 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

Fear in Five Nights at Freddy’s

I’ve always felt that less is more when it comes to horror. In films or in fiction, a monster is always scariest when it’s not around: or you think it’s not around. The moment it pops out at you, you know where it is, and in many ways that makes it a lot less frightening.

This is even more true in games. It’s always seemed to me that the strongest section of any game in the Resident Evil franchise is the opening, even though the most hideous monsters tend to pop up towards the end. The reason for this is simple: it’s far scarier to inch your way through a dark room knowing there might be something inside than it is to rush through a place that’s already swarming with zombies. Typically there’s a trade-off in terms of gameplay because more zombies mean more action, but for pure scare-power nothing quite matches up to that tense first hour or so.

Screenshot from 2016-03-14 14:30:21

This is not the case with Five Nights at Freddy’s which, if anything, gets scarier as it goes on. Personally, I loaded it up the first time around just because I was curious. At this point, I’m not sure I’ll ever finish the thing. Continue reading

My First Videogame: Rainbow Bears’ Playtime

Download from my Dropbox: it’s 200MB so if you’re on a very slow connection you may want to let it download while you read.

A while back, through the wallet-walloping magic of one of those snazzy Steam sales, I got myself a fancy digital copy of RPG Maker VX Ace. And when I say “a while back,” I mean I’m trying to work out whether it was more or less than a year ago. My first attempts at using it did not fare well and I sort of gave up for a while.

But significantly less than a year ago, I heard about a talk at my university on the subject of writing for videogames. And I figured, well, that’s not entirely new to me, but wouldn’t it be great to go into that talk with more experience than “additional story input” and a handful of Twine stories? So I ditched the sprawling fantasy RPGs, I gave up on the fiddly ALICE contamination mechanics, and I started putting together something simple. Not with the aim of making the best game I possibly could, but purely to construct something, start-to-finish, in a manageable space of time.

And that's exactly what I should have done to begin with.

And that’s exactly what I should have done to begin with.

Rainbow Bears’ Playtime is not a masterwork of videogame design, but it’s by far the most playable thing I’ve come up with so far. As White Bear, a recent arrival in the Rainbow Bears’ Playground, you have to complete quests to solve the other bears’ problems and make new friends. Continue reading