Month: August 2011

Being a GameDevDad is…part 2.

…watching your 16-year-old daughter level her priest from 1 to 60 in about three weeks…when it took you a year to get your first 60.

…finding out that your ten-year-old son spent all your Wii points on Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People, Part 1.

…having your six-year old daughter constantly ask you if you’ve made the game with the kittens yet.

…having your wife wake you up in the middle of the night and ask you where your authenticator is because she was banned from World of Warcraft for 24 hours.

…having same wife finally, finally, finally try Starcraft II in that 24-hour WoW-less period and discovering that she loves it.

…having to put your laptop on a 6-and-a-half foot tall shelf so that your children can’t get into it. Because they will.

…quoting a scene from Psychonauts along with your son, where he plays Raz and you play Coach Oleander.

…having about six DSs in the house, and constantly finding DS cartridges you didn’t know you owned. (Wait, we own Spirit Tracks? When did we get that?)

…finding that someone has stepped on your Mortal Kombat 9 CD while it was still in the case – and it got broke anyway.

…having to read a Phoenix Wright game out loud to your six-year-old because she still struggles with some of the tougher words.

…coaching your sixteen-year-old on how to handle griefers in her D&D campaign. (Short answer – kick ’em. Out of the game, I mean.)

…reading a fairy tale to your youngest daughter off your smartphone.

…playing XBLA demos with your older daughter and sharing your opinions. (Consensus: Fron Dust – good but a little disappointing that it’s a puzzle game rather than something closer to Populous. Bastion – pretty but the combat gets a little samey. Limbo – terribly depressing and overrated; the Braid of 2011. Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet – SHUT UP AND TAKE OUR MONEY.)

…returning to your computer to discover that your son has been watching Let’s Plays of the Kingdom Hearts games all day long.


My idea for this week’s Name That Game! is a bit more involved, and I haven’t had a chance to work on it yet. Hopefully it’ll be up tomorrow.

Second…ClanDestiny is getting an overhaul. I’m rewriting it in Seth Robinson’s ProtonSDK to make it easier to make it cross-platform. This will take a while, since the SDK doesn’t map well to my own framework (this is not a problem with ProtonSDK, it’s a problem with my framework).

I also need to get rid of those Fire Emblem textures because…I’m going to release this beta for free not only here on the web, but on the Android Market. I got this idea from Seth, who has done the same thing with his new game Tanked. Getting feedback from Android users should make it easier to polish the final version and make it something Android users are expecting.

So…that’s why there’s no new content on the site. Except this post. Which doesn’t really count.

Ludum Dare 21 – A Study in Failure

When I showed McFunkyPants’ Keynote to my 16-year-old daughter, she said, “That is one wise baby.”

And over the course of the weekend, she kept asking me, “Are you doing what the wise baby said?”

And I would say, “Yes, of course.”

But I didn’t. I made a NOOB MISTAKE and got over-ambitious with my game design. I wanted to make a platformer with conversations at various places because I had a story to tell. But I decided that my platformer level would be larger than the screen, smooth-scrolling, and 256×256 tiles in size.

And I felt that I needed an editor in order to make my (one) level. I spent most of Saturday trying to beat it into submission, and when my wife told me Sunday that she needed to go out for most of the day to get the kids ready for school, I knew I wasn’t going to finish.

After an hour or two of working on the editor, I should have ditched it, reduced the map size to 64×64, and edited it by hand. If I’d done so, I’d have finished something; as it is I have a half-finished editor, a nice conversation system…and no game.

Ah, well. There’s always LD22.

If it’s not Ludum Dare 21, it’s CRAP!

Ludum Dare 21 starts tomorrow at 10pm EST. I cannot wait. I think I’ve got a really good chance to make something cool this weekend.

And here’s the keynote!

Hope to see you guys there!

Name That Game! 82 – A Kick in the Side

Ah, sidekicks. Where would we be as players without them?

Probably talking to ourselves a lot.

A good sidekick (a good supporting character, really) can make a game shine. Here are descriptions of ten of my personal favorites. Can anyone name them all?

1. A huge, orange behemoth summoned from the ground and given one purpose: to DRIVE! Or to change oil and adjust timing belts, if no driving jobs are available.

2. A hyperkinetic rabbity thing with a high voice and a penchant for extreme violence.

3. A fat redneckish guy with gold sunglasses who has his selfish moments, but in the end is always there to help you out. And eulogize you, if need be.

4. A dumb blonde reporter who turns out to not only not be dumb, but is a great shot and never needs rescuing.

5. A female archeologist-turned-psychic who happens to be the person who knows the most about the lost city you’re investigating but will only help you if you let her come along.

6. A happy-go-lucky, childlike robot that follows you everywhere.

7. A gravel-voiced, cigar-chomping space marine who just happens to always be there for you when things go south.

8. A young Japanese girl who always wears ceremonial robes, has a huge appetite for cheeseburgers, and can channel the dead.

9. A duck with a bad temper and a horrible speech impediment and a dopey, but loyal, humanoid dog.

10. A friendly, lovable white German Shepherd who can be trained to play ball with you, find treasures and attack your enemies, and helps you escape a horrible castle. (Warning: a toughie.)

Good luck and have fun!

LD21 – I’m in.

Yes! I will be competing in Ludum Dare 21, which just happens to be this weekend!

And for once, most of the themes I hate are getting downvoted. I also feel like both my skills and my framework are in a much better state than they were when I competed in previous LDs. So I’m really expecting to have a finished game at the end of the 48 hours.

And if any of you guys are on Google+, you can add me to one of your circles and we just might livechat over the weekend.

Name That Game! 81: Unobtanium

Just as with last week’s Name That Game, a lot of games introduce new metals, minerals or gasses in order to increase the personality of their games. Such substances are collectively known as Unobtanium.

So here are ten of these substances! Can you tell me in which game you’re collecting, fighting over or blowing up the following…um, “stuff”?

1. Tiberium

2. Tarydium

3. Endurium

4. Terrazine

5. Megacyte

6. Bendezium

7. Timonium

8. Sinisite

9. Raritanium

10. Materia

Good luck and have fun!

ClanDestiny Update: Um…still 8 hours.


If you’ve played Inaria, you can probably tell that that’s Inaria’s level-up screen. It’s been repurposed as the “research technology” screen for ClanDestiny. But the icons are all over the place! What gives?

Well, knowing that I’m going to be fiddling with and re-jiggering a non-square group of icons, I put an “edit” mode into the base GUI object. When this mode is on, you can drag the icons around the screen. They’ll still work, of course.

Since this was work on the framework, it doesn’t count against my time. But I thought you’d like to see what I’ve been doing.

Name That Game! 80: The Root of All Evil

Money. It’s a thrill, and it’s a part of practically every game in some form or another.

But some games aren’t satisfied with just dollars, or even gold. Some games try to give their game worlds personality by renaming the in-game currency.

Below you will find fifteen of these alternate currencies, and your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to identify which games use which currencies. Some entries may have more than one correct answer, as usual.

1. Gil

2. MUs

3. Caps

4. Gildars

5. SPs

6. ISK

7. Moolah

8. Denarius

9. BC

10. Guitar Picks

11. Loonies and Toonies

12. Zorkmids

13. Studs

14. Halos

15. Pennies From Heaven

Good luck and have fun!

ClanDestiny Update: 8 Hours

I gave up on the Ultima tiles, they don’t minimap well. Right now I’m generating my minimap by drawing the base sprite at a really small size; the amount of black in the Ultima tiles made that impossible.

Plus, I could not resist the pretty.

In the minimap area you can see the results of my terrain generation algorithm, which I’m liking a lot for the size and style of landmasses it creates. The number/layout of the special terrain tiles like hills, swamp and desert leave a bit to be desired but I can fix that later.

Plus we’ve got cities and units on the map. They currently do not belong to any team and are non-interactwithabble. That will change very, very soon.

I have 32 hours left. The two most complex things in the game will be the AI (the prototype WILL have one) and the tech tree. AI can’t really be done until the base systems are in, so I’ll probably start that around the 30-hour mark. So putting in the tech tree now would probably be a good idea.

I’m currently thinking about dividing the tree into three basic areas – combat, science and culture. And instead of a tree I’m thinking of a wheel, since all three can interact to provide additional options. Hopefully I can get a mockup of that soon.