Cover Stories games released

The games are out! (Although not on the Archive yet, so the download links are temporary.)

Many thanks to the authors, everybody who submitted cover art (whether it got used or not), and all the folks who helped out one way or another.

A few people have asked me about what I’m going to do with the images that didn’t get chosen, or the images that got chosen but didn’t

In the case of the public-domain images, nothing has really changed: anybody can go and gank them, just as they always could. In the case of the original art, it’s up to the artists; they only gave permission for their images to be used for the purposes of the minicomp, and the minicomp’s done. People who picked covers but didn’t finish a game don’t have any special claim to those covers any more – though I expect that that’d be easily overcome if they contacted the artist about it.

So: if artists want to leave their art available for some future author who might hypothetically want to use it, they should leave a comment on the gallery site to that effect. (How likely is this to actually happen? I have no idea, but probably not enormously. Still, a good number of people have been talking about the covers they really wanted to see games to, so there’s some hope.) If they don’t, they can ask for it to be taken down, which I’ll be happy to do; or just forget about it.

So far I’ve played Antifascista and Olivia’s Orphanarium. My thoughts on both:

Antifascista: This was an okay story, marred by implementation flaws. It kind of bugged me, for instance, that you couldn’t sit down on the railing at the very beginning (or at least get a custom response from it), especially since someone else is described sitting there. Something similar happened in the ending scene, which I found especially aggravating, mostly because I had no idea what to do there (more on that later). I also didn’t like how the conversation menu spit you back at the command prompt each time you picked a choice, requiring you to type TALK TO [WHOMEVER] whenever you wanted to continue the conversation.
More spoilery comments:

[spoiler]I really didn’t like the encounter with the thug. That was a lot of waiting around, doing nothing, and I realize it’s a matter of pacing, but it’s super boring to play through. There needs to be something for the player to do in the scene, even if it’s just trying to talk the thug down.

I was also pretty confused about what to do at the end, in Diego’s room. Looking back, I think it’s because the response to trying to kiss/make out with/hug/whatever Diego when you still have your clothes on is misleading. As it stands I had no idea how to progress in that game without checking the source code.[/spoiler]
I think the main problem with the game is that the player is too constrained, and the game doesn’t do a good enough job of hiding it. It was a pretty sweet story, but not a very good game.

Olivia’s Orphanarium: This was pretty great! It’d be nice to have a few more appearance/morale boosting equipment. Also I think maybe the workbench is a little overpowered. It’s getting late here; I’ll talk about this some more tomorrow.


Things I discovered during this project: 1) balance in this sort of game is really hard, and 2) players always want more gear than they should really be allowed. (Morale, in particular, is intended to be difficult to raise. This ain’t no beach resort.)

In my view, the Orphanarium Best Strategy involves giving the orphans the best kind of gruel. This effectively means you don’t have to worry about morale, and while your short-term profits are lower, you make it up by having a much greater rate of orphan retention. Appearance isn’t so hard- save up for the bath and remember to scrub the oldest dirty orphan every day. It’s a great game, and it’s rare to see a text-based strategy game.

I played and was quite charmed by The Legend of the Missing Hat last night. It’s hard to go too wrong with tiny ninjas. It neatly evokes the ninjas’ different emotional states and rewards some mild experimentation. I’d like to see more games that work on an unusual physical scale.

Has there been any? I don’t frequently visit, so I may have missed some posts about this, here or elsewhere.

Would you mind pointing me which covers they have been talking about? There are a number of images on the gallery I’d like to complete writing a game on. Maybe one of the images they want might coincide with mine. [emote]:)[/emote]

In any case, this was a really neat comp idea, Maga. Thanks!

Someone’s asked me about the five-bands landscape one, and I think that Rob Wheeler may still be working on something wave tree based.

Those are the only ones for which I have anything resembling an intent, but off the top of my head, I’ve heard vague speculative noises at one time or another about the arcology thing, the window underwear girl, the superimposed cities, the sailing ships and the monster-swording girl, several of which got chosen but not completed. But I wouldn’t worry too much about clashing with people on those counts.

Can you make a noise here in the event that Darkness in Daytime becomes available for public consumption? I was really quite enamoured of the photo and have been impatiently awaiting the arrival of the game it engendered.

Will do.

Thanks for the pointers, Maga!