Schnapsfest Fandanglery | I’m a little alien, sitting in a brain cockpit, controlling a giant fleshy robot. Play Tetrageddon Games. I will love you forever !

  • the future of my games on Apple (post-Catalina) and what this means for art games in general

    I love playing games on itch. I love downloading these experimental art games. Much of this work isn’t necessarily “small” in its cultural relevance. A lot of really influential games artists have work on I’m one of those too.
    When I download things, I get reminded that a work someone put out there is 32-bit and it won’t be supported.
    I’m trying to run it, and I have to get past gatekeeper just to play it.
    All this work that exists out there, by artists (some fairly influential) is work that we don’t have access to and will lose.
    Most of us don’t have the resources to cough up arbitrary fees, and keep updating our stuff, especially when newer versions of Unity break builds… it’s a lot of work just to go back and update everything so it can run.
    Apple’s vision involves us constantly updating work, constantly adding to our games, constantly paying to exist here, even when some of this stuff is done. Often when a game is done, it’s done. Games aren’t a service. It’s like asking for a director to keep updating a movie, or for a musician to keep changing their song so it can keep running.
    Decisions like this erase our history.
    A lot of preservation efforts focus on preserving only the popular, famous, or financially successful things. We would do well to consider the loss of work from LGBTQA artists who can’t really exist on the App Store because the topics in their games would violate Apple’s terms and conditions… so now we see the realm outside of the App Store turning into this. Decisions like this have the effect of curating culture to be a certain way. It keeps the platform exclusionary with how inaccessible it’s becoming, gatekeeps art, and keeps creative voices out that we need. Not all artists are rich enough to cough up such fees or have the resources to keep updating things.

  • design notes, a bit on definition hell, and building an “art toy”…

    I keep talking about this, but I think it’s really fascinating how computer art tools typically are restricted to trying to simulate the art tools that happen in real life. We get very little expression that’s unique to the digital format. You actually have to work pretty hard in Photoshop to simulate glitch art. Even pixel art isn’t very directly supported (you kind of have to work a little to get that).
    So when you’re approaching an art tool and the specific goal is to be unique to digital art… designing that is really fascinating. Even just coming up with concepts of “Ok, how do you even support glitch art?” “How should someone draw with a glitch?” is an interesting problem to approach. There’s not defined design language for how you would enable “brokenness” in an art tool.
    Brokenness aside, what is unique to computers and how would you properly enable that in an art tool?
    Tool design is weirdly a lot like game design. When the tools are very new (unique, and no practical “art language” exists for their purpose), you also have to teach people how to use them. They have to be approachable enough for people to feel comfortable to mess around in them. You can’t have any sense of failure or judgement on part of the tool. If things were presented in such a way as there were “stakes” involved, or some kind of urgency for efficiency looming over experimental tools, then I think people would be too intimidated to explore them.
    Like surrealism, abstraction, or a humorous presentation (environment) for them helps a lot.

    The tone a program sets is how people will feel inclined to use it.