Sunday, August 19, 2012

Next of kin.

This blog is moving, I'm officially ditching Google as much as I can.

Don't be afraid if it gives you a feeling of deja-vu, I'm still moving the posts. ;)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Now you see me, now you don't (part 1)

Ever told you I like to put random shit in here?

Splinter Cell. Assassin's Creed. Metal Gear Solid. Hitman.

All those series are universally lauded. All of them have a fuckton of "stealth" stickers all around them.

Guess what? Time to set a few things on fire. Hell yeah, baby.

But first things first. As I said, I wanted to write a little something about The Dark Mod.

Fact is, I didn't exactly want to write a piece about the game per se. I like to strip down games, tear them up, leave them with only their mechanics on, then look at them pole-dancing and ponder what could and/or should be better.

Sometimes there's nothing wrong. It's a rare occurence though, so I'm often left bitching and thinking.

Anyway. Every time I see one of them called a "stealth game", I have this weird reaction of grabbing a knife and thinking what it could do to an eye or two. Or more.

And even more so as time goes by.

Just like horror should never entitle you with weapons, lest it becomes a gunfest (why hellooooo there, Resident Evil), Stealth shouldn't either. Or with great consequence.

Maybe this calls for a bit of background. I LOVE the genre and its mechanics. I've been mucking around with them since Castle Wolfenstein came out (and that's THE Castle Wolfenstein, not RTCW - a bit later, actually, but that was still the first I played). I've played Splinter Cell, Assassin's Creed, Metal Gear Solid, Hitman, Stolen, Thief, Deus Ex, System Shock 2, Arkham Asylum, ... - let's just say I have sort of a looooooooooong crush, 'mkay?

The moment you throw guns into the mix, things get ugly. It's as fucking easy as that.

Totally stealthy. The launcher, that is. Errr.....
The reward of stealth lies within the wait, the learning, the anticipation, the silent count to appraise the length of a guard's patrol, the evaluation of enemy forces, the cunning required to bypass any and all kind of security system/force.

Stealth is not, has never been, shouldn't be an easy genre. When Thief came out, the difficulty levels for it were chosen as such: Normal, Hard, Expert. Nowhere to be seen was the word Easy. As the word "choice" implies, the naming was entirely intended, and lived up to it.

Or did it?

What Thief did well was entice you to jump into the fray half-naked. Once you had tiptoed into its waters, there was no turning back - as long as you liked the game, at least.

The very instant you completed your first mission in Normal, you realized something was wrong. You had probably checked the objectives for all the difficulty settings, finished your joint with just a few ruffled feathers... And you instantly knew you could be better than that.

You now knew the place, had your wits about you, your mouse had become the extension of your arm again, and in you went again - same place, same time, clicking on Hard.

And you probably got yourself into a nasty mess, because guard placement and restrictions on who you were allowed to kill had changed.

I'm fairly sure I wasn't the only one who said "fuck it. You want it, you got it. This is war" and started again on Expert.

Once you got there, you started an experience you wouldn't soon forget, that would leave you craving, shaking, marveling at just what the fuck you got yourself into, and wondering how the hell you actually made it.

Thief stripped its newcomers of all power. The guards were far too easy to spook, the blackjack was pretty much useless, and you were in huge trouble. Making it all the way in - then out - was an engrossing adventure. It took time and a good bit of dedication.

THAT, people, is what STEALTH is about.

Heck. That simple demo was longer than a good chunk of the current triple A fuckups.

It's something that is very, very hard to emulate, and even more so to attain.

Where most games fail is just in that: you have the power. You are actually fairly safe, unless you force yourself into insane challenges for which the game wasn't made, ruining a good bit of said game along the way.

I'm not saying Thief is the perfect experience either. As a matter of fact, the game is fairly broken, though to a much lesser extent than all the series mentioned hereabove.

When shock and awe subsided, you'd go in again, because you thought that it would be neat to find all the loot. Then you just wanted another go, and learned how to blackjack guards. And that's when everything broke.

That little club all Thief fans have come to love is probably the worst trick of the game. You may almost universally blackjack everyone on your path, and once you find how to do that, you're once again a killing machine.

Yeah, yeah, right, okay. Not a killing machine. A blackjacking machine. The difference is thin, to say the least.

Once you get there, it becomes obvious how the "stealth" claim in the above series is, in one very light word, ridiculous.

Once used to the controls, you need about as much stealth as Kratos. And no, I'm not making an obscure reference here. THAT Kratos. And that's when the game doesn't squarely put you in a position when there is no need, no use, and even no possibility of sneaking through. When you want to say your game is all about stealth, what's it called already? Bad design? Is that it?


BULLSHIT. That's what it's called. Your game is a pile of steaming horse dung. There's no other way to put it.

Ezio is stealthy. Fo shizzle, mah nizzle.

But back to our case. The only place where the stealth genre shines true is summarized in one word: extreme.

It takes an extremely hostile environment to see the diamond in the rough. FM missions such as Cauchemars clearly show that. It will take you to new heights, instill the thrill and fear associated with your first game of Thief. But it comes at a very, very high price. The missions are damn nigh impossible. Such is the price to pay. It takes a lot of dedication, training and love to even reach the playstyle it takes to take on the campaign. It keeps you on your toes from start to end, in a mind-bending, teeth-clenching display of utmost violence. Put a beginner in front of it, and you'll probably find him prostrated in a corner of the room.

It's harsh, unpredictable, and insanely good if you have the skills to take it.

Why do we have to go to such ends to get back that original thrill? The blackjack. You can't kill, so normal and fire arrows are useless unless you want to create a diversion (but why would you? You're able to bypass anything and anyone without raising any kind of suspicion). Water arrows are still pretty cool, though they lost their edge a long, long time ago. Gas arrows? C'mon, you know they're so cheap you wouldn't go ANYWHERE near them. Rope arrows are still your standard equipment, along with vine arrows - all non-lethal tools only useful to reach otherwise unreachable places.

Beware the Defiler of Souls, the Devourer of Worlds, the almighty blackjack!

The problem is in there: the more you play, the more professional you become. You are - quite literally - becoming a master thief. A virtual one, but still a master of your art. Only in constantly crazier challenges is one able to find any kind of thrill. The genre is thus made, and broken from the start. The more you play, the more extreme the odds, the environment, the enemies have to be to match your skills.

... 'mkay, that was supposed to be a brief intro... So I guess I'll be back. ;p

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pros and cons of solo gameplay

tl;wr - Translation is a game. And even multiplayer must be solo. Yeah, I know it doesn't make sense. But at least now you're wondering, so maybe you'll read. Gotcha. HAH! :D

I originally intended to write some kind of post-mortem thingie about the translation of The Journey Down. It was after all a first - never had I translated an adventure game before, and the constraints were easily compensated by the possibilities the game gave me - but I guess it'll have to wait a bit. The localized version isn't out yet, anyway, so there's still time for that.

I also had this idea of writing about The Dark Mod, a long-time (well, not so long, but it is so delicately embroidered unto the fabric of the stealth genre in general, and the victorian steampunk stealth genre in particular - that's Thief for the stealth-impaired among you) favorite of mine that's so widely overlooked I thought I might as well promote it a bit at my humble level.

Instead, I'm stuck with yet another rant. One that may be of further interest to any indie dev looking around for translation options.

I've talked about it before (clicky): having your game translated is a mess to begin with. For every good translation, AAA and indie alike, I can name a good dozen bad ones. If not a hundred.

I already said it isn't easy to find someone fit for the job, I already said I can't promise anything perfect but CAN say what I release is as good as I can make it - and technically speaking that's very, very good.

Anyway. As I said, I wanted to write a li'l sumthin' about TDM. So I went and reinstalled the Mod. Dismay, rage and facekeyboard ensued.

See I translated the thing back in 2009 or something, long before they even considered localization. Which meant it was functional but hacky. No accents, hardcoded strings, yaddayadda. Ugly shit, but I went with it and did my best to ensure that it was at least readable - which is hard when some fonts are hardly readable in French, with the problem aggravated by - once again - the lack of proper accent marks.

Long story short, the release of that translation was an uphill battle. It was ugly, time-consuming, exhausting. To give you a rough idea, I'm not quite sure The Dark Mod is heavier (written material wise) than The Journey Down. The latter took me three days of laid-back work. TDM, on the other hand, took me roughly a month and a half of seriously hardcore grunt work. Amongst others, because I really wanted to get the accent marks. And it was nigh impossible for a layman such as myself. I came quite close to getting it to work for the main GUI font, but by the time I had the font painted, I was so severely burnt out I gave up, released as is, and went away for a long, long while.

A good while later, I was poked by another translator who had picked up the torch on the french community. Went back to TDM, picked up on it again - and by the gods I swear those guys are as close to heroes as it gets: full localization support was on the way. It's still a work in progress to this day, but at least it is now possible to release a good translation without having to sweep through the minefield that is source code you know nothing about.

I went back to work, and instantly spit my coffee. Again. It's a habit I should try to drop, but quite frankly... it's rather hard when you're surrounded by monkeys and incompetent fools.

Basically: the guy had changed my translation into a trainwreck of epic proportions. Stuff that should never be translated had been (think "Bloom", yeah, the thing that came before HDR. Bloom is bloom, there's no point in using a translation that's so stupid you have to add (bloom) right after it so it makes sense. On/off had been translated verbatim, as in "light on, light off", not "switch on, switch off" - and I mean it literally: every switchable option was now a lightbulb. That's EXACTLY how it read.

He never, ever tested his translation in-game, something that is one of the most basic requirements of this job. As I said in my previous post, there is no safety net here. If you want to translate, you better make damn sure you're a translator, a proofreader, a tester and a QA team all by yourself. No one's going to help you, and no one's going to save you. That's not to say that his translations weren't correct (well, as a matter of fact, some were, and that was UGLY, the "light switches" above are but the tip of the iceberg). It's just that...


"Queued". If you want a nice, sleek translation, you'll go for "En file d'attente" or, even better, "Placé en file d'attente".

That's what he did.

Chaos ensued.

For all that appeared on screen was "d'attente".

You don't exactly need more proof that he didn't check his work in game: that's one of the things you'll see when you want to download a mission. Which will probably happen within the first hour for your average player, as the choice of missions included in the mod is quite limited. And if you're translating the game, it's rather safe to assume that you played it to some extent, right? RIGHT?

'parently not.

So I spent a few more hours salvaging what could be salvaged before the next update. Heck, I'd been their translator, my reputation was on the line. I updated the FUCK out of it, until it met my standards again.

Guess what: it's been almost 8 months. And anyone who downloads the mod, to this very day, still gets the same shitty pseudo-translation the fool made. And, goes without saying: said fool vanished without a trace. Guess who's left.

Worst part is, I didn't reinstall the mod until very recently, I thought everything was sorted out. Turns out I was wrong, as the reinstall I had to do after my hard disk crash taught me.

Even worse? There's an update. It could - and should - have been included in the nifty updater they coded. Fact is... It still isn't. It's only available on this very blog. It's all I can do (and I'm not even sure if it's the latest version anymore, to add insult to injury - have I told you I have a goldfish memory?) and... that particular post has been read a whopping...

Wait for it...

19 times. So AT MOST 19 players have MY translation, and have a GOOD translation. Hint: The Dark Mod has MUCH more than 19 downloads on the counter. And it's safe to say MANY French players have downloaded it and now have a "fair" idea of what I can do - and that is: SHIT.

Which has me thinking... How are you supposed to cope with a team of freelance nuts who are supposedly fit for the job?

TDM is quite the exception - feedback will probably never come to the official forums. It's a niche game, and the french community is even more of a niche - as a matter of fact, I've seldom seen the Thief games discussed outside the Ariane community. You find a thread on every once in a while, but that's as valuable a community as /b/ is close to a philosophy forum. To put it bluntly: it's populated by morons. And this time, I'm using the word very, very seriously.

TDM would also be a great platform for experimentation: the GUI is but one component, and every FM can be taken separately.

What leads to the current blunder is the fact two people have been working on the same component, and one has been laying muddy footprints in the other's clean lounge. The lines have been blurred, and nobody could tell whodunnit, apart from me.

I can see why you would need several people working on your game/mod/whatever. Once the content reaches critical mass, it becomes impossible for one individual to cope with everything. It takes time to translate, even when you have the kind of experience I have accumulated. Even more so as I'm doing it in my spare time, get barely paid (if at all) for my work, and usually fly solo - exactly for the reasons stated above. Then things must be checked, played through, and that takes even more time.

Your best bet is to cleave the work. Literally. And, should one of your translator give up, make sure you keep its latest version in the fridge.

Why? Consider it a savestate. It's a game. If his successor fucks it up, you can always make a rollback to the lastest savestate - at least for the work the original translator has done. Then see if one your other translators can pick up the torch.

Have responsibilities determined. If anyone points you to a mistake in the localized version, take it seriously. Not so seriously that you'll immediately fire the guy. But find WHO did it. Ask him WHY he did it, ask him if it REALLY is a mistake. Ask him PROOF if he says it isn't.

Proof is easy to find. It may be a small world - and you damn want it to remain that way so you CAN point fingers when the need arises. But it is a HUGE web, too. And that's if your other translators can't answer your question for sure.

It's something that takes time to understand as a translator too. Something that may not be taken very seriously by your team/translator.

But I've been trying to always have a way for developers I've worked for to reach me. Twitter greatly facilitates that, and my switch to gmail helped a bit too. I only regret having used several mailboxes for my registration on your average community forum. It almost cost TDM its translation, as I wouldn't have received the notification if it hadn't been for the Ariane community. Since then, I activated notification mails everywhere I could.

My work is my responsibility. And while that may seem like Captain Obvious's motto, you could soon discover that things aren't exactly that easy. You'll probably want as many ways to reach your translator(s) as you can.

You want to keep track of them.

And you want to do what indies do best: be a huuuuuge family. Spread the word. About wheat AND about chaff. You want your translators to take their responsibilities, and you want the best for everyone. Unless you're a dick, but that is MY lawn, OK? Get off that, kid.

Point is: all of it is still uncharted territory. I've talked with some people about how there probably is no market for people such as myself, but I'll keep that for later.

What's most astonishing is how people don't seem to know how to react when they meet me. I'm very... talkative about my work. There's nothing I dislike more than leaving my patrons in the dark. I always try to explain what hurdles I'm confronted with, which choices I had to make, which limitations may appear, what I didn't understand, what I had to circumvent and how... And all too often it looks as if nothing was obvious. It's both amusing and unnerving. Amusing, because it's a discovery for everyone. And - hopefully - it helps weave a healthy business relationship (my working for free doesn't mean I'll deliver a subpar work). I mean, sometimes I think I'm sending too many mails. But do I have a choice? I'm serious about what I'm doing and I'm forgetful. So when i try to explain what my business - which is also my patrons' business, when all is said and done - is, why does it look so strange to communicate about the odds and ends of - to say it very roughly - the remaking of their game? Because that is what it's about: the core mechanics are the same, but the coat of paint is very different at times. And unnerving, because a translation should be transparent. It shouldn't be seen, heard or felt. People should be able to touch the core of the game without feeling any kind of resistance. It there's resistance, if suspension of disbelief is torn down, if anything happens, you can be sure most people won't just go after the translation, but also after the game. And many people seem to never even have thought of that. As if translation was a minor part. Protip: if you want it, it's not THAT minor.

For now, all I can do is keep a journal of my discoveries, write it down a second time, attach it to a carrier pigeon, and send it back to civilization, while praying the feathered messenger sees a fair and safe voyage, and my message goes into the right hands, hands that will spread it further, along with my name. Because I want to keep seeing new sights, meeting new people, and making a few new friends. Not that I'm optimistic enough to think it will happen, but whatever.

Thursday, July 19, 2012



Okay. Someone isn't afraid of ridicule. Indie has been besmirched. This besmirchment shall not stand.

I've ranted about how the word "indie" has outlived its usefulness before. And... Well, it looks like I was right. I can't see how this $@#! up there would have said "yeah, we totally make Shareware games and stuff here".

But more than that. What itches me most about the ridiculous statements that guy is making?

“I see ourselves as a group of indies trying to be progressive. I don’t see why there needs to be any divide.”

Yeah. Right. Because getting the erm...

* Assassin's Creed
* Assassin's Creed II
* Assassin's Creed Brotherhood
* Assassin's Creed Revelations
* Assassin's Creed III

... fifth game out is totally not milking an IP and customers. It's totally progressive and shit. Especially when even the core concept of the game - that would be stealth, for those who have been living under a rock for the past five decades - is so totally progressive it's absolutely not part of much older classics such as System Shock 2 or Thief.

Getting so many editions of your games no one (and I bet that includes yourselves) even understands what you're trying to do is totally progressive.

Being completely sold to the worst, customer-insulting, company is totally progressive and indie.

Having an always-on DRM is totally progressive.

Overpricing your shit (which will be about as innovative as Call of Honor Warfare Ops Battlefield 23, btw) is totally progressive.

Nah really. You're absolutely not ridiculous there. Seriously. Protip, pal: buy some pineapples and rubber chicken and figure something out. You'll make more sense. And that will be totally progressive. I guess.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Love/Hate Satellite 2 - An Intro: The Journey Down

The Journey Down (Chapter 1) is pure, raw, beautiful Love/Hate Satellite material (and you sure may want to check what that is about before I go on to dismantle, rape, utterly destroy the game just because it shouldn't be allowed to be that great).

As you'd expect, thus, I loved The Journey Down.

So why the intro? L/HS doesn't need an intro, right? True enough. Fact is, I promised I'd explain to @theowaern why I didn't intend to buy the game in the first place, got it when it all too conveniently appeared in the bundle, and why I am quite ashamed for those very reasons.

See, I'm an old player. I've been through a lot of adventure games, both new and old school, and that means I've seen pretty much any and all variations on the genre.

I've done King's Quest. I've done Monkey Island. I've done Police Quest. I've done Quest for Glory. I've done those nifty Tierra remakes (AGD those days? Right? Damn goldfish memory), I've done American McGee's Grimm (yeah, those fit the genre if you ask me), I've done the Tales of Monkey Island, the first Back to the Future episodes, quite a few amateur games, and I'm still waiting for a decent cyberpunk adventure game. But that's a bit off-topic, isn't it?

To be short and fair, I don't expect much from the genre anymore. It's something I've loved, liked, and today it's something I mostly don't give a hoot about. At least less than other genres.

That's the first reason.

The second reason is a consequence of that.  If you want me to buy an adventure game these days, you better have a PR machine the size of an overgrown Godzilla, a list of arguments long as an essay on each and every article of your local laws, and a precise, witful and knowledgeable description of what I am to expect from the game.

None of which TJD had.

See, you can basically break "adventure games" down to two major trends: old school bang-your-head-on-the-wall-insane-hardcore shit, and new school laid-back-too-short-too-easy shit.

And I didn't know which one to expect with it. To be entirely fair, I guess "Chapter 1" could be seen as a clue. But as a matter of fact, you could also see it as "The Journey Down", and chapter 2 would then be "The Journey Down 2". The line is blurred here, and given the game had been in development for years, it didn't help either.

What did I know about the game? Easy: adventure. African masks. Jamaican atmosphere. Looks good. Sounds good.

And that's about it. Had the game been any other genre, I'd probably have taken chances and flipped through my usual channels to see what the fuss was about, get more info and have the usual spoiler rubbed all over my face, and I'd have given a second thought about buying the game.

Or not. See, it's the fine year 2012. And adventure games have a mighty 800 pound gorilla kind of contender.


The Journey Down was quite expensive, originally (well, not exactly, but more on that later). It was out, for sure, it looked cool, for sure. But so was that nifty Quest for Glory collection on GOG.

And if I had been given a choice, I'd have gone with QfG. Every single time. Quite simply, because Quest for Glory was - and still is, much to my dismay - the epitome of the adventure genre. It's beautiful. Long. Witful. Inventive. Perfectly balanced - and I'm not one to throw that word around lightly. Read that again: Quest for Glory is the perfect adventure game series. It has everything: humor, balance, length, setting, writing, you name it.

So yeah, price was the second hurdle. See I'm not against paying more than five bucks for a game (on the contrary, I preordered Trine 2 and I don't give a damn that it went down in price since then). But I want bang for my buck. The Journey Down couldn't prove me I would get it. And, to be frank and honest, it didn't for its original price. Had I bought it then, I'd have felt screwed (well... not entirely. Read on).

It may seem blunt, harsh, unfair. But that's fact. Or at least, that's fact for old players such as myself: you're going head to head with the full shebang of old-school magic on GOG these days. And that's a mean, tough opponent. Your price point's above theirs, Roberta and Ken Williams better be your bitches.

On the other hand, it may be wrong for younger or less... knowledgeable players. I mean it looks good, the score's great, the setting may grip you right off the bat just with the teaser trailer. And it's no more expensive than other new school games such as the aforementioned BttF games.

Then there's the last reason. Jamaica isn't exactly in Africa. And that Jamaican/African paradigm just had me go "WTF is wrong with the geographic skills of those guys?"

I know, I know, it's a game dumbfuck, yaddayadda. Still, it didn't exactly help me take a step forward and a chance, and buy the game.

Now that I've bought it, played it, finished it, loved it, know what to expect, do I have any regret in not doing so before? Certainly. But there's a catch.

The game was originally around 12€. Would I have shelled out 12€? Not sure. It was a bit overpriced, just as it is underpriced today, if you really want to know it all. Had the game been around 8 or 10€ back then or now, I would have, or would, jump on the opportunity without giving it a second thought - if not for GOG.

In a friendly context, I'd probably have gotten those extra 2€ out of my pocket. But then again... 10€ for The Journey Down, or 10€ for the whole Quest for Glory love?

Man, history's a harsh mistress. I really, really can't say for sure.

tl;dr - I don't give a fuck if you love adventure games or not. At this point, TJD is a must buy. It's too short, too easy, too cheap, the second chapter will take too long to come out. But it's still totally worth the trip.

So yeah, I am ashamed. I should have bought it before, I do regret not doing so. But I have reasons.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Lost in transla... Oh wait, I almost did it again, didn't I?

Crap. And here I thought I wouldn't actually have to type this post.

Ah well, here we go then, in case someone would give a rat's tail about what I did translate, will possibly translate, certainly not when I did; as well as what to expect and not to expect from me.

I started translation back in a time when quite a few people reading this post weren't even born. As a matter of fact, I couldn't remember when I started to save my poor hide.

I'll usually say I'm a language nerd. Fact is, I learned to read and write French while in the kindergarten. Or so I've been told, and I probably won't go against that version, given I later browsed through the books that were used in the process at a later point in time (Tinou & Nanou... Holy crap, my goldfish memory actually retained that).

The second language I learned, still by myself, was English. With good reason given, as any nerd of those times of yore, I had a C64, and nothing was translated. So I took a Harrap's Shorter and ground away at the thing until I dropped. Or rather, until I didn't need it anymore.

As an amusing side note, I also tried to learn pronounciation that way, which left me with quite a few flaws on that side of things for a long, long while. And I'm still correcting those as we sp... as you read.

The third one was Dutch, though I never gave much of a damn about it. Uninteresting. Fugly. Inconsistent. I can't exactly remember who said "Dutch is the bastard son of English and German. Worst problem with it is, it only inherited the flaws of its parents". I couldn't phrase it any better.

So, what would one little nerd do with an  english-only computer, time to spare and an unhealthy taste for words?

Why, modify games and translate them (kind of) of course. And learn the full Trivial Pursuit question blocks by heart, but that's another story entirely.

Later went on with games and the irritating inability to translate them on consoles.

And a long, long while later, came back to the roots, for reasons I do not wish to expose here. Suffice to say that I have as unhealthy a hatred for so-called pros who couldn't tell word gender or spell their own name as I have the same love for words I always had.

'twas the fine year 1996.

I can't say I've been hyperactive, or that I've released much. What I can say, on the other hand, is that I usually proofread my work to the point it is as flawless as I can make it, one-man army style. Which is, flawed. But readable. And with hardly a spelling or grammar error in it.

On to my list of works, succinctly and in no particular order given I have a hard time remembering when I did what.

The only exceptions would be:
* 2006 - POV (Half-Life mod) under the nickname NightWolf
* 2011 - Conquest: Divide & Conquer by Proxy Studios (there should be a post about it on this very blog)
* 2011 - Monster RPG 2 by Nooskewl (same thing)
* 2012 - Rijn the Specpyre in Manor of the Damned by Hideout Games

Apart from those, here's a quick and fugly list:
* The Dark Mod, v1.0 back in... 2009 or 2010, then v1.6 or 1.7, can't remember, around 2011 IIRC. That's the core mod, as well as a few missions (which lack accented characters as they were done in the time of v1.0, which was more of a hack than a full-fledged translation)
* A LOT of Thief I, Thief II and Thief: Deadly Shadows fan missions, complete with audio and video editing, map editing, subtitling, audio/video syncing, video redubbing, discovery and documentation of the tools needed (FWIW, before I did it, the only tool usually used was EDIT.COM. Yes, that EDIT.COM.)
* Cytadela (which was, and probably still is, more of a draft than a complete translation. Still, it's usable, which is a start, and the project is FOSS.)
* Correction of Terminus Traductions' latest version of the French translation of Final Fantasy VI (and I dare say it must be the only translation by them which isn't mind-numbingly ridden with mistakes, unfortunately)
* A bunch of unreleased work, from a re-translation of Darwinia (which was done before and WAS more accurate than the official one, much to my (all too usual) dismay) to a POC translation of Farland Story 1 on PC-98; along with a translation of Ardentryst (never released due to the author never answering my request for authorization), correction of Metagolf (actually released, but it's fairly minor, not going to bulletpoint that one :)) , translation of Star Traders RPG for Android (discontinued given the author never answered after the core translation was done), and probably a bit more.
* Possible future translations: DROD. Yes, that DROD.
* Confirmed future translations: more Dark Mod missions. The Journey Down: Chapter 1.

It's only since 2011 that I've been willing to go public with this... business. One may ask why. Short answer: I'm not one of those goofballs pretenders. I may not have a diploma, but I've been honing my skills for around 20 years now, and honing my skills on "current-gen" videogames and mods for 6 years. I loathe the official translation business. I hate with every last drop of my blood to see translations scorched, fucked up, miserably failed. Be it for AAA games or for indie games. I've been grinding at words for countless hours, tracking down mistakes for hours on end, learning to copycat the original styles, making sure my work was as perfect as the original deserved. Picking works of a progressively difficult and grand scope.

After The Dark Mod, I felt I was about ready. After Conquest, Monster RPG 2 and Manor of the Damned, I *know* I am ready. I *know* I am better than most pros taken individually. I *know* I can be better than a full pro team.

Just like I know where my limits are. The Dark Mod taught me that. I am able to grind. To learn. To hack. Modify. Edit. Gimp. Play around with stuff. But my limits are the same ones I always had, and probably always will be: I may be a hacker. But I'm no coder. And code wears me down very, very quickly.

Just like I know a fraud when I see one. Which, in this business, is very, very, VERY often. Just like I'll go to any lengths to provide as good a work as I can. Just like I'll update until everything is readable by my kids.

Just like I now know when to call it quits. Just like I know I have to release early, release often.

Long story short, I'm as indie as your average dev out there, if in a different field. My work may not be perfect or grand, but I may take pride in calling it mine. In calling it a labour of love.

I may or may not be the man for the job. But remember this: any translation that isn't mine, I'm usually able to catch a dozen mistakes in under an hour, if not under a quarter, of playing your game (and that includes some quite lauded ones, e.g. Amnesia: The Dark Descent).

And you'll wish I was joking right there. You'll seriously damn wish.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Yo bitch!

The video women against trope games kickstarter is over, and shit keeps flowing on the tubes.

And I don't think it healthy to care. Either way.

First things first. I never heard of Anita Sarkeesian before. And truth be told, now that I've taken the temperature of the water, I think I would have been better off if I hadn't.

I've read the constructive criticism, seen the usual 4chan style trolling, read about the threats, saw the quite good Flash game (offended? Yeah, well take a seat and stfu until I explain it a bit later), yaddayadda.

I'm not sure whether I should laugh or cry, actually.

Because I'm a down-to-earth kind of guy, an idiot, a rationalist, a dreamer and, dare I say, a passive feminist.

And I find both sides as ridiculous as they come.

See, I find more actual feminism in Dys4ia than in this bullshit kickstarter project. On the other hand I play games to have fun, and quite frankly, Terra or Aya Brea have left much more of an impression on me than Samus, Peach or I-dont-even-know-her-name pseudo-she-hero of Bayonetta.

It's moronic, offensive, childish and insensitive from the usual cunts (yup, I'm gonna throw a few bad jokes in here, as usual, and I'll be as crude and offensive as ever - told you: I'm stupid) to throw memes based on Sarkeesian, it's moronic and plain wrong to make a bash her up game about her (though the execution is actually quite good for a bashing game, just look at the other ones to see what I mean... Say the one with Backstreet Boys or Bush, who happen to be men. Oh the irony. If I were cynical I'd almost say that's a form of respect).

It's equally moronic, offensive, childish and insensitive from Sarkeesian to even come up with these videos. Basically, you're declaring war on the whole industry (and for fuck's sake do I hate using this word) for... for what exactly?

She cannot possibly think it will change a thing. It won't. That's the way things go. See the target audience, like it or not, is teenagers who don't give a fuck and want to see boobs, mainly.

She cannot possibly make anyone believe that her views aren't biased, sexist and plain wrong (and yes, I actually called a "feminist" sexist, which will probably result in me being seen as a sexist cunt - brb, making a bash him up game about myself). Nor can she possibly believe herself that her views aren't biased, sexist and play wrong. Or she's very, very delusional.

She cannot possibly think she'll be doing anything more than stating the obvious. Or that people will learn something while watching that.

What's left? Feeding the trolls. Trolls are hits. Hits are ad viewers. Ads are money.

See, I don't think it necessary to make these videos. It's just as much of a "preach to the choir and look like the lunatic you are" as those feminists who'd like to abolish the legal status "Miss" because... Well, let's keep it short, I'd much rather you read Odieux Connard's views on the matter. It sums up the whole stuff pretty well.

Women taking a stand for women usually ends up drowned in sexism. Any way you look at it, there's no other word. I will not deny that there IS a systemic problem, and that women are treated as inferior all too often. I'm saying barking won't get you anywhere. Opening your claptrap for trivial matters just makes you look like morons, ladies (betcha there's some fringe feminists who'll take that "ladies" as an offense. Have I ever told you that I'm the cynical type?)

I'll take a stand for women anytime I see something wrong. But certainly not for hysterical self-delusional cunts (and I use that word liberally, mind you. A cunt is a cunt, regardless of age, sex, religion and skin color. And yes, I'm one. But at least I take pride in that). If I see a woman talked down, I will. Being barred from getting a job based on her gender, I will. Beaten, I will. Shown with huge b00bs and used as a plot device? Gimme a break. 

While you may revel in your pretty illusions of grandeur that almost half of the total gaming population are women, the fact remains: you have your stats wrong. Or, more accurately, you're biasing them, as any propaganda pro does. Of those 50%, I'd be pleasantly surprised if 50% were interested in more than casual games. And unless you want to start a debate about the gender of diamonds and playing cards, those don't count here. Bringing us down to 25%.

Of those 25%, I'd be pleasantly surprised in 50% were playing on the consoles sporting most of the offending material - i.e. playing so-called "serious" games. Bringing us down to 12.5%. And again, on the male side, many are teenagers or young, all too often poorly educated adults. And all of them want b00bs.

So yeah... Not exactly as relevant as you'd like that to be.

I'll see what those videos have to say, but I have this weird feeling it's gonna be about as interesting and enlightening as your average reality show. Hopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised, but even then, it doesn't change a thing.

Don't get me wrong, I'm NOT saying women shouldn't have a bigger, grander place in games and the gaming world and industry as a whole - from development to journalism, and the respect that should come with them.

I'm just saying that while you're screaming about how your tap water tastes bad, the ocean waters don't give a fuck.

PS - And no, I won't take sides on this petty internet quarrel. Much as some would like to depict it as harrasment on a woman, it's your average troll, and many men have suffered it before. Why should I take more pity on a woman? That's condescendence. Not feminism. Not support. Take it like a (wo)man. i.e. a proud, strong human being.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Yeaaaaah, another stupid ruling.

So it's on the headlines: another technologically impaired judge has made yet another senseless ruling, and it's all over the tubes.

What's it about this time? Easy: according to that fine prehistoric remnant, we're supposed to have the right to sell "used copies" of digital games.

Well yippeekayay.

A few year's ago I'd probably have grabbed a beer and danced naked in the moonlight while chanting unspeakable rituals to awaken that which eternal lies.

Except, that was a few years ago. Pretty much before I was born, in internet time.

It may seem pretty cool at first sight. I mean, who's never wanted to gift or sell a Steam game?

Yeah. Except nothing's ever black or white, and we have another case of manichean moronitude on our hands.

Because that there is as stupid as it gets.

GOG. Desura.

Both services have thrived upon a simple fact: their games are DRM free. Basically, that ruling is killing the two of them.

Not that I'd mind giving away my Windows games on GOG - I don't have any use for them and they're mere souvenirs of a time when I was using Windows. But it's only valid under this specific set of circumstances: I'm not gonna use them anymore. Ever.

If I were still using that other OS, then this would be very interesting if ill will was one of my main charact... oh wait.

With Desura, it's even worse, as it applies to all OSes. Doesn't change much all in all, the point remains.

Basically, with this dumbfounded shit in place, I'd be able to
* buy a game
* copy it, burn it, whatever so I can keep it
* sell it and put the money in my pocket. With no guarantee it'll go back to the creators of the game, much less the service I've used.

Selling used games is about giving the ownership of the game to someone else. Yet another idiot who doesn't understand the difference between physical and digital. Shows about as much competence as comparing so-called piracy with theft.

I sure hope EA or any other company I'd usually loathe will stand up and bash a bit of sense into the thick skull of whoever will have to rule on that one again.

Shit may work, that's not the problem. It MAY work. WITH DRM. And ONLY with DRM.

Fingers crossed. I'd hate to see GOG and Desura get mawashigeried in the face for such incompetence.

Until then, yippeekayay. Yippeefuckingkayay. Justice badly needs eye surgery.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The great videogame crash of 2013

It pops up every so often. It seems the shadow of the great videogame crash of 1983 still looms over the whole industry, rearing its ugly head every time someone feels something's rotten in the hellish pit that is the very same industry.

Today's a bit different. Because, much as I'd like to echo that point of view, I won't.

The great videogame crash of 2013 (or whenever you want) won't happen.

It's not upon us. It's already behind us. And no one noticed.

First, for the yung'uns, a bit of history.

In 1983 happened what many people nowadays call the videogame crash of 1983 (wow. you'd think someone would have come up with something a bit more imaginative, like, "the great videogame crash of 1984 except it happened a year before" or something. But no one did).

What basically happened is that the market was flooded with shit. Like, almost LITERALLY shit. ET the videogame, shitty ports, abundance of platforms to the point you'd have to release your shit a thousand times just to sell well enough to cut up on losses and stuff. Designers weren't credited or paid. Games - or rather, shitty products the big players wanted people to still call games - were rushed.

Confidence in such bullshit was at an all-times low. Shit was bound to happen. Shit happened.

Fast forward to 2012 A.D. Shit was bound to happen. Shit happened. But this time was different.

I'm not the only guy out here who'll tell you he's lost all trust. As a matter of fact, I've become extremely wary and cynical.

I was barely there for the great crash of '83. I was 5. I lived through it more or less unaware. But I've lived my life among videogames. NES. C64. PC. Gameboy. SNES. PS1. PS2. PS3. XBox. Saturn. SMS. Genesis. SEGA-CD. You name it. Heck, my first console goes back to before the crash. It was an actual Odyssey ripoff or something. I could tell you what it was if I saw one again, but until then, just to set shit straight: it had two joysticks with one button, no colors, a cartridge with a dozen "games" - or, to be fair, pong derivatives.

I've seen platforms come and go, I've witnessed defining moments in videogaming history, I've seen the rise and fall of publishers, developers, companies, individuals, and I'm still standing and deeply in love with the medium - fuck. With the ART.

I've witnessed the fallout after the crash. I was in the line to try out the NES in the supermarket when it came out. Fuck it, I actually finished Super Mario Bros. in said goddamn supermarket.

Now people seem to go on and on about how it's coming again. I'll tell you. As far as I'm concerned, it's come and gone. And no one gave a fuck. No one should have, either.

The times of greatness, of experimentation, of daring are long gone in the mass market.

We're pretty much at the point where any AAA game is not worthy of trust anymore. It's been years since I've been confident in any. Oblivion was the last nail in the coffin of my trust. The last mainstream game I ever preordered. 90 hours of playing later, I gave it away. I would have paid so someone would have gotten me rid of it.

I never looked back.

And I'm not the only one.

You can't expect history to repeat in the exact same ways. Time is a slippery thing. So are cause and effect, action and reaction.

Reading Sosowski today made me realize that much. There will be no great crash, because this one was the silent type.

Fact is, we don't live in the eighties anymore. People have other priorities, videogames aren't the cool new kid on the block anymore, times have changed. Games have changed. People have changed.

The one thing that hasn't changed is fluctuation.

I wouldn't buy an AAA again if you put a pistol on my temple. This market is cold as your average zombie, the ones they so much like to use and abuse in their pitiful attempts to revive interest.

They raped the art the same way they'd like to use rape as a means to revive interest in their ungodly mess.

They rush games, because there's always time to patch later.

They milk licenses because people don't give a fuck, right?

Just as TV puts out shitty show after shitty show, uninteresting reality show after uninteresting reality show.

Just as in 1981. The context has changed. The causes and effects have changed. The facts remain.

More people dive into the indie world by the day. Sites are being built every minute. Most will die, some will stand long. But none of them talk about mainstream games.

Which big, great sites about mainstream bullshit have you seen rise recently? I, for one, have not seen one. But I've seen a handful of decent indie-oriented ones.

Y'know, what happened after the crash is, someone actually took the risk, said "fuck it", and brought the art in another direction entirely.

We don't need 100+ hour-long soulless shells. I'd take any Dys4ia over a Skyrim any day of the week. Any Kairosoft casual game over Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Any Sosowski wtfisthisshit over a Syndicate reboot. Any day, any hour, any minute, any second of my life. I'm NOT the only one. The public grows. You may not feel it, not see it, you may still be striving to make a living, but it's upon us. The problem is fragmentation. But not in the same way as it was back then.

The total videogame market revenue can't even be calculated these days. AAA are already dead. They just don't know it yet (kudos to hokuto no ken on that one).

What I feel, as an end-user, a layman, a plain customer, a part-time indie helper, a translator, is this: some people are working to turn this nutrient broth into a parallel industry.

I'm not saying it's not a good thing. I'm saying it's a trap that's best avoided, if not ignored.

It's good to have Humble Indie Bundles. It's BETTER to have Indie Underdog Packs. You indie devs have ONE chance to change the game. You're doing great so far. But if you let IGF's and HIB's get in the way, you're pretty much condemned to repeat the same mistake and lead what makes you different along the same path, leading again to another crash. Except this time, it won't be beneficial. Back then, the AAA lead the indie development to its demise. Today, indie development laughs in the face of the AAA demise.

Perhaps the fall of this model is unavoidable. Perhaps garage computing is destined to be an endless failure that gives great results.

But the fact is: it wasn't viable back then. No exposure. No internet. Minimal word of mouth. No distributors.

Today you DO have a chance. You probably WON'T get HUGE sales. But you'll get some. If Steam doesn't want you, chances are it's stuck in a dead model. Find other means. Find other ways.

You know what struck me most about Sosowski's interview? It's all about indie love. One big loving family. The word can be spread. If someone gets elitist and grows too swollen a head, rule him out. You CAN do so.

I may only be a watcher, but I'm still damn proud of it all. I'm still proud of giving the underdogs a chance. Proud to give the ART a chance. As opposed to the INDUSTRY. Industries are bound to fall. Art never dies.

Thanks to Sos Sosowski for this one - read about it over there:

Love/Hate Satellite 1 - Incursion

For anyone wondering, it's totally unrelated as usual, but here goes the reason for the title of the post:

Now that this is out of the way, here we go. I'm only gonna say this one, so read carefully: the games I'll bash here, I love a lot and deeply care about. They're GREAT games. Everything I'm going to say here is either extrapolation, exaggeration or plain ill will. I am not legion, I forget a lot, but I won't forgive. It's bullshit that's "so easy to make better" from your layman's point of view (which I am, when all is said and done). And I still fucking LOVE you all, devs. ;-)

My goal is to point to various flaws, "papercuts" as Canonical would put them (okay, give me a while, I'll be puking after citing THEM). Little things that could get so much better. Simply put, it's an IMHO I'll bias as much as I can against a given game. It's something I'm not used to, and given I've been writing about games every now and then, it can only prove beneficial to me in the end (and who knows, it may be useful to some game dev out there, you never know).

First up, thus: Incursion.

Firing the game up, here comes a first screen. Lasts for, like, 2/3s. And that's TWO THIRDS of a second, not two OR three seconds. Now... Seriously guys... If I'm to tweet about your stuff, gimme a chance to. How the hell am I supposed to read it and let it sink in if the screen is gone as soon as it appears? Are you kidding me? Do I look like an idiot who can't take a "clicky to continue" shit? Isn't it, like, the kind of stuff that would let you preload all you want instead of showing me ANOTHER screen where you tell me you're preloading shit you could have preloaded on this screen?

It may not look like much, but look at it this way (and I'm spoiling here, because I've been around the game several times just to make sure it was as bad as I'm saying now): I saw what you did there. There's a sweet reminiscence of Sworcery about the game. But Sworcery gives me a chance to tweet from inside the game, and I don't have to go through endless pains to share my experience with the Twitter world. Why the heck are you barely letting me read about that hashtag?

Also, and this may be due to Ren'Py, I frankly don't know and I couldn't care less: why the heck can't I send something from within the game? It sure is a thin line to tread, and would perhaps require windowed mode, but... Hey. There's some heavy bits of fucking great writing in your demo. Gimme more. Gimme a fucking reason to tweet. Show me what you can do with 100 characters. That leaves me 40 to comment about shit, that gives me a reason to tweet to begin with. I want to read that "dev commentary tweet" and share how fucking awesome that scenery was, how I could read that bit of text all day long, how Borrego's music feels like bloody heaven here.

Heck, I even want to be able to tweet about how the game sucks at this point. It's bad for you, but it's good for me. What in blazes were you thinking here, seriously?

Game started, off to the options just because I want to...
To do WHAT exactly? Would you PLEASE let me read what the options are? I can barely work out "auto-forward time" there. What exactly were you doing, huh?

Right. Better not dawdle in the options, at least that's one thing you can do correctly (well, apart from making them readable, that is).

So. I'm an idiot, as anyone can tell, so I better click "Help" and... just... wait... What the HELL?

Look buddy, I know you got better things to do than make a help file, but this is just ridiculous. I don't want to waste a quarter waiting for my browser to start up. I want my bloody help in-game. Like, something that does not distract from the task (or, rather, the chore) at hand. That won't take forever to load. That sports the same bloody mood you're trying so hard to get me into.

Plus, it's 2012 out here. Dunno if you were aware. But either you give me a nice page, or you make use of embedded fonts, you gimme a nice background, I don't give a damn, but PLEASE do SOMETHING. Anything. It's just... empty.

Anyway. So I still started the game - you can't really say I'm not of good will after doing THAT, can you?

Well lemme tell you: it took me about 10 seconds to beat the heck out of your dumb parser.

Seriously? "Yes, nope"? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? If you want to use a parser, at LEAST use it seriously, not like you don't give a damn. You DO know players will come up with stupid shit, right? RIGHT?

Doesn't look that way to me.

SO I keep going, and then you ask me what town I come from. I DON'T GIVE  A FUCK. And I am most displeased when you don't give me a default name when I press "Enter". I mean, seriously, why do I HAVE to choose THAT? Because you have enough of that thing people call when other people come up with stuff, doesn't mean I do. What if I just want to go on with the game?

Fine then. I'm not going to argue. You want me to give a name, I'll call it "fuckdanoobston". Like that's better than anything YOU could come up with with all your smartiness and stuff.

And yet I go on with unwavering will. What the heck IS wrong with that game? The old man's been raving about rollback and stuff, there's been shit going on on my screen, like, death popping up every now and then, and I finally get a nice twilight on top of the mountain or god knows what.

Except... Wait... Could someone remind me of something? Doesn't the fucking light CHANGE at dusk? Like, stuff going all red, then dark and shit? Even more so while the big orange ball in the sky disappears?


No sun. No change. It's fucking NOON up here, guys. Not enough budget to give me a proper twilight? Meh. Just put a fucking "red color" filter all over the place, add a bloddy timer, and play with the alpha of a fucking blue/black overlay. Shit'd be much better than THIS.

You DO want me to look at the scenery. Don't deny it. THEN WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING? AGAIN.

Then I get to name the fucking mountain. And I still can't go with whatever YOU called it. Now I guess I better set shit straight.

When I want to play a game, there's always a part of me who wants to know what YOU did, WHY you did, HOW you did, WHEN you did, and whether it was with or without condoms (and I don't give a damn about the petty war "french condom" vs. "capote anglaise").

It's not just because I'm as stupid as a brick.

(I'll stray from the path I set here. I'm dead serious about this one. When I set to play a game, it IS to get sucked into its creators' (-'s) vision. I don't give a damn about naming my hero "Sir Fucksalot". Devs, gimme an option. A sane, well thought-out one. One which gives me reason to pause and think about what you did there. More on this later.)

So I'll call it "Condomountain". Stupid? Yeah, we can agree on that one.

And there I stand, stuck with a text engine that's trying to confuse me by calling me "nope" right after saying "yes", doesn't add capital letters to whatever shitty names I gave to the town, the character, the mountain and god knows what I haven't typed in yet. Seriously guys, are you actually even TRYING?

(and, jokes aside once again, I'm REALLY using and ABUSING this "nope" shit just to get the better of games. You'd be scared if you knew how often it works.)

So I keep going, even if I seriously want to close the window, smash my hard drive into the wall and pour kerosene onto my bloody computer at this point. AND SHIT KEEPS COMING!

Like, the old fool keeps blabbering nonsense, gets me into a fucking cave I wouldn't put my intimate parts into, then...


This has got to be the scariest shit I've seen in a game, ever. Like, Silent Hill can't compare. Amnesia can't compare. This is as ridiculous as a wristwatch in Ben-H... Oh wait.

Guys, if you want to bore me with a character, I can take it. But this... This is... UNSPEAKABLE!

Then I put a computer - like, a fucking 80'S COMPUTER - in my backpack, Monkey Island style, and get the fuck out because that's the end of your demo.

And I'm presented with this screen:

I can't even begin to tell what's waorng (yes, waorng, that's how waorng it actually IS).

Let's break it down so it can soak in:

* Secret? WHAT FUCKING SECRETS ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? No help. No clues. No nothings to tell me I could have been better (or, at least, less badder).
* Even if I put it out of the way, I actually SAW what you did there. I WAS there the first time around. Tell you what: I suck at English the way you suck at pointing me in the right direction. Like, "Finn the Human"? You DO know anyone who's from non-english parts of this bloody world doesn't have a clue what you're blabbering about right? Even if he READS what Finn the Human actually IS, right? Get your shit straight, pals. Gimme a clue. A cryptic one. Anywhere in your bloody game. The narrator, the computer, fuck it! Lemme click on a sheep to get a clue! "Adventure time" barely makes sense, even in context and knowing about it. And I STILL cannot figure out the new one. There's a difference between "Secret" and "Try everything you want, you won't find it".
* "Artifact found"? What? There's a way I can miss them? Like, the whole game seems to revolve around recovering artifacts and I can fuck it up? Either you get this shit out, or I'm getting the fuck out of here.

The saddest part is, that's that. You guys aren't even good enough to provide me with more material to bash you with. The chutzpah. Gods.

tl;dr: play Incursion. Now.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Rigor Animis.

So I went and modified the icon pack. Again. Imagemagick just destroyed the everythings, and I added the icons I created in the meantime.

First, the good news: That's 650+ icons for all your gaming needs now: linux, dosbox, scummvm, console games, even a few browser games.

Now the bad news: Dropbox is still very limited and my calls for storage space "donations" have remained widely unanswered. So I had the choice: either I gave up or I cut on space requirements.

Hint: I'm not one to give up.

Now for ranting. Either my readers are as incredible dicks as I am, or they're all windows users and don't give a fuck. Or they're just pro-league couch potatoes. I couldn't care less. The fact is: only one person made a donation, and that's just 500Mb of storage space.

I don't care if it's a matter of having the wrong distros supported, or even "not enough" distros. That's the way it will be unless a few people deem it worthy to click on the referrer link to open a Dropbox account and expand my own. Because I still have my personal stuff to back up. And it's waited long enough. ;)

So until something happens, I have to cut back on Linux, Mac and Windows support. How? Easy enough. I'll still be using Faenza so it still fits in the set. I'm still doing Arch-specific icons for my personal use, and everyone gets a generic Linux set with the Faenza POL icon. You a Windows or Mac user? Want a distro-specific set?

Fine. If you want more, then help me help you. Easy as that. All it would take for everyone to be happy is a dozen "donators". I'm not even kidding. I've had ONE so far (and you have my thanks, MrIlyas. Drop a comment or contact me if you want a specific set, I'll send it one way or another). Call your friends and/or "donate", and you'll get whatever you want, just leave me a comment with your distro/OS or pass it along. If space is expanded, I'll upload it all ASAP. I may even go out of my way to add distros that weren't supported until now. Even if they're distros with just 3 users. All I need and want is space. I'm even going to make it easy for you. You just have to click here: and that's it.

Now for more detailed statistics.
  • 5 browser games (that's one less, Bastion has native binaries, huzzahs and stuff);
  • 169 DOSBox games for GOG lovers and more;
  • 35 console games for BSNES lovers and more;
  • 65 ScummVM games for GOG lovers and more;
  • 377 Linux games for all the penguins out there. With a few updated. Just because;
  • The xcf is still there, and unmodified. So ImageMagick nerds will have no problems modifying the set. May kill the purpose, but shows I'm not a complete dick. ;)

It's a much less impressive update. It's a drawback. But hey. I can't spend my entire life creating icons, and I can't afford a 120Tb online storage. :p

The download is still over here: clicky.

The list of games is around here: clicky.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Some tips from Aretha.

Yeah, another rant.

I've been tweeting yesterday about how I feel I'm being screwed by some indie devs. To be honest I don't think 140 characters is anywhere near enough to fully explain what I mean, and why devs like McMillen, Mojang, Gaslamp or Puppy won't see the color of my money anytime soon while I'm still unwaveringly supportive of others like David Olofson, Cube Noir, Gentleman Squid, Ido Yehieli, Nooskewl, Caravel, and many others.

See, I'm a customer. I have the monies and you want it. You have to create demand. I'm here to take advantage of the offer.

Doesn't work that way? Think. There's no rationale behind game development and sale. The demand is non-existent. I can live without games, so can you. I can live on freeware and FLOSS (and did for a looooong while). So can you.

And I'm not so obtuse or obsessed that I'll play one or two genres. I like to play Kobo Deluxe as much as The Dark Mod; DROD as much as Three Dead Zed; Botanicula as much as Project Zomboid; I could go on with examples forever (and I *do* mean forever - long enough that you'd flee long before I'm done).

Your game doesn't even have to truly stand out from the crowd. A game that's fun is a game I'll probably like. I'm still playing SuperTux to this day. Doesn't get much more cloney or bland than that. It's FUN. I'm not asking for much more. Which doesn't mean I'm going "meh" with every game, mind you.

So... Rather than just rant around trying to get Twitter to launch a word filter, I thought I might as well explain. See, devs have my trust from the start, as everyone. I'm that kind of guy. I'm also the kind of guy who'll usually smell fish very early, the kind of guy who gives his trust ONCE. You have one chance, why screw it?

So yeah, I'm the minority in the minority and all. Why should you care? Because I'm a dick, I'm vocal, and I always call things what they are: a cunt is a cunt, a pussy is a pussy, a dev who tries to piss on my leg is someone I'll go all out against. With arguments as much as fact, as often and as long as I can. And I can turn people away from you. You should know it if you've had any kind of marketing course: a satisfied customer will talk about your product to 3 people, one who isn't will talk about it to 10 people. And the people I usually hang around with like to be dicks too. We share many things, love of videogames and hate of cunts included.

First up: McMillen. Dear McMillen, screw you. Being able to turn the porting of a goddamn FLASH GAME into a MASSIVE failure must be the greatest kind of evidence of some kind of disability. I can't see any other reason why Isaac would be THAT shitty on linux: options that don't work, framerate issues, window resizing fucked up on most computers I have at my disposal to try (and I'm far from alone), you name it, and it's probably been failed.

Dear McMillen, porting is caring. If you don't care, just don't do it. I can live without, and I'll be much less bitter about it. Headcrabs never popped up on GNU/Linux desktops. They're, like, a thing that you'll only see on Steam nowadays. May be a moot point by the end of the year, but that's still ugly and proof that you didn't really care. Get Wrath of the Lamb out, and it'll be my pleasure to inform people about why they shouldn't buy it.

Then: Puppy Games: Dear sirs, with friends like you, no one needs enemies. If you aren't even able to treat your fellow devs with respect, you cannot be trusted to treat your customers with respect. Yep, I saw what you did and said on that Linux gaming forum on that particular day. And you know as well as I do that there had been an issue with Kot-In-Action and that they had been fucked big time by the indie bundle.

Oh. And by the way. I may have your game on Desura, but I'm still a customer. I still deserve updates. And I do NOT want your workarounds. I want it on Desura. Fact is, I want as many of my games as possible on Desura. Updates are YOUR fucking responsibility, not MINE. You know what? I actually own all KIA games right now. I didn't buy any of yours since the bundle. And I certainly don't intend to.

Then Mojang: Dear Notch. Rather than listen to hordes of rabid fanbois who don't have a clue about game development and include tons of things that don't even make sense when taken alone, much less when put together, in your games, next time, maybe you could... I don't know... Learn to fix bugs and have a plan you follow so your game doesn't end up being a massive mess?

Oh, and while I'm at it: Minecraft on Android for 7€? Who the fuck are you kidding? Why would I pay - and pay THAT MUCH - for a castrated clone with clumsy controls when I can either have phr00t's take on the genre at half that price or Football Manager Handheld for just one more coin?

Guess what? I hate European football. But I'd still go with Sega because I love management games. As much as I loved Minecraft before it became... Whatever ugly patchwork it is now. I gave up after you ALSO fucked up with the translations. Or maybe even before that. Doesn't really matter anymore: you lost my trust. I honestly don't think you can create consistent, rock-solid games. You may have great ideas, but a game is much more than the sum of its parts. Prove me wrong, and you may be one of the few to regain my trust. I wouldn't bet a nickel on it though.

Now Gaslamp: Guys. seriously. Do you really think I'm THAT stupid? I was so excited about Dredmor coming to Linux. Then I was even more excited when Realm of the Diggle Gods showed up on Desura. With release date "TBD". Even FOUR WHOLE MONTHS after it was out on Steam. A little file that doesn't contain any kind of DRM. Didn't need any kind of modification or further development. Perfectly compatible between all versions of your game, Steam and non-steam. Four months. So either you have some kind of disability, are complete dimwits who can't understand how to upload a zip file, or you really think I'm a complete dumbfuck. Though I'm starting to wonder, given apparently you don't tweet yourselves and have a bot that does so. Or why wouldn't you answer when a customer asks you - several times - if there's news for Desura?

Four months. FOUR FUCKING MONTHS. FOREVER, BASICALLY. Then when you finally move your arse and upload it, you try to shove it down my throat at a HIGHER price point than on Steam? Guess what: not only didn't I buy it. But I'm still ranting about it with anyone who lends me an ear. And that's a LOT of people. Some of which bought Dredmor. None of which bought RotDG. Nor will I buy any of your future games. And I know a few people who won't either.

See, I'm a Linux user. I'm a supportive Linux user. I'm a supportive Linux user who's an ex-Windows user. I'm an ex-Windows user who knows people, like most everyone. I'm an ex-Windows user who knows people who play games and buy games. And they don't care if I'm a Linux user. You treat me different, they don't. I have reason to be upset, they support that. And word can spread fast. And each and everyone of us isn't one lost sale. It' a whole fucking bunch of lost sales. If you're in a position to spit on money, good for you.

So... The point is: seriously, is respect too much to ask for? I know fully well that Linux will never be your main selling point. That it will never be what brings you the most money.


All these examples show a complete lack of respect for your customer. It's actually pretty close to segregation, apart from Mojang. And I despise that as much as I despise the endless stream of pseudo-games the AAA studios are used to developing at the moment.

But respect, unfortunately for you, is universal. And salesmen who don't respect the customer always get some kind of kick in the balls. This here, is mine. And I'll keep doing it every time someone tries to screw me. As long as I can. And I'll try to support every other indie dev I can. As long as I can.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

OMD. Oui oui, OMD. Oh mon dieu. Où l'on papote d'un jeu ou l'autre.


Nah parce que bon, ça faisait quand même un bout que j'avions point tapoté un truc dans la langue de Thiéfaine, quelque part (certains argueront que sa langue c'est pas tout à fait du français ; mais ça tombe bien, la mienne non plus).

C'est dimanche, il fait beau, pas (encore) trop chaud, c'est donc le moment idéal pour causer jeu vidéo et faire une review cinglante et saignante (les deux étant souvent inséparables lorsqu'on parle de fouet), mâtinée de mauvaise foi et de non-sens (qui sont tout de même le sel de la vie, et que seraient les plaies sans apport journalier recommandé en sel déversé dessus, je vous le demande).

Et puisque j'ai envie de faire un truc perso sur un autre truc de niche, je fais ça chez moi. Là.

De quoi qu'on va causer pour ceux qui n'ont pas encore la migraine ? D'un jeu qui va provoquer celle-ci chez les plus sensibles. Enfin, je dis "un jeu", mais je pourrais aussi bien dire cinq ou six jeux, ça changerait pas grand-chose d'un point de vue sémantique. Ni contextuel.

Parlons peu mais parlons bien, donc.

Icône par moi. Fouillez sur ce blog si vous aimez ça.

Que voici. Deadly Rooms of Death, ou DROD pour les intimes, les acharnés, les gens pressés et ceux qui écrivent des articles sur le sujet, est un jeu de réflexion. Vous savez, le genre qui a curieusement disparu des rayons de magasins informatiques et spécialisés il y a de cela une décennie ou pas suffisamment loin pour encore pinailler.

Et quand je dis jeu de réflexion, entendons-nous bien. On parle pas des émules casual disponibles à la pelle, dont l'itération est d'un niveau à peu près semblable à celui d'un hypothétique tutorial pour Boulder Dash où Rockford serait dans une salle de 2 sur 2, commencerait avec un rocher pile au-dessus de lui, à sa droite un unique diamant et juste au-dessus de celui-ci le bloc de sortie.

Nah, là on parle plutôt de réflexion du type Soko-Ban, étage 82, après une nuit blanche et une prise de calmants qui ferait pâlir n'importe quel médecin.

Pas que tous les niveaux soient à ce point, mais vous savez (enfin, les plus âgés d'entre vous, du moins, savent) de quoi il retourne : la solution est parfois tellement bête qu'on passe à côté, parfois tellement longue et tordue que même Kasparov est allé mater une soluce en ligne (oui, ça gâche un peu tout, les internets, de nos jours... De notre temps, on avait pas le choix ma pauv'dame : on devait ramer sans les sites interwebs jusqu'à ce qu'on trouve).


Plus sérieusement. DROD, c'est d'abord une franchise, qui remonte à l'an de grâce 1997. Un grand cru si vous voulez mon opinion personnelle, mais passons. Il sera le dernier jeu en 2D pour PC publié par Webfoot, à moins que ma mémoire me joue des tours. Deadly Rooms of Death, tout court, est un shareware parmi les plus simples qui soient, et - était-ce un signe des temps, la 2D et le gameplay hardcore en sont-ils en partie la cause - les ventes furent plutôt décevantes.

Voici posée la préhistoire de DROD. Avant d'aller plus loin, peut-être serait-il intéressant de parler un peu de ce qui fait l'essence de DROD, son gameplay.

Point de temps réel ici. À contre-courant de bien des jeux de réflexion mythiques, en ce compris les fabuleux Log!cal et Soko-Ban, DROD n'inclut strictement aucun élément temporel en temps réel à son gameplay. Chaque mouvement, chaque décision peuvent être pesés aussi longtemps que nécessaire.

Le jeu est divisé en niveaux (25 pour la première version dont nous parlons actuellement), eux-même divisés en pièces (vous ne voulez même pas savoir combien de pièces peuvent théoriquement être ajoutées à un simple niveau, vous commenceriez à attraper le vertige et la folie des grandeurs). Le but du jeu, comme toujours dans les jeux de ce genre, est simple : les débarrasser de tous les gêneurs.

Peut-être une petite capture d'écran s'impose-t-elle avant d'aller plus loin, histoire de ne pas (trop) vous perdre dans les délires psychotiques des fous dangereux de chez Caravel.

Typique. Et facile aussi. Mais typique.

Bien que la pièce visible ici soit d'une simplicité enfantine et qu'il s'agisse d'une autre version que celle discutée à cet instant précis, on devrait s'y retrouver, ça n'a pas tellement changé. Le truc jaune orange avec une Vachement Grosse Épée (tm) c'est vous (enfin, votre avatar, mais si vous n'êtes pas capable de faire cette correction par vous-même euh... Je suis en fait le grand marabout M'boukisan et je peux faire revenir votre femme, attendez que je vous donne mon numéro de compte bancaire). Les cafards sont... des cafards, juste gros comme vous. Quant au cerveau qui parle, c'est un cerveau qui parle. La croix rouge, c'est un élément qui n'existe pas dans la version Webfoot - et subséquemment pas dans la version Architect's Edition - un point de sauvegarde. Un "checkpoint" comme ils disent les jeunes, paraît-il. Fort heureusement, il vous sera épargné d'entendre une voix ridicule de type jeu de course annoncer "CHECKPOINT!" comme s'il devait pas y avoir de lendemain (notez qu'une autre possibilité cruciale a également été ajoutée : l'annulation du dernier mouvement... Et ça, ça vaut toutes les liasses de dix dollars du monde). Les blocs allongés jaunes et verts, ce sont des portes. La différence ? Les vertes ne s'ouvrent qu'une fois la pièce vidée, les jaunes s'ouvrent et se ferment au gré d'éléments divers : orbes (comme ici, en haut à droite), plaques de pression, et autres joyeusetés. Il en existe deux autres types : les portes rouges, qui ne s'ouvrent que lorsque les "dalles instables" (autrement dit : des éléments de sol sur lesquels vous ne pouvez marcher qu'une seule fois) disparaissent, et les bleues, qui s'ouvrent lorsque vous avez vidé toutes les pièces nécessaires d'un niveau. Insistons sur ce mot, puisque comme tout bon jeu, DROD a ses secrets et ses petites habitudes - comme planquer des pièces secrètes à la difficulté comparable à celle d'un bol de tabasco là où ce que vous preniez jusque là c'était des pincées de poivre blanc ; et enfin, les portes maîtresses, qui ne s'ouvrent que lorsque vous avez mis leur rouste à toutes les pièces de tous les niveaux. En ce compris, évidemment, les pièces secrètes. Vous n'aurez aucun mal à imaginer ce qui vous attend derrière lesdites portes maîtresses...

Le jeu se déroule au tour par tour, et un tour se déroule comme suit :

  1. Vous vous déplacez (qu'il s'agisse d'un déplacement horizontal, vertical, ou en diagonale, DROD étant typiquement joué au pavé numérique) ou un changement de direction de votre Vachement Grosse Épée (tm),
  2. Les monstres se déplacent et tentent de vous piéger, bouffer, sucer la moëlle épinière et toute autre joyeuseté à laquelle vous êtes capable de penser sans (trop) faire de cauchemar.
Simple non ? Oui et non. Chaque monstre a bien évidemment ses petites manies, et celles-ci se voient encore modifiées si un cerveau est présent (comme c'est le cas ci-dessus). Ainsi, les cafards prendront toujours le chemin le plus court vers vous en temps normal, quitte à se retrouver bloqués dans un coin. Si un cerveau est présent, ils calculeront le chemin le plus court quoi qu'il advienne, et éviteront - sauf influence extérieure - de se retrouver dans une posture gênante. Et il ne s'agit bien évidemment que du premier des monstres : citons pêle-mêle les Yeux (qui ne réagiront que si vous entrez dans leur champ de vision), les Wraithwings (lâches seules et hardies en groupe), les serpents, les golems, les chevaliers, les géants... Et ça c'est la partie émergée de l'iceberg. Chacun doit être évalué de belle manière avant de faire un pas de travers qui s'avérera bien souvent fatal.

Oh, les serpents. Je HAIS les serpents.

Qui plus est, chaque type de monstre a son ordre de passage, ce qui peut évidemment influer lourdement sur la résolution d'un niveau. Bombes, passages à sens unique et autres éléments finiront de semer le trouble dans ce petit monde de rêve.

DROD aurait sans doute pu disparaître. Mais, à la grande joie des amateurs du genre, en 2000, Erik Hermansen obtint la permission de récupérer les sources - un peu de bon sens dans ce monde ranci par les querelles de bas étage sur la propriété intellectuelle : DROD, c'est quand même un peu son bébé. Et tout un chacun est capable de deviner la suite des événements : DROD renaquit de ses cendres, se fit porter sur GNU/Linux (et les épisodes suivants sur MacOS, aussi), et eut une descendance virile et poilue, contrairement aux amateurs, dont la crinière chaque fois plus éparse est témoin des déboires et longues nuits passées sur cet objet de bonheur/malheur.


En douze ans, c'est pas moins de cinq jeux qui ont vu le jour. D'abord une version 2.0 de DROD - sobrement appelée King Dugan's Dungeon, puis Journey to Rooted Hold, The City Beneath, Gunthro and the Epic Blunder, ainsi que le spin-off/OVNI (Objet Vidéoludique Non Identifié) Tendry's Tale, qui reprend les éléments ayant fait la force de DROD et en fait un RPG-puzzlegame auquel à l'heure où je tape ces lignes je n'ai encore rien compris, incapable que je suis de venir à bout du premier niveau. Sans doute me manque-t-il un élément de compréhension dérisoire, mais passons, nous sommes là pour parler de la franchise de base après tout.

En sus des jeux sus-cités, sortent régulièrement des forteresses supplémentaires (autrement dit des DLC contenant plusieurs niveaux et de qualité ma foi fort agréable), sous l'Appelation d'Origine Contrôlée Smitemaster's Selection. Des packs à prix raisonnables, au gameplay long et chaud et moite et... ahem. Bref.

Ça, c'est les quelques forteresses dispo. Y'a du boulot.

Bien évidemment, s'il n'y avait que ça à se mettre sous la dent, on aurait vite [enfin, façon de parler hein, comptez tout de même vingt à trente heures pour terminer un DROD si vous êtes pas trop manchot du cerveau (si si, manchot du cerveau), à multiplier par quatre donc... Il y a de quoi s'amuser] fait le tour. C'est compter sans CaravelNet. Œuvre d'un seul homme, cette petite chose a de quoi mettre la honte aux grosses productions. Il s'agit donc d'un service
  1. en ligne,
  2. avec fonctions de chat,
  3. avec fonctions d'import/export de solutions de pièces,
  4. avec système de classement,
  5. avec système de téléchargement de forteresses supplémentaires officielles ou non,
  6. avec système de beta-test de forteresses en cours de construction,
  7. avec système d'évaluation de forteresses, histoire de laisser une bonne note ou pas,
  8. avec système de retéléchargement (conséquence du 5) des forteresses et Smitemaster's Selections achetés, bien souvent mis à jour pour la dernière version du moteur de jeu.
Ajoutez à cela la possibilité d'exporter votre progression d'une version de DROD à la suivante, et vous ne perdrez jamais les 294 forteresses terminées, ni votre sauvegarde de la forteresse à laquelle vous êtes en train de jouer, qu'elle soit - une fois encore - officielle ou non.

Enfin, juste pour info, DROD était, est, et sera probablement toujours "DRM-free", comme ils disent les jeunes.


Tout cela a bien évidemment un prix, que voici listé pour vous éviter de devoir user votre pauvre butineur à aller voir là-bas si vous y êtes.

DROD: Architect's Edition : gratuit
DROD: King Dugan's Dungeon : $9.95
DROD: Journey to Rooted Hold : $9.95
DROD: The City Beneath : $9.95
Smitemaster's Selections : $4.99 pièce (sachant qu'il y en a une grosse dizaine)
DROD: Gunthro and the Epic Blunder : $19.95 (c'est le petit dernier)

Et si j'en profite, c'est aussi parce que les prix pour les anciennes versions ont récemment baissé de moitié. Ce qui était censé être une promo d'un mois a tellement bien marché que c'est devenu définitif. Et si ç'a bien marché, vous vous doutez bien qu'il y a une raison...

Bien sûr ça peut paraître outrancier vu comme ça. Mais réfléchissez un peu. Il m'a fallu une bonne vingtaine d'heures pour terminer le dernier opus (dont on peut dire qu'il est le plus facile - ou plutôt le moins difficile - de la bande, sans hésiter). On tourne à moins de $1 par heure. Chacune des autres versions vous en offre autant. Et vous n'êtes pas obligé de tout acheter d'un coup, non plus. Mmh.

Une forteresse non-officielle... Ça commence bien. :|

Sachez tout de même que la difficulté est assez... non pas aléatoire, mais variable. Pour un débutant, Gunthro est probablement, hélas, le meilleur choix. Le jeu se laisse prendre en main facilement et ne vous balance pas une pièce digne d'un Nobel de mathématiques dès le départ (maintenant la question qui tue : combien d'entre vous n'ont PAS tiqué sur "Nobel de mathématiques" ?) - ou vous y allez franco, et vous chopez une version précédente et prenez directement le taureau par les cornes. La solution intermédiaire étant probablement de prendre une version antérieure, ainsi que la Smitemaster's Selection Smitemastery 101 - ou juste quelques-unes des forteresses pour débutant non-officielles disponibles sur CaravelNet.

Et puisqu'on parle à nouveau de CaravelNet et d'argent : bah oui, la chose a un prix. $12 par an, soit $1 par mois. MAIS. Chaque achat vous offre un mois de CaravelNet gratuit. Amplement suffisant pour faire un téléchargement porcin de toutes les forteresses disponibles, se farcir les plus faciles, et puis survivre le temps de voir si l'on est disposé à faire ce sacrifice ou non. Notez enfin que les mois de CaravelNet offerts sont cumulés, et que DROD: Architect's Edition ne dispose pas de cette fonctionnalité. Son remake King Dugan's Dungeon est tout à fait prêt pour la chose, par contre (même si dans ce cas précis il s'agit d'une version antérieure de la "surcouche").

Je déteste parler de tout ça, j'ai toujours l'impression de parler comme une pub, mais le jeu n'est pas gratuit et, s'il n'a pas un modèle de financement aussi à l'ouest qu'UnReal World, il est tout de même relativement spécifique, donc à noter. Et puisque je ne suis pas chien et que je veux éviter l'erreur à celui qui passerait par ici et serait intéressé : King Dugan's Dungeon est disponible en standalone (DROD: King Dugan's Dungeon) et en Smitemaster's Selection (King Dugan's Dungeon 2.0) - autrement dit, soyez malin si vous n'êtes pas à sec : chopez Gunthro qui dispose de la dernière - et meilleure - version du moteur et qui est un TRÈS bon tutorial avec quelques pièces BIEN tordues au milieu, et ajoutez King Dugan's Dungeon en Smitemaster's Selection, ça vous fera des économies.

Dieu que c'était long... mais nécessaire, c'est un peu la foire là-dedans. J'ajouterai en fin d'article un lien pour les anglophiles courageux expliquant un peu tout ce foutoir et vous donnant quelques conseils pour bien commencer votre carrière de Smitemaster - entre autres les meilleurs didacticiels dispo et l'ordre de préférence pour vous farcir les différents opus.


Ouf. Tout ceci étant dit, il serait peut-être temps de passer à ce qui nous intéresse le plus : le jeu - ou plutôt LES jeux - sont-ils bons et valent-ils ce déboursage de pognon à s'en faire valser la tête ?

Question simple, réponse simple : oh coco, le dernier vrai jeu de réflexion de qualité auquel t'aies joué, c'était quoi ? :|

Question simple, réponse compliquée :

Oui. Mille fois oui. Mais il y a quelques trucs à savoir, particulièrement pour les néophytes.

On parle ici d'un jeu de réflexion. En 2D vue du dessus. Shareware - ou, comme les jeunes appellent ça de nos jours, indie. Autrement dit, il ne faut pas s'attendre à un Call of Duty. Le public n'est pas le même. La qualité et la difficulté ne sont pas les mêmes.

 Let's Play par Pearls, membre actif de la communauté

Du point de vue graphique - et je ne prendrai pas en compte ici Architect's Edition, étant donnés son obsolescence et le nombre d'évolutions plus ou moins majeures qu'a subi le moteur - c'est joli. Ça pourrait peut-être l'être plus, mais c'est suffisamment agréable à l'œil, la palette est suffisamment claire, les secrets ne sont ni trop évidents ni trop discrets, et le sol dispose d'un damier que vous remercierez cent fois par jour pour sa discrétion et son efficacité. Seul regret ? Le jeu ne tourne qu'en 1024x768, ce qui peut mettre les netbooks hors jeu et peut être gênant si votre écran et/ou votre connectique force le stretching.

Du point de vue sonore, c'est mitigé. Les musiques sont bonnes, discrètes, un peu répétitives, les effets sonores sont suffisamment clairs et distincts mais pas des plus mémorables, et les voix... Grands dieux, les voix. J'en pleurerais de joie si je n'en pleurais pas d'affliction. Voyez-vous, le jeu est bon, les accents sont bons, tout est bon. Mais la qualité laisse à désirer. Il y a un souffle de fond assez exaspérant. Fort heureusement, ce n'est pas un RPG, et vous n'aurez pas à supporter cela à tout bout de champ, et il est tout à fait possible de supprimer les voix pour n'utiliser que les sous-titres, mais c'est tout de même un peu dommage.

Du point de vue technique... Je ne me souviens pas l'avoir vu crasher une seule fois. Pas un ralentissement. Temps de chargement pratiquement nuls une fois la connexion à CaravelNet effectuée et, à vrai dire, le seul chargement visible est la transmission de données lors de l'entrée dans un donjon - et ce, uniquement si vous êtes sur CaravelNet.

Du point de vue jouabilité (qui reste le point le plus important tout de même pour un jeu de ce type), c'est le sans-faute. C'est en fait, si vous accrochez à son style unique et à ses rouages atypiques, LE jeu de réflexion. La Mecque. Si vous avez DROD, et pour peu que vous n'ayez pas épuisé toutes les possibilités offertes par les jeux de base et CaravelNet, difficile de dire qu'il vous faut autre chose : c'est faux. L'ouverture offerte par les derniers opus vous permet de laisser un donjon en plan et d'en essayer un autre le temps que l'idée de génie surgisse, la difficulté est parfaitement dosée. DROD est littéralement le pinacle du genre, surplombant les autres d'une bonne taille et demi et rigolant doucement des tentatives pitoyables de faire renaître un genre qui n'est jamais mort - pas que j'aie quelque chose contre Portal ou Braid, mais... je me marre, c'est tout.

Enfin, reste un point assez peu abordé dans les reviews de jeu à aspect peu ou prou communautaire : la communauté proprement dite.

Difficile de jauger et juger pareil critère. DROD, vu de l'extérieur, c'est un cercle pas mal fermé. Un simple coup d'œil à leur forum est suffisamment parlant : pas de topic de bienvenue ou de présentation, les in-jokes sont légion, ça passe largement au-dessus de la tête pour le quidam moyen qui déboule pour la première fois.

Mais à y regarder de plus près... L'entraide y est un moteur, la bonne humeur est omniprésente, le respect mutuel atteint des sommets, la maturité y est époustouflante, les bons mots y pullulent, et des dires de Caravel même, les joueurs sont absolument géniaux. Et je ne les contredirai pas. Il suffit de lire le générique de fin de Gunthro et les forums en parallèle pour se rendre compte que ce n'est pas du chiqué. Si je me retrouve coincé ou si je tombe sur un topic auquel j'ai envie de participer, je plongerai tête baissée. D'ici là, la règle de base de toute bonne entente électronique reste d'application : lurk moar. Pas qu'il y ait quelque chose à craindre, mais la première impression est paraît-il la plus importante, et la communauté respire un bien-être et une solidarité qu'on n'a pas envie de gâcher.

Tout ça pour dire que les notes c'est inutile, qu'un jeu parle toujours de lui-même et que parler d'un jeu est toujours un exercice difficile.

La note finale pour DROD dans son ensemble sera donc de 82 pingouins sur 16 ornithorynques. Si ça c'est pas le plus beau des éloges...


Choper DROD: Architect's Edition :
Acheter les autres ou s'inscrire sur CaravelNet :
Guide du débutant pour s'y retrouver :