Having just finished writing a story a day for the whole month of July, it would be reasonable to expect I wouldn’t have any new stuff to share for a while. Reasonable, but wrong. Here’s two new games for you!
One is Llamageddon, written for inkJam 2020. It’s my first time writing anything with Ink, so I can’t promise it’ll be as polished as anything I’ve made with Twine, but the whole process seemed to go surprisingly smoothly.
The theme for the jam was “In case of trouble” and sees you take on the role of the President of Space, calling in Agent Andes – one badass llama – to stop a deadly asteroid crashing into Earth. I don’t want to toot my own horn too hard, but I think it’s pretty dope.
The other forms my entry for IntroComp 2020, which was alluded to in Time for Toast. This one is called The Ten Million Invocations of Esnesnon, and does pretty much what it says on the tin: it consists of exactly ten million unique invocations to a fictional god.
The invocations will be recited automatically at a rate of one every 15 seconds, so you quite literally don’t have to do anything to see them all. However, it does take approximately 4.75 years to run through the full ten million, so don’t feel obliged to sit through the whole lot in one go. It will save your progress if you decide to take a break.
You can rate both of these for their respective events, so if that’s something that interests you then please do go ahead. However, if you do, I’d appreciate it if you could also rate at least a couple of other entries: I assume I’ve got more of an audience than some of the other participants and wouldn’t like to simply funnel people towards my own work (although I also assume I don’t really have the clout for it to make a significant difference). You can find inkJam entries in need of some love through this link, and the full selection of IntroComp games through this one.
Also do let me know if you run into any bugs with Llamageddon. I’ve tried my best to make sure everything works, but that’s always tough when you’re using an unfamiliar tool and 72-hour time limits aren’t conducive to it either.
This weekend was the 2020 GMTK Game Jam, and despite already being busy with Flash Fiction Month, I decided to throw something together for it. The theme was Out of Control, and my response was Swivel on It!: a top-down shooter in which you play a little-known action hero with bad knees who guns down zombies from the comfort of his favourite office chair.
If you’re wondering why the above screenshot shows our protagonist firing directly into a concrete wall, it’s because the recoil from your gun is the only thing propelling you around the arena and it’s also the only way of slowing down. Continue reading
UPDATE: The bundle has expanded considerably, and now includes over 1,500 items. It’s also raised over five million dollars. I’ll be adding new items to the lists below as I find them. If the thing’s still running at the point you’re reading this, do check it out: it’s a rare chance to get over $9,000 worth of goodies for as little as five bucks (though I really do hope you’ll chip in a bit more), all while supporting a great cause.
For the next nine days, itch.io is running a Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality, with all proceeds going to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Community Bail Fund. There’s already been an extraordinary level of support (just over a million dollars – though that’ll probably become hilariously out of date even before this post is published). If you want to contribute to the cause, I feel as though this is a good way: I suspect that the sheer scale of the endeavour and the number of people involved will give it a reach that individual donations wouldn’t be able to match.
I’m not kidding about how big this is, by the way: it’s quite possibly the largest bundle of any kind ever put together, with over 700 games (and various other things) on offer. One thing to mention would be that some of these items are free or pay-what-you-want anyway: my own contribution, Draw Nine, has never had a price on it. Bundles on Itch are less about getting a fantastic deal and more about gathering together items for some kind of cause or on some sort of theme.
That said, this particular bundle offers over $3,000 worth of items for just $5, so it is also a fantastic deal. Please do consider bunging in a little extra if you can afford it, though: this is a truly extraordinary amount of work that’s being offered up and some of these titles would be worth much more than a fiver on their own. Itch has put together their own selection of top titles to look at, but since this is my blog and clearly you’re reading it, here are a few of my picks: Continue reading
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
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.
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 than 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 […]
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.