Friday, June 24, 2011

Notice anything different around here?

We've had a website... "redesign". I can hardly call it a redesign, though, because it's the exact same design. We've just made it a bit sexier.
What Ethan and I have done, basically, is taken out a few things that we don't need, added in a lot of things that we do need, and changed a couple of things that we didn't like. You may notice that the Abscure logo is a little crisper, or that the text container is a little darker, or that Alec has a temple to explore in the desert landscape. So we've made things cleaner.
As far as functionality goes, we've added a lot. The front page has a slideshow of recent news, a twitter feed, and links to our most recent games. We finally have a decent about page!
What Ethan and I are most proud of is the new games page. We've had a lot of feedback involving how clunky and useless it is, so we've improved it beyond recognition. You can now see what game you're going into, instead of selecting a tiny screenshot. Games are split up into categories and you can select whether you want downloadable/Flash games, or games that work with Linux/Windows/OSX. Things only get better with game specific pages. We've upped the page size, made massive logos, put in a quotes section and given each page an area for comments. You guys can give us proper feedback on all of our games now!
Check out that delicious poster for Propel.
I've ranted on long enough, seeing is believing. Go to and try out our latest features. And if you find a bug with the site, it would be great if you could tell us.

Happy exploring!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Christian's Game Idea Journal 1

Like Ethan, I come up with crazy game ideas from time to time. I'll use his idea format to keep things consistent. Enjoy!

Game name: Boss Run

Genre: Arcade/platformer (score based)

Camera view: Platformer (or 3/4)

Graphical style: Cartoon realistic

Gimmick: You are the boss

Gameplay: Imagine you're playing any random game, and you reach a boss.  First time you reach it you play around a bit and figure out how to hurt it. You probably die. Second time through you've figured it out and you start doing some decent damage. You die again. The process repeats and you steadily get better until you can finally beat the boss. In Boss Run you play the role of the boss, and you watch that process. The player comes in for the first time, a cutscene happens, you maul the player. The second time the player skips the cutscene and is a bit smarter. It steadily gets harder and harder until the player beats you, and you are given a score based on something. You'll be able to select from different bosses all over the game, but the bosses that would usually occur at the beginning of the game (the really easy ones) would be the harder ones.

Plot: A generic plot, player is trying to save the world or something.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Junior Research Paper 1

Last year in high school (my Junior year), I chose the video game industry as a topic for research. Now I am posting it on this very blog to be looked at. I've taken out the sources that I used (because I feel like you guys don't care, but if you do, let me know). Anyway, not all of the views that I show in this are ones that I still hold today. But nonetheless I thought it was interesting.

At midnight, in a convenience store in the middle of a restless city, a woman walks in and buys a pack of cigarettes. Following her in line is a man waiting to buy a beer bottle, another man with a cup of coffee, and finally a man who is about to purchase the game World of Warcraft. All of these people have something in common; they all are feeding an addiction. The man with the online game won’t be looked at by society in the same way as the woman with cigarettes. Nevertheless, gaming addiction has become an increasing issue as the industry itself grows. Adolescent minds are being morphed and influenced by the videogame industry; an industry that is similarly young and constantly changing.

The child of increased technological innovation and the desire for a quick fix of entertainment, videogames started as a way for developers to entertain the masses and make money, similar to other kinds of media. In arcades, players would be required to use a quarter for one play, which was not a very long time per quarter. Developers needed a way to draw kids to their industry, and the way to do this was by making the games addicting, and giving them the ability to be replayed and repaid for.

Although games can convey emotion and are assembled using several art forms, a main focus of games, both past and present, is to grab a player by his collar and never let him go, and, perhaps, stealing his pocket change along the way. Developers have an almost bully-like relationship with players, making the story of videogames a story of corporate manipulation.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ethan's Game Idea Journal 5

Every Wednesday (at least, for now) I will be releasing game ideas. Some of these will be from an actual document that I have these ideas in, and eventually I will just be using this format for new ideas that I make up on the spot. If you wish to use one of these ideas for a game, please ask me in the comments section. In reality though, I realize people could do anything with these, so I'm not really planning on using these ideas anytime soon.

Game Name: Deadly Wager

Genre: Platformer (Hub)

Camera View: Platformer

Graphic style: Cartoony

Gimmick: Every level is a speed run/ghost trial.

Gameplay: You have to race a ghost (not a copy of yourself, literally a ghost) who is very fast across lots of levels. This is a take off of time trials in certain games where you race a “ghost” who has done the course before you and can be seen during your run. In the case of this platformer, it will play a lot like RunMan/Sonic, so speed based. You will have to beat the ghost to the finish, of course, to beat the level.

Plot: The ghost is a man who has recently died, and the ghost came out of his body. You are the Grim Reaper. You tell the dead man that he has been damned, and he argues his fate. You tell him that if he beats you on a series of obstacle courses in hell, he can go to heaven.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


In the past, I talked about how I was first introduced to the pixel art universe on a forum. I was introduced to that forum because of another forum. I love forums- first of all, it's a place to meet people with similar interests as you (it's like a bar, except without all the attractive females). Furthermore, if you make a post or a new thread, it's likely to be seen by a lot of eyes (unlike a blog, where if you post a comment, it's second fiddle the post itself). Also, like a Wiki, it's an archive of information; don't know how to do something in Photoshop? Before you make a post, do a little search, and it's possible that you won't even need to wait for a response.

Something you definitely didn't know- Abscure itself started off as a forum. And yes, that was really stupid. But here's the thing- I didn't know how to make a website! It was just the best option available to me. I used the forum to build up "hype" for a crappy FPS I was making with FPS Creator. I advertised the crap out of the forum, and in like half of a year I got less members than I have gotten Twitter followers in like a month. Point is, it didn't work out. So forums aren't perfect for everything. On the other hand...

With Stencyl, the forum was an absolute necessity for me to learn. Yes, I know it's supposed to be easy, and maybe I'm just stupid, but I did need all of the help I could possibly get for the simplest of tasks. But the community there is awesome. Have a question? There's a place to ask. Have a suggestion? It's likely that your suggestion will be seen and maybe even taken into consideration. Have a work in progress? Post it away and get feedback. Have a finished game? Hell yeah! Post it.

In the end, I spend a huge chunk of my time on forums, in terms of my Internet usage. I've never been a fan of chat rooms (eww) and I'm definitely not a Skype guy. I like Facebook and I like Twitter, but for different reasons than for forums. I like blogs, and I like blogging, but there's a different kind of community when it comes to forums. We need all of the different types of social networks we can get, and some of my favorite communities are forums.