I started streaming on Twitch recently after years of considering it and was surprised to find out that I really enjoy it. It looks like I made a post about it a few months ago announcing that I had one but didn’t really get into it until this last month. It started when I decided to stream the mid 90s puzzle game Gubble, partially as a bit but I genuinely wanted to revisit a game I had played when it was released. I had a blast and other people seemed to enjoy finding out about the game too.

I think it’s been good for me to do since it makes me commit to actually playing a game for two hours instead of fighting with my awful attention span and playing the game for 20 minutes, checking my phone, playing the game for another 10 minutes, looking at various websites, and then stopping to do something else. Plus I actually stick with games more instead of starting games and never finishing them.

Since it seemed to help a lot with completing games, I decided to do a game dev stream last night and got a ton done. Again, it helped having people to talk to while I work on my game for a few hours. This was just an art stream where I was making clay art for a short point-and-click adventure. I felt motivated to work on it again after someone at a recent game dev meetup told me that I shouldn’t make an adventure game with clay since it “has been done a million times before” (1. rude and 2. what the hell are you talking about?). I would never do any coding streams because it’s my day job and I don’t wanted to be judged for any bad code, but I’m ok with people seeing me learn how to do clay art and stop motion animation. So I’ll keep doing more of these since it seems to make me more productive and it’s fun.

I highly doubt it will never get too elaborate or have a dedicated schedule. I have no interest in this being a side gig or a thing that makes money but it’s been nice as a thing to keep me focused and make solitary activities a little more social.

Books Read in June 2024

I read a lot in June! It helps that my local library launched their summer reading challenge, which I’m having a lot of fun participating in. I also document all of this on my Storygraph

The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka Older: Just a fun Sherlock-inspired murder mystery in space with woman and gay. Not groundbreaking but it was a fun, quick read for me. My first book I read by Malka and I would read later books in this series at some point too.

The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark: Novella set in an alternate history after the American Civil War in New Orleans, this story is so much more interesting than most of those which just seem to be “What if the Confederates won?” I don’t know if there’s more stories set in this world but I need to read more by this author.

Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey: The first book I read by Mercedes! Just a really well written fantasy books and I want to read more in this world.

Calamity by Constance Fay: Decent romance story set in space.

Chop Fry Watch Learn: Fu Pei-Mei and the Making of Modern Chinese Food by Michelle T. King: I really need to make more of an effort to read history books about food. This is about Fu Pei-Mei and her history of cooking shows and I found it to be really interesting!

The Forever War by Joe Halderman: I’ve been making more of an effort to read The Classics, even though I believe that Having to Read Them is overrated, but I’m glad I read it. It has some huge issues with how it has aged because of sexuality, even if the author is well meaning, but plenty of interesting ideas too and the book was more anti-war than I expected, which is nice.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo: Good, short fantasy novella about a royal family. Don’t have much to say about it but I liked it and will read more in the series.

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein: Another classic I read this much but didn’t enjoy. I completely understand why it’s important and loved, but so much of it has aged horribly and a lot is also tainted by knowing how Heinlein would eventually lean politically and thinking “hmmm….I don’t think it’s just the character saying an awful thing.”

How It Unfolds by James S.A. Corey: Amazon has a ton of short stories they’ve funded so I started reading these too. This is my first by James S.A. Corey as well. I liked it! It’s very short so it’s not a deep story but it’s a fun read.

Foundation by Isaac Asimov: Another classic! Also my first by Asaac Asimov! I watched the first season of the tv show, which I’m aware has almost nothing to do with the book, which pushed me into finally reading the book. It’s good! It feels like it’s not a finished story, probably because it’s a collection of shorts and there’s some books after this, but I enjoyed it.

Lost Ark Dreaming by Suyi Davies Okungbowa: Very cool novella about people living in a very tall building in the future when the Earth has flooded. I want to read more by this author.

Zork: The Forces of Krill by Steve Meretzky: This was a choose your own adventure-style book that was released in the early 80s by one of Infocom’s designers. I was told before reading that it’s not great and I suppose it isn’t, but it’s also harmless and short. The most interesting thing about the book is that the game Zork Nemesis later references it. I bought it for $1.50 at a used book store and it sells for much more than that online, and I think I would have been annoyed it I paid any significant amount for it.

The Scourge Between Stars by Ness Brown: Fun, short horror story in space. Felt very inspired by Alien.

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin: A classic and my first read by Ursula K. Le Guin. It’s amazing! I guess I’ll need to read everything by her.

These Fragile Graces, This Fugitive Heart by Izzy Wasserstein: Cyberpunk book. It’s fine. I wish I liked it more because it’s very queer and that part is great, but it also spent too much time over explaining everything to the reader, oh well.

Void by Veronica Roth: Another one of the short stories from Amazon. Fun little sci-fi mystery. Nothing super memorable but if you’ve got Amazon Prime then you can already read it for free and it’s a nice and short read.

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs: My first John Carter story and also my first story I’ve read by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Probably the last too? Kinda hated this one. I can see how it’s very influential but it’s all very racist and sexist and I suspect it was even for its time. I looked at the description for the next book in the series and it seems to double down on this and reading the author’s wikipedia page confirms he wasn’t a great dude so I’m moving on.

Myst: The Book of Atrus by Robyn Miller, Rand Miller, David Wingrove: I read the rerelease from last year for the book’s anniversary. I enjoyed this much more than I expected! As a long time fan of Myst Online, a lot of this book felt like setup for that game. It’s not high art but I thought it was a fun read.

Indie Game Roundup (July 7, 2024)

Hi, here’s a list of indie games that I think are pretty cool. Also the sale is happening now, go buy some games from there. I’m hoping to continue doing these on a more regular basis than once a month. Also consider subscribing to the RSS feed for future blog posts! If you recently released something that you want included, always feel free to send me an email, message me on social media (see About page), or just reply to this post with a link to your thing to let me know it’s out.

gif of someone clicking around a living room.

A new Indiepocalypse is out! I’m excited that it has a new game by Hexcavator.

art of an orange space ship called the star unicorn

Flickship allows you to easily create cool space ships.

gif of a gree creature saying "he should be able to trade you a fish for a crunch veggie!"

Sprout Yeartide is a new, short game by Princess Internet Cafe. I’m a big fan of their games and love seeing all the branches that have come from Bitsy. This was made in binksi hd, which is based on Binksi, a fork of bipsi that lets you create games using Inkle Studios‘ Ink, and bipsi is inspired by Bitsy.

A new issue of Indie Tsushin is out! I’m going to be lazy and copy the Itchio text here: “This is the 2024 May-June zine issue compiling articles from the インディー通信 Indie Tsushin blog, a handmade site celebrating and introducing indie and doujin games from Japan!” Despite my laziness, it’s a fantastic zine and website!

Not a game but Crisis Arcadia 0: The Angels of Bloodharvest is a short sci-fi story by a game developer and available for $2.

The Neo-Twiny Jam just wrapped up. The jam features submissions of Interactive Fiction games containing 500 words or less.

Iowa Jack and the Crystals of Chaos is a new text adventure for the Commodore 64 that is a parody of Indiana Jones and meant to have a lower difficulty level for newcomers to text adventures.

screenshot from Paper-Girl-Chain of someone saying "I shuffled around in my seat guiltily, fully waking myself up" and some dialog choices
Screenshot from Paper-Girl-Chain

The menhera vn jam also just wrapped up. The jam is described as “This is a jam for games about living and coming to terms (or not) with unseen burdens, whether they be mental, emotional, physical, psychological, or otherwise.”

Self-Promo Zone

I’ve started an irc channel for indie and alt games/gamedev talk at AfterNET at #AltGames. If you do not have an IRC client or don’t feel like messing around with that stuff, you can easily join through the browser here. I’ll never be able to get people to drop Discord for IRC, but I personally prefer it. I don’t feel like I have to follow along with every single conversation and I’m not getting pinged all the time by notifications or the “Everyone” tag. Consider giving it a try! No registration required!

I also helped with a games anthology that’s coming out soon. Locally Sourced Anthology I: A Space Atlas is a collection of 8 experimental games from different indie game developers. Grow tea on the Moon! Fish on Saturn! Find love on Mars! And 5 other things! Wishlist it now on Steam! It’s also coming out on