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  • Jeremy Penner and Mattie Brice discuss Glorious Trainwrecks

    So I went to Babycastles and spoke with Mattie Brice about Glorious Trainwrecks and its history! It was a really good time, and I suspect the following hour-and-a-half-long video may be interesting to people who enjoy listening to the podcast.
    Youtube Video

    posted in Communities
  • RE: Episode 5: Leonard Richardson discussion thread

    Gosh, yeah, the Minecraft project is SO huge. Like, it's not just terabytes of random zip files, he took the time to build tools to analyze and make it digestable. So if you want to explore a representative sampling of random Minecraft maps from the archive, there's The Reef maps. If you want a bunch of data to build Mastodon bots with, there's The Minecraft Geologic Survey. It must have been an enormous amount of effort to put all that stuff together. And pretty much once a year he takes another huge sample.

    He also has the Ephemeral Software Collection which, among other things, scrapes jam games from Github. Important work!

    posted in Podcast
  • Episode 5: Leonard Richardson discussion thread

    robotfindskitten OpenGL screenshot with Intellivision text overlaid
    Episode 5 show notes are here!

    In the interview, Leonard was a little uncertain about the exact chronology of the contest that led to the robotfindskitten game; after we spoke, he was kind enough to pass on an email from Pete Peterson II, definitively nailing down the story:

    Jake Berendes had a "contest" with his friends -- I think while in
    high school -- called "robotfindskitten". In his words (as I recall
    them), both submissions involved a kitten suffering at the hands of a
    robot. There is a picture I saved from his website, but I can't
    remember the source of it (e.g., I don't know if he drew it, or if a
    friend drew it for him). I've attached the image I have.
    I loved the idea of the super broad and intriguingly named "contest"
    "robotfindskitten", so I thought I would use Nerth Pork as a venue to
    have the robotfindskitten contest. As you know, you're the only person
    who submitted something. I was expecting poems, or pictures, or
    stories, so I was absolutely delighted when the submission was a video

    I didn't realize Leonard had written a fan song for a Klik & Play game until after the interview was recorded, or I would have pestered him about that. So I pestered him via email instead! He sent me his copy of the game that he had archived from his BBS, along with the description that he'd written at the time:

    CHOP.ZIP Size: 414,647 | A very dumb Windoze game called Choppy the
    Date: 01/11/96 DL's: 0 | Pork Chop.

    Extended description:
    You're a pork chop (surprise) and you shoot various weapons at non
    sequiter baddies like hamburgers and mops. The final boss guy is a big
    head who throws his eyeballs at you. It's bizarre, but that's good. It's
    one of the best attempts at an action game for Windoze that I've ever
    seen. I even went so far as to write a song called "Choppy The Pork
    Chop" which is officially endorsed by the game's creator even. Here it
    Presumably I had the lyrics in the extended description but they didn't get picked up when I dumped the file. I had never heard of Klik & Play, didn't know it was a tool, and remember being pretty impressed that someone had put in all this effort to program a pointless game.
    Jeremy: I'm sure the story of how the creator gave your song an official endorsement amounts to "I emailed him and he responded positively" but I am absolutely delighted by that detail.
    Leonard: I did email the author and he responded positively, that's the story, but the secret part of the story is that this was probably the first Internet email I ever sent. Certainly the first one I sent that got a response.

    Choppy the Pork Chop, hooray!

    posted in Podcast
  • RE: Interview with Judith Pintar at The Digital Antiquarian

    It's really worth a try! I really like how it switches back and forth between the physical reality that the protagonist lives in, and the suprisingly detailed MS-DOS simulation. It's pretty astounding what it manages to do with the AGS engine.

    You can play Cosmoserve on the Internet Archive in your browser, of course!

    (I wonder if I still have the atrocious AGS game I made as a preteen somewhere...)

    posted in Organizations and People
  • RE: ABA Games' HenyaG

    Haha, I just tried Googling it and the only other English-language thing I dug up is me talking about it with @kirkjerk 12 years ago on the Gamer's Quarter forums. I guess I was the only one who gave it a try?

    (In that thread I also mention Ball2 and Igzo the Dolphin, which my recent post about on the forums was what reminded me about HenyaG. Weird how memory is linked that way.)

    posted in Tools
  • ABA Games' HenyaG

    Many people are probably familiar with Kenta Cho, or ABA Games - a Japanese freeware developer who is most famous for making interesting shmups with graphics built from abstract shapes in the early 2000s. Games like Torus Trooper, rRootage, and Tumiki Fighters, which became Blast Works on the Wii.

    What I've never seen anyone discuss is his game-making tool for the Palm Pilot, HenyaG.

    I want to say I discovered it around 2004. I loved my Palm III; I used to systematically browse through Palm freeware sites and download literally everything that looked interesting. I would have been starting to be active in the Insert Credit / Gamer's Quarter forum community, which would have clued me into Kenta Cho's work. I suspect that the venn diagram of "Japanese indie shmup enthusiasts" and "Palm enthusiasts who constantly seek out novel weird free stuff" had a small overlap, but there I was, inside it. And Kenta Cho had a fairly significant selection of Palm freeware on his website.

    HenyaG is a tool for making single-image LCD-type games. You draw on a single canvas, and then define rules for when sections of it turn on and off. There are a small amount of events (button presses, timers, random probability, and testing if objects are visible or not), and a small number of possible actions (turn object visible or invisible, score a point, lose a life), but that's enough for an interesting possibility space. There's a decent tutorial, which made much less sense when run through Google Translate in 2004 than it does today.

    From what I remember, it had one fatal downfall: when you drew an object, you could draw it anywhere on the canvas; but when you turned that object off, it would erase everything in its entire bounding box. So if you had objects with any amount of overlap, the screen would quickly become a garbled mess. The tutorial seems to suggest that this was a problem only "to save memory while editing" and wouldn't be a problem "during the actual game"; perhaps I never figured out how to run my game properly.

    Anyway, I've always thought it was a really interesting idea for a constrained game making tool, and that it was a shame that nobody ever really noticed it. Looking at it now, I think it's also built to run on the desktop using this weird cross-platform Java-like VM that ran on the Palm called Waba. If anyone gets that going, definitely let me know.

    posted in Tools
  • Interview with Judith Pintar at The Digital Antiquarian

    This interview with Judith Pintar, author of the Compuserve-inspired AGT text adventure Cosmoserve, is 150% worth your time and I'm kind of jealous it's not a podcast episode.

    posted in Organizations and People
  • RE: Who are you? (The self-introduction thread)

    Welcome @trouv!

    With a list of influences like that, I definitely must recommend that you check out Glorious Trainwrecks, the community I started ten years ago that is home to a huge variety of experimental, personal, non-profit game creation. Stephen Lavelle and Anna Anthropy used to post games there regularly; I don't think Jason Roher ever did but there sure are a lot of Passage parodies.

    This community is still pretty small and quiet and trying to figure itself out. My focus for the podcast is really on diving into older tools, games, and ways of thinking, but obviously it's important and interesting to talk about what's happening today as well, to connect that history and those ideas with what we can do now, and I think the community that's gathered here so far is at least as interested in figuring that out as digging into the past to see what's been left behind.

    But enough rambling; welcome again, and I hope you dig the podcast :)

    posted in Casual
  • RE: Episode 3: Roman Banias discussion thread

    @rjt, I don't suppose there's anything of that project that still survives today? I'd love to see it.

    Apropos of nothing, today I went looking for the source of the Capital World Games logo, and with a little Googling discovered it was in the official Microsoft GW-BASIC User's Guide docs for CIRCLE (example 3).

    I honestly don't remember how I ever would have gotten my hands on the official Microsoft GW-BASIC User's Guide - I certainly never owned it, and it seems an unusual thing to have gotten from a library. But that's definitely the code.

    posted in Podcast
  • RE: bitsy

    Bitsy is cool! I haven't made anything with it myself, and I don't follow @bitsypcs or anything, but lots of interesting stuff made with it crosses my radar anyway.

    I like that its design approach seems to have been "make the simplest, most limited thing possible, then slowly fix what seems most broken." Like I'm playing newer Bitsy games and I'm like "Oh, I can pick stuff up now? People can say different things if I talk to them twice?" There is a LOT more going on under the hood in Bitsy now than when I first saw it, but, like, the experience for someone just getting started is almost entirely the same? It's remained extremely simple & approachable even as it gains more features and power.

    posted in Tools

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