Tag Archives: Indie Development

The Indie Developer Seizure: From 2013 to 1997 With Love (and Reciprocity)

While creating wiki templates for my upcoming RPG, I used sample information from my character Celty. I could stop there and ask a question I’ve thought about idly: I spotlight my characters like Final Fantasy VI or Tales of Vesperia spotlighted theirs, where each of them has shining moments and a fan could make a dozen compelling cases for who the “true” hero is, so why is Celty my “default” character—my template? Is she my favorite? No. Is she my strongest hero? No, although she’s up there. Is it because she’s playable for a longer time than any other character? We’re getting warmer, but then why is she the first playable character—the Terra or Yuri Lowell to others’ Celes and Estelle Sidos Heurassein and Rita Mordio?

I found that my answer lies in the heart of battle my history. (Sorry, Ryu!) Most of Celty’s modern profile was created within the past three years, but when I decided to add a Trivia section about her past, I set myself on the path to uncovering ancient secrets. At first I meant it only for simple asides: her gameplay abilities were designed with speedrunners and single character challenges in mind, she was originally imagined as a warrior mage and not a martial artist, and her name predates Celty Sturluson from Durarara!!.

On that last point I paused. Celty was one of my longest-surviving characters, going back at least to 2000 or 2001 when I first had the crazy notion that I could make an RPG one day—but could I find out how long she’d been with me? I dug into old documents. The truth I found shouldn’t shock you (hint: it’s up in the blog post title), but it shocked me: I’d created Celty as early as December 1997. I had made her a legendary NPC in the computer RPG creation tool Blades of Exile. She was not only “one of” my longest-surviving characters, but the third longest-surviving.

Celty is my “Bulbasaur”: a character who wasn’t my first creation but will always be #1 in the Pokédex.

If that was the end of the story, it wouldn’t be worth mentioning. The real end of the story is that I found epiphany and revelation and truth. I dug into my past to answer a single question and walked away with an answer to a second and infinitely more important one.

Click to read the rest of my descent into indie insanity.

The Fairy of Pirates and Purchases

With the recent revelation/rumor/report that hackers have made progress at cracking Nintendo’s 3DS, online debate begins anew over region locking and piracy. I’ll get the region lock question out of the way: I follow @EndRegionLock on Twitter. Enough said. (My account is here.)

Now we can concentrate on piracy. I won’t comment on the morality issue; in the early 2000s I enjoyed debating philosophy online, but in three years I don’t recall changing anyone’s mind or anyone changing mine. It was great fun, but “multiplayer” philosophy doesn’t accomplish anything “single-player” can’t, so no ethics discussion. This talk is about numbers.

In Nintendo’s seminal SNES classic The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, throwing enough Rupees into a certain pond draws out Venus, a fairy who offers Link a choice of holding 5 more bombs (at least until the final upgrade) or 5 more arrows.

I’ve slowly been making a game in what spare time I have. Aside from the time investment, I’ve spent about $1023 on software tools and designing characters—pennies to a big publisher, certainly, but almost a full month’s after-tax, after-rent pay for me. Let’s say five years have passed, it’s the day before I launch my game, and I’m transported to Hyrule to meet with Venus. You know where this blog post is going based on its title, right? I believe you do! So click if it sounds interesting.