Legend of Mark

YAY! If you have a Facebook account, you can try it here.

This is a project I’ve been messing around with for a while now, but the premise is pretty simple: login with Facebook, then move around the island (arrow keys) and talk to the NPCs (spacebar). The NPCs will grab your public Facebook data (posts, statuses, comments, etc) and generate markov chains out of them for their dialog. Do you recognize what you’ve said? ;D

I got the idea (and initial algorithm) from an app called What Would I Say. Turns out the basic premise for text-based markov chains is pretty simple: for every word in a set of data, generate the list of words that word and record how often they follow it. Then, choose randomly from the list of starting words and continue to choose a following word at random  (with the frequency weights) until you hit a terminal word. This results in semi-coherent phrases with some minor grammar mishaps. If you’ve ever encountered spam that was almost human-readable it probably follows a similar algorithm!

I thought it would be neat to see a game where NPCs talked to you in those same semi-coherent, semi-recognizable strings, to see your own personality reflected in the game. And thus Legend of Mark was born!

Legend of Mark

The game was an experiment in using the Facebook API, browser-to-Unity communications, and pixel art. For tileable pixels, I got a lot of mileage out of this tutorial. I also wrote a Tiled map importer for Unity (more on that coming soon!)

All in all, while the game is a prototype that got slightly out of hand, I’m really excited for the learning I got out of it and some of the tooling that I can use in the future. In the meantime: enjoy the silliness!

One More TurnHave you heard of the One More Turn Podcast? If not, no worries, here’s a quick intro:

One More Turn’s a weekly production about video games run by two guys, Kevin King and Jim Stoholski. Episodes on the show come in one of 3 formats:

  1. Overview of a ‘classic’ game along with general discussion around the game’s main components (I really enjoyed this recent one about Metal Gear Solid and stealth)
  2. “Show and Tell,” where Jim and Kevin each pick a game they’ve been playing, usually something more obscure or on the indie side of things, and talk about it!
  3. “5 Questions,” where Kevin throws some really in-depth questions at indie devs and the games they make.

All three formats are really great in their own right! Having checked out a bunch of them, I recommend it if you’re like me and like to have a light podcast going in the background sometimes. I usually do while I’m working on art.

So Kevin actually found me through our own Indie Game House podcast (podcastopia up in here!) and used my feedback form to get in touch. He was looking for a game about motherhood with mother’s day coming up, and pretty much stumbled across my game. Cool stuff!

Growing was highlighted on their latest Show and Tell episode, Mamacritic, where Kevin breaks down the game in a really cool way (never thought of Growing as a “god game” before), and talks about the lack of games about motherhood or even parenting space. After all, the one other game I know to star a mother (Offspring Fling) came out of the same jam I did ;D

Kevin also interviewed me for their other segment: 5 Questions With Corey Nolan

In the video, we talk about Growing and what inspired me to make a game about mothers, the inspiration for the art style, and we also discuss Skinnier, a game I worked on with my friends Renee and Will and Global Game Jam 2014 and I still owe you guys a blog post about. ;D Also in typical Corey fashion I say way too many ‘ums’ and mix up my words a whole bunch. Worth listening to just for the embarrassment factor.

Anyway, these guys put on some great shows and if you’re a podcast fan I highly recommend tuning in. I know I will!

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