Let’s Talk About Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim

Finally back with another Let’s Talk About video, this time on Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim. I like this game, but the devs had an overly ambitious plan for the budget they crowdfunded, and that makes this a great example of why we need both AAA and indie games. Transcript is below the break.

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Phonics Shmupdate: More and Better Refactoring, New Classes Made, Other Stuff

It’s been a while since I updated. To be honest, I don’t exactly remember all changes I’ve made. I’ve been working on it here and there in spare moments amongst busy times. Many things have been refactored; I undid some unnecessary future-proofing I did in the previous update’s refactoring because it was silly and hard to read. I abstracted out some classes, either as their own files or as subclasses, making some code much easier to read. Again, not much has visibly changed with this new build, but I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made.

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Phonics Shmup: Rebuilding in Unity

phonics shmup unityI was thinking about the fact that my students are young and Japanese, and more easily impressed by flashy things than non-flashy ones. I am not a graphic artist, really, so I decided to rebuild my phonics shmup in Unity — the ease of grabbing things from the asset store makes it much easier to create something visually appealing.

I’ve spent the last several days learning Unity, and imagine my luck at finding that one of their introductory tutorials is a space shmup. The assets they provide with it are free to use, too.

If I were planning to sell this game, I would care about using assets from one of Unity’s tutorials; who wants to release a commercial game using assets that most Unity developers will recognize? But I’m not. This is going to be free, intended for educational purposes, and what I really care about is the likelihood that my kids (and the students of anyone else who wants to use it) will want to play it. For that purpose, these graphics are fine.

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Yes, Let’s Evolve the IGF

First things first: read Zach Gage’s Evolving the IGF and then come back. He argues that the IGF could be highlighting more games in general, and more interesting-if-not-perfectly-executed games specifically, by changing the judging categories. This is an idea I wholeheartedly support, though I think there’s room for discussion about what exactly the new categories should be.

I respond to his proposal directly at the bottom of this post. However, I’ve been wrestling with my own thoughts on the IGF and how it might be improved for a while now. I haven’t said anything because I couldn’t think of any good potential solutions to the problems I saw. With Gage’s great idea in my face, however, I want to try to work through some of the thoughts that have been simmering on my brain’s backburners.

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Pondering RogueliKes, RogueliTes, and Procedural Death Labyrinths

It’s been forever and a day since I posted anything here. In addition to fall being busy in general for me as a JET ALT who is very involved with her schools, I was working on and releasing my first finished video game, Ultra Hat Dimension (which was a great, if stressful experience; check the game out and look for a postmortem in the near future).

Now that that is finished, I have finally begun making videos besides my critical/reminiscent long-form FFX let’s play! My first one is about the terms “roguelike”, “roguelite”, and “procedural death labyrinths” — both how the terms came about and how I use them. It’s a lead in to a series of one-offs about games that I’ll be doing. The video script is below the embed.

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Dragon Age, Ma Vhenan: The Lore is a Lie

This is cross-posted from my blog on Gamasutra.

I’ve finally figured out how to talk about the root of my deep love for Dragon Age: Inquisition without spending an hour or more spoiling the story and lore of the setting for the listener. I stumbled upon this during a Skype call with someone completely unfamiliar with anything Dragon Age. My fumbling explanation gave him the mistaken impression that Inquisition went back on the lore established in the first two games, retconning things better left alone. But that’s not true. No, Inquisition gave us an extraordinary gift uncommon in any fantasy setting: it taught us that everything in the established lore is suspect. Continue reading

TorqueL, the Rolling Box 2D Platformer

I originally posted this on April 18, 2013 on my blog on Gamasutra. Cross-posting here because this game looks great. It’s on Steam Greenlight Concepts with a demo available, and I urge you to check it out.

Overcrowding at BitSummit meant that in the short time we had for looking at game demos, there was no time to see them all. I did see quite a few, and while most of the games I saw interested me in one way or another, a simple platformer named TorqueL took first prize for being fun to play.

TorqueL’s concept is simple. The developer bills it as the 2D rolling box platformer, and that description basically sums up the game. The only thing that sets this game apart from other 2D platformers — and the only thing it needs — is that player movement has been completely rethought.

TorqueL screenshot

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