Aphrodisias Released

December 30, 2008

aphrodisiasscreen

Aphrodisias is a small shooter. So small that it is only 20×20 pixels big. When a game is completed, Aphrodisias sends the level results through magical Internet tubes and updates one big image. Download it here.

Amazon’s Game Room Blog recently did a piece on viewing flash games as political cartoons. With about 5,000 flash games out now depicting the George W. Bush shoe throwings, I can see why someone might tend to see flash games like that in the same vein as political cartoons. I think the writer of the article is taking things a little too seriously though.

They were instead designed to capture the moment, and immortalize it from a particular point of view that people in this particular time can appreciate, or at least recognize

Wrong. The majority of flash games depicting real life events are not made to “capture a moment.” They are made to make money. Every Bush shoe throwing game I have played has been complete and utter shit. These flash game developers are simply capitalizing off of a current event. Even the developer of the most popular shoe throwing game, Sock and Awe, has stated his intentions.

It was just a bit of fun, a bit of an experiment. It’s actually turned out to be a useful fundraising exercise for our start-up, which is good given the present economic circumstances.

Sock and Awe was sold on eBay about four days after its release for almost $8,000. In some of the other games I have played, the ad space is almost bigger than the game window. I have no problem with this, because people do need to make money, but I don’t think flash games are anywhere near the realm of political cartoon. There is no concern or attention paid to why the shoe is being thrown. The plight of Iraq’s citizens goes unheard, because the Western world thinks that shoe throwing is just plain hilarious. Games like this don’t care why a shoe was thrown, they just seek to make a quick advertising buck off the event.

When a political cartoon is created, it is not simply documenting an event as much as it is documenting an opinion on an event. Political cartoons are meant to persuade the viewer. Political flash games are designed to persuade the viewer into clicking an ad. There is no legitimate social commentary in today’s flash games, so they should not be viewed as political cartoons, or anything similar.

Bob’s Game

December 22, 2008

Independent developer Robert Pelloni is in the opening stretch of a 100 sit-down in protest of Nintendo. He sums it up better than I can…

“I met with Nintendo in February- almost a YEAR ago- to ask for the SDK.
I did teleconferencing. I flew to GDC and had a face-to-face meeting.
I asked the WarioWorld division, and they sent me to marketing.
I talked to marketing, and they said apply with WarioWorld division!
The agreement on the application states I will receive a decision in 6-8 weeks. It has been 17 weeks!
I fulfill all the requirements- I’m a financially stable registered company with a FEIN working from a commercial address.
When Nintendo decides to approve my developer license application I will end my protest.”

This is something that I really hate to see from Nintendo. Nintendo made its name making video games, while Sony and Microsoft were established in other media. This is a prime example of a company letting greed run their business.

Nintendo doesn’t want to give Bob’s Game a chance because it is revolutionary. There has never been a game of this scope developed by a single person, and Nintendo refuses to allow this. Why?

Because Nintendo is on top of the world right now. The Wii basically prints money, and the DS is virtually unchallenged in the handheld market. The last thing Nintendo wants is change. By refusing to license this game, Nintendo is holding back the progress of the games industry. This is really a pathetic thing to see from a company who’s current console was codenamed “Revolution.”

Help Digg Bob’s Game

I participated in my first Klik of the Month today. It is mostly a Klik n Play thing, but I used GM…partially because I just get annoyed by Klik everytime I try and use it. My submission, Christmas Democracy, stars Axl Rose spreading holiday cheer in the form of OLPCs to children from developing countries.

xmasdemocracyss

It’s pretty horrible, and that’s the point. Glorious Trainwrecks is all about hilarious, yet crappy, games. Some of my favorites from this month are Snowmanmageddon and um(tm). I would have liked to play Dessgeega’s more, but laptops fail at mouse controls. I will be following up with this next month, and maybe I will even bother to use Klik n Play.

Aspyr announced some layoffs today, which makes it the next in a line of many game developers who just aren’t able to make ends meet anymore. Aspyr wasn’t really a fully fledged development studio, though, they were more known for doing PC to Mac ports. More recently, Aspyr has been doing console to PC ports.

Aspyr is one of those companies that people just seem to like. Most Mac enthusiasts have a great deal of respect for Aspyr, because for years they were the only people porting good games to Mac. Now that the market is changing, Aspyr seems to have run out of luck. Everything is easier to make cross-platform now. Most games are made with the intention of being cross-platform at release, much unlike Aspyr’s method of porting already successful games.

With the amount of talent in the company, and amount of respect people have for Aspyr, I would hate to see them go under. Porting games is a losing business, now, though, and I really don’t know how viable Aspyr would be as a company. Fortunately, there have been reports of Aspyr planning to start making some original games, which would allow them to pursue the more traditional developer path. With any luck, Aspyr may turn this loss of employees into an entirely new business model.

WIP: Untitled Game

December 16, 2008

untitled

Here’s a quick screenshot of a WIP. The overall aim is for a medieval Godzilla, I guess. I’m using Game Maker 5.3A for this one due to some GM issues. The overall goal of the game is to lead your army of small soldiers to victory over the massive beast enemy, obviously. I am thinking about entering it in this contest. I will also be adding villagers and hovels for the beast to smash and ravage.

I’m still undecided on a name, but I’m sure one will come to me.

Game Maker Ruins My Life

December 15, 2008

Game Maker and I have a very love/hate relationship. I love it because it lets me create in a few hours what would normally takes days or weeks to do. I hate it because everything about GM is just so damn inconsistent. Game Maker is the English language of programming languages. It isn’t designed well at all, but it somehow works and works well.

Right now I haven’t been able to work on as much stuff due to the fact that any GM games crash on startup on my laptop, which is what I spend 80% of my time on. Fortunately, Game Maker 5.3A games are running fine, so it does present an interesting challenge of using a tool that I have largely forgotten about. Version 5.3A is a far step back from the current version, and looking at some of the features that didn’t exist in the earlier version made me realize how spoiled I am now.

My Game Maker problems are also cross-platform. I have been toying around with the new GM Mac Beta, and I really don’t have anything good to say about it. The sprite editor is a joke, and there is about a 50% chance that your game just won’t load. YoYo Games has slated the open beta for April, and they’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

Am I disappointed by GM sometimes? Yes, but I have been using it for so long now that I would have to invest a large amount of time into changing my dev environment to reach the level of proficiency I have with GM now. I don’t quite think it’s worth it. Maybe someday another technology will come along and sweep me off my feet, but until then, I’m sticking with Game Maker.

Zach L over at Dopterra has posted a nice teaser page for Dark Dominion. The page features the gameplayer trailer and a bunch of new screens. It also gives some details on the game’s story and character cast. There’s only a month to wait until the game is released in January, and it just keeps looking better.

Game Review: OmniLudiCon

December 12, 2008

Free Flash Game
Play OmniLudiCon

OmniLudiCon(OLC) is a flash-based game creation toolkit as much as it is a game. At first glance, the game may appear to be just another flash platformer, but upon closer inspection, OLC really shows us a glimpse into the future of game creation.

OLC gives users the ability to create small game levels/prototypes in their web browser. Utilizing a handful of default actions and objects, users are able to create a fully functional game level that they can share with the Internet. From a basic platform character, to a Asteroids-style ship, OLC has the basic game control schemes present. What makes it really interesting is that you can combine these aspects freely. There was one level I played which utilized a number of control methods to present the player with more of a puzzle than an arcade game.

Say what you will about Kongregate, but OLC is the real Web 2.0 of flash games. Even though it is limited, it gives any user the ability to create and share games. No technical knowledge is required, so if you can click a mouse, you can make a game and present it to the public.

I would really like to see an RPG themed version of OLC. Allowing the user to not only create level situations, but also stories would greatly improve the experience. Here’s some levels I made…

Run Like Hell
Survive 430

The bill to provide $14 billion in aid to US automakers has failed. As I have said before Republicans oppose the auto bailout because rich people don’t make cars. When the banks needed money, there was some conflict, but in the end we managed to give them $700 billion. Now that Wall St. is taken care of, do Republicans care about Main St? No, and they aren’t even willing to give Main St. a fraction of the money they gave to Wall St.

The auto bailout needed to happen. An auto industry crash is not something that may happen in the future, it is something that is already happening. Already, the auto parts industry is already experiencing a failure. Because nobody is buying cars, less cars get manufactured, which means that less parts get manufactured. People are already losing their jobs. Delphi, a leading auto parts maker, is hanging on by a thread. This is not an event happening in the future, it is happening now.

But Republicans are content to watch Detroit and other communities wither away as hundreds of thousands of jobs disappear. If we can bailout crooks like this, why can’t we bailout communities of workers?