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Silence fell…

As you probably know, Freya’s Aett is a personal project rather than a commercial studio right now, so it takes a back seat to actual paid work and writing work.  That goes double for paid writing work.  Right now, writing is more lucrative than indie games, but NDAs make it hard to talk about it.  What good is it posting “1/1/12 – working on something secret” and “11/4/12 – working on something else secret” when it means nothing to a reader?

Now, that’s not to say that there are no games getting made.  Some experiments are ongoing and there are some new mini-projects.  One such thing is the asynchronous MUSH which is only known right now as ‘CLI’ (i.e. Command-Line Interface) because it’s at too early a stage to have a real name; CLI started out as an experimental text-parser and got a little bigger when certain ideas started getting incorporated.

If you want to take a look, it’s at http://www.freyas8.co.uk/CLI/ for now, pending an actual name (and content) which would justify giving it a real URL…

Current verbs include: basic movement verbs (and directions), ‘look‘, ‘examine‘, ‘smell‘, ‘eat‘, ‘drink‘, ‘taste‘ and ‘fight‘.  Common abbreviations and synonyms have been included for a few of the verbs, so you can ‘l‘ or ‘exa‘ or ‘nibble‘ .  Not all of those verbs do anything right now.  There’s a ‘wait‘ verb to update the screen, a ‘help‘ verb for very basic help and an ‘exits‘ verb that would be more useful if there were actually any exits.  Of course, there are other verbs and more will be added in time, so feel free to experiment.

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Normally Friday would be patch day, but this is not patch day and so there are no patch notes.  In the belief that getting to know the minds of developers can shed light on their work, herein lies a short discussion of games-patching and how we feel as players when considering patcher programs.

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Achievements

Unless you are a hermit in a cave somewhere, you have probably come across in-game achievements.  These are an integral part of many games-platforms, from Steam to Kongregate, with even Minecraft including them too.  The basic theory is that certain actions or behaviours will earn a virtual ‘badge’ that other users can see.

Used well, they tend to give a sense of…  well…  achievement.  Early on in the game, you might get one for completing the tutorial, then another for your first successful battle.  By the end of the game, they are rare and special, awarded for completing the main story or collecting every coin or action figure in the game.

Once a novelty, these have become de rigueur for modern games, something you would be mad to leave out.  Console users rely on them to build up their credibility as a gamer, comparing scores to work out who is the most ‘hardcore’ in a certain group.

When I realised that I had actually spent half an hour of my life trying to ride a pig off a cliff, not to mention trawling a game website for hidden puzzles just to gain a ‘seal’ later the same day, I knew an achievement system was probably inevitable.  The achievements themselves actually work as an extension of the upcoming tutorial system, so it is not a great technical challenge, but I did wonder if they were necessary.

Given the low ‘cost’ here, I can’t see any reason not to.  I am not sure anyone would be offended by their presence…

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Here’s a personal one from AnthonyHJ…

While I may be the lead designer of Freya’s Aett, I was not always an indie; much of what I learned, I learned as a salaried employee in a bigger studio.  I want to talk about one of my pre-Freya’s Aett games in this post; it’s called Dragons’ Den and came out for the iPhone and iPad today. [App-Store Link]

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Anthony will be visiting the fourth TIGJAM UK from the 4th to the 7th of February this year, so feel free to drop in and say hello if you are in the Cambridge area that weekend.  It looks like it could be a great opportunity to see indie developers in action.

TIGJAM UK 4 Poster

[More Information] | [Book Tickets]

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Back to work…

After a relaxing Christmas break, it’s time to go back into the studio.

The place-holder art is ready for city-building now, so it should not be too long before the Facebook App includes an early version of the city functionality, and the combat system is ready for implementation.

Other than that, there’s an indie-developer event coming up (more on that in a future post) and a whole load of back-end work to make the new inventory system work as intended.  More posts to come as we get back into the swing of things.

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