5 min read

From monster horde to charcuterie board

My WORST performing article and video! Come talk about food and game design with me, a weirdo.
From monster horde to charcuterie board

It's time for another podcast! Let's talk about:

  1. Food inspiring game design
  2. Cohost posts (with a theme)
  3. Spelunky 2 notable moments
  4. Steam Next Fest
  5. Game dev comic

Listen and/or watch

You can also listen on Anchor or watch on YouTube.

Food inspiring game design

There's a problem in Witchmore right now. The monsters all kind of glom together in an uninteresting way. It puts pressure on the CPU without really increasing the danger for the player.

I've tried a couple different fixes. A flocking algorithm had some promise, but wasn't quite what I was looking for. Since I couldn't think of a clear way to push forward, I took a break, and had a snack.

A screenshot from Witchmore.
A screenshot from Witchmore.

That's when it hit me: I could take inspiration from charcuterie boards! Ever had one? They're so pretty and fun to eat.

Charcuterie boards are usually well designed, with various areas of interest. Slices of meat, chunks of cheese, nuts, pickles, mustards & more playfully decorate an attractive wooden board. Each ingredient is carefully separated, but also harmonizes well with the other ingredients.

This is the sort of impression I want my monsters hordes to make in my game.

Mind you, I haven't actually implemented this yet! Monsters still end up together in clumps, but I now have an idea of what I want them to look like instead.

I'm not the only dev thinking about charcuterie boards. Check out Stop Getting Lost: Make Cognitive Maps, Not Levels (timestamped link) to prove that me and my food analogies aren't crazy:

Cohost posts (with a theme)

When you're in the mood to read, I've got THREE different posts on Cohost for you. If you're not familiar, Cohost is a Twitter-like that I'm experimenting with. I'm taking the advice I gave in How to handle the death of a platform and trying to follow the action.

To help avoid burnout from so much writing, I've given myself a theme, or a rule, for Cohost:

Don't overthink & don't delete!

When I'm writing a book, I carefully choose (& often rewrite) every word. Paragraph by paragraph, ensuring it's the best I can make it. When I'm writing for this blog, I turn that intensity down a tad.

When writing for Cohost, I turn it way down! For me it's a place to just write. No links, no drawings, no polish, just ship them words. Try it, it's fun and freeing!

Here are those three posts:

Current projects

Four of them currently occupying 99% of my time. Read on.

Current projects
Gotta admit, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by all these social networks popping up. Cohost seems really cool, and I’d like to use it, but the idea of cross-posting stuff from Twitter isn’t exciting to me. So instead, how about a brain dump? It looks like Cohost lets you write as much as you want? S…

Being prepared when inspiration hits

In which I allow myself to get distracted away from Witchmore (long enough to miss it). Let's a-read.

Being prepared when inspiration hits
I like Unity, but I’ve been missing the lightweight purity of my old canvas games. It’s satisfying having control of every pixel and knowing exactly what my program is doing. And yup I even missed JavaScript. (Would you believe? I prefer it over TypeScript!) Last weekend I started hacking on an ent…

Climbing content mountain

I'm going to be talking a lot more about content mountain this year. I'll also be adding a section about it into Making Big Indie Games, my tutorial package. Read.

Climbing content mountain
I’m currently in the swamp. It’s OK, it’s a good place to be. (I mean many games come here to die, and mine easily could, but it’ll be fine.) The swamp is what Derek Yu calls the “middle” part of game development. The game mostly knows what it is, there’s a ton of work to do, and daily progress se…

Spelunky 2 Notable Moments

Sometimes you just gotta make stuff for yourself, ya know?

I've been stockpiling little clips of my Spelunky 2 games. But I never had any plan about what to do with them – until now! To keep it simple, I just grabbed a couple dozen of the most "notable" clips I kept, and added commentary.

You can really feel my obsession with the game in this video. If you've never understood the appeal of these brutal roguelikes, this might give some insight!

Steam Next Fest

I've been avoiding Steam for about ... 7 years now?? Since I launched Indie Game Sim in 2016, basically. Well, I'm finally able to head down that road again.

Steam Next Fest is a new(ish) thing, and it sounds pretty cool! I'll be getting my upcoming game Witchmore into one of these some day, so it felt like something I should investigate. Come along with me as I catch up!

Game dev comics

Sometimes I like to draw comics! Like those found in my book of course, but also just randomly. You know, for kids. This one really resonated with Twitter:

So which one(s) describe you? I'm hopelessly all six. Any panels missing?

Next up: how making pancakes can make you better at anything. Stay tuned!

Music: Hover Pit, Electron Gun – both of which you're free to use in your own projects. Now it's time for you to go make the game!