Welcome to another extended edition of BYOND and Within.  Now with less gallbladder!

But still with nagging gall.  Expect some public standards for featured games soon.  Rather than the recent rotation based on random bouts of activity, I favor a growing catalog where developers have enough influence to keep it from stagnating.  Game creators will be able to follow a basic checklist and inspect any causes of rejection.  Reviewers will have some solid backup for their decisions to defend themselves from trolling accusations.

As with BYOND Strategy, the current draft of the standards focuses on presentation aspects.  Developers should familiarize themselves with GUI handling.  Projects last updated before the BYOND 4.0 era will likely find themselves out of luck.  (Sorry, Last Robot Standing.  You'll likely have to wait for updates from Nadrew...  Assuming, you can keep him away from the other BYOND classic he's hosting, My Life as a Spy.  Fleshies.  I know, right?)

As for my standards in this column, I just look for activity with original/licensed IP and hope the variety increases.  I don't expect developers to have something polished right out of the gate.  I'm more interested in providing some motivation to keep people working.  =)

Beyond BYOND

  • The results of the last Game Design Challenge have been posted on Game Career Guide.  Entrants were tasked with designing a game that could only be made for the Nintendo 3DS.  The next challenge presents a similar task for Sony's NGP.
  • The January results of The Experimental Gameplay Project have been announced as well.  Check them out for 16 games based on the theme "inanimate".  February's theme is ASCII.
  • Musicians in the audience might be interested in the Retro City Rampage Remix Contest.  Entrants must remix the theme song created by Jake "Virt" Kaufman.  The top selections will win Pro and Lite SoundCloud accounts among other prizes.
  • You are all now welcome to cast your vote for the Main Competition Audience Award of the 13th Annual Independent Games Festival.  Demos for many of the entrants are available.  (Perhaps I should balance last week's "quaint" comment with this interview.)
  • 8-Bit Funding is now live.  GameSetWatch's Michael Rose recently spoke with organizer Geoff Gibson about the conception and plans of the new game development-centric crowdfunding site.
  • Check out the new GAMESTORM site created by Chevy Ray Johnston.  It's a "collection of doodles, sketches, and scrap-paper designs by game developers around the world".
  • Likewise, those more interested in playing games might enjoy the new Best Of The Web column written by Tasha of Casual Girl Gamer.
  • The Vasel family, known for The Dice Tower podcast and videos, recently suffered the loss of their recent arrival, Jack Vasel.  Members of Board Game Geek are coordinating an auction to help pay for the medical bills.  Many games are being offered along with a Scott Nicholson game video of a winner's choosing.  (I imagine the latter will be better than what CBS is getting.)

Within BYOND

IainPeregrine has been keeping busy with updates for multiple projects.  His retro single-player RPG, Regressia, received a fix for a progress-ending bug.  His cooperative action title, Casual Quest, received its own fixes and balance improvements for many of the classes.  Later updates then provided an anti-griefing measure and... a secret?

The Decadence team has released two updates for their team-based shooter.  Along with some internal changes, the server listings have been fixed and some of the hand-holding mechanics have been removed after determining that they were obstructing play.  As always, readers can find the full patch notes in the forum.

Silk Games posted a Q&A regarding their retro multiplayer RPG NEStalgia.  More recently, they released version 1.35 of the game.  The big feature this time around is set gear.  The more pieces of a set one is wearing, the more bonuses they will receive.  Some pieces can be bought with Colosseum Emblems so be sure to earn them by participating in tournaments.

As promised, Acebloke has updated his economic/military sim, Wargames.  As usual, there's a long list of improvements.  The selling points are a new attack selection method and rocket research that can lead to claims on the moon.  That latter grants players a medal.

Acebloke also updated the demo for his Spore-inspired graphical MUD, Dreamland Universe.  Enough interest has been expressed that donations can now grant advanced access.

Of course, the best update might be that yeas and nays are now displayed on Acebloke's blog.  I can support his continued progress while still picking on his complex HUDs. ;)

F0lak has announced that he'll be returning to his Game In A Day 2010 entry, Ninja Team.  It's the cooperative action title that tied for second place.  Expect random dungeons, new enemies and more in the next few weeks.

Forum_account is making plans for his platform action titles A Miner Adventure and Exordium & Terminus.  Much of the former has been merged into a new framework with with upgrades, elevators, building abilities and medals on the way.  For the latter, he is attempting to complete a story and showing off more of the game's lovely art.

The Sidescroller library used in both projects has been updated.  More demos are a possibility.

Oasiscircle appears happy to be back on track with his player-created simulation, Craftfolk.  Internal account handling is in place and the team is celebrating the arrival of a new artist, JoshuaRay202.  Efforts are currently underway to provide a uniform, simplified interface for the game's many skills.

DivineTraveller is continuing to post progress on his RPG of customized spells, Mantra.  Multiple screenshots of the revised interface are available.  Most interesting might be the tooltips for which a demo has been created (with credit going to Loduwijk and Koil).

A poll was recently held to determine the method of learning spell syllables.  It appears players will have to pay a lot of attention to the words of NPCs.

On the heels of Medikitty, Fantasie Productions have introduced Medicat to their RPG.  Not content with controlling nearby NPCs, Medicat summons new minions and casts debuffs.  Solid details on the party and quest systems might be more interesting than a steady stream of enemies, but they're polling their audience.  Hopefully the mechanics will receive at least as much attention as the world.

Inspired by the old BBS game Infinity Complex and a request from a gaming parent, Asellia has begun work on a procedurally generated team-based action RPG called The Box.  The overall goal is to capture a majority of the map, but there's much to do in the meantime.  A global quest board and a class system were recently added.  I have yet to join a server, but I like the concept and, really, procedural generation in general.

Asielen has updated his action title Snow War.  First created for a contest sponsored by Lummox JR in 2008, the decision was made to polish it into a finished product.  I have yet to really delve into it, but a quick glance at the clean interface and help file make me think it's a candidate for featured status.  I'll have to keep it in mind when I start doing reviews. =)

Speaking of Lummox JR's contests, he has once again extended the deadline for the BYOND Cartridge Classic II.  Entrants now have until April 1st.  That's roughly two more months to create a game within 8192 bytes of source code.

Feel free to join in.  Bandock has taken advantage of the extra time to provide a bug fix for his SkyDrop Delivery entry.  D4RK3 54B3R is back to work on his second entry after stumbling with a strategy RPG, a dungeon crawl and some form of zombie game.  After resigning, IainPeregrine is also back... and utilizing his Casual Quest updates to distract D4RK3 54B3R.  Oh, that's dirty! ;)

My birthday has come and gone.  The Gift Me Games Deal is now over.  Thank you to all who participated and I hope you enjoy your lifetime subscriptions to my multipass, Fooldom Come.  There were not a lot of unique customers, but most of those involved bought more than once.  Overall, I'm calling it a reasonable success.  However, I will have to advertise any future deals that I intend to make money.

Speaking of Fooldom Come, I've added a download to the hub page that includes various resources.  Right now it's just the music tracks from my games.  I hope to keep updating with more, but I'm not quite happy with the older graphical assets I have to offer and the newer ones tend to have textures that I'm not licensed to distribute in their raw form.

Unfortunately, I didn't get around to working on any games this week.  I'm still a bit battered and bruised.  Whatever surgery didn't break was done in by attempting to input Magicka spells with a gamepad.  (Don't do that.  It's hard.)

Fooldom Come: One subscription. Many games.

I've been enjoying Paul Schneider's developer commentary on his platform shooter, GunGirl 2.  At first I wanted to present it as a reasonable way to incorporate references to unlicensed content.  Then I noticed that some of the names were used outright and Schneider was proud of ripping specific sounds.  I suggest avoiding those practices, but getting inside the head of the developer is still fun. =)

Got news? Supernatural comes back tonight.

You really need to flip the content. I don't think a column on BYOND should present things outside of BYOND before things pertinent to BYOND.
And if you do so, you should change the name, obviously, to "Within and BYOND". I think that name actually sounds better, as well.
Vermolius wrote:
You really need to flip the content. I don't think a column on BYOND should present things outside of BYOND before things pertinent to BYOND.

Why not? Tech tree did it, and it was successful. Showing that there's more out there for reading, learning, etc, is a good thing, methinks.

I enjoy your little quips, AC, they make the column wonderful =)
It's just that I think BYOND should take precedence. Maybe I'm biased; I just skip over the Beyond BYOND section.
Good stuff as always.

To chime in in my reading experience. I skimmed (scrolled passed really) the wall of external text and clicked each byond image and if what I saw was interesting, I read the text.

mood is everything though and I'm a bit off kilter at the moment.

I don't mind moving it to the bottom, but I think you guys are really missing out by skipping the Beyond section. It's not about advertising other platforms and it's not just tidbits of events to keep people connected. There are activities/gifts for players and, more importantly, avenues of exposure for developers. I'm hoping that some brave soul with a decent game will take the hint.
Maybe call the posts BYOND and Beyond? xD