Archive for the ‘GameTunnel’ Category

Snakey Jake

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

An interesting concept for design people. I’m calling them clicking platformers. Everybody’s played Wik, so I wont talk about Wik. This is a game I came across today called Snakey Jake.

Snakey Jake (YouTube Video)

It’s your usual casual game fare as far as graphics and polish are concerned. What I was expecting was a “click on a spot” sort of game and he’ll move to that spot, but it’s actually click on the platform and he’ll move to the nearest place on the platform. Either by slithering or jumping, where appropriate. It’s a good example of an intelligently simplified control scheme, as I expect several designers will be toying with more in the years to come.

Personally, I don’t like this variation of control. True, it’s harder to make mistakes since you can’t click anywhere, but it annoys me as a player. Mostly because I’m a core gamer, and I’d imagine you could do some really interesting things with this gameplay style without the platform restriction. It also imposes a restriction of “you can only click on platforms that you can safely jump to from this platform”. Good for casual gamers, but not so much for me when I’m in the mood for a suicide jump. I’m also totally missing the opportunity for a conversation with myself about how I could or should have sooooo made that jump. Boo.

If I was still doing the roundup, I’d be bouncing back and forth between 6 and 8. Higher because of design merit, ’cause I think it’s a notable game as far as game design for casual gamers, and the only other game I can think of to compare it to is Wik. Lower because I personally didn’t like the decision to go with platform clicking, as a personal gamer preference. I’d muddle over that for a day if I wasn’t behind schedule, or an hour if I was the one holding us back.

May Round-Up, and my last

Friday, May 26th, 2006

The round up for may is up. Heh, I’m sure I’m going to be scolded by Mike and Seth for not finding time to mention to them that this would be my last round up, but in a way, that’s half the reason why. Busy busy.

A hand full of interesting games this month. Eets, the TIM like game with the hungry mood swing guy; Bone: The Great Cow Race, a fine modern example of comic gone adventure game; Odyssey: Winds of Athena, the game with the water currents gameplay; and American History Lux, desensitizing gamers of war since 1754.

So there we have it. This month puts me just over a year and a half’s worth of round up’s. It’s been a great little research project. I’ve played a lot of interesting games I would have normally missed. It’s been a really great way to put the Indie and Casual games industry in to perspective.

And now, back to the grind. Just like last month/post suggested, things are busy. There was a bit of a significant project direction shift then, to better meet a quickly approaching deadline. I’m afraid this annoying “vague” tone is required for a month or two more. That, and I’d rather speak with images.

April Round Up-Up

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

Yup, I’m a few days behind mentioning this, but this month’s round up is up. A personal favorite of mine, Titan Attacks reigned supreme, followed by the slick steam powered airship game, Steam Brigade, and the un-noted but equally as surprisingly quality Inlay clone, Mosaic: Tomb of Mystery. Fun stuff.

As expected, I’m going to say things are going well with the game, despite the updates. Actually, better than well. Much Biz oriented stuff, which I’m going to have to sit on for a while. Very exciting.

Happy, Orange, Singing, Hooray!And something that made my day today, the Loco Roco demo. Playing it is certainly a treat. The controls are a little tricky, since these things have a mind of their own. Some high speed glitches I’ve been fighting with physics wise, I’m surprised to see, actually show up in this game. I’m starting to suspect I’m just too anal for my own good. I think the art style is awesome, but I’m weird like that. Oh, and did I mention, they sing?

8 ways to annoy the panel

Thursday, April 6th, 2006

Now that I’ve succeeded in world domination (also known as syndication), I present to you a short list of complaints to fellow developers. 8 ways to make the monthly round-up panel hate you. Unofficial in every way, as it’s just my observations, but toned a tad sarcastic and sharp to get the point across. It’s not for everyone, as we do get a good number of games that work great. But there’s just enough of them to compel me to write this.

Here we go.

1. Make sure your uninstaller is incomplete and broken.
Obviously I don\'t.Yeah, I love it when my registry is full of crap entries, game folder don’t disappear, or when file associations still exist for applications that are no longer installed. Come on people! It isn’t hard to look in your “Program Files” folder for your game, or do a search with reg-edit to verify your keys are gone. And just ’cause your game doesn’t use keys, it doesn’t mean your installer didn’t. You can backup existing file associations in a dummy registry entry, so an uninstall returns them to their previous state. The goal of a good uninstaller is no trace of your application is left behind (short of backup save files IF the user wants them). With all the problems with spy-ware these days, some developers need honor. May as well be us.

2. Violate my quick-launch bar.
OMG! So much fun!I love this one. The world’s newest and greatest match 3 has decided it’s as important as the rest of my applications I use for daily operations, like surfing the web, checking e-mail, editing files, and doing complex calculations (2+2=PI?).

Please, don’t.

Anyone that knows how to use a quick-launch bar will drag icons from the Start menu, or the desktop. Anyone that doesn’t know how to use it, wont be using it.

3. Use program groups/folders named after your company.
Where\'s Waldo? I hate that guy.Seriously, put things in to perspective. Dirty Fish Chunks Multimedia/ isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Paddle Champion, the Breakout game. Truth be told, we’re not EA. We’re microscopic. We’re nobody’s. It’s the games that has the identity. Don’t let your players get lost in the Start menu, where they can’t even find your game. I personally hate having to run the installer a 2nd time to see where the heck it put a game.

4. Release buggy un-tested games.
Sometimes we’re tolerable of bugs, but other times… hoo boy! I know it’s not always easy to test in a broad number of configurations, but I have to strongly suggest hitting up forums for a pre-release run of your game before you send out press releases and press copies of games.

Do basic usability tests too! Have friends or family who haven’t touched the game sit down and try it, and take note of anything they stumble over.

5. Force installations to the C: drive.
The “C” drive was a pretty reliable place in the DOS days, but some flexibility is always better than none. But in an age of partitions, boot-loaders, low cost removable media, things happen. Prefer wherever “Program Files” can be found, as it’s where most people will gladly put applications. I bring this up as I have a pretty high end PC, but due to a funky combination of a hard drive RAID array, and a USB memory card reader, I don’t have a C: drive… at least not one without a compact flash card inserted.

6. Self extracting archives make great installers.
WinZIP/WinRAR isn’t an installer! NVidia and other hardware manufacturers might think they’re totally awesome giving me a self extracting archive that dumps their driver to a folder, where I need to find the secret “setup.exe” file. This sucks. Your installer should all be self contained. Installation, and uninstallation.

Deuce7. Sh*t on my desktop.
Alawar! Seriously! Stop it! Do whatever you want in your program group on my start menu, but the desktop is off limits. You can give me an icon for the game, sure, but your website links weren’t invited.

8. Don’t test with non-standard or international keyboard layouts.
That\'s not QWERTY!?!Since the internet is clearly limited to the US, there’s no such thing as non US keyboards. Oh wait! There’s actually a 2nd standard US style keyboard, and it’s called DVORAK. It’s nowhere nearly as popular, except in geek circles. As a fellow geek, at least respect your peers. Then respect your customers who live abroad. Install a French, Spanish, or German keyboard layout and play your game for 5 minutes. This can be done from the Control Panel/Regional and Language Options. It adds a nifty little 2 character group to your bar, that drops down so you can select the language mode for the currently running application. Try it.

*** Bonus ***

9. Laptops don’t exist.
There’s this thing on many laptops called a condensed keyboard layout. It takes the numeric keypad part of the keyboard, and puts it in an awkward place, often only accessible via a magic key that lets you toggle them instead of normal keys. Let me explain… it’s hard to play a game that requires these keys on a laptop!

And there we have it. Rant ovah.

Marching Round, and Up

Monday, March 20th, 2006

Yep, it’s that time of month. Tell me, what’s round, monthly and up? I shouldn’t have to answer that question.

A pretty light month. A slick little Final Fantasy’esc RPG, Aveyond. An adventure game with this big blue thing and a really long name, Frasse and the Peas of Kekick. Yes, that’s right. An undersea adventure, Joust revisited, a card game, and more at the Tunnel.

Yeah, I’ve been quieter than I had hoped. It ends up I got back to coding, so I’ll talk about that once I finish my big shiny task.

Round and Up February

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

Snorting the yellow snow again are we Snowy?Dude! There’s like, this site. And it has something to do with tunnels, or tunneling. Boy, I could tell you stories of tunneling. But they’re so amazing, they’d blow the minds of my 5 readers. The problem is I’d then have to acquire a new reader base. I can’t have that. Especially with the likes of Jack Black and Bob Villa reading. Their fans would kill me.

Right, so the more temporally correct but logically wrong February Round Up is online. Can you believe it? People mistakening the round up’s as horribly late or something. So, for the sanity of the readers then, they’re now being branded with the month of their release. Madness I say.

Nothing big this month, but a few interesting ones. A pipe based throw back to The Incredible Machine, Tube Twist. A defensive RTS like game, Tower Defense. A typing tutor SHMUP, TypeStrike XE. And the most unexpected of them all, a wrestling game. That and a fair share of match 3’s, simple item grabbing platformers, and an Arkanoid just to prove the hate never dies.

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