After taking 2020 off, the Holiday Cards are back! Without further ado, here is the sixth Brainscraps Holiday Card, Mary Sue’s Character Casino, which is fully playable via your desktop or laptop browser.
All of this experimentation happened sometime in the middle of the year. That’s right. Whereas past Holiday Cards typically took between one and three months to make, start to finish, Mary Sue’s Character Casino was a half-year project. The static art assets alone took me more than a month and a half to create.
Putting all this time toward making the game meant less for other things, such as this blog. With that in mind, Mary Sue’s Character Casino will be the last Holiday Card for the foreseeable future. Starting in 2022, I’m going to make a real effort to revamp and revive this blog, with more frequent (and hopefully shorter) updates. In terms of content, I would like to post more here than just reviews and impressions, and bring back the sorts of commentary and features that used to appear here. A slight visual refresh is also being planned.
For those that have been reading all this time, thanks for sticking with me, and if you’re new here, welcome, and hope to see you again. I also hope that everyone has (or had, or is having) a safe and enjoyable holiday season!
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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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