Saturday, June 28, 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A fistful of fiends

The June MAGS with its "Evil" theme closes its doors to entries shortly, and this time there's already five entries with about 2 hours left for any more to arrive. TwinMoon, ProgZMax, Jojoboy, ShadeJackRabbit, and King_wiking have all given us their evil genii and the voting shall commence shortly, so download these five midget gems and go to the MAGS site and vote on your favourite colour icing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Putting Theora into practice

The Starship AGS's chief engineer, Mr Scott (or scotch as most know him) has aligned the dilithium crystals and made an Ogg Theora video player plugin for AGS. That's functionality that wintermute has and has the great advantage of not relying on any codecs being pre-installed on the player's system. Check it out!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

3.0.2 take 2

CJ found a last-minute bug in AGS 3.0.2, so if you downloaded this version after the release the other day, please re-download to get the fixed version. CJ talks about it in the 3.0.2 release thread.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Janitor phone home

Title: Space Quest IV,5: Roger Wilco And The Voyage Home
Author:
AgentBauer (Peter Engel)
Release date: 15 June 2008
Playtime: 90 minutes
Size: 65.2Mb

Another adventure with the famous janitor in the main part. To fill the gap in the story between the original part IV (Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers, 1991) and part V (Roger Wilco in The Next Mutation, 1993) Peter Engel wrote another story.

The graphics are familiar, partially ripped from various SQ games so there's not much credit to give to that other than that the additional graphics, backgrounds and characters are made in a way they blend in very well. You hardly can tell what is ripped and what's not if you don't know the original.

There is an exception though of some graphics that didn't fit in the game, resolution wise. Then I refer to the character insets you see during the admission to the academy. The pictures are too 'real', not pixely enough like the other graphics. But that's the only negative thing I could come up with.

The music, sound effects, the story, the animations. It's a fan made sequel, and a fan it must have been if you look at the work he must have had to rip the graphics, characters and backgrounds. Almost as much as drawing it yourself. And of course a lot of scripting.

It's a believable story with lots of humor and of course the clumsiness of Roger, that allways makes him the accidental hero. And a lot of good puzzles. Puzzles that need some thinking and revisits to places you've already explored. Some of the items you need are well hidden and makes the search for them even more challenging. But by reading the hints and comments given in the game the pieces will fall in place and Roger can go home. Or not? Because in part 5 he wasn't home. He was starting his training as a cadett. To know how he got there, you need to play the game. A must for Space Quest fans. And all other adventurers.


Wells, Wells, Wells

ProgZMax's new sprite competition is to make an H.G. Wells-style version of a modern-day invention. So set this new Sprite Jam as the destination in your steam-powered GPS and get pixeling.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

AGS 3.0.2 is out!

Yes, the new version of AGS is a limp-wristed pansy. A faggot. A woofter, whoopsie, poof, shirt-lifting gaylord.

Or maybe its just been released. I just know that I'm never going to look at an onion ring the same way again.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The sprite is right

ProgzMax won the Sprite Jam this time around with his zany professor and time travel machine. matti came in second and Inkoddi took the bronze.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

New news is good news

M0ds's very occasional AGS news has returned for its 3rd edition and is full of the usual high quality journalism that makes the Sunday Sport and National Enquirer quake in their boots. He's trying to interview Yahtzee for the next edition, so keep your peepers peeled.

Here come the bots!

Here's to you, Ms Robinson, for announcing that Nanobots should be out within a month. Lets hope that this prediction comes true. Along with Andy Murray winning Wimbledon...

I'm Two Final for Milan, New York and Japan

Told you so: CJ put up AGS 3.0.2 Final 2 yesterday (after fixing the forums). So hopefully this will be it, if no-one finds any more problems. We can then move on to the exciting new world of the next version!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Nothing butt the naked truth.

Title: Reality-on-the-Norm: Au Naturel
Author:
Bitby
Release date: 18 May 2008
Playtime: 10 minutes
Size: 2.4Mb

This game was released some time ago already (a month to be precise) but I thought I'd wait until all discussions were done with. Because there was more to do about the acceptance in the database than there was to do about the game itself. And I still don't get it.

Let's be honest. The game isn't about the graphics. Being a Reality-On-The-Norm game, it's all in a downloadable pack for you (except for some extended parts (ahem...) here and there). It isn't about the story. Pictures got in the wrong hands and you want them back. And it isn't about the puzzles. It's the standard get this from there and bring that to here. I'm not really that impressed by the game.

The real fun of the game isn't in the game but in the world you play in. Just look at things, browse, try and have fun. Laugh about the humoristic responses, the twists in the dialogs, the monologues of the bum, the beer drinking of Death. That's where the power of the game is. That's where I had fun.

And the nudity? Oh well, as a publicity stunt it's a nice addition. Personally I don't bother. You'll get a huge warning at the start and you can choose if you want the private parts to be covered or not. And I don't understand all the commotion about the nudity. I was more shocked by the visual effects of the explosion in the Yahtzeebrand. But I never heard anyone discuss that. Why not? Because we see that every day, right? Kids be warned!

But, but... what do I do now?

Looks like the AGS forums are down this morning and we can't even blame hajo anymore, so here's a list of alternative suggestions to while away the time until they are back:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

And finally... or not

Well, I forgot to announce a week ago that AGS 3.02 Final was out. That's the version that CJ normally plans to release as the big one. Except its a good thing I didn't. Perhaps it was my incredible foresight and not laziness! Seems that quite a few bugs have been found in this final version, so expect a "Final 2" shortly.

Testing times

Gamelab have a new article up about games testing. Many AGS games suffer from inadequate testing which tends to make their first three releases look like a public beta programme. Its worth any serious game designers having a look at it and the other articles it links to to get ideas on how to beta better.

EDIT: I'll copy the other links here, since they are so useful

Monday, June 16, 2008

Questaculous!

Four of the latest games out in AGS-land have all got quest in the title. So, here's a quick blurb on them:

Quest for Yrolg

The latest game from Crystal Shard (A Tale of Two Kingdoms) turns Quest for Glory backwards as you play an evil demon's minion trying to stop a warrior, rogue and sorcerer from stopping your master's evil plans.

Quest for the Blue Cup

A "my first gaem" effort with RON-ripped sprites. Say no moar.

Space Quest IV.5

Help Roger Wilco journey home just like those Star Trek guys. A lot of ripped graphics in this fangame, but seems to be well-received so far.

Awesome Quest 1: My first AGS
Despite a title that would make most people run a mile, this game actually has some very original graphics done by a friend of the author so is worth a peek.

OROW, OROW, OROW your boat...

After a two year hiatus (hard to believe), the One Room One Week competition is back for its fifth incarnation. Check out the competition thread and get planning. The competition will be 21st-28th June. It differs from MAGS in that games are submitted to the moderator then presented at the end anonymously for voting.

Previous alumni are Automation by MrColossal, Anna by VinceXII, Tomb of the Moon by Ishmael and Pablo, and The Heist by AJA and MadReizka.

June Tune Won Fun

A cracking tune contest has had its votes counted and Bartimaeus's entry won overall. Jens' entry won the best mood and was my favourite. Twinmoon's entry was determined to have the best loopability. We await Bart's new theme...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Common sense prevails

Hard to believe it, but common sense seems to have prevailed over in RON-land. Au Naturel has been added to their games database, so innocent young minds now have a choice on where to download their corrupting influences from. This came after a campaign from RON contributors asking for their stuff to be withdrawn from the site in protest, a boycotting of French Fries and Ron Jeremy threatened to rename himself Freedom Jeremy. The final straw came when yours truly threatened to remove his one piece of fanart from the site which was too much for the admins to bear and the capitulated.

Of course, the whole thing was probably just a publicity stunt to try and kick-start RON.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Easy Spriter


Nacho won the Teamwork Sprite Jam with this man and machine team. Some good and diverse entries this time and Nacho's new theme is to do a character and their vehicle.

Do Squinkies dream of electric insects?

Sometime AGS forum member, adventure architect and AdventureGamers writer Squinky has just released Des Rêves Élastiques Avec Mille Insectes Nommés Georges, whose name looks much more sophisticated in French. It's not done in AGS, but we'll forgive her.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New games page

After around a year when a committee (on which I briefly served) went though the 1000-odd games in the games database and rated and categorized them all, finally the new AGS games database has been released to the general public. Each game has a cup rating based on some mainly objective criteria, so like a hotel star rating you can't get 4 stars without a swimming pool or something like that. Anyway, go over to the AGS games page and check it out, then complain violently about your favourite games's ratings on the forums!

pRON RONtroversy

The much-acclaimed RON game Au Naturel which, as its name suggests, features some nudity has attracted controversy by being banned from the RON games database. RON admins did not want to face the problems of trying to prevent minors from downloading this piece of disgusting filth. However, others have pointed out there there's already plenty of disgusting filth in the RON database anyway. If you dare face its corrupting influence, you can still download it from the liberal wishy-washy muck peddlars at the AGS Games database. Thanks to Dave Gilbert for the heads up. In the ensuing debate he described it as the best RON game since 2005, so perhaps its a bit of a Botticelli?

Quixotic Keywords

Well, looking over the keywords that people have used to find this wondrous blog, some of them are very odd:
  • "dave gilbert" "howard sherman": Not only is this an intriguing combination to search for, as Dave has (rightly) mocked Howard a few times, but this keyword has been used for my site every day since 4 June... 15 times in all
  • progzmax blog: well, looks like he doesn't have one so perhaps mine met the needs of whoever searched for this... 8 times
  • "doctor who" download: Try the iplayer, mate!
  • adult ags games: we know what you're after
  • ssh forthcoming: yes, i am
  • ssh over opera: what, like the phantom trying to undo the chandelier?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Time to clean up.

Title: Laundry Day
Author:
Ogre
Release date: 8 June 2008
Playtime: 5 minutes
Size: 4.3Mb

New to the game producing business this game started more as a test case. See what the reactions would be, how it's received by public and fellow developers. Because the game hasn't been added to the database yet, there has been only a few reactions.

You're playing Chris and before he goes on his date he needs to do his laundry. No candy bars because you have just enough money to do your laundry. That is, if you can get your laundry to the laundry room. Then you notice inflation also hit student dorms.

The game is (very) short but the level of puzzles is good and funny. With an inventory not found in the average adventure game it has an original touch. The story is well presented and the player isn't left without clues.

The graphics are the minor side of the game. That is to say, the graphics that are there are good but very small making searching for objects pixel hunts. Pity because there's more than enough space left to provide for larger graphics.
Not all objects are interactive leaving less possibilities to error in your puzzles. Besides that it can be confusing that you can't look at some objects, but use them anyway making the confusion bigger. But then again, it's a test case.

The intro music is nice, the 'puzzle' music gets annoying after a while so it's a good thing it's only a small game. Overall well done for a first one, I had a laugh for a few moments, and hopefully in the next one the screens aren't too clean.

Heresy!

Well, I've been playing a non-adventure recently, Kart n' Crazy over at goa.com. Free, multiplayer Mario-Kart clone. Cool as mince, although I'm not very good and most of the other players seem to be French or Spanish. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it does limit conversation.

The captain sings in a different quay.

Title: Dread Mac Farlane
Author:
Marion
Release date: 30 april 2008 (FR)/20 may 2008 (EN)
Playtime: 70 minutes
Size: 63Mb

Another game from Marion, who obviously has a thing for Peter Pan and pirates. First was the French version and almost a month later the game has been translated into English and can be played by even a wider public. And if you also like Peter Pan- or Neverland stories, you can't miss this one!

The file size is a massive 63Meg but it's worth every bit. The story is about a girl, Dread, who wants to be a pirate. During the game you'll learn about her past, present and future, her relationships with her father, mother, Peter Pan and all other well-known characters through well designed puzzles. Not too hard, not too easy, just right. It all fits in the type of game: it's an interactive comic book.

The original was a comic book and has been converted into an adventure game. With beautiful graphics, full of detail. During some conversations you get to see the characters in closeup and then you can see the real quality produced and the time and effort put into it. Accompanied by a very well balanced soundtrack, from the "yoho and a bottle of rum"-tunes to the squeaking birds, this production could fit easily into a commercial range.

So, no negative points? There are. What I found less pleasant was the storyline. You jump back and forth, from present through a flashback into history, back to the present and back again. After returning from the second flashback I lost track and it took me a while to pick up the story again. The difference between 'real' world and her imaginary world is sometimes very little. But then again, isn't that also the case in real life? Maybe in the book it's easier to follow (I haven't read it), in this adventure I found it harder to cope with.

So what more can we wish for with this exquisite addition to the AGS games database? Well, I think this game would be perfect for an audio version. Let Dread have a real voice and let her speak up! I wonder what she would sound like...


Monday, June 9, 2008

Insert mask/animation pun here

A new animation competition has started up, and derboo has set people the task of animating what is behind the task of his sprite. There's already an entry and the deadline in the 19th, so plenty of time for some more entries. Unfortunately, derboo won by default last time, although his idea was a good one and may have won anyway, but its always better when there's actually a proper contest.

June Tune Boon

The entries are in for the current Tune Contest and the entries are once again rich, varied and mostly excellent. Go and have a listen and put in your vote once the voting opens, shortly...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Vidbucks

Dave Gilbert has put up a new vodcast already, this time from INSIDE A COFFEE SHOP! It features exclusive Blackwell Convergence screenshots and the sound of Dave's slurping.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Universal walkthrough!

Stumbled across this amusing generic walkthrough for all "Escape-the-room" games. Enjoy!

AGS Feature Wish Poll result

So, "Non-blocking dialogs" came out top, followed by "Native hi-res co-ordinates". AGS 3.02 is only a minor revision, and already in Release Candidate stage, so we can't expect them there, but perhaps AGS 3.10 will see some of these come in, as CJ has already hinted at a desire to rework dialogs AND the resolution/co-ordinate system. Let's hope so!

New poll is up: this is just to gauge people's opinions and is no way binding upon next year's awards commitee!

How much evil can you do in a month?


This month's MAGS theme is "Evil". Sylvr, Akatosh, LimpingFish, Twinmoon and ShadeJackrabbit have all indicated that they may take part, so obviously AGSers like evilness. Lets hope that at least half of those get their entries done in time.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

June Gip

So, time for another upcoming game roundup. No doubt at least one of these will get released pretty much as soon as I post this, as seems to have occurred before. Not really a bad thing!

Adventure: The Inside Job

A game character's game gets cancelled, but its not the end for her. This sounds all a bit Sophie's World to me, but it looks lovely. A combination of ripped art and music and new, it's an intriguing concept, so worth keeping an eye on.

Darkdevil County

This game has hand-drawn graphics which give it an unusual look. You play Magwyn, a girl who is trying to give blood against a backdrop of fantasy, war and mystery!

Laundry Day

This game is apparently finished, but not yet got a host, but features cute wee characters trying to get their washing done. Written by non-n00b n00b Ogre, the art looks pretty nice.

Galactic Battlefare

Spanish storyteller Alarconte looks to have some pretty nice art going on here, although some kind of hard disk crash seems to be holding things up, unfortunately. You play Lieutenant Leen Nyala, a Loyal Russian Consortium fighter pilot found accused of mutiny, and the rest remains to be seen, but looks lovely.

Vacations to Pay

This game pits you against the might of capitalism as your try and earn some money to fund your forthcoming holiday. Nice graphics so far, although the story seems a little thin or maybe just undersold.

Norbi's Quest 1.5

Some of you may have played Norbi's Quest 1 and 2: well this interquel fills the gap in between (in true Yahtzee style!). Screenshots look good, but not much more info as yet.

DragonKnight: The Begining

The Eragon-esque story follows a boy reared by a blacksmith (who is not his father) as he discovers about the dragons that inhabit the realm. Graphics are a bit mixed, but there seems to be a lot of though behind the plot. A very simple demo of locations is available.

Ben Jordan 7: The Cardinal Sins

This series needs no introduction, and the latest instalment has Ben Rome-ing around the Vatican... but the news is that Grundislav has promised to get this out by August 12, 2008 in time for "Les Mittens".

Way of Now

Young Philipe is told that his destiny of fame and glory is easy to realize. Carrying only a backpack with spare clothes, he sets out into the unknown, not quite sure what to expect. Unfortunately, he picks up something that doesn't belong to him and has to run for his life as a large, angry mob starts chasing him. This ambitious-looking game has simple graphics but has an intriguing "belief points" system.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Beta 'bout the bush

I'm doing some beta testing for a new game from an award-winning AGS developer's much-awaited new game, but I won't tell you who or what. Mwuhahahah!

It's looking good, but if the developer takes all my advice (especially the Princess Marian cameo) then it should be even better!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

June pick

Well, a departure from the norm for this month's pick... Fountain of Youth, possibly one of the longest-to-produce demos ever, which doesn't bode well for the full game... but anyway, the demo rocks.

Snail Jam, mmmm

This lovely caracol is the winner of the Sprite Jam. New theme is not up yet...

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Back with a V...v...v..vodcast

Check out Dave Gilbert's excellent vodcast with sneak previews of what's happing with Convergence and other games...