Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rock there, Shotgun that

Rock Paper Shotgun have done a wee review of Ben There Dan That a while ago, but I only just noticed. Tsk, tsk, naughty SSH.

One, or five days until QFG2VGA????

Today, ADGInteractive put up this page which lists 5 more updates to come. Perhaps this means that there's only 5 days left? Or perhaps, as speculation on their forum indicates, it will be tomorrow, as it's the date of a Solar Eclipse? In any case, they say they are nearly done so the many year wait is nearly over! Now everyone else is going to aim for categories in the AGS Awards that QFG2VGA won't walk all over them in...!

There's also a QFG2VGA video on youtube

Mamma Media!


LimpingFish has updated his occasional blog on AGS stuff in the Media. There's AGS articles and reviews in PC Zone UK and PC Format UK. Head over to his blog and check it out. Interestingly enough, one article lists a "6 of the Best" AGS Games and includes none other than Princess Marian! At last it gets the recognition it deserves!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

$250 to the 'wise

An AGS game has just won 3rd place in a game-making competition. Eegra have had a game making competition on and bicilotti's entry Colorwise has won third place and $250. This game is based on those Dulux colour mixing machines that you get in Homebase and your aim is to get make your customers happy with the right shade of "Lemon Chiffon 4". Or something like that.

Actually, its quite fun, although as the Eegra judges point out its not quite compelling enough to make you wake up in the night with the solution to a level like Lemmings did. It's certainly an excellent example of a well-made non-adventure produced with AGS.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Yahtzee's lost game

Many many moons ago when Yahtzee was a happy, jolly person and didn't spend all his time attacking games he worked on a team project with m0ds, Captain Mostly and abstauber. abstauber has returned to the forums after a long time away and given us this blast from the past: the unfinished Vestibule. You'll probably need DosBox to run it as it was made with AGS 2.15 SR2.

Cracking announcement, Gromit!

Telltale Games, including many past masters of adventuring and makers of Bone, Sam and Max and other awesome games have announced that they are producing a Grand Adventure of Wensleydalian proportions. Yes, everyone's favourite nutty inventor/world-weary dog combination is heading to a PC near you. Head on over and check out the teaser trailer.

Hidden Sun to Rise Again?

Those of you who are old and hoary may remember AdventureGamers' original Adventure Architect column where Josh Roberts chronicled his attempt to make a freeware adventure called Rise of the Hidden Sun. Well, AG have just published, after a long hiatus, a coda to the series of articles. Josh relates his trial tribulations and delays and offers hope that we may just see the game some day. Pop over and have a read.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Another 45 miles to go.

Title: Revenge In Parelly Point
Author:
Hud
Release date: 15 July 2008
Playtime: 40 minutes
Size: 2.6Mb

My first thought when I started this game was: Sonny Bonds is back! I'm sure it wasn't intended that way but every move in this game feels like the earliest Police Quest.

And I love it. The best thing about this game isn't the adventure. There isn't much to figure out. At each point you'll get a clue and hint on what to do next and who to visit or where to go to. But the exact location isn't given. And that's where the fun starts.

In a cleverly constructed street system you drive around and must visit place to perform your next action. A lot of them aren't even needed to complete the game but make the game more fun: think about the environment and clean some rubbish. Or get a burger at the drive-through after you figured out how to get your money. Great fun!

Accompanied by great sound effects and nice scores taken from other sources, the game doesn't get boring for a long time. Although there could have been more puzzle elements, some less clues and more interaction at locations, the story is very well presented. Told in a way that captures the player and with a plot that isn't too obvious. You can feel the author is a great story teller.

This one is a must for the fans of the ancient Sierra adventure, especially of the police-type. Hopefully this one will be extended some day with more locations or get a sequel that hold even more sites to play in and more miles to cover in traffic. Drive carefully!


Thursday, July 24, 2008

New walkcycle generator beta


I've been working on updating my walkcycle generator and AGS 3.10's new resolution handling has let me do stuff I've been wanting to do for a while. So here's a beta version of the walkcycle generator, please feel free to comment, find bugs, etc.

Knol is Pow

Google have just set up their wikipedia rival, called Knol. Cue Zapruder jokes. Anyway, I started an Adventure Game Studio article there, so feel free to go and improve it, but just cut/pasting from the Wikipedia article is probably a bad idea.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

5, 4, 3, 2, 1... (Trial by) Fire

The team at AGDInteractive have started a countdown to the release of their QFG2 remake, head over to their forums and check it out!

Ben Jordan exclusive spoilers!


In this Ben Jordan 7 exclusive screenshot we can reveal who is really behind the conspiracy that is sending Ben all over the world ghost-hunting. You can see the devilish duo seated nearby to Ben and Alice in this screenshot leaked from the forthcoming game!

Game of the Year nominees in


m0ds's Game of the Year so far competition has closed its nominees and the full list is available on the Screen7 site. Voting will open 1st August so go and play them all so that you can vote properly! Who will get that REAL trophy?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What made off with the maiden?

The latest Sprite Jam is begun with the task to draw the strange creature that pilfered the princess from your castle with this picture as the only clue so far.

Dave sells his soul (or his shirt, anyway)

George Lucas made most of his original Star Wars money on the merchandising, and Dave Gilbert is heading for multi-millions with the launch of his Zazzle store. He's also talking about some Blackwell animations and a new fan art competition in a new vodcast, so pop over and enjoy his youtube-y goodness.

Monday, July 21, 2008

200 perfect posts

Yes, this is post #200 to my blog, and every word posted herein heretofore has been a precious gem of wisdom and insight. Everybody who reads this is commanded to post Congratulations-style comments.

Any news, you may ask? Nope, nothing. Nothing whatsoever happening in AGS land today.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Spoonbeak review ahoy!

AdventureGamers have reviewed Ali's pirate masterpiece Nelly Cootalot and decided that those spoonbeaks are well worth saving, so head over and get their opinion on this game that dominated the AGS Awards ceremony in more ways than one back in February.

The importance of being Ernst

The Max-Ernst-themed Sprite Jam was won by this entry from Fyntax. It's certainly something you wouldn't want to meet on a dark night, in dreams or reality!

Game of the Year so far

Last year screen7 (m0ds's game company) held a competition with real prizes for the game-of-the-year-so-far about half way through 2007 and again this year (poor second-half games seem unrewarded, oh well!) Anyway, noms close Monday (sorry, should have blogged this earlier!) so get your skates on!

Brittens Imminent

Tomorrow starts Brittens, the British AGS meet in jolly Wales where AGSers get to know the Taffs Well. CJ in a flurry of beta activity has pushed out AGS 3.1 beta 5 already including the change "Removed room height limit of 1400 pixels". No doubt, he'll not be updating AGS much while at Brittens, so beta 6 won't be along quite so quick, I expect.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Quieres algo rhythm?

The new tune contest is up and for this one, you need to include some algorithmicly generated melody in your piece. Fortunately, we've been pointed at an online generator of such midis, so there's no excuse, folks! Go forth and note-ify!

Christmas comes early

While we're on non-AGS stuff, if you're willing to divulge your email address to Telltale Games, they'll give you a voucher code for a free copy of Sam and Max Season Two episode Ice Station Santa. This follows on from their giveaway of Abe Lincoln Must Die in Season 1, so get over there and sign up before the offer expires July 31st!

All the PC's a stage and we are just game players

OK, they're not using AGS, but two AdventureGamers regulars, Deirdra and Lee are creating a game called Stage! and have a development blog going, so check it out.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

User rankings

Just in case anyone is interested (and I know bicilotti is!) I've updated my games rating trawl for July 2008 and added in a column for the cup rating which leads to some interesting things:
  • The 5-cup games have user ratings of 86-93%
  • The 4-cup games have user ratings of 67-93% (Lowest: Dance Til You Drop)
  • The 3-cup games have user ratings of 27-91% (Lowest: Marty Chonks In Dances With Camels, Alien Threat, Ace Quest)
  • The 2-cup games have user ratings of 29-88% (Highest ranking: Quest for Glory 4 1/2 , Principles of Evil I, Casablanca,The Day After, Trevor Daison in outer space - Chapter one, Maniac Mansion Mania - Episode 9 - radioactive, Maniac Mansion Mania Episode 15: Place Machine, Bernard's Room. Lowest: Adventures of PQT, Don the Dweeb, Henk Stroem in Lost In Cellar)
  • The 1-cup games have user ratings of 1-89% (Highest ranking ones are Maniac Mansion Mania Episode 2 - Commotion, Rude Awakening!, Unfinished, Battle Warriors : Rovendale Tactics, La Gran Castanya and Rapstar 1.5. Lowest ranking: Proof of Fiction, Scnidersom and Murder)

Necromancy, Narcissism and something else beginning with N

Alliteration is harder than it looks, sometimes. Anyway, here's my usual all-too-brief look four games to recently emerge into AGS-land.

NecroQuest 1: The Inheritance

Well, we all want to follow in our forefather's footsteps and take over the family business, even it it means bringing people back from the dead. Now you can!

Ben There, Dan That

Zombies, Lucasarts references, Lava, Lamps, Cows, The 51st State, Alien Conspiracies and more await you in this pretty funny game. Well worth a play. Go, download it now!

Barn Dilemma

What's with the glut of Barn-titled games? Anyway, this one is set in a barn and you have to escape.

Revenge In Parelly Point

A Police-Questy driving sim and retro feel adorn this 6-year-old project from Hud.

Two tune win

The sexy golden saxophone trophy goes to both The Magician and nyu001 as they got equal numbers of votes in the Tune Contest. We await their joint effort at coming up with a new theme...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The man with the golden SHAG.

Well, last night's shagging session was dominated by Grundislav who put his l33T Ben Jordan-style skillz to use in making Deus Ex Machina, the hour game that won the competition. Previous winners of this current flurry of hour games are IndieBoy, CodeJunkie, Ghost and Bicilotti. Of course, the best hour game ever was Achtung Franz by Ghormak.... unfortunately it seems to no longer be on AGA's site.

Monday, July 14, 2008

SHAGadelic!

Those jolly people who video chat on the AGS Stickam rooms have been having a few hour game competitions recently. An hour game is just like OROW and MAGS, but with only 60 minutes to get your game together. It's utterly astounding what people get done in such a short time. They're calling their competition "Stickam Hour AGS Games" which is, of course, SHAG for short. So if you fancy winning a prize for your SHAGging ability, head over to SHAG III at Monday 14/07/2008 at 21:00GMT. More details in the Stickam forum thread.

Is this the way to Stickamarillo?

After chatting with some of the folks there and irate Benidormians complaining in Gen Gen, I put my awesome PHP powers to use and created a redirection thingy for the AGS Stickam room. If people enter the current URL in http://ssh.me.uk/stickamurl.php then http://ssh.me.uk/stickam.php should redirect to the current chatroom...

NB. The code checks to see that the URL is a Stickam one, so don't bother trying to make it point to anything else.

5-way aural pleasure

The current sultry tune contest has entered its voting stage and the 5 entries should get you all steamed up. If you want to vote, get over there quick, have a listen and submit your top 3 to the thread.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

786432 pixels of AGS goodness

All those of you who don't use AGS because it doesn't have a 1024x768 mode no longer have an excuse. AGS 3.10 beta 3/3a onwards now supports every single pixel of that mode, so you can have your MS Paint artwork in gloriously unnecessary high resolution!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Go native!

CJ put out a new AGS beta yesterday and changed from 3.03 to 3.10. Why? Because this new version now optionally supports native high-resolution co-ordinates. So if you make your game in 640x400, you actually address the pixels from 0 to 639 and 0 to 399 instead of the 320x200 system that has always pervaded across every resolution before.

There's plenty of scope for this to go wrong, so I think I'll try out all my modules in this version and see if any glitches occur. Once they're ironed out, it should allow for smoother animations, scrolling, etc. etc. in hi res games and might well be simpler to understand.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dave's got some Ivy in his Eye

Erin Robinson is back into the headlines again with the announcement today that Dave "I knew him back when he made RON games, you know" Gilbert's Wadjet Eye games will be funding and publishing a new commercial adventure by Erin's LivelyIvy Studios. Details of the title are a bit short in the press release, but Dave promises info soon in the WadjetEye blog. So far we know that it's aiming for a November release and will be a Nanobots-style puzzley adventure.

Room template

A little-known AGS feature for a long while (at least 2.72 had it) has been the "New Room" template. If you create a room that you want to be the default for your game whenever you create a new room, then save it as _blank.crm in the game's main directory then whenever you hit "New Room" in the editor, it will load that as the basis for the new room. So, if you find yourself as irritated with the new AGS 3.0 script interaction controller (the lightning icon thing) as I am, why not create a default room that has all the room interactions already added?

Also, if you load up your normal game template, save a new _blank.crm and then create a template from that game, you can have that as the default room for all future games and your frustration can be channelled into making awesome adventures instead!

AGS 3.0+ annoyances

Over in the forums, there's a wee debate about why people haven't upgraded to newer versions of AGS. This has come up before in this blog and on the forums. Snake stated his dislike of the position of the project tree and starting debug games in a window, but he didn't realise there were preferences options to change both of those! If there's anything about AGS 3.0+ you don't like, comment here or on the forum thread, and I'll see if I can point out a way around the problem!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Looking for a new description?

I've uploaded a new version of the Description module that works around an overlay problem when you're using Sierra-with-Background style speech and also allows you to have the "overhotspot" text centred or right-aligned. See the Description module forum thread or my site for details.

RONimation

The dudes over on the Reality-on-the Norm forums are appealing for people to animate the non-animated characters in the RON resource pack, so if you feel like animating, get over there now.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Would July to me, baby?

Here's some games that have come out recently:

Barn Runner 5: The Forever Friday

Detective Pr**k Peckard once again runs through some barns or something. Just before the weekend, too.


Flux World

You too can play a game based of the stuff in the middle of solder. You are alone in your home when, suddenly, you are taken away to a strange place where you are constantly attacked by beasts. However, physics also seems to be conspiring against you. See if you can find your way home.


Dread MacFarlane 2


The further adventures of our eponymous heroine, although much shorter than the first game, unfortunately.

Plumber Boy

Nope, not Mario, but a retro-style black-and-white platformer nonetheless.

Craft of Evil

Buckethead's release is this prerendered-3D horror game. Unreal graphics (pun intended!) but seems to have been generally well received and now most bugs seem to be ironed out.

Living Nightmare: Midnight

Simplistic graphics adorn this ghostly thriller based on the movie 1408.

3.03 first beta

CJ has put out the first beta of AGS 3.03. AGS can now continue running game loops while dialog options are displayed (if you want), have calltip help text, can have more than 30 characters in hotspot descriptions, can store saved games in My Documents subfolders in Windows XP, and has a few bug fixes. No doubt more features will be coming, but its only a minor version number change, so we maybe shouldn't expect too much (perhaps after Mittens?).

Saturday, July 5, 2008

MMOAGS?

Super scotch has hidden away a gem of a plugin in in a new Tech forum thread about getting the old TCP/IP plugin to work with AGS 3.0. Scotch went and redid it from scratch with a whole lot more sexy interface. So if you want to create that multi-player adventure, here's your chance.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Self-indulgence

Time for a root around Google Analytics again.

Just one visitor....

A big thank you to the lone person from each of Brunei, Philippines, Uruguay, Morocco, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Iceland, Colombia, Serbia, Ukraine, Thailand, UAE, Reunion, Vietnam, China, Namibia, Grenada, Belarus, Panama, Iran, Bosnia and Benin who visited this blog.

Also, thanks to the one or two people in each of Hialeah (Florida), Perth (Australia) and Bunbury (Australia) and Geldrop (Netherlands) who have visited my blog loads of times.

Mayday, Mayday!

The 19th of May saw 60 different people read the blog, a peak that has not yet been surpassed. Leon posted his first review 18th May, so that's probably why.

One and a half each

Visitors to this site average 1.55 pages and 1 minute 25 seconds per visit. Come on folks, explore those archives...! Only 5 people have ever looked at more than 20 different pages on the blog. You must work harder, people.

Loyalty card

48 people have visited this site over 200 times each and another 360 over 100 times each. However, 1573 people visited only once. Don't let that be you!

Long time no see

5 people haven't visited this site for over 2 months and another 12 haven't been here for a month. If you're returning after a hiatus in reading this blog, then don't do it again. Or train your dog to read the blog for you if you're away.

Foxy browsers

70% of you visit the site with Firefox, and another 10% with Opera. IE takes most of the rest, although 35 page visits have been from Safari, Mozilla or Camino. A whopping 94% of you use Windows, though, with Linux and Mac way behind, although 3 page views were from iPods!

Lo-res rules

Kudos to the person who viewed this site from a 170x208 screen, presumably on a mobile phone. There's an odd few 640x400 and 640x480 views, 320x396 (iPhone?), and even 51 800x600 views, but top of the resolution heap is the 1353 views from 1024x768.

To whom do you refer?

Most visits are direct, but most referrals are from the AGS forums unsurprisingly. Google is next, then my own ssh.me.uk. No surprises there. Following on is the lovely gnome who has sent me 104 visits, blogger, wikipedia, auriond and then adventuregamers.

But what did they all read?

Unsurprisingly, the root page is the most popular, but of individual articles, the top 10 series one comes in at 126 visits, followed by various roundups of releases and upcoming games.

What do you feed a digital seal?

Erin 'Ivy' Robinson has won a digital seal in the Notes on Gamedev Aspiring Women Gamer Artists competition. She also gets an online art course worth thousands of dollars! Perhaps she can use the new skills to draw digital halibut to feed her digital seal with...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

UltraVariables

Well, after some thought, I renamed DeNGVaT to UltraVariables in its new release. I added a few features that I know that people on real projects (like Les Mis and Blackwell Convergence!) might use, so check out the forum thread if you use variables in your game at all!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Your face looks all gooey

Following Dave Gilbert's problem of GUIs obscuring his Sierra-style character portraits, I made up a module that works around the problem by using another GUI to show the portraits on. I guess most people use Lucasarts-style speech so don't have this problem.

AJA OROW WIN

Yes, for the second time in succession, AJA has won the One Room One Week competition, following up last time's walkover in all categories by The Heist with a narrower win, How Many beating MashPotato's Beauties and Beasts. You can still download all 12 entries, and play, but I expect the best ones will be heading into the games DB in their own right shortly.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Converge on some new screenshots

Affianced Titan of AGS, Dave Gilbert has released some new screenshots from his new Blackwell Convergence art team and they rock bigtime. Check them out in his GIP thread or on Wadjet Eye's website.

Zero Punctuation Hero

Well, Yahtzee won the "who should get the next lifetime achievement AGS Award" poll. We'll have to wait half a year to see if the committee agrees. In second place was a handsome and clever chap and those of you who voted for me are obviously fawning fanbois (look, I'm trying to sound like Yahtzee to get more votes next time, OK!)

Now, can I think of an exciting new poll? Doubt it.

Dread locks July

This month's pick is Dread MacFarlane, a game where you assist a buxom young lady from the Caribbean, who has grown up with Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, to become a pirate on Captain Hook's galleon ! And given the price of a galleon these days, that's some task!

You can check out Leon's review elsewhere in this blog.

Picatrix Dominatrix

Jonas Tapfer - Our Finest Hour, ProgZMax's Indy-antagonist entry to the June MAGS won out. In this you play a Nazi archaeologist and have to beat the famous Dr Jones to a McGuffin called the Picatrix. As the winner, ProgZ has selected a retro theme for the July competition.