Heart Forth; Alicia – Kickstarted

Where to start… at the beginning would be good.  I stumbled across the Heart Forth; Alicia kickstarter page while checking for updates on Chucklefish’s Starbound. Even as I pushed a post to G+ with the #GNiE hashtag, the game had already passed the initial funding goal.

Fair enough, I’m a sucker for sprite based games. As I mentioned on G+, I consider Grandia to be one of the best looking games of all time. Decades later the sprite-work and animations are still largely unmatched. So, any game that makes me think of Grandia’s sprite-work, or raises memories of Tales of Phantasia, or evokes the style of Seiken DensetsuIs Doing Something Incredibly Right. A quick scroll down the Heart Forth; Alicia kickstarter page, and it was almost like looking at a demo reel of what Sprite based games might have been able to accomplish if polygons hadn’t taken over.

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Without even reading through the updates or making sure there was a Linux client, just based on the visible sprite artwork, I registered as a backer myself. The existence of a Linux client is normally a litmus test of my own for whether or not a Kickstarter funded game is worth paying attention to.  The basic argument for this litmus test is fairly simple; a developer following quote/unquote “Good Coding Practices” will be able to develop and ship a binary that will cross compile and execute on multiple platforms.  If a developer is not able to immediately and simultaneously push updates to OSX, Linux, and Windows in one shot; then something in the development tool chain is broken. At some point the developer used a proprietary API, a proprietary Library, or wrote code that is explicitly tied to a single platform.

A quick glance at Steam’s Linux games collection or Humble Bundle quickly demonstrates that independent developers generally understand the concepts of “Good Coding Practices.”  It is much easier to hit multiple platforms with a single source code base that is as platform-neutral as possible; rather than having to pay for other developers to come in and re-write the platform-specific components for a new platform the original developer was unfamiliar with or unable to target.

The bit about having to pay for a porting job seems to be what happened with Heart Forth; Alicia. While the first update specifically mentioned that Linux+OSX support was in discussion, it wasn’t till the fifth update that the contract cost of paying for that work was revealed. On a lot of levels, I don’t really fault Alonso Martin for adding Linux client support as a stretch goal. As I understand the history Alonso started his game nearly 7 years ago; and there have been significant changes in the ease of developing platform neutral code since then. It’s a bit much to ask a single developer working on his own special personal project to take time and learn different development practices. 

If that sounded a bit Anvilicious… It’s probably because Randy Pitchford is looking at this issue right now with Borderlands and Linux… 

So, with the heavy handed, not-at-all subtle, sledgehammer-like “Good Coding Practices” bit out of the way…

Heart Forth; Alicia is funded. Some of the stretch goals have already been met; and others remain. For those downstream who read this, Heart Forth; Alicia looks and sounds like a title that is probably worth your hard-earned cash.

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Nippon Ichi America Releases Demon Gaze

As the title suggests, there’s a new dungeon crawler available today for PlayStation Vita. For those of you who prefer a hard copy you can cuddle, Demon Gaze is available at retail. Otherwise, it should be on PSN as of…

/checks for PSN update

…now, actually. $39.99, and just to sweeten the pot, there is a Disgaea character portrait bundle users will be able to freely download for the first month the game is available. Etna, Flonne, Sicily, Asagi and Prinny are included in said bundle.

Reaper of Souls Livestream at 12 am Eastern

In celebration of the midnight EST launch of the Diablo III expansion, Reaper of Souls, Activision Blizzard is hosting a live developer Q&A tonight, featuring Game Director Josh Mosquera and Senior Technical Game Designer Wyatt Cheng.

It looks like a twofold thing, serving as both a Q&A session with the pair, and also as a sort of promotional vehicle celebrating the launch party.

You can get in on the action at midnight eastern time at http://www.twitch.tv/Diablo.

Yet Another Petition: Target Sega

Cross posting can be fun. In this case comes both a social network posting on the  tag and a main-site posting over, of all things, a Petition targeting Sega. I’m not exactly what one would call a fan of Online Petitions. Most are too easy to spoof identities on, and many such as PetitionOnline are actively ignored due to their content.

So… when I heard that  … a company that is just about impossible to get in contact with short of kicking in the door of their headquarters… is not only aware of a Petition… but might actually… act… on that petition… I just had to check it out and say something. Which I did. Continue reading

Monster Monpiece Heads West

The digital era has been marked with complications for gamers; not so long ago, Microsoft pulled the plug on Xbox Live 1.0, meaning that content purchased via Xbox Live for Microsoft’s first mainstream console is no longer available for download. The implications for digital content in general are concerning. Xbox One was originally slated to require an always-on connection in order to operate, and Sony is presumed to have had similar plans for PlayStation 4, although they didn’t catch nearly as much crap for it.

Heck, the recently announced patch for Dead Rising 3 weighs in at a whopping 13 gigabytes.

All of these are artifacts of this digital age, but there’s another side to the coin: the availability (and consequent reduction in publishing costs) of a digital storefront means that games like Monster Monpiece – which I assure you would never have seen the light of day in the United States otherwise – can actually cross the Pacific and entertain/horrify gamers. As you prefer, of course. To celebrate Idea Factory’s announcement that Monster Monpiece will be available on PSN in North America and Europe this spring, have some screenshots. Also, a video. Because there is a slightly NSFW’ish aspect to gameplay, we’re going to go ahead and hide these behind the jump. Thank us later.

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StarCraft II: Patch 2.1 Goes Live

Good news for StarCraft II players (and potentially non-players, I suppose): Patch 2.1 is now live. There are a whole list of goodies involved there, most of which I, as a non-player, don’t really claim to understand. That said, here are the high points, as well as a video that explains the changes better than I could:

CES-2014: All eyes on AMD?

Ah, January. That time of year when the weather is cold and many a tech journalist hurries off to warmer clients for the Consumer Electronics Show. Sadly I’m not there this year so all my posts will once again be re-active. For those interested I’ll largely be peppering On google.com/+JeSaist with posts of items that catch my attention. This post though, here on Gamenikki, is about AMD. It might not be unfair to say that AMD has the most eyes on them as CES 2014 gets underway.

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Xbox One Sales: the Devil’s Advocate

“There are three types of lies; lies, damn lies, and statistics.” Jason would no doubt agree, as he appears to have some reservations regarding Microsoft’s announcement of a million units shifted at launch.

I’m going to play devil’s advocate for a moment: Sony and Microsoft each claim to have shifted a million consoles in the first 24 hours of the new generation. Jason’s assertion is that, in calling various retailers (and possibly a bit of confirmation bias), Microsoft’s claim to have sold a million units doesn’t hold up. Fair…if we were comparing apples to apples.

But let’s look a little bit closer. Continue reading

Playstation 4: Greatness yet to come?

Everything was going so well for Sony. Their competitors had flubbed a crucial conference performance in addition to promising a product with lesser performance at a higher financial cost; Sony’s own console was in full factory production while the competitor was still finalizing their hardware; pre-sales were lining up in record breaking numbers; and some of the more vocal critics of the company under Howard Stringer were warming to the new management. Then, as launch date got closer, cracks started to show. Full Disclosure, I did ask Sony if I could get access to a Playstation 4 before launch in order to have a Day Zero review ready. I’ve yet to see a response from Sony, and well, this review might be why they weren’t keen to let me have a crack at the console before launch day.

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