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Digitiser: The Game: Development

Part 10 - 26th March 2019

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I'm sorry that this isn't ready. If you're only mildly interested, then I suggest mentally filing the possible release between 2020 and Half-Life 3, then forgetting about it until it happens.

Until then, as far I'm concerned, there's always room for other people's Digitiser games. What I'm making is my personal interpretation of classic Digitiser, which shouldn't interfere with your own plans to make Paul Gannon's Prawn Peril. Mr. Biffo has reviewed my game script, so would be well placed to advise you in the unlikely event of any potential overlap.

Mr. Biffo has also approved my game script. Though he didn't send the official Digitiser seal of approval, I imagine that it looks something like this:


So that was the news, now for the rambling. I am currently self-employed, making games. Like many small business, this may not be viable in the long term, though the money pot does contain enough to keep going for another year. It would be fun to spend all that time solely on the Digitiser game, but extremely risky, so it will be sharing attention with some boringly sensible things, aside from tax returns and similar administrative pleasures.

Most importantly, some freelance work. I have pitched for one job, and will be watching out for more opportunities. Generally, these sort of things either don't happen at all, or happen all at once, so it's hard to know how much potential game development time this will eat. Fortunately, having picked up the habit of properly documenting my plans and code, I can now flit between tasks without completely forgetting where I was.

More predictably, I would like to finish my other ZX Spectrum game. Which is likely to take around two months, unless the beta testers discover something catastrophic. Though I'm happy with the result, development felt like knocking over big jars of technical pickles, so I will be cleaning up the mess before diving into the Digi game. It will take a few weeks, but fixing the nasty code now will leave a firm foundation for the inevitable new bodges which will pile up towards the end of the Digi game.

Though my other game is unlikely to be a big hit, I will be giving promotion a fair shot, broadcasting optimistic press releases for a few days. Even Mr. Biffo struggles to get a bite on his projects, so my chances are super slim, but better than not trying at all. If I do get lucky, and overloaded with interviews, well, that would be a nice problem to have.

That aside, and allowing for some proper breaks, I expect that between six and eight of the next twelve months will be clear for making the Digitiser game. Regular, patient readers may remember my first development estimate of four months. Since then, the original scope, comparable to a novelty single, has accidentally gone a bit prog. My script contained some wild ideas, and I thought that Mr. Biffo would curb the worst excesses. The crazy fool approved the lot, bless him, so the results could be spectacular, or a spectacular failure.


To warm up for failure, and venue space permitting, I may be appearing in a corner off the Digitiser live show. Those tired of professionalism would be most welcome to bask in the shambolic ambiance of the official Digitiser: The Game solitary folding table zone. There will be something displayed on top, or someone weeping underneath, possibly both.

That's all the rambling, and though having nothing much to say hasn't stopped me so far, I'll now be restraining updates to every two months, unless there's something especially significant to report. Once again, sorry that this is taking so long.

Preamble (to plugs)

And now, some other people's games and things which you can actually play or use.

Watch the Digitiser show carefully, and you might spot Steve Horsley in the background. When not tireless supporting Mr. Biffo with cameras, lighting, and midnight raids on Ed Tudor-Pole's wardrobe, Steve likes to draw teletext graphics. Now there is a free game, Hamurabi, for which he has drawn graphics in that same style. It's a snappy port of a simple game from 1968, refreshingly free of in-app purchases and mandatory 16.8GB updates.

Digitiser regular Paul Dunning, who you might also remember from his work on the Stickers Pack, is currently making an online ZX Spectrum screen editor. Handily, it can save your images as a file which can either be displayed via an emulator, or subsequently converted to screechy audio for use on the original hardware. Recommended, if you want to experience the challenges of attribute clash with minimal faff.

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