I’m always interested to see people try out-of-the box new things, so I thought I’d start a series on games that try out bold mechanical ideas. The first one, I’m excited to say, is the Quest for Glory series! The goal of these games is to combine Role Playing Games elements — by which I mean, random success based on character proficiencies — with Point&Click style binary puzzle mechanics.

These are games that, despite how many hours I’ve logged onto narrative games, I’d only heard of recently. The games were released thus:
• Hero’s Quest: So you want to be a Hero (Quest for Glory I) — 1989
• Quest For Glory II: Trial by Fire — 1990
• Quest For Glory III: Wages of War — 1992
• Quest For Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness — 1993
• Quest For Glory V: Dragon Fire —…


There’s a popular meme in which characters with some relation to each other — being from the same series or possibly genre — will be compared in a 2-dimensional chart. You may have seen something like the following:

An alignment chart for characters of the sci-fi series, “Deep Space Nine”
An alignment chart for characters of the sci-fi series, “Deep Space Nine”

According to Wikipedia, the categories of “Lawful-Neutral-Chaotic” and “Good-Neutral-Evil” come from the Role Playing Game, Dungeons and Dragons or “DnD”. The “Lawful-Chaotic” axis came out first, where “lawful” was intended to mean “honor and respect for society’s rules” and “chaotic” meant “rebelliousness and individualism” with neutral clearly being somewhere in the middle. The 1979 Dungeons and Dragons basic set included an additional “good-evil” axis, where “good” meant “altruism and respect for life” and evil meant “selfishness and no respect for life”. …


Sprites in Daedalus make use of Unity’s lighting system to appear with 3D-like properties.

Since Unity treats Sprites as flat 3D surfaces, it can do this by applying a shader in the sprite’s material that accepts a normal map, and using that normal map to calculate how light should be applied. But what does that all mean, and what how does one actually do it? I’m first going to talk about the technical details, but if you’re already familiar you can skip the next section on making normals. …


Introduction

Today I’m going to be doing something a bit different, and that’s talking about a wonderful game I discovered through other members of the Adventure Game Jam in 2019: The Crimson Diamond!

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The Title screen in the 2019 demo

In the Crimson Diamond, the player takes the role of Nancy Maple, an aspiring mineralogist looking for an in at her university by learning about a recently famous diamond discovered in Crimson, Ontario. The game is is a love letter to the EGA text parsers of the late 80s, and in particular one of my favorite games, The Colonel’s Bequest — the first Sierra game starring Laura Bow.

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Time to get sleuthing, gumshoe!

Each game of course has some advantages the other lacks. The Colonel’s bequest was made by a team of writers, artists and programmers. The Crimson Diamond (at least as far as I know) is a solo project made today that can benefit from an adventure game engine and years of decades of history of design decisions. …


Source code: https://github.com/Deivore/BlendShift.git

In my first part, I described what color cycling is and how it has been used in games to date. Today, instead of a how-to on making your own color cycled pieces I’m just gonna skip ahead to part 3 for now: Using color cycling in Unity, and snazzing it up beyond the discrete cycles from Pro Motion to blend between the frames using “Blendshifting”. As far as I can tell, the first person to do this was Joe Huckaby back in 2010:

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Updated link: http://www.effectgames.com/demos/canvascycle/


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The first video game console I fell in love with was the N64, and at the time I was blown away by Super Mario 64. One of the first things I can remember designing as a kid, racing home for dinner from my friend’s house, were ideas for custom levels for the game, scribbled down on paper that probably remains in a box somewhere in my parents house to this day. …


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Now that I’ve finished The Sexy Brutale, like to talk about my thoughts on the game, what my expectations were met with, and where schedule design could go on the future.

But before that, I want to say that the game was a success and you should consider buying it! The gaudily styled art is quite fantastic, being holistically cohesive and well populated, and is complimented by the bouncy sound track you can’t help but move along to. It uses mechanics you won’t often find elsewhere, and deals maturely with dark themes like gambling addiction (which should come as no surprise in a game set in a casino mansion). …


In a narrative heavy game, most often the story follows the pace of the player, and it is the character’s interactions with the player that make them interesting, designed mostly for delivering narrative in a very first person format.

But does that have to be true? It certainly has merit: games are uniquely situated to deliver powerful and engrossing first person experiences. But in the real world, we are certainly not the protagonist of other people’s stories, and others have lives just as rich as ours. …


If you’ve ever played a PC game from the 90s, you may have seen a particular kind of animation where certain pixels on the screen quickly switched through a small set of values:

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The fens castle in “Conquests of the Longbow”

Neato! But what exactly is going on?

This technique, also known as palette swapping, works by changing the color mappings of an indexed image. To be more clear, imagine a paint-by-numbers image:

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Each number corresponds to a single location in the color key table in the center. Each number has a particular color associated with it, and wherever that number is used, that color is used. …


Goal: Construct a 2D Shader that can be used by Unity’s TrailRenderer

I’d recently been wondering how to create dynamic pixel texture effects, such as beams or trails done in a pixel style. Shortly afterwards, I saw a post on twitter that demonstrated a really cool thing: a dynamically generate pixel trail behind a projectile!

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Wow! Upon asking the user, he said it was all done with a Trail Renderer in Unity and a custom shader. This wasn’t the first time I’d heard of the dark magic of shaders, so I decided to try my hand at this technique, and I came up with the following result:

Final Trail Shader

Not bad! It fits all the criteria I was looking for: it snaps to the pixels in the scene, it has an outer and an inner trail, and its pixels gradually become transparent. So how does it work? Read on to find out my method for stumbling into something that looks kinda neat. …

About

Stephen Schroeder

Digital and Tabletop Game Developer

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