Two Hundred and Seventy Six: A warm hello


Now these guys aren't mine, they're Charlotte's but they say hi!

I believe they're Tiger Cockroaches and she now has five of them, they're super cute and will only hiss if you provoke them. Charlotte had always wanted some cockroaches and she's finally got some which is great!

They were purchased at the AES expo the other day and seem to be enjoying carrot and hating mushrooms. Sadly they're no Question Mark Cockroaches, or E. Nigma as I'd call them should I have any, but they're still pretty cute.

Two Hundred and Seventy Five: Another Humble bundle


I'm a huge fan of pay what you want idea, of course it doesn't always go that well with some games, however I like to think that it really helps some out. It's usually for indie games of course, but it also creates a window for some people to donate large amounts of money that some indies may never get normally.

Of course it all depends on advertising as well and Wolfire's Humble Indie bundles do a good job about it as everyone will pass on the word in person, via Facebook or of course twitter.

It's also great as they will usually offer versions of games compatible with Windows/Linux/OSX to cater for all needs, while also giving you keys to active the games on Steam. While supporting gaming based charities, hosting costs and of course the developers. Perhaps I'm being selfish but when I pay for a humble bundle I'll always change the ratio so that the developers benefit more, as well as the hosting costs above the charities...does this make me a bad person? The charities always get money too with the ratio breakdown I go with, just I feel some of the developers could really do with the money.

Of course most may pay the least amount possible, however there will occasionally be incentives to give you more games, should you donate more, making the average price paid per bundle a lot higher. I usually try and pay what I feel is adequate for what I'd be getting, so I never really pay the minimum or the average, usually above average.

Lots of developers have also tried the scheme for their games, either for a trial period or for a special occasion, such as 2D Boy when they did a pay-what-you-want for World of Goo or Joost Van Dongen with Proun and have had mixed results, but sadly like a lot of things in the world it's all dependent on marketing budgets at the end of the day.

Radiohead did alright with their sales of In Rainbows back in 2007 which had a similar pay-what-you-want scheme, but they had a fairly substantial fanbase, whereas for an indie you need to build something like that up over time, Radiohead had already had six albums worth of marketing. As well as every website and newspaper at the time talking about how crazy they were for doing the scheme. Plus of course their website was so swamped with traffic of people either paying the lower 1p or more dependent on if they wanted the disc version, that the website went down.

Now if only the same could happen for some indie games that'd be great, except of course for servers going down from excessive traffic.

Two Hundred and Seventy Four: Packing is fun when its a simple game of Tetris


The fun of packing is when you pack video games and other assorted DVD shaped media, they fit so snuggly and make a pretty pants version of Tetris to be fair.

However I did find that if you're packing with Xbox 360 boxes (who doesn't!?) which would usually house two consoles, you can fit in two columns of standard games, and then two of PS3/BDROM cases perfectly with hardly any space for them to move around!

I just wish all packing was as fun, I hate it when you get down to the dregs of items which don't really fit in a box together.

Two Hundred and Seventy Three: A trip to the AES Expo


So its come to the time of the year where insect lovers around can congregate in a small crowded room and buy new friends to keep.

The AES expo happens once a year at Kempton park racecourse and houses a variety of dealers dependent on what takes your fancy.

It was a great day and similar to last year it was a very warm day as well which meant the room was a little hotter than I'd like, but it's nice as there's so many doors that you can always just jump out for a breath of fresh air every now and again and even have a look at the racecourse or surrounding area.

It was a lovely day!

I enjoyed the show this year and in comparison to last year it was much better. I had attended with my sister and we were even able to meet up with the lovely Korina and meet Ben, and by the end of the day we were then looking at what each other had picked up.

As I promised myself I wouldn't buy an adult millipedes, although I did pick up a couple of babies to introduce into the tank, I have a feeling that some of them may not survive based on how weak their grip was when I was picking them out of their seller's tanks.

I bought two "pinks"-they didn't know the species, two Florida Ivory millies which are the larger of the ones pictured and two Bumblebee millipedes.

Two Hundred and Seventy Two: A new set of keys and a cool picture


Yay for changing times and no more horridly long train journeys, I've now picked up the keys for my new place.

To commemorate this, I thought I'd share a picture I took on my commute the other day, I will miss having the metro to flick through each morning, no more outrageous stories for me.

Two Hundred and Seventy One: Aliens: Infestation is out tomorrow!


I must say it kind of came out with a bit of a quiet release I suppose? All I know is I'm wildly looking forward to it and so should any Aliens or Metroid fans out there from what I've heard about it. Aliens: Infestation is the newest game developed ( or should I say co-developed as I'm not entirely sure of the role they've played) by Wayforward who of course very recently brought us BloodRayne Betrayal a perfect and punishingly hard addition to the BloodRayne franchise.

Aliens: Infestation is what they do best, if you haven't seen BloodRayne, A Boy and his Blob, Shantae or Contra 4 well then you’re missing out. But what they excel at is amazing 2D gaming, in terms of art, animation and gameplay. Infestation is a game set within the Aliens franchise that sees a squad of marines trying to keep themselves alive aboard familiar locations such as the Sulaco, LV-426 or even inside the derelict.

Having only been announced slightly before Gamescom and surprise attacking with a release tomorrow, I can't wait to pick myself up a copy and see what the Wayforward touch has brought to it.

Fingers crossed I enjoy it!

Two Hundred and Seventy: Say hello to my little friend


So I was just feeding the babies and a couple had been exploring around the tank and managed to try and sneak their way out while I was putting some cucumber in, so I thought I'd have a little company while using the Xbox 360. Apologies for the slightly bad quality photo, I took it on my phone (with flash) as opposed to a nice camera like I usually would.

Sadly this little fella doesn't have a name, mainly because he/she looks pretty much like the other 30 odd in their tank. Some are slightly bigger but they're so similar in look I don't think I can individually name them. I could always just throw names at them when I feel like it, but that seems a little pointless. Plus if I were to stick with the Greek philosopher style naming convention I'd either run out of names or just keep forgetting them.

I know I shouldn't be but I'm actually really looking forward to, and getting quite excited that it's the AES show this weekend. I know I shouldn't but I may buy a new baby to pop in with the little ones, just for a little change of colour perhaps. Nothing too exotic, but it'd then be nice to have a little more cross species breeding if they felt like it.

Any bug lovers or potential lovers should definitely pop to the show and check out just how many beautiful varieties of insects and arachnids there are out there. I know a lot of families take their children so they can see them, as opposed to buy them some exotic creepy crawlies.

Two Hundred and Sixty Nine: GameMaker HTML5!


Sooo when it comes to LudumDare and the Global Game Jam with a bit of a lack of coding skills and an idea when it comes to logic and scripting I generally make my games in GameMaker.

I say generally, what I really mean is always, I've considered using things like Unity, UDK or other engines but something like GameMaker means I can easily stick with 2D art and also have breaks between using it and not actually forget how to use the program. One of the most exciting pieces of news that I spoke about on this week's episode of Gamercast was about GameMaker!

However GameMaker: HTML5 has now been pre-released which allows the creation of games within GameMaker that can then be used with any browser that supports HTML5. The second I heard this I was very "OMG THATS AMAZINGS" especially as it won't require plugins to play them in a browser.

This is of course great for showing off games, and making 48 hour games more accessible for people to play. Of course this may introduce more limitations for games, but this is dependent on whether assets become more costly to run as well as questioning the quality of everything.

Very low res screenshot, but they haven't really changed much at all, other than giving it a black UI

However I jumped in and decided to take a leap and pick up a licence, especially as I may be able to import all my old games and then pop them on my website within the pages as opposed to give a link where you can download it. Therefore making them more accessible and easier to have a look at.

So I've downloaded and installed it and will have a play around when I find a little free time in my evenings or a few minutes here or there just to test out the importing older files with it. If it's successful I guess you may see some of my previous games on here. Or of course I could finish LD 21's Escape game as my first piece using this new version.

Although I really wanted to start learning a new tool for my 48 hour stuff, something utilising flash, like Flashpunk or Flixel, however I think for now I will still use GameMaker that doesn't mean that I won't try and use chunks of my time to learn free engines that are readily available. Of course things like Flashpunk or Flixel are best for certain types of games, so in the end it really depends on what the theme is for the next LD and of course the Global Game Jam which is only four months away!

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