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Speaking candidly about things lately (there is no justice and other short horror stories)…

TW: For all the things. I’m writing this because it’s my birthday tomorrow and I REALLY need someone to talk to. My blog exists for that. Many moths ago… because of the ongoing Global Pandemic this feels like an eternity ago, but that’s another tangent… Someone reached out to me for help about coming forward with their story (abuse, the type of story we all know is too normal in the game space by now). This happens a lot and I try my absolute best to be as helpful as possible. I think it’s important to do that because I...

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In support of Wren (the abuse she endured while working on Fight Knight)

I am writing this post in support of Wren. Hello, I'm the "writer" of the Dangen Warning and the former writer of Fight Knight. I feel it's important for me to come forward about why I left the Fight Knight project. https://t.co/ccrZgh1IeA — Wren (@rivalerose) October 1, 2021 Wren is a wonderful human who endured physical abuse, psychological abuse, gaslighting, manipulation, and pretty much that entire spectrum that we’re way too used to hearing about when survivors share their stories. She endured this while working on the game Fight Knight, putting out what I’m sure was amazing work that we...

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Celebrating all the wonderful zines from the Electric Zine Jam 2.0

During the month of September I ran another Electric Zine Jam (the two point oh edition!) in which people made a bunch of beautiful zines. This jam was to celebrate the new Electric Zine Maker update which introduced a number of templates, and the brand new UI update. I’m also over the moon that PAGE online wrote about it! “Zines und OpenSource passen wunderbar zueinander, findet Nathalie Lawhead und entwickelt seit 2018 den Electric Zine Maker. Nun ist ein großes Update für das Printshop-Tool erschienen.” – by Lena Simonis on PAGE, Zine Design: Micro-Heft gestalten mit dem Electric Zine Maker...

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Generative art & tools (on the intersection of toys, tools, and games…)

I hoarded a lot of links to tools again, and am putting aside some time to share them here. Here’s another tool post! I just opened a blog category called “tools” in which you can read all my writing about open source, freeware, or small tools from small devs. At this point I feel like I’ve already said everything I can possibly say about the wonderful world of tools, coming out of this space… It’s an inspiring area that never fails to surprise! One thing that I’ve been thinking about lately is the intersection between tools and games. When you...

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Tiny tools and the ephemeral nature of digital art…

It has been a hot minute since I wrote about tools. I’ve got a ton of emails to answer, too much to do, and a lot of work on the Electric Zine Maker that needs doing but… I’ll just make a moment to finally talk about tools and digital art again! These links aren’t going to share themselves. Before I begin, here is some recommended reading: Parasocial Nintendo Complex: 10 Years of Game Dev by Melos Han-Tani My Procreate Curl Brushes Are HERE!! I made over 50+ different coil, curl, kinky, and wavy texture brushes! I also made more outline...

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The Machine That Eats People

I just finished having a really long conversation with another friend that works in games and it inspired me to write this post. It’s given me a lot to think about. I’m still processing my experiences… As I write this, the game space is under another metoo “moment”. More of these horrible, but all too normal stories, this time coming out of Blizzard. I won’t be linking to any of these because I don’t have the stomach for it. We’ve had these “moments” come and go now for the last few years. Each time reminding this space of the abuse...

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A very angry & venty blog post that I’m writing just to get shit off my chest…

This is an update to my situation: I am angry. I am writing this for the sake of venting… at the very most to keep documenting what has been happening. Writing feels like all I can do… I’ve been fighting for over a year with Kotaku, and then game journalism in general, to care about what they have done to survivors in this space (in terms of misrepresenting our stories). I’m not the only one this was done to by Kotaku and the same journalist. It’s a loop that I’m tired of talking about because it keeps spinning and getting...

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Tetrageddon Games now on Github! (the entire project and all Flash games are open source again…)

Here’s a small but meaningful update. I’ve been working on-and-off for a while now to put Tetrageddon.com on Github. Now that it’s been re-built and re-launched, with a new direction, it’s appropriate that it stays with the open source nature. I always advertised it as an “open source arcade”. That said, you can download the entire thing from github here: https://github.com/alienmelon/TetrageddonGames It includes all audio assets, art, animated gifs, code, smaller HTML pages, various JavaScript… There’s a lot to it. I am not at all sure what use this will be for people. It’s super specific to this project. A...

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New templates for the Electric Zine Maker and more on what’s planned for it!

Yesterday, The Guardian published this really beautiful story by Sarah Griffin on how her using the Electric Zine Maker recaptured her creativity during lockdown. The article is just beautiful. To myself, it’s tremendously encouraging that I made something that helped people… It’s also so much more than that. It’s kind of like a very touching account of zine culture, and captures why zine culture is so special. “Last year, I sent almost 2,000 envelopes full of zines to people who wanted to read them. Something else happened, too: people I didn’t know sent zines back to me. Their children made...

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The inspired brilliance of Katelabs, a foray into glitch tools, and what zine culture has taught me about games & software dev…

Here is an inspired find that’s… just… an amazing encapsulation of everything good about freeware tools. Trust me. You need this one! It’s a level editor of sorts, reminiscent of old school tools like Nickelodeon Director’s Lab, mixed with what feels like a very personal approach to what it means to create on a computer from the developer that made it. Katelabs “In KATELABS, Kate Barrett (Ready Player F**K, Flamingo Quest) brings you her most advanced tech yet… But with a twist! YOU get to be let loose with it! It’s a deep level editor with lots of features including...

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Games are giant weird story machines! (video games, their stories, and building stories for systems)

Entomorph: Plague of the Darkfall was a 90’s action-adventure role-playing game that… I still struggle to describe today. It’s a wildly “all over the map” type of experience somehow pulled through by the very nightmarish storyline. I played it when it first came out so now… I paraphrase the following heavily and try to recall this from memory: I remember the game starting on a beach-side village, the place being swarmed by undead and giant insects. You have to go do something to save the village from this invasion, something dark that’s falling over the world… You eventually do, pretty...

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New Tetrageddon.com is here! (Cybermonkey has died, a broken desktop haunted by skeletons of the past, and more…)

At the beginning of this year I relaunched a brand new Tetrageddon Games (the web version… not to be confused with ARMAGAD, the desktop version). I did this because I waited till basically the absolute last minute to see if Flash emulators would be up to par to be able to run the games. The majority of these games are Actionscript 3 based. The ones that are Actionscript 2 based don’t run well on emulators yet… long story short, emulators aren’t really exactly ready yet. So I went with the alternative plan of releasing all games as desktop apps, and...

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“I want shorter games with worse graphics made by people who are paid more to work less and I’m not kidding”

This post is about stuff that’s been on my mind lately. I had some game recommendations that I wanted to write about, and then I suppose it grew into more… – image credit and title inspiration go to @moshboy Recently I’ve started playing more AAA open world games because it’s been helping me cope with self-isolation. Stuff like GTA 5 and the new Spider Man game (the Miles Morales one). I don’t really have much to say about these games, and would rather not give them more attention than they need because they are AAA and enough people talk about...

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Opening Electric Zine Maker on macOS guide (I downloaded the Electric Zine Maker but it won’t open on my Mac. It keeps getting blocked…)

I’m publishing this page so I have an official guide to send to macOS users that have this problem. Thank you for downloading my work! Here is why this happens, and what you can do to open it… This is a Gatekeeper issue. Newer versions of macOS, starting with Catalina, introduced measures to block non-notarized apps from developers. Notarizing an app means that I have to pay Apple a yearly fee of $100 to be able to sign my work with them. I have to keep paying this fee, else the certificate expires. Long answer short, I cannot afford this...

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Code share: a javascript image gallery, javascript & php countdown timer, and a very basic javascript & php email form…

It’s been a while since I shared code of things I’m working on here. Since one of the projects is not yet announced (a secret!), but the code for it is useful, I thought it’s about time that I do one of these again… My last little code project was to FINALLY make a vanilla-javascript based image gallery (just plain javascript, no jquery or anything). I’ve been putting this off for years, and the last one I had was just a hacked together thing. I got around to making one that’s extremely simple, no massive features, and easy to customize!...

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More from the wonderful world of tools by small devs, shareware, and freeware (art tools, music tools, and toys to create with)

This is a followup to my first post where I talked about the wonderful world of tools and art toys that exists outside the mainstream. Some months ago I asked if there was interest in another one of these, and yes. There was interest! The level of interest that exists for freeware and shareware tools (in general, tools made by small creators) is really exciting to me. We see genuine enthusiasm for quirky artistic tools… things that you could basically call a creative “toy”. These things are like a breath of fresh air. To me, they remind me why it’s...

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About desktop pets & virtual companions: discussing the inhabitants that fill the void of our digital spaces

Here is a hugely passionate area of creative interest to me: desktop pets, screenmates, screen buddies, desktop buddies, desktop mascots, screen crawlers, virtual pets, virtual companions, screen wanderers, digital pets… (those are all the things they are called, ur welcome!) I love designing them and think they are intrinsically fascinating. I make maybe one a year, and this next project I’m working on will involve one as well. There’s something special about filling the virtual void with warm, silly, supposedly pointless simulated companionship. It’s like having a fireplace lit in the corner of the room. It’s weirdly comforting. Image of...

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Comments on today’s announcement (Flash)

After today’s news, and because I will probably be getting junk directed at me, I’m writing this to explain what this means for my work, and what I will be doing… First of all, if you want to read more about what this means for AIR (the runtime teams have given their commitment to keep supporting it) then visit these links: https://forums.adobe.com/thread/2362234 https://forum.starling-framework.org/topic/air-roadmap-update I have been moving all my stuff to AIR for quite a while now. Tetrageddon has fully transitioned to a desktop app. The games will be playable in the browser for as long as browsers support the...

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“Everything is going to be OK” early access

My new not-a-game game experimental art experience “Everything is going to be OK” was showcasing at IndieCade E3 this week! This was an amazing privilege, and the other indies in the showcase also had amazing games. The overall feedback was encouraging. So many people commented that they had never seen anything like it. This was probably the most common comment. I would love to talk about this more, but I have a pressing announcement & favor to ask… The game is out on early access here: http://gamejolt.com/games/ok/263066 If you would like to support me, my work, or the development of...

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Game design notes: “Everything is going to be OK” (talking about personal things/experiences is easy, making a game about them is not)

As I develop I take lots of notes. I figure I’m due another blog post, so I’m sharing some thoughts I’ve had while making “Everything is going to be OK”… also that’s the official title now. It was a placeholder, and now it’s stuck, and everyone knows it by that so… I’m ok with that. The game is called “Everything is going to be OK”, ok?? (p.s. excuse the grammar, i’m very tired and there’s lots to do) Notes… Talking about personal things is easy, making a game about them is not. It feels almost invasive, but at the same...

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