It’s been a rough year for me in many ways, but nevertheless, I have managed to complete my most ambitious Holiday Card yet. So, without further ado, I would like to present the 2019 Holiday Card: In the Back: A Retail Adventure! This game ended up being so ambitious that, due to its size, it is only available via itch.io.
Another thing that’s special about In the Back is that it is my first, and so far only, playable Holiday Card which is actually holiday themed. In this first-person exploration game, you play a seasonal employee at a big-box store who is asked to check “in the back” for a hot new video game which is nowhere to be found on the shelves. If that doesn’t sound particularly exciting, be aware that “the back” of this store is unlike any you’ve seen before.
This year’s engine is GameGuru. Unfortunately, it is the most buggy, unreliable, and poorly-designed game engine that I’ve used thus far, and thus I can’t recommend it at all. I may write a review for it on Steam later on, but at any rate, if you’re interested in an engine to create an FPS, walking simulator, or similar game, avoid this one. Also, moreso than usual, please keep me abreast of any significant bugs you may run into.
One final note: I’ve already made up my mind that there will be no Holiday Card in 2020. The coming year will be a busy one for me, and aside from that, I just needed a little break.
Please enjoy this year’s Holiday Card, and I wish you all a wonderful holiday season!
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Remember how, last year, I was unable to finish last year’s Holiday Card due to illness? After some treatment this year, I feel a bit better (though not completely well), and I picked up work on said Card again in the fall. This time around, I was able to complete my work. So, without further ado, this year’s (and technically last year’s) Holiday Card is General Princess!
For this third Holiday Card, I was inspired by something that feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian said in an interview: that she’d like to see a game where a captive princess rescues herself for a change. I’m paraphrasing here, as I can no longer find the exact quote, though I believe it was in the New York Times. Anyway, I somehow went from that to coming up with a plot where a princess keeps herself from being captured in the first place. The tower defense genre seemed like a natural fit for such a story, and so I began work last fall.
This time around, I used GameMaker:Studio, which I had picked up cheaply in a Humble Bundle. Coming from RPG Maker and Ren’py, it’s an intimidating program, but fortunately, there’s a wealth of information out there about its ins and outs, in the forms of ebook tutorials, the official forums, blog posts, and a Reddit page, amongst others. Other tools I used included the usual Sketchbook Pro, GarageBand, and Pixelmator, as well as Corel Painter and Audacity. In addition, Freesound, which I found via Sortingh.at, was helpful when it came to sound effects I couldn’t make myself.
General Princess can be found in the Projects section, as well as via the all-new Brainscraps itch.io page. And yes, my previous two Holiday Cards can now be found on itch.io as well.
As usual, please enjoy this latest jaunt into silliness, and Happy Holidays!
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