Games

The wonderful world of tools made by small teams, solo-devs, and shareware (weird, beautiful, and experimental things to be creative in + an analysis on building for approachability)

Since starting development on the Electric Zine Maker I’ve been hoarding links to interesting, unusual, strange, small, or just cute tools. This has grown to be a strong area of interest as I’ve been diving into what even makes a tool approachable… How much experimental UI or humor is too much? Do people even want tools that are goofy? What else is out there from creators making small and interesting tools that solve a variety of creative problems? Before I begin, you should definitely go check out Galaxy Kate’s work on Casual Creators. She has done A LOT of work...

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What it’s like sharing your #metoo with Kotaku (a cautionary tale)

Recently on Twitter I started talking about this now that some time has passed & i had time to process,i have a few things to share… this is advice & warnings to others that may have to call-out someone "famous" for sexual assault,if you have a friend going through this, please use this to help them! rt's appreciated.[TW] — Nathalie Lawhead (@alienmelon) January 8, 2020 It’s been on my mind a lot because of the repercussions of having the details of my sexual assault publicly aired on a major news site. My intention with this post is to be absolutely...

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walking sims and the joy of existing in a virtual space

I play a lot of walking sims. It’s probably one of my favorite type of game to play when I’m exploring alt-indie games on itch. I think they are interesting for how they explore what it means to be in a space, the relation of space to a player, and how their existence brings into question why you even need goals to be motivated to meaningfully interact with a space. To me walking sims represent a type of interaction I can’t really have in open world AAA games. They are about carving out a tiny moment, and giving attention to...

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games as found objects & virtual relics

There’s this type of play experience that’s unique to freeware. It’s been part of the internet ever since Dial Up. That past time of finding weird things to download, from sites that you might more or less trust, and running them. Games, software, weird small things… It’s a pastime that I remember fondly when our modem “could do” 64 kbit/s. I used to spend hours on Downloads dot Com searching for DOS games. I found Chickens 2 that way, and still have the original copy on my machine. I never had the heart to delete it. PC Gamer used to...

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the future of my games on Apple (post-Catalina) and what this means for art games in general

Recently I posted a Twitter thread about OSX Catalina blocking all my games… An update for those of you that can't run my games anymore on OSX because of Catalina.I'm so sorry about this…I'll probably write a post about this, breaking it all down for you, but the situation is as follows.(from my point of view, and own experiences with Apple)[thread] pic.twitter.com/PY0y3o9gNF — Nathalie Lawhead (@alienmelon) November 7, 2019 …since I’ve been getting people asking me about that, and there doesn’t seem to be much anyone can do at this point other than throw their hands in the air and...

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design notes, a bit on definition hell, and building an “art toy”…

Sometime last week I released the breakfast tool update to the Electric Zine Maker! You can download it on itch: https://alienmelon.itch.io/electric-zine-maker Or on GameJolt: https://gamejolt.com/games/zine/426661 I also have a lengthy devlog about it on itch.io (here) so you can read that for a detailed breakdown of what’s new. Overall I feel like it’s a major update for all the cute tools it brings to the table (including a more elaborate ASCII art painter, which I can’t shut up about because it’s ASCII art) BUT ALSO because it clearly defines the tone of the overall program…more than before imo. So far...

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IndieCade Europe Keynote: Addressing abuse in our communities and how can we move forward (full transcript)

Following is the full transcript of the keynote that I gave at this IndieCade Europe. I wrote everything out that I intended to say because this is a difficult thing to coherently talk about. The message is very important. Thank you so much to the IndieCade Europe organizers for making this happen and giving this message a platform. About this talk: This talk is about abuse in our industry. The necessity of providing a safe space for survivors to come forward about abuse. The equal importance of our community to constructively create accountability for those that cause harm. —————————- Hi...

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Design notes on the Electric Zine Maker’s Tool Update! (and general life update + overshare)

Earlier this September I released the tool update for the Electric Zine Maker. Yay! You can download it here. You can read the devlog about it (a list of all the new tools) here. It’s not a complete tool update. I released it because I’m kind of in the middle of a lot of uncertainty about the future right now, so (to get around that), I’m changing the release schedule to be more frequent instead of what I planned. I originally wanted to release tools in larger chunks so that it stays interesting to people… You know, if you release...

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my follow up post

To start off, I would like to thank all my friends, and supporters, who have reached out to me. I’m also sorry that I’ve been very bad at answering texts, emails, and DM’s. I’ve been trying to stay off social media and lay low. Thank you all for your support. As you can imagine I didn’t expect this. In a recent Twitter thread I said that I would do a follow up post hopefully clearing the air and dealing with some of the misconceptions, or less welcoming theories about my intentions, that have been coming my way. Before you go...

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calling out my rapist

On November 4 2008 I was contacted by a studio in Vancouver to design and build an ARG for their new IP. I talked about my experiences of working with this company before. For example, in this post. What I didn’t share, when talking about my experiences, is that I was raped by Jeremy Soule while I was working there. I’m writing this post to honestly, and openly, explain what I have been through. I am sharing emails between myself and my bosses (and others that I worked with) to provide proof of the abuse that I went through. I...

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on UI design & using UI as a means to tell a story, convey emotion, create personality… an in-depth look…

Throughout development of the Electric Zine Maker I’ve been trying to find some time to finally talk about UI, and how important it is to view it as part of your “world building” rather than just UI work. All of my work heavily relies on UI to convey the message of the game, or further build on it. To me UI is just as important as, say: dialogue, music, design… if done right it reinforces the themes of your game, and even builds on it in a way that you might not be able to convey anywhere else. So, OK,...

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My gross revenue on itch.io, transparently sharing all my stats & earnings, and speaking on how supportive of a base itch.io has

I have been regularly sharing my itch.io income numbers on Twitter. This year I’ve been doing surprisingly well on itch (the snowballing is kind of blowing my mind). When I last looked at the account overview I noticed that (since starting on itch.io, in 2015, OVERALL)… The Gross Revenue of my games are: $7,276.70 The very touching part of this is that the *TIP* Revenue is $7,164.18. That’s Tip. So ok, queue me melting into a useless puddle of feelings. I shared that in this thread, with some thoughts about what itch.io and GameJolt mean to me. I asked if...

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The Electric Zine Maker website is up!

This last week or so I’ve been neck deep in building the website for the Electric Zine Maker. At this point in development it seemed like a good idea to make it because I need to write people about it, and sharing just the itch page seemed boring… so here it is. I think it worked out wonderfully. It’s very interesting! LINK: http://unicornycopia.com/ezm/ It’s part of the Unicornycopia webring :) Yes, I’m viewing it as that now. All my games have a website, and it’s kind of cute to think of it that way. With making these sites, especially this...

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Electric Zine Maker fuzzy update with ASCII, Power Goo-like tools, Displacement, Color Management, and more…

I did it! The update is out! This feels like a big deal because it’s a fairly substantial one. I’ve been meaning to make a more concise design writeup about it, and talk about influences and things that went into it, because I think that the design process that would be interesting…but I’m very exhausted so I’ll have to save that for another time. Download link: YOU CAN DOWNLOAD IT HERE So ok… this new update to the Electric Zine Maker brings a bunch of new tools. These are interesting because they’ll add dimension to your art, or give you...

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recent thoughts about mentioning influences in the discussion, and why recognizing inspiration matters (ending the “lone genius” ideal)

The other day I posted this thread about inspiration and the importance of crediting the sources of your inspiration… so that your success doesn’t lead to the erasure of the less advantaged artists that inspired you… I’m now making this a post because I feel like the issue is complicated, and deserves discussion. It’s a topic that ends up being on my mind a lot since people will tell me how much my work influenced them, inspired them, or led to them making their game, and when it becomes popular that’s not mentioned anywhere. The “what inspired them” reason behind...

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Playdate & the LA Zine Fest, weird games, and what it means for “Playdate” to lose its name…

Playdate, now Playdate Pop Up, is a game showcase meets miniature event that runs as part of the LA zine fest. It’s been around for a few years now. It’s one of my favorite because of how low-key it is, and how it consistently showcases personal, niche, strange, weird, and wonderful games from a wide spectrum of devs. The games featured are feminist, queer, weird, and wonderfully experimental. It’s a beautiful fit for the zine crowd who are equally as feminist, queer, and weird. It’s also an event run very resourcefully, and personally, since the organizers don’t make money from...

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Electric Zine Maker Beta is out (here are some development and design notes about it)

I finally posted the Electric Zine Maker public beta. It’s two days old! They grow up so fast!!!! You can download the beta here: https://alienmelon.itch.io/electric-zine-maker The Electric Zine Maker is a printshop and art tool for making zines. It includes a drawing interface. You can import images, size and place them, write text with any font that you have installed, smudge, paint, and a number of other options. It's out!The Electric Zine Maker (public beta)https://t.co/yOVfooYtCv?? Easily create, draw, write, and print zines!? Folding instructions included!!?? You can save them, and re-import them.?? Made with collaboration in mind.? Try it! It's...

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Announcing the Electric Zine Maker! (about my new art-tool-toy-game-thing being developed & the direction it’s taking)

So here it is. I’m finally announcing it in a blog post, proper! If you have been following me on Twitter, then you’ve probably seen me talk about it. I’m making a zine tool! This is called Electric Zine Maker. It’s an art tool for creating zines. It will allow you to paint, write, and edit zines. It’s specifically targeted at the 8-page fold ones, but I’m open to adding more templates as soon as I have the hard parts of this finished. This grew out of a spur of the moment thing. I was fairly burned out (jaded?) after...

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My GDC Talk transcript (Personal Experiences as Games) and a small update about what I’m making next

This GDC I co-organized a session called “Personal Experiences as Games” with Jingyu Sui. UPDATE: You can now watch the talk for free on the Vault here. I am posting my talk transcript and one slide here (my talk is bellow the following summary). The session was a set of microtalks about making games based on personal experiences… Along the lines of how artists have turned to games as a way of telling personal experiences, conveying deeper sensitive topics, personal messages, and using the medium as a tool to build empathy (I know the “empathy” discussion is a bit overused...

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Documenting the Internet & Webring of Tetrageddon (the desktop version)

Since it feels really important to me to make an effort to explain the internet portion that surrounds the desktop version of Tetrageddon Games, I’m doing that here. I never talked about that properly. You can download the game here: https://alienmelon.itch.io/tetrageddon This came about because of this. Since I know how these things play out, if I were ever to build on this, or make something surrounding the subject that I have been working with for 10+ years… I’ll likely be compared to, or told that I’m copying the ideas from the new hit game made by men (I apologize...

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