Game of the Year

I've decided there is no Game of the Year 2018. Everything's been mediocre sequels or ripoffs; that a shitty deathmatch shooter is the most popular makes me disrespect your species nearly as much as sportsball.

I'm still playing old games:

  • Elder Scrolls Online: Mixed bag this year. Summerset's a fantastic "chapter"/DLC they make even subs pay for. Murkmire DLC is awful, its only virtue is that Shadowfen's no longer the worst zone in the game. Mac client performance has been garbage since Murkmire, and the nerf to Sorc shields has annoyed the shit out of me. But, close to 5 years in it's still the best Elder Scrolls game.
  • Unturned: France map is fun and moderately hard, but 3.0's reaching EOL and who knows how buggy 4.0 will be. Ominous.
  • Minecraft: 1.13 update was a buggy shitshow for a while, but it's made the waters interesting. But I build bases in taiga or mountains. Very little time in it this year.
  • Animal Crossing Pocket Camp: Least bad gachapon/daily clicky-toy game in its second year. The monthly cycle of garden event, fishing event, scavenger hunt is pretty solid now. The Cabin recently added lets me save a few favorite animals outside the ever-rotating camp roster. It's OK.

This year's failed contenders:

  • EXAPUNKS: Haven't bought it yet because like TIS-100 and the rest of Zach's games, real coding is more fun than fake-coding, but maybe if I was more fun-not-GTD it'd be on the shortlist at least.
  • World of Warcraft Classic demo: The most exciting pre-release was a 10-year-old version of the most boring MMO.
  • Dragalia Lost: Good but compromised design. I loved it for a few months, the characters are fun and cute, action dungeon's great for quick play, but the gachapon store drives the game and creates too many identical heroes, dragons, and cards, and it nagged me out. This could've been GOTY if it was paid up front, earning heroes by questing instead of random pulls.

My own failure to ship is appalling. I can't justify it. Perilar gameplay is excellent roguelike tactics & resource management, but some dungeon generation's not right yet.

Delvers in Darkness, my new tabletop RPG, is getting another rewrite of the adventure and I haven't done any art direction. I think it's fun in solo tests, but still need table testing.

Why Even Make Software

Long week at the grindstone on the game, actual gameplay is mostly done, but a lot of the fine details of UI, animations, and music are janky or nonexistent: "the first 80% takes 100% of the schedule, the last 20% takes another 100%", as they say.

So I may take beta-testers and let them at it soon; comment/email if you'd like in. If you've played any of my games before, you know what you're getting, but much bigger:

Perilar: Fallen Kingdom, an entire world of Perilar, massive dungeons deep into the earth, towers up into the sky, hard tactical roguelike RPG. Mac/Windows/Linux.

I'm running late to think about marketing now, but: Should I Kickstarter for the final stretch? Set up a Patreon? Those feel like begging or grifting, even though I support some stuff that way. I prefer to release, try to get copies in front of the people who'd like it, collect money. Advertising used to be viable for user acquisition, now I suspect a large part of my potential audience are savvy enough to ad-block, and giant horrible things like EA drive the CPK up. There won't be ads or IAP in the game.

Apple killing the affiliate program could not come at a worse time. Kick all the little guys while we're down, Phil Schiller, that's what you're for.

And then there's always people who say "just release it as open source!", by which they mean I should starve and die in the street, and no software except command-line developer tools should ever be made. Yeah, that's not an acceptable business plan.