I need YOU

Does anyone want to playtest Crystal Chasers? The full game should run you somewhere in the 45 to 60 minute range. I mostly just need someone who's willing to play the game from start to finish in one sitting.

I should finish sometime Wednesday or Thursday; I'd need the feedback Friday morning at the latest if I'm going to be able to do anything with it. If this sounds like something you can do, please let me know!


2009 Game Design in Review

Timpoline (March) I like this game a lot more than other players, I think. The difficulty is tuned to me as the game designer, which means it's way, way too hard for everyone else. I was planning on re-releasing with full level skips and free passage to the EX levels to anyone who beat the final boss. I ought to get around to that soon; some of the best levels are the ones players are less likely to have gotten around to. I will say that I have a real soft spot for this game and I wish other people were better at it. Maybe I should make some YouTube videos of me beating some of the levels.

Gohrillas (August) I made this game in something like three hours. The response I got was disproportionate. People like old QBASIC games.

Phantom Tactics (Chapter 1) (September) I'd been playing a little Fire Emblem, see, and I pitched an OHR version to Newbie. It turned out he was already making one. Whoops. So I played around with the mechanics to come up with the concept that became the Phantom Tactics battle system. This turned out to be my most popular game of the year. I do plan on getting back to work on this game, but since the release, I've had very little desire to do so. I think that's largely because, while I know how the game ends, I don't know how I'm going to get from A to B. Maybe a little plot planning would go a long way, or maybe I just need to replay the game to get back into the mood. And maybe it's just that I had a lot more fun making...

Do You Want to be a Hero? (October) I'd been playing a lot of 7th Saga, see... I think this game does a good job of making it fun to level up frantically. More to the point, though, it accomplishes very tactical turn-based RPG battles in a way that feels satisfying. Apparently, players found the game difficult, but the irony is that I balanced the game by adding something like 3 to 5 minutes to my first clear time for each stage. This was a lot of fun to work on.

Maze of the Red Mage (December) This is going to be hard to top as a 48-hour game. It's a full, complete, playable game, and it's pretty entertaining, too, even if you end up dying more often than not. If I'd had more time to make the game, I'd be really unsatisfied with the balance, but for a 48-hour entry, it's actually pretty amazing. I'd only entered one 48-hour competition before this. No one remembers my entry and it's best that way. I'm really satisfied with how this turned out, though, and I'm considering making a DS port.

A really good year. Phantom Tactics and Maze of the Red Mage won $50 and $25, respectively (although I gave half the PT cash to TwinHamster, who did the unit graphics/animations). I don't think that's the most I ever made in a year from game design, but I didn't have a job back in my $100 year.

Think my wife would kill me if I quit my career to make $75/yr making games?

Actual conversation

me: Speaking of distracting, you left a poo in the toilet.
kari: Does that distract you?
me: It totally does.
kari: I left a load in the dryer yesterday...
me: You pooped in the dryer? That is totally inappropriate!
kari: It was a dark load and a full load...
me: That is way too much information.
kari: I'm too tired for this.
me: What do you want me to do with your load?
kari: (laughing) Make sure it's dry.

Best movie ever

I just watched a YouTube clip that was clearly someone's recording of someone else's Youtube clip. He took a camcorder, hit record, then clicked play on the Youtube video, recorded the whole thing, and uploaded it to Youtube. Wow.

He had shaky hands and no tripod.

The weakest revenge

Someone went through almost every video I uploaded to YouTube and gave them all the minimum rating. This is, uh, way more puzzling than upsetting, especially since A) I don't care about my YouTube ratings, especially since most of my videos cater to a very specific audience, and B) I noticed this about three months after the fact. Who has the time to do something so petty and ineffectual?

If you're going to be petty, at least try not to be so ineffectual. Do something your target will notice.

I'm going to barf

There comes a time in every Unix user's life when he makes the mistake of typing "rm *" (or, if he's particularly unlucky, "rm -rf") -- the command to delete everything in a directory. For me, this time came today.

I think I lost over a hundred hours' worth of work. Still waiting to hear if I can recover any of it.

No, seriously, I'm going to cry or something if I lost everything.

Mini-review: Scribblenauts

(Three kids in costumes come up to you. HINT: Trick or treat!)

I write "CANDY." A candy appears and I give it to the kids. I win!

This is obviously unsatisfying. I reboot the level and try it in Advanced mode, which forces you to try the level three times in a row without repeating any words.

Round 1: I pick up the nearby jack-o-lantern and chuck it at the nearest kids. The kids run off, horrified. I win!

Round 2: I write "WEREWOLF." The werewolf attacks the kids, killing at least one. I win!

Round 3: I write "ZOMBIE." The zombie turns the kids into zombies, then everyone marches over and I get zombied. I lose!

Round 3: I pick up the jack-o-lantern and throw it at the kids. Dumb kids. I win!

At this point, I have beaten the level on advanced mode. (The jack-o-lantern, being a pre-existing item, is exempt from advanced rules.)

(Santa stands there with a sleigh, some presents, and a reindeer.)

I write "ELF." Everyone loves elves. I win!

Underwhelmed again, it's time for advanced mode.

Round 1: I write "SIREN" and choose the creature. The siren kills Santa. I lose!

Round 1: I write "MEDUSA." Medusa appears and starts attacking everyone. The reindeer is turned to stone. Quickly, I write "BOY." I win! ...Or I would have won, but I got petrified right after I grabbed the starite. I lose!

Round 1: I write "BOY." I win!

Round 2: I write "GIRL." I win!

Round 3: I write "SHOTGUN." I give the shotgun to Santa. I write "YETI." The yeti attacks Santa, but Santa kills the yeti with his shotgun. I write "DEATH." Death kills everyone. I lose!

Round 3: I write "ELF." I win!

What else do you need to know about this game? The biggest complaint I heard pre-launch was that it looked too easy. It's not; there are some really hard levels. But that's not even the point! The point is that it's the most fun you've ever had.