Spinnortality was in PC gamer! And some updates

Hello everyone! A quick update:

In case anyone missed it, Spinnortality has a landing page! You can go there for screenshots, videos and general info about the game.

It also made it through Greenlight, so will be on Steam. Thank you so much to everyone who voted for it! 🙂

Spinnortality’s going well. I took it to Vienna’s ReVersed festival where it was well-recieved – I also got a lot of very good feedback, so thanks to everyone who played and commented! It was also previewed in PC Gamer, which I’m thrilled with: I’ve been reading PC Gamer for years but never hoped one of my games might end up there.

Spinnortality at ReVersed; also my first time using a human-sized poster, which was less calamitous than it could have been.

The game will also be at Play Austria, a Vienna-based game trade fair, on the 15th and 16th of September. If you’re in Vienna, please come along! There will be lots of fun games there.

In dev news, I’ve been hard at work. Here are some things I’ve done recently, off the top of my head:

  • Finalised the game’s Agendas and Victories. There’s now a “nice” Victory where you go out of your way to try and leave the world better than it was when you started playing, for anti-capitalist softies like myself.
  • Added more tutorials – this is important since the game’s pretty complex, and some of my testers have avoided certain mechanics since they weren’t explicitly introduced to them.
  • Streamlined the first turn of the game: employees now take only 2 turns to recruit, and you start the game with a bunch of workers so you don’t need to wait around for some to arrive.
  • Added a “rival” system, where you and a rival company try to outmanoeuvre each other and ultimately stage a hostile takeover.
  • UI tweaks: media, legal and anarchy icons show up on the globe to alert you to what’s happening in the nation. Products now have a marker to show if they got new spin angles this turn. This is basically to just save you clicking through menus to find information that could be displayed visually one layer up. Government information is now displayed more prominently.
  • Changed the way spin angle success is calculated. This is a long story, but it basically means spin angles can now appeal to several different cultural traits without punishing players who correctly identify one trait but not the other.
  • Added a “Focus Test” feature where players can spend class connections to “cheat” and see which traits go with which spin angles. Players are sometimes confused or frustrated by the spin angles because they don’t want to read my mind or feel it’s pretty arbitrary (which is fair enough, really).

Notice the government info on the main panel, the icons on the globe for media, anarchy and legal, and the “Focus Test” button.

The release date, by the way, is now “When it’s done”. You can read why here, but in a nutshell: I originally wanted to get Spinnortality done as soon as possible because I didn’t think it would make that much of an impact and I just wanted to get it out the door. But the response to the game has been so positive that I now want to make it the best game it can be at launch.

That’s all for now, I think!

 

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Music! (and other updates)

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I haven’t posted recently (soorrryyyy!): I was either rushed off my feet or hard at work on Spinnortality. Here are some things I’ve done!

  • The game has music now, thanks to the very talented Anthony Kroytor of City Nights Tracks! We’ve decided to go with some eerie, drone-y synth music; different music layers fade in or out depending on what the player is doing. We’ve got a few tracks in-game and it seems to work pretty nicely! After wading through hours of not-quite-right Creative Commons music it’s such a relief to have Anthony on board: each piece he produces brings a different mood or ambience to the game, and they’re all a perfect fit for the kind of mood I want to create.

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Spinnortality updates

Spinnortality is going pretty well! Here’s what I’ve done recently:

  • The research tree is done for now. If I realise there aren’t enough branches later on I’ll add to it, but it’s good enough for the moment.
  • You now receive “decision” emails. Functionally these are just messages with choices at the end: “An opportunity has arisen! Should we take it, or ignore it?” They’re a bit basic right now but I want to make them more complex and allow for more expressive, interesting decision-making down the road.

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Sidequests and other distractions: the erosion of meaning in CRPG quests

[Note: I wrote this a while ago and forgot to publish it. I still think it’s quite interesting, so here we go!]

What is a quest?

A thing to get distracted from.

We’ve all been there, whether the game du jour was a Fallout, an Elder Scroll or an Assassin’s Creed, where icons dot the map like tempting candy – or pepper it like buckshot. Replaying Knights of the Old Republic recently I received an important quest: investigate an ominous grove infested with dark energy, a focus of evil drawing things to the dark side. Surely it should have been my number one priority? But I wasn’t at all surprised that it was literally the last thing I did – after working through everything else on my to-do list.

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