Finals were a few months ago, and results have come and gone. Have I had even more time than ever before? Nope. I keep finding things to do. We’re in the process of opening a bed and breakfast in my family home in Magheralin, and I have been handling the technical and legal side of things, along with a few practical tasks. Last weekend was spent fitting locks to doors (a long and frustrating process), fitting hidden speaker cabling under the sitting room carpet, fitting smoke alarms and room numbers, and generally sorting things out before the Tourism NI inspection. The inspection has come and gone, and Lismaine Cottage is now a certified tourist establishment. There are a few final details including environmental health registration and fire safety assessments which are in progress, but otherwise we are good to go.
It all seemed so simple in the beginning, but the deeper you get into it, the more there is to do. Endless regulations, legislation, inspection, and general paperwork. It reminds me of the scene in Black Books where Bernard is trying to fill out his tax return. Hopefully we’ll be all sorted and up and running soon. I’ve got to take new pictures of the rooms, write blurbs, and put together some sort of website. The work never stops here, but I managed to fit in some gaming in my downtime.
One of my friends, Tim, who I met in a Japanese class, is a game designer and programmer. As part of student project spanning 12 weeks and along with a few colleagues, he produced Static City, a 3D programming puzzle game. You control robots attempting to get from one end of a map to another, with a variety of obstacles in your way. To solve these puzzles, you use visual programming to control the actions of the robots, pressing switches, clearing rubble, and overcoming other hurdles. It’s a very logical approach to gaming, and really rewarding when you manage to find the solution to each puzzle. The complexity increases as you progress through the levels, and after a while you gain control of three robots, each with their own abilities.
Combining commands together, including “go to”, “interact”, and “if”, allows for a load of possibilities. Each problem requires you to think through the solution in a logical order, and at first you don’t succeed, debug and debug again! The game, while short, is thoroughly enjoyable and can be picked up easily by players of all abilities. If you’d like to give it a try, you can download Static City at Indie DB. I really can recommend this one, and it’s free for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Try it out and get the word out about our local game developers. There are no definite plans for expanding the game, but here’s hoping we see an extended version in future. I’d buy it.