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Most of the news articles here are syndicated from the unofficial AGS blog, run by forum member SSH. Visit SSH AGS Blog for full articles.

Take it like a man or perhaps ...?

By Jim Spanos at Wed, 16 Apr 2014 23:30:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

With recent reactions over an article over at Rock Paper Shotgun concerning Moebius, I've fallen into my thoughts again, wondering where does criticism and personal views on the matter stop being useful and instead form or affect a general view that's inaccurate, subjective and hurtful to a product and the people affiliated in any way with it?There's more to videogames than just playingSometimes we find ourselves enjoying the way we construct a sentence or reference our personal interests in subtle ways, and we convert people's reactions to our particular way of writing to a graphical/comical idea of it. Slowly, gradually moving towards that direction, hoping subconsciously to re-trigger the same reactions, we've grown addicted to. At the same time, we fail to grasp the concept of a joke being overused, and we see the newcomers reaction as acceptance. In the end, a failure to realize the importance of providing your opinion/thoughts in such ways that it's helpful to others is ever-present.Of course someone should not butcher his thoughts censoring them in such way that they reflect political correctness, but he should definitely understand the importance of his work. And let's take what I did into account as an example.Some days ago I stated that I found PISS lacking a hook, and that very issue, had been troubling me from finishing the game. The fact that I was deemed unable to run a complete playthrough of that game, also made me decide to avoid writing a review about it - I just felt the need to explain the reasons behind my slacking. Haven't we all tried something and found it hard to get into, then actually do a proper effort to grasp the concept, ultimately wondering how we felt unable to see the genius at first?Personally I strive to give everything a proper chance to win me, and my thoughts on PISS are ONLY focusing on what was troubling me to get there.Videogames as a form of entertainment, also occasionally attributed artistic values, is haunted by the subjective rule. What is that you ask? Well, simply put, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It's imperative therefore to allow everyone to appreciate what we cannot, overcoming the obstacles that we faced - obstacles that rendered the product unpleasant for us, and ideal for those who appreciate differently.

Cyberpunk: Replicating the ambient perfection of neon lights and corruption.

By Jim Spanos at Fri, 11 Apr 2014 19:59:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

To me, the genre always meant exciting, new, exhilarating horizons being broadened, applying both mentally and perspective-wise a mesmerizing effect on my personal being. That is when the cyberpunk-ill medium transcends from the focus on one aspect and instead triumphantly establishes domination in every way.Portraying flawed characters and an ironic seemingly idyllic view to the future whether it's dominated by a certain political view or a technological discovery/revolution, there is a thin line between breathtaking and thought provocative to just lasers and neon lights. Though I love those things a whole lot. They may be part of a niche, narrow view of the genre, but I still hold them dear, they are elements of a greater whole, even if they appear as shallow members solely created to wow introductees.Aren't they pretty?I believe that taking any story and transforming to a Cyberpunk impression is the easier way, and the most common one. Always have I felt that to be the wrong way. While it's nice to see a plot under different glasses, perhaps adjusting its parameters differently. It works in the same way that for example a live action movie is remaked as an anime. Not a huge fan, but it's interesting enough to give it a fair chance.However creating a reality based on estimated projection values on combining factors, plowing through plot holes and physical rules to narrate a story arc that would only be done justice under those calculated, specific list of circumstances and variables, is where the genre shines. It should always be visible to us, that it's not about telling conventional stories within unconventional surroundings, but rather -  mystify the audience with the setting, engulfing the reader, in ways that he feels the primal instincts and fears in different unconventional ways, purging reality of all the veils, like...Like tears in the rain..

By the rivers of (Techno)babylon

By Jim Spanos at Sun, 06 Apr 2014 12:09:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

So, why is this AGS game keep appearing on your rss feed lately? Why is it referenced so much lately?Because, besides missing the 4th part of the series for quite a while now, it appears, according to a gamasutra interview of Dave Gilbert, the game is still being worked on. I'm quite unfamiliar with the factors affecting its current production and the goal in terms of game design and polish value currently set by the developer and the parties affiliated (which I'm also mostly unaware of).But Ben Chandler is providing artwork, yet not sure if he's drawing over or completely re-designing materials for the game. Perhaps both. I find myself accepting Dearden's choice (the developer) to enrich and re-introduce the saga. Technobabylon  is getting remaked, but I'm not sure in what way. However, since it's going commercial under Wadjet Eye Games, I'm definitely quite certain, the game will combine part one and two, perhaps even three, though the trilogy's end, wasn't really well received. Can you say pretty labs?Technobabylon revolves around the premise that people choose to accept the false sense of achievement presented in multiplayer videogames, over their actual control on their lives, slowly deteriorating physically and mentally, getting addicted equally to the phenom of drug use. Such is the protagonist of the game, but as life problems pop up, it will be impossible to get a last dose of the virtual world. The second game of the series, creates one of the most wonderfully revealed ties between two games seemingly so different in almost every aspect, that literally the rembrance of it, still takes my breath away.I do hope, the great content will be kept if not intact, at least in the same or better spirit, maintaining the consistency and surprise factor present in the freeware release of the three episodes so far. Even though, I feel this should have been out faster, I still got overly excited over the release of Technobabylon. Count one pre-order from me.

Trying hard and failing decently

By Jim Spanos at Mon, 31 Mar 2014 05:50:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

Well, I've been trying to get the mindset to actually bother with PISS beyond the first 20 minutes of gameplay, but it seems impossible. Perhaps it's the wall of texts that keep appearing in my face that prevent me from fullfilling aforementioned task. And since I've promised a weekly post, I'll have to deliver one.So the topic of this post, if you haven't giving up already, is story hooks. A hook is a plot device that interests a person in the continuation of the story or the grand reveal if such exists, by simply grasping the attention/curiosity of the reader. The same applies to videogames, some use gameplay mechanics to attract the player and keep him interested, others use more story driven mechanisms. Adventure games as a genre, usually create a hook via an introductory scene to either attach the player sentimentally with the protagonist or create an element of curiosity or some other thing I'm oblivious about.Perhaps the setting works as well. I believe my favorite hook in a medium can be attributed to Kurosawa's Rashomon. Though the delivery completely failed to satisfy my expectations, I was "chained" till the reveal/explanation. Admittedly paranormal elements rub me off horribly. I find the explanation to paranormal reasons to be the cheapest way to explain situations. It's really dangerous to create a sense of mystery and then use the oldest trick in the book, trying to fool a mature audience, only ending up fooling A-graders, if that.Blade Runner: A hook based mostly on the setting.Other entertaining examples would be Blade Runner, practically missing a hook, eventually getting to it. Several sequences, even though proven to be cult classics later, initially are viewed with prejudice. I mean showcasing technological gadjets, doesn't get the story going much anywhere. But it's fancy.I think Blade Runner works the same way that Beneath A Steel Sky does, the setting and the world are terribly interesting in their own diverse ways, spawning that explorer child into the viewer/player.In conclusion, PISS is missing a hook, and I really want to review it. I've lost my line of thought.

The Case of Tuesdays

By Jim Spanos at Tue, 25 Mar 2014 18:36:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

I was wondering a lots about stuff, and discussions from IRC have led me to actually bother writing an article, here on the blog, apologies on the slower content, but things in the community are a bit slow for my interest.So I've been spending much time working on Troll Song, mostly working around the interface fixing and adding snippets for easier implementing of future actions. Thus I came up with a small list of things to do on the game you make AFTER actually making/working on a complete game. And by complete I mean a game that has been rendered under the shower of several polish, that when someone shows you the first version of it, you say "wow, it was bad back then".Anyhow, when you've bothered working your ways around your first actual game, you learn to do things, but as most of them are a first, you end up doing several mistakes. What I've noticed whilst working on Troll Song, is that I'm transfering skills/snippets and knowledge from previous efforts/projects, thus improving my current workflow and result. Practise makes perfect, and it's no lie, it extends to game design.So the promised list follows:1) Do re-use stuff that can actually be re-used. Like that pretty cool Savegame UI, don't go porting the same characters for crying out loud, think generalization and masking. What feature of your previous game can be transfered and adopted by your new project? Then port it properly. Copy-paste won't work 100%, you'll either discover mistakes/omissions, or you'll realize it can be improved in certain ways, thus you'll enhance it. This is the utter realization, that you've evolved from the time you created that thing till today. And you should get yourself a tea for that, it's a good accomplishment.2) Split your work, give it extensibility. Always, and I mean always don't create considering this is the final version of your creation (regardless whether it's a code, a background, a character, an animation, a story element/plot). It's not. I've seen spectacular backgrounds get replaced by even more spectacular ones, and other backgrounds completely redrawn cause they couldn't work that way. You need to project into the future and replicate the same result hastily without much effort, even if the idea of you re-doing this, puts you down. And it probably does.3) Spot patterns and use them to your advantage. This is huge but do treadlightly, otherwise you'll end up having the same animation for 12.000 things. Basically translating from gibber to english, if you see an animation proving to be practically the same for some other situation, without breaking the uniqueness factor, go ahead, be courageous and use it elsewhere. If you see a code behavior being repeated make a global method/function out of it, and be a man of yourself.

Heroine's Quest ON STEAM

By Jim Spanos at Fri, 21 Mar 2014 21:23:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

Great news, Heroine's Quest that sweeped the awards a few days ago, created by Crystal Shard, is now on Steam, and you can get it without paying a nickel. Cause it's free. And now it has achievements!!STEAM LINK HERE

AGS Podcast: They call it something else, but I forget

By Jim Spanos at Mon, 17 Mar 2014 15:21:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

Yay, wow, another episode, damn, those are coming a bit too fast than I care to bother, I haven't listened to anything but the first two minutes of this, and this is out for 7 minutes, by the time I'm writing this. Thing is this whole post, will be rendered senseless, because I'm going to program it to appear two days letter (or later suit yourself).It's the same recipe again and again, so here's episode 39.LINK GOES TO AUDIO

It's one of them days

By Jim Spanos at Sun, 16 Mar 2014 20:00:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

That, instead of reading about the AGS community, you get to hear about my drama. Sometimes there's a trigger in every human being, an insecurity button, and mine gets pressed often in the community, and I feel like I'm being cornered. And I behave irrationally, because of that. Or you can choose to believe I'm an idiot, both work. And as I look back, with a straight mind, I see people a bit disappointed or offended or appalled or surprised or any kind of negative reaction to my rather negative actions.I've always been a liberal to everything I've created and I've held a snob face to those that dared censor it in their own ways. Thus perhaps deep-down I felt the same way about the ceremony. But sometimes, it's important to see the message behind people's words. And I failed to grasp it.Sometimes, we feel we're being pushed aside, and isn't that the case? Yet, mostly, people are trying to help us cope and we don't see that, and we refuse to let them be part of us. The lesson we should all learn, is that we should organize the ceremony as a team effort, and everyone can do their small part, see SWARM, and it can be an exciting pretty new thing again. That's the thought that lead me to open-source the files of the ceremony, so they are there for everyone to take of them what he wills.I believe via Wyz's socket plugin, we can basically do a lot of interactive stuff, not just the ceremony awards,  I honestly believe it's worth pursuing, perhaps AGS needs a step forward, but there are steps in directions nobody has ever bothered taking. An AGS chess, isn't the way, you can take a technology and use it in oh so many innovative ways, ways that when explained to others, will seem as a natural step, but you decided to take it, and pursue some sort of dream with it. Further developing game design to something exciting and new, or bluntly put a horizon.Vince Twelve always wanted to do something with the interface in all of his games, in Resonance, it clicked in ways it never did before. Grim aka Remigiusz Michalski always wanted to create Resident Evil-like nervousness via his games and tell an interesting twisted tale, in Cat Lady, it clicked. Joshua Nuerberger was an avid fan of Cowboy Bebop and wanted to write an atmospheric saga, in Gemini Rue it clicked. Isn't having a vision and protecting it and nurturing it what makes a game after all?...And .....after 2-3 hours of browsing the internet, I've forgotten where I wanted to go with this. Well, I'm going to release some coding stuff I've done over the years this week or so, perhaps that will turn the tables a bit. So, here's a pretty picture to help you till that happens.

Blackwell: Epiphany - The Saga Ends April 24th

By Jim Spanos at Fri, 14 Mar 2014 21:04:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

After stalking this repeatedly, I can say I'm pretty stoked for this. The addition of Ben Chandler on the graphics department makes this so pretty interesting (pun intended). So, pre-orders are available and there's a launch vid.Pre-order linky: http://www.wadjeteyegames.com/news/blackwell-epiphany-now-available-pre-order/

The AGS Band: Shameless promotion

By Jim Spanos at Thu, 13 Mar 2014 22:09:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

Basically, me and some other ags folks, the names of who I seem to forget, have released another song. Before you get to the link, it's important to understand that the AGS Band members is a band formed entirely out of AGS members who have never met each other in real life, and live in 2 out of the 12 continents of the world.So I wrote a song when I was working on TROICA, the game never got made, NEVER WILL IT BE MADE DESPITE NUDGES, and I wrote some lyrics based on it, and we got a wonderful song out of all this.So, in the Line of Fire, ladies and gentlemen.

Ali plays my favorite game of all time

By Jim Spanos at Thu, 13 Mar 2014 06:10:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

Nelly Cootalot's maker did a let's play of Monkey Island II, which happens to be my favorite game, and Tim Schafer commented about this, so that's nice.http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-03-09-video-lets-replay-monkey-island-2-lechucks-revenge

AGS Podcast: 38

By Jim Spanos at Sat, 08 Mar 2014 21:07:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

Another one of those, what number is it now?Episode Work environment! 38

Leonardo DiCapri-OHMYGOD

By Jim Spanos at Wed, 05 Mar 2014 08:15:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

CEREMONY - Sun 9 Mar 2014 20:00 London timeWAYS TO ACTUALLY BE THERE:1) AGS Ceremony 2013 Live Game2) Connect to irc://irc.agsarchives.com/#ags:   via an IRC client (like xchat) (tutorial here)using your web browser (warning: more of a resource hog!)

AGS Live Ceremony via IRC

By Jim Spanos at Mon, 03 Mar 2014 13:49:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

Prologue:First, apologies for last's years absence, I was in the army. And the year before that we had some terrible issues that kind of rubbed me the wrong way, I meant to abandon this.But then again, I was reminded that this is not my idea, I use a medium made by someone else to project a vision made by someone else. Wyz deserves credit for this, the man single-handedly made this possible and I  seem to be getting undeserving claps. Also, this wouldn't be possible without bicilotti, even if he wants to be the most annoyingly modest person about this.So TL:DR, the AGS Awards will be held on that small place that will all have missed. Updates:I've implemented stuff that nobody got to see two years ago, and I've also updated several. So here's a list of what's new:1) Added buttons for turning music and sound on and off.2) Added loading screen (practically the first AGS loading screen of all time that CJ didn't code)3) Switched connect after you put the nickname to make sure you don't send too much data beforehand and instead just send them all at once, when you actually join.4) Reduced the number of commands sent by each client when someone joins from 4 to 0, as a bot (I coded that bastard) now handles data and instead of everyone lagging on joins, now just the guy who joins experiences slowdowns.5) Screen graphic, awards text and song, properly gets set when you join, without lagging everyone.6) The ceremony now features Daft Punk and currently 4 new songs.7) Laugh track8) Lesbians (you know it)9) Lifted limit of entrants from 60 to 70 (Thanks nemo)10) Added the following avatars:  LeChuck, Bernard (DOTT), gabriel night (no typo)11) Added a notification button, now whenever your nick is referred.How to IRCConnect to irc://irc.agsarchives.com/#ags:   via an IRC client (like xchat) (tutorial here)using your web browser (warning: more of a resource hog!)Download the AGS IRC Live Ceremony*Warning THIS is a stable version but do check for the topic till the ceremony, the files may get updated with bug fixes or new features*

AGS Podcast 37

By Jim Spanos at Sun, 02 Mar 2014 00:00:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

Vince Twelve is there, they talk for a while, about games.Episode 37

Better late than...

By Jim Spanos at Thu, 20 Feb 2014 15:47:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

Blackwell series last and latest addition has been provided a teaser. I've always wanted to say that the art in this episode looks absolutely stunning, one of the best in an AGS release. Get teased a click below.

A.G.S. 3.3.0 released!

By Ghost at Mon, 17 Feb 2014 14:37:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

The final version of the "first community-made AGS" is now up for grabs- get it while it's fresh!

7 Cities of Grog: Indymonkeyisland fangame

By Jim Spanos at Sat, 15 Feb 2014 13:36:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

Basically, the wonderful team behind the Indiana Jones AGS fangame called "Indiana Jones & the Seven Cities of Gold", gathered on the AGS IRC Channel, and we rambled lots. Like lots. About game design, about origins, about sexual preferences. Fun talk.Click on the link will take you to a wonderful document.Here's a small cutscene, where stuff happens. 

Free Adventure Game? Sure!

By Ghost at Tue, 11 Feb 2014 09:07:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

While it comes with the need to register on Steam, I think the service is popular enough to make the post here:Serena, a short adventure game about a man dealing with his past (to say the least) has been made available as a free download over here. It's a simple game, more like Myst than classic Point-and-Click, but it does explore its small tale to the fullest and should give you a quiet hour or so of gameplay.Fun Fact: According to their blurb it's really a collaboration game- with Senscape, CBE Software, Infamous Quests, and Guys from Andromeda all credited for adding to it.So if you are on Steam you may already have the game and not yet noticed. If not, I suggest you try it out, it's unsettling and rich!

DAEMONS IN THE ATTIC: POST MORTEM - The Rest

By Jim Spanos at Thu, 06 Feb 2014 04:30:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

I was informed by some italian chap, that Ghost, finally finished the post-mortem.So:PART 3PART 4PART 5

How I found AGS and why I am still using it: Part III - Monkey424

By Jim Spanos at Wed, 05 Feb 2014 15:47:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

My first taste of computer game development was in the 90’s using GW-BASIC.  I created many amateurish games including ‘Great Escape’, an adventure game without the luxury of pointing and clicking (as GW-BASIC didn’t support a mouse) but rather with the unique experience of key-tapping numbers and letters to interact with inventory and hotspots!Along came the year 2000. The future had arrived! And I could download AGS (version 2.07). I played Demo Quest and was blown away! I knew what I had to do. That weekend we took a trip to the country and stopped in at my aunt’s holiday caravan site, which we fondly called The Block. I took a few happy snaps, bung ‘em into AGS, added a few puzzles, a jazzy sound track, and Bob’s your aunty! My first AGS game! A masterpiece which I simply called The Block. I didn’t bother releasing the game though.By coincidence, a few years later, a reality home renovation show called The Block appeared on Australian TV. I was gutted! The bastards obviously stole my brilliant game title and used it for their own mediocre purposes!The following year I dabbled with a detective adventure called Sleuth, but AGS 2.07 was a bit buggy (as was my scripting I suspect), and I abandoned the project. I’m currently in the process of reviving this one.In 2004, I started another game based loosely on a girl I was into (but she just wanted to be friends).  My hopes were to finish the game and give it to her as a present (the game that is). I never finished it, and that’s probably for the best. I won’t work on this one again (too many painful memories) but I will show you this scene of her on the toilet.In 2005 I started an odd project involving a crude stick figure on a black and white background. Thus the rather obvious name Chalkman was born. It was a bit of an experimental joke game at this stage. There was no plot, just drawing the world, the city, and creating the infamous cube maze. I abandoned this project, I suppose due to a lack of vision or inspiration. I was still using AGS 2.07, which was getting tedious to use, and that could be another contributing reason. I also met my future wife later that year. Hmm…The next 5 years were inactive. However, in 2009, while on holiday, I discovered Yahtzee’s Trilby / John DeFoe games and was TOTALLY blown away! I rediscovered my purpose in life: TO MAKE GAMES!Nearly a year later, in 2010, I knew I’d procrastinated long enough. I finally downloaded the latest AGS, got a strong cup of coffee, and recommenced production of Chalkman. A lot of it was sort of made up as I went, but it was thrilling, artistic freedom! The pieces of the puzzle were coming together, albeit a few mashed together into place. I became excited as vague ideas became... less vague. And a sort of plot emerged. There was even an antagonist, which I literally just threw in at the end. Yes, it gets weird. It’s definitely not your average adventure game. But I’m proud I can say I finished it!After releasing Chalkman (Feb 2013) I thought I should probably pay more attention to my heavily pregnant wife. But fuelled by adrenalin and coffee from just completing my first game, I couldn’t resist re-making The Block in AGS 3.2.1. It only took two weeks to complete! What a rush! Better than sex (which I wasn’t getting much of anyway).I hadn’t been involved with the forums at all prior to releasing these games other than searching for technical advice. So although I’ve known about AGS for some time now, I’ve only just recently discovered the forums so to speak. All this has coincided with the birth of my daughter (aka monkey425) who is now 9 months old and gaining speed! AGS can be a time consuming and somewhat guilty pleasure, but as Baron and co. have stated, family comes first.

Beauty & Hope in the 21th Century

By Ghost at Tue, 04 Feb 2014 09:04:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

Nikolas Sideris, who I remember as one of the first "original musicians" I met at the forums, has been asking for comments, help and critique on logo illustrations recently... And we may have thought he'd sit there somewhere, brewing up a small project maybe. But, no. Now finally he has revealed what he's been up to right here. He's running a Kickstarter for a project called Beauty & Hope in the 21th Century, and I won't spoil his surprise here. You'd really check it out for yourself.This is the Kickstarter video.It's a beautiful concept. And it really MUST happen.

MAGS January offers a handful

By Jim Spanos at Mon, 03 Feb 2014 16:09:00 +0000 on The AGS blog

This month's MAGS has beared fruit to 5 games, all under the following theme set by Captain D, selmiak, and Emont:The game should have COLD as a major feature of the game in whatever way the game authors decide; the main element of the game should revolve around something that happens under ground (BURROWED) (be it the turtles or beeing buried alive or a cave adventure or whatever the author comes up with) and the color PINK should have an important role too.Don't Drink the Pink by HoboRex and Sissi in Pink Cult by Robin Gravel (Volcan)Pink Sky by HanaIndianaThe Ice-Cream Mystery by Dmitry StefantsovA-Mused by LostTrainDudeClick on the game title to download or you could be a smart pumpkin and download in a bundleIt's good etiquette to play all the games and vote for the one that took your heart. VOTE

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