Get Ready for Name That Game 100!

•May 9, 2014 • 1 Comment

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there was a magazine called Games Magazine.

(Okay, technically it still exists in an online-only format, but I fear it is but a shadow of what once was.)

GM did everything. They’d review board games, video games, card games, RPGs, you name it. Some issues came with complete boardgames inside, usually ones designed to use existing gaming pieces. Every issue came with “The World’s Most Ornery Crossword Puzzle”, a staggering full-page grid with several pages of clues. They also always included logic puzzles, word games, trivia – you name it. If it amused, you could find it in GM.

And sometimes they’d get really deceitful. Some issues would include puzzles that weren’t even identified in the table of contents. If you were clever and scanned every page, you might be able to find a hidden message that, when decoded, described yet another puzzle. Sometimes they would even make a contest out of this, giving prizes to the first people to figure out there even was a contest.

I loved Games Magazine and I miss it a lot.

So I’m going to pull out all the stops for NTG 100. Be prepared. There will be puzzles within puzzles. There will be hidden clues. There will be red herrings. Many games will be involved but there will only be one right answer.

And yes, just like with NTG 50, there will be a prize.

Needless to say, this will be more fun the more contestants we get. So spread the word far and wide – think you got gaming trivia chops? We’ll see. We’ll see.

More on Fargoal 2

•May 8, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been asked how working on Fargoal 2 will impact the developent of my own games, specifically Planitia. The answer is that since this is paying work, it would be inappropriate of me not to give Fargoal 2 my full attention. So work on Planitia (and Zeta and Chitin and all the other little projects I’ve got going) will be suspended until Fargoal 2 is done, just to make that clear.

On the other hand, while I’ll be posting a lot here about Fargoal 2’s development, I’ll also be doing my regular commentary/review/Name That Game thing.

Speaking of which…

The next Name That Game will be number 100. My intention is to create a series of deadly traps that my readers must go through, each deadlier than the last, until finally a single victor emerges who must then fight me in a gaming trivia contest to the death! I’ll stream the whole thing on Twitch.tv, of course.

Hang on, someone’s muttering in my ear.

(So I can’t put people in deathtraps for my own amusement?)

(And we couldn’t afford to construct them anyway?)

(And it wouldn’t be fair to have someone challenge me in a video game trivia contest, since I’m the best at video game trivia?)

Okay, that’s out. Aaaand of course it was just a joke. In case this blog post ever shows up in court.

I’ve got an idea on what to do for NTG 100, though. See the next post.

Greetings, Fargoalians!

•May 5, 2014 • 3 Comments

(To my loyal readers: I’ve been kind of keeping a low profile recently because I had something in the works and now I can finally talk about it!)

Hi there! I’m Anthony Salter, and I’m the new developer for Sword of Fargoal 2. I’m incredibly excited to be on this project and if you look around the site you’ll be able to see why – Fargoal is just the kind of game I enjoy.

My first encounter with Fargoal was at a friend’s house back in the…I’m going to say late 80’s. See, I didn’t have a Commodore 64 of my own, so every once in a while I’d go spend the night with my friend Dennis and we would stay up all night playing games on his. That’s where I first encountered Sword of Fargoal, and though I didn’t have long to play it, I enjoyed it – especially the sound effects.

But when you’ve only played a game for two hours 25 years ago it might not stick in your memory so much. So I completely forgot about it…until the CRPG Addict started playing it. His writeup of the game was excellent, and that’s where I found out about the Kickstarter for Sword of Fargoal 2. It had already passed at that point so I couldn’t contribute.

And that’s where things stayed until a few weeks ago, when a friend of mine named Ido Yehieli mentioned that Sword of Fargoal 2 needed a programmer. I’d been wanting to get back into game development so he recommended I email Paul Pridham, the current programmer.

So I did, and I had a perfectly pleasant exchange with him. And eventually he recommended a phone conversation with the project leader, Jeff McCord.

Wait. Jeff McCord. Why did that name sound familiar?

That’s when I realized I was going to be on the phone with the creator of the original Sword of Fargoal. He hadn’t sold the license or farmed the game out; this was his show.

So, after an initial phone interview (in which I may have fanboid just a bit) and a series of follow-up email back-and-forths, here I am.

I think Sword of Fargoal 2 is a great game already and I hope that I can improve and polish it and get it into shape for its initial release. And after that…who knows?

So, that’s the current deal! To any new readers: I’m glad you’re here, and I’d be honored if you stick around. I talk about game development, review games sometimes and run a (semi)-weekly gaming trivia contest called NAME THAT GAME!

Name That Game! 99: In the Original Klingon

•April 30, 2014 • 5 Comments

A lot of times games get retitled for foreign markets. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. And sometimes it’s hilarious.

Here are seven games created in Japan and very popular in English-speaking markets. I’ve given you the literal translation of their Japanese names; can you tell me what the English name is? (Just to be clear, these are all console games and several of them are NES games.)

1. It’s a Wonderful World

2. Turnabout Trials

3. Devil’s Castle Dracula

4. ZERO

5. Downtown Hot-Blooded Story

6. Myth of Light: Mirror of Palutena

7. Beast King Chronicles

Good luck! If you win, I’ll give you a free copy of my game, Deeds Of Minor People As They Battle Against Gods.

Jacqueliene J. Benton Little

•April 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

My grandmother, and my children’s great-grandmother, passed away on Wednesday, April 23, 2014.

I do not have a single negative memory of my grandmother. We called her “Nanny”. Traveling from our home in Macon, Georgia to visit her in Warner Robins was always one of the highlights of my youth. While she didn’t have a lot of toys, she had a big backyard and, better yet, bordered the local high school outdoor football field.

My mother would tell me stories about how she and her sisters would go out there after games and crawl around under the bleachers looking for dropped money. My sister and I never found any ourselves but it always felt adventuresome to crawl around in that enclosed space looking for treasure and sneaking into the control tower.

Huh. And this was years before I started playing D&D…

Nanny was a very traditional Southern woman. Even after she divorced her husband and began working for herself she still made a lot of time for her family, especially us grandkids. She was old enough and respected enough to earn the title “Miss Jackie” in the community. She loved to cook, and many of my favorite memories of her involve eating the copious amounts of treats she made for us. And when Thanksgiving came around, wow.

After my family moved from Macon to Virginia Beach, VA, I fell out of touch with my grandmother. I can give all kinds of excuses – life was hard, I was working two jobs and going to school, I’m a male and thus have trouble expressing my feelings, etc. But I shouldn’t have let it happen.

And then I took my solo trek to Austin and became even more self-centered as survival became my priority. I hardly thought about Nanny, much less talked to her.

When my oldest child was very young, I took my entire family back to Warner Robins to catch up with everyone. Nanny seemed to be slowing down but was still in her right mind. She loved meeting Megan and she told me that she was proud of me.

I would only speak to her again briefly until our move from the accursed Michigan to Florida. On our way down we made time to visit her in her home. By now I had three children, and the oldest was almost eighteen. Nanny loved seeing them again, but I could tell from her difficulty getting around and the fact that one of her daughters had moved in with her to care for her that she might not last much longer.

And last Wednesday she breathed her last. I’m just very grateful I got to see her one more time and that she got to see three of her seven great-grandchildren.

Goodbye, Nanny. I will miss you.

Name That Game 98: I Have a Name, If Nothing Else!

•April 16, 2014 • 5 Comments

Continuing the theme of the last Name That Game, we’re now delving into the realm of (potentially) memorable characters with fairly generic names. Why?

Well, there are lots of games out there that allow you to customize your character, sometimes even going so far as to allow you to be male or female. But then these games have a problem – if you don’t know what gender the main character is supposed to be, how do other characters in the world address him/her/they/it?

Most games get around this problem by either referring to your character by their last name or by some sort of title. As the player, you should get used to this because you’ll be hearing it a lot.

Below are ten names that games use to refer to genderless (or gender-selectable) player characters. Can you name the games they are from?

1. Shepard

2. Boss

3. Hawke

4. Alex D.

5. Hacker/Employee 2-4601

6. Alpha 1

7. Avatar

8. Viridian

9. The Nerevarine

10. The Courier

Good luck and have fun!

Important News About The Blog!

•April 10, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I started this blog (looks through archives) Holy Toledo, in 2003! That means this blog celebrated its tenth anniversary last year. And I didn’t even realize it.

I am so lame.

And I was calling it “Games Without Frontiers” back then. That’s before I decided to start Viridian Games.

Wow.

Anyway, a few years ago I decided to use ViridianGames.com exclusively as my store and move the blog to GameDevDad.com. It was probably the worst thing I could have possibly done short of accidentally deleting everything on my web space and in my SVN repository. I had a fairly good readership back then (this was also when I was doing Name That Game! regularly) and I just destroyed it by moving the blog.

So you’ll be happy to know that I’m moving the blog! Actually, I’m moving part of the blog. I’m going to sort out all the posts (which is a chore I am not looking forward to) into all the game development and commentary and move that back to ViridianGames.com. Name That Game! will also move to ViridianGames.com.

Stuff about me personally, my family, and PSRD breaches will stay here. So if you just want to read about what I’m doing with my game development or participate in gaming trivia contests, you’ll want to head (back) to ViridianGames.com. If you want to see tons of pictures of my kids and hear me mope, this is the place.

Plus, both sites are going to get a new coat of paint. I’m getting really sick of this theme, but it’s going to take a while because it’s not a standard theme; it’s something I hacked together. So now I have to hack something new together.

Once again, I wish I had some real website design skills.

Age of Mythology Made Me Feel Dirty

•April 10, 2014 • Leave a Comment

So! Just a few days ago I found out about this:

Now, despite my eternal love for Age of Empires II, I did really enjoy Age of Mythology. I played it a lot and I played it with my daughter (co-op against AIs, of course). So that video made me very happy; there are some long-standing bugs with the original Age of Mythology that rear their head every time I try to play it. Seeing these bugs fixed would make me happy. Plus enhanced textures, water and lighting, and tools to make streaming and commentary easier. I might get to watch commented games on Twitch.tv! I couldn’t see a downside.

But the community sure could.

See, the game is being released at the abominable price of $30. I know, right? Quel horreur! It’s not like Microsoft is paying an external developer to improve the original code and add all these features. And it’s not like this developer is actively encouraging feedback on what new features to put into the game. And it’s not like the only reason they are doing this is because they feel they might make money at it.

Oh. Actually, it is like that.

And the thing that bugs me isn’t the fact that some people think that the price is too high. There are always going to be people like that. The thing that bugs me is that people are actually outraged at this price. They are frothing and foaming. The price is an affront to them; they can’t live full and robust lives any longer because of this price.

So I (possibly stupidly) decided to dip my toe in.

You can’t see most of it now because it’s been scrubbed, but I was immediately attacked by one Baron von ZinGer who, instead of addressing any of the points I’d made, called me an idiot. He accused me of having such a big ego that I’d probably be fired from my dev team soon.

I can’t wait to have that conversation.

“Anthony?”

“Yes?”

“Can I have a word?”

“Sure.”

“We’re letting you go from the team.”

“What?! Why?”

“You’re too arrogant and sure of yourself. You’re egotistical and your self-confidence is completely obnoxious.”

“That’s ridiculous!”

“I’m sorry, but that’s how we feel.”

“We? Who’s ‘we’?”

“Me, Viridian and Badman.”

“But we’re all the same person!”

“I know. We’re drawing a line inside our brain. We’ll stay on this side and you stay on that side.”

“Well, fine!” (door slams)

Yeah. This same guy also looked up my profile, saw the Greenlight link to Planitia, and accused me of being a “lying stealing dev” because Planitia is based on Populous. When I asked him how I was lying when I explicitly stated that the game was inspired by Populous, he said it was because I called the game “one of a kind” on my Greenlight page.

Yeah, I’ll just stop working on Planitia now and play one of the forty other god-game/RTS’s out there. I mean, why did he think I was such a fan of Age of Mythology in the first place?

So all I can conclude is that people are stupid on the internet. Oh! And that Age of Mythology Extended Edition looks boss and I’m definitely picking it up.

Planitia Alpha 1, “The Gods’ Playground”, Coming April 4, 2014!

•March 27, 2014 • 9 Comments

Okay! I’d like to announce that on April 4, 2014, my multiplayer god-game Planitia is about to have a public alpha I’m calling “The Gods’ Playground” and you can sign up now!

It’ll be a simple version designed to test my networking code. If you want in, you can comment on this post, email me at anthony.salter@gmail.com or sign up on the forums. Both Windows and Linux versions will be available. Sorry Mac users, you’ll have to wait until I can afford a darn Mac. I hope to see you all there!

Project Magma Version 1.8

•March 14, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Project Magma, as I’ve mentioned before, is the fan-maintained version of Myth II: Soulblighter. I wasn’t aware, but last year they released version 1.8 of Myth II and it is frankly awesome. A video is (literally) worth a thousand pictures, so here’s an overview of everything in it:

The far zoom when playing a replay and the motion interpolation are the best features, IMO. With these, the more modern RTS controls and the ability to quickly quit and restart games, Myth II has all the features of a modern RTS – perhaps more. Indeed, if it weren’t for those damn low-poly models and billboards the game could be released commercially today and would almost certainly be a big hit.

If you try this and like it and decide to play online, the current most popular hangout for Myth II players is Gate of Storms.