SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
Bundle in a Box – 7 Hours Left!
Apr 2nd, 2013 by Ice Cream Jonsey


Bundle in a Box, yesterday

I did a terrible job promoting the Bundle in a Box on my own site, which is unacceptable, because my game Necrotic Drift is part of the Bundle in a Box. I have some incredible excuses as to why I am typing this out with seven hours left to go. Rich, layered excuses. Think of these excuses as unlockable extras. Here we go!

– I went on my first vacation in a couple years, visiting my family in lovely Rochester, NY, right as the Bundle dropped, away from my PC.
– Both this site and my other site at Caltrops managed to go down for extended periods of time.
– I decided to sell my pinball table and needed a day to vacuum the cat hair off it.
– I took a Centipede cabinet as part of the trade for the pin, and it fell on me, almost snapping my leg and arm in half, on its way downstairs. Argh.

… It really is quite painful. Flying to Rochester, I mean! hrewhrwhrwehrwe

But seriously, Benjamin “Pinback” Parrish said that if the Centipede game took my head off, my body should have sprouted another one. Jonathan “Roody Yogurt” Blask said that he would have appreciated the irony if I were maimed by a “crushing” game like Dig Dug. I feel that should I ever get into real trouble and bleed out on my floor, the IRC logs of my death are going to be hilarious. I’ll be entering “9 1 1” into a high score table as I take my last breath to a cackling cacophony of wiseguys, as I get @kicked from life.

All right, so now that the apologies are out of the way, let’s talk about the Bundle. Here is the link that takes you to the page where you can buy it. The price is obscenely low. A lot of websites are obsessed with telling you how great their wares are, and why you should give them money. Since I screwed up, and managed to blog about it with seven hours left, I’ll instead link to this scathing review at Capsule Computing. Mari Shishido hated it! The people who dislike Necrotic Drift tend to dislike it a lot. Top this, Braid:

Necrotic Drift is a chore to play. Between the unbearable characters and the long parts of the game where nothing but awful banter happens, the game is not enjoyable. Having to guess at the exact word the game needs to move forward is boring and frustrating, while the rest of the time it is monotonous in that it will repeatedly allow one simple word to continue. This is a waste of time, even if it was free. Having to pay any money for it at all is unthinkable. It is not even so bad it is good, it is so bad that it is bad. 3/10

I’m glad that there’s a site out there off the 7 through 9 scale, but I have to think that a 1/10 is reserved for games that kill you when they boot. In all seriousness, I want to thank Mari for taking the time to play. Of course I wish that the game was more her thing, but the best thing about the Bundle in the Box is that you can’t beat it for the number of games included. There’s nine other games, and as soon as I have the functioning use of my nervous system again, I will be playing all of them.

Rock Paper Shotgun did a writeup on the Bundle here, so if you don’t trust me, trust them. And here is a review at GamingMomentum, where the reviewer seemed to enjoy it. I hope you get a chance to pick the bundle up. Every cent I get from it will be used towards my next game, which I’ll start blogging about here. Thanks, as always. :)

Creative Commons Music and Your Text Adventure
May 16th, 2011 by Ice Cream Jonsey

The game I am just about finished making couldn’t have existed without Creative Commons, and I’d like to take a sec to explain how it worked for me, and how it might benefit your game in the future.

I’d dabbled with music in my text games before. When I began to code A Crimson Spring, I found that Hugo allowed me to incorporate graphics, sound and music easily. I had played in a band in college, and had played tenor & baritone saxophone and, er, the oboe before college, so creating my own music for a game was possible. But difficult from the perspective of time as a resource. If I had the talent and ability to just whip out hours of appropriate music on the fly none of this would really be an issue, but I can’t do that.

I am a slow coder. This would be acceptable if I were also an extremely accurate coder, but that’s not really me either. I’ve become better over the last couple of years, because I’ve both taken the time to try to really understand Java and design patterns (which are fairly applicable in many ways to Hugo, honestly) and because I have had mentors at work that have explained concepts to me in ways that clicked. It took about a year to make A Crimson Spring, and in my experience in college, it takes several months for me to write, perform, record and mix original songs. I can do one, of writing code/making music, and still have some semblance of being productive, but not both. So I tried to find songs created by others that would fit.

I didn’t know about Creative Commons back then. Their website states that the licenses began to crystalize around 2001 and 2002, which was a couple years after I made ACS, so it wasn’t really available to me, although I’d bet there were similar methods of sharing content out there. I was brought into contact with the band URT, who generously allowed me to use a couple of their songs. Rybread Celsius and Ben Parrish did as well. This is great, except that it’s very slow going: you have to directly contact the artists, and there’s certainly no situation where you can take an evening to sip scotch (the official beverage of Hugo, everywhere) and listen to dozens, if not hundreds of songs, and find ones that fit.

In 2011, thanks to Creative Commons, I was able to listen to hundreds of songs and pick the ones that fit for my work in progress. As long as I released my game with a similar license, it was all cool. I was also able to be a bit more discerning in style — I wanted songs that had a minimum of vocals, as I have been told by players that listening to singing and reading the game text at the same time is less than ideal.

To that end, there are sites out there that are very helpful. FWONK is a music label that specializes in mostly vocal-free electronica. The Internet Archive was also extremely clutch. I was able to use a search term like “Blade Runner” or “Vangelis” or “Look Goddammit, I Want This Game To Sound Like Blade Runner” there and find songs that fit. CC Mixter has a wonderful search-by-tag mechanism in place. I had success with Soundcloud and 8bc as well.

(There is one bit about Creative Commons I don’t get, so perhaps I’ll do some more reading on the subject. It’s pretty much expected that computer programs release their source code. Pieces of music don’t need to have their sheet music posted anywhere and movies aren’t required to drop the raw footage on the web, but there’s been a couple instances where people are appalled that a CC-licensed game or application hasn’t done so. I don’t quite get it, but I haven’t actually read up on this fully either. Regardless, after a couple months to fix any bugs that I become aware of, I am going to release the full source of Cryptozookeeper to the IF Archive.)

There is one other thing about music that has nothing to do with Creative Commons — in ACS and Necrotic Drift, I was starting songs when players reached certain areas. If you got to a scene in less time than it took for the first song to play, the second would start over it. It was more typical that the song would end and there would be silence — the worst of both worlds! If a player likes to have music going on when playing text games, having it randomly start is an awful way to do it. In Cryptozookeeper, I wrote some code to check when a song should be finished, and play a new song when that happens, after the player moves again. This cuts down on silent space during gameplay. This is good news! For Hillary!

It’s The Little Things
Nov 20th, 2010 by Ice Cream Jonsey

(An exchange between my friend Gerrit and I.)

Robb: Did ya “dress up” for Halloween?
Gerrit: Yes. I spent $2.00 to get some green face paint and went as the Ghast from Necrotic Drift.
me: Hahahahah
me: You went as BEN’s character!!
Gerrit: If Ben won’t go to a party, at least his character can.
Gerrit: Kelley went as Max from Where the Wild Things Are
Robb: I have never seen “Where the Wild Things Are.”
Robb: So I am probably the only person in the world who would have “gotten” your costume, but not hers.
Gerrit: It’s amazing how those things work out sometimes.
Robb: Did you two crazy kids take any photos??

I have been working on the same, unfinished game for 1676 days. 4 years, 7 months, 1 day. I will never attempt a project this big again. It pains me that it is not finished. But it’s the little things, like one of your buddies going as a character in one of your games, that helps you complete the journey. Thank you Gerrit.

I still don’t know what on earth “Where the Wild Things Are” is, however.

Necrotic Drift is today’s update for Play This Thing
Jul 25th, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Emily Short wrote up a nice piece for today’s game on Play This Thing. It is honestly things like this that makes it — the¬†creation of text games — all worthwhile. Plus, Play This Thing has a nice web layout. Thanks, Emily!

Oh yeah, this is also the update for today around here, so football week was also four days, like Knuckles the Clown week. I will leave comments on so my own brother can attack my upbringing, which always stings until I go HEYYYYY.

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa