I'm a nine year old Ogilvie Mountain Collared Lemming. My hobbies are skydiving and colour identification (I'm up to 2307!). My top 10 games are, 10. Batman (NES), 9. Reading Rabbit (CPU), 8. Bubble Bobble (PS3), 7. Leaving Las Vegas: The Official Video Game (N64), 6. Ms. Pac Man (Arcade), 5. Final Fantasy II (ROM Hack), 4. Pac Man Plus (Arcade), 3. Baby Pac Man (C64), 2. Gears of War (XBox360), 1. Pac Man (Wii).
As anyone who knows me is aware, I haven't been posting much because a bunch of projects are now coming to a head. Well this one has come, all over, spurting from my head like so many grand ideas. And semen.
Yes, that's right, Edge of Reality, the Longest Reality-on-the-norm game (both in production and potentially in gameplay) is complete. Nine years after I started this project, I have fixed most (not all) of the bugs, piled on extra content and made a second, very cool ending.
You already might know how long the game has been in production. Why should you play it?
Good question. It may not work perfectly on your new advanced system (may need a few changes to your resolution set-up, for example), and it will occasionally crash (save early and save often). But it is a unique game, which is why I finally completed it after all these years.
There are, in point of fact, four fairly long chapters and 1 that splits into two.
However, the game is more than the sum of its parts.
Edge of Reality picks up from early threads in the RON universe, just after the death of Davy Jones. Reality has been hit by disaster after disaster after delicious cake, and our friend Mika is just starting to put it all together.
Our story begins, however, with never popular Scientist, Dr. Ronald Emeritus, historo-physcicist who has collected the chronicles of Reality in a secret book. However, just as he begins his first glimmers of understanding, something arrives in Reality. A mysterious, disembodied something. And it's not happy.
No. That's not right.
It's happy all right. For all the wrong reasons.
Beginning with the startling disappearance of Reality characters, Mika must make her way through the sleepy town to unravel a mystery and reach Thakbor the Great before its too late (that rhymed!). Her journey will take her right to the Edge of Reality: to the outskirts of town, the new city centre, the woods, the beach, the deep ocean, even other dimensions. What she finds is alternately ridiculous and unsettling.
Because things get weirder as you reach the edge.
Think everything from Yahtzee style insult humour to Captain Mostlyesque psuedo philosophical avante-garde anti-jokes. Everything from Sierra style puns, to graphically violent Sombreros. Disembodied heads of celebrities. Iraq jokes. The goofy cavalcade of poorly drawn villains and the burning embers of despair, all in one incredibly ugly package. Once you get past the first chapter, it just gets weirder, and I think, funnier.
There's more to Edge of Reality than that though. While not exactly the best RON game ever made, it is long, and deep. You'll find lots to click on, and messages for nearly half the interactions you think of (you are actually rewarded for clicking on everything). Half the fun I had making this game was going back to screens I'd forgotten and running through the various interactions. There's a lot of text here, and while a lot of it is either drab or outdated, there's a fair share of bizarre lines and clever zingers. I enjoy playing it just for that.
But there's more. Numerous secrets, including a dramatic secret ending, hidden items that you collect to unlock alternate modes of play, and 4 optional mini-games (technically more like 5, if you know where to look). There's lots of way to "die" in the first half with no real consequences (you immediately come back to life) and then in the second, more challenging half, ways to actually be killed that bring menace back into your adventure.
Multiple characters, optional paths, and many puzzles that can be solved in any order is just part of the draw that kept me plugging away.
Just remember to save your game first. Much like a crowded slushy turnpike, there are bound to be crashes. I could not fix every bug, and some just crash the game at random. All gameplay should work without error messages though. Feel free to report anything with a clear message like "Line 20011. Wrong Side of Cube For Flotsam Test."
PLEASE though, read or at least skim the instructions first. Some important gameplay info and known bugs are included in there as well as a cavalcade of jokes and just strange ideas to get you set up for the game's odd mood.
It may not be your blue cup of tea. It may not be your game of the year. But it is different and distinct, and I think worth playing through for a uniquely twisted take on RON, and for more puzzles than you can shake an anthropomorphic monkey wrench at.
This month begins my game self-promotion blitz. I intend to upload several games I have made over the years between now and March, either updates of old games, incomplete projects that I have finally finished, or updates on old games you might not have gotten a chance to play.
Before you start exploding in paroxysms of joy, know the following 3 points:
1. I am no graphic artist.
Most of my games have terrible graphics, thanks to my inept hands on the mouse. The first uses some of my own weird graphics and some from the Adventure Game Studio community, so it isn't all bad. The second will have all graphics from me, my brother and a friend of mine, but we're sort of all pretty inept in the picture department, so what you see is what you get. The third is about half stock graphics and half my own, again, expect mixed results graphically.
2. I like big, complicated projects.
Game 1 was a huge project for its time, breaking many of the limits of the scripting program I used at the time, and several clearly stated design rules for Adventure Games. The second is a platform/action game in the tradition of Jumpman, but with around 130-140 levels! The last is just an Asteroids clone, but with a few bullet-hell-like qualities that make it insanely difficult. The fourth project may be stalled into next year given my crazy work schedule.
And there are always secrets, for the completionists. That's just how I roll.
3. I am no programmer with teams of paid staff.
I make these games on scripters, such as Adventure Game Studio and Multimedia Fusion. I don't have teams of coders, or even one guy who can do everything. In other words, don't expect the good stuff that was most of the indie scene last year (your Braids and your Caste Crashers and what-have-you), but do expect solid, working games with weird humour, complicated challenges, and my own gameplay innovations. They are decidedly amateur, but largely not irritatingly so, if that makes any sense.
That out of the way, let's look at the first I will be releasing this year. Edge of Reality!
So what is Edge of Reality?
About 9 years ago I came up with the name "Reality" for a town others had developed on the Adventure Game Studio boards. Ben "Yahtzee" Crowshaw thought he would add "on-the-norm" and create the first in a series of community games featuring his own character, Davy Jones. Since then, dozens of writers, scripters and artists have created their own twist on the Reality-on-the-Norm series, adding many new characters and ideas.
I made one of the first elongated demos for an ugly but bizarre game called "Edge of Reality" Bugs and life issues, and just creating the huge amount of content this game required kept me busy since mid 2000, but I'm back, and though buggy, the game is now 99.9% complete. It's on an old engine of AGS, meaning bugs (save early and save often) and it's about 70% ugly, and it also may not run on some newer computers, but it's done, and just needs a few polishing touches.
The plot centres around Mika Huy, Journalist, and her increasingly bizarre quest to find out who wants to destroy the city of Reality, and why. It broke almost all the limits of AGS at the time, and was one of the longest RON projects of all time.
I have two trailers, one from 2005/2006, one from just a few weeks ago. Both give you the general idea. The game WILL BE RELEASED on JAN 24 2009.
In addition to taking a break for writing (as any regular readers will know), I'm also moving back to Canada, and will have no internet for a bit.
But I did promise another video on Juggling this week, so keeping my promises, here it is. It's not 3 parts at once like last week, but it is a substantial bit. All of Part 2 covers the basics of doing tricks with 3 balls, although some of it is actually fairly advanced. If you enjoyed part 1, this part really expands on what you've already been through. Next time I'm online I should have both some more parts of this series, and a pretty interesting gaming post, if I do say so myself.
It's so hard to write this. You know I love you. You've been such a great guy, always at my side and all, always there. We had fun at Rollerworld, though you insisted on just walking back and forth in a predetermined pattern, I could tell you had fun. And you let me have fun, which is really what made us work. You never let anybody get in your way either. If they stood in the way of your path, you just waited, never pushed, just waited until they were gone, and then you were on your way again, doing the rounds, up from the corner of the old Wattlers place, and then down, around the foutain, past those continually steaming pipes. It was heartening to see old Spanner Rick on those things every day. Though why he never got them fixed is beyond me.
Anyway, I guess what drew me to you in the first place, your single-mindedness, your strong, silent personality just kinda wore thin after a while. I mean, it's not your fault, it's me. I just couldn't live up to the routine you set for us.
It's also, I don't know. A girl gets tired of the same thing day after day. Good morning honey! "The Baron owns a special blade, I've seen it, I know," How was work? "Have you seen the knight that rode in from Hysidia? He's staying in the Inn," I love you, "The Dragonmaster wants to reclaim the four stars of Briaradak, he's not coming here is he?"
It's not that I don't appreciate a bit of news. I liked that you would tell me about what was going on in the world. It always made my head spin to think all those things were going on in our sleepy little village. But after a while it seemed like you were repeating yourself, over and over, just waiting for the next big thing to happen.
I also felt that there was a problem communicating with us. Why did you always have to put the Herbs in that old chest of your Dad's? You know it doesn't have a lock, and that just invites thieves. Not only that, it was inconvenient when you wanted me to make dinner to go all the way downstairs, open the chest, receive Herb, trudge back up the steps, and cut it up over dinner. Why couldn't we just store it in that row of bottles on the right side of the counter? Nobody would steal it there. And yet, all you would say when I tried to bring it up to you in open conversation, you know, let you know my feelings, you would get all "The King has transferred Be'iyomarr and the Blue Regiment to fight the Goblin King in the North." Honey, I know that. You said that while we were making love last night. Over and over.
Anyway, I guess you know too it just hasn't been working out too well for us. I like variety, spice in life, you like to walk the same route all day for seemingly no reason. There was that whole week where all you said was "Welcome to Helinicca." What was that about?
In the end, I just feel, it's not you, but I'm getting stifled in this relationship. You're a great guy, you really are, but I can't do this forever. And, well, that's not all. There's more I guess, and this is the part I've been dreading.
I may as well tell you, it's not like you're going to ask.
I'm going out with Ryan. It's really not you. Only, he's got a whole dialogue tree I haven't fully explored. It's not that orange exclamation mark over his head, I promise.
Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that I post a lot. Usually every day I make one or two contributions. Sometimes these are popular posts that get shown around the office water-cooler, some are ugly lampshades that you really want reupholstered, except everybody only does it in puce, which is actually a fairly nice colour, but just doesn't go with the crown moulding, and in actual fact, you never liked that lamp anyway.
Well, I've been pretty busy the last few days, and am working on a project that is not game related. I have a YA novel that I've been working on for the last few months, and it's just getting to the point where it needs my undivided attention. This means I ain't gunna do as much posting for a while. It's a great exercise for me, but it takes a wee bit too much of my time, coming up with ideas, or research, or copy and pasting from McSweeneys.
That never happened.
Anyway, I still have a lot of ideas I want to share out here, so you'll still see tidbits, but I just won't be putting in as much time, so more of the "meh" ideas may make it in, or just get dropped. If something exciting happens, like Nintendo going back to making playing cards, or Dubya going on a last minute clock-tower rampage, you can bet I'll be back here, posting boots on. For now though, I'll leave you with this sobering thought: