My Own Private Ludum Dare

Okay. So I’m sitting here, right? I’m sitting here looking for job offers and waiting for phone calls. And the situation is getting increasingly dire.

So I’ma make a game.

Inspired by Ido Yehieli‘s success porting Cardinal Quest to Android, I’m going to write an Android game.

In three days.

I have until Monday morning to get this game done and get it on Google Play, where hopefully it can help us dig out of our current hole.

It’s going to be called Star Revolution. Yes, I know, I was going to use that name for my huge RPG with tactical space and ground combat…but I’m starting to think it might be a bit hard to write that game myself.

So Star Revolution has been reinvented as a 4X game for Android phones. If you’re not familiar with the term, TV Tropes does a good job of explaining, as usual.

The problem with 4X games I’ve played like Civilization, Master of Orion, and Galactic Civilizations 2 is that they just blow up to become these huge things as you play them. Now, that’s a feature…until it’s time to sleep. Then the game state that you were carefully maintaining in your head during play gets lost, and when you come back, especially if it’s days later, your first thought will be “What the hell was I doing? Why am I researching Improved Toenail Clipping? Why is my fleet on the other side of the map? And why did I think allying with Montezuma was a good idea?”

This may suggest that there aren’t many 4X games on mobile platforms because of the inherent stop-and-start play of portable devices. But I think that by pulling the scale of the game back a bit I can still make a fun game that players can pick up and put down as needed.

I’ll be prototyping the game in C++ using my own development framework, but I’ll be writing the final game in Haxe and NME. And I’ll be blogging and tweeting the entire process.

Wish me luck!

Name That Game! 87 – A Picture is Worth Yadda Yadda Yadda

UPDATE:

The game, which we have already established is an Origin game, is currently free on the GOG.com website. I still will not accept an answer unless you can tell me why I took the photo.

And since I’ve got at least one Facebook friend who actually worked on the game in question, I’m going to be disappointed if no one gets it.

Jeff Dee, I am looking in your direction!

Time for Name That Game 87!

Last time I was in Austin, I took this included picture. Can anyone tell me what game inspired me to do this? It’s not enough to name the game; you need to tell me why the picture is significant in order to win.

And I’ll give you a hint – it’s an Origin game.

Lara Croft, PTSD Survivor

UPDATE: Hey, I’m not the only one who noticed!

Just watched the most recent trailer for the new Tomb Raider. Which we have to call “The New Tomb Raider” because they didn’t see fit to give it a number or subtitle.

After viewing, I kind of imagine this is how the pitch for this game went at Crystal Dynamics:

Designer 1: “Okay, we’re going to make a new Tomb Raider game.”

Designer 2: “God, really? Even when we make a good one like Tomb Raider: Legend, all we get is flack from female gaming pundits about how oversexualized Lara is and how she’s a throwback and a male fantasy object and is holding back the progress of strong women characters in video games, etc, etc, etc. Do we have to go through all that again?”

D1: “No, see, I’ve got an idea on that front. We’re going to desexualize Lara Croft.”

D2: “Seriously.”

D1: “Yeah.”

D2: “You’re going to make Lara Croft less sexy.”

D1: “Yeah.”

D2: “How do you intend to do that?

D1: “First, we give her more reasonable proportions.”

D2: “That’s not going to do it. Even if we reduce her breast size, as long as she’s fit and attractive, she’ll be considered ‘sexualized’. How are you going to get around that?”

D1: “Stay with me here. Second, we’ll make her a teenager.”

D2: “Okay. I guess that would desexualize her in the sense that not too many people would be attracted to her in that form.”

D1: “Right, so that’s a good start. Finally, we’re going to beat the living hell out of her. She’ll get shot, impaled, blown up, and beaten.”

D2: “In the death scenes? I remember that Tomb Raider used to be known for its interesting death scenes. My favorite was the Midas one from TR1…”

D1: “No, man, this’ll be during gameplay. Plus, she’ll spend the entire game filthy, with matted hair and ragged clothes, and bleeding from multiple wounds.”

D2: “O…kay. So we’re going to turn her into a completely different character, one that we deliberately construct so that it’s squicky to think of her in any sexual way.”

D1: “You got it! Isn’t it brilliant?”

Let me answer that for you, D2: no, no it’s not.

Let’s ignore the sex thing for a second. (Not just because it’s stupid; I have another point to make.)

One of Lara’s defining characteristics is that she’s always having the time of her life. She does what she does because she enjoys it. The real Lara is the one who purred “I’m such a lucky girl!” upon finding a new temple to explore in TR:L. This is the true root of her appeal – how can you not be attracted to someone who is so enthusiastic and having such a good time?

That aspect of her character will be destroyed – perhaps permanently – in the upcoming game, replaced by a shell-shocked teenager just trying to survive.

“But this is the origin story! This is WHY she -”

No. Frankly, the idea that a young Lara could go through what she’s being put through in this game and then decide to center the rest of her life around the experience is ridiculous.

Make her younger, okay. (And hey, it’s already been done once before in the series.)

Make her more realistically proportioned, I don’t care. (Although I personally think it’s a concession to snot-nosed, professionally offended people who would never have played the damn game anyway.)

But if Lara’s not having any fun in the game, how the hell am I supposed to have fun playing as her?