December 02, 2015

Episode 405: The 13th Strikes Again

from Casual Gamer Chick

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No, you’re not going backwards in time. This is the episode that was supposed to air a few weeks ago but was sidetracked by a faulty power supply. Of course, the episode was recorded on Friday the 13th, back when Fallout 4 was fresh and new.

The old news includes:

  • Bethesda sells 12M units of Fallout 4 for $750M at launch
  • October 2015 NPD: Xbox One won the month, despite PS4 price drop
  • Rapper predicted Smash Bros. future
  • Night Dive working on complete remake of System Shock, discussing System Shock 3

The Question of the Week, “Do you or have you pulled videogame all-nighters on weeknights?”, was repeated in episode 406. But you can still answer the question.

No, you’re not going backwards in time. This is the episode that was supposed to air a few weeks ago but was sidetracked by a faulty power supply. Of course, the episode was recorded on Friday the 13th, back when Fallout 4 was fresh and new. The old news includes: Bethesda sells 12M units of Fallout 4 for $750M at launch October 2015 NPD: Xbox One won the month, despite PS4 price drop Rapper predicted Smash Bros. future Night Dive working on complete remake of System Shock, discussing System Shock 3 The Question of the Week, “Do you or have you pulled videogame all-nighters on weeknights?”, was repeated in episode 406. But you can still answer the question.

December 01, 2015

Support JayisGames on Patreon!

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Support JayisGames on Patreon! JayisGames is now on Patreon! If you enjoy the site, please consider donating to our campaign to help fund our continued existence and help us create even more content for you and readers like you. Tagged as: blog, flash, helpwanted


from Jay Is Games

Platform: Javascript — Map Elaine's life isn't what she'd hoped for. She's been married for 25 years, sure, and she has a roof over her head, but anxieties, regrets, loneliness, and a feeling of disconnection make her days feel gray... but there is the matter of her house, which seems to be slowly changing around her in a way only she notices, and over the course of a week in this puzzle-less text adventure, the doors she opens can change her life by changing her past in unexpected ways... but is it for the better? Tagged as: ademct, adventure, browser, free, game, ifiction, interactivefiction, javascript, narrative, rating-y, text

November 30, 2015

Mushroom 11

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Mac, Windows — Mushroom 11 You are the funk! Extrude your squidgy protuberances as a shapeless mass of fungus in untame's new otherworldly indie action platform puzzler. You play an amorphous colony of intelligent regenerating fungus, and maneuver it through a jaw-droppingly exquisite post-apocalyptic environment. Tagged as: download, game, indie, mac, physics, platform, puzzle, rating-o, untame, windows

Escape Through the Bamboo

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Escape Through the Bamboo What fiendish trap could keep you from escaping this small and unassuming room? Why, nothing else but a dastardly and impenetrable wall of bamboo! Solve the puzzles Vitamin Hana has laid out for you if you ever plan on fleeing the bamboo's wicked clutches! Tagged as: browser, escape, flash, free, game, pointandclick, puzzle, rating-g, vitaminhana

LD33: Free Me, You Idiots! Post-mortem #LDJam

from GBGames

Ludum Dare #33 is months old, and the next Ludum Dare is about to begin. It’s about time I wrote a post-mortem about the game I submitted.

The theme was “You Are the Monster”, which, as usual, caused a lot of panic among the participants who worried that it was impossible to make a game based on that theme in two days. And once again, despite such worries, there were almost 2,000 entries submitted, so people found a way to do it.

I ended up making a fairly compelling, somewhat humorous, non-violent strategy game about being an imprisoned evil using its influence to escape. I called it Free Me, You Idiots!

What Went Right

  1. Quantity Over Quality: Fleshing Out Concepts and Designs Early

    It’s easy to want to get started right away. You only have 48 hours, and every second counts. But I also knew from experience that it helps to spit out as many concepts as possible early on, then pick the one that seems most promising. You are more likely to have a good idea picking the best of a thousand ideas versus the best of ten ideas.

    So I spent the first couple of hours thinking, doodling, and discussing with people on IRC.

    The theme had a lot of obvious and not-so-obvious applications. The obvious choice is to harvest ideas from classic movie monsters, such as vampires, werewolves, and ghosts. It’s direct, and you could have monsters who are genuinely scary or you could have them be misunderstood by the populace.

    The next-most-obvious choice is to think about metaphorical monsters, such as people who have the most evil and disturbing thoughts. It could be a psychological thriller in game form.

    I thought about characters, origin stories, and settings, and I had a lot of fun thinking up ideas as varied as space aliens and beings frozen in the Arctic for centuries.

    I went with the idea of the incarnation of evil imprisoned in a tree for centuries. With no previous story, I was free to write my own with no preconceptions.

    I fell in love with the idea, which really helped me drive the development of the game. If I hadn’t spent time upfront thinking, I might have settled for a merely OK idea, and I might not have found myself as passionate to work on it.

    I spent quite a bit of time thinking about this concept. I threw out a lot of ideas early on and managed to find the core of the game. I had originally thought about having a bunch of stones surrounding the tree that you were imprisoned in that had to be removed by the nearby villagers under your influence. I mocked them up and played with the idea for awhile.

    Concept: An imprisoned evil

    Imprisoned Evil prototype

    Imprisoned Mock Up

    The idea was that rock-gathering was an activity for the villagers, and the villagers would grab these forbidden rocks.

    I’m glad I threw it out because I ended up having entities that did hardly anything but explore and pray. I would have run out of time without a way to remove those rocks and finish the game.

    I think if I had more than two days that those rocks would still be in the game and the entities would be mining, chopping down trees, and more, but because I had a wealth of ideas to choose from, discarding some didn’t feel like I was gutting the game of its essence.

  2. Iterate Like You Mean It

    In the previous Ludum Dare, I spent a lot of my time on animations and art, but not much at all on game play. By the end of that compo, which had a theme of “An Unconventional Weapon”, I had a monster that could chase around the player when you got his attention either by shouting at him or by crossing his line of sight. I wanted the monster’s head to turn separately from the body, and there was going to be this idea that the monster can trip over itself when it is moving in the opposite direction that it was looking. I spent a too much time creating the complex animation system when I could probably have gotten away with something simpler, and as a result, what I submitted wasn’t anywhere near a finished game.

    I didn’t want to make that mistake again in Ludum Dare #33. Even so, I didn’t start writing code until the compo was well underway. While I was worried that I wasn’t going to make everything I wanted by the deadline, my approach meant I was always going to have something to submit.

    My first focus was on interactivity. If the player can do something, I can build upon it, even if I have to cut most features or change the direction of the game design completely.

    It meant I was also playing the game frequently. I would make a change and immediately see how it felt. I can identify things that may be buggy or hard to understand, and I can fix them immediately or prioritize them.

    For instance, when clicking on an entity in the game, an arrow appears over them. This was a simple bit of polish that I thought seemed important enough to add early on. With a bunch of entities moving about, this arrow meant it was easy to identify which entity you were looking at.

    But moving around the world was a bit jarring. You click, and the camera centers to that location. I knew I wanted to add interpolation to smooth the camera’s movement, but I also knew that what I had was passable and could be fixed if I had time for polish later. So the working yet jarring camera movement stayed throughout the rest of the game’s development.

    What was exciting was that by making small yet meaningful changes, it allowed me to add a relatively complex economy without much effort.

    LD#33 Game Play

    The game features a few variables that are interdependent and make it feel quite rich to explore. For instance, the player has Evil Energy to use to influence villagers. Evil Energy replenishes one point every second.

    The number of followers influences the amount of maximum Evil Energy a player has. More followers meant more maximum Evil Energy, which opened up options for the player.

    When you have followers, they will pray to you. When the total amount of prayer time exceeds 10 seconds, the player gets an extra point in Prayer Energy, which can be spent on upgrades and ultimately on the ESCAPE option, which ends the game in victory.

    I originally didn’t intend to add so much because I was worried about spending too much time on balancing all these variables, but without all of these different values and their interactions with each other, the game felt very simplistic.

    I’ll admit feeling worried that I might find that the whole thing was unworkable and would result in nothing but wasted time. Learning about and playing with game economies from the book Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design by Ernest Adams and Joris Dormans gave me some confidence I could pull it off by adding pieces of it throughout development and building upon them iteratively. Each addition was relatively risk free and easy to fiddle with.

    I was very pleased with the results, and so were the people who played the game. I was surprised by how many actually played it all the way to completion!

  3. A Goal for Being Cool

    I realized that back in pre-20 Ludum Dare compos, it was easy for me to play almost everyone’s games because there was less than 100 entries. There would be a burst of game development activity for a weekend, and then maybe a week of playing and rating games, and then going back to regular life. Plus, back then you didn’t need to rate games to get your game rated.

    Today, with thousands of entries, it takes much more of a commitment. Your game won’t show up in the random sampling for entrants to rate if you don’t also rate other games. It’s a fair system.

    After the compo, I was on vacation from the day job and so I spent the next few weeks playing games. I set myself a Coolness goal. I figured that if I played a handful of games a day consistently for the next couple of weeks, I would be able to hit it.

    And when I rate games, I like to give feedback to the developer. I don’t just post “Nice!” or leave no comment at all, so I wasn’t going to allow myself to speed through reviews in order to quickly increase my Coolness. I was going to play games, give them a fair shot, and give an honest review with constructive feedback.

    LD33 Coolness Result

    I only got 63% Coolness, but it was enough to earn me a bronze medal. I don’t understand how that percentage is calculated. I know I didn’t rate anywhere near 63% of the nearly 1,199 games submitted, yet it seems like I could have hit 100% with only a few more handfuls of rated games if my math was correct.

    But I know that if I hadn’t set a Coolness goal, I would have either made the mistake of not rating enough games, resulting in my own game not getting rated by many participants as in past recent compos, or I would have spent a lot of my waking hours doing nothing but playing LD games, ignoring my other responsibilities. I think I had the balance mostly right.

What Went Wrong

  1. No Polish and No Sound Effects Again

    In an effort to speed development along, I did the opposite of what I did in the previous Ludum Dare compo and ignored animation and polish as much as I could. It wouldn’t matter how cool something looked if the player had nothing interesting to do.

    As a result, the game lacks life. The entities move around without turning or animating, and there is no indication when a player successfully influences someone. The grass tiles had markings which were too subtle and resulted in a sea of green that made it difficult to tell if the player was actually moving the camera.

    Now, it wasn’t completely bad. The prayer bubbles added a nice touch, as did the Evil Energy ball in the HUD scaling quickly when it replenishes. The flavor text had some humor and lore.

    But no sounds, no animations, and no special effects left the game feeling like a lot was missing.

  2. Buggy Engine Code

    There were a few problems with the custom engine I was using. One was something I saw in the last Ludum Dare in which tiles would seem to separate as you moved the camera around. It turned out to be a floating point error that resulted in me accidentally scaling the tiles so they would sometimes be one pixel smaller in width and/or height. I must not have pulled in the fix when I was putting the project together, so I easily fixed it, but it still took me some time to figure out what exactly I was missing.

    Early on I noticed that entities seemed to walk over the tree. They should look like they are in front of the tree when standing in front of it and behind the tree when they were behind it.

    So why were they always appearing on top of the tree no matter where they were?

    I recently ported my code from libSDL to libSDL2, and sprite rendering was done differently to accommodate scaling and rotation. Unfortunately, I introduced a Z-ordering bug which, after spending time on figuring out what was going on, I decided to ignore for this compo rather than spend more time trying to fix it.

    The risks of using your own code instead of a ready-to-go engine such as Unity or Game Maker is that infrastructure bugs like this are not only likely but also might be something you feel inclined to fix immediately. If Unity had a bug, I’d work around it because I’d have no other choice. If my own code has a bug, I’d feel like I could fix it while working on my game and might underestimate the effort it would take to do so.

    So while it wasn’t fatal, I had buggy infrastructure code that slowed me down and prevented me from making a better game.

  3. Missing: Some Features and Any Challenge

    One of the upgrades in the game is CAUSE FEAR. Do you know what it does?

    If you guessed it caused the villagers to be afraid, you would be wrong.

    It does nothing. Why?

    Because I never got around to it. I had ideas for what CAUSE FEAR would do, but since so much of the game didn’t get made, such as the mining and wood cutting I mentioned earlier, there was no real reason to cause villagers to be afraid. Maybe it would make them pray harder for a bit, and so CAUSE FEAR was similar to trading Evil Energy for Prayer Energy but in an indirect way.

    I had a few ideas, but none of them got implemented. Unfortunately, I left the option in even though it did nothing. Whoops. B-(

    Similarly, because there was no real conflict in the game, there was no challenge. There is nothing in the game that prevents you from converting every villager, getting all of the energies you need, and winning the game.

    I wanted the good villagers to try to convert back your followers. I wanted different kinds of villagers, such as priests and acolytes, and have their presence force you to change your tactics. Perhaps if your followers got numerous enough, the other villagers would go to war with them.

    Something. Anything.

    But instead, there’s nothing. There’s enough economy and variety that it seems to hide this lack of conflict, but without conflict, I can’t really say I have a complete game.

What I Learned

  1. A Design Document Is Key

    Throughout the compo, I set myself goals. I set an initial goal of settling on a concept within two hours. I set a goal of having interactivity early on instead of waiting until the end. I set a goal for rating games after the compo.

    Each goal gave me some control over the outcome. I was able to focus on what was needed and ignore what wasn’t. While the lack of polish hurt, it wouldn’t have hurt nearly as much as having a fairly incomplete experience.

    What really helped in setting goals was having a design document for the project. Now, I’m not talking about a 300 page document that no one reads. I’m talking about a living document that changed throughout the 48 hours I used it to help guide me.

    Everything I thought of went into that document, which allowed me to assess what was a priority and what was nice to have and what didn’t need to be there at all.

    I could see what was left and compare it to how much time I had left, and I could make intelligent decisions about feature cuts and what had to be there no matter what.

    I credit Hybrid Mind’s Ludum Dare #29 timelapse for In the Black for showing me how effective a design document can be for even a short 48-hour project. Thanks, Dave!

  2. A Game’s Economy Can Have a Big Impact on the Game’s Appeal

    I was glad I decided to risk adding more to the economy of the game. Evil Energy and Prayer Energy play off each other in an intuitive way, which makes the game more compelling.

    I think people kept playing because throughout the game there was always something to aim for. Converting a follower resulted in an upgrade being made available, which required Prayer Energy to attain, which in turn allowed more followers to be converted more easily, all with the aim of using ESCAPE to end the game.

    I could have had a simpler economy. If I eliminated Prayer Energy and made things more directly available, it could have worked, but it might have felt too simplistic.

    What I’m not happy about is that the richer economy hides a lack of challenge. I don’t want to use economic designs to act as a bandage on a fundamentally broken game.

    But I did learn that doing a decent job designing an economy can result in a great return on investment.

  3. Keep Your Nose to the Grindstone

    During the 48 hours of Ludum Dare #33, I slept, I ate, I showered, I talked with my wife, and I blogged.

    But most of my time during the 48 hours was spent on design and implementation.

    According to my records, I did a little over 24 hours of game development between Friday and Sunday. Just over half of the time spent on the compo was spent doing actual game development, and I’m pretty sure that because I lived and breathed this project, I was even making progress while showering or eating.

    Even with the failings I mentioned, I can see that this laser focus was the real reason why I was able to get a decent game finished.

    I’ve done compos in which I was distracted, and they didn’t always end well. Either I was dealing with poor health, in which I couldn’t sit at my desk for long periods of time, or I was going to a party or a soccer match.

    For this Ludum Dare, I made sure that I was 100% focused on the compo with no outside commitments to keep me from doing anything but game development that weekend.

    It was grueling and exhausting, but that concentrated effort made things move along so much more quickly than if I had spread out the development effort with frequent and potentially long breaks.

    I’m not saying breaks are bad. I took breaks.

    I am merely saying that my mind was focused on game development and not on how to interact with other human beings in a social situation or how frustrating it is when your team is losing due to the same blunders they always make.

    I rested when I needed to rest, but I didn’t allow myself to procrastinate or do much of anything other than participate in this compo.


The results of this compo were very encouraging to me:

LD33 My Results

Out of 1,199 entries, my game was rated in the top 36% overall and top 8% in innovation. My only rating that was in the bottom half of the group was for graphics, and even then it was at the top of the bottom half. B-)

I credit my ability to focus that weekend on game development almost exclusively, and all of the tools that allowed me to leverage that focus, such as my design document and setting milestones.

The main complaint from players is that there was a lack of music and sound, followed by the noticed lack of challenge. For future compos, I’ll want to focus on not only interactivity but also adding real conflict.

I may want to experiment with adding audio iteratively. Normally I add it at the end, and an informal survey indicated that a lot of other game developers add it at the end as well. I wouldn’t want to spend time on something that might get thrown out before the end.

Still, the idea is that if I can have a playable game early on in a compo, I can also have a playable game with audio early on in a compo, too.

November 29, 2015

Fallout 4

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Windows, Retail — Fallout 4 Bethesda's beast of an open-world RPG is back on PC and consoles. You thought you were safe in Vault 111 when the bombs fell, but after a betrayal, you find yourself 200 years out of time and chasing your missing son. Despite some odd design changes and a lingering sense of familiarity, Fallout 4 is still simply massive and engrossing, even if the detective robot can't be my husband. Tagged as: action, adventure, affiliate, bethesda, console, download, game, greenmangaming, ps4, rating-r, rpg, steam, windows, xboxone


from Jay Is Games

Platform: Mac, Windows — Chelsea Daniel's lost the ring he was planning to use to propose to his childhood sweetheart, Chelsea, and the last place to look is their old hometown. But nothing is as he remembers it, and it's clear there's something strange going on in this creepy, satisfying free indie horror adventure from a talented two-person team. Tagged as: action, adventure, download, free, game, horror, indie, mac, puzzle, rating-o, windows, yureidarling

Awesome Happy Heroes

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Awesome Happy Heroes Hark, citizens! Our fair city is being menaced by cosplaying marauders! How better to stop them than battling them with other cosplaying marauders! Train your heroes and send them out to battle for the sake of city, reputation and cash in LitleGiantWorld's caped crusader simulator. Tagged as: browser, flash, free, game, littlegiantworld, rating-y, simulation, strategy

Incredible Dracula: Chasing Love Walkthrough

from Casual Game Guides

Our Incredible Dracula: Chasing Love Walkthrough will help you guide Dracula as he runs away from his human online love interest. The princess will stop at nothing in her pursuit of love. Use our helpful tips and illustrated screen caps to help Dracula and the zombie squad collect the necessary resources and complete their tasks in time to evade the love-struck human. Use your time wisely or the sound of unwanted wedding bells will seal your fate!


» Incredible Dracula: Chasing Love Walkthrough & Forum

» Incredible Dracula: Chasing Love Free Trial & Related Games

November 28, 2015

Give Solitaire for the Holidays!

from A Shareware Life



Give Pretty Good Solitaire for the holidays!  Works on Windows 10 (and all the way back to Windows XP as well). Buy Pretty Good Solitaire from Amazon and it comes on a CD with an attractive DVD style case.  Comes with Amazon Prime Shipping (when in stock, as it usually is) and gift wrapping is available.

A great gift for any game player with a Windows desktop, laptop, or new Windows 10 device such as a Surface Pro or SurfaceBook or Windows tablet.  Over 800 different solitaire games included!



Buy Pretty Good Solitaire from Amazon Now!



from Jay Is Games

Platform: Windows — Craig Craig is your average potions maker. This timid and fretful... man, I think, overthinks most things, but when he wakes up one day to find that his door has been blocked by some hooligans, he can't overthink enough to find a way out in this free indie adventure. Tagged as: adventure, download, escape, free, game, indie, pai, pointandclick, rating-g, rpgmaker, windows

November 27, 2015

I Made A Thing

from GameDevBlog

If you've been reading this blog for years you'll know that I'm way into indie tabletop RPG's - in particular the ones that some people call 'story games', RPG's that emphasize collaborative storytelling and acting in character. I've tried my...

Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst Unlocked

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Mac, Windows — Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst Unlocked A mere month after the release of the last game in the popular Mystery Case Files hidden-object adventure series, Eipix serves up another! You've been plucked delirious and wounded from the sea following the events of the last game, but even after you've been committed to an asylum, you're still the only one who can stop a great evil in this creepy casual adventure. Tagged as: adventure, affiliate, bigfishgames, casual, demo, download, eipixentertainment, game, hiddenobject, horror, mac, mysterycasefiles, pointandclick, puzzle, rating-o, windows


from Jay Is Games

Platform: iOS, Android — Digfender The enemies are getting smarter and smarter these days. No longer are they following a set trail heading right for your kingdom. Oh no, this time they are coming from below. Thankfully your kingdom is even sneakier and has found out their plan ahead of time in this free defense game for Android and iOS! Tagged as: action, android, free, game, ios, iphone, ipod, ipodtouch, mobile, mugshotgames, rating-y, strategy, tablet, towerdefense, upgrades

Disaster Will Strike 6

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Disaster Will Strike 6 Qiabo's bad eggs just won't stop, and with the creation of a superpowered armored egg, you're going to need to use new powers (and more firepower!) to smash them while keeping the good eggs safe in this latest installment of the popular physics puzzle series. Tagged as: browser, flash, free, game, physics, playthis, puzzle, qiabo, rating-g

November 26, 2015

Aquatic Rescue

from Jay Is Games

Platform: iOS, Android, Flash — Aquatic Rescue Also available on mobile devices, OZDY takes you under da sea for an adorable physics puzzle game where you need to reunite baby sea creatures with their parents, though with moving platforms, wrecking balls, switches, buttons that make you shrink or grow and more, it's trickier than you think! Tagged as: android, browser, flash, free, game, ios, ipad, iphone, ipodtouch, mobile, ozdy, physics, puzzle, rating-g, tablet, windowsphone

Monkey GO Happy Turkeys

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Monkey GO Happy Turkeys It's Thanksgiving day! But how can you celebrate without a feast! Help the monkeys look all over town in this point-and-click puzzle game from Pencil Kids to find everything they need, including a whole lot of apples, and the bird of honor! Tagged as: adventure, browser, flash, free, game, monkeygohappy, pencilkids, playthis, pointandclick, puzzle, rating-g, thanksgiving

November 25, 2015


from Jay Is Games

Platform: Javascript/HTML5 — Hoverboard Webcomic xkcd has been around for over a decade, and to celebrate the release of his new book, creator Randall Munroe has created a very simple piece of platforming interactive art. But venture beyond the small playing field, and you'll find a much bigger world than you thought that's full of surprises. Tagged as: browser, exploration, free, game, html5, interactiveart, platform, playthis, rating-g, rmunroe, simpleidea, xkcd

Happy Thanksgiving!

from A Shareware Life


Rock 'n' Roll Escape

from Jay Is Games

Platform: iOS, Android, Flash — Rock 'n' Roll Escape Pine Studio serves up a short but rock-worthy escape in your browser or free on iOS and Android as you try to find your way out of a cozy, abandoned little concert venue. But with a soundtrack this catchy, will you be able to resist air-guitaring long enough to escape? Tagged as: android, browser, escape, flash, free, game, ios, ipad, iphone, ipodtouch, mobile, pinestudio, playthis, pointandclick, puzzle, rating-g, tablet

Weekday Escape N°103

from Jay Is Games

Weekday Escape N°103 Games featured this week: Find the Escape-Men 169: Desktop; Twist and Turns; Find 5 Snails — This week on Weekday Escape! no1game gets inside your computer and asks if you WANT TO PLAY A GAME? (Maybe you should call Matthew Broderick?) MayMay isn't letting you go anywhere until you get these snails out of the yard. And Vitamin Hana turns you right 'round baby, right 'round. Tagged as: blog, browser, escape, free, game, maymay, no1game, pointandclick, puzzle, vitaminhana, weekday-escape

November 24, 2015


from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Supermuzhik Supermuzhik is an arcade-action sorta-shooter game by Aimar where the titular hero proves to be much better at "defeating evil" than "protecting the innocent", as he uses his telekinetic vision to fling the latter into the former. Viscerally enjoyable in its destruction, even if its difficulty takes a surprise leap about a third of the way in. Tagged as: action, aimar, arcade, browser, flash, free, game, rating-o, shooter, superhero

Galaxy Siege 3

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Galaxy Siege 3 The Galaxy Siege series has turned into a trilogy. Galaxy Siege 3 is here with more planets to clear from the evil alien scum, more gems to collect and another ship to build in some of the most unflattering shapes yet. Tagged as: action, arcade, browser, dvasilev, flash, free, game, rating-g, scifi, shooter, upgrades

Episode 406: The Oops! Edition

from Casual Gamer Chick

No Gravatar

If you’re wondering what happened to Episode 405, it was recorded, but Jonah’s power supply self-destructed, and wasn’t available til Wednesday, and by then it was too late to post it. (It will be posted at some point in the near future.)

Instead, check out these week’s news:

  • Afro Samurai 2 removed from online stores, players get refunded, episodes 2 and 3 canceled
  • Activision apologizes for Nuk3town pre-order mix up
  • PlayStation 4 is getting PlayStation 2 emulation, Sony reveals
  • Electronic Arts doesn’t want to “nickel and dime” gamers with microtransactions

Question of the Week: Do you or have you pulled videogame all-nighters on weeknights?

If you’re wondering what happened to Episode 405, it was recorded, but Jonah’s power supply self-destructed, and wasn’t available til Wednesday, and by then it was too late to post it. (It will be posted at some point in the near future.) Instead, check out these week’s news: Afro Samurai 2 removed from online stores, players get refunded, episodes 2 and 3 canceled Activision apologizes for Nuk3town pre-order mix up PlayStation 4 is getting PlayStation 2 emulation, Sony reveals Electronic Arts doesn’t want to “nickel and dime” gamers with microtransactions Question of the Week: Do you or have you pulled videogame all-nighters on weeknights?

November 23, 2015

Kid Kozmik

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Mac, Windows, Linux, Unity — Kid Kozmik Have you ever met a bear-person questing for color crystals to stabilize the whole of space and time? No? Then the odds are very good that bear-person is you! This indie puzzle platformer is available in your browser, or as a Pay What You Want (including free) indie download! Tagged as: browser, download, free, game, indie, isundstrom, linux, mac, paywhatyouwant, platform, puzzle, rating-y, unity, windows

Mystery Riddles for Android released!

from Anawiki

Mystery Mosaics for Android / Google PlayGood news for Android fans. We just released Mystery Riddles for your devices.

The most powerful magicians in the kingdom of Mysteria were once the Pictomancers, who had the power to imbue painted or woven images with arcane energy. They have all but disappeared from the land, taking their secrets with them, but the Great Tapestries they created in their heyday have kept Mysteria from harm… until now.

With the Great Tapestries fraying and darkness returning to threaten Mysteria it’s up to you, the last Pictomancer, to quest throughout the kingdom and restore these powerful images and save the kingdom. Take on the journey in one of two modes, tackling either the always-popular Pic-A-Pix puzzles or the brand new Fill-A-Pix!

You can download Mystery Riddles from Google Play for free.

Idle Sword

from Jay Is Games

Platform: iOS, Android, Flash — Idle Sword It's dungeon delving, hands-off!... mostly! Your party moves, slays, and loots by themselves in this idle action game as they descend through randomly generated dungeons, but you can help them kill monsters and heal by clicking on them, equipping their treasure, and unlocking more places to hunt. Also free for Android and iOS! Tagged as: action, android, arcade, browser, fantasy, flash, free, game, idle, incremental, ios, ipad, iphone, ipodtouch, lafunkhh, mobile, playthis, rating-y, rpg, simpleidea, tablet, upgrades

November 22, 2015

3 Pandas in Fantasy

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — 3 Pandas in Fantasy Three pandas, a friendly dragon and some faeries. Is there anything more adorable? This short and sweet point-and-click game takes the pandas across a fantasy land, and they have to work together in order to beat the evil goblins. Tagged as: browser, fantasy, flash, flashteam, free, game, pointandclick, puzzle, rating-g

November 21, 2015


from Jay Is Games

Platform: Windows — Skelemania Down, down, down into the depths of the earth you have fallen. The landing was hard but your bones were able to withstand the impact and put themselves back together again. And seeing that is all you're made of, your only worry now is to find your way back up. You'll have to go deeper in this Metroidvania puzzle platform game to find the special powers that will help you flip, dive, and jump your way back to the top. Tagged as: action, adventure, benel, download, exploration, free, game, indie, metroidvania, platform, puzzle, rating-y, retro, windows

November 20, 2015

Syrian Refugees Are NOT Potentially Poisonous Grapes

from GBGames

In the debate, I often saw an argument along the lines of, “If I gave you 10 grapes and told you two were poisonous, would you eat any?”

It sounds clever. There’s a risk. Most intelligent people would say no, and so the idea is that taking in Syrian refugees when potential terrorists could be hiding among them is akin to consuming grapes when you know they could be poisonous.

This argument is old, as this tweet shows:

Back when the Jews were fleeing the Nazis, nations all around the world denied them access because Nazis might be hiding among them. As a result, many more were killed in the Holocaust that could have been saved.

But what bothers me about the argument is how simplistic it is. It makes it sound like the probability is known, and that the only defense against risk is to avoid it entirely. It also makes the issue about the person being posed the hypothetical and not about who the grapes are.

Saving Syrian refugees isn’t the same as benignly eating a bowl of grapes or M&Ms and “knowing” some are poisonous.

It’s like knowing that there are people in a burning building and questioning whether or not to bother trying to get them out on the chance that some of them are arsonists.

“If there were 10 people in a building, and I told you two were arsonists, would you rescue any?” is about how the grape analogy sounds. Now suddenly we KNOW that there are arsonists among them. We even have a specific number, which makes this choice seem like a balance of odds.

And yet, despite knowing we could always find non-poisonous grapes or even some other food, allowing us to pass on this specific bunch of grapes, we still feel like the non-arsonists deserve to be saved from that building, right? I hope?

Syrian refugees are people fleeing a real danger. We have an opportunity to do the right thing and save them from the people we are supposedly afraid they are.

We lock our doors to protect the people inside, but I would question what kind of person you are to leave outside someone who is literally begging for his/her life.


from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Sequence A handful of tiles, and a cryptic pattern to lay them out in... that's the premise behind this simple but satisfying puzzle game, where each stage has its own unique pattern to decipher, and there are 40 increasingly tricky levels to solve. Tagged as: browser, flash, free, game, gamezhero, playthis, puzzle, rating-g, simpleidea

November 19, 2015

Time of Exploration

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Android — Time of Exploration Build a civilization on your Android and carefully manage resource flows to earn a spot on the leaderboard in androdan's no-frills, geek-friendly free simulation. Tagged as: androdan, android, free, game, incremental, mobile, rating-y, resourcemanagement, simulation, tablet

All in a Row Solitaire

from A Shareware Life


Play All in a Row solitaire online.  All in a Row is a game similar to Golf solitaire.

Tiled Quest

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Javascript/HTML5 — Tiled Quest Boy finds sword. Boy stabs monster with sword. Boy rescues girl. Boy and girl go out for coffee or something. But what if things happen in the wrong order? Find out in Tiled Quest, an HTML5 sliding block puzzle game developed by Team Doa Ibu for the Indonesian Indie Game Festival. With it's nice mix of iconographic pixel and hand-drawn artwork and simple, intuitive gameplay, Tiled Quest is a charming little time-waster that can be immediately jumped into. Tagged as: afebian, alif, browser, free, game, html5, napriaji, puzzle, radi, rating-y, rosanqodrian, simpleidea, slidingblock, sokoban, teamdoaibu

November 18, 2015

Monkey Wrench

from Jay Is Games

Platform: iOS — Monkey Wrench From the makers of 7 Little Words and Red Herring, Monkey Wrench is a word search puzzle where you've got to find the words among the hexagonal grid of letters. The monkey wrench in the process is that you don't get a list of words to find, you've got to figure that out yourself! You'll go bananas for this free iOS puzzle that's easy to learn, tricky to play, and hard to put down. Tagged as: blueox, free, game, ios, ipad, iphone, ipodtouch, mobile, puzzle, rating-g, tablet, trivia, word

Weekday Escape N°102

from Jay Is Games

Weekday Escape N°102 Games featured this week: Free the Dogs 2; Girl's Room Escape No. 15: False Nails; Pirate Coast Escape 2 — This week on your Weekday Escape! Funkyland has been getting ready for a long time, but they only need you to help them make up one hand. Vitamin Hana's dogs are barking, and they're desperate to get out. And Esklavos is all swarthy and whatnot, and very, very blue. Tagged as: blog, browser, escape, esklavos, free, funkyland, game, pointandclick, puzzle, vitaminhana, weekday-escape

Visualize Markov Chains in Action

from GBGames

Sometime back I took the Coursera online course “Model Thinking” offered by Professor Scott Page.

It covered modeling to help make sense of our complex world. Since models are often simplifications about what really happens, having multiple models that you can apply means you are better able to make sense of the world. I would highly recommend taking the class if you want to be a better citizen and a better thinker.

At one point the class covered very familiar ground. John Conway’s Game of Life and Stephen Wolfram’s cellular automota studies made an appearance, which got me much more enthusiastic about learning how to combine simple methods for complex procedural generation. Along the way came Markov Processes.

Wikipedia says, “A Markov process is a stochastic model that has the Markov property.” Let’s break that down into something resembling everyday language.

Stochastic essentially means random. We’re dealing with a probability. So a Markov process is a model that involves a random element.

And the Markov property? All this part says is that in order to determine what state you are going to be in, the only thing that matters is what state you are currently in. How you got to your current state, otherwise known as your history, is irrelevant. Your past does not determine your future except to the extent that it somehow got you to your present circumstances.

So the simpler definition of a Markov process is that it is a state machine in which how you get to the next state is randomly determined with probabilities based on your current state.

Why is this idea valuable to know?

Let’s say you have weather play a role in your strategy game. If it is raining, your players can’t launch aircraft.

The thing about real weather is that it’s hard to predict. Weather reports tell you that it will be partly cloudy with a 15% chance of rain instead of saying that it will definitely not rain. Because sometimes even if they think it isn’t likely, it happens. Sometimes when they think there will be 4 inches of snow, we find that it is more like half an inch and the predicted snowpocalypse will hit some other city instead. People can talk about the weather as if it is completely random and wonder why meteorologists can keep their jobs when they are wrong so often.

If you wanted to model weather in your game, you could probably use a random number generator. Let’s say that for each day represented in the game, you create a weather report by getting a random number to represent the chance of rain:

int chanceOfRain = rand() % 100;

So when it comes to determining if it actually should be raining or not, you can create a random number and see if it falls within the value:

bool didItRainToday()
    return (rand() % 100) < chanceOfRain;

It would work well enough. Players can make plans based on the forecast, but there are problems.

First, you can’t prevent streaks of certain values from appearing. If you have aircraft in the game, but the weather system prevents you from using them, they become less useful. One day of bad weather might be a minor setback for your war plans, but having weeks of bad weather could be seen by the player as ridiculous. With random number generators, it’s possible to get into this situation, and your players can get frustrated with the bad luck.

Second, you can’t prevent initial values from being “bad” either. The beginning of the game is when you are trying to pull new players into your game’s world. If the game immediately starts with bad luck, it might leave a bad taste in the player’s mouth.

Third, it’s not as realistic to have a day of sunny weather followed by a day of stormy weather followed by a day of sunny weather. As unpredictable as the weather can be, and as possible as the wild swings are, people expect good weather to follow good weather, and bad weather to follow bad weather, and that we’ll have good weather days more often than bad weather days.

You can mitigate the above issues by hardcoding non-rain values for the first few days and also keeping a count of bad weather and forcing good weather if that count goes above a certain threshold, but it’s a clunky solution that still leaves a lot out of your control as a game designer.

Enter Markov chains

Instead of treating each day as completely independent of the next, you can keep track of your current day’s weather state.

Let’s say that a non-rainy day today has a 90% chance of producing another non-rainy day tomorrow, and that a rainy day has a 60% chance of a sunny day following it.

Weather In Markov Chain Form

So almost all of the time a sunny day predicts a sunny day to follow, but every so often it will predict a rainy day. Rainy days might stay rainy for days at a time, but most of the time it will become sunny again the next day. So players can get a feel for how likely rain is to occur and make decisions based on their own mental model of the system, which makes rain an ever present threat without making it an overwhelming or unfair one.

And as a game designer, you can tweak the probabilities of each state until the weather acts how you want it to without having to hardcode everything, create a hacky bandage for it, or give up control to a random number generator completely. You could add more states, such as partly cloudy days and overcast days, which will have different probabilities for moving to other states. Overcast days can result in rainy days more often than sunny days, just like in real life.

You could also put Markov chains to work for you in other areas of games. What if the population of your city simulation has mood swings? That is, if people are content, they are likely to stay content, but sometimes a situation occurs in which enough people get upset that they influence other people to become upset as well. That is, you could have a Markov chain in which content people are likely to be content but sometimes become discontent, and if they are discontent, they are likely to stay discontent but sometimes become content again, mimicking what happens in real life when there is outrage that dies down after the news cycle stops covering the political scandal. In the city simulation, it might drive the player to take actions to address the population’s concerns before real damage occurs.

Or you could create random terrain with roads. Roads tend to want to go straight, but sometimes they turn 90 degrees. Your terrain generator can start creating a road with a particular direction, and each step it adds another tile of road next to the previous one. 90% of the time the next road tile will be placed by continuing in the current direction, 5% of the time it could turn left, and 5% of the time it could turn right.

If you want to play with Markov chains, learn more about them, and see them in action, then see Victor Powell’s visual explanation of Markov chains.

November 17, 2015

Play Acme Solitaire Online!

from A Shareware Life


Play Acme solitaire online.  Acme is a Canfield variation.

Investigative Journalism

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Javascript — Investigative Journalism As an intern for Night Vale's beloved local radio, you never expected to have to be the one to hunt down The News when it escaped, but hey, someone's gotta do it. A pitch-perfect, short, Twine-based adventure fan game set in everyone's favourite strange desert town. Tagged as: adventure, aldamady, browser, free, game, javascript, narrative, rating-g, surreal, text, twine

Lightybulb 2

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Javascript/HTML5 — Lightybulb 2 Ninjadoodle wants you to light things up with this cute HTML5 puzzle game, where the goal is to make the lightbulb turn on, but though they may look similar, each stage will have you go about it in a different sneaky way. Tagged as: browser, free, game, html5, ninjadoodle, playthis, pointandclick, puzzle, rating-g

November 16, 2015

Mission US: City of Immigrants

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Mac, Windows, Linux, Flash — Mission US: City of Immigrants City of Immigrants is the fourth in the series of Mission US educational point-and-click adventure game titles focusing on American History, created by Electric Funstuff under the auspices of New York PBS Station Channel 13. The year is 1907. You are Lena Brodsky, a 14-year-old Jewish Immigrant from Russia, making her way in the city of New York in the land of opportunity, America. The exploration and newness of Lena's immigrant experience is a natural fit for a video game framework, and it makes for another wonderful installment of the series. Tagged as: adventure, browser, download, educational, electricfunstuff, flash, free, game, history, indie, linux, mac, narrative, rating-y, windows

Bullet Heaven 2

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Bullet Heaven 2 The gang is back, and they're locked and loaded for another frenetic arcade-style shooter adventure. Blast your ways to intricate, intimidating, and downright insane waves of enemies and their bullets, while earning cash to purchase upgrades... or ways to make the game even harder! Tagged as: action, arcade, browser, flash, free, game, highdifficulty, kupo707, kupogames, rating-y, shooter, upgrades

You Are Allowing Terrorists to Win by Giving in to Fear

from GBGames

I had two Muslim roommates when I was in college. They were the nicest guys.

One was in computer science and the other decided to go into religious studies. We played computer games together. They threw the best party I ever went to as part of the fraternity they were pledging for during my time living with them.

I remember conducting an experiment with one of them to see if one of us was more likely to get followed in a store after watching a documentary about discrimination for a class we took together. The results were inconclusive that day, which surprised us.

I also remember watching him eat Skittles as if it was the first time, and it turned out that it might as well have been. He had this look of pleasure as he ate each one, and he explained it was because they no longer used animal-based gelatin, which prevented him from eating them before.

Days after 9/11, I remember having a conversation with another Muslim friend about how no one would sit near her on the El that day. I didn’t understand right away what she was saying until I saw the anguish on her face. People were afraid of her because she had dark skin and wore a hijab.

She was great to hang out with, too. Last I heard, she became a paralegal.

I have non-Muslim Indian friends, some of them who are Christian. We’ve played ping-pong or foosball at the day job together, we’ve danced together, we’ve attended weddings together, and we’ve even done real work together.

I am aware that the untrained eye would lump all of these people together under the category “terrorist”.

Each time I see a terrorist attack has been successfully carried out in the world, there are two groups of people I feel for.

I worry about the victims and their families. My heart goes out to them. I can’t imagine the feeling of loss, sadness, and anger they must be feeling in the aftermath.

But I also spend time worrying about my friends getting hurt or killed by idiots who feel the need to “send them back to where they came from” or otherwise treat them as if they were the enemy.

These are real people. They’re Americans. “Where they came from” is just as likely to be a suburb of Chicago as it is the Middle East.

I see a lot of fear-based posts online by friends and family arguing that you can’t tell the difference between a radical Muslim and a peaceful one and so therefore all of them should be banished from the country, or rounded up and killed, or similar rhetoric that sounds like they have no problem with domestic terrorism when they are the ones conducting it. I see similar talk coming from some prominent politicians who seem to feel that the only part of America they need to worry about is the lighter-skinned part, and so they set an example for others to follow.

They worry about our way of life being under threat but have no problem throwing out life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness when it comes to those who look different. We cherish our tradition of religious liberty, just so long as it’s Christian.

They worry about Da’esh/ISIS/ISIL/IS destroying this country, but then they turn around and ensure the principles that make this country great in the first place are destroyed first. Giving in to fear, they actively participate in handing Da’esh their victory.

And people like my friends are put at risk as a result.

So while I am processing what happened in Paris and Beirut and Baghdad, I am worrying about the safety of my friends.

Please don’t give in to fear. Real people with real families and real lives are put at risk when someone with enough fear, anger, ignorance, and hate gets the wrong message.

November 15, 2015


from Jay Is Games

Platform: Windows — Libretta It's just a day like any other when Libra visits the library, but after finding a strange blank book, the familiar building takes a bizarre turn and she discovers she'll need to rewrite reality to escape in this creative and imaginative creepy adventure from vgperson. Tagged as: adventure, download, free, game, horror, indie, puzzle, rating-o, vgperson, windows

November 14, 2015

Aries Escape No. 19

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Aries Escape No. 19 Your favourite cafe has been renovated into an escape game, but that's not all that's new in Aries Escape's latest... now with an English translation and a changing cursor to help you play, their games are more accessible and user-friendly than ever! Tagged as: ariesescape, browser, escape, flash, free, game, playthis, pointandclick, puzzle, rating-g

November 13, 2015

Haunted Hotel: The X

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Mac, Windows — Haunted Hotel: The X Your sister was investigating the legends surrounding an old hotel that was once the site of a brutal murder, and now she's gone missing. To find her, you'll need to uncover the abandoned place's dark history in this creepy hidden-object adventure from Elephant Games. Tagged as: adventure, affiliate, bigfishgames, casual, demo, download, elephantgames, game, hiddenobject, horror, mac, pointandclick, rating-o, windows

Dark Fear

from Jay Is Games

Platform: iOS, Android — Dark Fear You wake up confused and disoriented in a locked shed, and soon find yourself trapped in a valley of dark magic and strange creatures in this classic styled horror adventure for iOS and Android. Who are you and how did you get there? The picture on the wall may be a clue, but you'll need to conquer fearsome creatures and malevolent spirits if you want to escape. Tagged as: adventure, android, arifgames, fantasy, game, horror, ios, ipad, iphone, ipodtouch, mobile, pointandclick, puzzle, rating-o, retro, rpg, tablet

Fleeing the Complex

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Fleeing the Complex The great thief Henry Stick has finally been caught and sent to the seemingly inescapable prison known as The Wall... but in this stellar point-and-click escape adventure from PuffballsUnited, you can find a way out. Just be prepared to fail again and again and again, and have fun doing it. Tagged as: adventure, browser, escape, flash, free, game, pointandclick, puffballsunited, puzzle, rating-y

November 12, 2015

Weather Lord: Following the Princess - For the Love of Time Management Games

from Casual Game Guides

Weather Lord: Following the Princess reveals a new storyline in the Weather Lord franchise. This time our hero must save a princess, rebuild a land ravaged by dark forces, and save the day once again! Good thing the forces of the weather still obey your every command! You're going to need all your time management skills if you're going to tackle this new adventure! 


» Weather Lord: Following the Princess Walkthrough & Forum

» Weather Lord: Following the Princess Free Trial & Related Games