Tuesday, 9 June 2020

I'm not saying it's aliens, but it's aliens... and Zen!

Things have continued to be a touch quiet on here just recently, so I thought I'd make a post to remind everyone that the blog is still here and I'm still making games.

Speaking of games, I made a bit of a discovery about my games this morning and I think it's a theme that I'd like to continue. I noticed, while I was creating the page for my latest game (more on this later) that most of my stuff has a space, alien or UFO theme. I think this is something that I could expand upon, and maybe make into an ongoing thing that runs through all of my games, in a similar vein to how Jeff Minter manages to get sheep, llamas and cows into pretty much everything he does.

Many people don't know this about me, but I do have an interest in space. I used to write an astronomy and science blog on Tumblr that had over 500,000 regular readers... Before I blew it and started using that blog for posts about games development and swiftly lost most of my audience. I've also got a passing interest in the UFO phenomenon and have read several books on the subject, with my current favourite being "You Can't Tell The People" by Georgina Bruni, which is all about the world's only officially recognised UFO encounter that took place in the UK in December 1980 just outside RAF Woodbridge, which was used at the time by the United States Air Force. I'm also a big fan of cheesy 1950's and 60's sci-fi movies like "Earth vs. the Flying Saucers", "It Came from Outer Space" and "20 Million Miles to Earth". I've a feeling that my interest in space, aliens and cheesy movies has caused me to subconsciously choose a space theme for almost all of my games so far, with the exception of Retroids, which is a bit more abstract, and UTS-187, which was really just a demo, and this theme is something that I think I could expand upon.

This is a pretty cool book, though a bit hard to get hold of these days.

So, yeah. Now you all know that I like to read strange books and watch weird movies, what else do I like to do? Well, I've been practicing Zen for around 10 years or so, and I was thinking that maybe I could try to sneak some of this into the games in some way or other. Not by being preachy about it, but by taking some of the weirder concepts and maybe including them in the games in some sort of trippy, psychedelic fashion. That's not to say that I'm in any way interested in the current Zen trend that some people have of using drugs to "heighten" their meditation practice, because I think that pretty much misses the point, but there's some really strange sounding stuff in Zen that could make some interesting concepts for games. Especially if mixed in with the whole aliens and UFO's idea.

This is also a really cool book!

So, Pete's finally flipped his lid and gone all weird on us! Quick get the guys in white coats and ready a padded cell! Nah, not really. I've always been a bit odd, but then most of us are, we just like to keep it hidden for fear of ridicule and to fool other people into thinking we're normal. I just think that maybe I can mix some of my other interests into the games I make and move them a little further away from being bog standard, generic, retro styled arcade shooters... I mean, they're probably going to still be bog standard, generic, retro-styled arcade shooters, but now with the aim of adding a bit more personality to them and make them a bit more me. I quite like the idea of making games with a weird space hippy alien vibe to them... It could turn out to be quite fun.

Anyway, speaking of games and space... I'm currently working on a little thing called Crater Base. It's a Missile Command inspired 2d shooter where you have to defend your asteroid colony from waves of aliens (yep, it's aliens again!) who are out for your destruction. It's designed to invoke the style of late 70's arcade coin-op machines, and it should be available to download soon. I've basically just got to do some testing and finish the page on itch.io. I'll throw the links out to Twitter and the blog when it's ready for human (or in-human) consumption!

Crater Base coming soon!

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