Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Sassy Echidna Software: 2012-2020

I have a new website: alexandrah.neocities.org/!

This means this will be my final post at Sassy Echidna Software.

In short, I have outgrown this blog. I created this blog in 2012 when I was 19. I wanted a space for sharing my games and writing about games in general, and Sassy Echidna served that purpose well. My creative output accelerated during this time, and I'm still going strong. 

I also grew and matured a lot during the past decade, as an artist, writer, thinker, and person. I was still practically a kid when I started the blog, and looking back at the first several years of posts on this site, it shows. I've taken down some of my most embarrassing writing, but removing the rest would require me to delete three-quarters of this blog. I'd like some distance from my old writing, and I would like to mostly write about things that aren't video games.

Also, most people don't know how to spell "echidna." This makes sustaining readership difficult.

My inaugural blog post on the new site goes deeper into my rationale for creating it, so I won't repeat myself here. In addition to hosting the new blog, the new Personal Site will be where you can find all of my games going forward. As the informational pages on Sassy Echidna become outdated, I'll take them down.

Thanks for following the blog over the past 8 years! The new one will be even better.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Card Games vs Literary Characters: Enhanced and Print Editions

Here's one last little bit of game dev before the semester starts and I disappear for the next four months.

The first is: I've made a print version of Card Games vs Literary Characters at the End of the World! Since the game's original title only describes the narrative and not the theme of the game itself, I named the print version Cardinger. Its like"harbinger," but... card.


I'm really happy with how they turned out! I tried to mimic the original digital card design as much as possible while making enough changes to make them actually readable in-person. I also added flavor text to the cards, space permitting!


I printed the game through The Game Crafter, so if there's interest, I'll make it publicly available for purchase. Otherwise, card sets will be available as prizes at Underground Arcade events, whenever the world reopens.

Working on the print version of the game also has implications for the digital version. Before immortalizing the game in print, I wanted to make improvements to the rules that I wasn't able to do during the game's original brief development cycle. I used the digital game to test these changes against the AI, so I've released an "Enhanced Edition" of Card Games vs Literary Characters reflecting these changes.

 The list of changes is as follows:

  •  A point is only earned at the start of your turn when your deck replenishes, instead of every turn. The previous system was implemented as an easy way to stop the game from locking into a state where neither player can advance their win condition, but it was too passive.
  • You can now retire cards when you have five or more in play, discarding the old card and replacing it with a new one from your hand. This prevents the lock scenario described above.
  • If you do nothing during your turn, you may draw an extra card.
  • Cards with the "devour" ability can have no more than 4 HP, instead of 5. Formerly, a devouring card at max HP was practically invincible.
  •  Cards with the "prosperity" ability now score a bonus point for every 5 cards in hand instead of every 4. If a deck is built to maximize draw power, the prosperity ability quickly becomes overpowered.
  • "Miner Bee," "Combo Miner," "Idealogue," "Evening Tears," and "Vampire Princess" have been buffed. The draw power of the first three has been improved, as has the durability of the latter two.
  • "Blood Knight" has been reworked. He now has an extra HP, but he also now has the "decay" ability, so he's harder to pick off on the turn he's put into play, but easier to defeat after that.
  • The Oz cards: "The Lion," "The Tin Man," "The Scare Crow," and "The Wizard" have all been nerfed. Even with their high cost, they were otherwise absurdly powerful.
  • The final opponent's cards - those from Booster X - have all been nerfed. It is clear that she is way too challenging an opponent, and improvements made to the game's AI have made her invincible with her old deck.

The game also features some small improvements to the AI and UI, as well as bug and typo fixes. A version with the original rules is still available for download.

That's it for now! Enjoy.


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Clark Stanley's Van Racer

I made a short racing game for 1-2 players. Imagine 16 minivans traveling at 240 mph bouncing into each other, and that is this game.

This one was made for the Grid Grind Jam at Glorious Trainwrecks. Each game had to contain 3 elements from a 3-dimensional grid. I chose "van," "garden," and snake oil salesman "Clark Stanley."

I once had a dream about making a 2.5 racing game like F-Zero or Super Mario Kart, but with minivans. So I decided to make the game for real.

While the game embraces its trash aesthetic, this is probably one of the meticulously engineered things I've ever made. From the drift physics, to the graphics optimization, to the 3D audio, this ended up being a lot more difficult to make than I originally imagined!

All of the sound effects were made with my mouth.

Paul Schroeder made the soundtrack. It's awesome.

You can download the game for Windows from Itch or Glorious Trainwrecks.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Quake Level - Borderworld Hole



I made a short Quake level that I'm calling "Borderworld Hole." I designed it to teach myself the Trenchbroom level editor, and so it very much features a "stream of conscious" sort of design that's a mashup of whatever themes and concepts I wanted to explore in a given moment.



You spend the first half of the level exploring twisted hallways that periodically reconvene at the same rocky pit, but the second half ends in a hectic battle in a massive outdoor arena of sorts, so that's pretty cool.


You can download the level here. Place the ah01.bsp and ah01.lit file in your game's id1/maps directory, and after selecting a difficulty level, type "map ah01" in the game's console to play it.

The map DOES NOT render properly in Quake's original engine. You have to play it using a modern source port - I most recommend Quakespasm.

I had a blast learning how to use Trenchbroom and am affectionate towards the classic Id shooters,  but Quake is too bloody and dark for me to immerse myself in it for very long. I'm going to turn my attention to something a bit lighter next!


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Card Games vs Literary Characters at the End of the World




I made a single player TCG with 8 opponents, 94 cards, and general oddity.
I really like how this one turned out.
Play it here:
Itch
Game Jolt
Glorious Trainwrecks 

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Bloodjak II is free!


From here on out, Bloodjak II will be strictly available for free (on itch and Game Jolt)!

Thank you so much to everyone who bought a copy and supported our team in the months following the game's release - I hope you've enjoyed the game over the past couple of months! However, I believe that the best thing for the game, especially given its communal high score competition, is to grow its player base, and the best thing that can be done to accomplish that is to make it freely available.

Thanks again for the community support and enthusiasm. I look forward to seeing some high scores get topped!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Bloodjak II Version 1.0.1

Firstly, I had just discovered that it's been impossible to make purchases off of Bloodjak II's Game Jolt page for the past week. I've since fixed it. I've never had this issue before when launching anything on any platform, and can't apologize enough. Thank you for your patience.

Otherwise, we've launched a small update to the game. Downloading the new version is recommended but not required.

Bug Fix
  • Jack out sound no longer resumes playing if the player dies during jack out and restarts the game through the pause menu
Other Changes:
  • If the player isn't logged into Game Jolt, the scoreboard now shows the Guest Scores by default
  • Can now change the ship color in the options menu by tapping the A key or A button
  • Version number is now on display in the menu