Category Archives: game design

NanoTone Synth 2.0 Update, How to Escape 2017

NanoTone Dev Notes

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NanoTone Synth got a lot of support on the first anniversary of its release in August, so I decided to continue updating it with more features. The biggest change is the addition of a keyboard, which allows you to play chords in any temperament. This allows you to compare which tunings are more consonant/dissonant than others.

I added a stat to show how much better/worse the tuning of each given temperament is, compared to 12-TET. It basically compares the perfect fourth (4:3), major third (5:4), minor third (6:5) and minor second (16:15) intervals of each temperament. Since the perfect fourth (4:3) and major second (9:8) are 3-limit or Pythagorean intervals, the major second’s tuning is closely tied to the perfect fourth. Therefore it was redundant to count both, as it gave less accurate calculations.

On that note, the approximator doesn’t really tell you how well a tuning handles 7-limit or higher harmonies, since they don’t occur in 12-TET music and therefore there’s no comparison to make. It can only tell you how well tuned the intervals we encounter in Western music are. If you want to find a tuning that works well for 7-limit or higher, it’s best to use the corresponding menu screens to check their accuracy.

I would like to add an alternate keyboard that allows you to play the 7 and 11-limit harmonies later. That would cost the second octave though, as I’d need those higher keys. It’s something to consider if more people start using the software.

I also added a menu for 13-limit harmonies. It’s a bit more tightly packed than the other menu screens – there are 18 ratios for 13-limit, versus 14 ratios for 7 or 11-limit. I highly doubt I will add a menu for 17-limit or anything higher. There would simply be too many ratios to fit on screen w/o dividing the menu into multiple pages. Some famous microtonal composers like Harry Partch found no reason to go beyond 11-limit, as that provides plenty of new harmonies.

I also updated the GUI to make it look prettier, and added a help page to show controls.

If you want a deeper explanation behind the mathematics and genesis of this project, refer to my first dev blog here.

 

How to Escape 2017: Delete Your Social Media

I’ve been withdrawing inward more and more lately. I deleted my Soundcloud, my Instagram, and now my Twitter as well. Yes, it’s a reaction to the way the world has been changing. Not just this insane year but the whole decade. Everything is a reaction to a reaction to a reaction now. All social media is centered around comment sections and reaction emojis so you can feed into the endless back-and-forth.

None of it is conducive to “stopping to think” before you reply. Or better yet, “stopping to research”. If you don’t correct misinformation at the source it spreads like wildfire. And most people aren’t willing to admit they’re misinformed when they’re being called out on it.

Some pictures from my now-deleted Instagram.

 

I had a lot of varied experiences with Twitter, both good and bad. The good part was getting to know some of my obscure heroes of the gaming world, and interacting with some of my favorite musicians. Those were small but important milestones for me. There were funny moments too.

On the other hand, I’ve learned too many artists become “de-mystified” when you see them up close. Certainly not all of them. But there were a few artists that I have a very different impression of after seeing them regularly on social media. Up close you see their flaws, you learn their routine, you learn too much of how they really are.

One interesting event was Kurt Travis (ex-Dance Gavin Dance singer) drunkenly losing his shit and saying he was going to quit music. Musicians can be really moody in general. But again this isn’t the case with everyone. Most people have been very cool and entertaining to interact with.

 

Russian Interference

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Russians playing a game of human chess in St. Petersburg, circa 1924. A fitting metaphor for our world right now.

 

The more I learn about how the Russians hacked the US elections and spread misinformation through Twitter and Facebook, the less comfortable I feel being on social media. My twitter feed used to be lit but not so much anymore. Too many users left or became inactive. At this point I just use it to keep in touch with old friends. The platform can change at the whim of some out-of-touch nerd in Silicon Valley, anyway.

The fact that they won’t delete Trump’s tweet threatening North Korea because of “newsworthiness” makes me sick all over. I don’t want to be using a service run by people who think like that. Trump’s deranged threats are putting the lives of American soldiers at risk, and Twitter is enabling him. It’s horrifying.

On the subject of the US elections, I’m anxiously awaiting Mueller’s investigation as I imagine most Americans are. In the meantime, this feels like a good time to be changing my focus. The state of the world has become too depressing to watch. So I don’t think people would blame me for thinking this is a good time to turning inward and reflect on my own life, rather than the outside world.

 

Sharing and Intimacy

I’ve had this notion that sharing has been cheapened by social media. You’re encouraged to share everything about your lives on social media.

Some pictures of home life, taken for a friend.

 

The act of sharing, I believe, has become cheapened to the point of losing its original meaning. In the past, “sharing” generally implied a small group of people. Now it implies sharing with the world. So my latest art projects try to get back in touch with that original meaning. They have been very intimate affairs that I only share with one person.

I am trying to keep older forms of art alive, as it were. Not sure how long I’ll keep doing this but I find it personally rewarding. More rewarding than releasing art to a group of strangers online.

You will have to become my patron to get access to my personal art now. 😉

 

What Next…?

I’m not working on a new game. I’m not writing new music. I’m not working on music software. So what am I doing? I’m mostly writing short stories, some of which you can find here.

I’m still exercising with innovative ways to tell a story to the reader, subverting traditional first or third-person storytelling with fictional documents, chat logs, etc. All while I wrestle with a few massive narratives that I’ve had in mind for years now, trying to figure out the best way to express them.

My collection of poetry is growing. You can read my old work here. Most pieces come in the form of song lyrics so I can set them to music, but I’ve also been experimenting with other forms (haiku, free verse, ballads, villanelles).

I still feel like song lyrics are the form I’m most comfortable writing in. Occasionally I have ideas that work well in free verse, like my old pieces Focus and Divine Intervention. Those work because they are written to be spoken aloud, like songs are meant to be sung aloud.

While I am fond of visual poetry and have used it before, it doesn’t hit me quite as viscerally. I’m not a huge fan of “book poems”, as it were. Sometimes I feel old poems look better than they sound.

Haiku is a lot of fun because there’s a wonderful challenge in saying a lot with very little. I’m also fascinated with jisei – the Japanese tradition of writing a “death poem” towards the end of one’s life. They often convey a disarming humor about the transience of life. Basho’s jisei is classic.

 

旅に病で
夢は枯野を
かけ廻る

tabi ni yande
yume wa kareno wo
kake meguru

On a journey, ill;
My dream goes wandering
Over withered fields.

 

That’s all for now. Till next time! 🙂

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A Dev Blog for Iridescent Crown

New Trailers

Iridescent Crown 1.2 is now out, and here are some trailers for it. 🙂 You can play the game for free in your browser, and you can buy the Windows version.

This is the new official trailer, which runs through World 1.

 

Some gameplay footage with a projectile weapon.

 

Showcasing a few different weapons.

 

Finding a rare weapon, and the implications thereof.

 

Dev Blog for Iridescent Crown

I didn’t chronologue this like I normally do, so this is in no particular order. Most of this final work was done between March 11th and 14th.

 

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Firstly, I made a new logo for my games (and websites in general). It’s inspired by the SEGA logo, as well as the Inuyasha logo. The color purple is a nice mix of royal and feminine. Seeing my first name in katakana is pretty awesome too. Creating a new logo was a small detail, but also a big deal in its own way. I love the sound I picked to go with it – reminds me of starting up the PSX or PS2.

 

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Adding the controls before you begin the game got the most positive feedback from my friends. It’s good to know it’s not too confusing to the eyes.

If you get a strong weapon early enough in the game, nothing beyond that is a challenge. So I made them much more rare in the early levels. The difficulty curve is much smoother now. You’ll have to fight many more enemies to find a weapon worth keeping now, which makes them more valuable.

The large enemies were invincible to close-range attacks, and required projectiles to kill. I realized this was annoying and removed their invulnerability.

 

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I also added a separate room for the shopkeeper. A door allows you to “leave” the room if you don’t like the random weapon you buy, which quickly resets the room. I added several NPCs in this room that give you additional tips to playing the game. I added more lines to the tutorial as well (about the map and radar).

 

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I added a legend to the map on the pause screen, which tells you what the marks mean. Makes it a lot easier to read!

 

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One other big change came at the very end, when I added damage points that visibly appear when you hit or get hit. This really helps with the “feel” of the fighting system.

There was also a glitch you could get by pausing on the game over screen, which I fixed after a friend reminded me about it. 🙂

I experimented with changing the graphics a bit, but when that didn’t work I decided to leave things as they are. I also intended to add a bit more “story” to the game, but in the end this didn’t seem necessary.

 

New Trajectories

I’m still pretty disappointed GMS2 isn’t bringing more tools to the table that I don’t already have. It kills some of the plans I had for extending my current projects – namely adding more features to the music generators.

I was really hoping they would add support for MIDI files (or any music files, really), so I could export the music my games generate. One huge problem is GM is terrible with tempo – even delta_timing isn’t always reliable. I removed the drums from Seraphim Automata to avoid lag issues with running the sequel in HTML5. It sucks because I really like the drum generation system. It may be worth recycling into another desktop game.

One of Iridescent Crown‘s biggest limitations was the 640×480 resolution, which was necessary for HTML5 but awful for the Windows version. It fits the pixel art style, but it’s difficult to appreciate the random level design when the window is so small.

It’s not like I ever had to shrink the window though. The window was small from the start, because 640×480 games were more common when I started this (in 2010). So the game is a bit of a relic in its own way, and begs for a sequel.

I think I’m done with the music generation, sadly. Unless I integrate it into one of the platformers. And I don’t know when I’ll have another platformer underway. If Iridescent Crown gets more feedback, I might feel more confident about the sequel. Either way, I think I’m done with HTML5 versions of my games. It was a nice experiment.

I will probably keep watching how this year unfolds for video games, while I go back to working on music and short stories.

 

Why I Don’t Play New Games

So the new Zelda game is out, as well as Nier: Automata and a ton of other great games. It looks like 2017 is already shaping up to be the best year for gaming since 2004.

I’m not really riding the hype train so much as watching through other’s eyes though, thanks to platforms like twitch and youtube. I have next to no interest in playing these new games, or getting or whatever, when I can just watch other people play the games for me. I don’t really care about the new Switch either (unless I can get my own game on it, of course).

New games aren’t innovative enough to be worth spending my money on. They just seem like higher quality versions of stuff I was playing in the 2000s.

I don’t care about perfect graphics. I care about deep mechanics that allow for more experimentation, and therefore more replayability. The AAA industry, because of its massive time and budget constraints, simply isn’t built for experimentation.

Nowadays you get your standard “open world” game with 30+ hours of side quests. NPC interactions are still very shallow. Too many games are content to crib Minecraft’s crafting system, rather than implement their own unique ideas. Too few have tried to innovate the “gameplay-cutscene-gameplay” problem.

Fandoms allow companies to cash in on the same IP over and over. So they aren’t likely to take a risk to appeal to an “experimental” niche. Why do that, when they can just throw Link into another sandbox game and sell that?

Nier: Automata looks great, but I could also just pop in Kingdom Hearts from 2002. We haven’t progressed that far. The same could be said about the new Zelda vs Wind Waker from 2004. Nintendo and Square Enix don’t need to innovate when they can cash in on their established formulas.

I’ve also noticed a lot of my friends complaining more and more about their massive “backlogs” of games they’ve bought but haven’t played. It makes me wonder if this is how the indiepocalypse will actually unfold. You can finally make your dream game with the right tools – but it doesn’t matter because nobody has time for it.


My Presskit, GMS2 and Steam +More Game Trailers

I’ve finally got my presskit together! I’m quite proud of it. It’s on github here. https://dylanfranks.github.io/

It currently covers all my games and music software. I won’t have much more to add until I start a new game project. And who knows when that will be.

 

Trailers

Here are some new videos of Seraphim Automata 2. 🙂 This one shows the game generating elaborate piano melodies in 7/8.

 

This one shows a marimba playing in 10/8.

 

This one shows a harp playing in 4/4.

 

And this one show the autoplay feature, which goes on forever. 😛

 

Here’s a Gosper glider gun generating music in Celody Life. I updated the software with a larger grid, pause and mute buttons, and more tempo options. The larger grid is nice because obviously now you can make larger structures and see how they “sound”. I may update this again in the near future.

 

Game Maker Studio 2

I’m surprised Game Maker Studio 2 is out of beta when it clearly needs a lot more work. The deprecation of certain ubiquitous functions really kills my enthusiasm for the new software – specifically instance_create() and draw_background(). Transferring my old work would honestly be too much of a pain. I’m better off continuing in “GMS1”, as it’s now known.

And the only reason I prefer that over Game Maker 8 or older versions is simple – dark mode is easier on my eyes and allows me to work longer. It’d also be cheaper to just upgrade exports for GMS1 than buy GMS2 – Linux export is the only one I still want to get and haven’t. My experience with making games for Android tells me iOS would just be a pain to work with.

The new work space also looks really weird. A bit too much like Unity. I’ll admit what they’ve done with GM’s image editor is impressive. But that can always be substituted with another image editor like Aseprite. You can do plenty with the image editor in GMS1 anyway.

 

End of Steam Greenlight

Steam Greenlight shutting down was quite a shock, but also a huge relief in a way. It means I don’t have to deal with their toxic community to get on the platform – if Steam Direct has a reasonable fee. If not, fuck them. There are other distributors.

Jim Sterling deserves the most credit for continuing to say “No, this is not okay, and don’t accept this as being okay.“ I may miss his series of Steam lowlights – but for every one hilarious game he covers, there are 10-20 that are just appalling.

I hate the way Steam has shaped the game community for worse with their utter disregard for quality control. Valve has lowered the bar too much with their storefront of trash games. I hope this is the year we recover from tactless joke simulators, meme games, scatological humor, and all the other plagues that fester in Steam’s catalogue.

I’m obviously setting my expectations for other people too high, but we’ll see. I’m not too concerned about PC distribution at the moment, as I’ve been experimenting with porting my games to HTML5.

 

Dev Blog Incoming

This blog turned quite sour, sorry about that. I will write about the updates I’ve made to Iridescent Crown in the next blog, once I’ve compiled some new trailers. Here’s a shot of the updated version.

 

You can find more screenshots on the presskit. 🙂 Till next time.


Algorithm for Angel Wings (Seraphim Automata 2)

Algorithm for Angel Wings

(10/9/17 Note: This game was originally titled Algorithm for Angel Wings. It has since been renamed Seraphim Automata 2.)

Play it in your browser here (or download it for Windows).

a4aw18d

 

I decided to make a more user-friendly version of Seraphim Automata, after I finally got it to stop running at 1 frame per second in HTML5. I started this on January 30th, and most of the work was done by the next day.

I went back on February 3rd and added an autoplay feature for the start menu – something I haven’t done since Cosmic Zephyr in 2013. The next day I fixed glitches in the menu, and added a save function for high scores and combos. I also made some new touchscreen buttons in Photoshop. Then I released the game for feedback.

I went back the next day and fixed a few bugs that were pointed out to me. Specifically, you could break the GUI by racking up a massive combo. (I’m still surprised someone got a 44 hit combo on the first day of its release. My own record is 19.)

The very last thing I added was the glove sprite for the mouse, which gives it one little human element.

The touchscreen controls allow this to be played on a mobile device, as well as in a desktop browser. Which is nice. The only reason I haven’t uploaded an Android version is because the export module is currently broken in GMS. I’m hoping this will be fixed in GMS2.

You can select from 12 scales, 12 keys, 10 time signatures, and 13 different instruments. The time signatures are the real key to getting different patterns – it’s automatically set to 12/8 while the scale, key and instrument are randomly chosen. 10/8, 7/8 and 4/4 produce my favorite patterns. 4/4 in particular can create very jovial rhythmic patterns.

 

Flashbacks, From 2010 to Now

When designing a game (or any project, really), you have to decide early on who you are making this for. Are you making it for yourself or for other people? That decision between “passion project” vs “product” will lead you down two very different roads.

I would say my games were passion projects until about 2010. That includes my two oldest surviving games, A Starspangled Zephyr and Deadman’s Dark Scenery Court. I felt no pressure making my early games since I was mostly doing it for myself.

When my cocaine addict of a father was finally removed from the picture in November 2010, mom and I shifted pretty quickly to survival mode. I found myself selling most of my belongings to keep us from going broke. One major reason I abandoned songwriting is because I had to sell almost all my musical instruments. That miserable era lasted for about 19 months.

By the time we lost our home in March 2012, I had shifted to a more workaholic attitude about game design. I wanted to make a polished product I could sell and hopefully get out of poverty. That never really worked, but it definitely affected how I approached the games I made in that era, Cosmic Zephyr and Eden’s Prison.

One major event was being raided by the police in December 2013. Which happened to be four weeks into development on Eden’s Prison. The fall out from that led to a period of inactivity through 2014 and 2015. Another factor was injuring my right arm in August 2014 – it’s still recovering and I’ve only recently begun feeling “normal” again.

I finally returned to game development after leaving a toxic group of old programmers in early 2016. There is no coincidence that I had the best year of my life after leaving them (2016, that is). The new games – Seraphim Automata, Zephyr 3, Iridescent Crown – still suffer a bit from the “product” mentality, but I’m slowly moving back to making strictly passion projects for myself.

My ongoing experiments with music generation are one indication of this. Now that Algorithm for Angel Wings fleshes out the Seraphim engine into something very easily accessible, I feel comfortable moving on from those experiments.

Zephyr 3 also tries to atone for its previous games by offering the source code for free.

It feels bittersweet to release Iridescent Crown over 6 years after I started it (just look at the 640×480 resolution if you need proof of how old it is). The mainstream roguelike genre (or ‘roguelite’ if you prefer) completely blew up and died in that timeframe. Now similar games like Terraria and Spelunky are gathering dust, and there aren’t as many fans around looking for another roguelike or exploration based platformer.

The resulting game is both old and young at the same time – with the former compromising the latter. I’m thinking about revisiting it and releasing a “deluxe” version with a bigger window and other features that the HTML5 version couldn’t handle.

 

Beginning of the End

I’ve boiled my new ideas down to two main projects, plus an extra passion project.

  1. The first idea is of course a horror game. I haven’t made once since 2010, back when I was a very different person. This one will be a 2d platformer, but beyond that I haven’t decided on much. There are multiple concepts and stories I keep bouncing around for this one. I surround myself with horror influences so this idea never really leaves me, it’s just a matter of execution.
  2. The second idea is a sequel to Iridescent Crown, with better graphics and more RPG elements, and hopefully a better name. I would actually argue that in 2017, procedural generation is going out of style for now. Especially after the debacle over No Man’s Sky. So while I want to release a more polished sequel, I’m not sure if it’s really the best time to be working on something like that.
    I could of course scrap the procedural generation and go with … level design. The argument for procedural generation increasing replayability goes out the window when you use it so much that nothing sticks. That’s one problem with Iridescent Crown in its current form. Since all 16 levels are using the same “room”, none of them can be saved and revisited later.
    The other problem is that there is no reason to revisit levels right now. So it needs more collectibles, an EXP system, and perhaps other things.
  3. The last idea is a Sonic fangame, which would be a complete passion project. But it would be a lot more fun to make than my original games, simply because it’s something I always wanted to do. I am looking forward to seeing how Sonic Mania turns out before diving too deep into this one, as I wouldn’t want it to be too similar.

My Favorite Game Postmortems

Myst

This game was confusing as hell to me as a child, but I loved its atmosphere.

 

I think the main takeaways for Myst are:

  • Rand and Robin Miller made a lot of simpler point-and-click games for children before tackling Myst.
  • Dungeons and Dragons was a large inspiration because of the emergent storytelling aspects. Rand actually designed a dungeon which was later used in creating one of Myst’s worlds.
  • The game took its mythic structure from Star Wars, its world-traveling from C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, and the island setting was inspired by novels by Jules Verne.
  • Myst was created for non-gamers, so they tried to avoid arbitrary puzzles that most adventure games suffered from in the day. They mostly succeeded, though Robin admits there are still a few bad puzzles in the game.
  • The two brothers approached Myst as a passion project strictly for themselves.
  • How long it took to render each image back in the day. Shots took 2-14 hours to render using a StrataVision 3D.
  • They subverted the one-way communication of the story with one-way devices like TVs and books rather than personal encounters.
  • They initially used diegetic music in their games (music that only occurs naturally in the world). When they finally added traditional soundtrack music to Myst, they were surprised how well it fit.
  • Extensive beta testing helped make the game playable to non-gamers.
  • Myst and their previous games were all made on HyperCard.
  • Myst took two years to complete.

 

Also, Phil Fish makes a surprising appearance 51 minutes in. Apparently he started out on HyperCard as well.

 

Diablo

The original ARPG, and one of my favorite games of all time.

 

I think the main takeaways for Diablo are:

  • The interesting meeting between Condor Games (Diablo’s developers) and Silicon & Synapse (Warcraft’s developers). The latter became Blizzard Entertainment. The former became Blizzard North.
  • The tiles in Diablo were borrowed directly from X-COM.
  • How they handled drawing the game with only 256 colors.
  • David Brevik had never coded in C before Diablo.
  • All the interesting bug fixes and work-arounds they had to implement because of the technology at the time.
  • There was a small bidding war between 3DO and Blizzard for Condor Games. Condor went with Blizzard despite 3DO offering twice as much money.
  • Most of the HUD (graphical interface) work was done in the last 3 months, with the help of input from beta testers.
  • They crunched really hard on this game for the better half of a year. Brevik says crunch deserves its bad reputation, but is also a “necessary evil” and not entirely a bad thing. From my own personal experience, I can definitely relate.
  • There’s a spell called “Blood Exchange” they removed from the game. It let you swap your HP with a monster’s HP, making the game really easy to beat.
  • Rogue, NetHack, Moria, Angband, Ultima, Wizardry, Doom, Dark Forces, and X-COM were just some of the influences for Diablo.
  • battle.net ran on one computer! It handled the entire multiplayer side of the game.

 

I also love the Ms. Pac Man and Marble Madness postmortems, but they’re literally so old (arcade era) that the advice isn’t really applicable to modern game design. They’re more like historic documents now. Which may be the biggest takeaway of all…


Trailers for My New Games!

Trailers

I made a few trailers for my newest projects! First, here’s some gameplay footage of Iridescent Crown. I’m waiting until the next update before I record another trailer (though I don’t have much left to change/add).

 

Here’s some footage of Seraphim Automata generating ambient piano music. My computer unfortunately slows down too much when the drums kick in. But the game is generally more pleasant to the ear without drums (as much as I like the random drum code), which is something I’m keeping in mind for the sequel.

Since this game covers jazz music, the sequel will cover a different genre – ambient or perhaps post-rock.

 

This video is shorter, but is also less chaotic and contains a repeating melody.

 

Here’s a video of Celody Life generating some melodies. Again, my computer lags if too much is playing while recording, so the clips are pretty short. I did catch two gliders in this video though.  🙂 It’s cool to see how they can play complex melodies on their own.

 

I also created a trailer for my old horror game, Deadman’s Dark Scenery Court. OBS didn’t completely cooperate with me on this one but I managed to fix it in Videopad.  😛

 

Updates

Planning to update Iridescent Crown sometime next month. I’ve also been working on music, which I hope to share soon.  🙂


Iridescent Crown and Zephyr 3 are officially complete!

Iridescent Crown

Play it here!

I uploaded a new HTML5 version of Iridescent Crown with a few important bug fixes. The soundtrack has been added, and the Windows version is now available to purchase.  🙂

The release has been somewhat marred by ISP problems, but at least I had the game up in time for Christmas (and Diablo’s 20th anniversary!). One of the bugs screwed up the ending sequence, which, along with missing the soundtrack, made me feel less than comfortable sharing the game around. But now everything’s cool.

I’m really glad to have this game out of my way. I started it way back in 2010, but I wasn’t sure how I wanted it to turn out until recently. A lot of things just happened to come together at the end – like the final boss and ending sequence, which I’d been turning ideas over for years, but ultimately only needed a few hours to throw something together.

Finding the right graphics+sfx resources to fill in certain roles was also essential in speeding up the creation process. I don’t feel too bad about using cc0 enemy sprites in my game, because the alternative would be a game that’s still unfinished.  😛

I’ll follow up with a more complete dev blog when I have some time. Right now I’m working on trailers for the game. Stay tuned.  🙂

 

Zephyr 3 bug

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As I suspected, there was only one line glitching up this game and keeping it from running in HTML5. As soon as I dropped “direction_to_object” and changed it to “point_direction” – essentially the same function with a different approach – the damn thing loaded up fine in HTML5. It even lags less than I expected. You can play it in your browser here.

Game Maker Studio is weird sometimes. Only 173 lines of code in this game, and it took just one to break everything. To contrast, Iridescent Crown’s engine is +6 years old, bloated as fuck yet somehow works fine in HTML5.

The source code is available for anyone who wants to learn how to make this type of game.

Zephyr 3 basically marks the end of the Zephyr series. But not the engine itself – I plan to use it again in the future.  🙂

 

Planning for Steam Greenlight

I should be getting better internet in mid-February. So for now, I’m going to focus on recording gameplay footage of my projects. Then I will upload the videos and see where to go from there. I’ve recently managed to get OBS working with my computer – though not with the best quality.

Every article about “indie game marketing” stresses the importance of Twitter, but I don’t think Twitter is as helpful as it seems when it comes to getting your game out there. I get a good amount of likes and retweets whenever I post screenshots or links, but honestly they don’t translate to people clicking on my game often. So “marketing my game” usually feels like wasted time that could be better spent on development. It does help to chronologue my development, but that’s about it.

Gamers make ~93% of their purchases on Steam. So… I probably need to get a game on Steam. People don’t buy games often enough on itch.io.

I’m most proud of Seraphim Automata, but it may be too weird / experimental for Steam. I’m also not sure what audience it appeals to in its current state. What “genre” is it, for instance? It lacks a certain long-term replayability that could be solved with more musical variations (read: a sequel). I may revisit it some time later and add more traditional gameplay features.

I’m also proud of Iridescent Crown, but wary because I haven’t gotten much feedback. And it’s definitely not as unique as SA. It’s really hard to strike a balance between innovative and traditional in game design. Any ideas people give me for IC will probably be saved for a sequel as well, since I’m happy with it in its current state.

While I do have more “work” ahead as far as marketing and making trailers, for once I can finally say that I have nothing left to work on in the field of game design. My existing projects are 100% complete. Which means I can let myself take a break.

… I hope.

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