Welcome to the first column of BYOND and Within.  I'm ACWraith.  In addition to developing my own games, I ran BYOND Strategy.  There, I wrote a weekly link digest called Along The Tech TreeBYOND and Within is intended to to be roughly the same, but without the genre restriction.  The external links I began using in Tech Tree's final year will be a regular feature and a bimonthly edit will likely be posted on my Gamasutra blog.

This week's post will probably be much larger than usual as I'm making up for lost time.  Consider it a buffer as I just learned I'll be having surgery next week.  I should be in and out in a matter of hours, but I don't want to make any promises.  (Frankly, I'm more worried about my reaction to the anesthesia than the organ removal.)

Beyond BYOND

  • The finalists of the 2011 Independent Games Festival have been announced along with the student showcase winners.  Videos for many of the games can be found on their individual pages.  (Those can be important.)
  • The 2011 finalists of the Indie Game Challenge have also been posted and the results will be announced on February 11th at D.I.C.E. Go vote for the winner of the Gamer's Choice Award. They're bribing you with a raffle entry.
  • Of course, the end of 2010 brought on a plethora of yearly awards as well.  Check out the opinions of Big Download, Indie DB, Indie Game Reviewer, and TIGSource.  Multiple categories can also be found on IndieGames and Casual Girl Gamer if you're willing to backtrack a bit.
  • The Experimental Gameplay Project announced December's results.  The theme was "drawing" and there were 11 entries.  January's theme is "inanimate".
  • The TIGSource Versus Compo has begun.  Entrants are tasked with creating a complete game that pits at least one human player against another by February 27th.  To enter, create a thread in their Versus forum that documents the game's development.  Be sure to read the announcement post for the full set of rules.
  • For the artists out there, Colin Northway has offered a post on color choices and Richmond has offered another on the 12 principles of animation...  Really, I'm just buttering you up to draw me some winning fan art for a trip to PAX East with Day[9].
  • The launch appears late, but DIYGamer is creating a crowdfunding site dedicated to games in particular.  Keep an eye out for 8-bit Funding.
  • Rips shmips.  Over on Edge, Rich Stanton wrote about "The Cloning of Desktop Dungeons"...  There's a dispute over game mechanics that can't be protected in the first place?  That's so quaint!
  • Liking the site redesign?  If not, tough.  Spiderweb Software's Jeff Vogel offers "Three Reasons Creators Should Never Read Their Forums".  Tee hee...  Actually, I think developers should merely take input with a grain of salt.  Players shouldn't be apathetic about feedback if they expect games to get better.  Go comment on a hub or blog!

Within BYOND

Silk Games' NEStalgia RPG has received multiple updates in the past few weeks.  Version 1.33 brought guest key access and improved graphics handling.  Version 1.34 adds 8 save slots for subscribers.  Prior to that, an external website was created for a planned marketing push.  Perhaps they'll find more people willing to play in marathon sessions.

The BYOND site redesign resulted in a surge of players for the team-based action of Decadence.  Unfortunately, it appears to have occurred at the same time as the loss of the team's master server.  Other servers could become unresponsive while attempting to contact it.   Fortunately, SuperAntx has released a beta version of the next update that solves the problem.

Acebloke's abstract strategy game, Exploder, recently received an update.  Unfortunately, he was too ill to provide a blog post with the changes.  His shooter, Exodus, suffered the same fate.

He did, however, manage to post the details of the latest update to his military/economic sim, Wargames.  In addition to graphical improvements (not pictured), nations can have mottoes, choose their terrain and earn infamy scores based on nuclear attacks... or mean androids.

Kyle_ZX has been spending the last few weeks on a multiplayer retro RPG now called Infernal Sanctity.  A small download is available.  Various details, including an introduction, have been spread throughout the developer forum.  More recently, the classes were displayed and defined.  Kyle_ZX posted a classified ad in December if anyone is interested in helping.

Inspired by Rudra no Hiho, DivineTraveller has announced and created a Google Code Project for an RPG with a robust spell creation system called Mantra.  A tech demo is available and the recent screenshots of the interface confirm his feelings of progress.

Twin II has provided another screenshot of his tactical RPG.  Finding a cluttered UI in both his own project and others in the genre, he redesigned it in a manner which should allow players to plan their actions without wasting too much space.  Details on the rest of the game are still scarce, but an arena for both cooperative and PvP battles was mentioned.

Suicide Shifter has been working on spies.  It's described as a tactical espionage game with a focus on in-game knowledge rather than stats.  Speech bubbles were recently added that are linked to who is talking.  Different gadgets will then be able to hide names.  A demo is expected when the tutorial is complete.

Fantasie Productions are threatening to take over the world with kittens.  "Meos" have been implemented in the RPG project the team is named after.  Players will first meet with a kitten that can both heal and manipulate the minds of those around it.

Heh, part of my kingly duties for BYOND Strategy involved assassinating a cat that held a throne controlled by BYOND RPG and now I'm adverti...  FRELL, it's working!

Latoma contacted me directly to point out that he has teamed up with Xaiphin, Xyphon, Axerob, Fugsnarf, Zane44 and NicoletheSucubus.  Together they will create an RPG spanning five games called Twilight Herald.  A mysterious force stretching through time will cause allies to go mad and gods to go berserk.

The classified ad is still open for new members...  The position of razzing Latoma for creating such a thread without any hint of his mecha obsession was filled by me. ;)

Finding the mail client obsolete, Bandock has released the source to ByMail.  It's free for both modification and study.

Bandock also recently released SkyDrop Delivery.  It's his entry to The BYOND Cartridge Classic II... which ends in less than two weeks!

Zaltron has offered some screenshots of an upcoming tool to help create isometric graphics.  It's made with BYOND and includes random textures from across the internet.  Users will be able to choose their light source.

Last week, I finally got around to creating a video for my rhythm action game with procedurally generated music, Fused Finale.  I would have preferred to cut it down into a more exciting trailer instead of a long gameplay video, but my editing software kept changing the resolution on me.

This week I returned to implementing my racing combat board game, StarScurrier.  I was going to ease myself in with some sound effects, but I jumped into the code.  Apparently I still had a lot of the Trade phase to implement.  I'm now playing past the first round and fixing the many bugs that pop up.

The Gift Me Games Deal is still running until February 2nd for those interested in lifetime Fooldom Come subscriptions.  Go ahead and add to my gamer guilt with more games from my Steam wishlist.

Fooldom Come: One subscription. Many games.

I'm not sure what sort of videos I'm going to restrict this column to, but Bytejacker seems like it will make the cut and the release of their new game makes for a decent excuse.  Also, congratulations to NakaTeleeli for reaching 10000 subscribers to his Let's Play channel and to Brigitte Dale for becoming NextMovie's DVDiva.

Got news? Put it on your blog. Moderators can change the status of posts.

Awesome stuff, keep it up!
*Raises his flagon* Here's to as many BYOND and Within's as there were Tech Tree's! Here here!
It's awesome to see that you're going to be covering the entire site now. On top of always providing great information, you have a very succinct and easy to read writing style that makes you absolutely perfect for this. BYOND and Within will be a great thing for this community.

I hope that your surgery goes well. I myself have been battling some ongoing health issues for the past two years (nothing as bad as what you're dealing with), so I can empathize with how draining and frustrating issues like that can be. Best of luck!
I hope Zaltron's textures are being replaced. Those are all from the textures.png file inside of Minecraft's jar for their client. As far as I know, Notch is the type of person who very much frowns upon his stuff being used by other people. Part of his modding Minecraft policy is that you can use what's in there, but you can't redistribute it, so if you plan to have your mod use something like the textures, it has to be used at run time from the client, and can't be pulled out and distributed with your mod.
I really liked this, it boosted our drives to finish more of Fantasie faster with less errors! I cannot wait for the next post.
That was certainly worth the read.
I see that there's still a lot of games I have to try out, and I'll get around to it soon.
this was excellent coverage of recent game updates/news, can't wait for more
Loving the little tib-bits of byond related news :)

As for the surgery I had the exact same thought when going in for a dental operation. I was more worried about the sedation than the actual operation itself.

*Raises a glass to your good health*
Will this be replacing your tech tree article? If so, i'm still all for it.

As I've always said, keep it up! You have a lot of dedicated readers!
Evi of au wrote:
Will this be replacing your tech tree article?

Why every link haves a invite=ACWraith


By the way, good work. :P
Latoma? Haven't seen that name since I quit Duel Monsters Unlimted/Generations. The trolls and elitist scum there were just too much to handle...and the GMs always wound up lifting some of their bans even if they used other keys to avoid them or repeat their offense several times...
@Ocean King: I add referral links for outside readers. It's a holdover from Tech Tree that saves me a bit of time when editing the Gamasutra version. Readers said they didn't mind.
I would like to thank you for the mentioning of Fantasie =D It was a big courtesy boost to the team and I.
Reading this in chunks over the last couple of days and still have some more to read and watch!? I do find myself wanting color. heh. Anyway, I look forward to the evolution of this effort. Keep it comin! :)


Yes, Latoma. Me. :S.

Honestly I'm shocked it's getting covered at all lol. We are in the very early stages. But I appreciate Wraith's help.

As for DMG, I'm less active there for the same reason. I can only hope someday UD learns that his passive aggressive stance is scaring off his own population.

And congrats on your first Wraith.
You failed to assassinate the cat at BYOND RPG, he just went into hiding for a long time. ;)