Saturday, December 29, 2012

More Screenshots

I'm going to be honest: the main reason that I'm posting these because I'm making a thread about the game on the TIGsource forums and needed somewhere to host new, up-to-date screenshots. Still, I think the game's starting to look pretty good.

Thoughts on Game Violence Part 2

     I was really tired when I wrote that post on game violence last night and didn't hit on everything that I wanted to or expressed myself in a way that I would've liked. I just want to elaborate a few more things.

     It isn't the violence in games themselves that makes me uncomfortable, it's how that violence is portrayed, the carelessness to which violence is inserted into games, and the feedback that games give to violent vs nonviolent behavior. Let's look at some examples. Generally, games like Iji and Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP use violence in a conscious and thoughtful way, while the aforementioned SkyrimTorliight II, and nearly every first-person shooter and action RPG ever created use it in a thoughtless way.

Thoughts on Game Violence

     Nathan Grayson wrote an excellent piece on video game violence for Rock Paper Shotgun. It begins with the following:

"Everyone? We need to talk.

I didn't feel right playing Far Cry 3 the day after the awful, disgusting, utterly tragic shootings in Newton, Connecticut  I didn't at all.

I think that says something. I know that says something..."

     I've been feeling the same way, lately. Even before the recent shootings, I've been growing increasingly ambivalent towards violence as a primary interactive element in games. I'm in the middle of playing Skyrim at the moment, and while the violence in the fantasy RPG wouldn't have bothered me much in the past, for some reason it's bothering me a lot now. Generally, the game tries to make you feel like a hero or a badass for adventuring and killing lots of things. The sweeping score, the epic quests, and the praise that non-player characters give all communicate to you, as a player, that you are heroic and mighty. In the past, when overly violent games have communicated this message to me, I've accepted it without question. Killing a couple of dozen bandits or giant rats used to make me feel good, I felt like a hero, I felt accomplished. I was living through the power fantasy that the game developers constructed for me and it gave me pleasure.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Game is Renamed; has Blue People

You Will Probably Lose Your Job, in addition to being an obnoxiously long title for a game (or for anything, for that matter), no longer suits the theme or mood of the game now that the actual implementation of the story is underway. So, for now, the new working title is Waker.  There, isn't that much easier to say? "Waker." I'm certainly relieved.

Also, as of today, Waker now includes 50% MORE BLUE PEOPLE.

   It's sort of funny, I was determined to make a totally unique fantasy race, and instead ended up combining two of the most cliche fantasy race traits there are: pointy ears (elves/gnomes/goblins/faries) and blue skin (Na'vi/Asari/dark elves/smurfs/those blue-skinned black-haired red-eyed humanoid aliens from Star Wars). Honestly not sure how I screwed that up. At any rate, what the Feymer lack in originality they make up for in sass. At least, the one above does.

     I'm really excited about where the game's going, though - I haven't felt that way about a project in a long time.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Shadow of the Colossus and Story Telling

So, I've been writing some short pieces for Ohio University's self-described online "nerd culture" magazine, Beta Fish, and just recently wrote one about Shadow of the Colossus and how it uses the unique strengths of its medium to tell a compelling story. Give it a read!

(I also wrote a fairly general piece of indie games a while back and forgot to link to it, so here it is.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I'm going to throw another interactive story at you.

Bento Smile made this great little interactive visual novel for the recent Ludum Dare competition called Vixen, in which you pick on a teenage girl  (for those who don't know, Ludum Dare is a regularly held 48-hour game competition. Most of the entries are rough, but some really inspiring work is produced from time to time. You Will Probably Lose Your Job was originally going to be a LD competition entry, but then it sort of... grew). Bento Smile also made another great visual novel a while back called Air Pressure that is really good; I highly recommend it.

I really love it when game devs like Bento make non-violent, accessible, and inspired games about the human  experience instead of meaningless tales about space marines saving the world*. There's a place in our culture for the latter, certainly, but they do over-saturate the games medium, and its because of the former that I write this blog and am a hobbyist developer myself. If you're the rare family member or friend of mine who doesn't play games but reads this blog just because you're a nice bloke, play one of the games above, or play one of the interactive stories that I linked to in other posts. All of them are accessible and appeal to a broader audience than most games are, so give one of them a try. 

* And that isn't to say that stories about space marines saving the world can't be meaningful. It's just that, 9 times out of 10, they're not.

EDIT: Bah, just replayed Air Pressure, it's good, but not quite good as I remember. Considering the subject matter, it makes sense that it made a bigger impression on me in the midst of my teenage years than it does now that I'm leaving them. Oh well.

Monday, December 17, 2012

You Will Probably Lose Your Job - Progress

Guess who's game now has a robust dialogue tree system?
There's a lot of other cool stuff I've thrown into the game since I've last posted about You Will Probably Lose Your Job, but I'm finally getting to the stage in development where I can't show some things without spoiling too much of the game - I would probably have waited until later to share screenshots displaying the dialogue system until I was able to take some of a less important in-game conversation, but I'm too gosh-darned proud to wait for that.

Not sure how I feel about the color scheme yet - we'll see.

Fun fact: I have literally made 25 different portraits of that woman, each expressing a different emotion. I am already saddened that I will probably not get to use all of them - such is life.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

This one's good too

Here's another interactive Twine story, this one written by Jonas Kyratzes. It comes together at the end, trust me. I can't wait to write one of these things.

And this is why I love Twine

Take a few minutes to play/read Brooklyn Trash King, and don't ask questions.