Introducing Torgar’s Quest (roguelike)

Torgar's Quest (alpha)For several months now, I have been working on a 2D village building game, Founder, using the Gamesalad engine. Since Gamesalad runs on Mac and mine started randomly rebooting several times a day, I could no longer reliably work on my village builder.

Bummer. Doubly so because I have limited time, so a trip to the Apple Store will have to wait until after the holidays.

They say you should make lemonade, when Life gives you lemons, so I fired up my PC instead, and GameMaker Studio, which I have been using more and more anyway, and started a project I had wanted to try for a long time: building a roguelike dungeon crawler.

Thus Torgar’s Quest was born!

For those not in the know, a roguelike is a turn-based game inspired by the classic game, Rogue, in which you run around fighting things on a randomly generated map. Oh yeah, and there’s no saving the game, so if you die, you have to start over. Read more about roguelikes elsewhere (I will be following up with a post on how I went about it later).

I was initially thinking of this project as an exercise in coding the procedural level generation, just a bit of fun while I wait to get my Mac fixed. But as it sometimes happens, the side project took on a life of its own, and I let it, because I love roguelikes.

Within a few days, and with the use of a fantastic, free tileset, I had a working alpha build. From here, it’s a matter of tweaking the balance, adding a few more features and audio. It’s still a work-in-progress, but I am going to keep Torgar’s Quest pretty small.

Right now, a playthrough takes just a few minutes to play, unless you get really lucky or play better than usual (read: me), and that is pretty much perfect for what I am looking for.

Eventually, the finished game will be available for sale, but while it’s still in alpha, it is absolutely free to download and play (at the time of writing, it’s Windows only). The game even has its own website, where you can play a web-based version as well.

Presenting: Alien Attack Armada

Alien Attack Armada

Play Alien Attack Armada (opens in a pop up window)

This was written after 22 straight hours of gaming and/or developing Alien Attack Armada, as part of my participation in this year’s Extra Life event. I made this game from scratch during the event, right down to the sound effects and, um, artwork.

A huge thank you to everyone who donated, watched my Twitch feed, on Twitter, or provided support and encouragement elsewhere along the way. More detail will undoubtedly follow later. For now, I still have 2 more hours left of Extra Life…

2013 was Year of the Game

This was the invitation to the Xbox One launch party...
No year is complete without a year-in-review post. Here is mine for 2013…

Things happened very fast this year, it seems. I changed career path, and went back to my first passion – games. I ran a Kickstarter, I formed a company, I got a full time job and a promotion, working with AAA titles for the new Xbox One – the green wristband shown above was the invite to the launch party at Microsoft (and no, I don’t own one, myself). Tons of work, tons of fun! Considering that only a year has passed since I set out on this path, everything that has happened sort of blows my mind.

I played a lot of games in 2013. Great games, from major releases I had missed, to small indie games made by people like myself. Steam became one of my favorite things. It made me want to talk about games more, not just design them. I hope to do more of that in the year to come.

Photography, my primary business for the last decade, was largely ignored this year. My expensive gear is collecting dust, and all I ever use these days, is Instagram. At the end of 2013, I am retiring the thing that’s been the biggest draw on my site for years, the Microstock Photographer’s Guide. However, I’m still interested in producing videos, and even more so when combined with games. Thus, I’ve become more and more interested in things like YouTube and streaming live from Twitch. Highlight: getting together with a few friends from my Minecraft server, streaming live for 24 hours, while collecting money for charity.

There has been a lot of reading after I started commuting several hours a week. The last few months, it’s been the Malazan Book of the Fallen series (I just finished book 4, leaving 6 more to go). If you’re into epic fantasy, you will want to read it. Reading is one of the few activities I do on a regular basis, not tied to a screen – which is also the reason I haven’t jumped on the ebook wagon (yet).

I’ve been missing the old, regular game night with friends, and social activity definitely took an overall blow in 2013. I need to work on that in 2014. Don’t get me wrong though, overall it was a year of huge improvement. The last few years have been rough on our household, and 2013 came with some real progress in nearly every area. I am very thankful for that.

Happy 2014 to all my friends, known associates and internet lurkers. Thanks for being a part of this interesting ride called Life, and for all your support and awesomeness.