posted by Mr. Podunkian at 8:28 am on December 4, 2009

Long before Merry Gear Solid 2: The Ghosts of Christmas Past, there was Merry Gear Solid 2: Songs of Festivity, a game that had the player playing as John Lennon (Big Beard). Do you see why that would be a bad idea? Let me tell you:

A) It’s a game about The Beatles.

B) It’s a Christmas game about The Beatles.

C) It’s a Christmas game about The Beatles, but also Metal Gear.

D) I don’t know anything about The Beatles. In fact, the only reason John Lennon came up in the twist ending to Merry Gear 1 was because I googled “Famous Beards” and he came up.

It was a bad idea, but from it came a very good idea. In The Ghosts of Christmas Past, I was going to add a John Lennon reference by having Lennon play the part of Johnny Sasaki, the idiot guard that appears in all of the Metal Gear Solid games (Johnny Lennon, you see)

The idea was ultimately dropped, since it was kind of a Time Paradox to have John Lennon walking around in modern times.

From the idea, though, came this very quick and very barebones musical sketch I did for Johnny Lennon’s introduction and the subsequent sneaking out of whatever jail he was guarding. Needless to say, it won’t be appearing in the final game.

posted by Mr. Podunkian at 12:33 am on November 27, 2009

Give thanks, for today I give you a taste of a thing that was given to me (with many thanks) from Gordon ‘Binbag McGraw’ McNeil, my musician.

This is the Merry Gear Solid 2 title theme, which was briefly heard in the last released video of the game.

Anyways, have a very Happy Thanksgiving, and keep your eyes peeled for more Merry Gear Solid 2 information in the coming days!

Merry Gear Solid 2 Title Theme (Work In Progress) by Gordon ‘Binbag McGraw’ McNeil.

posted by Mr. Podunkian at 8:18 pm on November 17, 2009

I think cactus puts it best:

Sorry about the radio silence, we felt it was necessary to let this experiment live its own life for a while.

Anyway, this should pretty much make everything clear.

And here’s a bugfree version of the game.

Also, sorry to anyone who was offended by the idea behind the game. Even if we in some ways tried to play you, you’ll have to remember that we spent a bit over two days making this game, so the joke is really on us. (Although, this wasn’t meant to be a joke, but an amusing experiment.) Hopefully you’ll all agree that this indeed did convey a bit of tragedy and some comedy one way or another.

Thanks for playing and making this game a worthwhile project for us!

posted by Mr. Podunkian at 10:49 pm on November 16, 2009

I’ve just now finished a collaboration with legendary¬† indie game developer, cactus. He describes the game much better than I could:

Dungeon is a tragic platformer about what can happen in a castle, and how it affects people like you and me.

Created for Mini Ludum Dare #14, a 48 hour game making jam, under the stipulations that the game must be a collaborative effort and on the theme of Comedy/Tragedy, cactus and I came up with this. The majority of the art and music is done by cactus (I did a few small sprites here and there, and the ending theme), and I think it has a real cool style to it. It’s been mentioned on, TIGSource, and Wired, which is also super cool.

A word of warning, the game is REALLY HARD. Also it is a bit experimental and not like any game I’ve ever done.

Anyways, both the download link and discussion can be found on the TIGSource discussion thread.

posted by Mr. Podunkian at 8:12 pm on October 25, 2009

This video was created to show off to the people at the Voice Acting Alliance Forums, to maybe convince them to help me out with voice acting, but I figured it might be of interest to people who’re just looking forward to the game, so here it is:

If you would like to help with voice acting, please read my post in that thread. Thanks!

posted by Mr. Podunkian at 5:31 am on October 12, 2009

Welp, here it is. A short peek at Merry Gear Solid 2: The Ghosts of Christmas Past. The video showcases a couple of the items that you’ll be using this time around, but I’ve edited out all but the very first opening of the inventory, since I don’t want to give too much of the game away. Feel free to post speculation and cunning observations in this post. I’m too sober to care.

Do yourself a favor and watch in high quality!

Also, as you can hear, the music in Merry Gear Solid 2 isn’t really as good as it could be. If you’ve got the chops (and really, I need real, meaty chops here), put down a comment here and maybe you can lend me a hand. But like I said, I’ll be needing a lot of talent and effort this time around, since the game will be a longer. Anyways, enjoy the vid. PEACE OUT.

EDIT:Thanks to all that offered — I believe I’ve found myself a musician now!

posted by Mr. Podunkian at 2:41 am on October 1, 2009

To all my Underside fans, skip this post, because it might make you a little upset at what I’ve been doing in my free time. Everyone else feel free to read ahead.

As is apparent from the image above, I’ve been hard at work on Merry Gear Solid 2: The Ghosts of Christmas Past. I’ve now completely outlined the plot, and I’ve begun work on the script. Fans of the Metal Gear Solid series won’t be disappointed, as I’ve made every effort to make the story and dialogue as convoluted and incomprehensible as possible.

The game engine is written from scratch, ditching the old grid-based movement from the first Merry Gear Solid, and adding 8-directional movement.

Reprising his role from the first Merry Gear Solid is Duncan, who did all the voicework in the first game in an incredibly short amount of time. Yes, that Duncan. With the amount of time I’ve allotted to developing the sequel, hopefully the quality of the recordings will not be MERELY PASSABLE.

The release date will, of course, be some time in December.

posted by Mr. Podunkian at 6:54 am on August 30, 2009

I’ve been adding some more features to the Lua system, the specifics of which are kind of too much to remember in its entirety. From the top of my head, I’ve added the ability to interact via button-presses with scripted sequences (for QTE style stuff, if, for some reason, you want to do something like that in a mod). It’s also possible to change the number of consecutive jumps the player can pull off without touching the ground. While this can most traditionally be used for things like double jumps, I can imagine mod authors also playing around with the game physics to do things like swimming or flying (like Joust/Balloon Fight).

The game also supports external parallax maps, which for some strange reason, wasn’t really possible to do until just recently.

Contentwise, I’ve completed the majority of Ladder World, but I’m thinking of expanding it a bit as it takes an awfully short amount of time to get through it all. I also just completed a new cutscene (which is why the aforementioned Lua changes were made in the first place), and I’ve got to say it’s pretty cool how complex I’ve managed to make it considering the primitive nature of the scripting tools. The new cutscene also required me to write two new songs, but it was well worth the effort.

posted by Mr. Podunkian at 5:44 am on August 10, 2009
A new weapon.

Some things to take note of:

  • The new tileset. I’m not exactly 100% happy with it, nor am I too happy about the work-in-progress level design of this new area, but I’m sure I’ll get it to a point that I’m happy with it after another couple of hours worth of revising.
  • The new HUD, which is a lot more compact, and a lot less obstructive than the old one (I hope?). Its design comes from a suggestion made by forums member DOUGLAS.
  • Ip is also holding a custom weapon that’s running off the new weapon code. What’s not apparent here is how the bullets move — the two squarish bullets move in a sine-wave pattern while the narrow bullet fires straight. This demonstrates the customizable bullets, which go beyond simply setting graphics/damage/speed values. One example weapon I’ve made fires a bullet that is affected by gravity and hops along the ground.
  • How adeptly I have avoided those fireballs.

In addition, I’ve also finished up the majority of the new shoes equipping system, which allows modders to modify the player’s movement. With a little bit of clever coding, you could also get shoes to do other things — for example, double jumps, wall kicks, etc. Hopefully this’ll allow modders to come up with unique gameplay mechanics for their mods.

Speaking of mods, a couple more great mods have come out in the past month:

Space Mod, by Kenju launches Ip into Outer Space to investigate a giant asteroid. Though the mod is considered a demo, there’s an incredible amount of polish in this mod, including new characters, great dialogue, and really well designed levels.

A New Game, by Youhr, which is a little rougher around the edges, but makes up for it with a lot of really interesting design choices, like, for example, a single level that you can revisit throughout the game where the majority of the game’s Life Toast can be found. This mod is also a demo, but it contains more than an hour’s worth of gameplay.

As always, if you’re interested at all at modding the game, be sure to check out the forums, as there’s a small community of people who’re willing to help. In the coming months I’ll be uploading updated versions of the engine for modder, as well, which’ll allow them to use these new features in their mods.

posted by Mr. Podunkian at 1:10 am on August 6, 2009

After hours and hours of relentless working, I’ve got a system that allows for (drumroll, please) moddable weapons!

You can customize bullet movement with LUA code, change how much damage they do, change how a weapon looks, sounds, feel, whatever. It’s a pretty robust system, and after messing around with it for a few hours, I’ve come up with some simple, but interesting weapons.

Hopefully, this, coupled with the new inventory system I introduced not too long ago, will allow for a much more diverse range of weaponry and play styles. I’ll probably be releasing a preview build with the new inventory/weapon/achievement systems soon — though the preview won’t really contain any new content, as I intend it to be a tool for mod makers more than a new version of the main game for people to play through.

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