Month: April 2008

I’m Ready!

Okay, finally got something I like. When the Minimalist theme was announced my first idea was a minimalist RPG, like a Roguelike. And I’d been thinking about writing a Roguelike for a while…but I don’t think I could write a good Roguelike in two days.

After getting some sleep I thought of a very simple action game – top-down, 2D. You start in the center of a room and must avoid enemies until a weapon spawns, at which point you can pick it up and kill them. Unfortunately this is almost exactly what MrFun is doing…and he’s actually a good way into making his game.

So I came back to thinking about the minimalist RPG idea, and of course of the first games I thought of was the original Legend of Zelda. (Except that some people claim that Zelda isn’t an RPG at all. Why? Because there are no stats to improve. You don’t level up and gain abilities; all your abilities come from things you find in the world. Want more health? Find a heart container. Want do to more damage? Find a better sword, etc. I can see their point, but I don’t think I agree with it.)

And then I remembered a game I played a long time ago called Castle Adventure. It was a very good real-time RPG similar to Zelda, where you picked up items that gave you new abilities and allowed you to explore (and ultimately escape) the castle. Combat was a bit lame, however – it had Roguelike combat, where you just ran into an enemy and whoever was tougher won. I liked that there were a lot of puzzles in the game, though. You used treasures you’d already found to access new areas of the castle and get more treasures.

Both of these games seem to strip the concept of the RPG down to its roots. So I’m going to write a game similar to them, but adding improvements of my own. It’ll have Zelda-style action combat but it’ll also have Castle Adventure-style treasure collecting and puzzle solving.

And it’ll be in text mode 🙂

Well, Crapberries…

I finally come up with an idea and discover that MrFun is already doing it.

And the winner is…


And it won by a huge margin.

What the heck? A Ludum Dare game is pretty much “minimalist” by default!

Ludum Dare 11 Starts Tonight!

At 9 PM local time, actually. Which means that I’ll have to resist the temptation to stay up real late.

Here’s the list of final theme candidates:

Bleeding / Leaking
Bumper Cars
Slowed Time
Turn Based

The final theme will be one of these, although we won’t find out which one until time begins. The current favorite appears to be “Endless” which I’m not a huge fan of. I’m also not a huge fan of “Bleeding/Leaking”, “Morph” or “Slowed Time” because I think it would be hard to write a game using those mechanics in 48 hours.

I’m going to be doing a lot of blogging over the next 48 hours. I will try to mirror all posts here, but most of it will be at the official Ludum Dare site. And of course I’ll be hanging out in the official IRC channel – #ludumdare on

Name That Game 41!

Shock! Gasp! It’s a game released AFTER 1996!

Huh...looks like a sci-fi Dungeon Keeper.

This game was made by a studio that had garnered a bit of a bad reputation after the Ph.D.s who staffed it claimed they could write an infinite polygon engine. Unfortunately their first game didn’t impress anyone with its graphics. This was the second and last game they made.

Name and developer, please!


Good Lord, I’ve neglected this blog recently. I didn’t really mean to…things have just been kind of hectic. So it’s time for a grab bag post!

First, I did a short video over the weekend about how you can mod System Shock 2 to make it look better.

I am seriously thinking about doing a Let’s Play of either System Shock 2 or Starflight…once the Ludum Dare is over.

And that’s this weekend. And I’m getting seriously nervous because I don’t feel I’m prepared enough. I’ve been working on a little space-based 4X game called Spacesploitation! (yes, the exclamation point is part of the title). Currently it looks like this:

Hmmm...not much exploiting going on yet...

I had expected to finish it before the competition started. That doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

So in the end, I’ll just do my best and see how that comes out.

The Convergent Future

Brad Wardell of Stardock has talked a lot on his blog about the development of Sins of a Solar Empire, and how it brought Stardock and Ironclad Games very close together, to the point where they could almost be considered one company. Stardock is technically the publisher but because they also develop games they could provide all kinds of help to Ironclad to get their game ready to go out the door – and the game certainly seems to have benefited, with a Metacritic score of 88.

Now Stardock is teaming up not just with Ironclad but also with Gas Powered Games to produce their new action/strategy/RPG mashup game Demigod.

In a previous video blog of mine I mentioned how Naughty Dog and Insomniac Games teamed up to the benefit of both, and this appears to be More Of The Same, and I couldn’t be happier.

Frankly, I think the two best game publishers on Earth right now are Stardock and Valve. Funny how both are developers as well as publishers. And funny how both use a combination of digital distribution and retail to sell their games.

Name That Game 40!

If you’ll recall, I mentioned that last week’s game failed because it was released before the PC was capable of doing arcade games. Now let’s look at a game from the golden era of PC arcade games!

Castles, wizards, crystals...gosh, could be anything!

After the success of Commander Keen the shareware scene was just flooded with platformers, most of which weren’t nearly as good. I really liked this one myself, though.

Name and developer, please! If you win I’ll tell you what the secret game I’m working on is!