Well. It’s been about two months since I posted that I would give Skirmish Line another go. In that time, I’ve been so immensely busy that I’ve barely been able to play any video games at all. As it would turn out, writing for a blog is a significant time commitment. I may not have been properly prepared for the sacrifices it would require to post here regularly.
With that said, I don’t really want to give up on this site either. Initially, I envisioned this website as a place where I could assemble game development knowledge to be assembled for the sake of myself and other developers. I also intended to give back to smaller developers by providing concrete feedback on their games. I haven’t given up on that vision, but I may need to re-imagine the way that it’s realized.
At present, I’m heading into a new phase of my life. I’m getting a new job and my schedule is going to need to be reworked. Now is the absolute best time for me to pick up writing again. That said, I’m not going to keep doing things the same way I have been. Before, I was giving myself about a week to play a game, analyze it, and then play it. I got my games by asking publicly for anyone to submit their games to me. This strategy didn’t work particularly well.
First of all, writing an article a week meant that I had to make this website my primary concern in my spare time. Considering I’m a game programmer first and an author second, I couldn’t prioritize writing over programming. Second of all, taking my games through public requests made it difficult to write articles that were informative for people besides whomever’s game I was analyzing. After I got through a couple of articles, I realized I was struggling to come up with new insightful comments. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll have to change things.
So what exactly will happen? Honestly, I don’t know yet. I’m still working that part out. I’m going to spend some time thinking about different types of content I can provide. For now, I’m going to say this: I’m removing the “Games to be Analyzed” list. I cannot maintain the commitment I initially made to those developers to cover their games, and for that I apologize. In the future, I will be much more careful about the commitments I make. I will make sure to avoid biting off more than I can chew. So once again, to all the developers I haven’t covered, I apologize. I am thankful that you’d given me the opportunity to write about your games, but I cannot take advantage of that opportunity.
With that said, look forward to the future of this site. Things will pick up around here after a long hiatus, and it should be better than ever before.
EDIT: About a week after originally posting this, I have reconsidered my position and decided to go forward writing about Skirmish Line after all.
Hello, Null here. I’d like to talk about Skirmish Line and why I won’t write about it.
The most recent game on our list of upcoming analyses, Skirmish Line by Snarky Ant LLC, is quite different from the type of thing I’d normally write about. In fact, the game is so strange to me that I cannot understand its appeal. In my initial play session, I found what I thought to be severe design flaws that made the game completely unenjoyable. I had initially intended to write an article telling the developers to strip the bulk of their features off and focus on making the basic game play and feel better. This all changed when I searched for other examples in the game’s genre. I went for the most obvious comparison, Mud and Blood 2, a game which I had never played but which had been listed on Skirmish Line’s webpage as its inspiration.
Given that the creators of Skirmish Line enjoyed MB2 enough to make a spiritual successor, I thought this must be a much better game in the fields I was looking at as a designer. Strangely enough, I was wrong. The “problems” that I identified in Skirmish Line were also present in MB2. To compound on the strangeness, MB2 is a well received game, having a 4.5 star rating on Kongregate and plenty of players in the comments who seem to be enjoying it.
Ultimately, I was led to the conclusion that this just isn’t my sort of game. Any attempt at analysis and constructive criticism would lead to me pushing the game to be something besides what it is. Therefore, I am striking Skirmish Line from the list for the time being and moving on to other games. I wish all the best for Skirmish Line and its devs. I hope they find success with their game, and I apologize for being unable to help with its development.