Innoquous 4

NALGames V4 by Allison James

Those of you reading from the original source of these blog entries (I know they sync with Game Jolt so anyone from there won't have seen it) will have noticed that this blog has just undergone a graphical overhaul. If you aren't a Twitter follower of me, it's because my website is being rewritten to Version 4 by Sean Buller (UnknownGamer, often credited as Sean Canadaboner jokily while he was unwilling to publicise his surname as he's Canadian). Originally this was going to keep with the style of V3 (maroon/beige/black, grungy, stylistic). However, I decided that since it'd be so differently (read: better) made I'd fix up the style and make it, in general, better. So, wanting a change from the grunginess, I went with shiny rainbow-on-blackness. Yeah.On the topic of the new NALGames.com, which should be active within the week (at the moment if you try to access it you'll get slapped in the face by an Under Construction image), there are a number of lovely changes, most of which I couldn't've achieved, as I despise coding websites. Seriously, changing the CSS for this blog to make it as it is was bad enough. It'd be less hateful if all browsers interpreted coding in the same way... but they don't. Half the time, it's Microsoft's glaringly inferior browser that puts a wrench in the works (most businesses have dropped IE6 support now... why not go one better and drop it for 7 and 8 too?), but even the bigguns like Firefox, Chrome and Opera occasionally screw something up. (Incidentally, I now use Google Chrome. Firefox 3.x has been problematic as hell; all the 3.6 update did was break more.)Oh right, the new website. The biggest change for you, the viewers, will be that the Games, Archive and .GMKs sections will all be jazzed up and more usable. All items will start off "minimised" - in a normal list. There's a + on the end - if you click it, a game description, three screenshots, and all the details and various links will swoop in with a pretty little animation. The + turns into a -. Guess what that does.The biggest change for me, which will be passively effective to viewers, is that Sean is incorporating a handy little set of admin tools for adding games, other items, and editing the text on text-based pages like About. Beforehand, I was having to manually alter all the coding on the page then reuploading it. This was a hell of a lot of hassle and meant the frequency of updates was poor. At the time of V3 going down, there had been four games released since its last update. Now, though, I just have to fill in a form and hit a Submit button, which is a lot easier and will mean I'll be much quicker in updating the site.Other minor updates to the site, ignoring the previously mentioned style overhaul, is that the Links page has been switched with a Coverage page (now I've got just about enough to not look like a shit stain on the underpants of my website), the Game Editable and WIP Editables have been merged, Writings has been added to the Archive (so I can share my crappy poems and WIP short story), and Old Games has been merged into the current Games page. There's a tick box in the "Sort By" dropdown that allows you to filter these out or keep them in, so the few decent games I've made don't have to be drowning in a sea of Gemocides, Fight of the Heights and Blokmans (all three being 2005-or-before games).Gamewise, I've nigh-on stopped working on Innoquous Hand Held/The Flip Side. I still plan on making Innoquous 4, but this won't be yet. Due to possible complications (if I take the YYG job I won't be eligible for any of their competitions from then on) I doubt entering it would work out at all. A little disappointing, but I'd rather have a job than a public thrashing by at least 20 people that are better than me!Anyway, that's the news of the NALworld. Some time soon I expect to make a blog entry listing my all-time favourite 100 songs. This is requiring me to scour my entire brain, as well as my tracklist, for those I know would make the list, and some others which I'll have to process-of-elimination-ify to get it to the hundred. Also, process-of-elimination-ify is a word now.Let me know if there are any graphical glitches on the blog or, when it's out, the website. Screenshot would be preferred.Until next time!

FKR4, Points of Interest etc by Allison James

The first bit is, incase you're unaware, FKR's yearly update for 2010 has arrived. FKR4, made for the Game Jolt Rogue contest under the idea that the game itself is the rogue, is a bizarre, bizarre game. Many people don't seem to be able to understand it. Here's a quick explanation:

The room will fill, initially, with red and aqua, with a small amount of green. The colour coding is the same as the other FKRs - red = you, green = your "trojans" (what you hit enemies with), and aqua and other colours are enemies. You'll notice that these colours, bar green, comprise of a number of "stars". The central point is where the actual enemy/you resides, so you must target there. With that in mind, the rest of the game is FKR at heart. Different points are awarded for different enemies, with more for higher-up ones (order: aqua, yellow, magenta, orange, blue, green). So yeah.
I thought I'd add a little point of interest to this: a list of games that started off with different names, either as codenames or genuine names I later decided to change.

F**kfreak ==> Back in Time to Annihilate People of Past TimesOriginally named as the game is pretty f**king freaky, changed because I couldn't be arsed with bleeping it out and inevitably suffering a slew of YoYo Games reports.
 
A Stupid Attempt to Win $1000 ==> Zyousbox
With the name change came an orientation change. The game that became Zyousbox was originally to be an old-Celtic-themed exploration game for the second YYG competition. It didn't go well but I didn't want to ditch the engine. Zyousbox was born
Wolley ==> La Rolloux
Originally Wolley because a) the player was called Wolley and b) it's "yellow" backwards, which is the colour of 70% of the game. Altered it when I gave Wolley a wacky hairstyle which reminded me of Ellie Jackson from La Roux (a band I like, and a band name I like too). Inserted "roll" into it and huzzah - a game pronounced "La Roll-oo" but frequently mistaken as a number of daft, Englicised alternatives (one of which rhymes with "bollocks").
Partly a codename (I was expecting to change it), partly an ongoing desire to create an eponymously-named game. Changed because, having mentioned "madnessMADNESSmadness" in the Game Jolt chatroom as what a mad person might describe their predicament, and consequently being recommended to give a game that name. Turns out it was a wise decision, though I still catch a few too many people calling it "madnessMadnessmadness", "Madnessmadnessmadness" or, worse, "Madness Madness Madness".
Elemence Passion Matrix ==> Elemence Switch
Mildly irrelevant, changed just before I canned the game. Changed because, as was informed to me, "Elemence Passion Matrix" sounds like something out of the Kamasutra.
Lite Town Wars ==> The Hilarity of Murder
Originally "Lite" was included to make "lite" of the fact (sorry) that the game was made in the unpaid version of Game Maker 7, changed when I decided to stick it in the Game Jolt Axioms contest by bolting a gimmick onto its arse and wanted to reflect the new gameplay element in its title.
L'oiseau ==> Ne Touchez Pas 2
"L'oiseau" being French for "The bird", "Ne Touchez Pas 2" being French for "Mooching off the plays the first one got and being a far more obvious sequel. Oh, and not pronouncing the 2 as "deux" but as "two"".
Puzzle Valley ==> Welcome to Puzzle Valley ==> Puzzle Valley
...Yeah. Puzzle Valley initially held the same name as it does now. Upon upgrading it, adding several features and removing a few bugs, I added "Welcome to" to its name. Finally, seeing that it was a stupid name and preferring the old one, I changed it back.
Infidel ==> Infidels
Initially, you were the infidel. When deciding to switch the roles round and subsequently realising more than one infidel existed from then on, I pluralised the title.

I'm edging towards ditching The Flip Side. My main reason for wanting to enter the fifth YoYo Games competition was for the sake of publicity. However, if I ditch TFS, when I'm more in the mood focus on making Innoquous 4 a smashing game, then advertise the crap out of it, I could hopefully achieve it by myself.

Lifewise, I'm doing okay. Still thinking about the aforementioned job offer (am seriously leaning towards wanting it), waiting for a little more information which I was told would be given to me at the end of this month. I think, pending the answers, I'll know near enough 100% if I'm going to take it or not.
There would be other advantages to doing so. For starters, it'd help my confidence and independence out. I'm too clingy, really - being by myself would hopefully get my head straight and help nail the reality of life into my brain. It would also probably help with friendships and (dare I say it?) relationships. Where I currently live, chavs have basically overtaken. In a 20 mile radius there are about ten people I would be friend and about zero girls I would be even remotely interested in. With a move I would (possibly) refresh that, and meet new people. I could make at least two/three met-in-real-life friends if I stopped by in Yorkshire on the route from Redgrave to Dundee (and vice versa). I plan to do that at some point, I've known all three of the people there for more than a year. It'd be odd, but definitely fun and well worth doing.

Anyway, I think that's enough for one blog entry. I'd quite like to start doing these weekly again instead of fortnightly, as I have a lot I could say but don't, and as I've learnt from a friend over the past couple of weeks, it seems to be beneficial in letting out all these little tidbits of information instead of bottling them up.
Until next time!

Innoquous 4: Early Stages by Allison James

A blog post about my current active project, Innoquous 4, and some information on it.Firstly, it's initially aimed for YYG Competition 05. It's going to undertake the alias Innoquous Hand Held for this. Innoquous Hand Held will lack online functions, be capped to 480x272 as its screen resolution, and be slightly fiddlier than usual. This is a direct result of the competition restrictions. What it will contain will be 100 levels (40 new, 60 from Innoquous 1, 2 and 3, many of which will be tweaked to accommodate the faster controls). There will also be other obstacles - I'm aiming for timed-shooting guns and pushable blocks, that will debut, and make appearances in both new and old, tweaked levels. I'm looking to add a level editor - this may not make IHH as the control restrictions would make it difficult to implement.Once IHH is released, I will upgrade it to Innoquous 4. This will be the full-on game. 800x600 resolution, mouse-controlled, easy to use level editor (mouse-controlled), improved menu, plenty of customisation options (complete control over block colours, a choice of characters - play as a fish!, and other options), etc. I'll also poke UnknownGamer into making the online for it, which will build on I3's site - you'll be able to make an account on it, share statistics, see your rankings, upload levels you've created and download others', with level ratings etc. Depends on how much he can do.Now, cost-wise. I initially said I was going to make Innoquous 4 my first commercial game. However, with the need to make IHH free, this is now unlikely. What I am edging towards is making the game DONATIONWARE. This would mean you could pay $/£20 (madness!), $4 (what I would've initially charged), or even 1p/cent (*stares*). The reason I want to charge for the game is because I'm about to jump into the world of work, and in all honestly I'd quite like to be able to jump out of it ASAP into commercial indie game production. I know it'll probably be a few years before that provides any kind of income, but hey, the sooner I start making this damn game, the better!Yesterday I released a trailer for the game, showcasing its new IOTAS-style graphics and mentioning some of the planned features. If you're interested, here it is:And that's pretty much it, really! If you have any comments, suggestions, or anything else, don't hesitate to comment. Even if I don't reply to them, I certainly read them and take them on board. Thanks!Until the next blog entry.~ NAL

This is not Sparta! by Allison James

Has been a while. Oops! Oh well, time to dive straight into the contents of this.As some of the nine or so readers of this blog may already know, a couple of days ago I released a game called madnessMADNESSmadness (capitalised like that for no real reason, and shortened to mMm) for the current Game Jolt competition with the theme "Minimal". It closed a couple of days ago with nearly 50 entries, including quite a few great ones, so I won't be disappointed if I don't win.Having said that, the reception mMm has got is astonishing. It's a small game, made in about the same time as my entry for GJ's first competition, Infidels. Infidels took about a month to hit 100 plays on YoYo Games, and is currently on about 300. Its online highscore list only hit 100 recorded entries about a week ago (taking about four months in total). Compare mMm, which hit 100 recorded online highscores in one day and throughout the four days it's been out has fast approached 400. It's on a cumulated nearly-700 plays on GJ and YYG, more than Infidels, is currently on a respectable 4.1 on YYG and a big 4.4 on GJ, and has nine posts in the contest thread on the GJ forum devoted to how great it apparently is. It's now more played, rated and commented than any of my other games on Game Jolt, and is continuing to rise quickly.This is a game that took 7 weeks less time than Innoquous 3 to make. A three-day-developed game. It has about 45 seconds of level in and is basically a bog-standard platformer with a weird graphical effect. 4.4 by 31 people on Game Jolt. Crazy.And yes, the "Madness?! THIS... IS... SPARTAAAA" jokes have already come. Missed your chance, fans of 300 and/or internet meme followers. Sorry. :P (having said that, if you like internet memes you may as well say it again, because as most people know memes are the most annoying, overused, repetitive thing on the net).I've done four reviews on Game Maker Blog and am unlikely to stop any time soon. As I usually mention before/after the reviews, if you have any games you want to see reviewed there you can reply to this blog entry, PM me on Game Maker Community, etc. Wherever you know I still am. I'll also be reviewing something for the upcoming GMTech issue 18 (the Christmas issue), though that'll likely be something chosen by gamez93 if he can bag an exclusive.I reckon that's it. See you in another hopefully-less-than-nearly-a-month!

GMB, Flash, Talast, Lockerz, Commercialism? by Allison James

>A few different things to talk about in this blog entry, methinks. I'll go through them in title order.I applied for a position reviewing games on the popular Game Maker Blog yesterday. Was surprised to be accepted about 20 minutes after applying! Anyway, I posted my first review and the comments seem to be positive about it, so I'll continue reviewing games for it. You can check out the review, which is of Elmernite's Rosetta Stone, here.I've started learning Flash. I have a copy of Macromedia Flash 8 (have had it for ages) so figured it may as well go to use. Part of my reason for wanting to learn flash is the playing figures on popular flash site, Kongregate. Loads of games on it top 100,000. Some have even passed 1,000,000. They offer ad sharing on their games too. While not massive, a game with 100,000 plays, with Kongregate's 35% shared ad revenue, would earn about $200. Not too shabby. It'll be a while, of course, before I make anything worth 100,000 plays in the program, but hell, may as well learn now.Talast is going spiffingly. Unknown Gamer recently moved it to its own server, meaning we (he) can now add plugins and stuff to it. There's a fair amount of reviews on it now, too.I recently got invited to an invitation-only service called Lockerz, thanks to Bobhoil. Some people may remember a former post about Swagbucks. Lockerz is kinda like that, but things are cheaper, the site's currency (pointz, with an "edgy" z) is easier to obtain (two pointz for logging in each day, two pointz for answering an opinion poll each day. Sorted), and it's a very calming site design. Upon registration, you also get to play a game which can earn you about 25 pointz. If you want an invite, comment with your email address, or send me a PM or something with it if you'd rather not publicise it. I'll send your address an invite ASAP.Commercialism. Hm. James Rhodes (of Roket-Games) recently asked if I'd like to make something commercial. If I did, and made it Roket-Games exclusive, I'd get $20 from the get-go and 80% of the cost of the game per sale. Therefore, I'm planning on making Innoquous 4. I wouldn't publicise this information due to tempting fate, but I did it with Innoquous 3 and it actually managed to work. Here's some planned stuff on it:

  • 40 new levels, with the 60 from I1-3. All 100 playable in all three modes from I3, as well as some undetermined new ones
  • Level editor, integrated into Roket-Games for easy uploading and downloading of levels
  • Speedruns of the whole game, possibly of the levels from each individual Innoquous, and individual fastest times for each level in Standard mode
  • Extra in-game items to keep it fresh. This may possibly include things I tried for I3 but couldn't get to work, like moving platforms. New items may be included in older levels too
  • Graphics overhaul. I3's weakest point was its graphics. Colour is definitely still in, but I may ditch the "outline disappears when ball is on floor" thing altogether

There may be more (or less) if I do pull this game off. Oh, one thing on it - it will probably cost $5 or £3 to start with, if all of the points above make it into the game. I'd consider that reasonable, taking into account the amount of work I want to put into it. If you have any suggestions on other additions, think the price should be adjusted, or think I should go with something else for commercialdom instead, feel free to comment. I take all comments into account.Anyway, that's all for this blog. Fair amount covered - guess that makes up for the reduction in quantity. See y'all later!~NAL