Moirai, Interview and Indie Games Room

So I thought I’d post up a bit about a few things that have happened recently.

Firstly Moirai has been taken offline and is no longer available to download. You can read the community announcement here. Shaun Prescott from PC Gamer interviewed me about it and wrote a good piece.

Back in May I did an interview with Angelo Valdivia from Player Attack. We talked about Expand, Moirai and the Slaughterhouse.

And lastly, the Indie Games Room at AVCon was a few weeks ago. This was my fifth year involved in volunteering for the event. Monkeystack put together this short video from the room on Sunday which was pretty neat.

New Bot: Mirrored Game Covers

Recently I had a few idea for a bunch of new Twitter bots. I’m going to be working on these over the next few months. The first of these is the Mirrored Game Cover bot.

It takes popular game covers from Moby Games and creates two images one in which the left side of the image is mirrored over the right and the other where the right side is mirrored over the left. This idea came from a NeoGAF thread several years ago.

Here are some of the more notable tweets the bot has posted so far.

The Slaughterhouse

So over the last 6 weeks or so Catherine and I have been working on an extension for Hacknet called The Slaughterhouse. In it you break into the computer network of a meat company and expose its violations to the public. It takes about 2 hours to play through. You’ll need to have both Hacknet and the Labyrinths DLC to play the extension.

We’re quite happy with how it turned out. It takes a much more investigative and complex approach to the original game. We also hope that it challenges an audience that usually wouldn’t be exposed to this kind of material.

You can access the extension here.

Australian Games Mix Tape

Update: Due to personal reasons this project won’t be going forward. Thanks to those that showed interest.

For the Fete at the Freeplay Festival next month I have a stall that I’m calling the Australian Games Mix Tape. The basic idea is that there will be a pirate kart like games launcher with just Australian games. The intention is to show the diversity of games being made in Australia.

You can find more details and submit your game here.

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Free Local Multiplayer Games Website

One thing that I really enjoy doing is playing through the batch of games that are developed as part of game jams such as Ludum Dare. I usually sit down with my girlfriend and we take turns in trying out the different games. We also run through games listed on curated websites such as Free Indie Games and the recently released games on portals such as Game Jolt. When trolling through the list of games, those listed as local multiplayer games tend to stick because we both want to play.

Unfortunately there aren’t any websites that just curate free, local multiplayer games which is why I created a small tumblr blog to do just this. It’s called Free Local Multiplayer and was released a few weeks ago. I’m trying to regularly update the site with new games every week or so. The idea is to build a list of solid, enjoyable games that people can play together with a friend or at larger multiplayer parties. The spirit of playing games in a communal space with friends, strangers, family, partners or whoever is something that I think is definitely worth spreading.

Screenshot from 2014-06-05 01:42:29

I wanted to create something that was vibrate and fun. The website needed to quickly get across the types of experiences people could have which is why I opted for the grid design with large cells. I ended up choosing to use tumblr and modified an existing theme. The selection of themes on tumblr is impressive with most themes looking fantastic. I was originally hoping to use animated gifs for each screenshot however I ran into issues related to CORS so I opted for static screens instead.

All of the games posted are tweeted out at @FLMGames. If you’re interested in helping me curate the website then feel free to get in touch.

Starseed Observatory Interviews

Late last year I was interviewed by my twin brother Daniel about my experiences playing Starseed Pilgrim. This interview was for a feature called Twin Perspectives on a new website, Starseed Observatory. The intention of the website is to show a new form of games criticism that Dan and his friends have been working towards.

Screenshot from 2014-03-04 12:26:35

Dan and I also recorded an interview about my design philosophy and thoughts on games. It’s a bit rough but I figure it may be of interest to readers.

Random Free Indie Game website

Over the last few days I’ve been a bit distracted with maintaining the release of Moirai, reading and thinking about future side projects. Tonight I decided to put together one of these side projects. The project is just a small website that randomly chooses a game listed on the Free Indie Games website. Free Indie Games is a website that curates free indie games. It’s a really well curated website that gives exposure to a lot of great games.

So if you’re looking for something to play then maybe choose a random, free indie game.

Game Dev Adelaide

I thought I would do a short blog post to tell you about a new website that I quickly put together over the last few days. The site is called Game Dev Adelaide. It lists all of the game developers within Adelaide and creates posts depending upon what the developers post to their RSS news feeds.

gamedevadel

If you are an Adelaide/South Australian based developer and are not listed on the website then be sure to let me know. The details about how to do that are over on the sites about page.

What games can take away from Citizen Kane

Recently I watched Citizen Kane, a movie that was said to defy movies as having artistic legitimacy and be the best movie of all time. I don’t entirely agree with these thoughts. After watching Citizen Kane I was reminded of the buzz a while ago as journalists tried to claim the Citizen Kane of video games. In short this sort of discussion is pointless. I think this article sums it all up nicely.

However I think that there is something that can be taken from Citizen Kane that would prove useful. The idea of challenging authority and those in our society who bend their power for their own corrupt ends. The systematic nature of games allow them to replicate systems that are corruptible by highlighting to the masses how such corruption occurs.

Games like those from Molleindustria and Persuasive Games are examples of how games can create such systems that can be used expose the James Hersts of modern day society.

Thoughts on Two Anthropomorphic Bubbles

Recently I was referred to a game called Two Anthropomorphic Bubbles from a friend on Facebook. I started to jot down my thoughts on the game which started to get rather long, so I’ve decided to post them here. Before you continue reading be sure to give the game a go.

From the games title screen you get the impression that this game is intended to be a metaphor. The title partially gives this away with the use of Anthropomorphic. According to Wikipedia:

Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics to non-human creatures and beings, phenomena, material states and objects or abstract concepts.

So therefore these bubbles are meant to take on human characteristics which is further suggested through names of the two characters of this game, Mr and Mrs Pink Bubble.

Upon playing the game you move through the world which is populated by grey bubbles. You control Mr Pink Bubble using the mouse to, as you move the mouse Mr Pink Bubble follows you. A grey circle expands and shrinks around you based upon how close you are to the most recently touched bubble. As the grey bubbles traverse to the left hand side of the screen, this bubble inevitably becomes bigger. The more grey bubbles you touch, the more your score increases, as your streak of touching grey bubbles increases so does your size. It’s hard to tell but if you don’t touch the grey bubbles frequently enough or over time you, Mr Pink Bubble, decrease in size. I noticed that if you didn’t touch any grey bubbles for a while and went to touch them again then you would actually lose score.

There are several metaphors conveyed here, each with different effect. When you touch the grey bubbles you become larger, this could be interpreted as a metaphor of, the more you share love and understanding, the more fulfilled you become. The shrinking may represent how we become bitter and less fulfilled when we are alone and don’t share our love. The fact that grey bubbles move off screen could represent how we have to eventually let go of some of the people we love. The dynamic in which you inevitably touch another grey circle could represent how we meet people in our lives unexpectedly and we share our love with them. The loosing of score could represent how it hurts to start to share love again.

The game consists of dialogue between Mr and Mrs Pink Bubble as well as a background that slowly scrolls to the grave of Mrs Pink Bubble. These only lightly serve as means to provide loose context. In a way they are redundant.

At this point you may be thinking that this game mirrors the strong metaphors in other experimental games like The Marriage. I strongly disagree with this because I feel that this game is missing a strong sense of conflict between the mechanics that could be used to enrich the metaphor. Despite relating to these metaphors I feel as though it misses stronger and much more interesting metaphors about love.

Love to me requires sacrifice. The sacrifice to open yourself up to something that could hurt you and something that will make you vulnerable. There are no mechanics in this game that play off against each other to represent sacrifice. As a result I feel that it only hits the surface of being a metaphor for love.