The problem with turning this into a regular column is that I have to write it regularly. I have clearly failed this week, but that shouldn't stop you enjoying day-late development blogs and GIFs from around the web.
Includes: dinosaurs, Nikola Tesla, flight sandboxes, conference tables, 'game jams'.
The Curious Expedition
Basically, you posse up with a group of natives, some helpful dinosaurs, and a scientist like Nikola Tesla, and you explore a strange land. You travel via a game map, need to keep your crew kitted and fed, and there are turn-based battles when you encounter an enemy.
The DevLog currently contains 30 pages worth of posts, many of which are GIFs and screenshots and news from the developers. Check it.
I have a soft spot in my heart and an expensive flight stick on my desk, both devoted to simulators which aim to capture the majesty of piloting planes and helicopters. But while I appreciate the complexity and accuracy of yer X-Planes and Flight Simulators, I still long for other approaches to the genre.
Lift is a flight sandbox which allows you to design and pilot your own creations. It has an accurate physics model, but there's no concern here for accurate cockpits and careful switch mechanisms. Lift is about building something silly and seeing if it might actually fly.
There are builds of the game available for your browser, Windows, Linux and OSX, but the DevLog is worth following along for two reasons. One, because there's a lot of GIFs and images detailing the creation and tweaking of the game's physics system. Two, because forsy, the game's developer, isn't yet set on what direction the game is heading in. It's exciting to watch it come together.
Office Management 101
Part of the reason I write these posts is because I want to encourage game developers to talk more openly about the creation of their work. Too often we only get insight into the development process after a game becomes a hit, when it's finished and everyone is talking in hindsight, but I think there can be real value - and entertainment, obv - to seeing things happen and change in real-time.
That's why I'm covering Office Management 101. Its DevLog is currently pretty short. It started in December and there's only been a few updates since, but the game sounds interesting already. It's an office management sim inspired by Theme Hospital and Kairosoft games.
I want to know more about how this game is made. How do you build a save system for a game like this? How do you balance it? How do you limit the number of animations required so it doesn't overwhelm its two-man team? Developers tulevik.eu have been too busy to write much about the game thus far, for good reason, so for now I'll have to look at the in-progress screenshots and wonder.
From the archive
In other news, I hope everyone got a good diversion out of Super Duelling MiniVans. If you haven't then go to our site and download it immediately. This game rocks! I think that the idea of a 24 hour game is pretty interesting.
In fact, I would love to see some big time gaming gurus get together and do this for fun sometime. I think it would be way cool to go back to the original flavor of Game Developer's Conference when it was smaller and more intimate and have a code bash party where teams of big name coders and artists get together for some fun to compete on some level in a 24hour game creation fest. Imagine what kind of wicked stuff that someone like Sweeney, Carmack or Sid Meier could come up with if locked in a room with the likes of Paul Steed or Cliffy B. Of course there might some legal issues involved, so how about people within companies getting together to do this once a year and then sharing their efforts publicly as freeware? Imagine what Valve or Id or Blizzard or Epic or Raven or Human Head could do in 24 hours? Hmmmm... (Of course I think the first rule would have to be that the game had to be coded completely from scratch- no using engines or pre-established code other than what comes free from Apple or Microsoft or what have you...)
This is Tim Gerritsen, Business Development Director at Human Head Studios, suggesting in 2000 that maybe people getting together to make games in 24 hours would be fun. Maybe he's right? I don't know what we would call those, but I think these "game creation fests" might one day take off.
I can't find a working link to Super Duelling MiniVans, but I would like to play it, if you lot can find it out there.
Right, done for the week. Are you a game developer, be it programmer, artist, sound designer or miscellaneous other? Are you writing regularly about the creation of your own game, expounding on design decisions, bragging about animations, or querying your public about future features? Email me.