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.



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. :)