Keep your eye on “The Flame in the Flood”

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“Travel by foot and by raft down a procedurally-generated river as you scrounge for resources, craft tools, remedy afflictions, evade the vicious wildlife, and most importantly, stay ahead of the coming rains.”

Roguelikes and survival games have been insanely popular the last few years. The Flame in the Flood, being developed by The Molasses Flood games studio, takes these two genres and blends them together with the expertise of some seasoned ex-AAA game developers. You play as a girl named Scout and her dog Aesop and your goal is to navigate the harsh river delta while staying ahead of the incoming rains.

Currently on Kickstarter with 17 days to go, The Flame in the Flood has already raised over $180,000 which is $30,000 more than its initial goal. I think this is the highest budget roguelike I have ever seen. To date there has not been a AAA roguelike or roguelite or procedural death labyrinth – even the most popular, modern roguelites like Binding of Isaac and Dungeons of Dredmor are independently developed titles.

And technically speaking, Flame in the Flood is also an indie game – the developers may have come from AAA studios, but they started their own studio and set out on their own. The developers and designers have experience working on series like BioShock, Halo, Rock Band and Guitar Hero. These developers definitely know what they’re doing in the game industry.

Obviously the project is still in its early stages. The game is not set to release until July 2015, so there’s still quite a bit of time before we see much more than the Kickstarter trailer. While I probably won’t personally contribute to this Kickstarter campaign, I will be keeping a close eye on the development and news surrounding this game. It looks and sounds gorgeous – which I definitely expect from something that is already so well-funded and has so many resources already dedicated to it. While technically indie, these resources and funding mean that The Flame in the Flood is the first roguelike/procedural death labyrinth anywhere near AAA game studio levels.

I’m interested in seeing how all of these resources will make The Flame in the Flood stand out. There’s already some obvious points – the soundtrack utilizes acclaimed musicians writing songs just for the game; even the concept art is very high quality. This increase in quality makes sense. What I’m really interested in seeing is how the game mechanics stack up against other, less-funded indie roguelikes. Will the balance be better right off the bat? Will there be heaps of updates to tweak items and add new game modes? Will the level design be more manageable (even though it will be randomly generated, of course)? Should we expect this game to be ‘better’ because it has more funding?

I’m not sure what the answer is. But that’s why I’ll be keeping my eye on this game, and you should too!

I survived 22 hours and 19 minutes – The Long Dark Alpha Impressions

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Day One

My eyes slowly open. Stingingly bright snow and cold blue trees everywhere. Looking in a circle around myself I find nothing but more snow and trees. Some rocks. A frozen creek.

I had just been in my plane… where? I was flying north and then a storm hit. Where is my plane? I look around helplessly. I only have on my warm clothes I had on the plane and my emergency backpack. I struggle but can’t remember much else beyond that.

Not knowing what else to do, I start moving.

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November of the Soul

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It’s October now which means Fall is really starting to kick in in the Northern Hemisphere. Falling leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkins – the whole bit. Meanwhile here in the Southern Hemisphere Spring is just starting to wake up. The tiny pink blossoms on my peach tree are starting to bloom and little green leafy buds are visible on trees everywhere.

Despite all this growth and green, it’s a terribly depressing time of year for me. Fall is my favorite season, hands down. It’s time to break out the sweaters and boots and make everything apple-cinnamon-pumpkin-spice-whatever flavored. If there’s a Yankee Candle that combines the smell of decaying leaves and wood fires, please send me five of them. And don’t even get me started on all the wonderful turkey-cranberry sandwiches that pop up around this time, too.

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Gaming as Reward

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I’m the kind of person that stays motivated with rewards. Some people find better motivation through more nebulous rewards like “knowing I did a good job” or “getting it done is its own reward”, stuff like that. Me, I need something. A new lipstick. A fancy coffee with all the whipped cream and whatever-syrup on top. That pair of shoes I’ve been eyeing for the past month. Or… a nice long session with the game I’ve been craving all day.

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Recent Reading Material

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While I was away in the States I got back into comic books.

Every so often I go through a phase of being really into certain mangas or comic books or graphic novels. This used to happen with much more frequency and I blame my comic decline on New Zealand. The closest comic shop is about 4 hours away and usually doesn’t have the comics I am interested in getting into. The alternative is, of course, Comixology, however I really enjoy having physical comics. There’s something that just feels nice about watching your small stack of thin little comics grow.

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Easing Back

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I’ve been back in New Zealand for a little over a week now. It feels like way longer though, but I guess that’s just what coming home feels like. It was a little weird being back in the States. It’s not that I spend a lot of time here in New Zealand feeling out of place or ‘other’ or anything, but it’s a significant enough about of time that going back to the US where I blend right in was weird. When I spoke, I didn’t stick out. No one asked me about my accent. It was nice. And it was nice to be surrounded my (mostly) familiar things and eating foods I missed (I did a lot of eating foods I missed). Overall though the trip reminded me that I’m glad to live in New Zealand. Things are slower here. That has its pros and cons, but for me I think the cons are worth it in the end.

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Settling For Headphones

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My 24th birthday is coming up in less than a month and I’m realizing that it will be the fourth birthday I’ve spent in New Zealand, despite having only lived here for a little over a year now. It’s a weird thing, moving to another country. Different people have different experiences and emotions about it because the reasons and situations can be so different from person to person. I can’t speak for anyone else – all of these thoughts and feelings here are only my own. I have just been feeling a bit homesick and nostalgic lately and felt a compelling urge to share.

 

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The White Captain of Rohan

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This is probably the longest I have ever taken to work my way through an expansion’s content (expansions that came out during my hiatus not included of course). I am only just now getting Cithryth to level 95 and completing the corresponding Epic Story. And what a spectacularly epic story it is too! While I really appreciate the story and character crafting that goes into the Epic Story in general, I’ve never been quite as avid of a fan of it as some people. But as a Captain of Rohan, the Helm’s Deep Epic Story was truly moving.

 

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The Sociable

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Yesterday I had the pleasure of being a guest on the LOTRO Players News podcast. I’ve never been on a podcast before and I’ve only had two previous experiences doing any kind of collaborative audio/voice recording (one of which never came to light), so it was a really interesting experience. I was quite nervous before-hand, like with most any social situation. Would I talk too much? Would I not talk enough? Those kinds of questions.

Fortunately the people at LOTRO Players are all really fun, interesting, welcoming people so my anxiety was gone pretty quickly. In fact I had so much fun doing the live podcast and chatting with them all afterwards that I’m left with a bit of a problem. It took me awhile to figure out what my feelings were exactly afterwards, but I’ve finally realized what my problem is: I miss being social in LOTRO.

 

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Hobnanigans – Too Frustrating to be Fun

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All my little hobbit wanted was a pretty Black-footed Chicken for a pet. How shiny and beautiful its black plumage is! The lovely little chook would make such a nice wandering companion that I obliged her little hobbit wishes and took her to the Hobnanigans field. What we were met with was not quite as fun of an event  as we were both hoping for.

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