Raters gonna rate

screenshotreccr is the amazing automated video game recommender! Rate the games you’ve played, and it’ll tell you what other games you’ll like! reccr is also my current full-time project, since I quit my day job a couple months ago to start working on it.

So! Check it out! Rate some games! Gaze in awe at its recommendations! And then comment on this post to let me know what you think of it, and what exciting features you’d like to see added to it!

ceci n’est pas une art game.

at land screenshotI’ve been watching Auntie Pixelante post about the strange products of the Klik of the Month Klub for a while, but I’ve never been particularly interested in joining in because I’ve never really wanted to learn Klik ‘n’ Play, and two hours isn’t enough time to make something I’d be ready to share. Recently, however, a “Knytt of the Month” was announced, with the same rules as Klik of the Month but using Knytt Stories‘s level editor instead. The prospect of just making a short level for a game, working within the constraints of that game, seemed more doable in 2 hours to me than the stifling freedom of making a whole Klik ‘n’ Play game in 2 hours, so I joined up. The challenge was yesterday, during which I was able to crank out a “rough draft” of the game I wanted to make, and then over the next 24 hours I added the artwork and sound that I wanted. I’m pretty pleased with the results, especially since I’d never used the Knytt Stories level editor before. Since I only had 2 hours to make the core game, I decided to go the “art game” route, because art games are stupidly easy to make and never let anyone tell you otherwise. It looks like I chose wisely, since all the rest of the submissions were either art games or very short, very hard, “super challenge” levels. Except Anna Anthropy’s submission, which is a cute, fun little vignette with enough “game” to not fall into the “art game” trap, which is to be expected from her prior work with Knytt Stories.

The game I made is called At Land, and is based on the Maya Deren film of the same name. I’d originally looked up Maya Deren’s short films with the intention of derisively calling someone “the Maya Deren of video games”, but Maya Deren’s short films are actually pretty good. I tried to make this game a little more “gamey” than most art games; a friend recently commented, regarding a particular popular art game, “I wouldn’t mind calling it an art game if it didn’t fail so completely in being a game”, which I think applies to the vast majority of “art games” and is why they’re so commonly hated by people who play lots of games and people who design games. It would be like if I made the shape of a car out of paper maché, painted it garish colors, put a bicycle inside, and called it an “art car”; artists would stroke their chins at its artistic merits, other observers might be moved by its artistic “message”, but people who make cars and car enthusiasts would hop up and down and scream “a paper maché shell with a bicycle in it isn’t a ‘car’, you idiot!!” Which of these observers is “right”? Well, they all are, and I guess if the artist specifically wants to piss off car people that’s his prerogative, but in doing so he keeps car people from enjoying the other aspects of the work. The most successful “art car” would also be a functional car as well as a work of art, and the most successful “art games” are ones that are good solid games as well as works of art. At Land isn’t a very good example of this, because there’s not much game to it, but hopefully there’s enough game that its other merits aren’t undermined.

Anyway, please check out At Land, and remember that you’ll need to install Knytt Stories first in order to play it (there’s an option on Knytt Stories’ main menu to install new levels, which is what you’ll want to do to play this and any other additional levels). It helps if you’ve played at least the Tutorial level of Knytt Stories before, but it isn’t mandatory. Here are the rest of the submissions for “Knytt of the Month”, and here‘s the discussion of the event. I look forward to participating in the next one!

That Cactus kid ain’t got nothin’ on me!

The other night I noticed that one of the things listed on my projects page pointed to a dead link, so I fixed that. In the process, however, I started looking at some of my old, abandoned projects, and that got me thinking about how cool I think it is that Konjak has a whole section of his website for projects he abandoned. So I started digging, and digging, and digging…

40 games later, I have an early Christmas present for you guys. Behold, the StudioHunty graveyard of unfinished games, and despair. Or rejoice. Or maybe a little of both.

Herein lie many — but not all — of the games that I’ve abandoned over the last 10 years, every one with some kind of executable or binary or swf!

Not that I’m comparing dicks or anything, but Cactus only has 39 games listed on his website, and I’ve got 40 games listed here. So, maybe he’s got me beat on finishing games, but I can start making games like nobody’s business!!

(Before anyone gets all indignant and rushes to defend Cactus’s honor: I am joking, and I’m not seriously comparing my number of unfinished games to his number of finished games.)

you too can do the grue

The full-length version of In the Pit is now available via Xbox Live Community Games.

I am very happy about this.

If you have an XBox 360, and either headphones or surround sound, it would mean a lot to me if you at least played the free trial.

UPDATE: Due to some really bad design decisions on NXE, it looks like most people don’t know that XBox Live Community Games even exists. Here is a handy video showing a few different ways to get to the full list of community games. Note that, on the first method, pressing A gets to the community games “featured content” that only lists a couple of games, and pressing X is what actually gets you to the full community games list.

Second place GET!

The second Experimental Gameplay Competition is over, and although I fully expected the excellent and much discussed String Theory to get first place, I was pleasantly surprised to see my own entry come in second. Congratulations to everyone who entered, and tons of thanks to Red Octane and the Experimental Gameplay Project for fostering the development of experimental games!

And you thought Doom 3 was dark!

I’ve done it again. This time, inspired by the audio-only “Space Invaders style” game Sonic Invaders, I’ve created my own audio-only “stealth action” game, In The Pit, for The Experimental Gameplay Project’s “CONSUME” competition.

The only caveat is that it requires a wired XBox360 controller to play, because scalable vibration is integral to the gameplay, and the 360’s implementation was the easiest to program for in the short time that I had to make a game. This means, unfortunately, that some people will not be properly equipped to play it, but hopefully those people who DO have wired 360 controllers will enjoy it and talk about it so much, that those without will be willing to shell out the $30 for the controller just to see what all the fuss is about.

I do this sort of thing a lot.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve shown my appreciation for things by creating variants of them. When I was a tiny monkey, my room was filled with drawings of my own ideas for Pacman mazes, Donkey Kong levels, and elaborate “Castle Greyskull alternatives” made out of cardboard boxes and random odds and ends. I have a box somewhere full of original comic book characters I created when I was 12 and discovered comic books, and when I rediscovered and watched too much Mazinger Z a couple years ago, I outlined the entire first season of my own giant robot anime, but fortunately didn’t start trying to animate it. This blog itself is the result of my reading too many video game blogs and thinking “I could do that too, but differently”. I’m sure that most people do the same thing to some degree, but probably not many people do it to the same degree that I do. I also do my best to make my work different enough that it feels “inspired by” the original material (and I will always give credit to my inspirations) and not just “derivative”.

Since I enjoyed Every Extend immensely, it naturally followed that I was compelled to create a similar game. Pretty Pretty Bang Bang is the result of that “inspiration”, and I’m happy enough with it (and feel that it’s different enough from its inpiration) that I’m going to try to make a multiplayer “real” version of it for XBox 360 Live Arcade. Give it a whirl, tell me what you think of it, and hopefully I’ll be able to maintain focus long enough that you’ll see it on XBLA sometime next year.

Damn, that felt really new games journalism-ish, didn’t it? I promise I won’t mention myself at all in the next post.

Season Stacker demo now available!

As threatened in the “about” page, I’m posting about one of my personal projects. Season Stacker is a “dropping puzzle” game for the Gameboy Advance, and my submission to this year’s Independant Games Festival. Check out the free demo, help generate buzz, and keep your fingers crossed that I at least make it to the finals, where I can show the game off to large numbers of potential publishers.

Also, please use the comments of this post for any feedback, suggestions, bug reports, love letters, offers of publication / money / candy, fan art, and erotic fanfic. Actually, maybe you should just keep the erotic fanfic to yourself.

Update: Alas, Season Stacker didn’t make the finals, but I’ve left the demo online for the good of all humanity, and to have something cool to show potential employers.