Assorted Interesting Things: 1/26/21

Opera and YoYo Games

GameMaker is a game development tool that a lot of indie developers use, so I feel that talking about what’s going on with that here is appropriate. YoYo Games, the developer of the software, was recently acquired by Opera in a $10 million deal. With the acquisition of YoYo Games, Opera spearheaded a new Opera Gaming division.

Opera is a lesser known alternate web browser to the likes of Google Chrome and Firefox. Within this crowded marketspace, Opera’s trying to carve out a niche to appeal to the Gamers. In 2019, Opera launched Opera GX, a browser that’s meant to serve gaming needs. It has integrated social media and chat applications, integrated Twitch streams that you can watch in pop-out windows, features that let you limit browser performance to free up Gaming performance – you know, a lot of things gamers would be into. And now, with YoYo Games and GameMaker under its belt, Opera marches on toward becoming the gamer browser alternative.

I’m personally not sure what this acquisition does for GameMaker. I’ve seen some people hope that GameMaker Studio 2 browser games will have improved functionality, which is a distinct possibility since Opera Gaming will include the YoYo Games and Opera GX teams. Maybe GameMaker games will come to be better optimized to run alongside browsers. I don’t know. It’s kind of interesting, though it’ll probably be a while before we see material results from this. Hopefully nothing bad, as a lot of acquisitions and absorptions tend to go. RIP to Vicarious Visions, condemned to Overwatch hell.

YIIK: A Postmodern RPG v1.25

I feel obligated to address this. So, Ackk Studios’ YIIK: A Postmodern RPG, a game that was savaged by much of the internet and caused me such despair, had a big update back on the 14th.

So, I’m going to give the developers this: it’s cool that they decided to stick with the game in spite of the hate everyone’s given it. I feel that most people would just give up on their work entirely, at that point, so I find it somewhat admirable that they stuck to their guns. And also, if the balancing changes to the game do succeed in making battles not feel awful, hats off to them.

This doesn’t change the fact that the story is awful, though. While the developers have apparently added the option to reduce the amount of monologues Alex have, I’m not sure if the game’s writing will be adjusted to make up for him saying less. But even then, the writing’s still awful and in some ways may have made it worse, like with the above screenshot.

The thing is, I’m not going to check that out for myself. See, I feel that I’d need to play YIIK again to get a proper feel for all the rebalancing and stuff. I refuse to do that. However! I have commissioned somebody playing through the game to give their own takes on the YIIK update.

However, there’s one more thing that was introduced with the update: the Deviation Perspective. It’s a whole new music album that added songs to the game’s soundtrack, and if you buy it separately, you get a short story following… (looks at notes) …the Golden Alpaca? Well, that’s stupid. However, I do admit that the new music is nice, which isn’t surprising because most of the music in YIIK was actually kinda good and probably the best aspect of the game. So, if my friend isn’t going to cover the short story in their post, I’m willing to buy the Deviation Perspective album myself to take a look at it.

Celeste Classic 2

A long time ago, I checked out Celeste Classic, completely unaware that the game was getting a much bigger version. And it was real big alright, considering that Celeste became an acclaimed hit. What about Classic? Well, developers Maddy Thorson, Noel Berry and Lena Raine dropped a surprise sequel for the Classic version to celebrate Celeste’s 3rd anniversary yesterday.

Made in a mere three days, the game revisits its roots as a PICO-8 game that you can play in the browser. You play as a new character, Lani, out on their own hike. However, to differentiate from Madeline’s journey, Lani finds a grappling hook to help out on their trek. The grappling hook shoots straight out and drags you toward a wall if it connects to one. Besides helping you clamber around, the grappling hook gives a boost in momentum that you have to take advantage of. It all makes for a short and sweet celebration of a modern platforming classic.

Games on Itch

So, while you’re on itch checking out Celeste Classic 2, you should also check out some other games that caught my eye, such as….

Hypnagogia is a game by sodaraptor where you explore various worlds based on the developer’s dreams. The game is inspired by cult classic PS1 game LSD: Dream Emulator and was in fact made for a game jam dedicated to making stuff that falls in line with the vision of LSD: Dream Emulator. If you like that game or end up liking this one, I suggest you check out the rest of the LSDJAM 2020 submissions while you’re at it.

I’m happy to see that My First Game Jam is still going strong, since the first event I participated in was what really pushed me into this space. One game that caught my eye was Apparition by cartyrs. Made in RPG Maker MV, Apparition is an adaptation of a short film the creator made that’s intended to explore the trope of “dead lesbian love interest.” In this case, she’s already dead – but the young woman that found herself squatting in her abandoned home aims to bring her back.

While we’re looking at game jam games, what about a game that was made for TWO game jams? There’s actually surprisingly a few, but I’ll choose to focus on The Viridian Isles by Squidly Games which was made for this year’s 7dfps and PROCJAM jams. In this game, you explore a collection of procedurally generated islands, full of ruins being overtaken by nature. It looks to be one of those chill kind of games.

And now, let’s close out with something a bit more unusual. Dim Bulb Games brings us the Museum of Mechanics: Lockpicking. It’s an exploration game, but instead of exploring a space, you explore a concept. The game presents recreations of different lockpicking minigames which you can engage with and study how they work. It’s a game intended for game developers studying the lockpicking mechanic and I’m interested to see Dim Bulb Games present different mechanics to explore in the future.

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