Sorry, Got Sick

Well, I haven’t been feeling particularly great all week, but as of today I think I can safely say that I’ve caught something. I doubt it’s anything serious, but it’s been difficult to focus on writing for more than short bursts at a time so progress on the current article has been moving at a frustratingly glacial pace. With that said, I’m planning to take a complete break from streaming until next Monday and focus on finishing the full article on Touhou – Wandering Souls at some point this week, though as of right now I can’t give an exact date. As I won’t be writing much this week, I’ll try to get some more videos edited and uploaded and I might write a smaller article for the weekend depending on how things go. I plan to have the schedule completely back to normal by the start of next week, but for now I am going to focus on taking things slow so I can get better as soon as possible; I’d rather have this week’s schedule be messy while still producing good content over trying to stick to the schedule at the cost of quality.

Possible Easter Delays

Hey everyone, I just want to let you know in advance that Easter preparations might get in the way of this weekend’s schedule. With any luck I’ll still be able to stream on Saturday and have a full article up at some point on Sunday, but the article might end up getting delayed by a day or two.

Streams and Additional Videos

UPDATE: I have decided to swap the schedule for Wednesday and Thursday. This means that there will be a stream on Wednesday and a full article on Thursday.

I’ve been making additional videos for many of the games covered on Indie Overlook for a long time, but I’ve kept them on YouTube without adding them to this site. That’s soon going to change as over the next few days I will be adding these to a new section of the site dedicated to videos. I have also been streaming games on Twitch since long before the launch of Indie Overlook, but I am now going to be streaming in a more official sense for the site and have already done so this past weekend, streaming Sand and Rust and Hollow Knight on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Stream recordings will also be available on Indie Overlook alongside the other videos, but videos which are not explicitly stream recordings will still not have commentary as I think it can be important to have videos out there where the games are better able to ‘speak for themselves’ without the atmosphere being broken by commentary.

I’m still experimenting with the exact schedule for the streams (and my decision to stream on both Saturday and Sunday this time around means the full article for Sand and Rust is going to be delayed until Monday afternoon), so the exact time and days of the week during which these streams will occur is definitely not set in stone at the moment, but I do plan to have three streams per week. Most of these streams will likely be for the specific game which is being covered, though they will also include streams of previously covered games and ones which I plan to cover in the future (ex: Hollow Knight). Currently, this is how the schedule looks:

Monday: Stream
Tuesday: Video + Basic Article
Wednesday: Full Article
Thursday: Stream
Friday: Video + Basic Article
Saturday: Stream
Sunday: Full Article

This schedule would result in new content being released every day of the week for Indie Overlook (streams will be occurring in the evening and may be broken up into multiple videos, so you’ll need to go to Twitch to see the full stream on the day for which it is scheduled). There’s a good chance that Wednesday and Thursday activities will be swapped to match the schedule for Friday through Sunday, but this is the plan for now and I’ll make another update if it changes. And yes, this also means that both the full article for Sand and Rust and a stream will be coming up on Monday!

Today’s Changes

Indie Overlook has once again seen a few significant updates today, none of which were actually the update I initially intended to make (that will be coming later this week). In addition to some behind-the-scenes stuff, here’s the full list of changes:

  • The color scheme has been adjusted in various places, most notably in the search bar and the comments area to make text much easier to read, but a few menus and effects have also been slightly tweaked. There are a few places where I’m still working on getting the color scheme in place, but I’ll be fixing that over the course of the week.
  • There’s finally a proper login system! It should be much easier to login and create accounts now and there are basic profile pages in place alongside a few additional security measures. I would like to potentially flesh out profiles in the future, but for now this should help to make Indie Overlook look a bit more professional and a bit less like a generic blog.
  • The sidebar has been revamped to remove many of the less useful or redundant portions and a tag cloud has been added. This is still very much a work in progress, but I think the current setup is definitely better than the old one.
  • I missed removing featured images from the Freeware and Commercial game pages yesterday, so images were still appearing directly over the videos  for some rather poor-looking formatting, but this has now been fixed and hopefully that’s the last we’ll see of that issue.
  • The Home Page has been changed to display fewer posts (5) to help reduce load times for new visitors.

Old Content Updates and New Related Posts

I’ve made two fairly big changes to the site today. The first of which is there is now a ‘Similar Stuff’ list at the bottom of each article for people to scroll through. You’ll only see game articles in the same category as the one which you are currently looking at (so only freeware will appear on a freeware game page and only Fraxy bosses will appear on a Fraxy page, etc) so this acts as a nice alternative way of browsing through the content on Indie Overlook without having to navigate back to the game list pages and there are pictures to make it easier to find obscure games which might interest you.

The second change is not the one I had initially planned (that still should be arriving at some point on Monday), but since the Similar Stuff update required going back to every post and adding in a featured image to make it look nice, I updated some of the formatting along the way to match the current style. This basically means that every video is embedded at the appropriate size and links have been updated to be listed at the top of each article on a single line between the video and the article’s body rather than all the way at the bottom. The URL’s for player-created content and ‘extra’ articles have also all been adjusted to fall within a subcategory of ‘player-created’ or ‘extra’ respectively rather than being mixed in with standard freeware and commercial game articles; mixing these in with the other articles made sense when there were only a few of them, but now that there are several dozen of each this should go a long way towards cutting down on the confusion and the clutter, especially in the ‘Similar Stuff’ lists.

I hope these changes make it easier and more enjoyable to search through overlooked indie games (and some not-so-overlooked ones), but let me know if I missed anything or if anything is broken!

Site Updates Coming Soon!

Hi everyone, I’m going to be working on implementing two big new features on Indie Overlook for the next few days so there won’t be a new article today. I’m expecting have one or both of these features up and running at some point over the weekend though and I’ll make another announcement once they are complete!

It’s Also Knyttmas!

I can’t possibly celebrate Kryllmas without also celebrating Knyttmas! Yes, both of these 2D platformers with wildly different approaches to player-created content and nearly identical names are going to be celebrated until the end of the year, especially since I have covered even fewer Knytt Stories levels than Below Kryll levels. Up until the start of January there will be a new article for a Below Kryll level every even day and a new Knytt Stories level article every odd day and some days will have both.

Kryllmas Begins!

As a way to celebrate the holidays I’ll be covering a bunch of Below Kryll levels from now until the start of 2017 (along with one other likely predictable surprise starting tomorrow)! There’s no actual Christmas theme here beyond this event taking place over the course of 12 days, I just like how “Kryllmas” sounds. I’ll also be limiting levels to one per creator so we can get to see some more diversity in level design philosophies.

This is definitely, totally not at all an excuse to get more Below Kryll content on the site now that I can finally record it without lag issues!

Major Site Updates

It has been nearly a year since I first started covering overlooked indie games here at Indie Overlook so I thought that now would be a good time to get around to making some useful changes to the site. More changes will come as Indie Overlook continues to grow and expand, but here’s the full list of changes for today in a patch notes fashion:

  • The Game Articles Page has had its overly long list replaced with two separate tables for freeware games and for commercial games.
  • The Demo Articles Page has been removed for now. Instead, both demo articles and mini articles have been added to the Extras Page.
  • The Extras Page itself has been significantly condensed to make it much more readable and Haunted House Week articles have been added to it.
  • The Freeware Games Page and the Commercial Games Page now have proper pagination.
  • Fight The Dragon has been officially added to the Player-Created Content Page, which has itself been slightly renamed to include a hyphen.

Introducing Mini-Articles (Sort Of)

They’re not entirely new since I already wrote one every day for the last week of October, but mini-articles are going to be a more permanent addition to the site starting today. While the articles written in celebration of Halloween were generally for games which I am likely going to be covering with full articles down the road, these mini-articles are going to be aimed at games which are just too short and/or too simple to realistically write about for more than a paragraph or two. In general you can expect games which get mini-articles to be around five to ten minutes in length and most will be coming from contests and similar events with short time limits so they may be a bit rougher around the edges than usual, but I’ll still be sticking to games which are either enjoyable or otherwise have qualities which make them worth taking a look at.

Lastly, since these articles are going to be significantly shorter than standard ones, mini-articles will come in pairs. Thus, instead of covering a single game with a video on Tuesday and the full article on Wednesday (or Friday and Saturday respectively), mini-articles will consist of a video and the article for one game on Tuesday and another video and article on Wednesday.

Haunted House Week!

Halloween is the best holiday of the year as far as I’m concerned, so let’s celebrate it in style with some seasonal indie games! I’ve already been celebrating the season by focusing on horror indie games all throughout October with MANOS, Infested, Halloween Wars, the Breeder series, and Eversion, but this final week of October is going to serve as a special event of sorts.

Every single day for this final week will feature a new game. On top of being appropriate for Halloween, each of these games will fit into the structural theme of primarily taking place in and around a specific spooky location. Whether it’s a giant castle, a creepy mansion, the house down the street, or something else entirely, these haunted structures will be as memorable as the games themselves. Since these will be coming out on a daily basis, they won’t be full-length articles (though those may very well get added later for at least some of these games), but you can still expect videos, useful links, and some handy information.

Welcome to Indie Overlook’s Haunted House Week and Happy Halloween!

New Hard Drive

My computer and most of my programs are now back to normal so you can expect to see some new content around here again starting later tonight! Things aren’t going to go quite back to normal just yet though because, as you’ll be able to tell from the announcement that’s going to be going up above this one a few minutes from the time I post this, my computer has revived just in time for some special Halloween articles!

More Computer Issues

Well, it seems like my current hard drive is almost certainly going to die rather soon. I would have posted this notice sooner, but the last several hours have been largely split between my computer spontaneously freezing and refusing to restart properly. I will try to have an article and/or a video up as soon as possible, but I’m not at all sure if I’ll be able to record videos with the computer in this state and even getting an article written may prove difficult if the situation worsens. I’m also going to be prioritizing backing up data over the next few days, so I can’t give a concrete date on when new content will be up since that in large part depends upon my computer at this point. On the plus side, I will definitely be getting a new hard drive at some point within the next few days, so everything should be back to normal by early next week at the latest.

Coming Back September 20th (Vacation)

Hey everyone, I’ll be on vacation for the next week so there was only one article this week and there won’t be any major articles next week. I won’t have access to my computer while away, though I will have a laptop with me. I might go ahead and write a smaller article or two, but there won’t be any major articles until the Tuesday after I get back and recording video with the laptop may not be possible since it’s fairly old at this point.

Have a good week everyone!

Article Experiment

I’m going to be testing out a new way of releasing articles starting today. Specifically, the full article will be split into a tiered release with the video, relevant links, and the basic description going up today and the rest of the article itself going up tomorrow. I plan to also handle Tuesday’s game this way with the video content and description on Tuesday and the writing on Wednesday. I’m not sure if I’ll be sticking with this method (it’s an experiment after all), but if I do then any articles which do not feature video content will still come out in full on Tuesdays and Fridays.

This Week’s Article Tomorrow

Hey everyone, I’ll only be releasing one main article this week and it will be available at some point tomorrow (Wednesday). There will still be a few smaller articles and videos released this week and the schedule will be going back to normal next week, but I am going to be focusing on restructuring and/or adding to parts of the site and other more behind-the-scenes stuff this week. That said, tomorrow’s game is one which I am really excited to be writing an article about because it was released fairly recently and has some great ideas behind both its writing and its gameplay.

Slow Computer Updates + Audio Issues = Writing Woes

The Make a Good Mega Man Level Contest article for today is finished, but the *mysterious article* and the Fraxy boss article aren’t going to be ready until Sunday. So, what happened? Well, the answer is that two things in particular took far longer than I was expecting them to. First, after deciding not to move on from Windows 7 for an entire year I decided to upgrade to Windows 10 at the last minute on Friday night. This seemed simple enough since it was just a matter of getting it installed and then having it perform the bulk of the upgrade process overnight. Except it turns out that I am (or at least my computer is) one of the ‘lucky’ few to have the install process get stuck at 99% and it wasn’t under this afternoon that it at last finished installing so I could then proceed to spend about two hours between the actual upgrade process and getting most of the important stuff set up properly.

Secondly, you may have noticed that the audio for the Tier 2 levels of MaGMML is awfully quiet. I may very well go back and fix this as much as I can at some point (or just re-record those levels), but I had assumed it was a one-time issue with the recording and proceeded to record the footage for today’s MaGMML article. I’ve done enough game-related bug testing (and written about it here and there too) to know that you should never take such things for granted, so this definitely comes down to carelessness on my part, but the audio for today’s levels was also quiet and even garbled in some spots. As this was clearly going to be a recurring problem which absolutely had to be fixed (and I did try recording another game to make sure it wasn’t just a strange issue with this one), I spent a decent amount of time hunting down the issue. Somehow the solution turned out to be unchecking a setting in VLC Media Player (which was also having problems with certain audio files lately), which instantly fixed the audio issue in both VLC Media Player and my recording software, Bandicam, for reasons which I don’t understand and will probably need to look into more tomorrow. I also decided that instead of tossing out my recording (I was pretty happy with my run through the levels) I would instead figure out which files in the MaGMML music file matched up with which songs in the game, convert their format to a usable one with Audacity, and splice them into the video. It took quite a bit of time due to the fact that I’m not very familiar at all with Audacity and the video doesn’t have any sound effects now, but the music is loud and clear and I’m happy to have learned a few of the basics of audio editing along the way.

Something Somewhat Different Tomorrow

I’ll still be posting the daily updates of Make a Good Mega Man Level Contest content within the next hour, but the major article will be arriving tomorrow. That said, this article is going to serve to introduce a new section to Indie Overlook (don’t worry, it’ll still very much be related to indie games)! You can also expect yet another MaGMML update alongside it tomorrow as well as a Fraxy boss article, so Saturday’s going to be quite a busy day!

Tips on Downloading and Playing Foreign Games

Freem is a site hosting many freeware Japanese indie games

Freem is a site hosting many freeware Japanese indie games

A decent number of the games I have covered on Indie Overlook have been from freeware Japanese indie game sites, but even if you don’t have any trouble with downloading a game it can still be difficult to figure out just how to actually play it. As someone who can’t speak and certainly can’t read Japanese, I definitely know how confusing it can be to try to play a game in a language you don’t understand, but I’ve also discovered a few tricks for making the process much easier. This guide is written with Japanese indie games in mind, but it should still be useful for games in any language.

Today’s Article

The main article scheduled for today is going to be delayed until tomorrow, but there will still be a smaller article released later tonight!

UPDATE: The article is going to be for The Bug Butcher and it will be up on Sunday, but the video is now available here:

Potential Delay

Hi everyone, tonight’s article may end up getting delayed until tomorrow due to a rather severe storm which looks like it has a pretty good chance of knocking out the power in the area. So, if you don’t see a new article in the next few hours, it’ll definitely be available by tomorrow morning (or whenever the power comes back).

Game Jolt Marketplace Launch

Game Jolt:

I don’t usually cover news on Indie Overlook, but this is a very important piece of information to be aware of for anyone interested in indie games. Game Jolt, one of the primary sites hosting freeware games, will be launching their marketplace program later today for commercial games. Here are a few tips and things to be aware of:

New About Page and Contact Information

I have now changed the old ‘Welcome’ page into a proper About page and have added in some information about myself alongside the existing information about the site. There is also now a new Contact Information page for if anyone wants to contact me via e-mail or on YouTube and Twitter.

Games Page Updated

So, there have been individual pages for freeware and commercial game articles around here for a while now, but the “Games” tab itself didn’t actually do anything. That has now changed and clicking on “Games” will now take you to a full list of links to every one of the overlooked indie games covered here on Indie Overlook. I’m still playing around with the actual formatting for the page, but for now the games are sorted in alphabetical order with marks to indicate if they are freeware or commercial games as well as if they have any player-created content related to them.

Some Useful Downloads For Running Freeware Games

Compatibility is always an issue where older games are concerned, and especially when it comes to older indie games. Though I’ll be covering plenty of new games where compatibility (usually) isn’t a concern, a good number of games will require a trick or two to get working. That said, two programs in particular (well, one program and one set of programs) are all you’ll need to get most of this stuff working properly.