Remember that awesome contest-finalist game designed by myself and Reluctant Pirate Games?

Well now there’s a deluxe edition! And you can BUY IT HERE: https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/terra-neo-deluxe

Or just take a look at the rules.

Alice Blank’s gorgeous artwork can finally be seen by the world! And there’s other neat improvements too, including:

  • clarified rules
  • a tiered god power system
  • awesome box art by Morgan Shaw
  • smaller, higher quality tiles so larger mats are possible
  • a revamped ‘resonance’ system
  • up to 6 players

Enjoy!!

Wow! Once again, way too long without an update. Rather than create a separate post each thing going on lately, let’s just talk about it all at once. Here’s what’s happening:

 

Rum Run

Has been reviewed by Dave for To the Table and Father Geek! Both of them were remarkably thorough and had a ton of awesome things to say, which is incredibly encouraging. Dave made an lovely video which actually does as good a job explaining how to play the game as I ever could, so check it out if you’d like to learn (and hear his thoughts):

Despite some stellar comments, Father Geek couldn’t give the game the ‘official’ seal of approval because of parents’ mixed reactions to the subject matter (interestingly, Rum Run recieved the Child Seal of Approval but not the Parents. What is this, Spongebob Squarepants?). Understandable, but yeah, just make it about rootbeer! Or teach your kids about a very real very problematic period of American History. Anyway, there’s still a review incoming from Gamers Remorse, but I’m so thrilled by what’s been said so far that whatever they say can only be frosting on the cake. Woot! Planning on smoothing out a few event/objective cards I don’t like then finally buying myself a copy :P

 

Walkabout

Not doing too much with this right now. Where I left off, I was trying to get the online high-score table to work, which I think I was very close to doing but just ran out of time. I still think it’s a fun game! Loved getting the sky to fall. If nothing else, it serves as a great 2D tutorial and sandbox for me to keep coming back to.

 

TerraNeoGod1

Terra Neo

Here’s my guilty spot. This summer I managed to get Alice Blank into my production of Dystopiapiapia. She’s a phenomenal actor and it was a huge honor. Our last interaction though, was when I asked her if she might make some of the artwork for Terra Neo (this is like a year and a half ago now), and this all came with the promise of me getting her a free copy of the game ASAP to use as a porfolio item. Then I got hung up on the rules or something came up or excuses excuses excuses and I haven’t touched it for months. Here’s the dumb thing– really all that needs to be done is some fine tuning with the color palette and new rules. That’s it. So why the heck don’t I ignore the rules, get myself and Alice a copy, enjoy the freaking’ game, then make the rules later? Doy. Hopefully I can do that soon.

 

Masterplan

While nothing has been done, I will say that Dan and I are gearing up to take another pass at it and imagine what a Game Crafter version would look like.

 

ShimaIMG_0084

Amazingly, there’s a couple people in my office talking about getting a bunch of my boardgames for Christmas, so I really should be making everything as great as possible. Shima has been looked at by Dan and I a couple times in the past, but he wants to do a genuine overhaul of the entire game. I just want to fine tune a couple things and maybe make the rules more clear. We’ll see.

 

Oculus Rift DK2

While I haven’t actually made an Oculus Rift game yet, it’s only a matter of time, so I may as well talk about what I am doing with it here. Basics: my office got the DK1 in December of last year and I immediately jumped into learning Unity and Javascript and made some interactive versions of our theaters for XIQU, the Rose Theater, Utah Performing Arts Center, and the Park Avenue Armory’s production of Macbeth. It was great– depth perception and rotational head tracking really helped you feel like you were there. Problem– if you move your head, nothing happens. Well, in a theater, whether you’re trying to look between the heads of the people in front of you,or lean over a balcony rail, there’s plenty of subtle movement affecting sightlines that the DK1 was unable to capture. Enter the DK2– just got it working yesterday with one of our projects, and that took getting a new graphics card (NVIDIA GTX 970), a power adapter (Dell prebuilt computers… yikes to work with). But hey! Higher definition display, and MOTION TRACKING. My boss loves it. There’s a few little judder things I gotta work out, but after that, I’ll start to feel comfortable imagining some much more ‘game-like’ elements to work on, be it for my office or for some crazy new project.

 

What I’m Playing

My wife and I have been playing a lot of Race for the Galaxy (which Liz usually wins). We also love a new (old) game by Sid Sackson called Acquire. Besides that, we’ve had single games of Dominant Species, Root Word, and Scrabble.

 

The Future:

I want to make a board game about the meat industry. Here’s two words no one likes to hear together: educational and fun!

 

ggj14-play

Wow, I’m truly embarrassed to have not posted about this yet, but better late than never.

I participated in Global Game Jam 2014 at the NYU Games Center this year, and had a blast! It was a tricky weekend, as my friend Danton Spina had been in California getting his Master’s degree for a couple years, and this was the first weekend he was going to be able to see us in NYC. We could have forgone this weekend-long charette (the goal is to produce a working video game between Friday night and Sunday night), but I had just started to get comfortable developing for the Oculus Rift and was eager to put it to use for game development (though we didn’t use it). On top of that, my frequent-co-board-game-designer Daniel King was eager to participate in the Global Game Jam, so in the end we thought it would be ideal to get Danton involved in some capacity.

Dan and Morgan Shaw (always the color corrector/graphic designer!) got to the Metrotech Center early Friday night and managed to lasso a few other team members, one of whom was a 17-year old coding genius, one of whom was a young and eager Unity-veteran about to start his semester in the NYU Games Center, and the other was a guy who almost didn’t talk the entire weekend. Two other guys started in our group, but then splintered off and made a super-artsy interactive thing in Processing that won a bunch of awards.

Anyway, the prompt for the weekend was “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” and that got us talking about a game that changed its environment based on how the player played. Are you aggressive? Make the level ‘thicker’ and give you more punching power. Are you likely to jump over things? Make stuff ‘taller’ and give you more jumping power. A simple idea that we weren’t quite able to realize over the course of the weekend, but still had a ton of fun with (and I’d like to think we all learned something too!) Danton focused on designing backgrounds, Morgan gave us a color palette, I coded various elements, Dan worked on Kangaroo animation (kangaroos jump and kick!), and our other guys handled everything else. By the end of the weekend, here’s what we more or less had. It didn’t manage to, y’know, do what we wanted, but hey! There was kicking and jumping and procedurally-generated terrain in front of a parallax-scrolling background.

And frankly, it was fun. Now, I don’t have any delusions that continuing to work on this was going to yield any kind of recognition or rewards– there’s a million games like this that are far prettier and better-marketed than I could ever dream of doing. Heck, one was even made during the Game Jam; a fantastic sidescroller where you play as a horse and your power-ups are the people that ride you. My goal right now is to learn enough coding/Unity to be able to do basic tasks with relative ease, and this is a great template for that. It’s an already-working game that wanted some extra functionality, none of which I imagined would be too particularly challenging.

And really, it wasn’t. Unity has great tutorials online, and coding in C# isn’t that different from JavaScript. While I hesitate to call this ‘done’, I’ve accomplished many of the things I set out to:

  • add a score
  • add a game over screen
  • make jumping/kicking power change based on how often you perform those actions
  • make the environment change based on how often you perform those actions
  • get the game working on the web
  • have the game on the web save a high score and player name
  • fix the graphic problems

If I keep working on this, it’ll be frosting stuff– fine tune the mathematics behind things, dress up the graphics, add some animations/music in more places. For all intents and purposes, this is my Unity sandbox. And what a fun sandbox it is– each new thing I learn tends to propel me to learn something else.

This is literally the first video game I’ve worked on since Dildo Raptor Wars, which was in Adobe Flash, so it’s great to be working in Unity now both for work purposes and play. I’m learning so much!

Without further adieu, I’m proud to present version 0.2 of Walkabout.

Jump over cacti or destroy them. Only the cacti with flowers can be destroyed.

Play the game by clicking on the image below! The last thing I added was a loading-percentage indicator– surprisingly simple and a great indicator to players that nothing’s broken! Thanks to Dan for the lovely poem.

ggj14-title

Can you beat my high score? Please do!