February Gamedev Update!

– Life in the Dorms is at a bit of a standstill at the moment. The stage was set for me to release my first-ever full title as lead writer/designer around…nowish, only for the game to be yanked back by the comical giant hook of bad timing. With our programmer still settling after a recent move from Australia to about as far away from Australia as you can possibly get while still technically being on the planet Earth, and with most of the major work left requiring programming in some manner, the game’s status is, in a word, ugh. But it’s still happening. The game is made—I mean, it’s on my hard drive, right now. I can play it right now. (You can’t. I can.) It  just needs to be, you know, finished. Who knew making videogames took so damn long?!

– Meanwhile, I wrapped up everything I could possibly do for Mitsumata for the time being—which, I later discovered, is only a fraction of the total work there is to do. (I think I’ve only seen something like 30% of the entire script—yikes!) I’m just waiting for a new draft to look over—which reminds me that maybe I should ask someone for one.

– I’ve also (as mentioned before) taken on a newer big project since my last update—serving as PR person for Gridiron Heroes, the Tecmo Bowl meets [insert popular sports sim] meets Farmville game coming soon to a Facebook near you. I’ve already talked about it at length before, so instead of detailing it further, here’s a (prescient) screenshot I took when I was preparing their Super Bowl press release: 

You can check out the game’s Kickstarter here.

– In other news, there was a bit of a hiccup in that AGS adventure game I proofread—for some reason, AGS decided that it didn’t want to display the revised version of the script, and unfortunately the game accidentally got published that way. (I’d offer a link, but it makes me so sad that a game proclaiming to be “Proofread by Paul Franzen” has so many typos in it right now.) Last I heard, the developer had to go back line by line and manually re-type all of my edits in. Ouch.

On the plus side, I started proofing yet another new AGS game—this one called simply Gray. Its visual style is what drew me in:

It’s one of the more professional-looking games I’ve seen come out of AGS in a while; most of the time, they look like they were written, scored, arted, and programmed by just the programmer. …Which, of course, they almost always were. The style this game’s going for, though, while simple, looks much more like a concerted design choice rather than “I don’t want to pay someone to do the art.” Also—big bonus for me—the dude who’s making it is actually a great writer, which means that I can focus less on grammar-cleaning and more on tightening and (hopefully) elevating the text.

– And, of course, testgame is still trucking along. I think I’ve added a good 2,500 words to the script in the last month, taking us to near the end of what we’re referring to internally as the third act. The end isn’t exactly in sight yet, but the script’s way longer and way further ahead than anyone involved ever thought it would get.

Of all the things I’ve been working on lately, though, I think this makes me the most proud:

As you can absolutely, definitely tell, because it’s a masterpiece, that is a masterpiece, created by none other than ME! This is the first time I’ve ever attempted any spritework of any kind (unless you count the early testgame animation of Paul drinking a soda, in which his arm suddenly turns into MONSTER ARM about two frames in). It’s for an (as far as I know) yet-unnamed platformer I learned about on the gamedev forums; the developer was calling upon the community members to each draw one character for his game so he could have a nice variety of sprites populating his town, and I decided to heed, because he never once said that his would-be artists needed to have any actual artistic talent.

And that was January! (And also December, and parts of February.) A lot of hard work, with results yet to follow. Ah, but such is life! …is what I would say, if I were the sort of person who said things like that.

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