Playtest and Conferences

What I’ve Been Working On

A few days ago a friend playtested The Singularity. The problems that emerged were due to a lack of logic transparency. Most teleporters in the level have a single stage, costing one cube, but some have two stages, costing two cubes; clarifying this difference without resorting to some clumsy UI is my current obstacle. Implementing the narration will also be core to the next build, because the themes aren’t clear without it.

Partially due to these problems, partially due to my desire for the creative freedom that only an early-project offers, I began shelling The Labyrinth. I’m still toying with ideas around it because the main set piece, a labyrinth, can be frustrating and boring to play. Regardless of the results, there’s an early screenshot above.

What I’ve Been Playing

Since the trailer for the new Blendo game has been floating around, I finally played Gravity Bone. What I found most interesting was how effective the linear objectives were. On paper the A-to-B progression sounds no different than Call of Duty’s singleplayer. Another segments involved first-person platforming, a device generally loathed since Half Life 2. Yet, Gravity Bone succeeds with its pulp-mystery, madcap charm. Maybe when that novelty fades there won’t be any content left, but until then I’m eager for the sequel, and you should be too.

This weekend I’ve also returned to Super Mario Bros 3 on my snes (as a part of Super Mario All-Stars) upon realizing I’ve never finished it. I’ve nothing to say about it yet except that I am terrible at 2D platformers.

What I’ve Been Thinking About

With all of the GDC talk, I’ve been looking into conferences I might attend in the future. IndieCade sounds particularly promising, since it’s on the West coast, and not until October.

Also while reading their site, I found a page of some speakers from last year’s conference, and I was blown away. Jonathan Blow and Marc Ten Boch’s presentation on Designing the Universe was particularly fascinating, and reminded me a little of Godel Escher Bach on the topic of creating meaning and complexity out of simple, repeated structures. Richard LeMarchan’s presentation on Why I Love Indie Games was also interesting as a summary of the amazing indie games in the last half decade, and what games can be. Find the time to watch these!

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