First things first, it seems worth mentioning that although I haven’t posted here in months, I am very much still actively working on things. The reason for the relative silence is that the things I am working on are big things. Secret things. Things that I hope to reveal in due course with an appropriate amount of maniacal laughter.
What I have for you right now is Quest for the Sword of Justice, a particularly unusual interactive fiction piece in a format I hope to return to for future projects.
This is my entry for IFComp 2020, and as such it’s actually been available since the start of October. Voting remains open until November 29th and you only have to rate a minimum of 5 entries to be a judge!
I’m afraid I didn’t manage to announce this as widely as I would have liked because I had to pack up and move into a new place at very short notice just before the submission deadline. I’ve taken on a truly gargantuan amount of work (which was the reason for the move) and while there’s still some time available to make things, there isn’t a whole lot to promote them. Still, things are good right now and (again) there’s some exciting stuff in the works. So do keep an eye out for that, and if you fancy rating some IFComp entries I (and everybody else involved in the event) would really appreciate it. There have been a record number of games submitted this time around!
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.
Flash Fiction Month 2020, Day 10
This story also exists as a parser-based text adventure, playable online.
The Story is a room.
Rule for printing room description details: omit contents in listing.
The walk-in wardrobe is a closed openable container in the Story. It is fixed in place.
The cupboard is a closed openable container in the walk-in wardrobe. It is fixed in place.
The broken safe is a closed openable container in the cupboard. It is fixed in place.
The steamer trunk is a closed openable container in the broken safe.
The cardboard box is a closed openable container in the steamer trunk.
The lockbox is a locked openable container in the cardboard box. The cheap metal key unlocks the lockbox. 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
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.