Thursday, 1 December 2016

Tying different timeslots together

I wish I knew what to say when people ask me what I do.

Sometimes I'll say I write video games, other times I'll say that I write books, or that I help people learn Welsh. Of course I do all three. Even that's getting too complicated, as I'm starting to write books about different things and in different languages.

I thought it'd be nice to have some way of tying everything together. Linking stuff if you like.

colin.cymru is the result. It's not so much a website (it isn't a website btw) but a series of links, which I can redirect over time.

So colin.cymru itself will currently take you to my personal website, while colin.cymru/books will magically whisk you away to my Amazon UK Author page, whereas colin.cymru/us will take you to my US Amazon Author page. That way I can leave links in various places and update their destinations if needed.

Brilliant, eh? For those of you who have an interest in such modern alchemy it's all made possible by a free and open source url shortener at yourls.org

Saturday, 29 October 2016

The Return of Nintendo - One question for you all

At last - something to look forward to. The Nintendo Switch reveal made me realise just how much we've missed the gaming giant's presence over the past few years.

Will it be powerful enough to compete with the big 2 consoles? Will the battery last long enough for a decent gaming session? Will those little controllers get lost on the train?

Yes, too many questions right now. But just one question from me:

Do we want Mario back in all his gameplay glory on a decent console, or do we want him prostituting his inheritance in a dodgy series of casual games on the fag end of tablet gaming?

Where do I sign for that pre-order?


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

The PiMan Speaks!

He wouldn't do it for money, he wouldn't do it for fame, but the total recluse formally known as the PiMan has been coaxed out of retirement. Why? The video explains all.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Slightly Magic Time!

What's the hour, you ask in rhyme - on your Pebble, it's Slightly Magic time!

Potassium Frog. Official watch designer to Bigwiz the Wizard.

Big day today. As well as Deus Ex Machina and Slighly Magic on Steam, we've got a third launch at the Pebble appstore.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Madness - You never can tell

Back, way back through the mists of time, when I was young and... oh, I dunno, let's not get maudlin.

Twas a dark and smokey night in Cardiff's Top Rank when Madness took over the timeslot with their blend of music hall, Ska and nutty storytelling. We never knew, that's the thing. We never could have known, who could?

Listening to their new track Mister Apples has made me realise - you never can tell. If you'd have asked me to predict which group from my youth I'd be listening to in the cold new world of 2016 I would never have said Madness. Funny that.

Still, it's very much welcome, and I'll take my medicine however it comes. 

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Clearing the Decks

It's been a funny few months, with a slew of new releases lined up for the Frog.

We'll be putting Deus Ex Machina and Slightly Magic on Steam, in their almost certainly final versions. Deus is down for 30th September release, and I'm toying with the idea of releasing Slightly Magic the same day, which happens to be my birthday.

I'd go so far as to say that both games are now the definitive versions, and that my two years or so programming them have mainly been well spent. They're both important games in my opinion, and it'll be a weight of my shoulders to see them given a proper release on PC, Mac and Linux.

There are another couple of surprises for Slightly Magic, but I'm still sworn to secrecy on that front. I thought I'd just write a few things about this final Legacy edition, while it's still fresh in my mind.

When I got Slightly back, me initial reaction was to sit down and take a good look at the game to see how the old fella looked. It had been 20 years or so since I'd played the game, and monitors have improved dramatically. I was shocked at how good the graphics looked, at least to me. Yes, they were retro, but because the game came in at the later end of the 8-bit machines' lifetime they still seem to hold up quite nicely. Chris Graham did a fantastic job, and to be honest I really wanted more people to see the game.

I thought the natural thing to do was to reprogram the game, clean up the original, remove a few machine-specific quirks and let others be the judge. Which is where we seem to be now.

Playing the final game yesterday afternoon, I realised just what I'd done - this game is better than the original. Yes, I dare to say, free from any nostalgia-tinted spectacles this is the version I'd want people to play - the PC, Mac & Linux Legacy Edition.

Why would that be, you might ask. The graphics, for one, don't flicker in play. Not just the Spectrum attribute-clash flicker, but flickers on screen redraws and speech and menu popups. Plus I do like the new in-game commentary option, because I'll never have the chance to do that again for the game.

Oh, and the save game, gamepad mapping and audio extras add a certain polish, which I think players of the original would have appreciated. Fast loading, crisp graphics and audio, and the experience of playing on a large tv with a wireless gamepad make for a very rewarding experience.

What next, after September, you might ask? Well I'll be running a Kickstarter starting August 15th, for a brand-new game featuring Slightly. More news on that very soon. It's a whole new format and a whole new style, but I'm hoping to carry Slightly's legacy forward.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Deus Ex Machina - The Final Cut


Quite a nice surprise this morning; an email letting me know that Deus Ex Machina, Mel Croucher's classic video game, had been accepted for inclusion on the Steam store. I programmed the C64 and MSX versions of the game in the 1980's and then agreed to do the same for the Anniversary Edition, which Potassium Frog released very recently.

It feels like we've finally got a proper release for the full desktop version - PC, Mac & Linux. Maybe the world's finally ready for Mel's dystopian nightmare, at least it'll be there for the curious few.

I let Mel know immediately, and we were soon wondering what extras we could add to this, almost certainly, final edition. It's making work for ourselves, of course, but we both want to send this one off with a splash.