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Blog (Pre-Medium)

The Path Ahead – Underdev’d

We (TheInverted and I) are making a wizarding simulator.

We’ve been working on it off and on for a few months, and it’s getting to the point where we probably have an idea with legs. Because there is no point in eating when Instagram is down, I’d like to periodically do an Underdev’d dev log, to go through what we think is interesting in the game, or to document some things that were hard to figure out for an extreme beginner, especially where documentation assumes a base that doesn’t yet exist.

To start though, I’d like to write about this as-of-yet-untitled game we’re working on, what it’s about, and where we’d like to go with it. Here’s the elevator pitch.

You’re a wizard. You recruit parties to explore a randomized, partially-procedurally generated elemental world, kill enemy wizards and bring back treasure, until you’ve taken over the world.

Pretty straight forward. At this point, you’re probably thinking “Yeah, you said wizarding simulator, we get it. Don’t tell me what to think,” and fair enough, here are the details.

Currently, the game has three major modes, Management, Wizarding, and Adventure. Your wizard tower acts as a hub world that is the gateway to each of these modes in the game.

The top level of this game is a management sim that rewards hiring minions on the cheap, and using them to reap the largest rewards. As a wizard, you must allocate your resources to ensure that your parties are running smoothly, to allow you to spend more time on wizarding. In this mode you hire, equip, and train parties, reap their rewards (minus their cuts of course), and get what you need to continue your wizarding work.

Wizarding (spell research and more) is how the player develops the knowledge to interact with the world and solve puzzles. The spells will have a grammar that will allow for a wide array of unique combinations to explore and can be given to parties for use (ala Magicka, or Dungeon Magic, but way more diverse). Spells can be used environmentally and in stories to solve overcome obstacles and solve puzzles, and also in combat.

These puzzles currently come in two flavas:
1. World Puzzles – Researched spells can be used to Change the world itself to allow the party to advance. (ala Anodyne) The world is elemental based, the basic Earth, Wind, Fire, Air to start with other increasingly interesting choices. Examples include:
-Research an Earth Destruction spell to get rid of large rocks.
-Research an Water Movement spell to allow your adventures to move over water.
2. Story Puzzles – The world will consist of text-based enemy encounters. More options will be available if the player has access to certain spells (ala FTL, Fallout, Disco Elysium).
Examples:
-Research Water Creation to help thirsty camels in the desert
-Research Air Movement to help the great scientist Notcid finish their airship

Adventuring is ye olde top down wanding the world and exploring stuff part of ye olde game here (ala Dragon Quest or The Legend of Zelda or … Adventure). Here you complete quests and defeat enemies to gain resources. Resources can be monetary or elemental material. These resources are returned to the wizard for management and distribution.

Adventuring is the bulk of the play experience and it is where the player learns about the world and experiments with how the spells interact with it. It is also ultimately the play state for defeating rival wizards and winning the game. 

The basic “game machine” is as such:

-Management chooses how resources are allocated between Wizarding and Adventuring. 

-Spell Research uses resources gathered in Adventuring to increase the player’s options so that future Adventures can be more successful.
-Adventuring is primarily to gain resources to power Management and Wizarding as well as being the method to defeat other wizards and win the game. 

We plan to have the world generate procedurally based on sculpted components (ala Spelunky). Reaching a fail state (death of the wizard, death of all available party members, bankruptcy) will end the game and reset all progress EXCEPT for the knowledge gained from wizarding. Subsequent playthroughs will allow players a much greater knowledge base at the beginning of the game which will allow them to progress further and more efficiently each time. 

There will be more to come in the months (years ㅠㅠ) ahead as we slowly work through everything we’d like to do. Currently we have a base world generator, as well as a base battle system, and a decent idea of how we want the game to play. If it’s fun we’ll continue and let y’all know.

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Blog (Pre-Medium)

UD #6 – The Art of Giving Up

Welcome to Underdev’d, where I talk about developing games when you don’t really know how to develop games. As Curtis the Inverted mentioned about a month ago, we’re getting band back together. We’ve been working on projects until now, but we haven’t been sharing anything. That needs to change.

Chethmatch – Ahh how I’ll miss thee.

A few months ago, I gave up on Chethmatch, the game idea I was working on for a while. You can see the first version on Itch. It’s striving to be mediocre, and fails badly, but with about 12 downloads to date, it’s probably our most popular title so far.

Chethmatch, as you probably don’t know, was basically a modern rip of Archon, but with a Street Fighter-esque combat system instead. The fighting system was completely physics based, and when two pieces came together to fight, as people mashed the controllers they would just kinda float around in circles chasing each other, never connecting. I decided to start over, which physics only for root motion and animation for all the moves. I worked on it for a few months, until I realized there was no way for me to get these systems to work together.

I mean these systems *can* work together, but there’s no way for *me* to get them to work together. At least not now.

So I gave up. I put the game down and just took a break for a while. This is what I learned.

  1. Admitting you can’t do something isn’t really a bad thing. It’s just being realistic. If you gave it the ol’ college try, and it doesn’t work, and you can’t find anyone to help you make it work, then just step back, and walk away.
  2. Giving up really gives you a good idea of how far your skills have progressed, and what you need to look into in the future. For me, I need to look into physics and animation more, but maybe not both at the same time, and maybe not as complicated of an implementation.
  3. You don’t have to give up forever. Maybe some day I’ll go back some day when I’ve learned more.
  4. It’s okay not to have a game after working on making games for the last four years, even if you want to submit to BIC fest and BitSummit, but can’t, and kinda look like a hanger-on-dork at Haeundae/Kamogawa every year. It’s okay. Kinda.

So yeah. Things are better. Working on a new game now. It’s more story based, and it builds on things I know a bit about, like linguistics, and hating. I hope to have something to show in a few months.

Until then, know that we’re just chugging along, making things. Curtis is streaming and reviewing games and working on stuff, and I’m just working on stuff. More soonish. 🙂

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Archive

David Lynch – “Teaches” Typing

Full Disclosure: I downloaded this “game” like everyone else. I’ve never felt so pleb. 

 

David Lynch Teaches Typing

 

Here at Burpy Fresh, we try to remain positive when reviewing games. We tend to pass over games we dislike rather than be negative. But sometimes, we just can’t stay silent. David Lynch is a habitual line-stepper, and enough is enough. There’s so much to go through, I’m just going to break it down step by step. (Take a few pointers there Lost Highway.)

  • Ol’ Davey is clearly just dialing it in on this one. It’s like he already knows that my life is a complete failure without even meeting me. Just look at the sadness in his face. He knows everything. HE ALREADY KNOWS. Every time he says “Good Job!” I know I’m just one step closer to death. I think it might be because I don’t have a right index finger, but with him, you never know what else is at play.
  • The bug is not USB3 compatible. I’ve gone through every cockroach in the house trying to find one that worked, but the best I could find was Android 5 pin, and I have an iPhone now, so I threw it in some boric acid. (Which there is NO button for by the way.)

 

David Lynch Teaches Typing – Not Compatible At ALL.

 

  • Nothing is spoken backwards, rendering my reverse audio app useless. (That’s some free I’ll never see again. I spent 15 seconds searching for that, too.)
  • Every time I held down A, I felt a tingling down my left leg, not dissimilar to when I had a slipped disc, but it was more insistent. Other keys left me unaffected, except for J which remains untested.
  • The game did not help me up when I was writhing in agony on the floor due to bath salts/tide pods/mid-life crisis.
  • I feel nothing anymore.

As you can see above, clearly Lynchy, your typing tutor needs some more work. Here’s my recommendations.

  1. Give more motivation to learn typing. Tell a story, or better yet, bring in that short weird looking dude and get him to stare into our soul for a few hours. People’ll be all ASDF JKL: all day long.
  2. Different carpets.
  3. More fingering options.

Thank you.

 

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Archive

Chuchel – Thank You

I love point-n-click adventure games. Even before mobile saved their asses I loved them. I have fond memories of going to my friend’s house and play Sierra games on his 286 until they physically kicked me out of the house, boot to rear.

I’m glad we didn’t have Facebook then.

 

“My Spoon Is Too Big.” – Chuchel

 

I’ve always been a sucker for weird point and click adventures. The old Sierra classics, Sam & Max (pre-Tell Tale), The Day of the Tentacle were some of my favourites as a kid. Chuchel is less story driven and more episodic, more streamlined and minimalistic than these titles, but I think that’s what I like about it the most. It’s not a challenge by any means, but it houses a rich world that is wonderfully animated that brings something new and different with each stage. I’ve played through about half of the levels so far, and I plan on going back to it after I get this article written. In short: It’s my jam, yo.

The protagonist is a lovable asshole that just wants to relax and eat his cherry, but the *man* just keeps fucking him around. He’s runs with this rodent who’s sometimes his friend, but only when they need to team up to get the cherry, cause they got this Gold-Silver pact going on. Everyone else in the world just seems to be minding their own business, generally content with not understanding the inner turmoil that is Chuchel. I mean, I think the main dude’s name is Chuchel. It doesn’t explicitly say it, and it could through a curve. I think its name is Chuchel.

 

It’s a retro-esque party and everyone’s invited? I got nothing over here. – Chuchel

Most of the time you’re chasing that cherry, interacting with the environment in new and interesting ways, just to get rebuffed again and again. Sometimes you’re playing jaunty renditions of retro video games, like weird cherry eating pacman or space invaders. Sometimes you’re taking a break. If I had played another chapter, I’d probably have another sentence to put here. I’m trying to say that the content is varied. Varied, and yet really well put together. New events are unexpected but not unusual in the grand scheme of things. New mechanics seem to come naturally.

It’s a party. And for 10 bucks you’re invited.

 

Paaaaaaartaaaaaaay. (Those black things are your muscly arms.) – Chuchel

 

I guess overall, the only complaint I would have would be that the game is not really challenging. After messing around for just a few minutes on a stage, the game drops a hint in the shape of a crude child’s drawing (at least on the level I used a hint). It would be nice if there was a bit more of a challenge. Mind you I’m only half way through so maybe there’s something harder coming.

Ima go play it again now and see.

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Florence

Florence isn’t really a game. And that’s okay by me.

As someone who is often inspired more by electronic toys like Vectorpark’s Windosill, and some of the interactive stories from Tell Tale Games, (definitely not Jurassic Park, and not a good chunk of Sam and Max either. Shame on you Tell Tale for gonking that franchise up.) I really enjoy non-game titles, because they’re pushing the boundaries of what’s acceptable/possible on whatever electronic device you choose to interact with. It’s refreshing.

But, I don’t want to call Florence an interactive story. You can’t interact with the story, you just kinda help it on its way in some strangely intuitive ways. There are no puzzles to solve, just to finish. There are no challenges to the player overcome, but an overflowing sea of them for Florence, the main character. You’re a fly on the wall with some super mild telekinetic/psychic abilities that push you up against a Malkovichian grate that lets you stick a finger through and smell the room.

But not in a creepy way.

I guess I would call it an interactive experience? But even that sounds forced. I uploaded some screenshots, but I don’t really want to use them. I think it’s probably best just to play this one through for yourself.

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Polyventure

Full Disclosure: Bought the game. Pleb. Yes, yes. Tired joke.

Since the game only takes 10 minutes to finish, we’re gonna do this quick.

 

Is Polyventure worth buying? No.

Is the OST for Polyventure worth buying? Probably yes.

Is Polyventure worth playing? Mild yes.

 

It’s walking simulator, but it’s a super pretty one. There’s nothing to do, but you can look around. It was a fun 10 minutes.

 

Pick it up for a buck on sale and have an enjoyable 10 minutes.

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Subsurface Circular – Robotic Zork

Full Disclosure: I bought this game like a pleb. I’m just going to get a shirt that says “I’m with Pleb.” and wear it from now on.

It’s finally 2018. A fresh-ish new year. Why not start the year off with a review of something fresh? …from 2017… because I didn’t check the date on Steam when I bought the game…? Okay. Sounds good. Glad we’re cool with that.

 

Subsurface Circular – Intro Graphics

 

Subsurface Circular is a visually-gripping text-based adventure about going about their business in a futuristic metro system. Okay, realistically, all dating-sims and a good number of JRPGs fall into this category, but something here pushes each end a bit further down the spectrum than normal, but it works well, at least through the first three chapters.*

You play a “Tek,” a member of the android subclass that’s de-facto owned by the government. You’re a security guard?-cum-detective assigned to the subway system that’s gone rogue, now looking into the recent disappearances of Teks in the city. The entire story (so far) takes place in one subway car as you ride around the ring line, letting off and taking on Teks along the way, but that’s enough to piece together what’s happening.

At times, the Teks that pass through you subway car are seemingly self-aware, having dialogue that seems influenced more by individual and diverse personality traits than rigid programming structures. With the exception of Listeners, who, up until where I am in the game, just ignore you while listening to techno, every Tek has a somewhat unique personality that makes conversation interesting. Pretty important for a text-based adventure, hey.

 

Subsurface Circular – Conversation

 

Not speaking of, I should point out that I really like the graphics. Though mostly static, the screen shimmies slightly but fluidly with the mouse giving a believable feeling of depth, and the Tek design is brightly coloured and full of detail, and they have fluid movement. It really sets the mood for me. I feel like I’m on the subway when playing.

But not in a bad way, because fuck that place in real life. Line 9, you know what you did.

The only real downfall is that the game itself is not much of a challenge. Of course, being text based, it’s more about the journey than the gameplay, but knowing that, at least as far as I’ve played, that all information can be gathered by simply going through all the available options, removes some of the motivation to go through all of said options. In fact, I’ve only seen one part in the game so far that I could actually get wrong. Though the Teks can link to each others for conversation, most can’t get a signal to reach the surface, which is designed to be limiting to the current environment for emersion, but it has the side effect of needing to have everything you need to continue to be right in front of you at all times.

Honestly, though it’s a small gripe compared to the positive points of the game, that the story is interesting and believable, and that the graphics are so well done. I estimate the whole game could probably be completed in 2-3 hours, but I feel that’s worth the $5.99 price, and if the game’s longer or you actually get off the train at some point, then bonus.

Despite the slight potential for mild inceptiony-like situations, I think the iPad version would make a pretty good commute time killer. It’s pretty pick uppable/put downable.

I’m gonna go play it.

 

*The author requests that people do not stream past the first three chapters, or at the very least put spoiler warnings if they stream past that. Super respectful and practical. I’d like to see more of this from game devs. I didn’t end up streaming it, but three chapters is good enough to get a good idea of what’s going on.

 

 

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Blog (Pre-Medium)

Seoul Indies – December Line Up

A belated and half-hearted Happy New Year’s to everyone. We’ve had a good break here, and by good, I mean it took me 3 weeks to pick up ourselves from the tear-soaked bathroom floor where my hopes and dreams have gone to die, to drag myself out to December’s Seoul Indies.

Which kinda cheered me up. No, not in a schadenfreude sort of way either. It’s inspired us to get back on the game-dev bandwagon folks, and hopefully we’ll have something to show in the next month or so. Something… almost fun.

For now though, here’s what we saw at Seoul Indies last week.

 

Flower in Gear – Byulbram

Flower in Gear – Byulbram

 

This was a game jam title, with the goal of combining art, games, and politics. I’m sure I missed most of the political stuff, but basically you have to balance a series of gears that shift in size. Gears that are working well together turn green and disappear, but gears that don’t work together can turn red and cause you to lose the game. As far as I know, he’s still working on the win conditions for this one, but it’s and interesting concept.

 

Hegemonia Rebellion – Moonshine Games

Hegemonia Rebellion – Moonshine Games

This game is a roguelike with a lot of influence from FTL. You start with a number of players in a procedurally generated world with the goal of overthrowing the king. There are isometric battle sequences like Final Fantasy Tactics or Fire Emblem, while towns and cities are mostly text based in a manner similar to Darklands. If you beat the game you become the new king, and the next time you play it, you’ll have a new party setting out to try to take down your old character. There’s a lot of stuff happening in this title, it’ll be interesting to see how it develops.

 

Super Jazz Bros – 21c Ducks

Super Jazz Bros – 21c Ducks

This game was another game jam title, that 21c ducks are considering developing into a full fledged game. It’s a bit like Parappa the Rapper (and jazz I suppose) in that there is a call-and-repeat mechanic, where you take an instrument and jam with the computer or with others. The better you do, the more people show up in the crowd (similar to Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door?), and the more stuff that can appear on screen it seems. I’d like to see how they work more multiplayer options into this. (Right now it just seems to be multiple people on the same keyboard.)

 

Kuro Shiro Lollo – 21c Ducks

Kuro Shiro Lollo – 21c Ducks

In the words of the great Curtis the Inverted, “Single screen platforming puzzlers are a staple of the indie games industry.” You control two cats with one set of controls and need to get them to their proper portals at the same time. I think I would rather see them focus on Super Jazz Bros than this, but I can still see there being a market for another of this type of game.

 

That’s it! Let’s hope we have something to show by the next time Indies rolls around!

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Blog (Pre-Medium)

Back to Japan – Otaru and Mega Night

TLDR: Japan is for drinking.

While I can’t say this statement has been true for my whole life, or for even times as recent as 10 years ago, I do loves me some Japan. I think after moving out of the country, we needed a few years apart to grow and develop, and now that I’m more mature, and I don’t have to deal with its everyday bullshit on a regular basis, Japan is again like a second home to me, full of enjoyment and wonder, and booze, and video games.

So back again I went into the fire, this time to both Tokyo and Kyoto in one trip, in search for the best drunkenest parties in the country, and people to talk about game dev with. I was not disappointed.

I left on Thursday morn, a chill wind from the north whipping through the trees, keeping my vodka at just above freezing. I questioned my own behaviour on Facebook, regarding always taking early flights, to which I received an immediate and repeated response.

“You’re a cheap bastard.”

The truth is hard to take at 3 am.

But after a short flight, a nap, and like 40 plates of sushi, I was off and rearing to go to Otaru, Tokyo’s video game industry weekly meet up. This was my second time visiting, and I was pleasantly surprised to be remembered, and not beaten to a bloody pulp on sight. It’s a super welcoming crowd. Y’all my fucking heroes.

#Progress

I don’t remember everything that happened, but these people know how to do up a Thursday night. Add some Kyoto peeps in town in the mix and dayum it’s nuts. We sanjikaied at a burrito shop where I had a few coronas and I woke up in bed the next morning, covered in mikan chuhai, trying to piece everything together over Twitter.

Them lemon sours pack a punch.

Twitter remembers all.

Pukey and 40, I rolled out of bed around 10 and trundled over to Narita T3, and dead-plebbed it JetStar to KIX, Kyoto bound to Mega. (Kyoto peeps took the train like civilized human beings.)

Mega, which I think might be a secret, but then again might not be, and no one reads this anyways so it doesn’t really matter, is Vitei Backroom’s RR celebration of video games, friendship, and alcohol. On Mega Eve, the three 1/2 kingdoms declare peace for a day, and all come together to rejoice, for there is ample booze in the freezer.  It is a time of joy and glee. And, for the second time in 24 hrs, I woke up with the taste of mikan chuhai in my mouth.

It’s the taste of freedom.

The rest of the time was spent handing with ex-Seoulites, and getting dat soosh. Good times.

Oh and Mushroom cocktails. That’s a mushroom cocktail up there.

Kyoto loves gin.

10/10. Would recommend.

Will get back to reviewing games this weekish.

 

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Blog (Pre-Medium)

GStar – Worth it? Probably not.

I finally decided to get off my lazy ass and go to GStar in Busan. Was it worth it? Kinda. Here’s the breakdown.

 

The Good

 

Vectorium at BIC’s booth.

 

1. Busan Indie Connect (BIC) has a fairly large pity booth at the side of the event. I’m pretty sure the conversation went like this:

 Busan Government : Let BIC come and play.

 GStar: But, but they’re not cool! They don’t even have any half-naked dancing chicks.

 Busan Government: Do you want to use BEXCO for like free or not?

GStar: … FINE. They can come, but I’m not talking to them any.

And so it went. The booths were fairly crowded, but it seemed like most people were just trying to get away from the throng in the main hall.

Now, don’t get me wrong, BIC is my baby, and it was the best part of the event. I got to see a lot of people, hang out, play some weird games. It was way more fun than anything else GStar had to offer. I’m just keeping it real yo.

 

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds – Proof that you don’t need good music, art, design, or programming skills to make a popular game.

 

2. PUBG Tournament in the main hall. That was fun. The game itself is boring as watching paint dry, but spectating is kinda amazing. Having eyes on 75 people get herded into a increasingly smaller and smaller place while trying to not to be seen, creates some real drama, especially because when the spectating monitors have x-ray mode on so you can see people lying in wait. It makes me wish this was possible in the actual game, instead of just dying and wondering why.

 

Roof Rage

 

3. Roof Rage on the big screen. Okay, so maybe BIC and GStar did agree to a little big of crossover, though I’m not sure how much BIC had to do with this one. Roof Rage on the big screen was fun as hell to watch! Of course, action packed multiplayer lends itself well to these situations, but it’s nice to see some smaller developers getting some good screen time.

 

The Bad

 

1. Half-naked trade show models. (Not pictured above) Really? It’s 2017, let’s move beyond this. Not only is it creepy to see men drooling as they charge up to people just to take photos and run away, it doesn’t really have anything to do with gaming. You know what would be better? An effort to make gaming more inclusive towards women.  Oh wait. I forgot. Hell hasn’t frozen over yet, and pigs can’t even fly. My bad. Continue on. *

2. Why does it seem that all AAA games are either all handholdy 3D walking simulators with a sprinkle of something story-like, or “action”-“r””p””g”s that basically either play themselves or require a semi-continuous one-button input? I’ll fully admit I’m biased, but there was nothing I wanted to play anywhere in the main hall, and really, PUBG was only fun because of the event. So very boring.

3. Sooo many people, and such poor planning. When I got there at about 1pm on Saturday, the line to buy tickets was about 2000 people long. Luckily I was able to get a guest pass to avoid the 2-3 hour wait, but that’s a planning failure if I’ve ever seen one. Buy your tickets in advance people.

 

The Summary

 

In short, GStar was only worth it for me for hanging out with BIC peeps. I’m not sure if I’ll go back again next year, it really depends if BIC has a booth there or not. If you happen to be in Busan and are able to get tickets in advance (they’re really cheap) then I would say go for it for an afternoon, not really worth the trip though.

 

*How long till someone calls me a SJW snowflake cuck not-real gamer?