The Dink Network

Crazy Old Tim Plays All the DMODs of 2008 & 2009

December 15th 2014, 06:26 PM
custom_coco.gif
CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
--Crazy Old Tim Plays All the DMODs--

Directory
1998 | HTML version
1999 | HTML version
2000 | HTML version
2001 | Article version
2002 | Article version
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2010
2011-2015

Sorry to anybody who was looking forward to a "Crazy Old Tim Plays All the DMODs of 2013" topic with just one DMOD in it, but I've been planning it this way from the beginning. With just 9 DMODs, I can't justify giving 2008 its own topic. This topic will cover 2009's DMODs as well, for a total of 27 DMODs.

===2008===

Whatever magic it was that made new authors want to release so many DMODs in 2007, it did not travel to the new year. After an entire decade of pretty consistent activity, 2008 was the first year to see the release of fewer than 10 DMODs. There was a DMOD contest, but it received just two entries. Anybody at the time could hardly be faulted for assuming that the whole "Dink" thing was finally winding down, although that isn't how things actually turned out.

280: The Hero of the Time (Demo) Author: Skull Release Date: January 26, 2008
"You bloody wizards!"

Man, just get a load of the description of this one:

Dink Smallwood is Pub/bar's owner. He is just going to dance when he is teleported to Ice Age.
The Tree of Life has died and the Cure of World has been stolen. Therefor, the World is destroying.
Dink Smallwood of course must save it, as he is from Future and has been teleported to Past. (Ice Age) as I mentioned before.


"He is just going to dance when he is teleported to Ice Age." I hate it when that happens.


That's... a colorful title screen.

This is an old project that Skull decided to release before moving on to other things. This fact, combined with this DMOD's very low rating, had me worrying I'd have to give him another DFMAOB for the road, but it actually isn't THAT bad.

"The Hero of the Time" is a very short demo that consists mostly of cutscenes, broken up by a couple of extremely short gameplay segments. Dink is given sky-high stats that make the combat a breeze. As I've said before, "too easy" bothers me less than "too hard," especially in a short game where you don't have too much time to get bored by the lack of challenge. The only things Dink does in the gameplay segments are fight some blue stone giants, visit a house or two and fight a woman who has magical powers but doesn't seem to bother using them in combat.


I'm not sure whether this particular recolor has been seen before.

The cutscenes are pretty well-staged, though the English is on the poor side. In the distant past, the Tree of Life protected the world by guarding something called the "Cure of World." What did this cure do? The DMOD doesn't tell us. Regardless, when the Ice Age came the tree was killed by the cold, and somebody stole this apparently important item. Some wizards (apparently there were wizards during the Ice Age) responded to the threat by pulling Dink Smallwood from the future to go get the Cure back. I guess they know about the future hero because they're... time wizards, or something? I dunno, this raises too many questions. Exactly how much do these damn wizards know about the future? You'd think they'd have known somebody was going to steal their precious thingy!


The wizards were also really bad at coming up with names.

So Dink, apparently being the best hero in all of the future whom they could have picked, is pulled from a time in which he runs a bar. I think there have been at least two other DMODs that depicted Dink as an owner of a bar or inn. Some further cutscenes show the scheming villains, a knight serving an unseen figure he calls the "Master" and some ducks who report to him. Apparently the ducks and pigs (not shown) are to be elevated in society when he somehow uses the "Cure of World" to rule said world. Maybe it's a cure for the condition of insufficient tyranny.


Puffs of flame continually come out through that hole. Maybe the master is a dragon with indigestion and he's standing behind that wall.

I can't believe I've said even that much about this one. It's over in a flash and doesn't leave much of an impression.

281: Hide-n-Seek Author: Endy Release Date: March 28, 2008
"Ready or not, here I come!"

"Hide-n-Seek" is not to be confused with 2004's "Hide-and-Seek." It still amuses me how similar those titles are.

In this DMOD, Dink plays a simple game of hide and seek with 5 women. The locations of the girls are randomized on each play, which is a neat trick. The maps are randomized as well, which would be really impressive if it changed the actual shape of the field in any way, but it's actually just the decoration (trees and flowers) that changes. Still, I guess that would help keep it fresh if you wanted to play it again for some reason (I did play it twice just to confirm that the randomization works). The map looks quite good and has some interesting features like a tiny island with a bridge and some unusually-shaped plateaus.

The girls are not especially good at hiding. To be fair to them, there aren't any great hiding places in the area, but the least they could do is not move around.


Apparently so.

Despite the randomization, the experience is pretty similar regardless of where the girls end up. It's over very quickly. Still, it's a neat trick, and the map is quite nice.

282: Bug Mania Author: Sparrowhawk Release Date: April 10, 2008
"*cough*loser*cough*"

This is an expanded version of my favorite minigame from the "One Screen D-Mod Compilation." It has the original four levels from the one-screen version (each has their own screen now) and two additional levels. The only major change to the existing levels is that clicking anywhere other than on a pillbug in stage 1 now subtracts a point from your score. Unfortunately, this ruins the game for me. Part of the fun of this sort of thing is madly clicking all over the place. Stage 1 in this version is stressful and difficult, which doesn't match up with a game that is otherwise easy, breezy fun. The pillbugs will often disappear right as you click on them, and if you lose a few points you'll never make it in the time limit. The best I did after quite a few tries was 33 of a required 35 points. I could probably have made it eventually, but I wasn't having fun. I commented out the line that removes a point and had a much better time.


I love this title screen, though. The only thing that would make it better is if you could click on and squash the pillbugs here.

The first new level is set on an icy lake. Pillbugs are blown across the ice by the wind, and you have to try to stop as many as possible. Clicking on the ice makes cracks in it, but this isn't a failure condition, fortunately.


Notice the new green-blood pillbug corpses. Real pillbugs have blue blood, but green matches with the idea that these are "bugs" or insects.

The real attraction of this version is the brilliant new town level. It takes place across 21 screens. You press the arrow keys to move between screens and click on doors or other entrances to enter buildings and a basement. Pressing an arrow key causes the screen to scroll as if Dink has walked from one screen to the next. It's beautiful, and I have no idea how Sparrowhawk did it. I also love how characters in the game treat the hammer as a character, showing that what we are dealing with here is not an unseen hammerer but a floating, self-aware hammer. Funny stuff.


Please Hammer, do hurt 'em.

The town stage is full of delightful easter eggs. Clicking on almost everything produces some kind of result - breaking windows, smashing pumpkins, extinguishing torches. NPCs on the screen react to what you're doing, complaining about you wrecking the place. There are a few secrets to find. You're told that there are 191 pillbugs, but due to some extras in the secret areas, I found 205.


One secret area is this dark basement. Unlike the rest of the game, you have to move the hammer along the path or you'll be sent back to the start. Here, Hammer witnesses the resurrection of the Dead Dragon Carcass!


This secret machine unleashes a plague of ducks upon the town. And you thought they had problems before.

It's very easy to finish the town stage in the five minutes you're given if you focus on going for the bugs. Once you beat the game, an option is added on the title screen to go straight to the town stage, and you can play without a time limit if you like to make sure you see everything.

"Bug Mania" is impressive, bewildering, and apart from one design decision I really didn't like, very fun. If you have the same problem with level 1 that I did, you can remove the penalty by commenting out the line "&defense -= 1;" in v1-clicker.c. This is, of course, cheating. I own up to it.

283: The Attack of the Goblins Author: Teej88 Release Date: May 24, 2008
"Matridge... on the Way here I got attacked by a Goblin..."

When I decided that "The Hero of the Time" didn't deserve an Award of Badness, I thought that I might make it through 2008 without giving one out.

Nope.

******This DMOD, "The Attack of the Goblins,"******
 ********Has been awarded the prestigious*********
  ****DINK FOREVER MEMORIAL AWARD OF BADNESS*****
   ********On this day December 15, 2014********


This one is sub-"Dink Forever" level. It's not the worst out there, but it makes some of Skull's early DMODs look good.

The problems start with the title screen, where I had no idea what to do for at least ten seconds.


Yoo hoo? Buttons?

It turns out that those fancy pictures of King Dan are the start and quit buttons. The quit button says "Please don't qui" when you put your mouse over it. Like Arthur Dent in most of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the button has no T.

There are five screens. Four of them have no background but some poorly-tiled grass. The fifth is an indoor screen with some furniture, but the depth dots are all set incorrectly, and Dink clips behind or in front of everything.

At the start, Dink is dumped unceremoniously into a screen with some barrels and a goblin that is, to be honest, minding its own business. Dink can start a fight with it if he wants. The stats of 15-15-15 you're given are more than enough to kill goblins with your bare hands, but the barrels are all full of strength potions just in case. Further screens give you even more strength potions and some golden hearts. I know I've said that "too easy" usually doesn't bother me, but this is ridiculous.

The goblin's proximity to Dink, we learn, was a sure sign of war. Martridge, who hangs out in a basement unconnected to any kind of structure, tells Dink to go talk to King Daniel, who hangs out in an open field. Danny boy confirms that there's a war, and tells Dink to "go and Sort it out." Gee, thanks, your highness.


The war between Dink and the goblins. How exciting.

Fighting the goblins is easy, but you don't even need to do it. Just killing the slayer is good enough to unlock the screen. You can leave the screen to the north (miraculously, this was my first guess) to find a screen that defies all logic.


What is that yellow splotch about? Why am I talking to a fence?

At first, I couldn't figure out if there was anything to do on this screen. I didn't even see the fence at first, because it cycles back and forth between being a fence and being invisible. Eventually I tried talking to it, and it turns out that it's the author, who claims to be disguised as a rock. "Please Write a Review now.. and Be positive ," he says. Okay, here goes: "The Attack of the Goblins" isn't even in the top 3 worst DMODs I've ever played. Sorry Teej, that's about as positive as I can get about this one.

**The DMOD Drought Diaries**
~Chapter 3: Dink Breaks Free (2008)~

The DMOD releases hadn't exactly been falling from the sky in 2008 already, but at this point they petered out completely for a while. No DMODs were released between "The Attack of the Goblins" on May 24 and "Chasin" on September 13. That's 112 days, narrowly beating 2006's 108-day record (EDIT: Not really, see post below). At this point, unlike in 2006, people started to take notice. Christiaan Janssen referred to this period in his "Everything Dink" article as "The D-Mod drought" and pinpointed May 2008 as the start. Several topics were made in the forums about the lack of new DMODs and the lack of updates on the site in general. "Is Dink dying" discussions had been going on since 1999 (really), but never with this kind of frequency.

The Rise to Power Contest had been announced back in April, but... well, I'll get to that soon, when I talk about the two DMODs that came out of it.

The big news in the Dink community around this time was the release of GNU-Freedink, a platform-independent version of Dink Smallwood that brought the game to users of Linux (itself a GNU project) and Apple's Macintosh operating systems. GNU is about free software - that's "free as in freedom," not the kind of free that Dink Smallwood had already been since 1999. It doesn't even just mean open source, which Dink had been since 2003. Beuc asked Seth Robinson to "freely" release materials so that he could release a "free as in freedom" version of the original game, but Seth didn't have the rights to all the sounds, so some had to be replaced in that version and others are still missing. You can just use FreeDink to play the original version of the game, of course. You are free.

I've been using FreeDink to play the game on my Windows PC for almost the whole length of this project, and I love it. It's fast, it runs smoothly, it ignores some things that crash basic Dink, and I've run into very few compatibility problems with DMODs. I would say that the number of DMODs you can play without major problems on FreeDink is actually higher than 1.08 Aural+. It also allows you to speed up the action by holding tab, which has saved me hours and hours, I'm sure. This feature might come from 2010's Dink Smallwood HD, though.

FreeDink refers to Windows as "woe," because that is how GNU projects are supposed to abbreviate it in order to avoid calling Microsoft's decidedly-not-free operating system a "win." Ah, the wacky world of computing. Anyway, you should all switch to FreeDink if you're not using it already. I will bang this drum all day.
December 16th 2014, 03:49 PM
wizardg.gif
leprochaun
Peasant Male Japan xbox steam bloop
Responsible for making things not look like ass 
Sorry to anybody who was looking forward to a "Crazy Old Tim Plays All the DMODs of 2013" topic with just one DMOD in it,
ME ME ME

I was looking forward to that. Well rascal flats then.
December 16th 2014, 03:59 PM
custom_skull.gif
Skull
Peasant Male Finland bloop
"I'd like to be a tree..." 
I wouldn't be surprised if I gave Dink all those high stats in The Hero of the Time, just so the player could quickly run through and see the demo of a D-Mod that at one point could've been a full game. It's just a short... well, demonstration, which I figured is better on the site than lost in the abyss of D-Mods forever.

EDIT: Btw, if a staff member happens to read this, check the pending files. Just saying.

EDIT 2: Also, you're way too hard on your first D-Mods, Tim. They're not that bad. There are far worse D-Mods around. Including my own. Although I do dare say that there are at least 5 worse D-Mods than my own worst one, The Attack of the Goblins being one of them.
December 17th 2014, 05:14 AM
custom_coco.gif
CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
284: Magical Mayhem Author: Erwin Bosch Release Date: July 9, 2008

Auuuuugh, it's all ruined, it is. After I wrote all that stuff about the DMOD drought of 2008 - and it was true that people noticed and complained about it - it turns out that I had the release date of this one wrong, meaning that 2006's record wasn't broken after all. Damn it. This stuff is so confusing, you guys! Why, oh why don't the file pages have an original release date on them instead of just the date of the latest update? It is Hell trying to keep the dates straight. "Magical Mayhem" was released a few days before the date above as a beta, but apparently that version really didn't work at all.

"Magical Mayhem" is a rare attempt at a 2-player game in the Dink Smallwood engine. Two wizards, each controlled by a different set of keys on the keyboard, face off with a large variety of spells. You can choose from nine different arenas to fight in.


Some title screens just make you want to say, "Ta da!"

I didn't have a second player available to play with, but judging from the way the powerful spells you can throw around knock out the wizards' health, I feel pretty sure that a battle would not last very long and that the winner would feel nearly random. Or at least, that's what I'd say if the second player really worked.

It's not the author's fault. Dink just isn't made to accept a second input. Erwin gave creating a second player an impressive shot, giving the second wizard his own little health bar and magic selection display, but the experience for player 2 isn't anything like player 1's. Because of the game's limitations, player 2 has to use move() commands to move around, which leads to imprecise, difficult control. Player 2 also doesn't move at the same speed as player 1.

Erwin tried to come up with a solution for the latter problem. The game includes a "speed test" mode where the game runs little races between player 1 and a player 2 set to various speeds. The resultant speed setting is stored by save file numbers. This process takes a very long time and doesn't seem to help. Even the lowest speed is still faster than player 1, which actually isn't to player 2's advantage. It's tough to line player 2 up to get a good shot at a stationary player 1, let alone a moving one.


The only review on the site badly mistakes the purpose of this speed test for something else. Most of the review is spent complaining about "the racing game," but this is just an automatic test.

All right, so it doesn't really work very well, but you do have to admire the attempt. Also cool is the large selection of spells available. Included are the fireball, an ice orb, a "ice comet" spell that strikes from above, freezing your opponent, a spell that leaves a trail of fire as you walk, a (pretty ineffectual) shield spell, a meteor spell and more.


The lightning spell is quicker than most magic.


The meteor spell creates a large area of destruction.

285: Chasin Author: Kezzla Release Date: September 13, 2008
"I am actually on a quest for bong tolerance"

This DMOD is all about drugs. Dink (or whoever) is all out of weed, and needs to go score some more. This task does not prove easy. It involves doing the same thing over and over and over, like a true pothead.

I've never been much for drugs, but I did smoke pot (yes, I'm so lame that I call it "pot") once, years ago. Should I be saying that here? Whatever. I was hilariously incompetent at it and burned my thumb badly when I tried to use the lighter. While high, I watched Monty Python's And Now For Something Completely Different and laughed until tears streamed down my face at this scene. Good lord. Even now I am cracking up. So it was a pretty good time, though I wouldn't do it every day or anything.

Dink goes to a neighbor named Crazy Jenkins to buy some weed, but Jenkins won't sell unless Dink can beat him in a "bong off," taking bong hits until one of them throws up. Dink proves to be a total lightweight. His quest for bong tolerance is joined.


Dink's epic task begins!

Dink must train with his roommate. He must train with some hippies, which involves taking hallucinogenic mushrooms and tripping the f*** out. Again and again, he still fails to beat Jenkins, until he tries taking some speed beforehand, which does the trick. Triumphant, Dink takes the weed without even paying. There, that's the plot of the DMOD.

One thing I'll say for "Chasin'" - it is authentic. Kezzla is clearly far more experienced than I at the doing of drugs. I had to infer what a lot of the slang meant. The stoners who populate this DMOD are pretty funny to watch, going "whoa, man" and such. Also amusing is the way the DMOD treats Dink's quest for a higher drug tolerance like some kind of serious martial arts training, as in this exchange between Dink and a hippie woman he calls "sensei:"

Moondance: you suck at pulling bongs because you cannot handle the high
Dink: you know me better than I know myself


The scene where Dink trips on mushrooms is something to see. As he wanders around, the screen keeps fading up and down, up and down. Dink starts laughing really hard at everything and having wild hallucinations.


like, wow

There's no combat in "Chasin'." The author emphasizes this point in the description and on the title screen, seeming defensive and arguing that drugs are less immoral than violent themes, but I didn't see anybody on the DN trying to morally censure this DMOD. There are some ducks you can kill if you want, so I guess it isn't totally free of violence.


This screen right after the start looks good, but it's just about the only screen that isn't a bit of a mess.

The map is really sloppy. A lot of the grass tiling is bad, screens don't match up properly, some screen edges are "invisible walls," and it's easy to end up in places you aren't supposed to be, like the middle of the river. Some scenes happen repeatedly if you backtrack, and this can cause Dink to move to places he can't get out of. Don't operate WinDinkEdit under the influence, kids.

Ultimately it's pretty dumb, but it wears its dumbness proudly. It's not gonna be for everybody. Some people can't stand this kind of humor, and I do understand that. I went to college, and one of my least favorite things was hearing people blab about all the drugs they did at such and so party. They sounded so much lamer than they thought. "Chasin'," on the other hand, seems to know exactly how lame it is, and for that reason, I found it good for some chuckles.

--
The Rise to Power DMOD Contest
--

This contest was announced back on April 9. The original deadline was July 20, but that got dragged out for over a month due to a lack of entries, and the results were delayed even further.

The objective was to create a DMOD that involved the main character rising to power. Specifically, as outlined by SabreTrout:

The D-Mod must be centered upon a playable character's rise to power. This ascension to greatness can be relative, however. Ethel's duck taking rule over Stonebrook would be just as valid as Dink becoming King.

The protagonist must succeed in rising to power. This may not necessarily be the end of the game, but their rise to power must be the central theme of the d-mod.


Man, I want to play that DMOD where Quackers takes over Stonebrook now. A triumphant sequel to "Quest for the Golden Nut!"

This seems like a more specific theme than past contests, except for the unsuccessful Vampire contest. Maybe more general themes are more successful, or maybe it's just a function of who's got the time and motivation to make a DMOD at the time the contest is staged. These qualities seem to have been at a low ebb at this point in 2008.

There were two entries. I don't think there was ever any real voting, but ultimately, one of them won and the other one didn't. Let's look at the one that didn't first.

286: The Kingdom of Chaos Author: Nawal Release Date: September 13, 2008
"So, Dink, you turn your back on your own people? Your own King?"

"Kingdom of Chaos" takes place mainly on the map from the original game, with one small additional area. Most of the event scripts have been properly removed from the old maps, but the wanderers and guy who gets robbed near Stonebrook are still there. Some of the old object scripts are still in place, and I was annoyed by the fact that it's now impossible to enter the house where you buy the herb boots. You don't even get so much as an "it's locked."

Stonebrook has gotten a bit of a makeover. Unfortunately, some novice mapping problems come in here. There are lots of depth dot problems, and the houses have a much larger area of hardness than they should. There's also a new sign in Stonebrook that doesn't say anything.


Interesting garden, though.

There's a bit of new interaction with the old characters. Ethel is furious with Dink for killing Quackers (again, you can't prove that!). There's a pretty funny bit where Dink tries to make it up to her by buying a new duck... but he can only find a headless duck.


Dink: It was the only thing I could find in the category of 'Duck.'
Ethel: You're damn useless, you know that?


In this DMOD, Dink is cursed by an evil queen named Vanessa and turns against King Daniel. He finds her being captured by some knights and, without thinking, rescues the "damsel in distress." She poisons his mind with some kind of potion or spell, but the poison takes effect slowly. At first, Dink has only a slight inclination to obey her, but it increases over time (actually, you can press "P" to see what percentage of the "poison" has taken effect). It's helped along by the fact that Dink was already dissatisfied with the King, who gave his highest post in the guard to Milder's brother despite Dink's service to the kingdom.

Vanessa lives in a land called Zanshir, also known as the Kingdom of Chaos, where humans and monsters can marry each other (okay). Dink is disturbed at first by the hunger and... well, chaos that he sees in this place, but Vanessa reminds him that King Daniel had food gathered around his court while his people in Windermere starved. That's... a really good point, actually. Screw that guy!


Slayers use hashtags? In 2008? #iveneverevenusedtwitter

Dink dons a suit of armor and becomes Vanessa's Dark Knight. He performs tasks to bring the towns from the original game over to her side. He brews a "loyalty potion" and puts it into Stonebrook's supplies of water and booze (I forgot to mention that Stonebrook has a bar now). He slays the citizens of loyal Terris, including his own aunt and her husband, which I guess is kind of grisly as they beg for their lives and all, but mainly reminds me what a joke of a town Terris is.


Dink does experience one brief attack of conscience, but then the poison kicks in a bit more.


It's hard to turn down a polite request, but orders are orders.

Dink also turns the people of KernSin into stone giants with a spell and uses his influence over the people of Windermere to talk them into changing sides. This might sound like it involves a lot of walking, but Dink gets the ability to teleport to the various locations in this DMOD, which is quite handy. When Dink and his army confront the King, the ensuing battle... is not much of a battle, really. It's more like a bunch of people jittering around. All Dink has to do is kill Milder's brother, which is very easy, and he wins.


You know, I always wondered why the stone giants' arms turn red when they attack. It looks weird.

Dink becomes the King in Daniel's place, and Vanessa makes her plans to go on to take over the world. Even though Dink is Vanessa's puppet, this still meets the requirements of the contest. Dink starts out as pretty much a nobody and becomes a king, and this process is the main focus of the DMOD. I really thought this wasn't bad for a first-time effort, despite some problems.

287: The Lumbergh Legacy Author: Marpro Release Date: September 13, 2008
"There's that hatchet I need."

Marpro is the author of "Fall of Tahmar" from the Failure Contest. It seems only contests motivate Marcus to make mods.

"The Lumbergh Legacy" is more polished than "Kingdom of Chaos," but there's much less to do, and I don't think it fits the theme as well. Not that placement matters, since both authors got a prize for bothering to submit something, but I'd have given the nod to the other one, personally.

"Lumbergh" is a simple story in which a boy named John decides to murder his abusive stepfather. In doing so, he becomes the head of his deceased father's powerful estate. I suppose this is a kind of rise to power, but power isn't John's main motivation. Mainly, he wants to kill his stepfather because he abuses John and his mother. Whatever power John attains is not seen in this DMOD and seems beside the point.


The outside screens have an interesting muted palette, which is a very appealing sight. I have taken well over a thousand screenshots for this project, and green is by far the most common color.

Too bad that sign doesn't work. It's not the only one in this DMOD that doesn't, either. That always really annoys me.


John's stepfather, whose name is Hermann, orders him to go collect firewood. You go to the shed to get an axe, and there's a really effective moment where you hear a pounding beat as the boy's head swims with visions of vengeance. All you have to do at this point is go back home and kill your stepdad. It's a very short DMOD.

If you want to stretch it out a little further, there's a sidequest where John meets a neighbor who teaches him about alchemy. After gathering some ingredients, you can mix some potions that temporarily improve your stats, but there's really no need. Hermann is easy to beat either way.


He'll swing his sickle at you, but it's not hard to avoid.

Unfortunately, no matter what you do, John's mother dies. I guess that this is so John will inherit the estate immediately.

Marpro apparently cranked this one out in just a few days, and it's impressive that he managed to make such a polished little DMOD (signs aside) in that amount of time. I just don't feel like it fits the theme of the contest as well as the other entry.
December 18th 2014, 02:33 AM
peasantmb.gif
yeoldetoast
Peasant Australia steam
discord.gg/Ukugfbh 
>I didn't see anybody on the DN trying to morally censure this DMOD

There were actually two versions of Chasin' released, and upon the initial release, Gokussj made a very angry review with a final score of 0.3 that went like this:

Ok time to review this new D-Mod.

*.Story.*
You're a Dink(or a man with no name?) who is actually stoned and you have to find a weed(?).Well that's something i never met at any d-mods before. *1.0*

*.Gameplay.*
The gameplay is bad...REALLY BAD! No monsters, on each screen a hero do himself, many bugs, everything!(I liked the effect when you leave the forest when you eat a mushroom. It's kinda creepy ) *1.0*

*.Sounds.*
No new sounds and no music *0.0*

*.Overall.*
WINNERS AND DINKERS DON'T USE DRUGS! *0.3*

There was a big purge of reviews that didn't have anything to do with game content a little while ago which caused it to get deleted (because of my meddling). It's a shame I didn't save all of the deleted reviews though.
December 18th 2014, 03:09 AM
spike.gif
scratcher
Bard Male Finland bloop
cigarette bonca 
on each screen a hero do himself

That still cracks me up.

All the reviews are still on the site, at least, just rejected. (Along with every review that was never approved in the first place) The ratio between entertaining bad reviews VS just crappy non-reviews is pretty low, however.
December 18th 2014, 04:17 AM
custom_coco.gif
CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
288: Hotel of the Middle Night Author: Skull Release Date: October 31, 2008
"I gotta solve this out! Or I could just leave!"

I had this one's release date wrong when I drew up my list thanks to there not being a news post about it until December. But it turns out that this spooky mystery involving a ghost and a vampire was a Halloween release after all.


It's simple, but I like this title screen for some reason.

Dink stops at a hotel for some beer and some rest, but wakes up upon hearing a scream. He learns that the place has a dark incident in its past. And then he starts finding the bodies.


Wow, this guy was like a piņata full of blood.

If it were me, I'd get the Hell out of there at that point, but Dink insists on poking around. Some of the specific details you learn early on may lead you to believe you're investigating a complex mystery, but it turns out to be revealed in a simple way. It turns out that people from that long-ago incident have returned to the hotel as undead creatures. Dink doesn't long survive this discovery, I'm afraid.

I'm not spelling out the entire plot here because it's interesting to see on your own, although I did have some trouble understanding it at first due to some odd dialogue. For example, it's said of a certain woman that she couldn't take care of her child because she "was broken." In context, I wasn't quite sure what that meant.

Early in the game, conversations take place entirely in choice statements, and you have frequent opportunities to choose what Dink says, although your choices don't really seem to have an effect on the story. It's nice to have different conversational choices. It makes it feel a bit more like an adventure game. I think it probably would have been better to have the dialogue appear above characters' heads as normal after the player makes their choice, however.

The grounds around the hotel use VonZeppelin's night tiles, which do a pretty nice job of making it look like nighttime. I'm surprised that nobody had used these tiles between their release in 2006 and now. Aside from the tiles, however, the outside map is quite boring - a big square island with few features.


It's only too bad that trees and other objects still look as if the sun is shining on them. Making it look like nighttime is hard.

"Hotel of the Middle Night" is a non-combat DMOD, so the challenge is all about figuring out what to do next. It's all straightforward and easy except for two spots. First, Dink has to go find a key, but you're given no clue as to where it might be. Even if you walk right past the location of the key, it's easy to miss it, so this is frustrating - I don't think that "find the tiny shiny spot" is a good puzzle. The other problem comes near the end.


Wait, WHAT? Seriously?

You get just five seconds to figure out what to do here, or you die. I really don't think that's enough time. I had never found a savebot in this game. It turns out that you can save by examining the bed, but there's no way for the player to know this unless you stumble across it by accident; even the readme doesn't tell you. Screwing up here is therefore going to mean starting over for most players. It's not fair game design to put a player on the spot like this unless they can retry more or less immediately. I'd feel differently about it if there were an obvious savebot in the previous room - or at all, really. Fortunately, a walkthrough is available.

The indoor screens have some major hardness problems. There are large areas of invisible hardness, so Dink appears to be walking into invisible walls. At least one of the rooms has a hardness hole that allows you to walk through the wall into a different screen that you're not supposed to be able to reach yet.

This is still another big step for Skull, who people probably didn't expect much from after his early DMODs; indeed, it's been rare to see an author put out Award of Badness-level stuff and then go on to improve very much, so Skull deserves credit for keeping at it.

--

**The DMOD Drought Diaries**
~Chapter 3a: For Real This Time (2008-2009)~

"Hotel of the Middle Night" marked the end of 2008's sparse release schedule. 2009 would prove to be a surprising resurgence for the already 11-year-old community, but it sure didn't start out that way. I've checked and re-checked, and this time I'm sure than 2006's record DMOD drought was broken (I know I'm probably the only one who cares about this, but I do try to get my facts straight). 200 days passed between the Halloween release of "Hotel of the Middle Night" and "Infinidink" in May of 2009, nearly doubling the 2006 gap.

There just was not a lot going on in the Dink community at this time. Dan Walma had stepped down and made himself scarce. Joshriot's DDC contest inspired a few to start DMODs, but nothing came of it. Skull took a break from DMOD-making after a virus wiped out all of his unfinished projects. Even activity on the forum was down. Christiaan Janssen discusses the downturn here; I'm not sure how he came up with his prediction of increased activity in 2009 and 2010, but it turned out to be on the money.

===2009===

2009 doubled up on the previous year, seeing the release of 18 DMODs. It reached this mark without the support of a DMOD contest, and despite having 0 DMODs released before the month of May.

289: Infinidink Author: Wesley McElwee Release Date: May 19, 2009
"The ducks are getting angrier"

REPUTATION NOTE: This DMOD is one of the select group with a score of 9.0 or better (9.0) on The Dink Network.

Well, it says the average is 9.0, anyway. I don't see how it gets there with one 8.6 and one 9.0 review. Is there another review lurking unseen in the marshes of miasma?

Wesley released this as a side project while working on a remake of "Friends Beyond 2." He said that he was inspired to make something quick by the lack of DMOD releases. Afterward, Wes had a kid and decided (understandably) that DMOD development was no longer a priority. Let's hear it for side projects; they have the virtue of actually getting released.


Ooh, shiny.

"Infinidink" has, by its own admission, no plot. It's just a game where you beat up enemies until you can't anymore. Dink walks around a loop of screens, and the enemies that generate get tougher and tougher. It isn't too hard until the casters start showing up, but it gets pretty brutal from there. When you die, you are given a score, which is saved to a high score list. There's only one save slot so that you can always see your high scores.


Here are the scores I managed on my first couple of tries.

Before you start, you get to have a little conversation with a pig, who lets you choose some options. You can choose to be a weapon specialist, a jack of all trades, or a master of magic. The master of magic has access to a large number of spells, including a spread-shot fireball, a powerful lightning bolt, a shield that increases your defense, a spell that confuses enemies, and a healing spell.


BOOM BOOM BOOM! Mr. Dink is a wonder!

Unfortunately, this isn't as great as it sounds. In addition to your magic meter, you have to have enough MP to cast a spell. The MP counter in the lower left ticks up slowly. It's there so that the game doesn't become a joke with all those powerful spells, but in practice, it means you'll mostly be using melee attacks and saving your magic for healing.

The weapon specialist gets better stats and a nice sword, but this class is at a huge disadvantage because of the lack of reliable healing. Still, the sword is a big improvement over having to punch things, which leaves jack of all trades, which gets weaker magic and a weaker sword, as the best class. At least, it would if it weren't for a bug that lets you keep any weapons and magic you've been given if you change your class. The weapon specialist still can't cast spells (no MP), but the master of magic can take that sword, so this is probably the way to go.


The fighting starts out slow, but it can get pretty intense!

Enemies give you no experience, but they will rarely drop a bit of gold. On certain screens, you can pay an old person to allow you access to a screen where you can fight some pillbugs and earn a stat boost and a new weapon, spell or both. This is the only use for gold and the only way to improve your character.

I didn't try very hard to get a high score, but if you do want to do as well as possible, you'll definitely want to stop when you clear a screen and wait around until you can restore all of your health. Unfortunately, this involves quite a lot of tedious waiting. It would have been better to either allow the player to instantly restore their health upon clearing a screen or to disallow healing in this manner.

One thing you're not supposed to kill are the ducks. Ducks will spawn along with enemies, and every time one is killed, the ducks all become larger and do more touch damage (although they still won't deliberately attack you). You can reset the ducks between runs by asking a duck statue for forgiveness. It's a nice extra bit of flavor.


This can't be good...

While I played, numbers kept coming up at the side of the screen with the letters S and V between them. I don't know what they meant, but they kept overlapping, and it really detracted from the presentation, which is otherwise pretty good. I like the status bar, and Dink's text has been changed from the usual screaming yellow to a softer new yellowish-orange color.

This is the best "just kill things" sort of DMOD so far. It has a nice set of options, works well at its core, and is replayable thanks to the high score lists. Having said that, it does get boring after a little while. Maybe if there were some kind of high score competition, I'd play some more.
December 18th 2014, 10:02 AM
pq_knight.gif
ExDeathEvn
Peasant Male New Zealand xbox steam
Don't look at me, I'm a ghost 
My initial review (the 8.6 for Infinidink) had an odd situation; I mentioned a bug and the Dmod was patched, but the review still only applies to version 1.00 so it doesn't actively affect the score of Infinidink.
It's also kind of amusing for the fact that it's the featured review and the other is just a standard one.
Sometime before the first Hotel of the Middle Night release was around about when I started showing up as well.

I'm finding the time gap knowledge interesting myself; Having arrived and seen the sparse release rate, I had always figured it to be the norm. Looking at it now, I'm quite surprised.
December 19th 2014, 12:19 AM
custom_coco.gif
CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
290: Chores Author: MadStalker Release Date: May 19, 2009
"I bet you can feed the pigs without my assistance."

In this DMOD, Dink is summoned to the frozen north by his grandmother (she has a name, but I've already forgotten it) to do chores for her. Many DMODs make Dink do chores, but none were as direct about it as "Chores." Of course, at some point an evil wizard shows up and you have to take care of him, but chores still make up a majority of the DMOD. Dink has to gather firewood, fetch water, pick up a package and feed the pigs TWICE. Feeding the pigs is totally uneventful, which bears mention, since this is the first time I've ever seen pig-feeding in a DMOD without Milder or some sort of Milder-analogue showing up to deliver the old "Is pig farming fun?" speech or some variation thereof. I was starting to believe that the act of feeding pigs just spontaneously generated these kinds of people in this universe. I was starting to wonder about the practical applications - could you feed pigs over and over to generate an endless supply of slave labor? But no.


You can select your font in this DMOD, but it didn't work for me. I totally would've taken the rest of my screenshots in Comic Sans, too.

"Chores" is a pretty unassuming DMOD, but it's attracted quite a bit of attention. 8 reviews is a lot for the DN, and they're all pretty positive, even the 7.0 review that says it's "not great." A couple of the reviews say it's a return to the high standards of the past, which screams "I haven't played any but the highest-rated DMODs that came out before 2005," since I don't think the standards had ever been higher than they are at this point. What is it about this mod that appeals to people? Let's see if I can get through this without using the words "solid" or "polished." God, I'm a lousy writer.

"Chores" is a straightforward 20-minute adventure for Dink that, without doing anything great or exciting, does just about everything right and has a few neat little features. It's about context, really. When you've played a lot of DMODs, a game without hardness or depth dot errors, fatal bugs, misspellings or broken grammar, just plain bad dialogue, frustrating enemies or puzzles, invisible walls, an excessively large or empty map or a nonsensical plot can't help but endear itself to you at least a little bit. I mean, all of the things I just mentioned are so common. The biggest problem I ran into here was that the purple bonca bug isn't fixed, and there was a depressingly long stretch where zero mods had fixed that. It's also a thorough DMOD, with a script for just about every sprite on the indoor screens.


Most of the enemies in this one will tell you how many HP they have left when you hit them. Gee, that's nice of them!

There's something charming about being asked to do chores without it being a launching point for some kind of sinister plot for once. Dink's grandma isn't secretly evil or fighting evil, she just wants her grandson to help her with chores. I almost wish the totally-unrelated evil wizard of the week didn't show up, but that segment is pretty straightforward too and provides the game with some pretty satisfying action, so I've really got no complaints.

I did get stuck for a little while gathering the firewood. I found five of the six branches you need immediately, but spent several minutes searching for the last one. It wasn't hidden in an unreasonable place or anything, this sort of thing just happens sometimes.

This is probably the last appearance of Ronan and Billy, who make their final stand against Dink in a cameo role. Killing them is very funny, with Ronan going into histrionics.


The really funny part is that the "duck riding a bonca" sprite here is better (no jitter) than the one from "Revenge of the Ducks."

When I beat the game, I was surprised to have somebody who looks like Seth come and admonish me for not ever hitting the pigs. If you do, you get an ending where pigs get together and ambush Dink, but I prefer the ending I got. No animal revenge can compare to the experience of being chastened for a lack of animal abuse.

291: An Aeophian Adventure: Dink Goes to Aeophia Author: Patrunjelu Release Date: May 21, 2009
"I was looking for a relaxing adventure. I'm sure that there's nothing relaxing here."

This is an odd one. There are pieces of a game here, but nobody bothered to build a game around them.

Dink receieved a letter from a woman asking for help and thought it would make for a "relaxing adventure," so he travels to the town of Woodshire. We know this because Dink tells the player directly just after arriving there. I'm not sure where this "Aeophia" comes from, since Woodshire is the only place name ever mentioned.

There's no win condition in "Aeophia." Whenever you want to leave, you can leave, resulting in the quote in the header and nothing else. There are a few little quests you can do, but they won't lead you to an ending or even change what Dink says when you decide to leave. I suppose the main quest is helping the woman who sent Dink the letter; it's the only one that involves any combat. It isn't very satisfying, though. A girl has been kidnapped. You can find her kidnapper, but she's already dead. You can't even bring her kidnapper to justice; the best you can do is escape. I'm not saying that the player character has to succeed in all their quests, but it would be nice if the failure at least contributed to some sort of plot. You achieve nothing, and nothing comes of it.


I like the look of this screen; it's impressive how the transition between the grass and darklands looks like a smooth diagonal line. Too bad all sides are invisible walls. You have to examine the torch to move on here.

Another little quest involves getting some money from a guy. The merchant was supposed to sell him two bottles of some special kind of booze, but he only has one of them. How, exactly, is this supposed to be Dink's problem? Hell, the guy may be a grouch, but he's in the right. At least there's some humor in the solution: you get him drunk, and a combination of double vision and drunken stupidity convinces him that you've brought both bottles. Dink gets a reward for this one, but it's just some gold, and you've got no place to spend it... not to mention that every time this DMOD was supposed to give me gold, I had my gold total go down for some reason.

The other thing you can do is run the town pub. This involves going around town to see what kind of beer everybody wants, serving that beer, and earning some gold for the day, but again, there's nothing to spend it on. It's totally pointless.

The map is also pretty bad. Hardness holes are everywhere. Absolutely no screenmatching has been done, so trees and fences disappear when you cross the screen barrier. "Invisible wall" screen edges abound. The title screen is the default "your title here" from Mike Snyder's DMOD skeleton. This isn't helping a DMOD that already suffers from a lack of a proper game structure.

There was some potential here. The quests would serve pretty well as part of a larger game with more things to do, and some of the dialogue is actually pretty good. Unfortunately, "Aeophia" just isn't much of a game. I'd advise staying away from this one.

--

Here is where I had something called GoldSeeker, because i was misled into believing it was a DMOD by the fact that it's in the DMOD section. It is not a DMOD. It's a game made in Java with some Dink Smallwood graphics. I ain't playing it. "All the DMODs" does not include things that are not DMODs. We're down to 17 DMODs in 2009.
December 19th 2014, 11:05 AM
custom_skull.gif
Skull
Peasant Male Finland bloop
"I'd like to be a tree..." 
I wonder if the font problem has something to do with FreeDink? It always worked for me in Chores. I also used a different font in HH2 and never had any problems with that, either.
December 19th 2014, 02:00 PM
custom_coco.gif
CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
It might, I dunno. I've had little luck with alternate fonts.
December 20th 2014, 05:44 AM
custom_coco.gif
CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
292: A Day in the Life of Dink Smallwood Author: Flood Release Date: July 13, 2009
"[yawns] O good another day of being me"

Y'know, it bugs me that while the article "The" is ignored when alphabetizing titles on the Dink Network, anything starting with the articles "A" and "An" are filed under A. I used to work at a library, so I can't ignore this kind of thing. It bugs me.

My take on these DMODs has a lot to do with what mood I'm in when I play them. This has probably caused me to be too harsh on some DMODs ("Okaly-D Dink," lots of problems but it probably didn't deserve quite the thrashing I gave it) and too nice to others ("As Good as Eternity," above average for its time, but I dunno how I didn't rip it for the lousy tiling). When I started playing "A Day in the Life of Dink Smallwood," I was in a nasty mood, and I really hated the thing. I was having such a bad time that I gave up and took the rest of the night off. When I played it again today, I was surprised to find myself having a good time. I know I've talked about mood before, but I still didn't see that coming.

You might not expect much of a plot from that title, and boy, would you be right not to. Dink mostly does chores for his girlfriend (starting with retrieving her stolen underwear, but going on to include things like gathering firewood), but the DMOD is less clear about this than "Chores" was. Then she tells him to go keep himself busy while she makes soup. This is somehow the point where you're supposed to go find some kind of warp, which leads you to a duck statue with a button on it. Nothing seems to happen when Dink presses the button, but somehow THIS is the event that finally makes the plot happen. All Hell breaks loose as a result of the button, but this ends up all being an illusion and a trap for somebody named Ganzith. Dink often talks to the player in this DMOD, calling you "Player," so I am going to talk back. Game, how do you expect me to care about this even if I wanted to? The first you ever hear of anybody named Ganzith is at the end. You're a hot mess, game.


I don't think he ever knew.

I didn't care for the DMOD's attempts at humor, either. They involved liberal use of the f-word and being dirty in ways I didn't find funny. Dink can invite somebody he calls "Auntie" up to bed with him... but it turns out he's actually having sex with a duck. I dunno, it doesn't tickle my funny bone. There are also a lot of depth dot errors in this DMOD.


Either this is a depth dot error, or Dink has replaced his backpack with a window.

There were some things I liked about "Day in the Life," however, and it ended up being enough for me to have some fun. There's a library with an admirable amount of text on the shelves, and mushrooms with a variety of different bonus effects are spread throughout the map. A couple of them even teleport you to an area where you can pick up a couple of powerups.


Already, Dink is having flashbacks to his "Chasin" experience.

The main thing I enjoyed was a new spell that allows Dink to shoot arrows out in multiple directions. It's a great spell that gains strength as your magic stat goes up, and the number of arrows increases from four to eight at 8 magic points. It's more than worth putting all of your points into magic for this. It even changes strategy. It's usually a pretty bad idea in Dink Smallwood to be surrounded by your enemies, but here it can be worth it to max out your damage.


Now that's bow lore, am I right?

There's a healing spell in this DMOD too, but it costs 300 gold. That might not sound like much, but it takes a lot of grinding to get that here. Enemies never drop hearts in this DMOD, so the spell is important. Most enemies drop just one or two gold, and even stronger ones will rarely give you as much as ten... that's if they drop gold at all. Dink says, "Great, 2 whole gold" when picking up two gold pieces, but 5 is enough to get him to exclaim, "Sweet!" I didn't mind the grinding so much because it gave me plenty of time to play with my new spell. I also ground up 150 gold to buy a sword, which came in handy against the boss. I tried not to get close to most of the other enemies because they had sky-high strength.


New text colors are quite popular lately.

When you defeat the boss, you can go back to town and see new dialogue from all of the characters acknowledging (if not congratulating) your heroic feat, but there's really no proper ending or credits, which would have been nice. Still, it seems fair to say that I beat this DMOD. It wasn't great, but a fun new spell and a chance to use it can go a long way if you're in the right mood.

293: Old Hero New Thief Author: Zeddexx Release Date: August 14, 2009
"now get in there and steal stuff!"

I don't even know where that title comes from. On the title screen and in the dmod.diz, it's just "Theif" [sic].

"Thief" has been built right on top of GOKUSSJ6's "Trapped." The maps and most of the scripts are just altered versions of the map and scripts from that DMOD. I think this practice is better avoided, as you can clearly tell that the maps are pretty much the same, but Zeddexx does at least give credit to Goku.

Dink is sick of being a hero and has decided to become a thief. Your objective is to rob a house and retrieve at least 4000 gold's worth of stuff. All you have to do is examine things and Dink takes them, adding their value to the gold counter. Like in "Trapped," there's a time limit, but even though this one's a bit harsher, it's not going to bother you. At least in "Trapped," the order in which you examined the objects was important and gave the mod a certain puzzle structure. Here, all you have to do is take everything. It's extremely quick and easy, and doesn't amount to much of a game.

The concept is a good one, at least. Imagine something like Paul Pliska's "Mayhem," but with thievery instead of murder and property destruction. That could be something special.

There's a secret room you can find by burning a tree that contains a bizarre display I do not understand. There's also a woman there who will give you "useless health and exp." The experience is indeed useless, but the health resets the timer, in case you were worried about that. You can get these things from her as many times as you want, but Dink's attempt to solicit sex will come up empty every time.


Can anybody tell me what is going on here? I haven't got a clue.

There's an encrypted ZIP file included with this one for some reason. It contains two WAV file sounds. An accompanying text file says that the password might be in the author's other DMOD "Legend of the Ancients," but then again, it might not. What a bizarre little thing to include in your DMOD.

I don't recommend playing this DMOD, but I do recommend making a more involved DMOD where Dink steals stuff. That sounds fun.

294: Legend of the Ancients: The Capture Author: Zeddexx Release Date: August 26, 2009
"i should do somthing spontanous!"

Quoth the description, "there are lots of bugs, but hey! its my first dmod!" Oh boy.

Actually, it's not as buggy as that disclaimer would lead you to believe. There are bugs, yes, but I never ran into any that required me to restart the program. That's more than I can say about many a DMOD that felt no need for such a warning.

"Legend of the Ancients" is the work of somebody who didn't quite understand how the whole DMOD thing works, but tried his best anyway. The result is at least more coherent than hance's work, and it does have a positive side in that Zeddexx doesn't see any reason not to use sprites in strange, unexpected ways, and the results are sometimes interesting. It made me smile as I remembered the really early days when nobody had figured it out, and DMODs in general were strange, shaggy things. We had to make up the conventions, the original game proving to be an incomplete template at best for all the things authors wanted to do. Even the early part of "Prophecy of the Ancients," by far the most polished early-period DMOD, has a distinct 'figuring-it-out' feel. I do not, I feel I should point out, mean to compare this DMOD in any way to "Prophecy of the Ancients." The titles are similar, but that's about it.


Pyramid as a tarpaulin? Why not?


Even some parts that are clearly bad are kind of interesting to somebody like me. This reminds me of my old stuff: not knowing how to set up a proper cutscene, Zeddexx constructs a tableau...


...with arrows to show you where to walk so you can see the result of the little story. Why did an army of Dinks fight an army of Jarvises? I don't know, but the result is pretty predictable.

The story is about "the ancients," who are all Dink Network members, being held captive by the apparently-evil ExDeathEvn. You're left to wander around cluelessly for a while before the DMOD bothers introducing this story, though. You're rarely given much of an idea what you should do next, but it's not hard to stumble upon the progression as you explore the odd, stringy map. The game is composed of a number of separate little snakelike areas.


Zeddexx didn't skimp on the sprites when decorating the screens. Some of it looks good and some of it looks like a mess, but the effort is certainly there.

The "ancients" you encounter include Zeddexx himself and his sisters, skull, pillbug, merder, quiztis, Christiaan, and midboss Godley. By defeating ExDeathEvn, you set them free, which is apparently a good thing. I guess that Seth fellow was just a bad apple.


I'd be lying if I said that Godley's portrayal was super flattering.


ExDeathEvn's review calls this "The Dmod where I had to kill myself."

When you beat ExDeath, Dink stands in front of the title screen and tells you you've won, but the DMOD doesn't end there. You can walk through a door and come to a large new town area. Most of the NPCs in this area just call Dink a hero or say that they're busy, and there isn't much to do but explore. Some screens feature Dan "Rain Man" Walma's original rain effect. Some buildings feature little museum exhibits about Dink's world. There is someone who will tell you about a farmer-looking guy who plans to bring back the Dead Dragon Carcass cult, and you can find him by burning some trees on a certain screen, but he doesn't actually do anything.


A statue honors the humble pillbug.

Although I found "Legend of the Ancients" to have a certain baffling charm, let's be clear: it isn't what you'd call well-made. Hardness errors are absolutely rampant. Many decorative sprites are not screenmatched, leading to a jarring effect when you switch screens. Many monsters are stuck inside their own map-placed hardness, and others are placed on the edges of the screen, unable to even enter the map. One section is full of slayers that lack a brain to attack or even pursue Dink, and you get no experience for killing them. There's quite a lot of gold to be found, but the only place you can ever spend any of it is on a cheap hotel room early on, and you can't even sleep in there. For no discernible reason, bombs are represented in your inventory by a graphic of a primitive spear that does not fit in the frame. The game is absurdly easy. Let me reiterate: it is so easy that the very idea that it is a game becomes absurd. The monsters and bosses present no threat to you. There's a "monument" early on that gives you ridiculous stat boosts, but I am confident that even without it, the battles would have been a joke. Just in case you are having any trouble, there are big hearts all over the place. The boss screen has five of them.


Oh, you're just... going to give me Ultimate Cheat-style stats? Okay then.

On the plus side, there is a new spell. It creates a wheel of fire that detonates into several explosions in a row. It's hardly necessary here - it can't even make the game easier, since that's impossible - but it'd make a nice secret bonus in a big DMOD.


The new fire spell.

You know, I just realized that I didn't find the .ZIP password Zeddexx said might be in this DMOD. I suspect that it isn't there, because I was pretty thorough.


I couldn't think of a place to use this screenshot in the writeup, but I think it is pretty funny by itself.

This DMOD certainly isn't worth playing as a game, but I enjoyed the strangeness and the obvious fun the author had with making it. If you have an interest in the sort of DMOD that can't see any good reason NOT to make a bowl into a teleporter, you might want to give this a look.

--

I just want to take a moment to remark on the continued influence of the 374 MIDI pack. As much as I talked about its ubiquity in the early days, I always thought it'd be long forgotten by this point. Yet it can't be a coincidence that the same MIDIs of songs like "Bad Moon Rising" and the theme from Cheers keep coming up. It's possible that authors lift them from other DMODs and never even knew about Perley's file, but the ultimate source is the same. Maybe you're rolling your eyes at me for bringing this up again, but it's really interesting to me how such a small thing can have such far-reaching effects in a community.

--

295: Dink and the Bonca Author: DinkKiller Release Date: September 5, 2009
"Welcome to Walmart. Get your s*** and get out."

"Dink and the Bonca" is pretty much the archetypal DMOD. If I wanted to demonstrate what DMODs are generally like with just one example, I'd pick this one. Give me a moment to look back over my list so that I'm not completely pulling this statement out of my ass... yeah, it's hard to come up with one that marks the midpoint better. That's actually pretty good for a first DMOD. An awful lot of authors have started out with a DMOD much worse than this one. It's much better than "Legend of the Ancients," but that one was more remarkable.

Some evil wizards want to kill Dink because... he's Dink? Actually, it seems they're working for somebody who presumably wants Dink dead for some specific reason, but we never find out what that reason is in this DMOD. It does set up a sequel that I've heard DinkKiller has been working on.


Oh, you guys!

And whom could a hero like Dink look to as an ally in such a troubled time? None other than Wizard Martridge, of course. Does he teach Dink the fireball spell? You bet your green tights he does. I think that Dink and Martridge get together to hang out on the weekends, and the first thing they do is always Marty teaching Dink the fireball spell, because they wouldn't even know where to start conversation without it. And then they get wasted and go play magical pranks on King Daniel. Damn, I want to play this DMOD now. Where was I?

The bosses are tougher versions of regular enemies. There's a big pillbug, a trio of boncas, a dragon and a wizard (his name is Syzygy, which I choose to pronounce "Sih-ziggy" - I wonder if he's related to Bill Scyzytko) who acts like a dragon. They are all really easy to beat. Only the dragon is really a monster; the others are evil wizards in disguise. Syzygy is the titular bonca who created the disturbance that causes the typical wimpo villagers to summon Dink, but he's back in wizard form when you fight him.


Dink doesn't catch on so fast.

The version I played (last updated less than half a year ago) was close to bug-free. I only ran into visual issues. Dink can clip behind most houses while standing in front of them, and some doors open to reveal another door behind them.

There are a couple of new (in the sense of not being in the original game) graphics, including a sword with a new attack animation, which is something you don't see too often. The sword is from the Elemental Swords pack by Bruce Harrison, whose four graphics packs have been used in many DMODs. It would have been nice if DinkKiller had given credit, but I guess it isn't required. It's a pretty neat sword, and I'm pretty certain this is the first DMOD to use it. The other "new" graphic (not sure if I've seen it before) is a dead wizard, which I enjoyed seeing.


Taste cold steel, enemies! ...Uh, it's supposed to be an ice sword, if you can't tell.


Even in death... so cute.

It took me 33 minutes to get through "Dink and the Bonca," but that includes about ten minutes of grinding that turned out to be superfluous.

I don't know what else to say. It was good enough to keep me reasonably entertained throughout, but rather generic as DMODs go. I mean, there's an icy area called "The Land of Ice and Snow." There was a sign saying so!

Let's play a game to pad this one out. I'll take two unrelated screenshots and pretend the text in them is somehow related.




What the...? Ewwww. Nasty. You nasty, screenshots. I don't want to know what was coming near fences and howling loudly as a result of the Tal porn. I don't want to play this game anymore.
December 20th 2014, 07:18 AM
custom_king.png
redink1
King Male United States xbox steam bloop
A mother ducking wizard 
Speaking of Tal porn, does everyone still know about talporn.com?
December 20th 2014, 07:40 AM
knights.gif
DinkKiller
Peasant Male United States xbox steam
The world could always use more heroes 
What the...? Ewwww. Nasty. You nasty, screenshots. I don't want to know what was coming near fences and howling loudly as a result of the Tal porn. I don't want to play this game anymore.

Hahaha Thank you Tim, this made my night. Out of context screenshots are amazing

Yeah, Dink and the Bonca was an idea I originally came up with in 2005, when I was 12 years old, when the good game making/good storytelling part of my brain hadn't developed yet. I didn't make the D-mod until four years later, but I copied the idea pretty much screen for screen from the original idea, and I didn't change or add very much on top of it. Even at 16, I knew that there wasn't going to be much special about the D-mod. Basically, it was an excuse to learn some scripting so that I could try to get better at it and eventually make something great. I also tried incredibly hard to make sure it didn't suck, that it wasn't a buggy, broken mess because I wanted to release something I was proud of, and that's what I released. And like a good developer, I patched it up a bit afterward to fix balance and whatnot, but based on your comments it sounds like I fired my nerf gun at the bosses a few too many times. If I update the game again, I need to un-nerf them a bit I guess.

It sounds like you didn't find the new side-quest I added last year which was a prototype for the questing system I'm working on for Shadows of Death. Or did you find it and choose to ignore it because it wasn't part of the original release or something? I mean, the quest sucks and isn't important in any way, but I was surprised you didn't mention it is all.

I never thought of including a small ReadMe file with the game giving thanks to whomever I stole scripts and/or graphics from, because it just never crossed my mind. Bruce Harrison, don't hate me! You'll get your due credit when I release my next D-mod, I promise!

Also Edit: When I made DatB, I didn't even try on naming things. The Land of Ice and Snow was a reference to a lyric in the Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin. Luke was named after, go figure, Luke Skywalker, because I'm so damn creative. I'm putting a hell of a lot more effort into Shadows of Death, having unique, original town names, though character names are less creative but still better than Luke.

Edit: Redink, of course I remember that! That specific line was in reference to that epic website.
December 20th 2014, 09:30 AM
pq_knight.gif
ExDeathEvn
Peasant Male New Zealand xbox steam
Don't look at me, I'm a ghost 
Ah, yes, the Dmod where I had to kill myself... I meant that in the literal sense of course when writing that review. If I remember correctly Zeddexx asked on the forums before including the Dinkers that he did. I think I specifically asked if I could be a villain too.
December 20th 2014, 02:38 PM
custom_coco.gif
CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
You did a good job making it not suck. When *I* was twelve years old, I released total crap without a care.

I guess I must not have found the quest you're talking about, because that doesn't sound familiar. I do check maps when I'm done to see if I missed any major secrets, and I seemed to have covered all of the map tiles.
December 20th 2014, 09:22 PM
knights.gif
DinkKiller
Peasant Male United States xbox steam
The world could always use more heroes 
It's a side quest involving the barmaid. You need to talk to the bookshelf upstairs then talk to her to start it, and the last part of it is near Randomness before you go back into the final dungeon. The quest is pretty random and irrelevant but it was my way of testing out my binary quest system.
December 21st 2014, 04:04 AM
peasantmb.gif
yeoldetoast
Peasant Australia steam
discord.gg/Ukugfbh 
I used to use Talporn.com as the url to access this site but it meant that immediately upon pressing "t" in the input field it would pop up with it. I don't want to have to explain that to someone at some point so I don't recommend anyone use it.
December 21st 2014, 06:22 AM
custom_coco.gif
CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
296: The Savebot Massacre Authors: Sparrowhawk, Pillbug Release Date: September 6, 2009
"No more will we flash and flash and flash for your amusement."

This DMOD is recommended in Dink Smallwood HD.

Apparently Pillbug had this idea in an IRC chat (#Dinksmallwood, perhaps) and Sparrowhawk found it so amusing that he decided to whip up a quick DMOD.


Poor, innocent Dink... he has no idea of the horror that's about to come to pass.

"The Savebot Massacre" is a very short movie in the style of a teaser trailer for a film, complete with the phrase, "coming this spring, to a cinema near you!" Dink happens upon a scene of destruction, and we learn that the savebots have risen up against humanity.


Who will save us now?

There's even a jump scare and a very loud dramatic "DUN DUN DUNNNN" music sting.


Ahhhhh!

This wasn't intended to be a trailer for an actual DMOD, just a quick joke. It's pretty well-executed. Dink will never look at those strange little machines in quite the same way again...

297: The Bomb Author: Iplaydink Release Date: September 30, 2009
"That, my friend is not fish but a fortune."

This is the first DMOD by Linus, aka Iplaydink. He has six to date, which is quite a few for somebody starting this late. Linus has made several nifty graphics packs, some of which I used in my DMOD "Malachi the Jerk."

In "The Bomb," Dink is on vacation in a place called "The End of the World," where you can stare off into an endless abyss. Dink is less than impressed by the sight.


No, that's a different DMOD. Fortunately for you, this one is much better.

In the towns near the End, fish are so rare that one fish is worth 1000 gold coins. There are traders where you can sell fish you find for that price.


Look, it even has a little dollar sign for an eye.

Under the town at the End of the World, there's a network of poorly-tiled caves. There, Dink discovers that the town is threatened by a mysterious, unknown rectangular object.


Yes, one of those.

It turns out the bomb was set by the "Order of Bombs," who demand a large amount of fish under threat of explosion. You have to go to the "Cathedral of Bombs" and defeat the Order. Man, these guys really like bombs. It's a silly, thin little story, but I enjoyed this DMOD anyway for its fun personality. This DMOD doesn't take itself too seriously. For example, when Dink finally learns how to disarm the bomb, it turns out that all you have to do is press a large button marked "OFF."

There are some problems with the map. As I mentioned, the caves are quite poorly-tiled. Most areas have sprites defining the edges rather than tiles, and as a result, there are quite a few hardness holes, especially once you get the fireball spell and can burn down those trees that ring the screens. It's possible to get into places you aren't supposed to go. There are also depth dot errors, mostly toward the beginning of the DMOD.


Either this is a depth dot error, or Dink has just had an extreme makeover.

You start with an item called the Quest Log, which you can use to have Dink recite everything that's happened so far and talk about his current situation. This isn't a dry summary - for example, one event is stated as "I found a cave and lied to some weirdo." There's also a healing spell that has a new little animation of a cross when you use it.


Get back, demons! Back!

Finding secrets is fun in this DMOD. Iplaydink seems to be fond of making little arrows on the map that point to them, although the arrows might not be immediately obvious. Some of them are even literal arrows, such as you would fire from a bow. Boy, it's been a while since I played a DMOD that had the bow, come to think of it. I'm pretty sure the last one was "Dink Goes Hunting" from 2006, and that had weird bows that you couldn't draw back. The last one with a proper bow might even have been in 2005. But I digress. I also liked the MIDI selection. The songs have a lot of energy and set an enthusiastic mood.

For a simple DMOD by a first-time author, I thought "The Bomb" was pretty fun, and it had enough unique ideas to seem fresh. You have to be willing to put up with slightly dodgy maps, though.

298: The Quest for Not Quite as Lame Author: Pillbug Release Date: October 5, 2009
"I'll show them what I can do...I'll make a new D-Mod! One that's not quite as lame..."

"The Quest for Not Quite as Lame" has the most meta DMOD concept yet. It's about Pillbug trying to make a DMOD that's less lame than "Happy Sunshine Land." Well, he succeeded. In addition to being a real DMOD with actual gameplay (already, we've passed the "not as lame as Happy Sunshine Land" test), "Not Quite as Lame" is the funniest DMOD I've played in a while. DMOD authors frequently try to be funny, and it's pretty common for them to get some chuckles or at least a smile out of me. Still, a lot of attempts at humor fall flat, overrelying on the same old fourth-wall jokes without giving them a new spin or worse, throwing out a bunch of swearing and sexual references in a non-clever way. "Not Quite as Lame" consistently throws out quips that have an intelligent humor behind them - not in the sense of "highbrow," but you do get the sense that somebody's brain was working when they wrote these lines. And then there are moments of lovely silliness, like the "rofl well."

The rofl well demands laughter. To appease it, you must collect laughter from inanimate objects: the rofl shroom, the rofl rock and the rofl bush. Fortunately, Dink need not be a comedian to extract these guffaws; no, laughter is these objects' very reason for being. All they need is an attentive audience, and they'll do what they were born to do.


They even "roll" by flipping through a set of similar frames.

This is another DMOD where Dink opposes the author, as in "Escape." This time, Dink has received a message from the Dink Network asking him to put a stop to Pillbug's creation of bad files. In what has been quite a trend recently, some Dinkers make appearances, including Metatarasal, Magicman, Tal and a cameo by DinkKiller.


Dink: So...what do you do?
Tal: Mostly sit around looking important. Got a problem with that?


Much of the quest deals with finding a way to fight the author. Dink gains an ability to gaze into an object's script by looking at it (this ends up being almost useless) and acquires a sword called "Scripted Steel" that can destroy objects with scripts attached to them that are "being used for evil." Yeah, some of these jokes will probably only be appreciated by DMOD authors. I got a kick out of them.


If I didn't know better, I'd say this was a reference to something.

I've noticed several trendy elements in DMODs lately. This is the third DMOD in 2009 to contain a library with books you can read including, in all three cases, a book with information about each of the monster types in Dink's world (this DMOD does have the largest of the libraries in terms of the amount of text you can read). It's also the fourth recent DMOD to contain a healing spell, this time represented by crossed Band-Aids.


Rofl rofl rofl!


This is my favorite headstone joke yet.

There's a Dink trivia game at a certain point in the DMOD. You get a reward based upon the number of questions you answer correctly. If you get them all right, you get a banana weapon.


I maintain that I answered this question correctly.


The banana weapon isn't very useful here, but hey, at least it finally made it into a DMOD!

There's a quick visit to Happy Sunshine Land at one point. Pillbug did the "have Dink mock your early, terrible DMOD" thing long before I did it with Dink Forever In "Malachi the Jerk."


Nice.

Pillbug is a pretty tough little bug in the final boss fight, which was a bit surprising since the game had been a cinch up to that point. Still, I was able to win on the first try with the help of the healing spell.

I've had nothing but praise for this DMOD so far, but I should talk about the map. It's bad. The first area is okay, but everything after that is a series of big, mostly empty boxes. A lot of screens have just one object dead in the center, adrift in an uncaring sea of background tiles. A handful of screens have nothing on them at all except some kind of boundary. I'm not super picky about maps, but it did detract from the experience.


Tip for DMOD authors: when writing a cutscene, think about what the player might possibly have done by that point. Just a nit pick, but you have to admit this looks silly.

After playing this one, I'm looking forward to "Happy Sunshine Land 2" if that ever happens. I hope it does.
December 21st 2014, 06:32 AM
custom_coco.gif
CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
My confidence in my writing is really eroding lately. Seems like I used to put in a better effort to treat each piece as a piece with some kind of point behind it. Lately, I procrastinate while trying to think of something, but end up just going back to the old standby of listing observations I made - really superficial observations, at that, like "there's a part where Dink does X" - in snippy paragraphs that may as well be bullet points for all the flow they have into one another. And lots of screenshots. Not that there's anything wrong with lots of screenshots, but lately it seems there isn't much text between them.

Sigh.
December 21st 2014, 09:40 AM
custom_skull.gif
Skull
Peasant Male Finland bloop
"I'd like to be a tree..." 
And lots of screenshots. Not that there's anything wrong with lots of screenshots, but lately it seems there isn't much text between them.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't notice this being the case, recently. Still enjoying reading these, though.

I think Pillbug might've been using DinkEdit when making "Lame". The map doesn't really look bad, it just screams DinkEdit with its one-sprite-per-screen method. I know this is how my D-Mods looked, before I learned to use WinDinkEdit. It's really tough to create maps with DinkEdit.
December 21st 2014, 10:51 AM
spike.gif
scratcher
Bard Male Finland bloop
cigarette bonca 
The map doesn't really look bad, it just screams DinkEdit with its one-sprite-per-screen method.

How do you figure? It's much faster to place sprites in Dinkedit, since the sprite properties don't reset every ducking time you stamp a sprite. I have to hand it to WDE+2 for adding toggles that make sprites hard or nohit by default, though - WDE+2 added some really great things that previously DINKEDIT MASTERS would only point fingers at and laugh derisively at WDE users for lacking. It's almost enough to make using WDE remotely... palatable.

December 21st 2014, 11:33 AM
custom_skull.gif
Skull
Peasant Male Finland bloop
"I'd like to be a tree..." 
Well, I certainly found that with DinkEdit it's much more time consuming to place sprites and tiles, often resulting in much less-decorated screens. The thing doesn't even have a screenmatch, and you have to write everything down instead of having user-friendly clicks. I probably wouldn't even know how to use the damn thing anymore. WDE+2 doesn't really add that much new to WinDinkEdit. Only the nohit toggle, and even that bugs out quite often. If it turns out the map of "Lame" was created with WinDinkEdit, I will be surprised at the lack of detail in the map, and how everything seems to be placed more in the middle of the screen rather than across screens.

I don't really care whichever editor anyone personally prefers, as long as the end result looks good, but gotta say that DinkEdit's single, biggest, INEXCUSABLE flaw is not being able to quit without saving. That's one of the dumbest things I've seen not only in Dink editors, but any program.
December 21st 2014, 11:42 AM
knights.gif
DinkKiller
Peasant Male United States xbox steam
The world could always use more heroes 
The Quest for Not Quite as Lame is actually one of my favorite D-mods that I've played. And it has nothing to do with the fact that I had a cameo. Pillbug and I were pretty good friends in 2009 and we motivated each other to work on our D-mods. But I remember genuinely enjoying his D-mod. I loved the humor of the whole thing, which really carried the D-mod's weight, regardless of its flaws. In my opinion, anyway.
December 21st 2014, 11:55 AM
pq_knight.gif
ExDeathEvn
Peasant Male New Zealand xbox steam
Don't look at me, I'm a ghost 
Heh, QFNQAL was a pretty fun Dmod, and the Ex-Chefevn spinoff books have become a bit of filler content in the projects I have on hand (there's even a copy, might not be the same one because I've written several little 'recipes', in Fate of Destiny).
I never actually got the banana weapon on my playthrough of it though.
December 21st 2014, 12:07 PM
custom_king.png
redink1
King Male United States xbox steam bloop
A mother ducking wizard 
As a reader, I haven't noticed the decline in quality or content that you described (not saying that it doesn't exist, but it wasn't noticeable). The only parts that felt a bit 'light' were the latter drought diaries.

It might be worth taking a break for a week or so.
December 21st 2014, 03:21 PM
dinkdead.gif
When I made Bug Mania I didn't have a mouse and was just using my laptop's touchpad. I tried to balance that first level to be a bit of a challenge but not enough to be annoying, so I made it a bit on the hard side for me, thinking that mouse users would have a much easier time.
Apparently not
My tactic once it speeds up is to hang near one side of the screen and hit those within easy reach - you're screwed if they all decide to spawn over the other side though...

I tried to give the game as much replay value as possible which is why most levels have multiple endings.
December 21st 2014, 04:58 PM
spike.gif
scratcher
Bard Male Finland bloop
cigarette bonca 
I, on the other hand, find Dinkedit faster for almost everything. It's mostly thanks to being able to use the keyboard to paint tiles, and select sprites and sprite properties. Using the mouse is like having to thread a needle every time you want to sew. Even worse when you're drunk. WDE's good points are the multiple screen view, and generally being less claustrophobic (you can view several tilescreens and all the sprites at once). And, of course, being clicky-clicky user-friendly, because most people can't HANDLE the Dinkedit! Faster, though? Pshaw!

PS. I had a quote-by-quote rebuttal here to everything Skull said, but I felt kind of bad about trying to turn Tim's thread into a Dinkedit VS Windinkedit debate/debacle. =) Carry on...
December 24th 2014, 03:46 AM
custom_coco.gif
CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
299: Dink's Nightmare Author: TGA Release Date: November 26, 2009

This was briefly known as "Super Dink" upon its original release. It's a good thing the original news post's link was updated, or I'm not sure if I would've been able to figure this out. What's worse is that since I made my list by going through both the news archives and the Files section, I had a separate entry on 12/3 for "Dink's Nightmare" (the date of its last update). I had no way of knowing at the time that they were the same DMOD. Trying to piece together the release history of DMODs is surprisingly tricky - again, I lament the fact that the files section lacks an "original release date" field. That brings us down to 16 DMODs for 2009.

When people use the word 'nightmare,' they usually mean to evoke extreme, often otherworldly terrors. Sometimes, actual nightmares are like that. Sometimes you dream of a huge spider chasing you through a swamp, making a noise so loud as it does that it blocks out sound entirely and the world goes mute. But in my experience, the stuff of nightmares is usually more mundane. I'm at school again - oh, that's right, I forgot that I had to go back and finish my diploma or something. Oh no, I've forgotten to go to all but two of my classes this semester? How could I be so stupid? They're really going to let me have it when I go in there. Let me tell you, the dread this scenario fills me with is very real, and can easily compete with the spider.

If the contents of this DMOD are Dink's nightmare, it's the second type of nightmare. Dink is just doing the same kind of thing he always does, fighting monsters... but there's no point to it, and it goes on forever. "Oh," thinks Dink glumly, "That's right. I forgot I was stuck here forever doing this. I was just imagining all that exciting stuff I thought was happening." And he settles into a powerful despair.

"Dink's Nightmare" is an endless combat-based DMOD like "Infinidink," but it lacks the scoring system and presentation of Wesley's project. Instead, it's more of a regular DMOD without any kind of story. Even "Infinidink" had a little intro area with some dialogue; the only dialogue in "Nightmare" is very dry and spoken by shopkeepers. A couple of the shopkeepers seem to have more interesting things to say... until you realize that their scripts have been taken directly from the original game. The things the lady from the Edge of the World shop says don't make any sense in this context. Ugh.

I suppose you could call the map a plus. I mean, it's big.


No really! It's huge!

The screens are quite plain, only containing borders, the monsters and an occasional bit of decoration - rarely more than one per screen, and many screens have none. There's no ending to the game, but there is a path that will take you from Pendo Island where you start through all the other areas, which are connected by caves. I think the path ends in the beach area, although I never made it there.

Since fighting is the only thing you do here, it's important that the combat be well-balanced. Unfortunately, it isn't. Most of the enemies walk very slowly and almost never attack you. Many of the enemies that do attack you have their attack wait set to 0, so they just get stuck in an attacking loop when they're close enough to you. That's easy to exploit, especially in the purple boncas, which can't hit you. As you go on, the enemies (there are no bosses) start having thousands of hit points each and take a very long time to kill. Worst of all, you'll eventually find your progress halted by the spikeys. They're set to increase their speed every time you hit them. Soon, it becomes impossible to evade their attacks even with the herb boots. It's a completely broken enemy.


Trust me, you won't get any farther than this.

As you might infer, I found "Dink's Nightmare" to be a total waste of time. Why, then, did I spend an hour and sixteen minutes playing it?

Well, there is one thing it offers - an unequaled chance to ramp Dink (the character and the game) up exponentially. There are many enemy types in this DMOD. You encounter them in sequence - small pillbugs, big pillbugs, small brown slimes, big brown slimes, small blue slimes, big blue slimes, and so on. The first enemies give 10 experience, but it increases by 10 each time until 100, when it starts incrementing by 100. Then 200, then 500, then 1000. Combine this with the fact that you can increase a stat by two points at level up instead of the usual one and with the megapotions that you find all over the place, and you can make Dink into quite a powerhouse. The weapons in the shop are denied to you until you reach certain level thresholds. This is partially undermined by the fact that the Edge of the World lady is included and will sell you a light sword whenever you please. Judging from a screenshot posted to the files page, the usual level cap of 32 seems to have been removed in this DMOD, allowing you to go as high as you please.


Here, for reference, is that screenshot (which I didn't take). It seems Hellfire's damage scales with your magic stat, which means it is possible - though totally unreasonable - to get past those spikies eventually.

I found myself numbly sucked into the process of making numbers go up. I have a history with this. Maybe you've encountered a concept known as the "idle game" - a game where you make progress even when you do nothing. Back in 2002, a game called Progress Quest satirized MMORPGs by requiring no input from the player at all - little did the author know they'd invented a genre of actual games. I've gone through periods of being hooked on games like Anti-Idle, Cookie Clicker, and a more recent game whose name I don't even want to mention because it's so addictive. Hell, it was an article begging the reader NOT to play it that got me hooked on this game I won't mention.

Progress Quest was harmless because it really did require nothing out of you. These games have just enough interaction to keep you hooked on the little bursts of endorphins you'll get from their constant cycle of reward response. I only play these kinds of games when I'm really depressed; sadly, that's most of the time. They're such an easy way to turn your brain off, and you never want to "give up" on the time you've already put into them. These are the only sorts of games I've ever continued to play despite my open acknowledgement that I'm not really enjoying them. The only way I got out of each game was by deleting my save data, at which point the pointlessness of the whole exercise dawned upon me instantly - if it weren't possible to do that, I think I would have been trapped for good. Anyway, a similar impulse kept me playing "Dink's Nightmare" far longer than I should have, although a lack of consistent rewards and its ultimate brokenness kept me from really getting hooked.

It's fun to watch numbers go up, but when it's not directed toward any purpose, grinding in a video game can turn into a kind of numb, waking nightmare. After all, one of the themes I've noticed in my bad dreams is that of being required to repeat things, and unable to escape.

300: EvilDink Author: DinkDoodler Release Date: November 29, 2009
"Nice killing. I think I'll go into the backyard."

Well, would you look at that - 300 DMOD writeups! I think I'll celebrate by saying "D-Mod" from now on. More on this exciting base-10 milestone after I talk about this D-Mod.

"EvilDink" is the first of three miserably-rated D-Mods (had to catch myself there) in a row by DinkDoodler. It's not very good. DFMAOB, if you please.

**************This D-Mod, "EvilDink,"**************
 ********Has been awarded the prestigious*********
  ****DINK FOREVER MEMORIAL AWARD OF BADNESS*****
   ********On this day December 23, 2014********


The concept of "EvilDink" isn't bad. Dink, annoyed by everyone's constant requests and lack of respect for him as a hero, decides to kill everybody. That could be funny. Unfortunately, this D-Mod is another low-effort, one-minute affair. It actually received a patch in 2011 ("Version The Less-Suckier Version"), so it must have been even worse upon release.


What the... did you just lift a line from "Bill & Kill?" Wow! It doesn't even rhyme anymore!

There are eight screens in "EvilDink," and only two of them are intentionally connected to one another. Each screen is bordered poorly with fences or trees that are full of gaps. The idea is to kill anybody (nobody puts up significant resistance, and most die in one hit), but you're never required to do so. All you ever have to do is walk to the next warp. You don't miss any dialogue by not killing anybody. Even in this pacifist route, Dink still kills a room full of people in a cutscene - or so we're told. Actually, you can see the corpses before the screen fades down and the cutscene starts. I can't help but conclude that the voices we "hear" of people insulting Dink ("Oh, it's the pig farmer"), screaming, and then dying are just Dink putting on a little show for himself. It's sad, really.

Dink's turn to evil has coincided with him turning the color of soot for some reason. Maybe the errand that pushed him over the edge involved cleaning a chimney. This transformation occurs courtesy of Rabidwolf9's Dark Dink graphics pack, which is used without credit.

Dink's bloody rampage inexplicably ends with him surrounded by bombs. They don't explode or anything - I guess the moment that we see is frozen in time, despite Dink's idle animation continuing as usual. Nonetheless, this is apparently the "end of Dink Smallwood." Serves him right, I suppose. I never liked that dumb pig farmer anyway. And that's enough talking about that D-Mod.


For some reason I imagine the narrator of this D-Mod being Ben Stein. "So many bombs. And some of them could really use Clear Eyes. Wow. Also, evolution isn't real."

So yeah, 300 D-Mods. I got through that last hundred pretty quickly (3 months). I've only got 49 left on my list right now, although I'm certain there will be at least a couple more in two weeks. This is really what I've been doing with myself lately - get up in the afternoon, play D-Mods, stay up all night writing about D-Mods, repeat. I don't have any plans for other projects when I get done. Actually, I've been motivated to try and push through this for the past few months by the fact that I'm going to start looking for a job soon, and if I get one I obviously won't be able to do this sort of thing as much. Anyway, thanks again for reading. I'll be able to chat more in this manner when I get to the end.

301: The Defeat of the Terrorists Author: DinkDoodler Release Date: November 30, 2009
"I have had enough of those terrorists!"

REPUTATION NOTE: This D-Mod is part of the incredibly select group to have a rating of less than 1.0 (0.4) on The Dink Network.

This is currently the last D-Mod with a rating below 1.0. Does this mean I can retire the DFMAOB? No, it does not. Hey, speaking of which:

****This D-Mod, "The Defeat of the Terrorists,"****
 ********Has been awarded the prestigious*********
  ****DINK FOREVER MEMORIAL AWARD OF BADNESS*****
   ********On this day December 24, 2014********


"The Defeat of the Terrorists" is even worse than "EvilDink," which at least had an okay concept and a poor attempt at screen borders. This time, there's nothing to even suggest a screen border, so you're left to guess which way you can go, and the concept is "Dink kills some terrorists."

Yes, Dink sure does hate him some terrorists, so it's off to the brilliant green fields of Pakistan (it really does have some nice-looking valleys, if Google Image Search isn't lying to me) to kill them all. You know, that is a really great idea, Dink. You've got to wonder why nobody has thought of just killing all the terrorists before. I mean, it should be easy to do since terrorists are well-known for gathering in clearly-labeled terrorist headquarters...


...Like this one...

...and even if they didn't, you could probably just kill a bunch of people in the hopes that you get the terrorists in there somewhere. Everybody knows there are absolutely no ramifications whatever to killing people in foreign countries. I mean, it's not like your violence could inspire hatred in others, potentially driving them to terrorism as well. No, the terrorists emerged whole from the mouth of Hell, and once you send them all back there, the problem is solved. Great job, Dink!

Mr. Doodler's D-Mods are all sorts of broken. The intro plays again every time you enter the first screen, filling your inventory up with claw swords. It also sets your strength to 15, so it'll dull your claw sword if you've already got one equipped. You can see anything again by returning to a screen. DinkDoodler (wait, is he implying that he... doodles Dink? Gross) also has an annoying habit of making signs tell you what they say when you enter the screen, but do nothing when you examine them.

The terrorists' massive underground lair consists of eight screens laid out from left to right. It contains rooms full of armor-clad terrorists whom you don't have to fight. You can also enjoy a lovely tour of their facilities, including:

*The famous Dead Body Room (souvenir "I survived the Dead Body Room" T-Shirts available in the lobby)
*Dining hall - with dead bodies on tables, because terrorists, like their cousin the chupacabra, feed on their victims
*The Bomb Room - Oh, THIS is where the bombs in "EvilDink" came from
*A room warning visitors about giant pillbugs in the next room - gee, that was thoughtful of them

The actual giant pillbug room features two giant pillbugs, which are incapable of movement. Even if, like me, you feel sorry for them and walk right into them out of pity, they don't do enough touch damage to worry about. You can easily slay them for an unbelievable bounty of 3000 experience points each. Given that they come back to life when you return to the screen, this is the easiest way to level up ever, no matter what I've said before. I got to level 11 in two bored minutes.


God, they're just big wet sacks of experience. They pop like water balloons!

The only enemy you "have" to beat is the boss. He's easy because, like the other terrorists, he never attempts to hit you, although he does take a bit of time to bring down. Winning produces the message, "Finally, the terrorists were conquered." There's supposed to be another line about quitting using the Alt+Q keyboard shortcut, but that pesky old die procedure problem prevents it from displaying. Anyway, if you liked fighting the boss, you can do it again and again by leaving the screen and returning.

Don't miss the author's review of his own D-Mod; it is a corker. You can go behind the scenes and learn of his passion for killing Pakistani terrorists with a sword, as well as hearing about how "The Defeat of the Terrorists" can bring people together by having something to hate for everyone.

302: The Bonca Hunt Author: DinkDoodler Release Date: December 5, 2009
"CRASH BOOM AGH!"

In the proud tradition of authors like ThinkDink, Skull and me, DD understood the importance of releasing several lousy D-Mods in a short period of time. You have to establish a reputation, after all.

***********This D-Mod, "The Bonca Hunt,"***********
 ********Has been awarded the prestigious*********
  ****DINK FOREVER MEMORIAL AWARD OF BADNESS*****
   ********On this day December 24, 2014********


You know, despite that Award of Badness, I do recommend downloading this D-Mod, because it is funny as Hell. I considered not giving it the Award for that reason, but it's such a masterwork of badness that I feel I'd be doing it a disservice by holding back.

All the elements of terribleness are here, including what have become DinkDoodler's signature flaws. Signs do nothing after you enter a screen. There are no screen borders, not even on indoor screens. Events are repeated if you go back. Hardness on the only house in the D-Mod is a mess. Enemies don't have to be fought and are ludicrously easy if you do. What's supposed to be a house interior is actually a huge expanse of tile with doors floating in empty space.


Yes, we are definitely in a house. Also, if the top of the screen is north, the door we want is actually to the east.

Dink keeps coming across people killed by boncas. Every time, he has a really over the top reaction, and a dying person gives him powerups. This happens over and over until it is very funny indeed. You end up with absurd stats, yet Dink keeps insisting he needs to get stronger in order to handle the totally ordinary boncas. It has a lot to do with the fact that it's after 3 AM and I was in a silly mood already, but I laughed myself silly. I just... look at these screenshots.


Well, if you insist.


HAHAHAHAHA. WHAT. WHAT. I mean, not Dink's cousin Larry! He was my favorite of Dink's cousins! I even liked him better than Dink's hot cousin Charlene! You'll pay, you bonca dinks!


That's what SHE said! She was a succubus, you see.

Wow. Thank you, DinkDoodler. We all appreciate your contribution.
December 25th 2014, 01:24 AM
custom_coco.gif
CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
303: The Lost Shoes Author: VB Release Date: December 28, 2009
"Have you stolen any shoes latly"

Dink Smallwood is both a game and a game platform. In the game, Dink Smallwood is a character, but in the platform, he's little more than a graphical avatar. A lot of D-Mods use a characterization for Dink that is at least derived from the original, but not nearly all of them. Certainly, Dink doesn't have a consistent history - early on, there was an effort to construct a timeline and treat all the D-Mods as events in a single life's story, but this was obviously impractical and doomed to failure. You can't even count on a D-Mod taking the original game as canon; events from it are ignored surprisingly often.

Dink can be any sort of person, depending on what D-Mod you're playing. Sometimes he's aggressive and cruel; other times, he's polite and compliant. He can be intelligent, slow-witted or a mixture of the two. His attitude toward adventuring has variously been enthusiastic, apathetic and reluctant. Some D-Mods go ahead and tell us that the Dink-resmembling individual we control isn't Dink (example: "The Lumbergh Legacy") or at least, not the Dink from the original game ("Friends Beyond 3"). Still, we can't really ignore the familiarity. The "alternate hero" concept seems to refer to only to D-Mods that use alternate graphics for the hero, after all.

"The Lost Shoes" (I knew that header was up there for a reason) got me thinking about this because Dink is a total non-entity in it. The only way I even know for sure that he's supposed to be Dink is that the D-Mod skeleton "Dink Smallwood in" logo is used on the title screen. Dink acts like a robot programmed with the single task of retrieving some dude's stolen shoes. People tell him to do things, and he says, "ok." He's merely a vector for the quest. To be honest, I guess he usually is anyway. This Dink has just decided to cut out the bulls***.


Does Dink care about a pile of freshly-murdered corpses? No. There are lost shoes to find.

This is another sloppy first effort with little to do, laughable hardness, bad spelling and no punctuation, but it's better than the last few D-Mods I played. At least the screens have reasonable borders that look fine. At least things actually work and the scripts check variables. At least there's something to do other than walk across some screens.

Dink's quest for shoes takes him to "bonca-land," where he must help a bonca called "the cute bonca" by killing the pillbugs in the area, including a tougher pillbug that I guess you could call a boss if you really want to stretch the definition of the term. Once he does this, the bonca returns the shoes, but the guy who sent Dink on the quest doesn't want them anymore - he bought a new pair while Dink was gone. Somehow - and characters in D-Mods have done many things with totally inscrutable motivations, but get a load of this one - his response to ending up with an extra pair of shoes is to fight Dink to the death. He doesn't even say anything threatening, he just charges. I'll admit that this put me on my back feet for a second, but this weirdo is no match for Mr. Smallwood.


A happy ending.

That's it for now. Merry Christmas, everybody.
December 25th 2014, 07:46 AM
custom_skull.gif
Skull
Peasant Male Finland bloop
"I'd like to be a tree..." 
Merry Christmas, Tim! And congrats on reaching over 300 D-Mods!

For some reason I imagine the narrator of this D-Mod being Ben Stein.

Haha! For some reason, when I saw that screenshot, I imagined it in William Dozier's voice.
December 26th 2014, 03:24 AM
custom_coco.gif
CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
304: Day of the Carcass (Demo) Author: Erwin Bosch Release Date: December 30, 2009
"Hugs can be pretty terrifying you know."

Way back on September 30th, 2008, Joshriot announced a "DDC D-Mod Contest," inviting submissions of D-Mods that involved the Dead Dragon Carcass cult in some way. No entries were submitted, but Erwin kept working on his entry and released this demo over a year later. It's a huge file for a D-Mod due to a large amount of included graphics and two songs in .WAV format. The new graphics come from a variety of sources, which are all credited in an attached text file.


Look, the maiden sprite with a bow *actually* equipped! How cool would that be?

"Day of the Carcass" is seriously impressive as a demonstration of a new style of gameplay. As a game, though, it's awfully frustrating. I wasn't able to finish it, and not for lack of trying.

You play as a team of Dink Smallwood's teenage son and daughter. You directly control his daughter Nadine (maybe Dink admired that poor woman from the original game more than I thought, or maybe this is a coincidence), and his son David is an AI companion whose actions you can influence by pressing a variety of keys. Incidentally, this D-Mod is easily the best portrayal I've seen of Dink as a father. He comes across as a caring dad without losing his trademark rascally spirit. It's fun how the whole family are badass adventurers. Remember, the family that slays together stays together.


Coolest. Dad. Ever.

AI companions that attack enemies have appeared in several D-Mods, but David takes the concept to new heights. Rather than just rushing to enemies and attacking, he exhibits the sort of attack-and-retreat strategy used by a typical Dink player. He'll also try to dodge enemy projectiles. I'm really impressed by how well he functions independently, although he will occasionally get hung up on things, and it would be nice if he retreated and said something when he gets near death - as it is, you have to watch his health bar like a hawk. The player has a lot of options for directing David. By pressing certain keys (you have to read the readme to learn what they are - putting them in the game somewhere would have been helpful), you can have him switch to following Nadine, swap between sword and herb boots, change which enemy he's targeting, or use one of his several special attacks. All of these controls definitely take some getting used to, but the D-Mod provides a large, easy area at the start where you can learn the ropes at your leisure.


The arrow indicates which enemy David is targeting.

It's also possible to directly control David's movement with certain keys. Pressing a "direction key" causes him to walk in that direction until directed otherwise, which works a little better than the attempt at second-player movement in "Magical Mayhem." "Day of the Carcass" comes very close to being the first bona-fide co-op D-Mod, but there's no button to make David attack. Still, playing around with the direct control made me dizzy with the possibility. Think how awesome it could be, you guys! Two-player Dink! Hell, why not refit the original game? Oh man. I'm hyperventilating here.

Nadine attacks using the "Lyna's Story" style bow. Like David, she has a few special attacks. Both characters require mana to use their specials. David's specials include an attack that absorbs health from enemies and a move that causes him to become immaterial until you press the button again, in case keeping track of both characters is becoming too much to handle in a battle. Nadine has fire and ice arrows and a triple shot. Both characters have a powerful "Ultimate" attack that drains all of their mana. Nadine's specials are powerful, but they use a lot of mana. The mana regenerates very slowly, and there's no way at all to speed it up. Unfortunately, her regular bow shots are seriously underpowered compared to David's fast attacks. Nadine has regular bow lore, a piercing shot and a combination of both effects that trigger at random, but when you don't luck into these effects, her shot does very little to the enemies. In the hectic battles you get into in this D-Mod, you just don't have time to pull the bow back all the way. I mostly ended up relying on David, except when I could use one of Nadine's specials. He can mop up a whole screen of weaker enemies before his sister can fire two shots. When you get to the stronger enemies, this gets to be a problem.


Nadine's ice arrows can also be used to freeze certain bodies of water and reach new areas.

I had a lot of fun playing around in the first segment, just experimenting with all the new gameplay features. As soon as you finish your first task, however, you're plunged into a long and difficult section that makes all the flaws of the new system impossible to ignore. This section has you fighting nasty little spiders that are strong, tough, and leave little webs all over the place that you can get stuck in. Here, you learn very quickly that both David and Nadine are as fragile as twigs, and if either of them dies, your game is over. I died with a frequency that I doubt has been equaled by any other D-Mod except that time I decided to play "Bill & Kill" without cheating. The spiders can kill you in practically no time at all. What's worse, Nadine takes damage from David's attacks, which is apparently not what the author intended. It takes great focus and a quick trigger on using healing potions (for both characters - you can give them to David by pressing the "C" button) to avoid death. At least you can buy the potions any time you're not fighting by calling the potion-seller with the press of yet another key - another handy feature. Still, sometimes it seemed so hopeless that I resorted to making David immaterial and just waiting around to use Nadine's specials to finish off the spiders. I really wish the mana recharged faster.


Stupid brother-killing spiders!

Still, after an alarming number of deaths, I managed to get the hang of fighting the spiders. What did me in was the boss, a fearsome dragon. The dragon only takes significant damage from the siblings' ultimate attacks, which take a ridiculous amount of time to recharge. Meanwhile, he summons smaller fire dragons. If you leave the fire dragons alive for very long (a lot less time than it takes an ultimate move to recharge), the dragons call a curtain of flame down upon the world that is virtually guaranteed to end you. I managed to survive it once, but I sure wouldn't count on doing it reliably. Instead, you're supposed to put out the fire dragons with the ice arrows and kill them before this can happen. The problem is that the bow attacks are so weak that even when I focused on this, I could almost never achieve it. As if this weren't bad enough, the main dragon also uses a spell that just sets Nadine on fire. In order to avoid taking several health bars' worth of damage from this, you have to use a spell called ice shield (assuming you got it - I did, but it's missable, and you can't backtrack), thereby consuming even more mana. You're using all this mana when you need a full mana bar to damage the boss! It's completely crazy. I never got within a country mile of beating this thing.


I just noticed that the dragon has a mana bar. He never seemed short on mana when I fought him.

So that was a bummer, but the author mentioned many planned improvements that might have made this one of the best D-Mods ever if it had been finished. I have to praise more than just the ambitious gameplay system. The scripting and writing are also impressive. The cutscenes are well-staged and feature multiple characters moving and acting at once - a challenge in DinkC. There's even an interactive scene where Dink rummages around a basement, moving around and commenting on various things as Dink would do, as you (as Nadine) can look around the same basement yourself. The dialogue all feels natural, and some of it is very funny. I liked the potion-seller, who is terrified of hugs. Dink feels in character, and his family members have fun little personalities. I enjoyed the dynamic between the siblings, who loyally support each other but bicker as siblings do. Both of them have that same sort of strangeness to them that makes Dink so much fun. Further points for the fact that, at long last, "Day of the Carcass" is the first D-Mod to use dnotalk.c to introduce a new set of "talking to nothing" messages. I'm glad that Nadine doesn't just copy the same old things her dear daddy always says when he's talking to nobody, as he frequently does. Oh, that Daddy. Always having just a little too much to drink.


That's our Dink! That's his wife, by the way. She's a hero too.

This stuff makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. I would love to play a big long D-Mod about the adventures of the Smallwood family. They remind me of The Incredibles, but with more sex jokes.

Everybody should play this one, if only to see how far it manages to expand the controls of Dink Smallwood. Unfortunately, it's several adjustments away from being as fun as it has the potential to be, and it is just a relatively short demo.

--

That's it for 2009, folks! See you soon for 2010, which has a pretty good chunk of the remaining D-Mods.
December 26th 2014, 07:08 AM
dragon.gif
Quiztis
Peasant Male Sweden steam bloop
Life? What's that? Can I download it?! 
Woah, well done, Coco. Maybe it's time to cram out one last update to GoD before you play it!

EDIT: Look at that, I uploaded another update.
December 26th 2014, 01:56 PM
pq_knight.gif
ExDeathEvn
Peasant Male New Zealand xbox steam
Don't look at me, I'm a ghost 
Great work! Just 4 more years left on the timetable until next week
Looking forward to your opinion on some of the more recent high-quality additions and your thoughts on them (GoD included)
December 27th 2014, 05:45 AM
dragon.gif
Quiztis
Peasant Male Sweden steam bloop
Life? What's that? Can I download it?! 
Thanks ExDeath, I can't wait until Coco plays it! I hope that the staff approves my pending update until then though.
December 28th 2014, 12:43 AM
spike.gif
scratcher
Bard Male Finland bloop
cigarette bonca 
Version 1.3337
Released: December 26th, 2014
Release Notes: - Fixed some things.

Version 1.337
Released: May 25th, 2014
Release Notes: - Fixed a major thing
- Fixed some minor things
- Added cool midi

Version 1.61
Released: August 19th, 2013
Release Notes: - Crushed a bug.


Hmm, something about this versioning seems slightly... odd.
December 28th 2014, 04:51 AM
dragon.gif
Quiztis
Peasant Male Sweden steam bloop
Life? What's that? Can I download it?! 
lol I messed up the version numbers ages ago so I made the best of it. If any mod feel like doing some cleanup work and insert proper version numbers, that would be great. The 1.3337 version needs to be the final one because it's included in the readme and walkthrough.
January 5th 2015, 12:41 PM
pillbug.gif
pillbug
Peasant Male United States xbox steam
Love! True love! 
The Quest for Not Quite as Lame is actually one of my favorite D-mods that I've played. And it has nothing to do with the fact that I had a cameo. Pillbug and I were pretty good friends in 2009 and we motivated each other to work on our D-mods. But I remember genuinely enjoying his D-mod. I loved the humor of the whole thing, which really carried the D-mod's weight, regardless of its flaws. In my opinion, anyway.

I remember those days! I don't know if either of our D-Mods would have been released if we hadn't pushed each other to keep going.

And to clear things up, I did not use DinkEdit, I was just really awful at making maps back then. I like to think I've improved and I definitely could have spent more time on the detail in QFNQAL. I suppose I was more worried about adding fun little things to do instead of making it pretty, which is something I've put way more effort into for HSL2. I do appreciate the review/playthrough though! I haven't noticed any decline in your quality of writing and I still love to read through all these. Also, screenshots are good. I like screenshots because they jog my memory about whatever the article is referring to (not just in my D-Mod, in everyone's).