Monthly Archives: October 2017

Indie Shortieland: SiNKR

Heya readers. Shorter Indie Wonderland this week, for reasons not of poor planning but of content. I was emailed by game designer Robert Wahler, who expressed an interest in seeing me review their latest work, the abstract puzzle game SiNKR. And, you know me, hilariously vulnerable to peer pressure and all that. Plus, SiNKR seemed like it’d appeal to me. I like puzzle games for two reasons: One, I’m good them, which makes me feel clever and competent. Yes, that’s totally a valid reason. And two, puzzle games tend to have a clearly defined end point, making it easy to judge how far off the end I am and how much of the game I’ve seen so far. I wouldn’t recommend that for every game, but as far as planning goes, ‘I can see I have X puzzles left until the end’ is much easier to deal with than ‘I think I might be at the final boss, maybe, unless this is a fake-out ending’.

I beat all of SiNKR‘s (current) 60 puzzles in about an hour and a half. That could either mean it’s too short and easy, which would be bad, or that it’s engaging enough to push through a challenging level of difficulty, which would be good. But which option is the correct one? Well…

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, none. Mechanical, high-ish.)

(Game source: Developer Steam key.)

After the break: I know some of you are hoping I’ll say I fell in love with the game. You’ve got your obvious jokes at the ready. I can just feel it.

Ranneko Plays Year on Year Improvement – Channel Update 2017-10-13

I have finally completed all of the recording I need to do before Australia. All I have left is a little bit of editing and uploading and I will have videos scheduled for every day until early December.

Last year I remember pulling off something similar, but at that time my release schedule was a little more relaxed, I think I was only doing 3-4 videos a week but it still took a lot of time and effort to build up the buffer enough to cover everything. This has been a similar amount of work despite the fact I am producing about twice as many videos.

I think the biggest difference, besides simple practice, is changes to the video editor I use. Last year exporting a video would take several hours and I would need to manually kick off the next in sequence. It was hard to speed things up, because ultimately I could export maybe 3 videos in an evening with long stretches of downtime (and leaving the app open overnight).

Nowadays, VideoPad has a queue system which means I can edit the next video while the first exports, but even more significantly, the export process itself is significantly faster because the developers have made the program work smarter. Previously every frame of the video would be re-encoded, regardless of the original source. Now, if I haven’t made a change in a large section of video, and the source is the same quality as the export, VideoPad will literally just copy the data. Where previously I could render a few videos a night, now I can render half a dozen or more.

Are there any apps you use regularly that have improved like that? Also if you edit videos yourself, what is your workflow?

The last week’s releases were:

Saturday and Thursday: Torment: Tides of Ranmenera
Sunday: Curious Ranpedition
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: The Ransistance: War of the Chosen
Tuesday: Heat Signature Hot Tips / Ranneko’s Tuesday Tips

After the break, more about the videos that released last week!

Should have called this game 'Explosive Decompression Adventures'.

Indie Wonderland: Heat Signature

Suspicious DevelopmentsHeat Signature serves as an incredible example case study into the weird relationship I have with traditional game news. I was entirely on-board when Tom Francis first announced he was working on a new space game, pretty much solely on the strength of Gunpoint, and I followed the associated Twitter account immediately. And then I… never looked into it? In any way? I knew it was in progress, and I had a vague idea of the graphical layout and the problems involved with mapping an enormous procedural (outer) space. But beyond that, I wouldn’t be able to tell you anything about Heat Signature right now. I’ve heard from smatterings of other reviews that it involves space ships? And boarding? And plans, and backup plans, and backup-backup plans, and plans marked ‘under no circumstances enact this’? Which you will enact anyway?

I have the amazing ability to be feature-blind to hyped indie games even if I’ve taken explicit steps to stay up-to-date with it. I know, I know, it’s like a superpower. Let’s hope it pays off in this case.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, low. Mechanical, medium-high-ish.)

(Game source: Patreon funds.)

After the break: Heat Signature. Will managing heat levels of space ships be a critical gameplay factor? I’m genuinely asking because I have no idea.

Ranneko Plays Tuesday Tips – Channel Update 2017-10-06

This week marked the release of the first of Ranneko’s Tuesday Tips, a series I intend to be long running and touching on many different games, though for the first few months they will all be Heat Signature based.

There are a few reasons for making this change:

  1. Tip videos are interesting to make. Unlike a Let’s Play they take more planning, lend themselves to a little more editing to tighten things up and also lead to script writing. All of these are skills I would like to improve.
  2. Tip videos have worked well in the past for me. I have actually had people recognise my username from Sunless Sea and Massive Chalice tip videos in the past and it is a lot easier to get a few minutes of someones time for a tip about a game they might like than it is to convince them to watch a Let’s Play that might take anywhere from one to forty hours
  3. Tip videos have a longer tail. I still regularly see my old tip videos surfaced through YouTube search, they easily make up the majority of my view count. When looking at view count, 8 of my top 10 most viewed videos are tips. Even looking at watch time, 7 of my top 10 videos are tips.
  4. This series explicitly asks for audience assistance. If you have a tip for any game, no matter how obvious it may seem, please let me know and I may make a video about it in the future.

The last week’s releases were:

Saturday: Syfro Saturdays – Ranneko and Syfro Play Thimbleweed Park
Sunday: Curious Ranpedition
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: The Ransistance: War of the Chosen
Tuesday: Heat Signature Hot Tips / Ranneko’s Tuesday Tips
Thursday: Torment: Tides of Ranmenera

After the break, more about the videos that released last week!

Indie Wonderland: A Robot Named Fight

Ah! My readers, my children. Come around, come around, it’s been a long time, I know, I know. But as the hour grows late and the fire grows dim, I find I have it in me to tell you on more story. A story about a robot… named fight.

What’s that you say? “Jarenth, ‘A Robot Named Fight is a silly name for a story or a video game, it doesn’t make any sense”? Well, first of all, I can tell nobody ever taught you any manners. It’s terrible rude to interrupt a storyteller, is what it is. Second, you’ll have to take that up with Matt Bitner, from Matt Bitner Games. They named the robot Fight, not I. And third… Did you want to hear my story, or not?

That’s what I thought. Now, where was I? Ah, yes: A Robot Named Fight. I remember it well, readers, children. It’s like I played it only last week…

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, high-ish. Mechanical, medium or high, depending on your reading pattern.)

(Game source: Developer Steam key.)

After the break: I’ll admit I didn’t really know what to make of the title either. Let’s hope it makes more sense before the review runs out, or else…

Ranneko Plays Preparing for Something New – Channel Update 2017-09-29

Ranneko and Syfro Play Thimbleweed Park is coming to an end, in fact at the time this post airs the last episode is already out and with that Syfro Saturdays are taking a break. We just didn’t come up with the next game to play through together in time and there won’t be another recording session until maybe while I am in Australia (if I can manage to organise it, we could potentially record from the same room!), or possibly after.

With that, the schedule finally has room for a new project, one I have had in the works for a while. Look forward to the first of Ranneko’s Tuesday Tips this Tuesday. As a result of that Numenera moves from Tues/Thurs to Thurs/Sat.

The last week’s releases were:

Saturday: Syfro Saturdays – Ranneko and Syfro Play Thimbleweed Park
Sundays: Curious Ranpedition
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: The Ransistance: War of the Chosen
Tuesday and Thursday: Torment: Tides of Ranmenera

After the break, more about the videos that released last week!