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Bundle Reviews part 6: Hex Kit and Airships: Conquer the Skies

Two from  the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality because I feel like doing some but I’m FREAKING exhausted!

Hex Kit: Hex Mapping tool for table top RPGs

This is a quick and dirty tool for bashing out hex maps for gaming. It comes with a black and white brush set, and several extra sets are available.

I actually bought this tool a few weeks before I got this bundle, along with several add-on packs. This bundle also includes at least one add-on that I didn’t have which I’ll get to in a few hundred reviews… yeesh…

Here is a map that took me a few minutes to create.

We have some woods, we have some water, and we have an old ruined tower. This is all I need to bash together a 3 hour game. This is a neat tool for either creating maps of various sizes for your campaign, or just noodling around and drawing inspiration from the result. The existing sets can be used for your own game, and if you have minimal graphics skills it wouldn’t be hard to put together a set you could use for games you plan to sell.

A neat piece of software I plan to play with a lot.

Airships: Conquer the Skies: Design & fight with steampunk airships

They had me at airships…

This game is really good fun!

It feels like a game that would have been really ambitious on the Commodore 64, but far smoother than it could have been back then. I jumped into the 9 tutorials and then played out the test battle to qualify for the regular game. Here is the ship I designed for that final battle… The HMS Phalanx.

She boasts an impressive amount of cannons, but despite two lift chambers she was limited to relatively low altitude. I probably added far more armor than was called for. Her cannons also ate through the quite limited ammunition stores very quickly, so I was not prepared for a long battle. But against the airship Scoundrel I was able to prevail, losing only a couple crew and my bottom fin.

I will be revisiting this game, I can see losing a long weekend or two designing airships and battling it out in the skies.

OK! only 1720 games to go!

Bundle Reviews part 5: Odd Realm through EXTREME MEATPUNKS FOREVER

So I’m doing four from the from  the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality 

Mostly because I am really excited to play something called EXTREME MEATPUNKS FOREVER!

But before that we have Odd Realm, Night of the Consumers, and Mu Cartographer.

Odd Realm: Guide a group of settlements as they attempt to survive then thrive.

This game clearly has a lot of depth and is very much a game that needs to be learned. It gives you a brief tutorial then leaves you to your own devices, which left me trying desperately trying to command five settlers to harvest a carrot.

I’ll come back to this one later, it reminds me of Civilization but on a more intimate level, and the kind of Edu-RPG game we played in third grade where we settled america. I have remembered that game with fondness despite it clearly being a great example of US colonial based education… but I am in danger of digressing longer than I actually played this game at this time so…

NIGHT OF THE CONSUMERS: Retail is Hell!

Basically you have to stock the shelves in a grocery/department store. Customers interrupt you with unreasonable demands, and if you don’t cater to them you are fired. You then start over. There seems to be no way to actually quit the game… so it’s basically a pretty accurate simulation. If the controls weren’t so funky the game could be fun.

Mu Cartographer: Experimental Colourful Exploration Machine

This sounds pretty interesting.

Um…I can’t actually tell if this is a game or if it is sort of the digital equivalent of those boards with lots of nobs and buttons you give toddlers.

There is a sort of topographical… map? And some knobs, sliders, and things that alter it so that it looks like a slightly different topographical map.

A couple buttons bring up what seem like a few pages of a journal, but they seem like maybe they are for a game where you actually go some place and do something.

After fiddling with every control, then trying a few again, I accomplished nothing. Apparently if I allow it to it will send something to twitter to tell the world what I have accomplished, but I don’t really feel like I have accomplished a thing I need to broadcast. It is possible I am missing something.

So one possible win, one eh, and one what the hell… which brings us to…

EXTREME MEATPUNKS FOREVER

I am promised “A serial visual novel/mech brawler about four gay disasters beating up neonazis in giant robots made of meat. Get ready for the worst road trip of all time.”

My hopes are high, so in I go!

In some ways this is all I hoped, in a few its a bit disappointing. This is very much about the story and characters, and those make me want to fight through to the end. The actual game part is functional, but uninspiring, a bit repetitive, and goes on too long before you get back to the story. It also feels a bit like the narrative choices you make don’t really alter the narrative either. Really I want a comic book or animated movie of this, but not having those, I’ll play through the game to get the story.

Bundle Reviews part 1: Overland through Celeste

This first couple items from  the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality 

Hokay then!

First up are…
Overland: A squad-based survival strategy game with procedurally generated levels.
Night in the Woods: At the end of everything, hold onto anything.
Kenney Game Assets 1: 20,000+ game assets for use in your games.
Sky Rogue: A fwooshy, intense, procedurally generated fly-em-up

And because I wasn’t bored yet I added Celeste.

Already this is over $75 worth of content I got for $10 and I have not scratched the surface even a little!

For friends and family that are less embedded in techno-videogame-newspeak, procedurally generated means that the software generates the levels of the game rather than a game designer. This means every single time you play the game it will be different.

Overland: From the description this is a game where you gather together a band of survivors, steal a car, and try to travel across a country ravaged by disaster, monsters, maybe zombies. You have to keep the car running, your friends healthy, and avoid being eaten.

This is a somewhat well tread concept for a game, but fortunately it’s one I like a lot.

So in a quick play I stole a car, met a friend, found some gas, traveled a bit, ran away from scary crystal worm-bug-things, and then made a terrible mistake when trading some tools for a backpack and was murdered, I think somewhere outside of Boston, by some very easily offended individuals. They shot us with a flare gun.

The graphics are charming and sharp, the sound is spot-on, and there feels like there is a story here. I suspect this is going to be a tough game to do well at, but I will be returning to this one. My short taste was sweet enough to make me want to explore this game more.

Night in the Woods: So I already own this game. It was bought for me by a friend when I was living in Indiana and I played a bit before getting distracted by various shiny explosions. Apparently it was also made by one or more people that one or more people I know… know.

This is a game about a woman (cat) returning home to a mining town somewhere in the midwest after her school career flops. It is a game about what happens after failure and about reconnecting with a past that has changed and moved on. It is also about something creepy out in the woods.

What I played of this game I absolutely loved. I really need to give it a long weekend to play through the rest of this story.

Kenney Game Assets 1: This is a huge stash of graphics, fonts, audio files, 3d models, and whatnot for making games. Everything in it is technically free, but the $10 asking price is probably worth not having to download 20,000 separate items. I don’t make video games (well not no far anyway) but I do make games. I’m betting something in here is going to be useful.

I am not super clear who Kenney is. But he is prolific! If you want, you can donate a dollar to Kenney here. I did just because it amused me to donate a dollar to someone named Kenney.

Sky Rogue: A 3d fly-and-shoot game where you fly and shoot.

This really isn’t my genre of game, but It’s early in this whole project, so I thought I would give it a try.

Oh… yeah… OK… This game is a blast from the past from when this WAS my kind of game. I am talking Atari 1040/Amiga 500 days… but slicker, shinier, and just… a little bit more… more.

This is a game I had to break out a controller for, it was not meant for keyboard. It made me wish I had a joystick, a roll of quarters, and an extra 75 cents for a hot dog and a soda.

I probably won’t be sinking a whole lot of time into this game. These days I want my video games to have a whole lot of story and if at all possible to scare the hell out of me. But I might keep this one around for when I just need to launch a lot of missiles at something.

Should I do another? Do I have time for one more?

Well OK…

Celeste: A narrative side-scroller with a bucket of plot and things to fall off of.

Some of my favorite games have been side-scrolling adventure games, but most of them have fallen short of the glory that was Wonder Boy in Monster World on the Sega Genesis. We shall see if this reminds me of those glorious days… Celeste does promise a lot of challenges, a soundtrack I might want to buy and listen to, and pie. Yes it promises pie.

A half an hour of downloading, this is clearly a beast… I’ll play a little more Sky Rogue while I wait. What a world we live in. Then a little more as the version I downloaded seems to not actually run so I had to get the opengl version.

Right off the bat… I am a bit thrown by what they have chosen to name the main character of a game called Celeste… It’s Madeline. Apparently the mountain is named Celeste.

Oof! This is a platform jumper with the difficulty of an old Psygnosis* game to match it’s retro feel! The graphics are very low-res mixed with really charming portraits and background. Controls are tricky as by the third or fourth screen (a screen upon which I died over twenty times) you are already having to perform feats of parkour requiring four buttons at once in a particular rapid sequence while in mid-air. This is a game that is not going to coddle you and is going to reward hard work and dedication… of which I am in short supply having 1736 more items to check out.

I may not be revisiting this game any time soon, but it’s definitely got some things going for it in the hands of someone with more time and patience.

*Psygnosis was a british game company in the Commodore/Amiga/Atari days famous for incredibly beautiful and mercilessly brutal games. At some point they were bought by Sony or someone and mellowed out a whole lot.

That’s it for now!

Stay safe, stay sane, and as Uncle Mikey says… goodbye, and be good!

Wordspew 2 NaNoWriMo 2017

Sitting at home with my cats. Here is another one.

4

Maxwell held up his sword, His Sword, and grinned as he studied it for the hundredth time. Four and a half feet of steel worked by the keeps master blacksmiths, its grip wrapped tightly and neatly with new leather, and the edge wicked sharp after hours of careful honing. He held it up to the light and peered down the clean straight edge, carefully testing it with the pad of his thumb. This sword was worth more coin than his entire family would see in a decade, and it was his. The blade slid back into its plain wood and leather sheath with a soft click. He stood up and adjusted his belt again. The sword hung differently than the wooden practice blade he had been using for the last two weeks, and he was not at all used to the weight of the chain armor hanging over his body. He took a few steps and adjusted again so the sword hung comfortably on his hip without repeatedly slapping into his thigh.

“Ranks!” The voice of Sir Kyler Gathright boomed off the walls of the keep and cut short a hundred conversations. Maxwell picked up his helmet and shield and fumbled with his chin strap as he hurriedly made his way to his spot in the row after row of soldiers. He was three ranks back in the third file, almost right in the middle of his unit which was a bit to the left of the center of three just like it. “Telarian forces were spotted this morning landing north of Greyrock Bay.” Every man among them stood silent, some eager for the news, some terrified, and many like Maxwell feeling a confusing mix of the two. “If they make haste they could be over the pass by tomorrow and upon us.” Maxwell managed to get his helmet afixed correctly and slung his shield over his shoulder. ” Tonight we will make camp outside the city and be ready to march to meet them at the first light of day!” A cheer rose up from the gathered men, soldiers who had just a few short weeks ago been farmers, and fishermen, and woodsmen. Among them were the regular soldiers of the keep, but even they had never seen real war. It had been a generation since the Telarians had last been pushed back from Seaguard and few who remembered those times were fit to fight.

The Assembly broke and Maxwell joined the others in packing up his bedding and few belongings. “The Telarians don’t stand a chance” one soldier shouted to the cheers of anyone in earshot. Maxwell added his voice to theirs, though a little voice in his mind did wonder if their few weeks of training had really prepared them to fight against the empires invading army. He shook the thought away. Sir Kyler had fought in the last Telarian war and was leading them himself and Maxwells own unit would be fighting under the command of Sir Thomas Pickering. They had battle hardened knights on their side and Seaguard at their back, there was no way they could lose. He hefted his pack over his shoulder then paused. There was a shift in the noise filling the courtyard. Cheers and boasts were giving way to shouts of alarm, then screams of terror. He turned and his pack fell to the ground. Coming over the seawall were huge spiders, each the size of a war horse. He fumbled for his sword, his mouth suddenly gone dry. Riding these spiders were small figures, clad in armor and firing arrows from short bows. “To arms!” A strong voice rang out and Maxwell found his sword. He pulled it from the sheath as the man next to him fell with an arrow protruding from his throat. Mark he thought, his name was Mark, he was a sailor. The blade felt incredibly heavy in his hand as he lifted his shield and stood waiting for the beasts.

 

 

My second scooter mod 

Purely seasonal, I doubt the light will survive the first rain, it’s pretty janky. 

  
15 minutes to carve the ‘funkin’ 15 minutes to cut out the wood bits for the mount, a minute and a half of zip tying everything together and POW 100% more spooky!

Changing batteries is going to be an absolute bitch.

A new endeavor in game design.

Today myself and one of the friends I have made out here started a small game design collective/workshop/mutual support society.

Both of us are sitting on game designs that we have been procrastinating over for years and have all kinds of new ideas that want to see the light of day. We figure having someone to be accountable to can only be a good thing so we have met, set a couple deadlines, and are ready to hold each other to them.

One of our first assignments… Naming the group. Also a playable prototype by next week.