An 8-Year Old Told Me To Stop Dressing Like A Dork, And Other News

ah… upgrades

A while back, FlashPunk released a new version. In fact, there’ve been a few upgrades lately, but I believe I’m talking about version 1.1. Some substantial changes were made then; I don’t think I totally followed all the codespeak, or perhaps I did at the time and can’t quite piece it together now. Some classes were dropped and some were created.

While wrapping his head around the new version, Fareed decided the smartest thing to do would be to take what we’ve learned in our earliest prototypes and start the engine over from scratch, using the new version of FlashPunk.

The first build of the new engine is mostly functional now. But for some pathfinding functionality that we need to add, it’s ready to start building.

Our last talk was rather exciting for me; we’re basically ok to start putting actual scenes into the game now. All the design is no longer theoretical; we can build it now.

new art

So it’s time, now, for me to put together the levels themselves. We’ve done enough concept art that I think I know what I’m doing. It’s been so long since I was actively pixel-pushing, and it feels ever so lovely. I’ve taken to creating a large canvas and putting one of the characters in it, and then building outwards from there. I’m starting with the sporting goods and camping supply store you maybe saw Ryan’s sketch of a few posts ago.

I’m working mostly in greyscale, just trying to block out the shapes and ideas. It is very likely that this art will pass through the maw and artistic tract of one of my illustrious artists, but meantime, feat upon my early developer art:

(bunk beds)

(a tent)

(a bicycle)


Also, please enjoy a few bits pf wisdom from the internet:

Why Adventure Games Suck
Ron Gilbert explains what he finds wrong with most adventure games. This was written after he made Maniac Mansion and before finishing The Secret Of Monkey Island. I disagree with a few of these rules (having multiple solutions to a puzzle is good design, dammit), and both he and I could cite many times he’s broken them himself, but mostly I think it’s sage advice, from one of the only meaningful adventure game sages. And it’s nice to see him making points that, soon after The Secret Of Monkey Island was released, quickly became adventure game gospel.

Use Key On Door and That Doesn’t Work!
Two articles on stagnant adventure game tropes by a pre-Zero Punctuation Yahtzee. In one he defines “Keyring Syndrome” (aka “use everything on everything”) and in the other offers ways around inventory puzzles that have only one less-than-obvious solution. These articles are deep cuts; they won’t be interesting to anyone who doesn’t care about adventure game design.

closing remarks

It’s sometimes amazing where your mind goes when you take a break. This week has not been good for game design. I worked twice as many hours as usual with the Boys & Girls Club this week, accompanying a group of kids to a summer camp in South County. Long and much more physically demanding days, and on a few occasions I had to yell when kids were getting out of hand and causing each other physical harm. Came home very tired, and accepted that on these days, I was not going to get much substantive design done. Mostly I just read things tangentially related to the game’s subject matter.

After my last day of work yesterday I spent much of the evening reading for pleasure. I did much of the same today.

As sometimes happens, the things I read for no game-related purpose, that I read only because I was interested in them, gave me more game ideas than any of my actual research has in months.

One’s interests sometimes need to be trusted. I want to make this game because its story interests me, because computer games fascinate me as a storytelling medium, because I’ve grown attached to my characters and the premise is open enough to fit in a lot of my favorite themes.

It’s one of many interests, and what my brain likes funnels into anything I try to make. So it’s good for me, it turns out, to follow any random interest, because it’s likely that it appeals to me for similar reasons as adventure games do. I have only the one brain, and it does seem to like certain things. Reading books has proven fruitful, though the kids at camp can’t fathom why I want to read when nobody’s making me.


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