Saturday, August 3, 2019

August Update

Attending Chunky Fringe

Last time I was working to complete a demo to take to Chunky Fringe. I can report that I was able to get ready in time. And I'm very pleased with how the day went. I was invited to take part in the Chunky Fringe by David Walford. The Chunky Fringe was a room of exhibitors and panels. Full of stuff related to Teletext, Digitiser and a little of retro computing. It provided a bit extra for people on the way to the Digitser Live Show. you can read about the Chunky Fringe on David's site. you can also browse the Chunky Text teletext service created to coincide with the event with many contributors. I'm very thankful to David for inviting me to take part.

Showing a demo of UFO a dracula 

I showed the first chapter of my next thing UFO a dracula. It is multiple choice interactive fiction like my last thing. But occasionally you have to solve word searches against the clock. And if you get one wrong you have less time to solve the next one. I want to thank the crowd at Chunky Fringe for having a go. The word search bits are not instantly intuitive. But it was great to see it click into place as people played. And hopefully I can balance the difficulty so people can progress until it does click. My intention with the word search bits was to make sure you had to be actively present. And add a bit of urgency to proceedings. it's all an approximation within the limitations I'm working with. I'm happy enough with the reaction to press forward.

Art made with text characters on the ZX Spectrum

I was able to implement the text art stuff in time for the Chunky Fringe deadline. I used edscii to convert the images then tweaked them a little. Because of the limitations of the zx spectrum pallet I choose to use only the blue, green and yellow colours. These act as substitutes for a grey scale gradient.  

I worked up my illustrations to use inky lines. Trying to vary the width to give the converter something to grip on to. These illustrations can be reconverted when porting the game to other systems with different resolutions. Although I have kind of gone down the path of using monochrome images. 

Dracula signs autographs for children at the jumble sale.

Getting back into it after Chunky Fringe

since my day at Chunky Fringe and Digitiser Live I've struggled a bit to get back in the swing of things. Finishing this post means I'm getting back into it. Because I had to work towards a deadline, it gives a feeling of having finished. But I've only done one chapter. Part of the feedback I got for Clicky clicks dungeon was that it was too short. UFO a dracula will be a lot bigger. But at the cost of taking much longer to make. Which goes against the spirit of what I'm trying to do. But I want it to be substantial. And bigger than one sitting.

To make the first chapter I first did a windows version first. It was far too big which I then had to edit down. I'm planing to make a template showing the space I have to work within. If I aim for the size of the ZX Spectrum version it will save wasted work. Working more with the text art stuff I should get faster at that too. knowing what works and what doesn't. also I've already done a lot of the design work on the characters.

So I'm pressing forward with the things I'm making. And being included in the Chunky Fringe gave me a real boost. Although the day was kind of overwhelming. As I was a big fan of Digitiser back in the nineties. I'd be happy to go back to another thing like this just as a punter. Also I want to be able to enable other people to get the same boost I got. I'm not sure how to do that, but it is an aspiration of mine now. I know a lot of other people who were there on the day are doing there own creative things. and I want everyone's stuff to get shared too.

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