Fields of Glass

Fields of Glass

Fields of Glass is an interactive love story set against the backdrop of the great Martian collapse.

This is my first foray into writing interactive fiction – a story that unfolds differently according to your choices and actions. It was put together using Twine, an open source tool for telling nonlinear interactive stories.

Click here to check it out.

You should be able to load it on just about any internet-enabled device, from PC to tablet to telephone – just open the link in your browser of choice.

One thing I discovered during the writing process is that it’s incredibly hard to error-check and edit something this sprawling, so there are about to be a few errors as of now. If you find anything out of place, please let me know, and I’ll get it updated!

DragonsCrown-29

Diversity, Censorship and Artistic Criticism

There’s a lot of debate right now about diversity and inclusivity in games. The fact that there is a lot of debate is good, the nature of a lot of the debate less so. Today I want to talk about a specific facet of one argument; the idea that feminism, or more broadly the general diversity movement, is out to ‘censor the artistic creativity‘ of games designers.

The idea is that by criticising sexist or exclusionist elements in videogames, proponents of diversity are actually seeking to control and censor the work of the artists designing these videogames by forcing them to adopt more inclusive, more ‘PC’ elements.

Now a lot of this argument can be boiled down to ‘actually I like chainmail bikinis, so everyone else should shut up’ which is simple enough to write off, but then I remembered the debate around the game Dragon’s Crown and thought that it might actually be worth having a discussion about artistic freedom, criticism, censorship, and the difference between those last two words. Continue reading

Flappy Benj

Adventures in Unity #2: Flappy Benj

Click here to play Flappy Benj!

One day I was noodling about on my phone, when suddenly I had an idea. An idea for a videogame. A completely original, ground breaking idea for a videogame. Deciding this was probably the kind of idea that could net me in the region, of, let’s say,$50,000 in ad revenue per day, I fired up Unity and proceeded to fail vigorously at coding for a long time.

Thankfully I found this helpful tutorial that just so happened to guide me through making a game very similar to my brilliant, original idea.

So here it is, my first venture into Unity development. I’ve dedicated it to Benji, a cat who always loved flying, but really hated pipes. Thanks go to quill18 for his helpful Flappy Bird tutorial, and to the guys at Unity who offer an admirably robust set of learning tools to help out even the rankest coding amateur.

Also thanks to Oscar the cat, and his owner Department64 who uploaded the sounds of Oscar the cat to Freesound.org.

So click here to enjoy the fruits of my labour. Post your high scores. My current record is a staggering 43. See if you can beat that before the sound effects drive you mad.

If you can’t play the game you might need to download the Unity Web Player, which is here.

You have to not hit the ground or the pipes. I mean, you probably know how this works by now, right?

You have to not hit the ground or the pipes. I mean, you probably know how this works by now, right?

rise of the planet of the tomb raider

Exclusivity; what’s the point?

I remember when exclusives were actually a thing. Sega and Nintendo used to rally their fan bases around Sonic and Mario, and their marketing departments made it clear that each offered an experience you simply couldn’t find on a rival platform. Genesis does what Ninten-don’t, etcetera, etcetera.

Even as not-that-long-ago as the Xbox 360 and PS3 launches, exclusives were actually a big deal. Buy an Xbox and you get Halo. Buy a Playstation and you get Metal Gear.  I remember that being a big decision. I remember I really used to care about exclusives.

Fast forward to now. Metal Gear Solid 5 is coming out on 5 different platforms, and so is Bungie’s grand new venture Destiny. Exclusives don’t seem to be that much of a big deal anymore. I certainly don’t care about exclusives anymore. In fact, if I’m honest I tend to find them annoying, like they exist just to make my life a bit more difficult. Xbox does…basically what Sony does, now ; or something. Continue reading

Empathy

Let’s try empathy

There’s been a lot of ugly, ugly shit going around online this past week. In the last few days the gaming ‘scene’ has become a pretty horrible place. I’m not going to go into details, because the details are splashed luridly all over the place already. I’m not going to link to anything, because you’ve all probably read enough articles about this by now. And I’m not going to name any names, because really it’s none of my business.

It’s none of your business, either. And I know I’m probably preaching to the choir here, that none of the people responsible for the heinous crap that’s going around are likely to read this. But I think places like Reddit and 4chan are psychological poison, so I’m probably not going to get this across to the kind of people I’d like to address. Instead I’ll just leave it here, and hope that someone finds it beneficial, somehow.

The abuse of individuals by militant groups of utter assholes has reached a stage that frankly beggars belief. I’m confused by just how awful it’s possible for people to be, sitting, alone, in front of a screen and a keyboard, how they’re capable of spewing such abuse into a Twitter box, reviewing it, and considering it something worthwhile to send into the world. Not just into the world, to direct at a person, at another individual, sitting just like them in front of some sort of screen, typing on some sort of keyboard. It’s baffling. And horrible. Continue reading