' Saltman's one-button action-opus Canabalt
(covered earlier in a previous column
) will likely go down as 2009's biggest viral surprise -- to no less even than Saltsman himself, who admitted at this year's Austin GDC Indie Games Fest to squandering and then scrambling to capitalize on the success the game near instantly saw (the first 120,000 players the game captured by its second day, and subsequent 650,000 by the week's end, saw none of the cross-indie/Twitter/iPhone port
promotions subsequently rolled out as quickly as possible).
But there's almost no one in the industry that hasn't taken serious note of its acclaim and wondered what magic formula there might be hidden in its design that can be replicated elsewhere. And so -- in service to fans, would-be devs and established designers alike -- Saltsman has provided us with his sketches and notes, illustrating each leap to logical leap he made in finishing that first version.
Interestingly -- though maybe not so surprisingly, given that the game was created for the Experimental Gameplay's 'Bare Minimum' challenge
-- the documents show a game more complex than what we eventually received, with its anonymous runner able to pull off sliding ducks on top of his now-singular jump, and 'edit' and 'profile' modes obviously stripped from the game (indeed, the entire game seems to now live inside what Saltsman originally had planned as a 'quick race' option).
And so, what follows is the necessarily brief notes and calculations for a necessarily brief production, neither any less worse off for it: let us know if you crack Saltsman's magic code.
[Canabalt fan art at top by Georgia 'garlicbug' Hurbgljjsa, via Pauli MadamLuna Kohberger's BBS, via Saltsman]
Saltman's first page shows the rooftop decorations that would eventually make it into the game, as well as the first try at the fine-mist-making dropped bomb, with all other front menu options (and what appears to be a Mirror's Edge
inspired vent system) having been stripped from the completed game.
More Mirror's Edge
parkour-acrobatics having never made it in are shown above, in the first sketchy mockup of how the runner would eventually move, along with Saltsman eschewing a day/night progression for the simple black and white palette the game would take on.
And finally, the first color sketch of the look of the final game, and the first evidence of its un-expounded-on far-backstory with the giant invaders in the far background, and the military-dropship-esque vehicles passing in mid-ground. Also, note back to page one to see Saltsman arguing with himself over the size of the game's John Woo-esque scattered doves.
If you haven't already, by all means play the final game itself at its official site
, and pick up its essential iPhone port at the App Store
, then check either the unofficial Twitter leaderboards set up by CapnDesign
to see just where you rank in the eternal race.
Dungeons and Dragons Beyond is an official digital companion to D&D, with a free character-generator and a bunch of paid additions, from access to hyperlinked editions of the rulebooks ($30/each), and a $3/player, $6/DM subscription service that lets DMs share their books with players.
Steve Price and Lily Hevesh set up a massive domino course that includes homages to classic board and video games, and some sections even use game pieces as part of the action.
It probably won’t last long, but the Nintendo Switch with gray Joy-Con is in the Amazon store right now for $299. We got one a few weeks ago and haven’t touched our Wii-U since.
Toaster ovens are the perfect appliance for small things like toasted sandwiches and roasted garlic (try it!), but anything more involved usually requires a full-sized conventional oven.However, despite its small size, the Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven can handle anything from baked pastries to broiled meats. This kitchen appliance has a minimal countertop footprint, and cooks […]
The Pry.Me Bottle Opener holds tens of thousands of times its own weight, and you can pick one up now from the Boing Boing Store.This remarkable keychain is considerably smaller than any of your keys, but don’t let that fool you: it can easily open any bottle, and could even tow a trailer full of […]
Guaranteeing your privacy online goes way beyond checking the “Do Not Track” option in your browser’s settings. To ensure that your internet activity is totally hidden from Internet Service Providers, advertisers, and other prying eyes, take a look at Windscribe’s VPN protection. It usually costs $7.50 per month, but you can get a 3-year subscription […]