7DRL

I'm planning on doing the 7DRL challenge, which runs from Saturday Feb 29 to Saturday Mar 7.

I did some design work this morning, picking out tilesets and making some index card notes for my 7DRL. Think I have kind of a neat world model, and different combat/levelling system.

I expect to have my Chez graphics library fully ported by then (I can draw sprites now! Events are much harder.), but getting it to compile on Mac, Windows, & Linux? Way out of scope, as I found out when I did Eldritch, catastrophic waste of effort for a freebie game. So I'm probably doing it in JS, just so much easier to upload a web page.

What I'm Playing: AnotherEden - 1st Anniversary

I hadn't played since last Spring, but the anniversary event (check in now, should still be in your mailbox) gives a lot of crystals for summoning, and playing again I'm enjoying it a lot. I think it's back in heavy rotation.

Level caps have increased for a few characters, so Aldo is now 51/60, Miyu 56/60, Mighty 60/80, Riica 45/50, Deirdre 45/60, Amy 41/50, Lokido 60/80, Cyrus 41/50. And I nearly have enough books to class upgrade one or two 50s.

But I'm blocked on Soira 60/60, Bivette 60/60, Mariel 60/60 (needs a ton of books to class upgrade). I have so many lowbies, I have no idea which are any good and should be levelled right now.

I'm very confused by finding all the new stuff, I suppose I should read the last year's worth of update notices; I'd last read 1.2.100: IDA School. Unlike most mobile games, AnotherEden doesn't expire events (except "Encounters", character pull banners), so all the old quests are ready to play.

One noticeable thing immediately, there's a "Cat-alogue" where you tap on the kitties in each zone and add them to a list. And apparently there's "Cat Equipment", in the rewards list? Guess I'll find out. Today I picked up all the Medieval kitties I could find. Also, wandering around I found the Goblin King quest, which I'd never cleared out, and killed him twice. Nice to see my party's good for something.

There's a fishing system, hard to figure out where it starts, but apparently in Acteul, there's a boat that starts a quest? I think that's tomorrow's goal.

I found a quest in Miglance Castle for Miyu, which got me 4/30 Princess Psalms for her next class upgrade, and has multiple chapters, so that might be doable with a week of grinding. She's kinda just "Aldo in a dress" but sometimes that's what you need.

Of course the battery draining powers of this game are still in force, so now my phone's hot and charging up again.

… For some reason I can't upload my useless gallery of new chars, so I'll do that next time. I'm sure you're waiting with bated breath. (or baited, if you're a cat who eats fish)

Project Status

Made a lot of progress on Perilar Dark Weaver map generation. Hopefully this week I'll get ruins finished.

Spent a little too much time on the new Mystic Dungeon, the TTMS-76 virtual retro-console started on tilde.town but is now replacing the BBS. It now has scoreboards for the games! I still need to finish Heist, which turned out to be bigger than I first thought. In a bit I'll get yet another damned login system done, and from there a forum. I wonder if anyone else would be interested in making games for it? I've got a trivially easy framework, so if you know any Javascript at all it's fun to work with. All BSD licensed.

Updated StupidComments.css to block some more inline "affiliate" blocks and Youtube spam segments.

I started making a console Pomodoro timer, and it works, but needs persistence and a teeny bit of task management before I can release it. Very soon.

RPG-wise, I wrote a bit more of my "survival D&D" game Delvers in Darkness (aka Dungeon Hell), which is looking to come in well under 16 pages for a full Holmes-type dungeon game; maybe 32 if I write more on the setting, which since I complain about that in everyone else's games, I should. Haven't looked at my light game in a bit, and don't know when I'll get back to that.

Perilar: Dark Weaver

Perilar was my favorite of my games, an original iPhone RPG (loosely inspired by Rogue, Ultima, & Zelda). Alas, the App Store is a pain in the ass to stay current in, and Perilar needed updates I wasn't willing to jump thru Apple's hoops to deliver, so it's been gone from the store for a few years. Does anyone even remember me?

Then I wrote & released Brigand, a stripped-down realtime roguelike, which apparently everyone got mad at either because it was too hard (it was, but I liked that), or cost $9.99 which is SO MUCH MONEY on the goddamned App Store. And again the App Store made it obsolete and it wasn't reasonable to update it.

So I got back to a new desktop version of Perilar. I wrote a JS prototype (Fallen Kingdom) that wasn't fast enough to be usable, but let me rapidly test a bunch of new things. Now in Scheme, after a very long time, I have a nice, fast, nearing-complete sequel to Perilar: Dark Weaver.

Where I am right now:

  • World has both hand-designed and random sectors, tho the latter need some smoothing out to look like real terrain. I can walk across the world, at least until I hit impassable sectors. Porting my complex map and dungeon generators in is the next task. I have spent the last 6 months building features in the Town of Amity, and I'm ready to move on!
  • Most of the tile art is from the DawnLike set, with a lot of customization and new art where needed, and I've stuck to the DawnLike palette, it really has a nice old-timey look, a little less garish than the Atari 800, brighter than C64.
  • Player art isn't going to be these sprites, but the paperdolls I have are 2-facing (East/West), and I'd prefer 4- or 8-facing (you can move diagonally!); so I still need to find or draw (oh no) those.
  • NPCs have dialogue trees, stores, and special abilities (like the Innkeeper healing you; they're not super-powered).
  • Combat, with multiple attack/defense options, works in my test area. I haven't spread monsters around the sectors yet, but they've been developed and tested in the JS prototype.
  • Loot is extensive, magical weapons and armor have all the complex options you'd expect. I'm being a hardass on encumbrance in this one, because you can drop loot anywhere and come back for it. (Not quite the hardest possible ass; gold doesn't count towards weight, which it does in tabletop RPGs!)
  • Spells beyond Magic Missile are not implemented at all yet; will probably ship with only the dozen basic spells from the original release, and advanced spells added in an update. You won't find anyone to teach those for a long time anyway. Despite that, Wizards are still useful with magic wands.
  • New bosses, boss arenas, deeper dungeons, main quest, and sidequests.
  • At least one sector will be user-modifiable, tho I don't know if it'll be in the first release. You can buy furniture and walls, and fix up your own town. There's useful things you'll be able to get from that. (The building mechanic half works now; gathering doesn't).
  • Currently tested on Mac, should be buildable with no or very few changes to Windows, Linux, BSD, etc., but I need to get proper test environments for all of those.
  • Will be for sale on itch.io sometime this year. Price TBD.

I feel super awkward about self-promotion, but I do have a Patreon, and for Gold level you'll get betas; I haven't explained this, but at any level, when you've paid up whatever the cover price of the game ends up being, you'll get a full release license for it, too.

darkweaver-2020-01-08-2
darkweaver-2020-01-08-3

Tildeverse

The Tildeverse is a bunch of shared UNIX or UNIX-like servers (in reality, all the ones I know of are Linux, which <sigh>), with individual user accounts, or "tildes" after the way you refer to a home directory in a URL or UNIX command line: ~name.

Anyone can sign up for one of these, tilde.town got back to me in a couple days over the holiday and I expect they're faster during reasonable times.

So over the holiday I made a simple little web page, then wrote some ASCII-art (and Emoji-art) games in Javascript, and now I've written an operator's manual for a fictional computer, the TTMS-76 (Tilde Town Microcomputer System '76). I'm thinking about making some 3D renders of it, patriotic colors to match the American Bicentennial in 1976. I'll probably mirror all this on mysticdungeon.club when I work out what I'm doing with that.

There's a bunch of little command-line utilities on tilde, like alpine for local mail, feels for blogging from text editor, botany for watering a plant, poem to get a random poem, chat for a friendly local-system IRC; there's also a public IRC on Tildeverse (but it's more what you'd expect from a public IRC, so you may not like that).

If you used to use a shared UNIX server, this will all be very familiar and fun. If you haven't, it's a great way to learn more about command-line tools, how shared hosting works, how to write HTML the old-fashioned way, and so on.

Coal in Infogrames/Not-Atari's Stockings

  • Atari VCS Chief Operating Officer Michael Arzt: interviews himself with a sock-puppet:
    • Sock-Puppet: "You are very handsome and are shipping on time!"
    • COO: "These are both true, and you are entirely alive and questioning me, not just a filthy sock on my left hand."
    • Sock-Puppet: "Please don't put me on your cock again I don't want to get pregnant/sticky."
    • COO: "No promises."
  • Previously in Not-Atari News

Takeaway is that the new VCS box is delayed until Spring 2020, maybe later, with a number of excuses, and some more case photos but no working demos anywhere. The cases do have connectors inside now, which is very exciting if you're completely gullible, but there's zero evidence from Infogrames that anything can be powered on and do something.

There's a bunch more lies, such as that most Unity games will work on it; while it's true you can recompile many Unity games for Linux, it often requires specific hardware and software configs, like the SteamOS, and the odds that Infogrames' contractors who are building this have matched those configs is vanishingly small.

The "original software" they tout is a $100/year subscription to play classic Atari games, which you can get a bundle of for far less, existing consoles for $20-40, or "free" (pirated, but it's been 40 years; meh) with MAME.

The actual reason they used IndieGogo is that IndieGogo doesn't require shipping a product, you're throwing money into someone's pockets with no guarantees. I've been waiting since 2013-10-17 for the LotFP Hardcover Referee Book, Raggi says (posting a weekly update a month ago…) he's still working on it, and I believe him because he's an honest 6-years-late fuckup. I wouldn't believe the Infogrames people if they said "le ciel est bleu".

What I'm Playing: One month of Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

I said I was done, and I had quit entirely, but for the 2-year anniversary ACPC has old time-limited items available again in the crafting system, so came back for one last month, and was thinking maybe I'd stick around for the Xmas/New Year's event. Not try-hard, not grinding, just play a couple times a day in the can or before bed. Competition makes these events unpleasant.

My old friends list is about half gone from just being out for 2 or 3 months, some people really purge their friends list quick. Because Nintendo hates social and shut down Miitomo, their only attempt at it in recent history, there's no real connection there and you can't say goodbye or anything. This is the worst part of every Nintendo game, just the endless sadness they dump on you because they're such awkward NEETs themselves, they can't conceive that people might want to make friends and talk to them.

For the most part, this last run has been fine. I like just casually catching fish & bugs, I've got some new items and put them in the camp, got some nice screenshots of it. The flower festival was OK, I only got halfway thru the second stage because I wasn't logging in every 3 hours on a no-sleep schedule like the try-hards, but it is pleasant, the festival NPC was Isabelle, and I got an Isabelle-doing-Powerpoint item for the camp, which is hilarious to me. The fishing tourney started a couple days ago, and I'm again in the bottom 5 of my friends list, but it's OK. I won't be buying any real-money "Leaf Tickets" but the anniversary login has given me quite a lot.

The new mechanics for the trash bird ship are both better and hilariously worse than before; now you need specific items, many of which cost the almost-real-money "Sparkle Stones", and you get to pick from 3-5 unlabelled boxes to see if you get a good item, or just animal snacks. I've sent off a lot of ships with cheap egg clocks and 4 mismatched socks, and got 1 animal friend and a couple sparkle stones for my trouble. Not worthwhile. Nintendo apparently knows this sucks, and are promising to fix it in the update next week.

The "Happy Home" minigame really sucked before; if you had all the items crafted, you just tapped the first item in each dialog and you "won" (no prize, really); if you didn't have them all, don't bother, you lose. Either way there's an excruciatingly long cutscene and progress bar and several dialogs. They've slightly improved it now with some guess-the-item "lessons", where there's a little bit of thought and gameplay to it. Many of the lessons are exactly as bad as before. They keep trying to extract Leaf Tickets from me to pass one of these impossible ones, which is just rotten, shitty mercenary behavior; I loathe Lottie as much as I ever did Resetti, and the developers of both.

But then this bullshit paid subscription thing pops up today, and I'm all "hell, no!" and /r/ACPocketCamp is similarly unenthused/angry rioting mob. I guess I won't be making it to New Year's, and the next time I'll see Animal Crossing is New Horizons on the Switch next Spring. Hopefully they don't let micropayments ruin that one, too.

What I'm Playing: Last Cloudia

This is quite a nice surprise! It's a gacha game, sure, but the characters aren't rated, they're all useful. Instead the "Arks", which are like FFVII Materia, are rated R, SR, SSR, and provide a list of buffs, skills, and spells; but a character must attune to them by building up experience with that Ark equipped.

The starting quest characters are the usual fairly dim swordsman Kyle (fricking Kyle?!), giant monster companion (Rei, which is normally a feminine name?), former enemy cyborg sniper girl (Lilebette), and an NPC magical girl (Theria). Happily after my first pull I got Prince Gorm, who is a strong melee fighter and has a group heal ultimate which is incredibly valuable, so he's replaced Kyle.

You level up characters with a sphere grid right out of FFX, with a lot of choices of which direction to develop, unlike Another Eden, where the advancement path was mostly linear. At certain level breaks, you also get to unlock a story page; I can see Rei's is going to be a misunderstood monster line, Gorm is an implausibly altruistic industrialist prince, Lilebette's is cuter than you'd expect from a murder machine.

The main story quest, and the two little sidequests I've found so far, are not bad at storytelling; a little slow, but then there's a giant infodump story session with the Imperial council.

Fighting looks great, but it really resolves down to waiting for timers and hitting skills when near targets. The characters move and auto-attack on their own, and the ones you're not controlling will use some of their own skills, but not all; for efficiency you need to cycle thru characters and use up their saved skills and magic.

The graphical design is interesting, very detailed 3D rendered backgrounds, and cute 2D pixel art characters and monsters. I like this, pixel art's much more expressive than 3D shit, but it can be jarring. The music's nice chiptunes, very Final Fantasy-like.

★★★★☆

What I'm Playing: Mostly iOS Edition

Apple Arcade

  • Various Daylife: Previously described, an RPG life simulator. Slow, tedious, but mildly interesting. Worst title of any game I've heard of. Mediocre.
  • Chu-Chu Universe: Yes, this is another Chu-Chu Rocket, in 3D with shitty controls. I like the slow logic puzzles, but I've played the better version of this game hundreds of hours on the DS (yes, I hear you, two lonely Dreamcast users out there), don't really need a new one. Also, it makes my iPhone 8+ extremely hot along the top-right corner; GPU-heavy with no way to turn that off? Mediocre.
  • What The Golf: Sort of a ripoff of Desert Golfing with a mini-golf course and QWOP or RSSS style physics antics. I'm easily amused by bad physics games, they remind me of Waterful Ring Toss from my childhood. Nice.
  • Sayonara Wild Hearts: Very pretty neon style. Unplayably sluggish movement even at "high" sensitivity setting, forces you to sit through minutes of slow dialogue about hippie tarot bullshit before you can play anything. Deleted after one track. And I like endless runners, so if that's not your thing it'll be even less pleasant. Fail.
  • Inmost: Monochrome pixely, but pretentious starting text "is a moving story of loss and hope, with themes". Incredibly slow, "platformer" but with very little platforming. No dialogue, tap or X does everything so you just have to pixel-hump targets and wait for the action to appear. Fail.

So far this is not a service I'll be renewing. There's nothing here I couldn't get better for that money.

Not Apple Arcade

  • World of Warcraft Classic: I was happy at the start, but rapidly got less so: The sharding is really interfering with gameplay, so I took a break, and then Blizzard decided they'd rather support the totalitarian citizen-murdering dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party than one streamer calling for the independence of democratic Hong Kong. Just to make my position clear: Free Hong Kong! Break up China! Do not punish people for expressing support for democracy, you evil corporate douchebags. Yeah, they gave him back his prize money, but still banned him. Screw that. Cancelled my sub.
  • Elder Scrolls Online: ZOS has a new combat team this year, and they've ruined my Sorcerer build, even worse nerfs are coming in the next patch, and I don't want to pursue total changes to his skills, gear, and gameplay in hopes of maybe ever clearing content again. I was thinking about ending my ESO+ sub for a while, but then WoW blew up so I'm playing my Khajiit Vampire Mag Necromancer "Mortissa Kamidjanni" as main, and having a fun time again; ZOS haven't nerfed the new class yet, ha ha! (I also have a Stam Warden, who was born nerfed, and a Mag Nightblade which is usually the unnerfed class but I don't like the gameplay for that combo). ESO has four kinds of content: Overworld content, which has quests but combat is trivial and boring; Bosses (world or dungeon), which have no interesting quests, combat can be fun but often needs a group and I hate PUGs; Trading, which is slightly interesting but I'm obscenely rich in-game already; and Housing decoration, which is sort of the endgame when you have millions of gold. So my Necro kitty does some overworld quests to get skill points, mats, and recipes, then switch to my Sorc Elf to do housing. It's something to do. Good but so disappointing compared to what it could be.
  • Mario Kart Tour: It's Mario Kart with gacha-like unlocks. Just as stupidly unfair as ever. Mildly fun if you have no attachment to skill determining who "wins" a race. Recommended age range: 1-7.
  • Mirage Memorial: Big-titty waifu versions of historical and mythical figures (many are men converted to women… King Arthur, Edward "Blackbeard" Teach, etc wtf, but also Lucifer, Athena, etc). Unskippable tutorial with no choices for the entire first chapter, and every time a new feature unlocks. Combat is an auto-idler thing; you CAN turn auto off and hit portraits to activate a random skill, but that's it. Somewhat interesting character level-up system, no character is "useless" but may need a lot of grinding to build up. I did a level grind up to 17 in a couple hours while watching Netflix, got bored out of my skull, turned it off. I'm not saying avoid or delete this, but be aware of what it is, which is nothing.
  • Another Eden: Has had a couple new chapter updates, I intend to get back into this.
  • Last Cloudia: Just launching today, looks very pretty. Here's a beginner's guide

What I'm Playing: Various Daylife

A new Square Enix game, the first thing under Apple Arcade that's interested me.

So this isn't quite a normal RPG, it's more of an adventurer's life simulator. You answer a few questions to get a starting role, and are quickly rushed through meeting 3 NPCs who will be your main party for a while; since there are multiple party screens, I assume you get new ones later, but I'm not reading cheat sites yet.

You spend most of your time in your home hitting "Work" and picking missions from the other party members. They just take a half day (there are day and night jobs) and there's no gameplay in this. Your purpose here is to earn money and experience, and build up rank points in stats so they rank up. Doing several of these will improve your affinity with that party member, and unlock new jobs with them or side-quests.

  • Warrior: Wolf, Boar, Bear, Tiger Control.
  • Secretary (Magic-User): Filing, Transcription.
  • Server (Cleric): Water Service, Waitlist Attendance.

Each job consumes Stamina, and when you're low, you may fail missions, and then pass out. I once did this and missed about 4 days sleeping. Sleep at least every few days!

You do occasionally get to go out on wilderness quests, where your party runs left-to-right until a mob is met, does a turn-based combat, then resumes running. You can camp to eat and sleep if you bought those items; I found a food vendor on the docks, but no tent vendor yet.

The town consists of a series of left-right only streets, looping around, with up/down access points. It's not hard to search the whole thing, but sometimes not obvious where the access point is. There's a number of little shops, and events you can pay for.

One amusing but buggy part, I took out the waitress character on a date, she ends up back in my home, nice! but the menu is gone and I can't escape. Finally managed to tap on an invisible button and get out, but I was trapped for a bit. Is this a lesson about commitment and why I'm a nameless drifter?

Shops are not up to the usual Squenix standards. You have to buy items one at a time, and there's a very small wilderness quest inventory (currently 6 items!) so there's not much point in buying too much. Buying gear doesn't auto-equip it, or even remind you to; good thing I've been playing FF games since the NES.