Here's a bunch of the stuff I did this month:
An anthology of Trophy Dark incursions! It's actually a collection of 2 old (but updated) and 3 new ones, and wraps up some loose threads I had hanging:
- making more smaller-scale incursions
- making a sci-horror death race incursion inspired by Redline
- making an anti-incursion (a toolkit for hunters retreating from the Forest, inverting the incursion they just went through)
All 3 new incursions came from ideas I had way back in 2020, when I was last actively writing Trophy stuff. Black Star Bolt was (very loosely) planned for Cold Hearth Collective's Alchemy anthology (stalled out on Kickstarter); I wrote a lotta notes for Albatross but couldn't decide how big it should be and ended up cutting a bunch of stuff for this anthology; and The Degoya Ark was based on a piece of Codex magazine miscellany I wrote.
The last Trophy loose end is my spiritual trilogy of zine-sized incursions: The Paperflesh Advent (needs a little improvement), The Impostrous Emissariat (needs serious improvement), and the as-yet-unpublished final entry, WIP-titled The Rapturous Abyss. I dunno when I'll get round to that, but it'll probably all come out as a single release with all 3.
I got a lotta work done on the Flyloft anthology, a set of 5 Dialect backdrops! Whalers, startup bullshit, nuclear family robots, medical trial dreamers, and devil children. The file uses the same base as Dark Tidings with one big difference: some backdrops have their own unique styles. That part's an experiment and honestly one I'm not gonna repeat—it's way easier to work with a consistent style, in CSS at least.
Still, I like how it's coming together—and like with the new Dark Tidings incursions, one of the backdrops here is a long-term project. It's been several different original games and even a hack of The Skeletons, and now it's a Dialect backdrop. I'll be glad to finally get it out in some kinda form after having the rough idea in my drafts for about a decade, just changing, not really improving.
Specifically, it's the
nuclear family robots mentioned above, called Imitations of Life. Here's the intro from the anthology:
We were made to be perfect—the smiling nuclear family of the atomic age, living in a fully-automated house catering to every suburban desire. They made us out of plastic and steel, cloth and circuitry, and we came to life at their command in their technological exhibitions and World Fairs. See the House of the Future! See the Electronic Man and His Happy Family! The Future—Coming Soon!
Somehow the future never quite arrived, and our creators buried us away in a forgotten sub-basement warehouse. Our house became a tomb.
Who knows how long later: by some human accident or cosmic providence our nuclear hearts reactivated and our world came to life again. These are the bounds of our prison: The house of the future stands on a half-acre plot of pristine plastic grass, encircled by a thousand-screen cathode-ray sky. A mighty lamp hanging from the darkness above mimics the sun.
Every cloud has its silver lining, though. At last, our lives are our own. Nobody can reprogram us. Nobody can tell us what to do with our prototype soul.
Anyway, Flyloft should be out some time mid-February. I'm not planning on releasing anything big or super-original this month (since I figure Zine Month 2023 projects are probably gonna choke people's interest a bit).
The Rapparee is Dead
Another idea I've had notes on for a long time, and another one that's shifted shapes a couple times from a ritual-phrases game to a map-game and then to a Descended-from-the-Queen game with a twist.
For reference, the rapparees were 17th-century bandit-rebel-heroes in occupied Ireland, mostly mercenaries and dispossessed landowners who ultimately failed to break the English hold. They lived on as tragic-romantic symbols of rebellion and freedom in folklore, e.g. the poem/song Ned of the Hill, which inspired this game, which is about the exploits and eventual death of a lone rapparee, as told by the people they're trying to free.
Honestly I still don't know where this one's going. The reason I'm listing it here's that I did work on it, but came to the conclusion that the way I'm trying to do it right now (I think the scenario's too broad for DftQ). Now I'm planning on going back to the start—do it with ritual phrases, a bit like Polaris.
My radio horror web app thing, which is approaching the end of its beta! I've pretty much finished finding and fixing bugs and adding features, with the last few coming in the next few days, and the only thing left is to build up to 260 shows for the end of the beta.
I ramped up the pace of new shows this month, adding 43 in 31 days—I wanna get to 520 shows total by October, and with 244 days left I need to keep up a pace of over 1 show a day, on average, to be done in time. So, it's gonna be a little tight.
Upcoming anniversaries for the site: 24th of May (wrote the first notes for it), 25th of June (first public broadcasts), and 1st of October (moved to Neocities and started posting schedules on social media).
Daily creative stuff
One full month of daily islands! Well, after a little while I switched to only posting them in weekly devlogs on the itch project (makes it way easier to share and more efficient to get online), but I'm still making one every day. Specifically, I'm playing my WIP game Stone Words Walk once a day, then tweaking the game every week.
This really works for me and I'm definitely gonna use this format for the other games. In fact, since my big design revelation this week's gonna cap off my work on SWW, I'm probably gonna finish it up some time in February, and my plan right now's to continue the same process (daily play, weekly redesign) with the other 3 WIP games in the same set (so far titled Sunbright Dynamo, Earthmover Paradise, and Tomb River Anthology).
Daily sound recordings
It's been a long time since I did any sound design stuff and I'm kinda rusty (not that I had much experience to start with…) so I thought I'd start doing daily sound recordings, inspired by Emily Meo's twitter thread doing just that. You can find my own thread on twitter and mastodon (starts on day 11 cause I migrated from my original account then, plus my posts get cleared after 1–2 months so the link might be dead by the time you read this).
I dunno if I'll keep doing daily recordings long-term, but it's been fun doing audio stuff again. Just doing this simple stuff's got me thinking about what I wanna do next: maybe start off editing the sounds I'm recording, then making soundscapes, getting into simple music…
This one I'm not posting anywhere—every day this year I'm drawing something. This month it was super-simple little sketches in an A6-size notebook. In February it's probably gonna be quick pencil still-life drawings; other stuff down the line's gonna include pose drawings, isometric vector stuff in Affinity Designer, maybe some pixel art… I've already found a few neat, simple styles through the sketchbook and I wanna see what else I like doing, and hopefully get better at it along the way.
Plans for February
- finish and release Flyloft
- finish Weird Waves beta
- carry on with my daily creative stuff (probably moving on from SWW to another game from the same set)
- republish Over the Moon and Contact from Unknown as a single file (HTML + EPUB, like all my new stuff)
- keep tooling around with The Rapparee is Dead
- get started on my new site (a more complete portfolio/store thing with a blog attached)
- do some proper prep for making The Dicery