Saturday, January 30, 2010

Absence possible!

I'm going to be massively busy with my television show starting this week so the immense number of initial posts here will now drop off markedly perhaps... :)

Water-Powered Car? Do a Tesla on the inventor. Kill him and steal his stuff.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A genie with the eye of a tiger...

Furthermore, we have not only to risk the adventure alone;
for the heroes of all time have gone before us;
the LABYRINTH is thoroughly known;
we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path.
And where we had thought to find an abomination,
we shall find a god;
where we thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves;
where we had thought to travel outward,
we shall come to the center of our own existence,
where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.
—Joseph Campbell
Hero with a Thousand Faces
 
Change comes from the unfinished areas, not from pretensions of wholeness.
—Michael Meade
Men and the Water of Life
 
All of the truly important battles are waged within the self.
—Sheldon B. Kopp
If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him
 
The hero is the man of self-achieved submission. But submission to what? That precisely is the riddle...schism in the soul, schism in the body social, will not be resolved by any scheme of return to the good old days (archaism), or by programs guaranteed to render an ideal...future (futurism), or even by the most realistic, hardheaded work. . . Only birth can conquer death--the birth, not of the old thing again, but of something new. Within the soul, within the body social, there must be--if we are to experience long survival--a continuous "recurrence of birth"...to nullify the unremitting recurrences of death. For it is by means of our own victories, if we are not regenerated, that the work of Nemisis is wrought: doom breaks from the very shell of our virtue. Peace then is a snare; war is a snare; change is a snare; permanence a snare. When our day is come for the victory of death, death closes in; there is nothing we can do, except be crucified--and resurrected; dismembered totally, and then reborn.
...The first step, detachment or withdrawal, consists in a radical transfer of emphasis from the external to the internal world...a retreat from the desperation of the waste land to the peace of the everlasting realm. . . within. But this realm. . . is precisely the infantile unconscious. It is the realm that we enter in sleep. We carry it within ourselves forever. All the ogres and secret helpers of our nursery are there, all the magic of childhood. And more important, all the life-potentialities that we never managed to bring to adult realization, those other portions of ourself, are there; for such golden seeds do not die. If only a portion of that lost totality could be dredged up into the tight of day, we should experience a marvelous expansion of our powers, a vivid renewal of life...In a word: the first work of the hero is to retreat from the world scene of secondary effects to those causal zones of the psyche where the difficulties really reside, and there to clarify the difficulties, eradicate them in his own case (i.e. give battle to the nursery demons of his local culture) and break through to... undistorted, direct experience and assimilation of [fundamental human realities].
The hero, therefore, is the man or woman who has been able to battle past his personal and local...limitations to the generally valid, normally human forms. Such a one's visions, ideas, and inspirations, come...from the primary springs of human life and thought. Hence they are eloquent, not of the present, disintegrating society and psyche, but of the unquenched source through which society is reborn. . . His second solemn task and deed therefore... is to return then to us, transfigured, and teach the lessons he has learned of life renewed.
—Joseph Campbell
Hero With A Thousand Faces
 
"All the ogres and secret helpers of our nursery are there, all the magic of childhood."

A cancer that can feed on dead flesh instead of living? Fact.

CosmoKid: Mysterio

Mysterio aka the Bubble Cluster is a region of CosmoKid's universe where bubbles and spheroids of various jelly-like kinds drift and bounce around. Doing the crude physics for the bubble behaviour was fun but fairly exhausting. Now I need to add some more incident to it since the strip it is inspired by was one of those visual gag / sudden swap ones and it doesn't translate super well to video game land. :)

In non-CosmoKid news...

Skull Craig is back from being tested and came through extremely well. :) I am also working on art for Phoenix, another indie designer's game, and an extremely good one imo. It looks really cool, with rotoscoped type art, a world that is really engaging and an interface that promises some complexity without difficulty. :)

Adding a plum to a top hat is not a puzzle that is intellectually challenging.

Adventure games are supposedly intellectual less violent etc. than shooters, and that is only logical. But there is nothing intellectual in any way about stupid people making equally stupid games where, like the borderline autistic masturbators they are, they imitate the form of a puzzle without understanding the nature of a puzzle.

Add X to Y to escape room Z could describe:

Use key on lock to unlock jail cell

Give potion to wizard so that he gives you scroll in return

Tell the guard to let you on the ferris wheel

Give the monkey a banana and it will run off, triggering the option that lets you follow it.


Then there's the other kind of "puzzle" which fits the same pattern:

Drop a plum into the upturned top hat. The top hat will then turn into a wrench.

Give cheese to the monkey. He will get very ill and a doctor will appear out of nowhere.

Push the red button to open the hatch, then ignore what you've just done and walk out through the door.

What is missing in the last few examples:

Logic.

Intuition.

Common sense.


Puzzles in adventure games are part of the mechanism to draw people into the world, get them to suspend disbelief, and become involved in the narrative. Game wankers like to call this "immersion". This is the incorrect game industry term (no doubt used quite deliberately wrongly by the megacorporations who first used it) to describe involvement in the story. There is no true immersion in any typical game of any kind... Yet. The big companies use the term solely to manipulate the gamesheeple so that when real immersion occurs it isn't scary for the punters. But anyway.

Lack of logic, lack of intuition and basically lack of professionalism distinguishes amateur from indie. Just as in film or any other branch of art. This also explains two other phenomena that are staggeringly common particularly in the AGS community- the "Gunnar" and the "parody / tribute".

Now one of the games I am currently doing is arguably nothing more than a parody / tribute itself- the one this blog is devoted to. But there is at least one key difference- I bothered to read and understand the sources first. My game is an informed attempt at pastiche. Insofar as it succeeds, it's in good company. The entirety of the comicbook industry is nothing more than a self-consuming pastiche factory at this point in history.

The AGS revenant class of creator however, choose "parody" as shorthand for saying either or both of the following:

1. the creator lacks confidence and doesn't want to the peanut gallery on the forums to criticise them;

2. the creator is ignorant- of the source, of the coding required, and almost certainly lacks any artistic talent.

So rather than let the above two points trigger an educational ramping, the AGS peanut gallery is quite happy to continue a cycle of encouragement of mediocrity, which is little more than levelling behaviour. Perennial failures of the peanut gallery can at the same time heckle, and keep everyone at their own level. Hence also the deliberate use of a term such as "amateur" rather than "indie". "Amateur" to me can only mean one thing- not for profit ever. If any of your work is saleable or for sale, or if you are or are going to be selling work, or being rewarded for it on a contra basis, or anything similar- you're indie, not amateur.

Further, since to the best of my knowledge even the most "expert" coders in the AGS community frequently dump modules and code fragments littered with egregious errors, and since there is no diploma in AGS programming or AGS game design, "amateur" in any sense is a term loaded with implausible logical consequences.

The AGS community is an active community of indie game designers, with unfortunately a large section of not so much amateurs as time wasters.

And when one considers that compared to the other game design communities AGS is actually remarkably active and productive... Wow.

Spaceman Spiff in: Escape from Zorg

Since I have a sick addiction to Amalgam Universe stuff, I read that as Escape from Zork, mixing "classic" adventure gaming with Spaceman Spiff predating my own effort. But no, it's a Spiffy Loderunnder thingy. :)

CLICK HERE.

CosmoKid: Eyepatch

In Gzuppie, the city of the Tplogs, we discover that the tiny one-eyed aliens are deeply prejudiced against multi-eyed beings. This leads to our hero wearing an eyepatch.

After equipping it, the GUI buttons, and the character, change to the eyepatched version of the sprites. Most amusing. Not amusing to put all the new sprites in, but amusing to look at.

I have added checks to prevent use of the eyepatch where obviously not appropriate, but also left it loose enough so you can have a good long use of the altered views. :)

CosmoKid: shops, more spriting

Adding various bazaars and shops, as well as the space pirate den. Also continuing to sprite more monsters, from the teeny tiny Gruzzle and Tplog to the enormous alien horrors of Planet X. :)

CosmoKid: Mud Maze (Room 318)

The Mud Maze. Destined to be "one of those puzzles". It's quite a Monty Haul room, with objects here and there, as well as a friendly Mud Grub alien to talk to and maybe get a quest off of (it's a nonlinear game in some chapters so you may or may not get the quest, or even want it if it's offered).

If it was just a question of scampering wherever you please on that surface, that would be one thing. But of course, it's not. The walkable area is NOT a blank sheet. It twists and turns. And as you cross it, various zones provoke the random movements of four "steamballs"- swirling spheres of scalding steam. Each one inflicts random 0-4 damage on you. But with four of them, moving at random, it can be a lot harder than it sounds to explore the room.

To stop it being one of those retarded pointless puzzles or screens that are just hateful and silly, the Saucer spaceship your hero owns is parked right on screen, and you can interact with it at any range to immediately jump out of the situation. This room follows a voluntary risk strategy for the player. IF you want stuff on that screen, then yeah, you will need to risk scalding. Or save a lot, or whatever. IF on the other hand you just can't be bothered- fair enough. There's a lot of paths through the game. :)

Were I playing it rather than writing it, I think it would be entirely dependent on how late in the game I hit it. If I had already got through some chapters, developed some rivalries with the baddies and so on, this might not be as appealing. Early on though, I would almost certainly explore the hell out of this sort of room and cop the potential nerve wracking and frustration of the wandering steamballs of death. :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

CosmoKid: new demo

60Mb WiP demo now available, check out the left hand bar. :)

The demo has the music, sound and ambient sound effects, first room puzzle is fully enabled plus you can use the zapgun if you really must. :)

I welcome feedback so please post in this topic's thread here when you've given it a go.

Soundtrack: DONE. :)

Changed my mind (notorious gemini trait) and went with royalty free / free to use for freeware / public domain / fanfilm music for the game.

And it is fricking AWESOME. The music is amazing. Soooo many talented people out there.

or by opposing end them?


Are webcomics just shouting at a wall?



Source: http://sugarraydodge.com/2010/01/06/an-introduction-to-webcomics/#more-2329

CosmoKid: is it "just" a Space Man Spiff computer game?

It's a legitimate question. Am I really just making an involved fangame of Calvin and Hobbes? Nope.

Cosmo is rapidly blurring into a generic tow-headed hellion, and that's good, and Hobbes is absent (or IS he dun dun DUN) so it has a world of its own.

To an extent the project definitely is a fangame of Spaceman Spiff, a Spaceman Spiff computer game, yeah. But it's a lot more than that. The Watterson stuff itself was an excuse for him to try and break free of the toxic narrowness of the shall we say "unsentimental" world of insitutionalised art prostitution in the newspaper strip industry. But by the time he'd illustrated a Krazy Kat background as a planet or done a loving panel of a dinosaur or old Alex Raymond style pulp sci fi adventures it sort of wound up fast, format and inclination and even skill permitting. In other words, Bill Watterson's lushest Spaceman Spiff stuff still ba-doom tishes off at the last panel and that's that, it never sustained a narrative. Part of the fun and even mystique of Calvin's private worlds is that there are ever only glimpses of them. That's great, but it also let the author off the hook, because he could endlessly set it up, only to abandon it instead of following the thought through for a page, or even a whole comicbook. Compare to classic Peanuts at the height of Shultz's power. Complete narratives, with sparser details, or almost no details.

Interesting comparisons.

A boy and his tiger


A young boy with a big imagination! He can even turn himself into a stupendous superhero! And his best friend is a talking tiger called...


...Tawky Tawny.

Unfortunately "rescued" from "obscurity" after a few horrible, horrible attempts at reimagining (that NEVER works, hacks should just stop doing it) Tawky Tawny is basically... a talking tiger. And the boy of course is Billy Batson, aka Captain Marvel (the real one with the Shazam schtick not the legion of forgettable secondraters over at what's left of Marvel after Bendis et al have "reimagined" its universe into a shattered mess).


Tawky Tawny is exactly the sort of whimsical character, as is Billy Batson too for that matter, who one can see as influences on Bill Matterson. Especially when one remembers that Captain Marvel outsold Superman, and rightly so, for decades. Until DC's hateful legal action finally destroyed Fawcett, Captain Marvel had his own distinct and very toony comicbook universe. Since the DC assimilation it's been one stupid blunder after another. When they do it to their own lameass characters I could care less, hell, it's funny, but when they ruin Captain Marvel I believe they embrace karmic retribution.

Anyway, Tawky Tawny. :)

Wikipedia list of Spaceman Spiff planets

Wikipedia. 18 page articles on anime that are essentially schoolgirl porn, no biographical page for known mafia leaders, no biographical page for Bob Proctor. And they ask for money.

The statistic on Wikipedia everyone should know is that 90% of the edits are done by the same incestuous and basically up themselves half-smart group of 67 people. Having been to university for multiple degrees myself I totally agree that I too took a major in being up myself. The difference being that I don't inflict that pomposity on people through a structured abuse of knowledge on a virtually constant basis.

Wikipedia is a type of encyclopedia. Do some research, if you don't already know, concerning the revolutionary (literally) origins of dictionaries and encylopedia, and then see how harmless you think the 1984-isation of online knowledge is.

It is an agenda, not an accident, that wikipedia has so many more porn and fantasy entries than actual checkable facts. And as for the facts and the metier applied to so many of the articles... Indescribable.

/rant

The Spaceman Spiff planets according to Wikipedia:

  • Ahnooie-4 where Spaceman Spiff decides to put a repulsive blob out of its misery
  • Bog—where Spaceman Spiff avoids pools of toxic chemicals under a choking atmosphere of poisonous gases
  • Gloob—above which Spaceman Spiff has a malfunction in his hyper freem drive and is blasted with a deadly frap ray by the aliens
  • Mok, where Spaceman Spiff undergoes water torture (his mother washes his hair)
  • Plootarg—where Spaceman Spiff crashes after being zorched by a Zarch spacecraft
  • Q-13—where Spaceman Spiff faces despicable scum beings with his mertilizer beam and mordo blasters
  • X-13—where Spaceman Spiff is captured and brought before the Zorg despot
  • Zark, where Spaceman Spiff has several adventures escaping sinister aliens
  • Zartron-9—home of the awful bug beings who blast Spaceman Spiff while he reboots his saucer's computer and tries to recalibrate his weapons
  • Zog—where Spaceman Spiff makes a (very rare) perfect 3 point landing
  • Zok—where Spaceman Spiff is marooned
  • Zokk—where Spaceman Spiff bounds across the landscape given the low gravity
  • Zorg—where Spaceman Spiff sets his gun on deep-fat fry to blast aliens

CosmoKid: Zapguns, Smoke, GUI button artwork changing, cutaways

Got the zapguns working- targets, fires a stream of sprites, emits a blast at the far end where appropriate.

Added some alien worlds (see pics)

Added all the ambient noises, wind noises for desert, crowd noises, the works. really adds to the game massively.

Music- still composing and buy royalty free although the composing is going well enough, why bother buying I am thinking. :)


Going by the source material and its inspirations, the trick is to make the universe compelling of course but also take it seriously as only a small child can when worldbuilding, totally consistently embracing it with a sense of wonder and boundless leaps of imagination and fantasy.

To that end although I am restraining the use of 3d, photoshop etc.etc. I am still using somewhat Kirby-style space illustrations- marker pen, redraws, water colour and all sorts, then pasting them over detailed backgrounds to give a late Marvel Silver Age comic feel to it, which fits the sources I believe.

It certainly makes it look beautiful to my eyes so it's easy work. :)

The enemy Lynx has his own ship now too, a blue much more avian themed Saucer. :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

CosmoKid: chapter one done

The first chapter of the game, which is about 5 "rooms" (screens in AGS) is done. From Dos Slizzoord, CosmoKid takes off into space and arrives in a screen showing various star systems he can visit. A cutaway plays the first of several mysterious scenes with a shadowy figure... Dun dun DUN! :)

Space Ace!


Space Ace - Original Game Full Movie

Alex | MySpace Video

Hinge, Thunder!


CosmoKid enemy: Space Commander Lynx 2


Now Lynx has eyes, I can start planning his character better. At his scale, apart from cut scenes where art can be as big as I like, his eyes are going to be the major communicator other than body language and my animation of walking etc. is not good enough to be sure of that. So the caricaturing needs to be as good as I can make it. Evil, and funny. Big ask. But I will try my best.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Herobear and Tyler

When the first solicits and in-store poster came out for Mike Kunkel's Herobear and Tyler , it looked TOTALLY like Calvin and Hobbes lite, differences in detail notwithstanding. It shows in my opinion the kind of thing (just the kind of thing, no more) that Bill Watterson could have easily achieved if he had taken Calvin and Hobbes from newspaper to indie comic. And beyond... ;)

As the story developed, and as one can read in the collected volume, it's a Christmas-themed adventure with a strong dose of magical realism, and a very Hobbesian polar bear. :)

Mike Kunkel's blog is HERE.

Toon Sound FX

Added the Toon type Sound FX to the game- bit of a shock having tested it in silence for 2 days but it brings it to life. Next is the music as I soon as I buy royalty free, mix some original etc.

CosmoKid enemy: Space Commander Lynx


Space Commander Lynx- named after a Sontaran although clearly some sort of bird, is one of the enemies the Mysterious One unleashes against Cosmo later in the game. Armed with the same trademark type Mertilizer as Cosmo, but a far more proficient adventurer, Lynx has as his goal the extermination of our hero by any means necessary. But what will happen when Cosmo and Lynx are forced to work together?? :)

Spriting for this character has only just begun as can be seen. I need to do proper shading, add some feather details and work on the face. A lot.

Boxotronic Technology: Atomic Cerebral Enhance-O-Tron

Boxotronic Technology: leftovers of the awesomely powerful Elders, Cardboard Boxes can be nearly anything... As long as it is ridiculously awe-inspiringly powerful!

The Atomic Cerebral Enhance-O-Tron resembles a cardboard box, turned upside-down, but with three strings attached to it which are used for input, output, and grounding; the grounding string functions like a lightning rod for brainstorms so the user can keep ideas "grounded in reality". The strings are tied to a device resembling a metal colander, which is worn on the head. When used, the wearer of the cap receives a boost in intelligence, and his head becomes enlarged. The intelligence boost, however, is temporary. When it wears off, the subject's head reverts to its normal size.

Sprite wise, I have a nice animated cardboard box and in the spirit of it all being the SAME box in grownup terms, so it shall be. With a few objects added here and there. ;)

Top Secret New Character

I am adding in a new enemy for CosmoKid, two actually, but one of them is pretty much done, the other is done as a concept now I need to make the sprites from scratch and test its animation. It will need to wobble around a weighted centre when it walks, and also be a match for CosmoKid in a Mertilizer shootout. So we'll see. :)

Calvin and Hobbes Minus Imagination



Source : http://909sickle.com/s/ch-i/

Teenage Mutant Ninja Calvin


What if Calvin was dressed as a wizard with a long white beard, and Hobbes was a dragon?

You would get the central characters of Gunchello.


Jerry Seltzer has written of his creative process HERE, and as one can see from the above the wizard is indeed Calvinesque although the rest of the beautifully drawn world was wonderful and entirely his own. The strip has come and gone, long since, and although at one time there were some coloured strips and quite a few black and whites around, at this point it has definitely slipped into (hopefully temporary) real obscurity. More's the shame, it looked beautiful. And a Hobbesian dragon was awesome. :)

Dragon's Lair!



Don Bluth: god among animators / artists. Just looks so good. Timeless and a true classic!

Very quick and very dirty sprite contest entry: plate of Goji berries...


CosmoKid teeny weeny tiny demo up on AGS

Link: CLICK HERE.

One of the main reasons I uploaded is that the auto listing thingy on the site was saying "have not worked on any finished games", which is pants. :)

But having this is as the only indication that I HAVE done games is pretty sad too. :)

BFG basically but these are the stray thoughts of 3am when real work is overloading the old noodle.

Depending on one's taste, Skeezy, lol worthy or just... whuh?


Adventure Game Studio licence- from website, believed current.

The Adventure Game Studio License
AGS is an adventure game creation system. As such, it is provided to you in good faith by the author. Chris Jones cannot be held responsible for the contents of any works created with AGS, including but not limited to any which infringe on copyright, are libellous or contain offensive material. Please use AGS responsibly.
If you come across an AGS-made game which infringes on any laws relevant to you, please contact the author of the game. Chris Jones does not have any control over the content of games created with AGS and cannot help you.
THE SOFTWARE ("ADVENTURE GAME STUDIO ENGINE AND TOOLS") IS PROVIDED WITH ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, NOT EVEN THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. USE THIS SOFTWARE AT YOUR OWN RISK. CHRIS JONES IS NOT RESPONSIBLE IF YOUR COMPUTER STARTS BURPING, CATCHES FIRE, GETS A SENSE OF HUMOUR OR ANYTHING ELSE WHICH HAPPENS DUE TO THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE.

Commercial sale of games
If you wish to make money from anything you create with AGS, which covers both shareware and commercial releases, there are some factors you need to consider.
First of all, the default speech font in AGS is ripped from Space Quest 4. If you are going to distribute your game commercially, you should change this because it may make Sierra unhappy. The default normal font is however drawn by me and freeware.
AGS itself, as in the compiled version of the code written by me (Chris) is freeware and therefore may be distributed commercially without penalty. However, AGS uses some third-party components which have different license agreements which you will have to abide by in order to commercially release your game.
In particular the components, with relevant license agreements, are:
  • Allegro (main graphics and sound sub-systems) - Allegro is gift-ware. It was created by a number of people working in cooperation, and is given to you freely as a gift. You may use, modify, redistribute, and generally hack it about in any way you like, and you do not have to give us anything in return. However, if you like this product you are encouraged to thank us by making a return gift to the Allegro community. See the Allegro website for more information.
  • aastr (anti-aliasing library) - also under the terms of the Allegro license, see above.
  • Hq2x/Hq3x (graphic filters) - use the GNU Lesser General Public License, Version 2.1, February 1999. 
  • AllegroMP3 (MP3 player) - uses the GNU Lesser General Public License, Version 2.1, February 1999.
    HOWEVER, the use of MP3 in commercial products requires you to get a license from Fraunhofer and Thomson Multimedia, who own the MP3 decoding patent. At time of writing, this is a flat fee of $2500 per game, but only if more than 5000 copies are sold. For up-to-date information, check the mp3 licensing website.
    The easiest solution is to get the alternative AGS Engine build without the MP3 decoder from the Download page, and use OGG for your music and sound.
  • AllegroOGG (OGG music player) - The OGG license. Due credit should also be given to Javier Gonzalez, who wrote the AllegroOGG interface that AGS uses.
  • AllegroFont (TTF renderer) - The FreeType Project LICENSE, 2000-Feb-08. Due credit should also be given to Javier Gonzalez, who wrote the AllegroFont interface that AGS uses.
  • APEG (OGG Theora video player) - The OGG license. Due credit should also be given to Chris Robinson, who wrote the APEG interface that AGS uses to play Theora video.
  • DUMB (MOD/XM/S3M/IT player) - Permission is granted to anyone to use this software for any purpose, including commercial applications, and to alter it and redistribute it freely, subject to the following restrictions (For more detail see the license_dumb.txt in the AGS distribution).
  • libcda (CD-Audio player) - You may use, modify, redistribute, and generally hack it about in any way you like, but if you do you should contribute something in exchange. This could be a complimentary copy of a game, an addition or improvement to libcda, a bug report, some money (as long as you can track down and send it to all contributors), or just a copy of your AUTOEXEC.BAT or .bashrc if you don't have anything better.
    If you redistribute libcda or make a game using it, it would be nice if you mentioned the contributors somewhere in the credits.
You should mention in your documentation that the above libraries were used (if the relevant part is used by your game) if no further license terms apply. It would also be nice to include any relevant parts from the Credits section in the AGS Manual in your documentation.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, if you decide to release a commercial game then it is your responsibility to verify that the licenses specified above are correct, and to meet any conditions contained therein.

The above license information is believed to be correct at time of writing. If there are any inaccuracies, please do not hesitate to contact me in order to get them corrected.

http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/aclegal.htm

Monday, January 25, 2010

Adventure Game Studio- the Blue Cup game- peerless.

Once in a while I scan around the internet, looking at game making software. Not even because I HAVE to use it, I could code stuff myself although when you do a project more or less on your own- it is time consuming beyond any reasonable degree and into the realm of the Old Man and the Sea. :)

To this day, after some five years, I am yet to find anything that matches AGS. Not even close. And by and large, allowing for a few of the sorts of clownshoe armchair experts all internet forums have, the community is EASILY the best I have found. Easily far and away. With new and very talented people landing on the top all the time, and the dregs naturally composting far far below, although one or two of them seem to consistently burrow up to daylight. Still, even allowing for the injokes and clique dinosaurs, the general community is staggeringly friendly, supportive, literate and helpful. There are loads of silent users too, not so much lurkers as people who, as I did back in 2004, turn up firstly to just get support for the program, find out how something intuitive for the software author but not for the user is meant to work... AGS is incredibly powerful, and as a result there are way more features than any sensible writer would ever use at once. But that puts the temptation there- to go huge or go home. 99% go home, of course, their games unfinished. Back in 2004-2005 I was one of them.

You don't so much quit, as just have the energy drained away from you by the scale of the undertaking. :)

Now when one looks at indie game designers- not really "amateur" designers as some of the clueless call them, but genuine indies- garage band members of the software world- the stuff made by them is amazing in its variety, finish, content and concept. Compared to the <> 100 bucks a pop cyber drugs that the controllers want people to drug themselves with I think it is almost subversive to use AGS to make games. Being independent is itself an act of protest. Truly.

Chris Jones, the author of AGS, is a brilliant software designer and author, and more than that, a lovely person, because what others try and sell a FRACTION of for prices ranging from 60 bucks up, Chris has given away, to the world. And look at the results- one of the, if not the most, diverse forums anywhere, and a multiverse of games great and small. So many other authors could look at his successful approach to world and community building and emulate. :)

AGS website: CLICK HERE. :)

"Um... OK... Maybe..." Department

Calvin and Hobbes -> Fight Club.

?

Hm.

Fifteen Years On...

It would be impossible to tell how old or young Calvin is in 2010, since he was 6-ish at the inception of Bill Watterson's epic and arguably still 6-ish or at the latest 7-ish or 8-ish at the end...

But it has indeed been 15 years since Calvin and Hobbes (1985-1995) raced off into the snowbound landscape like a "blank page".

Watterson has been somewhat elusive himself, and although he steadfastly decided to not allow commercialisation of his creation, and indeed has only provided a handful of licences over the years, the dominant influence of C&H remains. Even in the work of Frank Cho, which whilst frequently seedy at best is still technically smooth and very beautiful to look at, we see not just the occasional parody of C&H but also the same whiff of the Green Acres Effect- that the adventures and the unfolding text are taking place  j-u-s-t  a little further on, in the county next door, the town next door, etc.

C&H has so much appeal to so many people on so many levels it is very meritorious of study.

CosmoKid screenshots

Dos Slizzoord, the first location- and first puzzle. :)


Demo game of CosmoKid

CosmoKid is my laboriously redrawn and repainted Calvin and Hobbes homage / parody. I am working on it as a keep sane type thing and also to develop new stuff for the "serious" games and software I am working on.

To download the demo, click HERE.
It's a RAR archive. If you click on the link and get binary soup, try right click / save instead, since it's a direct link to the archive file in the directory. :)

It should also be up at AGS at some point. If not, it will still be available here.

The demo is pretty raw, not a finished product, but it will show the direction the game's going in. In the demo you can swap out to the raygun armed version of CosmoKid but he can't fire at anything. I implemented the code but disabled it for the demo. The gun is useless in the first puzzle anyway. :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Awww


It begins.

In an effort to outsource my filing and office management to the internets, esp blogger, his blog is my portmanteau for all Adventure Game Studio (AGS) related game projects involving more cartoony spritely stuff. Haven't decided if each game / story / comicbook whatever will be in its own universe or a shared one or both. Early days after all. :)