For a previous blog, I had a script that collected all of the links I bookmarked on del.icio.us that day and put them in a post. As time went on and I wrote less and less, those link roboposts became about 90% of the content.
That was bad for the blog, so I stopped doing that. Here, I’m doing something that feels similar, but it’s game stuff that happened to be presented to me in person. So, it’s as if I went out and physically gathered these links for you. Appreciate!
I discovered this at PAX East. It looked like any other card game, except it was played on a grid. There was a lot of orcy fantasy art on it, with the fonts that customarily accompany that kind of art. My friend Tim and I were walking by its booth, and the game’s designer invited us to try it out. I said sure but was skeptical.
The designer, Colby Dauch, did a great job of walking us through a first turn, and it did turn out to be a very good game. It’s an elegant tactical combat game that centers largely around positioning, as most tactical combat does, but also involves resource management and acquisition. Like in chess, you win by defeating the enemy’s key piece. Like in Magic and Dominion, you have a deck of cards that provides your guys, all of which have different abilities that can be coordinated in many different ways. The guys in your deck can be summoned using your magic points, which are obtained by killing your opponent’s guys.
You can build your own decks, which adds another dimension to the game, but we played with the prepackaged decks, all of which had a very distinct flavor. We played the hell out of this game at PAX, and I think it’s the best game I played there. Colby said an iOS version was in the works, so I’m looking out for that.
Spell Tower’s another game I saw at PAX. It’s an iOS game in which you make words out of a tower of letters. When you connect a string of serially adjacent letters to make a word, they pop off and the rest of the letters fall to fill the void they leave. It’s vaguely Tetris-esque. You have to consider where you’re making words because you can cause letters to pile up in concentrated spots. A tall pile is bad because when a pile reaching the top of the screen ends the game. Making words in this context is fun, but also compelling. And by “compelling,” I mean it can create compulsion, which I’m ambivalent about.
The developer, Zach Gage, talked to me for a bit about its development. He got a working version in a surprisingly short amount of time using Open Frameworks. This was a surprise to me because I didn’t even know there was an iOS port of OF. Zach’s made a wide variety of software art with it and has a library for working with sprite sheets.
I was tempted to get into it, but I have enough fluency in Objective-C right now to express myself fairly well and am generally short on time. If ofxiPhone had been around three years ago, I would have been all over it, the same way Ruby people are all up ons RubyMotion. If you’re coming to iOS development from a C++ background, you should check it out.
Finally, a couple weeks ago, I went to a Game Dev Night where I met other people making tile-based game maps with ASCII in plain text. The host, Greg Smith, presented us with Letterbrush. Plain text is relatively easy and simple to work with, but it does involve some annoying arrow key-dancing to specific columns and rows. Letterbrush gives you well-known drawing tools so you can skip all that foofawing.
Well, I think there were more, some non-game ones, but I’ve forgotten them. So, I hope you enjoyed those.