Environment Practice: Lecce, Italy

Adventure games have a lot of environments and drawing them is not my strongest area. We’re currently in Italy so for the last few days I’ve been heading out to cafes to sit with a caffé (or a vino bianco) and practice.

This piece started out as a sketch of a possible protagonist and I just shoved a side of Lecce’s centre square underneath him.

Getting Stuck

It has been almost a month since I last launched my AdventureKit Xcode project.

Despite planning roadmaps and drawing logos for it, work on the actual project itself has stalled.

We have been doing some travelling in that time and I am now in Italy where there are many things to see and do (including the consuming of much delicious food and wine).

I’d like to be able to say that this is me taking time out to do my other job (the one that actually pays the bills). I’d like to say that it’s OK that I haven’t made much progress over the last few weeks but, although we’ve been doing a lot, the reality is that there’s always an hour or two available every day.

I am a big believer in self-care and I vehemently dislike the workaholism that permeates our culture (a special shout out to Fiverr for their gross ads celebrating the most dehumanising aspects of the gig economy). I wish that complaining about being too tired or too busy was seen as a cry for help and an indictment of society instead of the humble brag that we mostly perceive it to be (a brag that I am, of course, guilty of using myself).

However, I have to recognise the difference between when I’m consciously choosing to take time out and when I’m simply avoiding working on a thing I profess to love and, recently, it does feel like it has been the latter.

This project has plenty of tasks that vary wildly in their requirements for skill and concentration. From the mindless copying and pasting of setting up my issues list in BitBucket to the detailed story writing, there’s always at least a little I could do every day that reflect my energy levels.

The longer I leave it, the harder it is to pick up again. This is why even working on it for even five minutes every day on some menial, low-energy task is important. Maintaining momentum is a much better strategy than waiting for inspiration.

I don’t want to admit that I’m not giving this project 100%. The narrative around being totally passionate and dedicated to creative work all the time is so powerful that admitting that I haven’t been is like branding myself a fraud.

But I want this to be an honest account of my journey. While I’m mildly disappointed at my lack of progress and a little annoyed with myself for not being more disciplined while travelling, I still feel good about it and proud of what I’ve done so far. Today is another chance to start again.

Simon the Sorcerer

This post was originally written before the 25th Anniversary Edition was released in April 2018

Simon the Sorcerer is a 1993 adventure game by Adventure Soft. You play Simon, a teenager who chases his dog through a portal and into a world is under threat from Sordid. It’s up to the rather sarcastic Simon to become a certified wizard, rescue Calypso, and save the day in a game that gleefully subverts and gently mocks many fantasy tropes.

Continue Reading →

AdventureKit Roadmap

I’ve now admitted to the insanity of building my own engine and come up with a broad idea of how I’d like it to work. The next stage is to come up with a plan for how I might go about implementing it without getting myself stuck in rabbit holes of complicated esoteric features (as I am wont to do).

For Version 1 of AdventureKit, I will focus on three broad categories: UI, Scenes, and Development:

Continue Reading →

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

Warning: As ever, spoilers about this 26 year old game abound. 

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is a 1992 action adventure game from Lucasarts, featuring everyone’s favourite adventuring academic. It adheres tightly to the Indy tropes: a mythical ancient power has the potential to give the Nazis the edge and a sceptical Indy and a credulous sidekick (Sophia) have to go on a quest to find it first (which inevitably involves a little bit of colonial grave-robbing—altogether now: where does it belong?).

It’s a surprisingly realistic portrayal of what an archeological expedition might look like. As with many real life digs, it involves a lot of foreign travel, punching, and the widespread destruction of ancient artefacts.

Continue Reading →