Month: March 2008

16 Tons

Saint Peter, don’t you call me, ’cause I can’t go
I sold my soul to Patch 2.4

One of the things that has prevented me from wasting a lot of time on World of Warcraft since I hit level 70 has been the dearth of things to do if you don’t do instances.

Unfortunately, last Tuesday saw the release of Patch 2.4, which rebalanced the battlegrounds and added a whole bunch of daily-repeatable solo quests.

So this weekend saw me get absolutely nothing done on Wizard. Again. I did make over a thousand gold questing and finally won my first Warsong Gulch, though. I’m sure that makes you happy!

But in the end, let’s face facts. The reason that I haven’t been working on Wizard is because I don’ wanna. It was originally written as nasty, one-off code and I’ll have to spend a day just cleaning it up before I can add any new features like enemies. (Lesson learned: Don’t write nasty one-off code under any circumstances.)

So I think I’m going to move on to my second game. I have already decided what it’s going to be, but I’m not gonna tell you yet 🙂

Name That Game 39!

Whoa! It’s not a space RPG! Heck, it’s not an RPG at all! Whiplash, dude!

How's her dress staying down?

This game was supposed to be a sort of Mario Party-style game, with lots of different minigames. Unfortunately, most of them weren’t very fun – the controls tended to be sluggish. This was possibly due to the developers trying to make arcade-style games on the PC before the PC was really ready for it.

Name and developer, please! If you’re the first to get it right, I’ll give you my Time Magazine “Person of the Year” Award that I won in 2006.

Not Going As Planned…

I was supposed to finish up Wizard over the weekend, but Easter messed that up for me. Then I was supposed to finish it up last night, but chillun aggro messed that up for me. Now I’m hoping to have it done by the end of the week, and I’m reducing the number of little games I’ll make before the competition from three or four to two. I will happily take suggestions on what the second game I do should be.

First Ludum Dare Practice Game – Wizard!

This is something I started a while back but didn’t get too far with. Now I’ve picked it back up and expanded on it in order to get some practice writing platformer mechanics.

Well, THAT was new.

Wynne reported that he was now getting spam…inside my RSS feed. Spam wouldn’t appear on the site, it would only appear in the feed.

I believe I have cleared this up; indeed, this post is testing my fix.

I hope I find a spammer someday. Just one. I just need one…

Time to Level Up

I’ve been thinking that it’s about time to start challenging myself again. Yes, yes, Planitia…but there’s something else I’ve been wanting to do.

I’ve mentioned the self-confidence problems that I’ve had in the past and while I’m a lot better (look, Ma! I’m writing in public!) there is one thing I still don’t like to do and that is compete. I shy away from testing my skills against other people, because I’m afraid I’ll discover that I suck. Well, it’s time to meet this thing head-on.

Therefore, I am hereby announcing that I will compete in Ludum Dare Eleven, which will be held from April 18-20.

Now, see, in order for this to really work I’m going to need to make a pretty good showing of it. So for the next month I’m going to be making lots and lots of small games. I’m hoping to do at least four and I don’t want any of them to take longer than a week to do. This will get me better at starting out quickly and sand over any edges in my 2D development skills.

So the bad news is that there won’t be any Planitia news for a while. The good news is that there should be lots more news on all the other games I’m doing leading up to the competition.

I’m also going to have to come up with a few good recipes, since one of the categories you’re graded on is food

To My Future Employees

All right. You guys may be wondering exactly what we’re doing here. Yeah, you know it’s game development, but I wanted to take a minute to lay my personal philosophy out before you.

Game development is a conversation. It is a conversation between us, the developers, and our players. If we continually talk about subjects our players aren’t interested in, it just can’t surprise us if they eventually wander away to talk to somebody else.

I can hear the grumbles already. “Are you saying we should be completely ruled by marketing data? What are we – Electronic Arts?”

No, but I am saying that it will be up to us to express ourselves through our games while still providing games that the market wants…so we can stay in business. Because in the end, we are playing a game too – a real-time simulation-strategy game called “run a successful game development company and maybe get rich doing it”.

So don’t chafe against these restrictions – revel in them! Restrictions breed creativity! Artists like to fantasize about the day they will be so famous and rich that they’ll finally be able to do whatever they want and realize their true vision – even though every time an artist has done so, the results have been disastrous.

In the end, never forget that our job – our goal – is to try to make people happy.

So let’s do it!

A Torrent of Talks

Thanks to SteelGolem for the tip that there is now a torrent for Warren Spector’s game development talks. You’ll need Bittorrent or a similar program to use it. It appears to be well-seeded at the moment, so grab ’em while you can.

Name That Game 38!

I apologize for the dearth of posts last week…had a couple doctors appointments and some other stuff that kind of threw me off my game.

So let’s start this week off with a rollicking session of Name That Game!

Oooh, that's got to be some version of Sim City!

This episode of Name That Game also marks the first time I have had to alter a screenshot before posting it, since yet again the developers of this game felt that they had so much screen space that they could waste some of it telling you what game you were playing.

Name and developer, please! If you’re the first to get it right, I’ll sponsor your entrance to the Illuminati. No, I’m serious, I’m in good with those guys! Really!

An Actual Conversation Transcript

Me: “Well, I’m 37 now.”

Jamie: “Huh? On your priest? I thought you told me you just dinged 16!”