Finished! (with caveats)

Here’s the final version of my 2015 7drl:

It was really a 2drl. I set a very…low bar for myself, to avoid failure. Then I crested that bar on the second day, and didn’t really do anything else for the rest of the contest.

I COULD have added a great deal of AV polish, but that’s not what a 7DRL is really about. I could also have kept adding features and functionality, but I wasn’t feeling it. What I imagined was a simple puzzle-positioning game, and I achieved that. Adding an inventory, or LOS, or more complex combat, I felt was superfluous. So I just stopped working on it.

Next time, perhaps I’ll set my goals higher, shooting for a more general-purpose RL expression. But for now, I’m happy simply to have participated.…


The basic game works! Now what?

Good question. As it is, …it’s too simple to hold much interest for long. So I’ve thought about what to add?

One answer is, collect items into an inventory, combine them into spells, and blast the monsters. More work, but the fun is well-defined.

Another answer comes from the code, where I made the exit square from an "Item" base class. This makes it easier to add more "items", of different types, that do something when the player steps on them. As it happens, the Crawl artsheet I’ve been using has loads of cool "altars".

SO that’s what I’m doing next; adding altars to the game which trigger interesting effects when you step on them. Right now, my ideas are:
-a couple of altars you teleport between
-an altar that temporarily turns you into a monstrous killing machine
-an altar that destroys enemies that are near enough
-an altar that changes the dungeon map in some way

While in the bath, I came up with two features that could give depth to this system.

-a help dialog that would explain how the altar works, when you get within one square. I considered no help text at all, and I considered hover-text using the mouse. Both are still a possibility, but my hope is that the unique altar art + help text (when close enough) will feel good to the player. Keyboard players and mobile players both have issues with mouse-based UIs, so I THINK it’s a good choice.

-a powerup bar that fills when you "scrape" an enemy. Borrowed from bullet-hell shooters, the idea is that getting close to an enemy (something you normally don’t wish to do) can benefit you. The effects of some of the altars will be enhanced by the amount your "Rage" bar is charged. The closer the enemy (that is chasing you) the more gets added to the bar.

I’m also considering a "Restart" or "Resign" button.

First playtester!

I got my wife to sit down and play. Incredibly helpful! In my experience, almost any testing is, so long as you can separate what the individual player thought/did from what players generally do.

It’s also helpful to get perfectly fresh eyes on your game. Maxis developers used to call that a "kleenex test", though I never liked the term.

The five altars are in and working.

First playable!

Here’s a screenshot of the current game state:

And here’s a link to the downloadable ZIP for the game:

It works as I imagined; move with the arrow keys and toggle between vampire and werewolf modes with SPACE. The close enemies of the opposite type will chase you.

Don’t try to attack; you never win. You must slip past the enemies and reach the exit square.

There are 10 levels, with different art, and each SHOULD have more monsters than the last.……

Tumbler book review

I just finished reading Tumber, by Brand Gamblin. While I was reading I couldn’t put it down, and now that I’m finished, I find I enjoyed it very much.

Elizabeth Carter sets off to earn her fortune mining the…asteroid belt. When she gets there, she finds it’s harder than she could have imagined, and the deck is stacked against her.

What follows is a big dose of up-by-your-bootstraps Horatio Alger, a tinge of Randian-ism at war with a tub of frontier collectivism, a dash of geology and metallurgy, and a medium dose of growing-up. Nothing goes as planned, and action and adversity abound. She starts off with an all-consuming anger and empty pockets. Does she end up with an open heart and a gold-plated life? Read the book to find out!

Carter (nicknamed "Tumbler"; why? Read the book) is a little too perfect and pure and heroic, and in her perfection is a bit of a cypher. Gamblin starts her so fresh in the New World that I never knew anything about any family she left behind, what she was running from, or anything else that could color her personality. I found the characters around her to be more interesting and complex. The few times Carter slowed down long enough to talk about her feelings, I really didn’t find insight into her character, but again, I suspect that’s simply because of her purity.

I know Brand Gamblin. He’s my friend. We worked together at Acclaim, years ago, making video games. In my younger years, I would have been terribly jealous; he’s just as good a programmer as me, AND now an excellent fiction writer! As it stands now, I’m just terribly happy for him, and want to read many more books by him.

Out Damned Hollywood!

I just saw a headline: "See How L.A. Noire Does Justice to the Faces of Real TV Stars"

Really? REAL TV stars? The true gods among us? Oh, be still my inferior medium’s heart!! I’ve NEVER worked on a game that couldn’t be made better (or be fixed) by adding REAL TV STARS!!!

In fact, let’s just admit right now that the film/TV medium is the pinnacle of Art, and interactive entertainment is just a tiny boil upon its side. The reason games suck is they don’t have the steady hand of Hollywood to guide them, and when a superhuman creator of film deigns to dabble in video game production, only good things can result.


the Antikythera Mechanism; In Lego! has a VERY cool video about a video which shows a Lego replica of the Antikythera Mechanism:

What’s the Antikythera Mechanism? Only one of the coolest real-life Ancient Mysteries of the Unknown Strangeness!……