Tag Archives: I made a thing

My First Album

This year was my first crack at FAWM (February Album Writing Month) and I had a blast! A few of the songs may go up in the Filk section later, but for now, until FAWM scrubs the site for next year, you can hear my album here: https://fawm.org/fawmers/robotkitten/


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Cragne Manor is live!

Very exciting news!

A few months ago, I was part of a project to do an anniversary tribute game to Anchorhead. Every author was assigned a room with some basic information, like exit locations and how your puzzle connected to elsewhere in the game. Otherwise, everyone worked on their room independently.

The game has now finally been assembled and tested, and it is live! If you want to play a giant gloriously chaotic exquisite corpse Lovecraftian horror text adventure… well, you have very specific tastes that we have fortunately catered to exactly. Enjoy!


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Bring Out Your Dead: Nuts and Bolts

Emily Short is currently running Bring Out Your Dead, an invitation for developers to post unfinished works that will probably never be finished. So I’ve dug out an old IF project: Nuts and Bolts, aka Man vs. Machine, aka Robotopia. It’s the opening puzzle to a planned much more complex game, so while there’s not much there to play, I do have some commentary on the process.

I wanted to do an IF game with a bunch of robot NPCs, on the grounds that if my NPCs were a bit stiff and repetitive it would only add verisimilitude. The story went through many iterations before I settled on one where the PC is a scrappy human rebel against the robot overlords. I had hazy ideas of a puzzle mechanic based on reprogramming robots to do your bidding. If the game had continued beyond that opening scene, the robots would have gotten increasingly sophisticated, to the point where the player had to grapple with the ethics of reprogramming them and whether this was tantamount to taking a sentient being’s free will.

The trouble was, my puzzle ideas were so vague that I couldn’t implement them when it came down to the nitty-gritty. (The nuts and bolts, if you will, giving the title a certain retroactive irony.) I flailed about trying to figure out how to make a parser-friendly puzzle out of reprogramming a robot. At some point I had a half-baked idea of using square dance as the inspiration for a puzzle, thanks to this post; I still think it would be cool to make a puzzle like that, but I suspect it would have to be very visual, which makes text adventure a poor choice of medium. Without a solid puzzle mechanic, the whole thing fell apart, and the game never got past scene 1.

I still like the opening, though. I’m not sure if I had listened to Welcome to Our Village, Please Invade Carefully before writing it, but that sitcom also had a protagonist whose investment in the romantic notion of being La Resistance was disproportionate to her actual effectiveness.

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Past IF output

Several of the reviews of Tea Ceremony speculated that it was my first IF game. This is not quite accurate. While it’s true that I have not written a lot of IF before, I have at least one previous parser game to my credit: Lair Repair, which I made at MolyJam 2013. I might even have polished it up for IFComp, except that it was already publicly linked on the MolyJam site and therefore disqualified.

So if anyone somehow wanders over to this blog from IFComp and is curious about my previous output, you can play Lair Repair here. It’s a game jam game, so it’s short and contains at least one massive bug, but I had fun making it.

Wait, I think my first parser game was that one I did for a class project once. But honestly, that one wasn’t good enough for me to bother checking if I still have the code.

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Post-IFComp commentary

Now that the judging period is over, I’m free to post about IFComp! There were 42 games, and lots of people have been playing and reviewing them; there’s a list of places to find reviews here. So I’m not going to do a comprehensive review of all 41 games that I didn’t make (especially since I haven’t played all of them). Instead, I’m just going to mention some of my favorites:

  • Creatures Such As We: Interestingly meta use of a game-within-a-game to ruminate on principles of game design.
  • Fifteen Minutes: I love logic puzzles and mucking around with different bases, so once I figured out what was going on with this one, I had a lot of fun working out the solutions.
  • Hunger Daemon: The premise of “cafeteria cultists” is comedy gold.
  • Jacqueline, Jungle Queen!: Really just pure silly fun, but I happen to like that.
  • Raik: Neat idea here, especially when I realized that the Scots pages weren’t actually translations of the English pages.

Also, results are in, and holy shit, I got 10th place! Was not expecting to do nearly that well!

Edit: Also, if you don’t want to wade through that whole list of reviews, I have some recommendations for those, too.

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