Monday, November 23, 2015

Not dead just yet.

I seemed to have vanished momentarily.  Figuring out just how my schedule works (work, life, etc.) took a while.  For now at least, I have to post infrequently to this blog.  I will continue to post, particularly FissureVerse because that's my top priority, but I cannot guarantee any sort of schedule.

So expect lots of popping in and out of existence.

Invisible Man image found at

Monday, October 5, 2015

FissureVerse - Seven Cards Get Art

Thanks to Georgi Slavov and Maurice Mosqua for letting me use their art!

Carnival, War Machines, Denial
Click to see!
Over half done with the Location cards now! Things are really starting to fill out.

For Carnival, I went with this piece because of the color and the foreboding look.  It's not just an everyday earth-based carnival, but rather the kind of grimdark feel I intended.  The 'carnival' becomes half-metaphor with this art, or stretches what a carnival can be.  The building here looks like a tower, but could pass for a ride.

War Machines is meant to be Green's copy of Fortress of Noise, done in their own style.  Fortress of Noise will be something like a Death Star, so War Machines should give off the vibe of a Red card, but with a sleeker, shinier look.

Denial finally matches with the flavor text I used.  Since Denial has always been a pain to fully match with (considering it is a strange word for a location), it took quite a while to find the art that evokes the feel I'm going for.  To me, the art and the flavor text tell a story now, and Solidity is really coming in to their own as a particularly devious villain.

Respectators, Slowpokes, Nomads, Tearmen

Interesting that I always find so many cards for Blue so fast.  Emptiness is the good guys, if any of the four factions can be considered good at all, so I guess artists like drawing heroes more than villains...

Respectators has been this concept for a while now: a group of people watching a battle from afar.  I found similar artwork by another artist but could not get permission to use it.  This art works just as well (in fact, it might even work better because you can see the battlefield below).  I considered some flavor text, since spectators usually make lots of noise, but these people are more likely to watch in respectful silence.

The golem art reminds me a bit of those rock creatures from Tera, which is certainly not a bad game to evoke.  I knew I needed something one would consider slow, and using plant life would probably have been a little too close to Ents.  A big heavy rock creature works well.  I also changed the special rules to add that you cannot Reinforce with Slowpokes when first in Turn Order.  I'm thinking Slowpokes will be difficult to balance because the number of players really dictates how likely the special rules will come into play.  In a two player game, you can't use Slowpokes half the time; in a four player game, only one quarter.

Nomads may be too powerful; I may need to drop that violent 5 down a bit, seeing as the special rules text probably isn't the end of the world for Red, should they lose the card.  But in any case, the idea behind Nomads is of a race that wanders between planes of existence--here and the afterlife, for instance.  So killing them doesn't really kill, since they can come back, and instead they just discover what the afterlife plane is like, which makes True Converts of them.  For the art, I always wanted a creepy vibe, and this fits perfectly.

I consider quite a few Emptiness cards to be somewhat 'generic defenders', like Steadfast Clan or Walkers, and Tearmen is along those same lines.  They are one tribe among many that are being slaughtered by Solidity, and they've risen to defend themselves.  But while I want most of those tribes to be human-like for the purposes of relate-ability, I'm looking for some twists on the form.  This art works well because of the almost demonic horns and face markings, but she still looks both forlorn and stoic, which is just the expression I'm going for with these kinds of Emptiness cards.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Latchkey - Interface

After quite the long break from Latchkey, I'm giving it a reboot.  Now that I know a bit more about how to get things properly programmed, I'm starting from scratch and reworking many of the kinks.  I'm also rethinking the basic design of it, and I'm going to carefully consider each design choice, beginning with the user interface:

A more streamlined look.
I've tried to streamline the user interface to give it a less complicated and less intimidating look.  Now there's only three windows: one for chat, one for the main window, and one for directions.  I still feel that directional text is too important to get jumbled in with the main action window, and chat would be cumbersome there, as well.  But player actions, various descriptions, realtime text, and error messages are all being condensed into the main action text field.

I've also tried to get closer to a classic look by removing the basic Flash textfield borders and creating a text-based border.

One problem I've discovered is the way things stretch when you maximize the window, distorting the placement of the textfields, so I'm going to lock the window to 1024x768 (which is far larger than old games anyway), which gives plenty of room so things don't seem cramped, but still gives off (hopefully) the feel of those old text adventures.

Latchkey attempt number two begins...

Sunday, September 27, 2015

I'm back

Hectic month with moving and such, but that's all done now.  I'm going to get back to at least a semi-regular posting schedule again, as things are starting to settle down.

I've got a slew of projects to get on, so the blog may be scattershot for a while (as it should be).  I'm restarting Latchkey, and continuing work on FissureVerse, so at minimum you've got those to look forward to.  I think I also promised a while ago that I'd begin showing some work on a tabletop RPG I've been designing, so there may or may not be something presentable for that.  Other little projects here or there may pop up when I'm in the mood, like working on those DOOM levels or making some corrections to Dominion expansions.

All in all, lots of work to do!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Flash Game Mini-Review: Dangerous Dungeons

Title Screen

I waited quite a while to review this game, mainly because I don't like to give positive reviews of games I haven't beaten.  Dangerous Dungeons probably should have been an exception.

It took me ages to beat the last level, but in a good way.  Dangerous Dungeons is a frustrating, challenging pixelated puzzle platformer that would feel right at home on an eight- or sixteen-bit system.  Not only does it evoke the graphics of that era, but the challenge, gameplay, and even music, as well.

It's a simple game, in terms of story: get the loot in the dangerous dungeons.  It's also a simple game in terms of controls: left, right, and Z to jump.

But using just those simple mechanics, it really shines in the level design.  Every level is unique, and the difficulty ramps up perfectly.  My only real complaint is that there aren't enough levels--there's 34, but it seems to go by too quick.  I very much hope for a sequel that is simply more of the same.

Big scary level
Simple, yet challenging.
There's a Story Mode and a Time Attack Mode, which are fairly self-explanatory.  You have unlimited lives and unlimited time in both, but there are achievements for beating Time Attack in ten or fewer lives, and in thirty minutes or less.  Regular Story Mode was so brutal, I don't think I'll ever be able to beat Time Attack.  You can also enable checkpoints if you like, though I never tried; I assume it's for the levels that are longer than a single screen, like the four boss battles or the three secret levels.

As a minor complaint, it would have been nicer to have the Level Select be a menu or something other than a long corridor.  While it's nice to see your progress in a straight line, I took so many sessions to beat the last level, I got sick of running a mile before trying again.

But overall, Dangerous Dungeons is a thorough challenge for those who enjoy the likes of old school platformers and want a taste of new nostalgia.

You can play Dangerous Dungeons here.

Update: Dangerous Christmas is an ice-themed level pack!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Job is a funny word. Job job job job job. Job job. Job.

I've got myself a full-time regular job now, which means this blog will take a back seat for awhile, at least until I get adjusted to the hours and figure out where my free time is.  So that means posts will be sporadic.  I doubt I'll be able to do once-a-week posts, at least until life clears up a bit.  We'll see how things work out. ... I think
I'm a big boy now.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

FissureVerse - Four Cards get art

Thanks to Soup-plz, Luis Angel "MetaShinryu" Payano, and Joakim Olofsson for the art!  The artist list on the sidebar is getting large and unwieldy, so I may have to find another place to put it.  I don't want to bury it very deeply, so perhaps I'll make a new tab for credits or something.

Vista of the Infinite, Forsaken
Click for bigger!
Vista of the Infinite and Forsaken look pretty opposite.  One has a lone figure, relaxing, looking up into the sky; the other has a lone figure, on guard, looking down into some terrible pit.  For Vista of the Infinite, I think I shrank the flavor text a hair, but is otherwise unchanged.  For Forsaken, I don't think I changed anything at all.  The art I used for Forsaken could have been used for Trenches of Otherworldy Sorrow, and I debated a bit with it.  I think Trenches will be harder ultimately to find a perfect match for, but this art really said 'Forsaken' to me.

Creatures, Of the Sea

In an effort to put more non-human entities on Crusader cards, I picked these two pieces.  Creatures was always meant to be... creatures... and for Of the Sea, I'd kinda played around with the idea of mermaids, but I like this better (actually, look close, there is a mermaid in it).

Neither card gets flavor text; Of the Sea has no room, and I felt that the creature in Creatures was fairly dumbstruck.  Cropped out of the picture was a woman or girl, so it had a very similar idea behind it as the art for Of the Sea.

I switched the Reason and Water stats for Of The Sea, both to keep in more in line with Blue's theme, and also, a water-based creature should be best in water, eh?

Oh, hey! Emptiness cards are half-done!

Next Log: Seven More Cards Get Art!