Frog Fractions 2 has been published! Finally!! It’s out on Steam now! I wrote and helped design one of the minigames in it. This is the first game I have worked on that is being sold for money on Steam!
Spoilers ahead! Don’t read past this shrugging boy if you don’t want to know anything about Frog Fractions 2!!
So: FF2 is actually called Glittermitten Grove. Like the original Frog Fractions, FF2 is a mess of hilarious minigames hidden inside a game that seems to be completely ordinary. Glittermitten is actually a chill base-building game– and for the full FF2 experience, I think you should play it and try to figure out how to get to the minigame section on your own. If basebuilding games make you rage, though, and you want to get straight to the minigames, there are ways around it.
My contributions to Glittermitten Grove are the two “SPAXRIS” sections. SPAXRIS stands for Super Passive Aggresive Xenomorph Roommate Irritation Simulator. It’s a game where you are a space marine from the movie Aliens who is trying to annoy your xenomorph roommate until he moves out of your shared apartment. You would kill him, but you are in the same friend group and have too many mutual friends. Your aggression is limited to drinking his beers, messing with his law school textbooks, changing the HDMI cables around on the TV, and flushing the toilet repeatedly while he is trying to brush his teeth.
Here’s the mildly-weird story of how SPAXRIS got in the game. I’ve done a lot of game jamming in the Bay Area– that’s where I’d caught the bug– and one of the absolute best games I’d made for a jam there is Desert Hike EX. Jim Crawford, the lead developer on FF2/GMG, led the Desert Hike team, which included me and a bunch of his other friends.
A while ago, a friend of mine was running a jam that I had the opportunity to do with Jim. He wrassled up a team and we went. And, like Desert Hike, the team Jim wrangled up was really good, and the art and music were great, and I was able to go absolutely nuts with the writing. By the end of the weekend we did not have a completely finished game, but we did have something that was pretty clearly hilarious. At some point, Jim leaned over and told me, “Let’s just put this in FF2.” So that’s what happened.
It’s funny that the first Steam game I’ve contributed to is something I made almost without knowing that it would even be part of a commercial game at all. I’d just got done doing a lot of writing and localization for a bunch of PC and mobile games that were mostly cancelled. (The ones that were not cancelled before release are Facebook games, and THEY have all been shut down!) Since then, I’ve gained a lot of experience and have started doing story consulting and writing on indie and AAA games, but none of those have released yet, either! I often feel like the last couple years were kind of “lost years” for me. So it’s deeply gratifying that SOMETHING commercial that I worked on in that period is finally coming out and is really good!
I am roommates with Rachel Sala, FF2’s artist and Jim’s development partner, so I’ve gotten to see a lot of the blood, sweat, tears, tiny frogs, etc. that went into FF2. I’m really glad this game has finally come out and that they can enjoy the results! A lot of great things have happened in my life thanks to knowing Jim and Rachel and hanging out with them and making cool shit with them, and I’m incredibly proud of them and the other developers!
Anyway, yeah! Enjoy the game!
Is there anymore of “The Dream Journeys of Bram Hessom”? I quite enjoyed the sample you put in the game and by the end I kind of wished I could see where it would have gone from there. Also Spaxris was hilarious, probably one of my favourites in this awesome set of minigames.
I am glad you liked both of these!
The Dream Journeys currently exists as a 90-page draft manuscript that requires major edits. I put the first 15 pages in the game because Jim suggested to me that I could put anything, “even a novel” into the game, so I did. I plan on finishing it and releasing it someday because it is mega weird and is a sendup of one of my favorite childhood genres. Late 19th/early 20th century adventure fiction like Journey to the Center of the Earth, 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Lost World, etc. was very influential to me.
The Dream Journeys is primarily about what happens to Bram after his biological father chooses not to kill him and instead banishes him to the fish world. While there, meets an anthropomorphic talking fish-man whose civilization was destroyed by his dad’s inter-dimensional crime syndicate. Bram and his new fish buddy, Tahey, parasite themselves onto a religious war in fish-land so that they can gain control over a radio-teleportation device and return to Earth. Instead of returning to Earth, however, they find themselves traveling here and there across an ancient network of worlds filled with many kinds of odd sentient creatures.
My favorite thing about Jules Verne’s work is that it was, at the time, science fiction– but today it reads like fantasy. I started writing the Dream Journeys because I wanted to write fantasy about characters who believe that they are living in a science fiction story. The story’s title is actually a reference to another influential work I read when I was younger, HPL’s “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath,” which has a plot somewhat similar to the Dream Journeys, particularly in its fantastical elements. You can find the Dream Quest here: http://www.hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/fiction/dq.aspx It’s a bizarre story with an ending that I find incredibly poignant.