August/September Gamedev Update!
Ah—the work of an independent videogame writer/designer with an additional full-time job and also a website full of surprisingly needy writers is never finished.
The big news of the summer is that THE GAME, THE GAME I’ve been working on for over two years, my pride and joy, my magnum opus of the right now, my way of marking my territory in the gaming industry and saying “this is mine; this is what I can do; I’m here now, doods” was finally released this week, soundly getting more downloads than several of its heavily advertised contemporaries in the Indie Games Summer Uprising, not that I’m bitter about being discluded or anything. Life in the Dorms! A game based partly on real-life experiences (except with less getting peed on), and partly on the fact that I’ve wanted to design an adventure game since I was a fat middle schooler playing The Secret of Monkey Island for the first time and going “holy crap you guys, I have to do this” (probably in a Cartman voice, because we all have things we regret about middle school). It’s here. It’s out. The people love it. I start construction on my tower of gold tomorrow.
But one game does not a gold tower make (thanks, Obama), so here’s what else I’ve been up to:
- My wife and I reached another big milestone in The Beard in the Mirror is Yours, nee testgame, nee “the game that will never be finished”—we finished it! …Or at least, we finished the script. The entire script for the game: all the puzzles, all the story, all the interactions. It’s all written out, in single-spaced Microsoft Word glory. Now we just have to code it all. That’s the easy part, right?
- And speaking of milestones! The art for super-secret Unannounced Licensed Adventure Game That’s Based on an Actual Book came in (after I sent out a desperate plea to TGoL goddess Kate Jay to help me out), so I was able to wrap up the coding and send the thing away to the author for approval. Things are looking way up; approval was granted (with some conditions, like “make sure there’s more than one animation” and “it would be great if the font was readable”), although approval from the book publisher has not necessarily been granted yet. The next step is to figure out what content we could actually legally use in the game, and then start fleshing out the overarching game design and story flow from there.
- And speaking of milestones! I finished proofreading the entirety of the AGS adventure game Gray, which consists of an entire Internet’s worth of text. That means My Work Here is Done, and it’s off to my man Fitz to wrap everything up in a pretty (and well-proofread!) bow and release it to the indie gaming community at large. In my downtime I also helped out with another little AGS game called Anna’s Quest, which is about a young girl locked in her bedroom by an old woman who runs experiments on her, only those experiments don’t end well when Anna discovers her telekinetic powers and uses them to f*** some s*** up. (Note that the game does not use those words exactly.) To my knowledge, Anna’s Quest should be coming out any day now.
- I also wrote 45 more skill descriptions for the augmented-reality iOS RPG Mythology Unbound. I’m very thankful that they’ve allowed me to have fun with what was probably not intended to be a particularly comedic game; at around description #39 or so I started to get a bit tired and let this one out, which is unlocked after you’ve achieved Level 5 in the skill called “knapping”:
If I can just level with you for a moment—I have no ****ing idea what knapping is, and I really wish you’d stop putting so many points into it. – The Writer
- And, finally! I did a little more R&D for Gridiron Heroes, the social football MMO I’ve been helping out with off and on throughout the year. “R&D” in this case means that I played a few similar games, and then reported back to the developer about what worked and what didn’t. I am literally getting paid to play videogames.
In other, non-gamedev news, GameCola underwent a minor tonal shift a couple of weeks ago that I hope will help us to establish more of an identity than “like Joystiq, but less.” I’ve also been keeping up with my other GameCola duties: recording videos of llamas and murderers and neighbor girls; casting pods; promoting racist videogames and more, so check that out if you like it when I make fun of things. Also I found a man with a tiny head at a yardsale and felt obliged to write a blog post about it.