Half a Century of Joe: Our Gamedev is Still Broken

A picture of me holding up my pet hamster, Peanut.
I think I look pretty good for a fifty year old cartoonist/gamedev. And Peanut looks pretty good for a year-and-a-half old hamster.

It’s been a while since I’ve let you all know how I’m doing. After getting Covid and opportunistic bacterial pneumonia, I caught influenza at the end of December. This is when my troubles started. After that I had a bad case of asthma exacerbation, Covid brain fog, one case of acute sinusitis, a second case of sinusitis with simultaneous laryngitis, and finally, days after my 50th birthday, swimmer’s ear. I repeat, swimmer’s ear. I haven’t even gone swimming in months.

Because of the brain fog I was unable to work on GearHead for January, February, and most of March. It’s some scary stuff, let me tell you. Especially when it tag-teams with my other conditions. And being 50, I have a lot of other conditions.

As of this month, I’ve spent over half my life in South Korea. It’s a nice place. You should come for a vacation sometime.

Recently, the fog has started to clear and I’ve gotten back to work on GearHead Caramel. You can expect a new release soon… as long as I don’t catch any more weird diseases. I don’t really know what tennis elbow is but if my doctor told me I had it I would just nod my head and sigh.

So that’s what’s been happening. I hope all of you have been doing better than me. Stay tuned for new GearHead stuff soon.

GearHead Caramel v0.946: Our GameDev is Broken

Happy Techno Thursday! I’ve just uploaded version 0.946 of GearHead Caramel. You can get it from all the usual places- Steam, itch.io, and GitHub.

This update has been delayed by the fact that I’ve been seriously ill for the past month- first severe Covid 19, then an opportunistic lung infection, followed by my lungs just being stupid jerks because they are stupid jerks. If you want to hear all the gory details (and trust me, it gets gory) you can join the GearHead Discord.

The big new feature this time around is procedural cutscenes. Basically, this means that the cutscenes will be tailored specifically for your character’s history and lancemate relations. Right now there’s only one- the intro you get when entering Wujung for the first time in DeadZone Drifter. In the future, I intend to replace more of the old-style hardcoded cutscenes with procedural ones.

This release also improves pistols in personal scale combat. All pistols now have the Linked Fire attribute, so if you have two of the same pistol equipped you can fire with both of them at once. Plus, as usual there are a number of bug fixes. Thank you to everyone who has submitted bug reports and feature requests.

November 2022 Itch.io Creator Day Sale

For two more days, all the stuff at my itch.io shop is 42% off, or you can buy one of everything for $23. Even better (for me), during this period creators get 100% of the money. They should have called it the November 2022 Creator Four Days Sale but that isn’t so catchy.

Steam Autumn Sale

GearHead Caramel is 42% off during the Steam Autumn Sale, which ends on November 30th. Carpe diem! Caveat emptor!

Alcad vs DeadZone Drifter, Part 5

This week, Alcad and her lance take some time out to get to know one another. And to go shopping. And they also solve a murder mystery. It’s a busy day.

GearHead Caramel v0.942: Better, Faster, Stronger, Less Crashy

Happy Scifi Sunday! I’ve just uploaded version 0.942 of GearHead Caramel. You can get it from all the usual places- Steam, itch.io, and GitHub.

This is another mostly-bugfix release. A very kind player submitted a whole lot of bug reports at once, and I’ve been working through them in order of severity. I think I’ve fixed all the crashing and game-breaking bugs. Also, you know how movement slows down in exploration mode when you’re on a mecha mission? That’s been fixed. Mecha movement is now just as fast as character movement. So that’s good.

One of the best things you can do to support small indie game devs is to send us bug reports and feedback. I often get emails that apologize for bringing up problems, but you know what? Don’t worry about it. Getting feedback like this lets us know that someone is enjoying the game and cares enough to help out instead of just tossing the game aside and moving on to the next shiny thing. It makes all the effort of making games (and take it from me, game dev is not easy) worthwhile. So thank you to everyone who has ever submitted a bug report or a feature request. I’m doing the best I can as a solo dev but your support and feedback make things so much easier.

Space-Y: Colonize Mars for Someone Else’s Fun and Profit

The tutorial screen for Space-Y. It is full of lies.

Last weekend my son and I made a short game using the Godot Engine. It is a short Lunar Lander style game with a few sadistic twists. I did the programming, my son did the sadism. Anyhow, you can play it online at itch.io, or pay $8 (or less) to download the verified blue check offline version. Any apparent references to current events are entirely intentional. It says “Parody” right there on the title screen.

GearHead Caramel v0.941: Like tears in the rain, time to eject.

Happy Techno Thursday! I’ve just uploaded version 0.941 of GearHead Caramel. You can get it from all the usual places- Steam, itch.io, and GitHub. The big change this time around is that enemy pilots will once again eject when their mecha becomes too damaged… or if they’re intimidated by your lance. There are also a lot of bug fixes and stability improvements. Many thanks to everyone who reported the issues and helped me to track them down!

As usual, try it out and let me know what you think.

Alcad vs DeadZone Drifter, Part 4

Alcad continues her adventure across the dead zone. Can she overcome the Pierced Freakz? Only one way to find out.

GearHead Caramel v0.932: The Sound of Mecha

Happy Mecha Wednesday! I’ve just uploaded version 0.932 of GearHead Caramel. You can get it from all the usual places- Steam, itch.io, and GitHub. The big change this time around is the addition of sound effects. I admit it- I’m one of those weirdos who usually plays games with the sound off. This has been one of the most requested features, and while there’s still a lot of work to do (movement is still silent; I may be changing some of the fx), it is here.

The other big thing is the addition of some new accessibility helpers. There’s an option to replace the colored bars in the pilot info block with numbers. Also, the configuration editor has been upgraded so that there are more things you can configure without editing the config file manually. Expect to see in-game keymap editing in the near future.

As usual, try it out and let me know what you think.