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.
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
I’ve made an account on The Interactive Fiction Database and am in the process of adding my Twine games. So far the only thing I’ve put on there is Draw Nine, but if you visit my profile you’ll also see Cragne Manor alongside it: the game page already listed me as a contributor at the point I signed up.
I aim eventually to have all my significant works of interactive fiction on there (ie. everything but the Twine for Beginners example pieces and some of the April Fools jokes), but if you’ve got any particular favourites then let me know in the comments and I’ll aim to get those in there first.
Alternatively, IFDB follows a Wikipedia sort of format where anyone can edit it, so if there’s anything you really want to see in there then you can add it yourself!
If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you might be aware that I’ve spent the last little while working on something that involved wiring bananas into my computer.
I’m now ready to announce that the thing in question was Bananarchy, an arcade shooter controlled entirely with two real bananas (or a regular keyboard or touchscreen, just in case you lack the hardware necessary to generate keystrokes using fresh fruit). You play as Hitcan – Agent 57 – and must use twin banana pistols to shoot down ever increasing swarms of flies that converge upon your precious pink donut.
I came up with this project as a submission for EGX’s Leftfield Collection, as they’re particularly interested in games that use alternative controllers and who doesn’t like bananaguns? If it’s accepted you’ll be able to play it at the ExCeL Center in London from the 17th to 20th of October 2019. If not, I’ll probably still cobble together a version to take to DIY Southampton and whatnot. Continue reading
- 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.
- 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.
More specifically, a live reading of Girth Loinhammer’s Most Exponential Adventure will be taking place as part of the brand new EGX Rezzed Fringe Theatre. For anybody unfamiliar with the story, it’s a massively interactive fantasy parody that plays out sort of like a Fighting Fantasy gamebook, but typically involves much, much more booze. I’ll read a chunk out loud (probably with funny voices – it gets hard to tell who’s who otherwise), announce the options available to the audience, and then whichever one gets the loudest cheer decides how the story will continue.
This is essentially what I’ve been doing at open mics for the past couple of years, but instead of taking place in a dingy pub somewhere, it’ll be at London’s largest games event.
If you’d like to come and get involved, Exponential Adventure will be running Thursday 4th of April at 2pm, and go on for about 45 minutes. This should allow time for at least three readings, but could stretch to as many as four or five depending on how things go on the day. We’ll be on the ground floor of the Tobacco Dock, which is probably the second most dungeon-y venue I’ve ever had for this.
Tickets are very reasonably priced for an event of this size. If you’re already near London, twenty quid gets you in all day Thursday which will let you see my show and still have a go at plenty of games. If you’re coming from farther afield, a Super Pass for the full three days is just £44.
Also, not to pile on the pressure or anything, but if nobody turns up then I will literally be standing on stage doing nothing because interactive fiction does not work without an audience. So please do share this around!