The ugvm Podcast is still happening

And I’m just as surprised as anyone.

We’ve done four proper (and one pilot) episodes now. There’s a scattershot selection of ugvm colleagues joining me each time, we’re still tweaking the formula (and the recording method), and the “let’s make it an hour long” goal is now a running joke. But here we are, and I think it’s pretty decent actually.

I’ve no reason to suspect, or even hope for, mass recognition and we’re just one of a billion videogame podcasts, but that isn’t really important. We’ve listeners outside of the ugvm group. We’ve had positive feedback and constructive criticism. That’s not really important either, to be honest. No, I’m finding the best bit is just having a chat about games with some mates. Some of whom I’d never actually spoken to.

Anywho, Episode 4 went up this week. We chatted about lootcrates and Mario and Sonic and all sorts. You can find it here.

Play Want Bin Expense: 2017-11-20

I had a Switch once.

It’s been a while. Well, a short while.

Play

Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)
Don’t think that because I put the game down, I put the game down. If you see what I mean. No, because it’s definitely a very good game – there’s no question about that. It just isn’t the best game. Anyway, I’ve gone on about that elsewhere a lot. Now, I’m well into post-game Moon Collectathon and although in some cases the difficulty level has increased, making it more enjoyable, in many it hasn’t. I’ve also hit a bug because I’ve collected 97/100 purple doofers in the Sand Kingdom, but I can’t find the other three. Even following a guide, I’ve collected all 100 but the counter still says 97. Annoying.

Stardew Valley (Switch)
Quite a bit more of this, but playing both Stardew Valley and Mario is hard now because my daughter keeps stealing the Switch for herself. When I do get a change to play, I’m mostly farming the hell out of my, er, farm, while I wait for the relative down-period of Winter so I can attempt the desert mine properly.

Bye-Bye BoxBoy! (3DS)
So I’ve started playing this in Switchless moments. Not that I’m complaining because it’s very good! It’s more of the same sort of stuff as the first two games with some new twists, but that’s fine with me. I think I’ve almost completed it too.

Want

Fire Emblem Warriors (Switch) as always.

Bin

Not having two Switches.

Expense

I got The Lego Ninjago Movie The Videogame for the Switch for essentially free with Nectar points.

Also free from various places, were Syberia (Mac), Watch_dogs (PC) and Killer is Dead (PC). Yay for free!

Game Dev Diary: Run Baby Run v0.03

No, not the Sheryl Crow song.

Now let me just point out a few things here before I begin:

  • Yes, it has been a long time since I did any game dev stuff
  • No, I have no idea if I’ll finish this
  • Run Baby Run is the best game ever

When I was doing Asset Reuse Invaders, the level table I developed for the invaders made me wonder if I could use the same thing to create a level map for a maze. Then I thought, what if I used the levels from Run Baby Run? Then I thought: what if I remade Run Baby Run?

Then 12 year old me’s brain exploded.

I looked into it a bit further, and found that the levels on the Spectrum original were 32 “tiles” wide, and 22 tiles high. On the Spectrum, each tile is 8×8 pixels, but if I use 4×4 tiles, then 32 tiles fit exactly into the 128 pixel wide PICO-8 display.

I had to do it. Or at least try. The normal mapping method used by PICO-8 relies on 8×8 pixel tiles, so I had to create my own – reusing what I’d learned from the level table structure of my invaders game.

Yes, there’s a way of compressing this or something, but I’m not short on space (yet) and it makes it easier to see in the code. I don’t know why I’ve done level 2 (Huddersfield Foundry) first, but it doesn’t matter.

The code to turn this into an image on the screen is:

And so, this (from the Spectrum):

Magically becomes this, on PICO-8:

Not bad, eh?

That was my first job. My second task was making the car rotate correctly. I managed that successfully, complicated slightly by creating the car out of two 4×4 pixel sprites rather than one single sprite. There’s a reason for this, which I can’t quite remember now, but has something to do with collisions. Then I ran into issues with collisions, so the rotation code needs to be partially re-written. Regardez:

It’s too fast, obviously, but the big issue is that although head-on collisions with the walls is correctly identified, turning left and right into them is not. I’ve identified this is down to the order in which the rotation and the collision detection take place, but to change it means the rotation code needs re-writing.

Play Want Bin Expense: 2017-10-29

Stardew Valley and that’s it. Pretty much.

A day early. Or several weeks late? You decide!

Play

Stardew Valley (Switch)
Pretty much this and only this. Coming up to 70 hours now, and I’ve reached the middle of Spring in Year 3. I’ve just two items left to finish the Community Centre (one of which is a random drop, the other is only available in Summer), and I’m most of the way to completing the “items shipped” checklist. My house is fully expanded, I’ve started making use of the greenhouse, I have a horse (not that I’ve made any use of it), and I’ve two massive coops full of chickens, ducks, rabbits and void chickens. I’ve a pig and some sheep and cows, and all bar one of the Rarecrows. I’ve reached the bottom of the mine, and started on the other mine, met the shadow thing and the dwarf, and now I’ve finally started to turn my mind to possibly getting the villagers to like me. Yes, I know I may have left this very late. And no, the game is still stressful and every day is a panicked rush to get everything done.

Sonic Mania (Switch)
A little. Mere minutes, really.

Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (PS4)
A few more red and gold bricks. Not many though.

Want

Super Mario Odyssey (Switch), which I would have had by now if it wasn’t for Toys R Us screwing up my order and sending it to the wrong address. Hopefully I’ll have it tomorrow.

Fire Emblem Warriors (Switch), which I could have bought by now only I didn’t think there was any point with Stardew Valley existing. I was probably right.

The Mummy Demastered (Switch), which wasn’t on my radar but now it turns out it’s by WayForward and is a Metroidvania platform shooter? Yes!

Lego Ninjago The Movie The Videogame (Switch/PS4), which, yeah, we need now.

Bin

Toys R Us, obviously.

Expense

Nothing for a while. Stardew Valley, you see.

We did another podcast

A while back, I posted that I’d been part of a podcast pilot for the ugvm newsgroup. Reception to it was actually quite positive, and so we did another one. And this week, we did another one.

That’s two proper episodes and one pilot now. Already about six more episodes than I expected it to run for.

Anyway, yeah, this is a plug for that. You can find them all over on the ugvm site, or just search for “ugvm” on your podcast service of choice.

The format is the ugvm standard “Play, Want, Bin” structure, with a bit of chat and some news and stuff. Look, it’ll pass the time while you’re on the bus to work or blot out your family for a bit, so it has a use, yeah? And unlike a lot of other games podcasts it’s very low on the swears so it has that going for it too.

I’m not selling it very well. I’m sorry.

Play Want Bin Expense: 2017-10-09

Chop chop, dig dig.

There are too many games. Too many. And I only have two of them.

Play

Golf Story (Switch)
The silliness is so good. The golfing is surprisingly great. It’s funny and nonsensical and I’m really enjoying it. Sure, there are seemingly a lot of fetch quests and “find all the things” quests, but that doesn’t matter. It’s great. However, it’s suddenly started playing second fiddle to…

Stardew Valley (Switch)
What is there to say about this? It’s Harvest Moon, only sort of not. It’s got digging and making things and in some ways it feels a bit like Minecraft, but it’s definitely Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing or Miitomo. There’s something addictive about planting seeds and watering them every day. Or wandering the entire map looking for stuff lying on the ground. Or fishing. All menial tasks and all not fun at all on the face of it. And yet, I’ve put 12 hours into it already and it only came out on Thursday.

Lego Star Wars The Force Awakens (PS4)
Only a bit on this. We’ve finished the story of course, and have now done what I think is all of the extra levels. It’s just a case of returned to Free Play them all for red bricks and minikits. Only there’s a problem – unlike all the other Lego games, you can’t see which levels you’re still missing collectables on. This means that, unless you’re making notes, you have to load each level, check the pause screen, then quit if it’s already done. Really, really annoying.

Want

Fire Emblem Warriors (Switch)
Next week! I might leave it a while though, as I’ve so many other games on the go.

Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)
I have pre-ordered this, but the place I’ve ordered it from is going to deliver it to the wrong address even though I chose my house at every stage in the process and asked them to change it afterwards. So I doubt it’ll arrive on the day. Boo.

Lego Ninjago The Movie The Videogame (PS4)
Going to see the film this weekend, I think. Might be hard not to buy this sooner rather than later.

Bin

The map screen on Lego Star Wars TFA not showing red bricks/minikits collected.

Expense

?Bye-Bye Boxboy! (3DS) – £2.69
Stardew Valley (Switch) – £8.79

Play Want Bin Expense: 2017-10-02

Too many games. Too many! Imagine.

Stabbing and murdering. And that’s just Lego!

Play

SteamWorld Dig 2 (Switch)
Bought, played and completed. Just like that. Then went for 100%. It’s a fantastic game, always a pleasure and never a chore. Although the final, after-100%, trials are the hardest thing ever and I’ve not managed to best them. Yet.

Hitman (PS4)
Completed! Had a lot of fun with this, finding ways to make use of the schedules and weaknesses discovered to bump off people in interesting ways. Crushing the heart (literally) of the heart transplant bloke, poisoning a lawyer via fugu, making use of a battering ram, and tinkering with a Tuk Tuk. It’s the best Hitman game.

Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (PS4)
It’s Star Wars and Lego. Not a fan of the former, but a fan of the latter, so it was OK. I don’t like the two new mechanics (cover shooting and multiple builds from the same bricks), but they’re not deal-breakers. The stats say we finished the story in under 10 hours, making it the shortest Lego game by some way, but there’s still plenty to do as the stats also say 25.4% complete.

Picross S (Switch)
This looks kind of weird on the big screen, but that’s probably only because I’ve only played 3DS picross games for the last few years. I’ve not finished many puzzles yet, mainly because of…

Golf Story (Switch)
Long wanted, and finally here. It’s a sort of adventure game, only with golf and golf-related game mechanics. It’s a little rough round the edges (literally – I’ve got stuck in or on scenery multiple times so far, and had to quit out), and the multiple pixel sizes jar a bit, but it’s nuts and lovely and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve just gained access to the third course, having fed some fish, dug up an idol, found some lost turtles, played disc golf, and all sorts of other not-golf activities.

Want

Stardew Valley (Switch)
Rumours abound this’ll finally hit this week. Let’s hope!

Fire Emblem Warriors (Switch)
This month, apparently? Blimey.

Mario Odyssey (Switch)
Also this month. I’ve pre-ordered it!

Lego Ninjago The Movie Videogame (Switch, or maybe PS4)
ALSO out this month. Sake.

Bin

All the games coming out at the same time. Come on lads, sort it out. It’s not even Christmas yet.

Expense

Whoops.

Golf Story: £10.79
Picross S: £5.75
Super Mario Odyssey: £35.14

Play Want Bin Expense: 2017-09-18

Time to pack the Vita away again.

A two week catchup this time. Partly because I did the first week in the All New ugvm Podcast! Go and listen to that.

Play

Persona 4 Golden (Vita)
I have completed it. Last time, I said I was so close to the end: I wasn’t. Well, I was, but that wasn’t the real actual proper One True Ending. So I had to go back and do that instead. Wow. An excellent game, all 100 hours of it.

Sonic Mania (Switch)
Which I also completed. I’ve completed it six times now: twice with Sonic (but not all the emeralds), and then once with Sonic, Knuckles, Tails, and Sonic and Tails with all the emeralds. I’ve also managed to get gold for all the Blue Spheres levels. Next up – Knuckles & Knuckles mode! Only problem with that is you can’t save.

Hitman (PS4)
Yes, the new one. Well, newest one anyway. It’s brilliant. I’m a terrible assassin, as I keep accidentally killing innocents, or forgetting I’m not supposed to be seen by people, or bodging the kills, but I’m really enjoying it. I’ve “done” the tutorial, Paris and Sapienza, and one of the two targets in Marrakesh.

Lego City Undercover (Switch)
100%! We were stuck on 99.9% for a while, and I was convinced it was a bug, until I realised that flying vehicles aren’t included in the unlocked vehicle counter but are included in the game completion percentage. We’d not bought a helicopter, so there was the missing 0.1%. Phew.

Project Octopath Traveller Demo (Switch)
I love the art style. I’m not far enough in to make comment on the game itself, but the art is lovely. I’ve started the story of the “dancer”, who appears to be more, uh, hands on than a dancer might be, if you catch my drift. It started getting a bit “adult” and my daughter was watching so I thought it best to stop there. I’ll play it more when she’s not about though!

Want

Golf Story (Switch) is out THIS WEEK!
Stardew Valley (Switch) is out either this week or next!
SteamWorld Dig 2 (Switch) is also out THIS WEEK!

Also Mario Odyssey, Fire Emblem Warriors, etc. as per usual.

Bin

My Vita, I suppose, since I’ve no use for it now.

Expense

Nothing! Which is just as well because all them Switch games are out this week and next.