Monday 30 January 2017

"Homogeny" came a little early!

Remember two days ago when I said "end of February"?

Turns out I'm awful at predicting my own work flow. It's not a massive game, but it's decidedly larger than "Yet Another Puzzle Game".

Click to download "Homogeny"!

As usual, let me know what you think of it. I plan to make more games in this universe/style.

Enjoy! If you have done, thanks for reading(and playing!)

Saturday 28 January 2017

What's going on with Spiderman in the Rhineland?

Over the past few weeks, I've felt compelled to discuss received a few hundreds concerned emails from my fans as to where "Spiderman in the Rhineland" falls between my other side projects.

Seeing as I want to shill my new project fans are excitedly clamouring for new information, I've decided that I'm going to state fairly "officially" that the game is currently on the backburner.

The reason for this is that I've had some ideas for new mechanics, narratives, ARGs, trying new art styles and techniques but most importantly I want to make something on my own accord.

I want to be the creator of my own crazy art pieces games, rather than have them be written by someone else.

That being said, I expect I'll resume work on it either if I run out of ideas of other things to create and have some time on my hands(ha) or come the month of June this year, when production of the next Track should be set to go forward.

Now with the preamble out of the way, a screenshot from my new project:

This style may look familiar for the many few one of you who follows me and my work. This is the same art style as was shown off in "Yet Another Puzzle Game". I liked it so much that I have decided I'm going to make a marginally larger project out of it. I can't say with much certainty how long it will take, but it should be finished before the end of February.

The central mechanic is that the player character is forced to deliver a presentation they haven't prepared for. The player must select the most appropriate out of three sentences before a given number of seconds has elapsed. Fairly simple conceptually, but I like it.

Besides, the mechanic is merely the canvas on which a greater artistic expression can be painted...

Sunday 22 January 2017

Why do indie developers make games for VR?

In my time lurking on a few Internet communities, I've noticed that a surprising number of indie developers develop for - and by extension stake their livelihood on - VR.
A lot of the time, the reason for this is quite simply that they want to get into the VR market early, before it is flooded with interactive refuse in the same way as the Steam store. I understand this to some degree, but it's an argument balanced out by the incredibly niche market.

The real confusion stems from the question, "Why the hell would you ever decide to become financially dependant on selling a game for a highly experimental platform?"

As an indie developer, money is almost never disposable. Even in the most successful cases, the developers of the game "N" are still making barely enough to get by.

Of course, there's the argument that an indie developer feels that their artistic intent is best expressed through a VR experience, which is fine. I am a firm believer than just about any medium is a suitable medium for something.

According to statistics from Horizon Media, about 36% of the American population are interested in owning a VR headset as of 2016.

Only 24% of people are willing to pay over $250 for a VR headset, which should be immediately alarming for prospective VR developers. When a third of even the potential audience are turned off by a price lower than any VR headset being sold as of right now(the cheapest I could find was priced at $400, the Playstation VR), there's a problem.

Some more statistics from the Pew Research Center indicate that approximately 49% of adults play video games on any platform. If I do the math, that means that only 73% of adults who play video games are interested in trying VR, and only 48% are interested in spending over $250 dollars to do so.

Even with these grim figures, keep in mind that a large number of these people will still never buy a VR device. The ones that do may only play a handful of games on it.

The market that indie VR developers are trying to reach is very sparse, but the lack of competition on the market is immediately balanced by the fact that the audience for VR games is incredibly small.

I may or may not be bitter about being unable to try VR because of chronic migraines triggered by eye strain.

And if you have been, thanks for reading.

stay tuned

Wednesday 18 January 2017

"Yet Another Puzzle Game" completed and free to download!

I may or may not have spent the past two days working on a fairly tiny side project, which I've decided to name "Yet Another Puzzle Game". A screenshot of the player character is pictured below.

I will, of course, get back to work on Spiderman in the Rhineland at some point, but breaking the monotony was exciting and way more fun than it had any right to be.

Additionally, it feels hella good to actually release something, no matter how small it is.

This game takes approximately 3 minutes to complete, and isn't really a puzzle game. Technically, there is a puzzle(or a heavily edited voice clip of me saying the word), but that's all.

I think that the main take away from this game is the art style and animation, both of which I'm probably more proud of than I should be given all in all it took me about 3 hours to create the character and corresponding animations. To my defence, this is using texture atlases instead of spritesheets, so part of those 3 hours was learning how to best use those.


This link will take you to the page, from which you can download this game for free for any of Windows, macOS or Linux.


Saturday 14 January 2017

Thoughts on Track 2

As time goes on and I'm having more ideas and thoughts spring to mind regarding my approach to Track 2, it's getting better and better. If you're reading this and you're a consumer of strange surrealist art pieces video games, this is good news!

To those of you who have listened to the Spiderman in the Rhineland podcast that myself and a friend host, you may realize that while Track 1 is a decidedly chaotic multi-themed piece, Track 2 is a considerably more ordered and linear experience.

At this point, I can't stop with the constant visual and design metaphors. There are more metaphors intended in the levels and my plans for design so far than would ever be extracted by the most untenable claims, but ultimately I'm not making this game for the average consumer's benefit. If you're reading this and you're a consumer of video games strange surrealist art pieces, this is good news!

I will give an example of these visual metaphors in action. The background I created involving a bridge over a chasm -- each plank on the rope bridge is tattered, though towards the end of the bridge, each plank is less tattered. This is, in my mind, a metaphor for the fact that literally billions of listeners have attempted and failed to understand, appreciate or even listen to the podcast. Not that I'm implying that every person on the planet is morally obliged to listen and successfully interpret the podcast, but..

To return to the original point, the bridge is picture below.

Admittedly, it's not the best bridge. It looks significantly better with the proper animation I gave it, and I'm going to re-draw the planks in my second pass of each background in the future. While it's not going on any promotional material, it's fine as a placeholder.

In any case, if you have done, thanks for reading!

Wednesday 11 January 2017

What is the deal with Bethesda?

Bethesda Game Studios, for those out of the loop, is the studio behind games such as Fallout 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Fallout 4.

These games are usually produced to a pretty high degree of quality, all 3 of which boast expansive and detailed open worlds, a lot of in-depth lore and a bunch of side-quests.

Pictured below is an actual list of all the side-quests contained just within Skyrim without any DLC, or a total of 57 side quests.

With this much content and such a large world, surely Skyrim is a brilliant game?

Well, in contrast to the large fanbase these games have accumulated, I am highly inclined to disagree. It is correct that there is a lot of content in Skyrim, but what's the point in that content if it's an unenjoyable process to get through it?

The first point that I would like to cover here is the combat in this game.

The combat in this game is best described as if the combat in Dark Souls and a sloth had some kind of child, which was then implemented on a buggy-as-shit engine. Each attack takes about 14 years to complete, and often deals almost no damage at any given point in the game to make up for the fact that the scaling is incredibly artificial.

"So just don't use the swords!" is the logical continuation of that opinion, but after swords I have two other options - magic and bows. Using exclusively bows is the most boring and awkward thing to do ever, so that's a no-go. The combination of still very unresponsive and slow combat combined with limited ammunition makes it probably the worst option. At least I don't get punished for missing a sword strike.

Magic is the best out of a bunch of bad options, because at least it looks cool. It doesn't have the long-term punishment for missing that bows do, and it is in my experience marginally faster and more satisfying than swords. That's not to say it's a good experience, but it's an experience that makes me less unhappy with my decisions thus far in life.

This issue is significantly reduced in Fallout 3 and 4, which contains guns and VATS. VATS basically takes almost all the real combat gameplay out of the equation if you're like me and nearly exclusively use it to murder the opposition. The non-VATS shooting is still a bit uncomfortable, but god, Bethesda games feel so much better with guns even at that.

The strangest and in my mind, the most objectionable design choice that Bethesda have made is to keep their engine as a consistently buggy mess for about 8 years, or since Fallout 3's release. They seem to believe that having a terrible engine is part of their notoriety, or their identity in some form. This may be true to an extent, where people frequently ridicule the 75 degree surfaces you can just walk up as if they're nothing, or where the ragdoll physics are occasionally very bouncy or twitchy, but ultimately it just isn't funny anymore.

After 3 consecutive games with the same engine problems, it gets to the point where it just seems unpolished. I appreciate the initial "heh", but by now it just feels bad to play.

Of course, this is all my personal opinion. I don't represent the views of, you, or anyone who is not myself. It should go without saying that if you love Skyrim, then you do you! If you have fun with that game, I'd love to hear your perspective on why you do so.

Lastly, if you have done, thanks for reading.

Monday 9 January 2017

A bridge I don't particularly like

So, turns out I lied in my last post about having completed Track 1. Unfortunately, I only completed all but 1 of the levels, one of which was a certain bridge. This bridge is actually based off of the bridge from a certain scene in Monty Python("What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?"), albeit fairly loosely.

I'm also very likely to completely re-make this rubbish later on if it doesn't grow on me, but that's something to do in my second pass of all these levels.

Either way, here it is:

I've got some objects to add, but I'll do that at a later time. As a bonus I'll show you the complete level from the "This piece of meat" post, because I'm a bit more proud of that. Plus, I have actually slightly improved that piece of meat.

God damn, what a lovely piece of meat.

And of course, if you have done, thanks for reading!

Sunday 8 January 2017


Wait there, Google Algorithms valued followers! Despite my apparent absence, I've got something to show off tomorrow.

I just haven't quite finished it yet.

Wednesday 4 January 2017

Phew! Track 1 completed!

After about a month and approximately 90 hours spent working on it, I've finished the levels for the first track of Spiderman in the Rhineland, consisting of 9 backgrounds. Hooray! I can stop re-listening to my own voi-

Well, nevermind. If nothing else, it's a change of pace from making a variety of thematically random backgrounds. Time to focus on office blocks, cubicles, and boardrooms. 

P.S: I'm not actually finished with Track 1, I've still got one room to re-make seeing as it wasn't even good enough for me to post it here, and I've got an entire hidden section to create, based off of the hidden version of Track 1... but that could take me a while, it will definitely take a bit more planning.

As per usual, if you have done, thanks for reading!

Monday 2 January 2017

This piece of meat

I admit that this isn't a particularly high-effort post, but damn, just take a look at this piece of meat.

Isn't that a wonderful piece of meat? I'm proud of that piece of meat.

This piece of meat is part of a new background I'm working on, based off the freezer level in Half-Life 1.

What a lovely piece of meat.

And if you have done, thanks for reading(and looking at this wonderful piece of meat).