April 23 2013
PC, Mac, Linux
Don’t Starve has you explore an expansive world as you die again and again and still come back for more.
Don’t Starve is a roguelike-like that has a lot to offer, including a steep learning curve. Unlike most games, you will almost never feel as though you can get strong enough to survive your environment. Instead, you’ll be constantly looking over your shoulder, hoping desperately to have enough time to make it back to camp before dark.
As some of you know, I don’t like tower defence games. As one reviewer put it, “tower defence gameplay feels more like frantic managerial work than anything else.” With that in mind, I approached Kingdom Rush with a degree of cynicism, expecting yet another stupidly long and boring resource management game where you can die right at the end and lose everything.
Thankfully, I was surprised with how much I engaged with Kingdom Rush the more I got into it. I wasn’t sure why I kept playing and I didn’t bother to stop and think about it. I played through the first eight or so battlefields before putting it down to take a break. When I realized I had just killed three or four hours, I started to wonder what it was that kept me so interested in a genre I usually actively avoid.
these eyes haunt my dreams
So I spent a whole bunch of time last night trying to really get real with the Inform 7 manual, even referring to the website @type_ins on twitter gave me (intfiction.com) but I kept getting stuck on one stupid little thing.
I guess I should back up a little. I’ve been trying to make this game where you get stuck in a laboratory (see my previous post) and I’ve made it to the second scene where you wake up with your hands tied behind your back. Great. No problems yet. Now, to set the stage, I put a table in the corner with a box on it. Inside the box (if you examine it) are shards of a key. You will eventually (after some more reading on my part) be able to use that key to cut the nylon ropes that tie your arms together. For some stupid reason, I thought this would be THE EASIEST THING IN THE WORLD to program but, somehow, it was so, so complicated.
“It is a radical reinvention of the way interactive fiction is designed, guided by contemporary work in semantics and by the practical experience of some of the world’s best-known writers of interactive fiction.”
A little while ago I posted my first experience with some software called Twine, an interactive fiction engine. It’s a great tool, one where you can explore a lot of space in a very aesthetically pleasing way. Since then, however, I’ve come across a program called Inform 7 (thanks to the new “Clash of the Type-Ins” podcast starring Video Game Taco’s Jenni Polodna). This program outputs something a lot less pretty than Twine does, but I’m finding that the options are a lot more diverse.
“A new tool has emerged that empowers just about anyone to create a game.”
Carolyn Petit, Gamespot
Having wanted to get into video game development over the last few years, I’ve been having a hard time figuring out where to start. A lot of people seem to disagree as to what is the best way to dive in to this industry. Some people say that you should put your nose to the grindstone and just learn a few languages like C++ and what not. Others say that you should explore different engines/IDEs before settling in and committing to making a game.
Neither of these options seem appealing to me, which is probably why I latched on so strongly to something I heard on a recent Idle Thumbs podcast. While reading an email from a listener that was basically going through the same thing as me (lots of writing experience/no game making experience), they suggested that he try a program called Twine. Having read about so many different engines and development tools over the last year, I felt the same level of fear and wariness when they mentioned Twine, but as they kept going, I started to feel my fear back down a bit and be replaced with excitement.