For a few of the people that I’m doing interviews with, a good chunk of them had developed games for a “100 Great Kids Games” CD that I had the pleasure of using back in 2001. Some I had to do a lot of digging (some were non-existent after all this time,) but one of the folks I was able to get ahold of was Parley S. Neeley, the guy behind a interesting little game called “Lunar BBall.” It turns out he made a small host of other games as well, his programming pursuits an early hobby.
Just a quick announcement to let you know that Dawnstar got submitted to Steam Greenlight. I’m approximately about a month to six weeks away from completion of the final product, having just finished coding up to the first “big” mission. There’s approximately four of those left, the ending, the outro, and then a splice that would lead to a next episode.
So please do show your support by voting for Dawnstar to be released on Steam. Despite whatever happens over there, I will be releasing the game on my website and other channels that will allow the game to be distributed on. The link is here:
I ran across this indie developer after I had picked up his game off of Steam during a sale weekend. The title was called “Midnight”, and I was very attached to the music. It really accompanied the game quite nicely, even the sudden “plunk” of keys when you die.
There was a small comic that was supposed to be here making fun of the “plunk”, but it got corrupted hours before posting, PSD and all. May re-draw in the future.
Neverthless, William (or PetiteGames) was not too hard to track down to bug him with questions about his games:
One of my most favorite games while growing up was a small shareware game that went by the name of Comet Busters. Having discovered it from my cousin approximately in 2001 off a shareware game CD, I was glued to this game for years until I had gotten ahold of my first AAA game, Halo. This game remained a favorite due to to the multiplayer capability, simplicity and how addictive it was.
Fortunately, Steven Hugg was still around and still does development work. He agreed to tell me about his ventures and let me share them.
Next on my list? A guy who made a very addictive puzzle game that was one of the first PC games for me to play; Bulldozer. I actually had to grab an old computer out of storage and fire up the “24 Games Collection” to find out its original creator, a company by the name of “The Code Zone”.
After finding out that they’re very much alive, I was able to get in contact with them and with John Hattan. Turns out, he was the guy who made the whole “24 Games” collection, including Bulldozer. And interesting enough, this was one of the more interesting interviews I’ve done so far.
So in my hunt of people to interview and ask questions for the “Summer of Gaming” series, I broadened by horizons. Not only would I just focus on the guys that made my favorite games from the 90’s when I grew up, I’d also poke at some more recent fellows.
This search led me to S.C. Watson, an illustrator and artist for Space Empires V, a game I spent a whole lot of time on before getting a great new computer in 2007. His iconic “painted” portraits of the races always stuck with me, giving a greater “realism” to the game than the previous 3D models. He’s a self-taught artist, doing all sorts of traditional and digital work.
After some hunting I finally found Shane’s portfolio site and contacted him via e-mail. Explaining my intentions and project, he willingly agreed to contribute.
As the blog slowly gets back on track, I unveil a short-term project for this early part of summer to entertain you! I know a portion of my readers are gamers of some sort, and in a special project digging into my past, I’m releasing a set of interviews I did with a few game developers and artists from the 90’s and 2000’s.
Many of these guys are people who made the games I loved when I grew up. Some are obscure “shareware” games, some are other semi-popular titles you may recognize. A few are some modern developers that have forayed into the modern world making games. As I have moved on and seen little or no information about the people behind them, I made an effort myself to delve into the history of the people and the games they made.
You can consider it a partial historical preservation project, genuinely interested in the people who made these games. I uncover how game design was back in the day, what the average developer faced and the stories behind how these actual games were created and worked on.
My list of guests include:
- John Hattan – The Code Zone (24 Games Pack)
- Adam Pedersen – Jetpack
- Chuck Sommerville – Chuck’s Challenge, Chip’s Challenge
- Parley S. Neely – Lunar BBall, historical puzzle games
- Petite Games (William) – Midnight, Destronauts, Wii Game Developer
- Walk Bilofsky – Original founder of The Software Toolworks
- Scott A. Murray – Missile Master developer
- Shane Watson – Artist, Fantasy Flight games, Space Empires
- Steven Hugg – Comet Busters
- Petter Henrikson – ClusterTruck developer
- Louis Carrozzi – Far Gate developer
- Dan Froelich – Solar Winds & Jungle Jill musician
(List is subject to change based on availability)
Hi guys, Janeil here. I’m still struggling to keep up with the Heather installments. However in lieu of that while I catch up, do enjoy this guest story by JP Hack, who’s graciously allowed me to post his shennanigans in the Elite: Dangerous universe. Enjoy!
Ah, the Evarate system. So nice. So peaceful. A great day for a little mayhem! My plan was simple. Interdict players and fight them. But not newbs. Nope, I have a moral code. I went for the big dawgs like Pythons, FDL’s, Cobras, vipers, etc. What’s more insane than a pilot with the balls and skills to try to take on a bigger ship? A pilot with a Slightly bigger ship trying to take on bigger ships! Good bye Eagle!
Sit down boys and girls, commanders of all ages, as I retell you what happened last night. Lets just say that some people take role playing too seriously.
Okay, I did my homework. So I strolled through the ship yard and bought a slightly used, fully loaded, with extended warranty, Viper MK3. I had the sweet matte black paint job with skull markings. “Surely, they will take me seriously now!” Not even close.
**NOTE: This review does contain spoilers. While I certainly believe its up to you to discover what’s inside a book, there are people who just want to know if their book is worth the money, or make sure its good enough for their kid/partner. Or there are even those people who just need to know the plot of the book for some other reason beyond the synopsis. I try to to fill that gap with a bit more detailed information with my book reviews. If you don’t want the book spoiled, move on or just scroll down to the bottom part.
The last of my “time travel” reviews that was backlogged, the final book to take this spot is The Time-Traveling Fashionista: At the Palace of Marie Antoinette. I actually had made an error when purchasing this book; apparently there’s another book in the series that I kept trying to put in the cart, but this is what arrived when I ordered. And while reading I discovered that this wasn’t the first book in the series. Oh well. I’ll continue to look.
This one is a bit of a short Storytime, but this came back to memory when I started putting together some special content for my own site.
When I had gotten interested in Steampunk in 2009, it didn’t really stick with the people around at the time. However, I had tried to pursue my interest in it, namely in writing. When a cosplay group and that flopped, I decided to bring to light some of other people’s creation. If I couldn’t be a contributor, I could at least be an information hub! I was heavily inspired by a Steampunk-only blog with actual articles, information and promotion for the genre. Sort of like an online newspaper.
I opened up an account with Blogspot and started up the Steampunk Observer. I started hunting down people on deviantART, asking them to showcase their creations on my blog and trying to advertise people to visit it. Many people obliged and happily allowed me to share things such as clockwork USB drives, styled goggles and even a book series.
At the same time, I had just bought No One Cares What You Had for Lunch from Books a Million that same August, I had decided to jump into the blogging fray facefirst. Unfortunately that plan backfired spectacularly.
I was an armchair reporter, mostly relying on what people had made on deviantART. I was out of money to visit actual cons and events. I was still reeling from the negative experience with “friends” at Animazement 2009, resolving never to go to another anime convention again. I also was blindly following some bad advice from some for-profit bloggers (after all, wouldn’t it be great if I made cash from something I actually liked?) This resulted in an ad-filled website and articles being written poorly, spammed with keywords to draw visitors. I never did get visitors, made my blog ugly and stopped giving a reason for any potential person to want to read the site.
Lastly, I was not posting content regularly. I was getting interviews and answers to my questionnaires regularly, but I was not able to post them in a regular manner. This was before Blogspot had an auto-post function, having to post on the spot. I had no Internet access at the house, and whenever I “got” around to being at the library (which wasn’t often), I would post. I honestly tried to do a post a week, but that became tedious and I started missing my deadline schedule week after week due to lack of Internet accessibility. This deserved its own paragraph to highlight this; the lack of Internet was serious and is part of the reason why it seems I’m “behind on the times” often.
Thankfully I was able to get some of the ads off, but when I reached ETSU to pick it up again with a new look, I decided to just let it drift. I had hit an emotional low at the time, and since then, never decided to pick up article writing or unbounded enthusiasm on the genre again.
I wouldn’t say that it was a total failure. I learned what not to do with a blog, and how to go about getting content for people to read. Audience and visits are something I still struggle with, but I’ve learned a lot from those early days. It was a good takeaway lesson about content creation and dedication.
So what you can take away from this? I give you five blogging commandments.
- Thou shalt have a good concept, a vision statement for your blog.
- Thou shalt have adequate equipment and good Internet access to maintain your blog and complete all the other things on this to-do list.
- Thou shalt create and curate good content. You need to give something worthwhile to your readers. This is the hardest part of the whole process.
- THOU SHALT POST REGULARLY! Ahem. This is now so much easier with auto-post functions most major websites have adapted. Imagine you’re watching your favorite TV show at a set time every week and it doesn’t show one day. It gets around to show two days later. Or a whole month later. That’s bad.
- Thou shalt not fill thy site up with advertisements for revenue, despite your needs for money. Especially if you’re a blog that just started, this will annoy readers and drive them off, branding you as “commercial.”
You can see what was left of my enthusiasm here: http://thesteampunkobserver.blogspot.com