I’ve planted some new seeds. Sweet peppers, Treasure Flowers and Cosmos.
At the end of last year I entered the Interactive Fiction Competition for the first time. I’ve known about it for a few years but never really got round to entering anything. Last year I decided to make something.
About four years or so ago, I had a conversation one damp morning with a friend at work, while we were at the bus stop. There were lots of slugs on the wall and I seem to remember he didn’t like them very much and that was why we were talking about them. I wrote a rough short story about it afterwards on my computer. I also discovered that ducks like to eat slugs and I found this amusing video on youTube about someone feeding their pet duck slugs they had found around their garden. Apparently, some people keep ducks as slug control.
I pretty much finished the story, but it really needed editing and polishing which I never got round to. It seemed like a shame because I thought it wasn’t a bad story and I thought it would be good if someone could actually read it, rather than it just sitting around on my hard drive unread. I also couldn’t really think what I could do with it to get people to actually read it.
Earlier this year, I decided I would make it into an interactive fiction. First of all, I put the whole story into Twine, with the intention of just making an illustrated story. The only problem was, it wasn’t exactly very interactive. That was when I realised I might have to think about it a bit more beyond just plopping the story in there and adding some illustrations.
I managed to create two new endings. A big chunk of my game is still very similar to my original story, but I added two new endings and more interactivity, for instance, being able to buy things in the newsagents shop (I don’t want to give too much away about the game so I won’t list any more examples).
I started working on it around March. I hadn’t used Twine before so I also had to learn how to use it as I went along, which added to the time I spent on it. Luckily there is some quite good documentation for the format I was using (Sugarcube) and lots of information in the Twine forums.
I was surprised how long it took me to make the game. I originally wanted to have more illustrations but that became too time consuming. I actually ended up adding a lot more sound effects than I originally intended though. I managed to get most of the sound effects from freesound.org (I chose only sounds with a creative commons 0 licence).
The music I made entirely myself (although I got the quack sounds from freesound.org). I also was going to have a second bit of music for the ending but I found that using the main theme seemed to work well enough and seemed to tie it together. I then spent ages bug fixing and editing, not to mention fixing problems and tweaking it based on the problems my game testers had found (my friend and family members). I really didn’t want to submit it and find there was some huge bug in it.
In the end, I was quite pleased with it, and surprised I actually managed have a finished game to submit to the competition, even though it took a lot longer to make than I expected. There are probably things I would add to it if I had more time to work on it, I’m sure I could think of ways to make it even more interactive and maybe add a few extra illustrations here and there but then I could go on forever and never finish it.
My entry came at 44th place out of 82 in the comepetiton. I was quite pleased with that, I don’t think that’s bad for a first attempt at interactive fiction.
You can view the results and also download and play all the games in the competition here https://ifcomp.org/comp/2019
It’s very hot at the moment. Yesterday, I took some photos of some plants and flowers in the garden.
I took loads of photos until my camera battery ran out. I managed to take a few good ones, but probably my favourite is this one of a strawberry on a strawberry plant. It looks like it is hiding.
I’ve also added a new page to my website, a music page, where I have embedded some Spotify and YouTube links to some tunes that I created. I’m intending to add more links to it in the future.
Here is my pixel art tree.
I have been playing a couple of pixel art style games which lead to me watching some videos about pixel art on YouTube. I decided to make some of my own pixel art as I quite like the style.
As it was done pixel by pixel, the image was really quite small. I made the image larger by setting the resampling option to ‘Nearest Neighbour’ and then increasing the size, keeping the same aspect ratio.
I recently got a wildlife camera. You can leave it outside and it takes pictures and video if it detects anything moving. One night there was a sneaky mouse outside my back door. Here is a still from the video.
I bought these a few weeks ago, they are solar powered lights shaped like light bulbs.
I really like the fact they are solar powered. The only downside is that now the weather is more cloudy, they don’t stay lit up for as long. They still look good though, it is good to see them out of the window, it gives a nice atmosphere.
I have been meaning to sort this site out for some time but have not been sure what to do with it. It was my portfolio site a few years ago but now I have decided it will be a blog.
I have spent ages on and off faffing about with templates and making banners to fit the template only to give up and use another template with another banner size… anyway I think it’s about time I made my mind up, so here it is. I might start making some posts soon as well.
In the meantime, here is a photograph I took a few years ago of a mysterious looking geranium.