The Dink Network

Crazy Old Tim Plays All the D-Mods of 2010

December 27th 2014, 04:14 AM
custom_coco.gif
CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
--Crazy Old Tim Plays All the D-Mods--

Directory
1998 | HTML version
1999 | HTML version
2000 | HTML version
2001 | Article version
2002 | Article version
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008-2009
2011-2015

The improbable resurgence of D-Mod development continued into 2010. My list has twenty D-Mods for 2010, although my record of sticking to these kinds of numbers has been terrible lately. If it does hold up, 2010 is not just the last year to see the release of at least twenty D-Mods, it's also the last year to see the release of at least ten. It is therefore the last year that's getting its own topic.

"Historical Hero" came out in 2010, bringing the community its first "epic" in several years. The Non-Combat D-Mod contest took place this year, receiving six entries and marking the start of a three-year run of successful contests.

305: Platform Dink (Development) Author: Iplaydink Release Date: January 12, 2010
"Welcome to dink platform. press B to jump"

I must admit that this project's definition of "All the D-Mods" is debatable. For the most part, I've excluded "Development D-Mods," which exist to demonstrate graphics and/or scripting techniques. There are a lot of these. I remember the first one I ever saw. Back in 1999, I downloaded Dan "Two Sheds" Walma's "Weather Demonstration D-Mod." I "played" it late at night, and something seemed kind of magical to me at the time about the atmosphere established by the effects, as simple as they were. As you can tell, I do find these files interesting - they just don't fit with this project, which concerns D-Mods that provide a game to play or, on occasion, a movie to watch.

If I wanted to be consistent (and you'd think that I would), I would just exclude all of these files from COTPATD. However, there's a few of them that just interest me too much not to take a quick look at them. "Platform Dink" shows how you can make a typical sidescrolling platform game (like Mario) in the Dink engine, in what seems to me like the most radical departure yet from the way the game normally handles movement.


This is the first time I have ever thought Dink could be described as cute.

It works, which I find quite impressive considering the limitations of the engine, but it's pretty rough. Dink can walk, he can jump, and he can land on platforms. He can even ride on a moving platform. This is achieved using a "gravity" script that constantly moves Dink downward and scripts for the platforms that keep him on top of them. It's a rough ride and a bit sluggish, although I have (sadly) played platformers with worse controls. I did have trouble clearing the only enemy, and if Dink says anything, the text moves madly up and down due to the constant opposition of the gravity and platform scripts, making it hard to read.

A worse problem is that vertical movement is not disabled. Gravity and the platforms prevent Dink from simply walking up or down, but you can mess with jump height and falling speed by pressing up and down. Jumping from a platform moving upward also gives Dink a lot of extra momentum (this may be intentional?). Unfortunately, I can't think of an easy way around this, but fixing this issue would be a priority for anyone hoping to make a real game in this style.

You could say there's a little bit of a game here. You have to jump from platform to platform to make it to the end, spikes and an enemy will damage you, and there are even a few "checkpoints" where your game is automatically saved. There are only five screens, however, and the ending is just a sign telling you the test is over. Still, that's more of a game than most Development D-Mods. Hell, it's more of a game than a few regular D-Mods I could name.


Dink's silent "Ahhhh" when he falls to his death makes me chortle.

"Platform Dink" demonstrates that a platformer is possible in the Dink engine, but it would take more work to make much of a game out of it, if that's even possible at all. Still, you should look at this just to see it in action. I'm always interested in these kinds of projects that make the Dink engine do things you wouldn't think it would do, and this seems like the furthest it's been stretched yet.

306: Dink's Quest in the Icelands (Demo) Author: Skorn Release Date: February 6, 2010
"Alright, Skorn. I'll see you later."

This is the first D-Mod by Skorn, also known as Skurn, Absolution, Skorn Flakes and Skorn on the Cob. Okay, I made those last two up. Skorn's had quite a history of spamming and irritating people, but anybody who declares himself forum Santa and buys me a computer game is okay in my book.

"Dink's Quest in the Icelands," unfortunately, is not okay. This is because it was barely even started, let alone finished to the degree you'd expect even from a demo.

****This D-Mod, "Dink's Quest in the Icelands,"****
 ********Has been awarded the prestigious*********
  ****DINK FOREVER MEMORIAL AWARD OF BADNESS*****
   ********On this day December 27, 2014********


Again, I have to laugh when I think back on my criticism of "The Orion" for being light on content as a demo. Compared to this, "Orion" was "Crosslink." "Icelands" runs out of content so quickly that I was stunned into literal disbelief. I kept walking around in circles long after I'd already determined that I'd seen everything. That couldn't be all of it. This D-Mod has been left unfinished at a random point in development. Just a few screens from the start, the map trails off into unfinished, borderless screens. The story directory contains several unused scripts. Some of them are clearly unfinished, but others seem complete.


The first screen is kind of interesting. Dink holds a yard sale! That's a new one.

If there were just a little more to this one, it wouldn't be getting the DFMAOB. The first screen looks pretty good (I like the path to the house), and most of the objects on it are scripted. The dialogue is of reasonable quality. That's all there is, though. The next screen has a sign that reads "Town East;" after that, there's nothing. The closest thing to a story lead is that Skorn (the character) tells Dink to go to the post office to receive a message. His eventual quest may have involved some kind of icy lands, but that's just speculation. I doubt it would have involved the nation of Iceland.

The author also seems not to have known about hardness tiles, and there are hardness gaps all over, making it easy to walk on trees or water. The only other thing to see are some pillbugs whose size is randomly determined. That's... a fact about this D-Mod. Look, there isn't much to say about some of these. This is less of a demo and more of a snapshot of a point very early in development. Releases like this are generally a bad idea.
December 27th 2014, 05:13 AM
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Skurn
Peasant Equatorial Guinea steam duck bloop
can't flim flam the glim glam 
1.
****This D-Mod, "Dink's Quest in the Icelands,"****
2.
********Has been awarded the prestigious*********
3.
****DINK FOREVER MEMORIAL AWARD OF BADNESS*****
4.
********On this day December 27, 2014********


Yes! Another milestone achievement in bad files on the Dink Network accomplished by me. I am just too good for this.
December 28th 2014, 05:27 AM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
307: Three Amulets Author: Iplaydink Release Date: February 14, 2010
"Yeah, this bomb bag is a open-source project."

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

This D-Mod is recommended in Dink Smallwood HD.


Dink has one of his rare Baggy Pants Days.

"Three Amulets" is a meaty quest about two hours long. It's notable for creative bosses and puzzles and for having quite a few original graphics. The new graphics created for this D-Mod are in a cartoony 2-D style as opposed to the 3D model-based graphics from the original game (the author would later use Blender to make 3D graphics for Dink, which I used in "Malachi the Jerk"). Of course, flat-looking 2D graphics clash somewhat with the Dink surroundings, but I liked them anyway. They're creative and fun, and they give this D-Mod its own identity. There are enough of them used that they don't end up feeling too out of place in this D-Mod, although I wouldn't try to take them and use them in other D-Mods. The only problem I had with most of these graphics was that their hardboxes were confusing. I failed to hit them when it looked like I should be hitting them, and they hit me when it looked like they weren't doing so. I lost quite a bit of health for this reason that I normally wouldn't lose.


A pack of runty wild Onix appeared!

The story is well-trod ground for the most part. Once again, the goblins are making war on humans, their fire stoked by a charismatic goblin leader. I'm pretty sure this is at least the fifth D-Mod with such a plot. The only twist here is that the goblin leader is female - a jilted admirer of Dink's, it turns out. In order to reach her castle, Dink must recover three amulets, each situated in a themed area (earth, water and forest). This sort of thing is even more standard than the goblin plot, but hey, it works. There's a reason RPGs go back to this sort of plot structure again and again - it's very functional, if not particularly inspired at this point. Some of my favorite games use similar plots.

There were some funny bits here and there. I enjoyed a well that claims it can read your mind and asks you to think of a number. You select a number, and the well repeats it back to you. "That's creepy!" says Dink. I also got a kick out of stone giants dressed in little nurse and Robin Hood outfits.


Dink is unimpressed by windows. You might say he looks upon them with woe.

"Three Amulets" handles levels differently from other D-Mods. At level up, you're given a magic token - actually, I received two upon reaching level 7. You're also given five tokens each time you beat one of the three bosses. You can use the tokens to buy stat increases or spells at a certain shop, and after beating the second boss you can do this anywhere by pressing the H key. A healing spell and a spell called "fire blast" are offered for 3 and 10 tokens, respectively. You should definitely get both of these, but go for healing first. The healing spell is disabled during boss fights (fine, but I would have liked an in-universe explanation for this), but is still incredibly useful. The fire blast spell does good damage to all enemies on screen, and it also ends up being essential.


Dink calls forth a blast of fire.

The reason fire blast is essential is that enemy defense gets ridiculous in the later part of the game. You never get a very good weapon, and you just can't do real damage to the enemies in the last few sections with attacks. The fire blast spell is the way to go. I'd recommend using all of your magic tokens after buying the spells to buy magic points.

There are a few puzzles in "Three Amulets" that I haven't seen in a D-Mod before. On a couple of occasions, you'll find a set of tiles, some of which will kill you when you step on them. The correct path can be found in another room; I imagine you're supposed to write it down, but I just took a screenshot since I'm doing that anyway. There's also a room where you have to push a rock to block the flames a pillar is throwing at you. You have to push the rock a bit at a time instead of it just moving to where it needs to be automatically; I've seen this done once or twice before, but this is the first time I think I've seen it really work in a puzzle. There's also a minigame where you stand on a conveyor belt and shoot targets with a bow. Speaking of bows, your arrows are limited and your bombs are stored in a bag, like in the Zelda games. In practice, this doesn't matter much. The bow is useless as a weapon in this D-Mod, and you can easily buy all the arrows and bombs you want anyway, since there's no other use for gold in most of the game.


The targets are fool's gold; go for the ducks.


The games in this casino are familiar, but the swank digs are without peer.

This D-Mod features an answer to those who like traversing the map quickly but think that the herb boots unbalance combat: you can earn something called shadow mode. In shadow mode (which uses the Dark Dink graphics but has a casting effect that may be new), you run fast, but can't attack or cast magic. This still ended up being useful for at least one battle where I had to dodge attacks while waiting for my magic to recharge.

The real star attraction here is the bosses. Each of them has a unique look and a distinct gameplay style that's completely different from the usual Dink battles.


The first boss is really easy - just get him to run into those boulders. I took no damage.


The second boss has tentacles that shoot at you from all sides. You have to destroy all the tentacles in order to get the eye to open up and deliver a hit.


The third boss is the only place in the game where I got stuck and had to look for help. He blocks your attacks with a wall. I easily figured out how to get rid of the wall, but you've still got to do something strange and unusual to hit him.

After how cool these bosses are, it's kind of disappointing that there isn't a real final boss. Instead, the ending sets up a sequel called "Dink's Revenge" that hasn't materialized yet as of this writing. Still, this is a pretty fun D-Mod with some unique things to offer. If you find something in it called a "truth machine," though, don't trust it.


YOUR MACHINE GENERATES ONLY LIES AND MENDACITIES, SIR.
December 28th 2014, 07:06 AM
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merder
Peasant Male Netherlands xbox steam
The Voice in the back of your head! 
O.O Banana's overated?

that is the worst lie in the universe!!

THAT MACHINE HAS TO DIE!!

also Tim promise me NEVER BECOME SANE! as being sane = being boring
December 28th 2014, 08:00 AM
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Quiztis
Peasant Male Sweden steam bloop
Life? What's that? Can I download it?! 
Three Amulets rocks, it reminds me of the Zelda games for GBC. Particulary iplaydink's conveyor belt arrow game.
December 31st 2014, 07:43 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
308: Historical Hero Author: Skull Release Date: February 14, 2010
"I'm so shocked that I'm not acting like a n00b as I usually do."

It's a lot of effort to make really long D-Mods, so people stopped doing it. This is the first "epic" I've covered since 2005's "The Scourger," and that had yet to receive an update with new areas when "Historical Hero" came out, so it was still considered a "quest" at the time. That'd make 2004's "Cloud Castle 2: Scarab" the last epic at the time, ignoring "Apex," which was demoted to a romp after I wrote about it anyway. "Historical Hero" took me about five hours to complete, certainly an impressive length from an author who'd been making D-Mods that take a minute or two to finish a few years earlier.

When I first saw the title, I assumed this was going to be an adventure where Dink travels through different periods of history or something. In fact, it has nothing to do with time travel or history. I guess the title is just a different way of saying "Legendary Hero."

For a significant portion of my playing time, I would have had trouble telling you what this D-Mod was supposed to be about. There is a story involving King Daniel trying to take over the world using a doomsday device (and you think you know a guy...), but it doesn't really come together until more than halfway through the game. At the start, all you know is that Dink has bought a new house and it doesn't live up to his expectations.


Ewww.

After wandering around the starting village for some time (the house you need to visit to advance the plot can't be entered at first, without so much as a "the door's locked" for explanation), you do learn a major plot point: Dink's father, an apparently cowardly soldier named Nathan Smallwood, was captured by goblins back during the war and is still alive and being held captive at a goblin stronghold known as Castle Glamour. This is a solid motivation for Dink to press on, but Dink's dad isn't mentioned again for hours of game time. Even Castle Glamour isn't mentioned again for almost as long. Most of "Historical Hero" consists of Dink plodding around similar-looking villages doing seemingly random favors for people. Rather than being driven to reach the castle and rescue his father, Dink just seems to be killing time. Dink actually says at one point, "Well, I still don't have anything else to do, so ok." Come on, man. Quest-relevant NPCs also have an annoying habit of giving you no leads. They'll tell you to go get something, Dink will say, "Where is that?" and they'll say they have no idea. That's not usually a big deal because you can go around and ask other people, but on several occasions, a conversation between Dink and an NPC ended, I had no idea what to do, and it turned out that I just have to talk to them again. How was I supposed to know to do this, and why do the characters stop talking right before getting to the most important part of their conversation? Good thing there's a walkthrough.

At least Dink has plenty of ways to kill said time. There are lots of little things to do in "Historical Hero," and they're quantified for you in terms of a percentage that you can check at "Town News" bulletins posted in various buildings. The main plot doesn't seem to go toward this percentage - instead, each time you do a little chore for somebody or find one of a few kinds of secrets, it goes up by 1%. Telling players what percentage they've completed is a good way to motivate them to see and do everything, but this D-Mod misses the mark by making some "percentage points" permanently missable, making it into more of a motivation to stick to a walkthrough like glue, which I couldn't be bothered to do. Nevertheless, I did manage to get 100% completion. I only had to go back and look for 3% I'd missed at the end, and none of them were of the permanently missable variety.


A scene from the 100% ending.

Some of the tasks Dink does are simple and rather boring - "Go get a book for me" and similar errands. I don't mind fetch quests, but these have no twists at all and are dull as a result. Other tasks are more interesting, like a guy who wants you to get rid of a guy who stands on top of a cliff and yells at him. You can make this guy walk right to his death by taunting him!

Other "percentage points" are gained by finding little yellow "honorgems" and rocks that you can break with a skill called "mage fist" (you'll be examining every rock you see). The most fun I had playing "Historical Hero" was scouring the map for secrets, of which there are many. All of the powerups I found in this way came in handy in the more difficult later section. There's also percentage in buying houses. Dink can buy an awful lot of different houses in this adventure, most of them for dirt cheap. Each House of Dink contains a save point, and all but the first few have a bookshelf where you can read little books you buy in a certain shop (I guess they magically travel from house to house). For some reason, every single time you buy a house, the game boldly declares "YOU JUST BOUGHT A HOUSE" and runs slowly through the same explanation of what you can do there. HH has a knack for unnecessary tutorializing. At the end of the intro, you have to sit through a S-L-O-W series of instructions on what every button does in Dink Smallwood. I get it, thanks.

But hey, speaking of houses, there are a lot of houses and other buildings in this D-Mod.


It's a whole Dinky subdivision.

In most Dink games (I say it this way because the original game is a prime example), towns tend to be pretty skeletal because it's hard to keep coming up with new ideas for NPCs and dialogue. "Historical Hero," by contrast, is pretty stuffed with them. In addition to all the NPCs, the author has shown a rare commitment to handing out unique scripts to just about every item of furniture in the game. No qualifiers here: EVERY D-Mod of much length at all that I've ever seen runs out of steam at some point in terms of talk and hit responses for random objects - until this one. Even if most of the lines are really inane, there's something impressive about being able to come up with so many variations on "Wow, it's a table."


How would you... "hole for a bomb?" What? WHAT? Packs have standard holes for bombs now?

Another mini-quest involves one of the strangest relationships I've ever seen. Dink meets a girl, she volunteers to be his girlfriend, he buys her a TON of vases (I guess she collects them?), she says "Let's get married!" This is the totality of their interaction with one another. Forget getting to know somebody as a person and sticking together with them through fun times and bad - vases are the way to go to get yourself a spouse. This life event is worth a whole percentage point, so you'd better do it. You want 100%, don't you? There's a good boy.

The map is fine for the most part, but there are a handful of depth dot errors and a lot of hardness errors. I lost count of the places where I could go into walls, water, cliffsides, or a dark void. Even where there weren't gaps in hardness, walls were unevenly placed, resulting in countless invisible little "ledges" you could get snagged on, which is a disaster when you're being pursued by an enemy.


Some places also look a bit strange. I know there aren't graphics for horizontal-facing cliffs, but this just doesn't look right. Oh, and Dink isn't supposed to be standing on that roof.

Some cutscenes don't freeze Dink, so you can move around (even if Dink is invisible) and bring up the usual "notalk" responses during them. At least doing so doesn't stop the cutscene and the game, like in some other mods.

Most of the musical selections are pretty good, but there was a section early on with a strange MIDI that I didn't like at all. It was a bunch of weird droning noises. It sounded like the musical equivalent of indigestion.

Dink's foes aren't portrayed as too bright in this D-Mod. A bumbling group of villains called the "Disturbed Rats" (somewhat analogous to the Scarab Club 7 from "Cloud Castle 2") seem to mess up at every turn, and Daniel's oppressive knights demand cookies at a meeting. I got a good laugh out of a scene at a training camp for the "Rats" members where one guy says that he's Dr. Phil and starts spouting off the kind of nonsense statements that TV personality is famous for.


Robj, is that you?

Dink himself can also be quite silly, as we know.


Notice me guard-sempai ;_;

Toward the end, especially when you actually enter the castle Glamour, "Historical Hero" finally feels like an epic. Your actions seem to drive the story in the final sections, a sense that is missing from the rest of the game and makes things a good deal more exciting. The castle is a huge multi-level dungeon where Dink must rescue prisoners (including his father) and defeat the goblins, the remnants of the Disturbed Rats, and King Daniel's evil knights in several boss battles, some of which involve unusual elements like pushing barrels around in order to reach targets.


Negative rainbow, what does it mean?!

The difficulty also ramps up a lot at the end. For most of the game, the enemies are a cakewalk, but just before you reach the castle, the enemies suddenly get very strong, having an attack of 70, 100 or more. For once, I was grateful that max health doesn't really cap at the 220 that the status bar is capable of displaying. I still was able to handle the enemies by using herb boots to keep my distance. There was just one screen in the D-Mod that I found truly difficult. It involved a very strong slayer and not enough room to dodge its attacks. Even that may have been manageable if it weren't for the fact that the hardness of the walls is a mess, which caused me to constantly get hung up while trying to move. I had to fight this thing twice in order to go back and get the flame bow (which was worth it).


I got stuck here for a long time.

"Historical Hero" is a fine D-Mod with lots to do, and I think it's the first time that anyone who had made something on the level of "Adventures with Jani" went on to make something of such quality. However, I didn't enjoy it as much as, say, "Three Amulets," to use a recent example. It's not all about how much stuff you can put into a D-Mod - structure and a sense of purpose are even more important.
December 31st 2014, 08:56 PM
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Skull
Peasant Male Finland bloop
"I'd like to be a tree..." 
Historical Hero is still very much a practice D-Mod for me, as weird as it sounds. After the virus on my computer, I just one evening started randomly mapping for fun, wanting to improve my mapping skills and trying to make as realistic a world as I could at the time, cause I felt my previous D-Mods' maps had felt too much like straightforward "tubes". Then I decided I'm just gonna make it an Epic, and come up with any sorta plot that pops into my mind. That's why the main story feels like a clusterduck. The 100% thing and the side-quests were inspired by San Andreas. Especially the girlfriend thing, which is just silly. One thing I like about HH1 is the house-buying thing. It's something I couldn't really include in HH2 in the same fashion. That's the only thing I feel HH1 beats the sequel at.

I can totally see why you'd enjoy a D-Mod like The Three Amulets more than HH1. Looking back, I don't like HH1 very much. It has a lot of problems and while it isn't totally awful, it's very rough around the edges. I also now question whether it even actually qualifies as an Epic or not, as the main story isn't that long. I guess it does, in all its aspects, beat the size of the original game though, which is the requirement. One thing I do think the D-Mod succeeds at, is when you're playing it for the first time, it does create that nice feeling of "wanting to unlock the next area" and makes it fun when you do reach a new town, imo. I think it's cool that you can look at the map and always see your exact goal, and see how you're making progress. Also sorta makes you know from the beginning how long of a D-Mod you can be expecting.

EDIT: Just a heads up: You probably wanna fix that part where it says "Cloud Castle 3".
January 1st 2015, 06:20 AM
custom_coco.gif
CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
Whoops! I must have been thrown off by another screenshot I took from "Historical Hero" where Dink takes a fish for SabreTrout and asks him to make CC3.
January 1st 2015, 06:21 AM
custom_coco.gif
CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
309: Dong Author: Rabidwolf9 Release Date: February 24, 2010
"Better Luck Next Time..."

For all of Rabidwolf9's contributions to the Dink Network - scripts, graphics, tutorials - this is his only released D-Mod. I heard him say on his Twitch channel that he likes D-Mods that do something out of the ordinary, so it's not surprising that his D-Mod is a Pong game.

Dink + Pong = Dong. That's all the title means. That's ALL the title means. So I'm not going to make any "EXPAND DONG" jokes. Nope.

Dong is a game of Pong based on the Atari classic. It can be played against a second player or a computer opponent. You can select what score you want to play to - anywhere from 1 to 99. There are four arenas to choose from - three Dink-themed and one based on the classic Pong look. There also seems to be a fifth arena on the map, but I'm not sure if there's any way to play on it. The Dink-themed maps involve knocking around a duck, pig or little girl, all of which bleed with each hit. It's pretty amusing.


The Duck arena.


The Classic Pong arena.

It works quite well. The ball (or whatever) moves differently based on the part of the paddle that hits it and which direction the paddle is moving at the time. It might not move quite the same way you'd be used to from actually playing Pong, but it's close enough. Player two moves using the Shift and Ctrl keys; neither player uses the default brain 1 movement, so the experience is the same for both players.

The computer opponent has an adjustable difficulty setting that controls how often it makes mistakes. The mistakes involve going in the wrong direction while trying to follow the ball, so they're pretty much a free goal for you. You can set the computer opponent to not make mistakes at all for a stiff, but by no means impossible, challenge.


The configuration screen.

It's cool to see Pong implemented in Dink. It takes me back to the very first "arcade game" D-Mod, "Dinkanoid," which also dealt with a paddle and a bouncing balls. The Dink engine doesn't have a "reflecting bounce" behavior built into it, so scripts for these D-Mods have to do some math to determine the angle of movement. It's clever work, and it still feels above my head. Pong has a simple appeal, and a lot of programmers have worked a version of it into their games. It was a minigame in the Commander Keen series and an easter egg accessible via cheat code in Genesis titles NBA Live 98 and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. In a youtube video about old console gaming memories, I saw one guy claim that he and his friends used to play Pong in Mortal Kombat more than they actually played Mortal Kombat. Maybe you could have a few matches of "Dong" (hee hee) with a friend.

310: FallDink Author: Iplaydink Release Date: March 4, 2010

Hey, it's another arcadey-type game converted to the Dink engine. Iplaydink used modified versions of his "Platform Dink" gravity and platform scripts to make an actual game, albeit one without the ability to jump. "FallDink" is based on FallDown, a game where platforms constantly rise and you have to try to fall off them and avoid reaching the top. The platform mechanic seems improved from its "Platform Dink" state. Still present from that earlier D-Mod is the ability to influence the speed of your fall, but it's treated as a feature here. Other versions of this game I've played had no such ability, but I liked having the ability to slow my fall here.


A hero... will fall.

Some games are cloned so often that their origins become cloudy and hard to find. "Snake" type games have their roots in arcades - I first encountered that type of game in a Windows 95 game called Rattler Race, but most know them from the "Snake" on early "feature" cellular phones. Games where you play as a fish and eat smaller fish to grow larger are another case. My first was Something Fishy, a shockwave game made by CleverMedia in 1997, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't the first to exist. One-button games where you press the button to rise and try to avoid obstacles from the top and bottom have recently been made famous by Flappy Bird - I think these can be traced to an early Java game called SF Cave, but who really knows? Similarly, I have no idea where "FallDown" comes from. Iplaydink cites his inspiration as an "awsome iphone app." I played FallDown on a graphing calculator long before there was such a thing as an iPhone, but that obviously can't be the original version. Where do these games come from? Someone must have invented them, but you'll never find out who it was. These simple concepts are the primal video games, existing as an idea, free of authorship. No one has to compare their work on derivative versions to "the original," because as far as they can tell, none exists.

"FallDink" is fun, but it could be better. I don't mind the simple graphics - actually, I find them appealing; they go right along with the simplicity of the game. What I wasn't crazy about was the way platforms are handled. They're randomly placed in such a way that you can find yourself without another platform to land on (falling off the bottom is also a loss condition). Other versions of the game I've played have "floors" that go by with randomly placed gaps in them; this approach seems superior to me because it's harder for bad luck to make you suddenly lose. Still, it was a good way to pass several minutes. The game saves your high score, which is a big plus. My high score was 67.

311: Higgledy Piggledy Author: DinkDude95 Release Date: April 3, 2010
"If my sources of information are correct, Stonebrook will be overrun with evil pigs..."

"Higgledy Piggledy" is the first independent D-Mod by Australian basketball fan DinkDude95, who previously contributed to the "One Screen D-Mod Compilation." In it, Dink must clear Stonebrook (the map of which is identical to the original game) of an evil pig infestation. Fighting pigs with fist and fireball is all you do; you can't enter the buildings. Maybe I've been spoiled by "Bug Mania's" town level, but some easter eggs or at least a little variety would have been nice.

There is a bit of crude fun to be had in making pigs explode into showers of blood, but what we've got here is ultimately an ordinary combat segment from a D-Mod made into an entire D-Mod. The only thing separating this from an ordinary pillbug slaughter is the mother pig, who taunts you and constantly squeezes out new pigs at a rate that is honestly kind of horrifying. It does make me get behind what Dink is doing - at the rate she's going, the world would soon be overrun with oinkers. Still, you can just punch her through the fence.


You know, killing pigs is ALSO something a pig farmer does. I'm just saying.

This game seems like it ought to have a timer and a high score list, but it doesn't. Even if it did, it would also need a bit more variety or it'd fall short of other arcade-type D-Mods. It does have three difficulty levels (Unlosable, Regular and IMPOSSIBLE!!), but that doesn't add much value since the first two are extremely easy and the third is so hard that I didn't manage to kill a single pig. The best thing about "Higgledy Piggledy" is that Dink opens his pig-extermination campaign by saying "Let's fry some bacon!", which is the correct one-liner for this situation. Other than that, it isn't very interesting.
January 2nd 2015, 03:35 AM
custom_coco.gif
CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
312: Grasp of Darkness Author: Quiztis Release Date: April 18, 2010
"There's something amiss on Freg Island."

Fun fact: Swedish Dinker Quiztis is neither a Quiz nor a Tis. I was surprised when I found out, too.

"Grasp of Darkness" has been updated a bunch. It's been updated three times since I started this project - once just a couple of days after the very first COTPATD post, once back in May, and again several days ago.

The description, readme and intro all warn the player that this is a difficult D-Mod, so I was wary. I was afraid that it was going to be another mod full of next-to-impossible battles that was going to make my life a stressful time. In fact, it wasn't too bad at all. There were a few parts I briefly thought were impossible, but it turned out that I was just approaching them in the wrong way. Actually, I thought "Grasp of Darkness" was a lot of fun. Heck, it might be my favorite D-Mod of 2010 so far due to sheer fun factor. For what it's worth, it won D-Mod of the Year back when the community used to vote on such things. On the other hand, it won with a grand total of 4 votes. Hmmm.

"Grasp of Darkness" (I wonder if Quiztis gave it that title just so people would call it GOD) identifies itself as a "collect-em-all D-Mod" in the rarely-edited Help section of the escape menu. If you manage to collect all the weapons, stat potions, elixirs, gold hearts and gold in the D-Mod, you receive a Reward. Now there's an incentive to hunt down secrets. They're not terribly hard to find, but I still ended up missing just one of them (argh) on my way to the end. However, I was able to load my save from before the point of no return and go back to get it. I couldn't have lost more than ten minutes' progress. It was a bit annoying, but far from the end of the world. This is a good way to handle this sort of requirement - it DOES matter if you've missed something, but you don't have to re-do the whole game.


Dink is bestowed with a Reward.

You're given an option to receive a stat boost at the start, but it only makes you start with 2 strength instead of 1 and doesn't effect your other stats. Hey, I took it - why not? You also get a chance to cheaply buy some herb boots early on, but you're warned that you can't get the Reward if you use them, so as much as I love herb boots, I passed.


Incidentally, you shouldn't mess with Easy Mode Herb Boots guy.

The story is pretty typical stuff. The Island of Freg is beset by an unknown menace, which turns out to be an Evil Wizard of the Week by the name of Darius the Cruel. Darius's evil wizardry seems to involve turning people, lands and houses into darkness - literally, into shadows and such. Half of what makes this D-Mod so enjoyable is that the story and dialogue have that sharp sort of silliness that is common to most of the funniest D-Mods. The text is very clever and had me laughing regularly. In a twist on the usual fourth-wall-breaking jokes, everybody seems to have some awareness of the fact they're in a video game EXCEPT Dink. Every time somebody mentions the game, D-Mods or something like a strength statistic, Dink doesn't know what the Hell they're talking about. He becomes increasingly agitated as people keep bringing this sort of thing up, which makes for a fun running gag. The Epic Collect-em-all Reward includes a sword called the SLASHMASTER 3000, which has a price tag that reads, "2.99." Dink meets some loony characters like the paranoid and mildly crazy King Charlie, whose enduring respect Dink earns by cleaning out his basement. Maybe I'm easily amused, but this exchange between Charlie and one of his guards after Dink is sent off on the final leg of his quest cracked me up:

Frank: Do you think he'll make it?
Charlie: He cleaned my basement, Frank.
Frank: D'oh! That's right. How silly of me.



And then there's these two guys who swap yo mama jokes. Some are funny, others are just plain bizarre.

What impressed me the most about Quiztis's D-Mod is that, rather than just cranking up enemy stats to be a "hard D-Mod," it finds a variety of interesting and involving ways to present a challenge. The game plays like a series of compact, efficient challenges, each under a slightly different set of circumstances and often requiring the player to figure out how best to proceed before they'll be able to win. A timed challenge where you have to kill pillbugs to proceed doesn't give you enough time to win unless you get the pillbugs to group together and take out several at once. There's a boss who lies about its weak point and tells you to do pretty much the opposite of what you should actually do, which makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Another section has Dink carrying a series of increasingly cumbersome objects that restrict his access to his backpack, culminating in a section where you have to fight three tough slayers in a row, one at a time, using only your fists. To beat them, I had to get close enough for them to take a swipe at me, dodge, and come back in to hit them once, retreating again before they felt like taking another swipe. Strategy!


Well, of course it does.

There are two endings (well, three, but two of them are earned the same way) to "Grasp of Darkness." You can head right for Darius, or you can step through a perplexing warp to an especially dreary version of the Darklands, where you fight the dread secret boss named Farmer Bob. Bob is a tough one. In addition to shooting Hellfire at you, he has a "Perish Aura" that makes Dink constantly take damage and, worse yet, a time limit. I doubt it's possible to beat him without using elixirs. If you got the Reward, you have the chance to fight a harder version of Bob. I gave it a shot and won on my first try with just two seconds to spare... whereupon the game crashed. I am not making this up, it crashed to Windows the moment I defeated him. I wrote "WTF WTF WTF" in my notes. In the next several attempts I could not replicate this performance, so I beat the non-hard Bob. Whatever, *I* still know I'm Captain Awesome. I can't say what caused the crash, but it wasn't the only one I experienced. I had another crash during the Darius boss fight, while fighting his shadow pets. I also ran into a bug where, if you press talk too quickly when the text "Show yourself!" displays in between phases of the Darius fight, a "talking to nothing" response comes up and the cutscene never continues, leaving you trapped.


This warp effect looks really smooth and cool in motion.


Darius hangs out in a gray forest. Watch out for those electrified walls, they will kill you in a hurry.

Quiztis is working on a prequel, but it will be very different and take the form of some kind of turn-based puzzler. Whatever it is, I'd be interested to play it.

313: Dink Z Trivia Author: Zeddexx Release Date: May 12, 2010
"*Blush* Heyeahhhh....i AM alowed a LITTLE vanity!"

Does anybody remember "Dink X Trivia," JVeenhof's quiz D-Mod from 2000 that was made to promote a not-terribly-long-lived Dink website? Cocomonkey Farms remembers. I played it when it came out, and noted that I was mentioned in it. I don't remember it setting the community on fire at the time, though, and there's even less reason to play it now, so I was surprised that Zeddexx felt a further installment was warranted. But hey, here we go: more Dink community trivia. This one has more questions than "Dink X," at least.

This D-Mod received an update in 2011. I mention this because it has the funniest release notes I've seen so far: "Now with reduced vanity!" I'm tempted to download the old version to see what he's talking about. Heck, I did. There's just an additional question or two about Zeddexx himself.

There are three question categories: "The DN," People and D-Mods. The first category's button graphic is missing, so there only appear to be only two categories, but I correctly guessed that there was a third button in the empty space. The DN category features some specific questions about events on the forum at the time, so I didn't do as well on it as I did on the other categories.


On top of the missing button, the title screen uses "you're" in place of "your."

I can see why people wouldn't find this to be too interesting, and you certainly wouldn't want to play it more than once, but for what it's worth, I liked it more than "Dink X Trivia." There are more questions, and more special responses to certain answers. A few of the questions are kind of funny, and one of them made me laugh out loud. Some questions are confusing or opinion-based, and at least one of the "right" answers is wrong, but it doesn't really matter that much. I guess it's a bit worse as a trivia game than "Dink X," but it is more recent and I'd argue more entertaining, not that anybody is demanding games of Dink trivia at any rate.


Bahahahaha! ...Uh, sorry MsDinky... >_>


I keep looking for WC, but he doesn't seem to be there.

Some concepts don't seem to have a lot of potential and a Dink trivia game is one of them. Still, I wonder if you could make a game along these lines that would really draw people in. Maybe go full You Don't Know Jack with it, with high-quality presentation and three player games where you have to buzz in. That would be an awful lot of effort, though, for something that would still probably elicit a response of "Why?" from many. Actually, the best Dink Quiz I've seen is easily the one in "Quest for Not Quite as Lame." You could at least have done as well as that, people who made entirely-quiz-based D-Mods.
January 2nd 2015, 10:42 AM
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Skull
Peasant Male Finland bloop
"I'd like to be a tree..." 
Somebody should make a Dink Trivia book. I'd buy it. Provided it was well-made, of course.
January 2nd 2015, 12:05 PM
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redink1
King Male United States xbox steam bloop
A mother ducking wizard 
Back in the day, George, Cyberwolf (I think that was superwolfman's old moniker?), and I worked on something called You Don't Know Dink. It supported multiple players, and even supported 'Question Packs'. George wrote a program to allow a user to enter new questions, and it would generate the DinkC code needed to insert it into the game (and these new packs could be passed around, without clobbering any existing questions or other packs).

It wasn't publicly released that I recall, and had a few bugs that prevented it from being all that fun.
January 3rd 2015, 06:11 PM
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Quiztis
Peasant Male Sweden steam bloop
Life? What's that? Can I download it?! 
Haha! Splendid review, Cocomonkey! I knew you could do it! And thank you for playing!
January 3rd 2015, 07:47 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
314: Forest of Doom Author: ToKu Release Date: May 31, 2010
"Our Warhammer is gone. We are doomed if we do not find it."

"Forest of Doom" is a fairly big D-Mod that clearly has a lot of effort behind it, but I couldn't get into it at all and gave up fairly quickly. I'm sorry. I've made a pretty serious effort overall to get through each D-Mod, but I took a few cracks at this one and realized that if I forced myself through it, I was going to have a very frustrating time. Again, I feel I must point out that I never promised I'd beat all of 'em. Sorry.

The story and many gameplay elements are taken from the "adventure gamebook" The Forest of Doom by Ian Livingstone, originally released in 1983. A digitized and automated version of the book is available on Steam, if you're interested. Gamebooks are books which provide a sort of adventure game for the reader. You make decisions by turning to different pages as directed (like in the Choose Your Own Adventure series), combat and other matters of chance are typically handled by dice, and you keep track of conditions and inventory with a piece of paper and a pencil. From what I've heard, The Forest of Doom is full of the sort of trial-and-error traps that I find so annoying in gamebooks, and succeeding is a matter of having very good luck.

The traps may be annoying in a gamebook, but they are somewhat tolerable because you know that's the sort of thing you're getting into. Anyway, if something puts you out TOO much, in a gamebook it's only a matter of deciding to ignore your misfortune if you feel like cheating. When these same kinds of traps are shifted to a D-Mod, they progress from annoying to infuriating. "Forest of Doom" is full of places where you can decide to take some kind of action - say, sitting on a chair when Dink says, "Ah, a chair. I need a rest." You have no way of knowing what the outcome of these decisions will be - putting on this bracelet raises your defense, but putting on that ring leaves you with permanently slow movement. Sitting in the chair I mentioned lowers your stats, by the way, because that's a thing that sitting for a moment does. It seems like the bad outcomes outweigh the good, so you're probably better off avoiding these events when you're given a choice.


No! You fool!

There is a shop with a long list of items that can rescue you from some bad situations if you happen to have them, but there's no way to know which ones you're going to need, and buying the lot of them would be prohibitively expensive.


A list of the special items you can acquire in "Forest of Doom."

The story involves a dwarven kingdom that has lost a special warhammer that's incredibly important for some reason. To win, you have to find both parts of the warhammer - handle and head - and return them to the King. The dialogue is mostly stiff and seems like it should be coming from an dispassionate narrator rather than from Dink's mouth. The D-Mod just kind of casts you out into the forest without giving you any idea of what you should be doing apart from the "get the hammer parts" directive, and I never got close to finding either part (then again, I gave up about half an hour in). Just as bad a problem as your cluelessness is the fact that the enemies are too hard. Spiders pop out of what appear to be ordinary trees and damage you as you're just walking through the forest, and those are the easiest enemies around. I could hardly damage the great majority of enemies at all without cheating. Although you can get around this problem by cheating, that isn't much fun, and the unbalanced enemies contributed greatly to my overall frustration. You can't get around this problem by grinding, because enemies don't come back after being killed. The author says that he dislikes the idea of grinding because "getting too strong too soon goes against the story." I have problems with this statement and they begin with the fact that I'm playing a damn RPG.

There are also some lovely bugs for you to enjoy. Stat potions have a new collecting animation that looks pretty, but it takes a while, and the defense potion awards you its bonus before the animation is done. This means that you can collect the potion, leave the screen, and return to collect it again as many times as you like if you hurry. At the start you're boxed into a relatively small area with a message that causes Dink to turn around, but it IS possible to get out, and once you do, it isn't possible to get back in. I did manage to get to the entrance to the Dwarf Kingdom, and you're asked to enter a code using the number pad and the End key, but these did nothing. Therefore, even if I had stuck it out, winning without cheating would have been impossible for me.


Not that I know what "parole for 16" means anyway.

This D-Mod contains a huge number of new graphics. In addition to some graphics from packs on the Dink Network, there are a lot of graphics that have never been used in a D-Mod before. These are apparently taken from some website rather than made by the author, but they're new to Dink. The new graphics are the same sort of isometric-perspective 3D graphics as the Dink graphics. Some of them fit in very well, but many don't because the colors used are so different from anything else in the game.

Actually, the author adds so many new enemies that he couldn't find sequence numbers for them all in the dink.ini file. He works around this by loading the graphics when you walk onto certain screens; unfortunately, this adds loading times to those screens that can get pretty horrendous - I'm talking about waiting more than ten seconds during a screen transition here.


Bats!


Most of the buildings don't fit in Dink's world due to garish colors that are outside the Dink palette.

I'd have more examples of the graphics, but for some reason, some of them just wouldn't show up in my screenshots. In the game, I could see a pack of wild dogs or a rock monster, but in my screenshots they're invisible and Dink is fighting the air. It's too bad - this happened to some of the best new graphics. I guess those dogs were actually vampire dogs, which explains why they're so hard to hurt. Some of these graphics really look good, so it might be worth checking the D-Mod out for that reason alone.
January 4th 2015, 04:22 AM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
--The Non-combat D-Mod Contest--

The sixth Dink Network D-Mod contest was announced on April 6th, 2010. Six entries were submitted by the original stated deadline of June 1st. Can you imagine? The criterion is the simplest since "Alternative Hero:" Just make a D-Mod without any combat. As always, I'll quote the original specifications:

The d-mod shall not include combat/fighting gameplay. Whilst it is acceptable to include fauna that the player can kill (ducks, for example), the gameplay itself must not have any combat sections. There may be fighting/combat in the d-mod (either by NPC's or in cut-scenes), but the player must never be in control at these times.

It is recommended that you create a traditional RPG/Adventure-style D-Mod for the contest. We are not looking for a "weird" d-mod here.


Can't get much clearer than that. There have of course been quite a few D-Mods without combat over the years, but they are in a distinct minority. It might be nice to have a little break from punching pillbugs.

315: Corporate Managerialism Author: Yeoldetoast Release Date: June 9, 2010
"I only have bad business choices to blame"

This is yeoldetoast's only released D-Mod, but he's an active member of the community who has released some useful tools on the forum. I like being able to refer to somebody simply as "Toast." That's a good nickname.

I had to look up whether managerialism is even a real word; it is, and not even a terribly obscure one. I guess I'm just dumb. Definitions seem to vary widely, but I'm going to say for simplicity's sake that it just refers to using professional managers in a company.

"Corporate Managerialism" tied for last in the contest, and I don't understand why at all. I don't agree with the rating it's got either. This D-Mod is original, creative, fun, and a good time. It's not a great D-Mod - the core gameplay, once you get around to it, is ridiculously simple - but it's so interesting. The higher-ranked entries are going to have to really bring it for me to turn around and agree with this ranking.

The intro tells a sordid story of colonialist greed and violence, where the natives of a resource-rich island were pointlessly wiped out in a brutal war by the colonizers despite having already established peaceful relations with some of them. The incident is considered so shameful that they attempt to bury the evidence at first, but it becomes known among settlers anyway, who term the island the "Island of Death." As a response, all violence of any kind is declared to be banned on the island, with violators sentenced to life imprisonment by magical teleporting cops. Obviously, this is just about as oppressive as actual violence.


That's, um, kinda dark.

It's a neatly told story, and seems quite serious. Yes, even the magic cops. Their abuse of magical power is clearly a metaphor - really, I'm not being sarcastic this time - for the abuses of power by the police in the real world. It's a bit of a surprise, then, when you get to the actual game and it's silly as Hell. The intro prepares us well for it, though; a cynicism underlies the silliness. It's important that we know our little adventure in gaining profit ("Corporate Managerialism" ends up being a sort of business sim) is made possible by the fact that the world has been f***ed up and everything has gone horribly wrong. There's a pretty strong implication that the same thing is true of the real world. This makes the D-Mod all the funnier by adding a bitter edge to the silly s*** that goes on in it.

You play as Richard S. Wood (see what he did there?), a young man near graduation from "Kelsey Grammer School." He lives with his mother in a house provided by the state because his father was killed in the campaign to wipe out the natives. He must finish his schooling and start a career. But before I did any of that, I went downstairs, saved the game, went back up and punched my mother to death (don't worry about it - it isn't combat if she doesn't fight back!). Hey, the intro made it very clear that there were consequences for violence, and I wanted to see them. I wonder what it says about me that I did this first.


Probably something like that.

By the way, see that "ducking?" As long as you're not reading this in a text file as part of a .torrent in the far future when this website is long gone and the screenshots have been lost with it, you probably do. "Duck" is substituted for everybody's favorite expletive in this D-Mod, just as the ducking swear filter on this forum does. At first I thought, "that's a clever way to self-censor and work in a community reference." Then I found out that this was not a simple substitution, but a swap.


Oh. OHHH.

Killing anybody gets the popo to come and take you away. There's a sentencing scene with an impressive range of different dialogue depending on what you've done. In addition to all the different NPCs you can murder (most of whom get their own unique sentencing scene), you also get collared for abusing public property or killing ducks. The dialogue in these scenes draws attention to the bizarre, perverse expectation Dink players have about assaulting anybody and everybody, just to see what happens. Richard is asked why he took a man away from his family and offers feeble defenses like "I thought he might say something funny." Yeah, that's not going to cut it. Any time you get arrested, your sentence is life imprisonment. You can choose to rot in your cell or "escape" by jumping down a well. In a sense, you do escape. Not in the sense Richard is probably hoping for, though.


Yeah, they planned this. So much for a policy of total non-violence.

Okay, so back to the plot. Richard must go to school, where he gets assignments - writing essays and speeches about Greek history and other subjects. To do your homework, you go back to your room in your mom's basement and examine the desk... whereupon you begin essay-writing minigames that actually take the form of tapping keys as directed or breaking barrels. The speed at which you perform these tasks determines your grade. I didn't do very well. There is then a quiz based on actual knowledge. I did a little better at that, getting 7 questions out of 10 right. If you take longer than two minutes, the game assumes you've tried to cheat by looking up the answers online and you get a 0. Before Toast comes here to yell at me, I only know this because I looked at the scripts after I was all done playing the D-Mod. The script also had a friendly greeting for anybody looking at it in the hopes of cheating thereby:

//If you look at the script to cheat I hope you ducking choke
//Seriously, this is worse than looking up the answer on Wikipedia or Wolfram Alpha


Not me, though. I took my 7/10. It doesn't matter anyway. There's no score so low that you won't graduate. The grades only give you a starting bonus of cash during the business sim portion.


Better get punching if you want that thesis to be cogent!

Richard finishes up school and strolls the very next day into the lobby of a huge insurance company and demands a job. Naturally this works, just like it does in the real world. What's maybe a teensy bit less realistic is that he is instantly made CEO. You've got just ten days to turn your meager starting fund (it was just over $300 in my case) to at least $5,000. You can increase your income by hiring more people for your marketing department, but that costs money, and you lose if you go into the red (comically, going bankrupt is accompanied by Richard's hastily-explained death).


This is it. This is the game, right here.

This segment is anticlimactic because it's so simple. Rather than having to manage multiple aspects of your business and balance them against each other and external factors like market fluctuations or disasters, you just hire as many marketeers as you can without running out of money for the most part. I managed to raise the necessary funds by hiring ten of them on the first day and two on every subsequent day until I saw that my rate of profit was enough to coast to the end.

Aside from the anticlimax, this D-Mod is also sloppy in places. There are several screens with no borders (a no-no because of the bug in Dink where you can skirt around a screen's hardness if you're at the edge of a screen with no screen adjacent on that side), and some depth dot errors, most notably on the exterior of the insurance building.


Don't do it Richard! Don't jump off of that cleverly-rendered skyscraper!

Still, I liked this D-Mod. It's funny and it makes you think a little bit. I also liked the music. Toast urges you to play this using FreeDink because it uses formats unsupported by regular 1.08 to play awesome chiptunes. The tracks are, as I just said, awesome, and in addition to making things generally groovy they add a touch of oppression and tension to the proceedings.

You could argue that I've overlooked this game's flaws. You could point out that the gameplay is shallow or that the part of the story that actually drives you to achieve your goal is dashed-off and meaningless compared to the setup. But you know what I say to that?


Whoops! Sorry folks, all out.
January 4th 2015, 10:47 PM
custom_coco.gif
CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
316: Where's Likko? Author: DinkDude95 Release Date: June 9, 2010
"Piss off, little girl. This table is for big men."

Once upon a time, Simon Klaebe made some graphics of a moogle hero for a D-Mod he was planning to make called "Belgotha." Moogles are those little white critters with bat wings from the Final Fantasy series. In 2004, realizing he'd never finish his D-Mod, he released them to the community. Nobody ever used them until now.

In "Where's Likko," you play as a young female moogle named Mikka who's looking for her missing friend Likko. The moogle graphics look great, and the new tiles are interesting. The D-Mod also uses some other SimonK graphics, including a windmill and something called "Evil Houses." These also look good, but the houses seem out of place. Why would the cute little moogles live in these horrifying domiciles? That sure isn't what "Mog House" looked like in Final Fantasy VII.


Home sweet home, kupo!

The little moogle village is a bit of cutesy fun. All of the moogles are exceedingly nice and polite ("Oh, how wonderful!"). It does bug me a little bit that nobody ever says "kupo." There is a slightly seedy bar in town where some of the moogles can be a tad rude. It's kind of funny to go in there and have everybody tell you how out of place a little girl like you is in this bar full of manly men, because of course the moogles all look exactly the same.

The town is the most interesting part of the map. Most of the map is taken up by a big, sort of maze-y forest area. The forest screens look fine, but there's nothing much going on in them. Wandering back and forth through this large area just feels like a waste of time.

Finding Likko involves helping somebody else first; why, it's none other than Dink Smallwood, who has been turned into a statue somehow. All you have to do to help him is get him some water, which was a slightly frustrating task due to an unintentional bit of misdirection. The bartender tells you that Likko had gotten a bottle of water from the bar before going missing, so naturally you'd just go there for one yourself, right? Nope, you scoop it from a pond instead.


I mean, I wasn't even sure this stuff was water.

I've got only myself to blame for being confused. You can give gold pieces to a homeless moogle in exchange for hints that are quite clear. I was just so sure that I'd get water from the bar. He says they have it!

There's a short segment at the end where you have to avoid attacks from oddly green-tinted stone giants. You can't really attack them, but you could get them to kill one another if you wanted. I'd say that qualifies as combat if you were required to do it, but since you aren't, I guess it's fine. It all took me 18 minutes, but more than half of that was me being stubborn about the water.

The swearing in this D-Mod feels really out of place. Mikka, whose dialogue consists mostly of lines like "Yay! Thank you Mr. Guard!" lets out with an uncensored "What the Mother F***ing hell?!" when the Dink statue talks to her. Swearing doesn't usually bother me at all, but Mikka is such an exceedingly polite character that it makes no sense. You could have some fun with a character who subverts her cuteness with a potty mouth, or by having Dink swear at her and having her respond "Oh my, how rude!", but this is just random, tone-ruining swearing.


This effect of a moogle walking up a spiral staircase is well done. I wish the author had used dnotalk.c to at least change the color of the default messages to match the rest of Mikka's dialogue, though.

It's a fine little romp. There's not a lot to do, but there is some charm to it, and everything works. It's mainly notable as a showcase for Simon Klaebe's graphics, but that's better than being notable for nothing, and they're well-implemented. Still, I didn't find it as interesting as "Corporate Managerialism," with which it tied for last place in the contest. If it deserved last place, though, it's pretty good for that. With the exception of "Computer Virus" in 2003, the "floor" of quality in these Dink Network contests has been remarkably high.

--

Hey, I don't mean to pick on "Where's Likko" in particular here, but let's take a moment to talk about D-Mod readme files. Lots and lots of them contain a weird, useless big ol' block of text. It looks like this, using "Where's Likko" as an example:

Free? ................................. : No, I want you to pay me. >
New map file? ......................... : Yes
Adventure can be finished? ............ : Yes
Estimated solve time? ................. : 30 minutes
Place to save games? .................. : Yes
New sounds? ........................... : Yes
New MIDIs? ............................ : Yes
New graphics? ......................... : Yes
New Dinkc files? ...................... : Yes
New hard.dat file? .................... : Yes, big thank you to redink1 for it.
Nudity in graphics rating? (0 is none) : 0 (0 to 10) <- Yah, I be keeping it PG, guys.
Mature language rating? (0 is none) ... : 4 (0 to 10) <- There's a teensy bit of swearing, but not much.
Author ................................ : DinkDude95
Author's email ........................ : ajbiss@gmail.com


This goes all the way back to Seth Robinson, who included a very similar list of attributes way back in the readme file for "The Search for Milli Vanilli." Fields for "Author's WWW page," "Version of Dink required" and "Requires FULL version?" (did anybody really play D-Mods using the demo?) have been shorn somewhere along the way, but it's otherwise the same in 2010 as it was in 1998. Author after author has copied this block of text and pasted it into their readme without a thought. Why, though? Why have they done this?

Let's go through this line by line. Not since Mike Snyder's experiment with "Dink's Doppleganger" has there been even a shred of doubt that all D-Mods would be free. Very nearly all D-Mods have a new map file, and if you count editing an existing map file as a new one, every last one does. A D-Mod that can't be finished ought to be clearly labeled as such. The estimated solve time is never, ever right. Actually, I'll stop there and just say that none of this is useful information except the author's email address, which you don't need this block of text to include. "New Dinkc files?" is particularly baffling - I think the only D-Mods I've encountered without these are "Doomsday" and "Land of Transforming Ducks," and that tells you all you need to know about whether it makes sense to release a D-Mod without new Dinkc files.

Some of these readmes include the number of map screens, which I guess could be used to compare map sizes, but that doesn't necessarily tell you much about the D-Mod, even in terms of how long it takes to complete. Has anybody ever found this useful? It's not like it can help you decide whether to download a D-Mod, since you can't read it until you've done that already.

You can't really blame Seth too much for making this or Mike Snyder for perpetuating it - things were different back then, and they didn't necessarily know what shape this "D-Mod" thing was going to take. It is really strange, though, that people kept doing it so long after people knew exactly what to expect. I can only call it a ritual. Just say no to these kinds of things in your readme file, kids.

317: The Day after the Middle Night Author: Skull Release Date: June 9, 2010
"And it's still night. It seems like the night is endless."

This is the sequel to Skull's Halloween 2008 D-Mod "Hotel of the Middle Night." This installment is much improved in my opinion, with better dialogue and a more coherent story. The original was also a non-combat D-Mod, but this is even more story-focused, dispensing with puzzles and never displaying the status bar at all. "Day after" outscored "Corporate Managerialism" and "Where's Likko?" by just one point, taking fourth place in the contest.

"The Day after the Middle Night" actually takes place long after "Hotel." Despite the name, it takes place mainly at night - "The Day after" refers to the condition brought about by finally bringing an end to the haunting menace. You control a kid who has come with his friends to explore the abandoned hotel. The story is interspersed with flashbacks where you control other characters as the incident that started this entire mess occurs. The flashbacks answer several questions I had about the vague story in "Hotel," which is a good thing.


I believe I'll have a red...

It's a straightforward D-Mod, and not very long. Awful things happen to the characters. I can't say I found it scary, but I did find the spooky atmosphere entertaining. The silent white screen used as a transition to the flashbacks was a nice effect, and I enjoyed the hallucinations the poor doomed kid had while trapped in the hotel. It was hard to tell what was real at times.

There were some bugs. All of the characters turn into Dink when you push (the kid into a small version of him due to the size setting). Characters' thoughts are represented by text at the top of the screen, which is fine except that the texts can overlap and become unreadable. I had this same problem when I chose to have most text display at the bottom of the screen in my D-Mod "Dinkgon Warrior," which should come out tomorrow; I got around it by killing any sprite with brain 8 (text) before displaying new text.


He's so cute! I just have to pet him!

A bigger problem I ran into is that if you go from the second-to-last screen to the last too quickly, much of the end sequence takes place with the screen faded down. I could still tell what was going on, though, because the characters pretty much narrate it.


If you say so.

One thing bugs me about this series - why does everyone use the phrase "middle night," as in "I'm pretty sure it's middle night?" They mean midnight, right? They must; the phrase "middle night" is so uncommon that the D-Mod itself is on the first page of results on DuckDuckGo. It drives me up a wall.

You should play "Day After the Middle Night" if you like story-based D-Mods and especially if you played the original and were at all interested in its story.
January 5th 2015, 03:14 AM
spike.gif
scratcher
Bard Male Finland bloop
cigarette bonca 
I liked Corporate Managerialism. I just had to dig up an old PM regarding the contest, and... yep, placed it 4th, ahead of Likko and Middle Night. The quality of the contest was indeed high, though, especially when it comes to the top two entries.
January 5th 2015, 06:21 AM
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yeoldetoast
Peasant Female Australia steam
discord.gg/Ukugfbh 
I was trying for a subtle "parallel universe" sort of theme and was quite angry at the time I was writing the scripts for whatever reason. I just sort of gave up development partway through and made unnecessarily difficult things as part of an attempt at longevity because I ran out of time. I didn't even bother testing it to see if the ending works, and there's absolutely no skill involved in winning.

Always write design documents beforehand!
January 5th 2015, 06:40 AM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
Good advice.

I liked it anyway, though.
January 6th 2015, 04:58 PM
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iplayDINK
Peasant Male Sweden steam
Hmm.. 
Feels so bizzare to read these texts about my dmods, really brings me back! It feels like it was ages ago I made all that stuff, and for me it kind of is, I was 15 back then and had no skills in writing, programming or digital art. I just made it up as I went along, it's a miracle I ended up with something as relativly good as Three Amulets!
But yeah it kind of ebbed out towards the end because I ran out of steam and didn't have an ending..
"Always write design documents beforehand!"

Also I had forgotten about the mind reading well, that's still funny to me!
January 6th 2015, 11:37 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
318: Furball Author: MsDink Release Date: June 9, 2010
"Your cat just disappeared right in front of my eyes."

REPUTATION NOTE: This D-Mod is one of the select group with a score of 9.0 or better (9.0) on The Dink Network. There's only one review, but it still counts.

This D-Mod is recommended in Dink Smallwood HD.

MsDink is like Ms. Pac-Man, except she makes graphics and D-Mods instead of eating dots. Oh, and Ms. Pac-Man probably doesn't live in New Zealand. Other than that, they're exactly the same.

"Furball" came in third in the contest. There was a significant division in points between the top three and the bottom three entries. MsDink's D-Mod earned its ranking on the strength of its mapping, which looks very nice. There are some fun new graphics, particularly the beds with the forum avatars of various Dinkers on them, but what's most interesting is the creative use of the regular Dink graphics. Spatters of blood or water are mixed into grass and dirt sprites in such a way as to make a new kind of flower bed. Little details like a visible stone doorstep while indoors make "Furball" fun to look at.


This limestone path is made out of the usual rock sprites.


This especially rustic cabin is my favorite of the D-Mod's sights.

In "Furball," boncas, jealous of the attention and pampering humans give to pets, are using time travel to wipe out cats. It's implied that they've already taken care of dogs; even so, I have a hard time believing people wouldn't take to treating ducks and pigs as beloved pets rather than adopt a bonca. Then again, the boncas aren't too bright. They spend most of their scenes bickering about whether or not the lead bonca is fat. Dink must stop the boncas before it's too late and his own cat Furball winks out of existence.


These boncas are extremely mistaken.

How can Dink stop time-traveling boncas? Blowing up the portals they use seems to do the trick, but Dink must first find bombs. Most of the bombs and portals are found by burning down trees. There is a portal that you have to walk on water to reach, but there's a very clear visual hint indicating where you can cross. It's a simple game, and I didn't have a hard time finding anything. The only place I got a little stuck was at the start. There's a point where you've been told to go talk to the Wizard Martridge, but he doesn't want to talk to you yet. It turns out that you have to talk to ANOTHER character who also tells you to go talk to Marty before he'll say anything. This is an unfortunate little design oversight, but not a big deal.

The dialogue in this D-Mod is quite cheeky, and I got some giggles out of it. Dink gripes at his lazy wife, who would rather stay in bed all day than do any cooking (to be fair to her, she rightly points out they don't have a kitchen). Martridge is more concerned with getting his lunch than helping Dink with the crisis. There's a gag throughout about how Dink would rather be in a D-Mod where he can kill stuff.


I mean, I GUESS. I don't see what the point is if I don't get to beat stuff up.


I'd correct the spelling here, but I don't want to be scratched, bit or kicked. >_>

I didn't see any bugs at all, not even depth dot errors, which is really impressive for a first D-Mod, even a relatively simple romp like this one. Also, I like kitties, and this D-Mod has kitties. Good prize.


What the... THE LIES ARE SPREADING! Did Iplaydink send you?
January 7th 2015, 03:33 AM
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Heh, I like that readme table thing. I just include it for fun and because it seems traditional, not because it's actually useful.
January 8th 2015, 06:12 AM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
319: The River Author: Synbi Release Date: June 9, 2010
"Is this the river's source? I doubt it, I can't see any treasure here."

Synbi was one of my beta testers on "Malachi the Jerk." If it weren't for him, I might well have released a version that crashed frequently on regular 1.08. Thanks again to him for that.

"The River" came in second place in the contest. It's quite a big D-Mod with sidequests and an interesting story, but I'm not sure it's really a non-combat D-Mod, despite the fact that you're hardly ever given the chance to strike anything.

Dink is at home with his live-in girlfriend when the taxman comes to collect. Dink can't pay, so the collector somehow takes Dink's fist as payment. Dink never does gain the ability to punch things in this adventure. As Dink despairs about being broke, his lover attempts to console him with a saying about treasure waiting at the end of the river. This works a little too well. She tries to explain that it's only a saying and that the river is probably just the metaphorical "river of life," but Dink's mind is made up. He is determined to follow the river just outside their house all the way to its source, where he is convinced he'll find incredible riches. Indeed, although Dink's journey takes him to several different places and leads him to pursue many different goals, you never stop following that river. You can even press the R key and Dink will tell you which way the river is flowing if it's in sight, which is handy because it doesn't appear to flow in any particular direction with those ol' water tiles.


There comes a point where the flow of the river can no longer be seen, but Dink presses on anyway.

The beginning is appropriate for a story that ends up being somewhat metaphorical itself. Dink may well be following the River of Life, as the four towns Dink stops in seem to represent different phases of his life. Early on, Dink acts with the impetuousness of youth, getting drunk and starting fights. Later, he settles down with a woman (another one, too bad for his girlfriend at the start) and works a regular, boring job in order to provide for her and himself. When Dink finally arrives at the river's source, he's told that he has become old, even though his journey couldn't have taken that much time if interpreted literally. Dink does find his treasure at the end of the river, but having come to the end of the River of Life, there is nothing left to do but die.


Death has the same theme song he did in "Initiation." I approve.

It does confuse the metaphor a bit that you can always backtrack. If you go all the way back to the start and talk to Dink's old girlfriend, she asks him if he's seeing someone else. He lies and tells her that he isn't. I really don't understand why. He's clearly established a new life and has no intention of ever returning; why doesn't he just own up to it?

Speaking of backtracking, I seem to have gotten ahead of myself. Along the way Dink faces some interesting challenges. He has to defend a town from monsters despite being unable to hit them (his actions later cause the destruction of the same town, so I guess it evens out). This segment is why I say "The River" isn't a non-combat D-Mod. You have to get the enemies to hit each other in order to kill them. When there's one left, you have to dodge them for a while as another character casts a spell. It's an interesting combat challenge - amusingly enough, the gameplay took me back to the time I challenged "Bill & Kill" - but it's a combat challenge nonetheless. I think the idea of the contest was to create D-Mods that did not require the player to defeat enemies.


I was impressed that the script covers the rare eventuality of the monsters wiping each other out simultaneously.

My biggest gripe with the D-Mod came around this point. There's yet another bar with patrons having a discussion in the background; here, they're debating politics. I really would prefer to avoid serious discussion of politics in a D-Mod, and this discussion annoyed me especially because I think the political opinions in question are kinda batty. Worse, the "debate" is one-sided and feels like a soapbox. I am tempted to argue against the points made here and present real-world examples of how the things this character implies would create an ideal society reliably make things much worse in practice, but I'd only be doing the same thing that got on my nerves when the D-Mod did it. These writeups aren't the place for this sort of thing either. At least you're not required to interact with this character.

There are several side objectives in this D-Mod. At the end, you receive a score based on how many of these objectives you completed. Some of the stuff you have to do to get the best rating is really obscure, and I can't imagine getting it before finding out what the criteria are in the ending unless you use the walkthrough, as I did. There were a couple of parts where it wasn't clear what to do to progress the story. I'm thinking particularly of a spot where a character tells you to meet them at the bar, and nothing happens until you walk to a totally unrelated screen. But then, my threshold for how stuck I have to get to check a walkthrough is unusually low because of the sheer volume of D-Mods I'm going through. Anyway, one of the sidequests involves making a deal with the devil, but backing out. If you go through with it, you get the bad ending.


Striker cameos in this ending. "Back from the Grave" references abound.

A considerable amount of time is taken up by the segment where you have to plant, harvest and sell crops to make enough money to pay off a house. It's a good hike to the places where you can get the best prices. Slowing you down further are occasional crop failures and Dink's old nemesis the taxman, who taxes your income every ten days (you pass a day by resting, and each crop takes a certain number of days to grow). In addition to buying the house, you can also pay to furnish it, which is one of the sidequests that contributes to your final score. The farming segment gets a little tedious, but I appreciated the new gameplay wrinkle. Besides, I think it had to be a little tedious to portray the part of Dink's life where he becomes a more responsible adult. It worked well.


This is what the house looks like when fully furnished.

I liked the atmosphere of this D-Mod. The map looked good, and the MIDI selections were excellent. Toward the end, there's a very cool segment set in an alternate dimension, where the groovy-looking space background shifts around oddly. I had to include a screenshot of this.


Yes it is.

I know the ending sounds like a downer, but I found it oddly uplifting. Dink does seem disappointed, but in the end he got to accomplish what he was trying to do all along - he was able to satisfy that urge that drove him onward, whatever his circumstances were. That's more than most can say. In the end, maybe the only treasure that matters is self-actualization. Hell, Dink is directly told something similar at one point.


And how can he be dissatisfied with a score like that? Death is probably going to give me a star and a half if he's feeling generous.
January 8th 2015, 06:18 AM
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Skurn
Peasant Equatorial Guinea steam duck bloop
can't flim flam the glim glam 
The River? More like RIVER OF STARS.

I bet it's better than that faker series Star Ocean too.
January 8th 2015, 09:59 AM
spike.gif
scratcher
Bard Male Finland bloop
cigarette bonca 
I was one of those who found the River's ending utterly depressing. Just reading about it again pisses me off. Other than that, though, a good dmod.
January 9th 2015, 03:58 AM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
320: Agatha Smallwood's Will Author: Iplaydink Release Date: June 9, 2010
"There is a time in the life of every man when they feel they aren't needed anymore"

This D-Mod is recommended in Dink Smallwood HD.

"Agatha Smallwood's Will" won the Non-combat Contest with two first-place votes and a second-place vote.

Dink is long past his heroic days and lives only for food and booze. Tragically, he finds that he's run out of both as well as money. As luck would have it, that's when he receives a letter. He ignores it and starves to death about a week later.


No! Dink actually embarks upon a noble quest, as you can see.

Wait, no, that's just one of the bad endings, sorry. Once the player gets over their urge to be a smartass, Dink finds out that his aunt Agatha (named in honor of crime novelist Agatha Christie), yet another one of those unknown aunts he always seems to have, has died and left him a lot of money... if he can find it. A treasure hunt ensues with a vague trail of clues, I guess so that she could enjoy imagining his frustration in her final days. While Dink searches, he is pursued by Agatha's son, who is angry at being left out of the will and determined to take the money for himself.


Let's dig for buried treasure!

"Agatha" is a true non combat D-Mod, all about little clues and puzzles, all of which were pretty reasonable. I didn't use a walkthrough, and I only got stuck once, at a spot where you're required to interact with a bush in a non-standard way. There's a timed puzzle near the end with a few separate parts, but you're given plenty of time to work it out.


Courage, Dink! You can figure out this fiendish riddle!

There are a bunch of new graphics in this D-Mod, most of which are made by the author. There are also new sound effects, including a different footsteps sound depending on the surface you're walking on. I like how these details come together in a section where Dink wades through shallow water using a "rubber boots" item. You hear a sloshing and see the ripples left behind in the water. These kinds of details are rare in Dink games.


Yey!

The most important item in "Agatha" is the shovel. In addition to the places where you're required to use it (for example, digging up the final treasure), you can also use it in spots where there's a slight discoloration on the ground to find little piles of extra treasure. This doesn't really have any effect on anything, though. You do receive a count of how many treasures you found at the end, so you can try to get them all if you want, but you'll get nothing other than seeing it say "15 out of 15." It also counts how many chickens you kill for some reason.

This could use an update to fix some typos. At least, I'm pretty sure the author didn't mean to tell us that the antagonist's house was "north af here."

"Agatha Smallwood's Will" is a fun, compact D-Mod that doesn't feel stretched out at any point. I think it won the contest because it presents gameplay that's about as far away from combat as you can get. I think this sort of puzzle-based story was probably what was intended when the non-combat theme was proposed in the first place.

321: Fate of Destiny (Demo) Author: Ex-DeathEvn Release Date: June 9, 2010
"Another summons for me to either complete some petty tasks or save the world."

There have been several releases lately that are the only D-Mod released by a community fixture. You all know Ex-Death, he does those LPs and whatnot.

Now then, time to boot up another D-Mod... ho hum. Ho HUM, y'all. 321 of 'em now, blast off. Let's see what kind of title screen pops up this time:


What? Volcanic... really? Am I really looking at this?


What happened to your other leg there, Robj? Do you need help with that? Or with your cookies?


Okay, THERE we go.

"Fate of Destiny" isn't a contest entry, but I didn't forget to change the date. It really did come out on the same day as the contest entries.

At the start, Dink is summoned by some wizards again. Why does this always happen? Aren't there any other heroes they could abduct without their consent? How come they never catch him in the bath or having some of that sex he's supposedly always having (come to think of it, I think one of these intros very nearly had the latter happen)? I'm not even commenting on anything the D-Mod itself doesn't comment on. Dink's attitude is very much "Oh, this again." He tries to guess which of the common settings he's about to be transported to - a desert? A cave? A forest? The wizards want Dink to deal with yet another Ancient ("Haven't I delt with all of those in some way?"), but this time they want him to resurrect an Ancient instead of killing one. Without explaining why, how, or much of anything really, they poof Dink away. It's implied that they're not being all that straight with him, which is interesting.


The new status bar for this D-Mod isn't bad, but I really don't care for this inventory screen at all.

Dink has no idea what to do, and neither does the player. I wandered around without any purpose at all for several minutes before finding a blind lady who gives Dink his next instructions. He must go to a cave (he called it) and fight a big boss slime to retrieve a potion. The cave is full of slimes, but I doubt anybody but famed fight-em-all enthusiast Ex-DeathEvn himself would fight them all. Anyway, I really disliked the MIDI in there and didn't want to hang around. The boss generates little slimes every time you hit it, but it's really nothing to worry about.


When you beat the slime boss, you get this 8-way fireball spell. Instead of flying until they hit something, however, these fireballs have a limited range.

More worth worrying about from Dink's perspective: when he gets back, the lady betrays him and runs off with the potion (I think?). Dink, angry and hurt, still has no idea what's going on. The trend of unreliable expository characters in this game is an interesting one, but we don't get to see where it goes because the demo ends there. There's a large unfinished section of map for you to explore, but nothing for you to do there.

The interesting thing about this D-Mod is the Quest Log. Several D-Mods now have had this type of feature, but in "Fate of Destiny," each log entry is a full-screen image with text in a book plus an image of the location where the events took place. It's pretty neat-lookin'. The entries tie into the story well as Dink tries to work out what's going on. This would be enough to keep me interested in this game if there were more of it to play.


Is he... singing in his journal? That Dink is an odd fellow.

322: A False Hero Author: Skorn Release Date: June 25, 2010
"What can I say? I'm the best! Of course I survived."

Well, it works, and some of the screens look kinda good until Dink clips in front of or behind things he shouldn't, so I guess it isn't quite DFMAOB bad. But lord, it isn't good.

The description says that "A false hero is killing people who he thinks might be a threat to him. Dink is one of them." That isn't a bad idea for a plot. A villain who has convinced people he's a hero could be interesting. Unfortunately, the only way I know about this plot is by reading the description. There's a murderer in the D-Mod, but no indication of why he kills or that he's a "False Hero."


Fire is so dull!

We join Dink as he discovers everyone has been murdered. He's particularly upset about the death of a woman named Margret - a lover, perhaps? We know nothing about her and have never even seen her alive, so it's not particularly affecting. Dink wanders around the carnage, which is fairly well-crafted. Houses are burning. There are some lovely piles of bodies and a corpse with an axe sticking out of it and blood running down the hill. There's a dude with a skull for a head impaled upon a tree. There's a megapotion or two to find. Unfortunately, depth dot errors mar the majority of the sprites, causing Dink to pop in front of or behind everything in undesirable ways. Furthermore, there are quite a few hardness errors. One of them makes it possible to reach the ending slightly faster by walking across a screen barrier from a house interior to a cave, in case you're itching to speedrun this.


Noooo! Whoever you were!

Eventually I stumbled upon the house with the sole surviving NPC in it. He says that the killer - he goes by the name of "Black Tooth" - is in the basement. This makes no sense, but whatever. The killer is the only enemy you've got to fight, and he doesn't fight back in any way. Once you kill him, Dink congratulates you and then freezes. He's supposed to dispense some good advice ("Now go play some better DMODs."), but the script involved is long dead by that point. "A False Hero" is very short and very pointless, although I've played shorter and more pointless D-Mods. Not recommended at all.
January 9th 2015, 07:04 AM
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ExDeathEvn
Peasant Male New Zealand xbox steam
Don't look at me, I'm a ghost 
I enjoyed ASW, was quite an enjoyable Dmod.
Also you appear to have messed up your formatting codes near the end of that one, two paragraphs and the 321. are linked to Chickens for some mysterious reason...

As for false hero, I don't think anything else needs to be said.

Oh hey, my own Dmod!
That first title screen was inspired by that volcano rock sprite thing from Breath of Fire 3, which I had been playing a lot of lately around that time. Battles in that game appear in relation to the direction you are facing on a diagonal, and that's the sprite from when you encounter it from a northern direction... Still, was nice to have a pre-titlescreen intro for a change so I added that in. The current indev version doesn't replay the cutscene after the first attempt though and cycles random backgrounds to that titlescreen.

I haven't looked at the demo version available on the site in some time, but I've reworked a lot of the initial areas and keep backtracking as I go and change things. It's been an ambitious project, certainly.

That firespin is meant as a defensive spell, after rewriting Rabidwolf9's Firespin with his help. If they weren't short-range it would be a bit too powerful, though as it is it makes for a very effective follow-up to punching something and backing away, or for when you're getting swarmed (like in those slime caves).

Dink is meant to drink the potion once he gets back, which knocks him out cold for a time. It's part of the storyline for a reason though.
Glad you liked the questlog images Not entirely sure why I added that rhyming thing to that page either though, guess I just didn't want too much blank space on the page for that one.

I have been considering reworking the statusbar and inventory screen completely for that at some point, but to be fair I've also been procrastinating or working on other projects instead... Fate of Destiny's been on the backburner for a while due to development issues I've had trouble fixing.
I do intend to go back to it... I've tried fixing the bugs I've run into every so often during development, but it's not so easy when you're not sure what the problem is and it has nothing to do with the scripting.
January 9th 2015, 03:50 PM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
Thank you, I fixed the chickens link. Every once in a while I type "[/i]" instead of the closing "a" html bracket. No idea why.
January 10th 2015, 04:04 AM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
323: Smallwood-Man! (Unfinished) Author: Skorn Release Date: August 9, 2010
"I see you are still kinda an asshole."

"Smallwood-Man!" shows the most promise out of the three D-Mods released by High Fructose Skorn Syrup, and definitely has the most content. Still, it's seriously unfinished. Like "Icelands," it feels like development stopped at a random point, and no effort was made to clean it up for release.

Dink is a major-league asshole in this D-Mod. He owns slaves! He's a huge dick to them, but he's almost as big of a dick to people he doesn't own, so I guess that's to be expected. Dink finds out that his garden has been infested with pillbugs. After he yells at a female slave for not taking care of the problem herself, you have to kill them. One of the pillbugs moves really fast, but it's otherwise normal. After you kill the pillbugs, you get a huge stat boost - attack becomes 55 and defense 25. Apparently this was a rare kind of pillbug, previously thought extinct, that makes you super buff after you kill them. Well, okay.


Dink doesn't feel much remorse about potentially killing the last member of a pillbug species.

There isn't a lot to do after that. There's a pretty sizable new area you can travel to, but the only thing that feels like a plot event is a wizard who steals your newfound strength away. After you've met him, there's nothing to do but wander around. There isn't an ending, not even a "there's nothing more to see" type text. Like "Icelands," it's just a stub of a D-Mod, but at least there's more to see and do this time around.

It does have some nice points. The mapping looks pretty interesting. The seasonal trees from "Cycles of Evil" add a bit of color. GOKUSSJ6's wood status bar is used. The enemies have healthbars, an elegant effect that I sure wouldn't mind seeing become the standard (not knowing how long it's gonna take to kill something is annoying). Dink's jerkery can be kind of funny. There are some great MIDIs used.


Those pillbugs are healthy. Better fix that!



Boy, is this ever buggy and unfinished, though. The intro replays every time you visit the starting screen. Hardness errors are common and often extreme - there are whole walls you can just walk right through. Sprites with depth dots that make no sense are more common than not. Just by talking to the arms dealer, you automatically get two swords. The stronger one does nothing but make quacking noises when you try to attack with it, but the value in its arm procedure is higher than the one in its disarm procedure, so you can get as much strength as you want by arming it over and over again. A couple of screens lack borders where the map was left unfinished. There's a screen that locks when you enter it but doesn't allow you to reach the enemy, leaving you stuck. One screen contains an object that has a note from the author to himself, reminding him to add a second floor to the building. There's an NPC who leaves you frozen if you try to talk to him.


The gnome is quoting a Christopher Lloyd line from the movie Suburban Commando, but he might also be warning you about what happened when he tried to talk to the guy at the middle table.

"Smallwood-Man" isn't in a very playable state, and there's not much to do anyway, but it's still the best of the D-Mods released by Skorn. It might have been worth recommending if it had been finished.

--

During the considerable gap between "Smallwood-Man" and "Pinky the Pig," RTSoft released Dink Smallwood HD, also known as Dink Smallwood version 1.09, for iPhone, Android, Windows and Macintosh computers. Seth even got original Dink artist Justin Martin to do some new graphics for the interface and such. Dink HD has new features including autosave, quicksave and the ability to speed up the game by holding the tab key, a fantastic feature that made it into FreeDink, where I use it all the time.

Because the hated tyrants at Apple have declared enjoyment and fun to be their sworn enemies, the iPhone version initially had no support for D-Mods, but it was added later. (Does it still support D-Mods? I'm unclear on this.)

It's cool that Dink is now available on phones and tablets, and although Mac users could already play the game using FreeDink, Dink HD seems to be the most popular way to play the game on that platform because it's on the Mac App Store. Windows users, on the other hand, seem to have stuck with either the original or FreeDink for the most part. This is because Dink HD has compatibility problems with some D-Mods.

It's hard to tell what these compatibility problems are, exactly. There's no list of the exact differences between versions that cause problems. Nobody has really gone through and determined which D-Mods have problems in Dink HD either, so you're kind of rolling the dice by choosing to play a D-Mod with that version. Lately, I've tried to make sure that my D-Mods work in Dink HD, but for a while they didn't and I had no idea why. I also miss the gamepad support, which isn't present in Dink HD.

There's another massive D-Mod project out there for anybody who wants to take it on - play all the D-Mods, but in Dink HD. You'll have an easier time than me - instead of having to write about them all, you'll only have to note where and how they don't work.

--

324: Pinky the Pig Author: JugglingDink Release Date: December 21, 2010
"Pigs are not Christmassy!"

Wow, it's another Christmas D-Mod! Seems like there are a bunch of these.

"Pinky the Pig" is a hilarious little romp. I laughed so hard. It just commits so fully to its ludicrous premise. Funniest D-Mod of 2010.


Probably the biggest laugh I had was just at the sight of Santa. I mean... LOOK at him!

After an odd intro in which the Dink Engine doesn't want to behave because it's a lazy hippy, Martridge magically kidnaps Dink in order to force him to cheer up his pig, Pinky. Pinky becomes sad every year at Christmastime, and nobody knows why because pigs can't talk. You might think that Marty could magically read the sow's mind or something, but no such luck. Poor Dink is stuck spending his Christmas Eve trying to find a way to talk to pigs. Dink asks the locals for help and ends up going to see Santa to ask for a Pig-to-English dictionary.

By the way, this is only the second D-Mod to use dnotalk.c to change the default "talking to nothing" text. Dink says Christmassy things now instead of declaring that he's bored or that he doesn't see anything here. He'll even randomly belt out a line from Mariah Carey's megahit Christmas single, "All I Want for Christmas is You."


Dink tenderly serenades Pinky. It doesn't help.

Speaking of Christmas songs, I must admit that I had trouble sitting through the MIDIs in this one. The "Jingle Bell Rock" MIDI used in most of the D-Mod was fun at first, but began to grate after a while. The "Frosty the Snowman" MIDI used in the North Pole area, however, is torture. Just torture.

There are several steps Dink has to go through to bring Pinky some Christmas cheer, but mostly it boils down to going around and talking to everybody. There are a couple of parts where you have to wade through some pillbugs (they declare that Dink will be their Christmas feast), but you can mostly ignore them or kill them easily. For a D-Mod about going around and talking to people, though, it's well-done. Everybody has something new to say at each new point in the story, and it's worth talking to everybody each time to see Dink, who seems to be kind of odd in the head, troll the townsfolk. I particularly enjoyed talking to people right after getting the Pig dictionary. Dink tries out his best Pig phrases on everybody for some reason.


Dink:I was definately not oinking, you must be going insane
Old Guy: Again? It was bad enough the first time! Oh well...


It turns out that Pinky is sad because nobody pays attention to her on Christmas, and she doesn't get any decorations. You have to find her some baubles, a tree, and a male pig to be her companion. It's an easy enough request to accommodate.


Dink: friend to pigs everywhere.

I just have to quote some more of the dialogue. One of my favorite exchanges comes when Dink, who requires a magical stone to get to Santa, has to ask a vicar for help. The vicar wants Dink to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, but Dink decides to see if there's any way he can reduce the number of steps involved.

Dink: Is that the only way you'll give me the stone?
Vicar: I'm afraid so, child
Dink: What if I killed you and stole the stone?
Vicar: I'm afraid that would be quite pointless, as I can not die
Dink: Aw... Seriously?
Vicar: Yes, the lord protects me and keeps me well
Dink: I suppose I'd better start wishing everyone a merry Christmas then, hadn't I?


I love how... pragmatic this whole exchange is. Dink's all like, but what if I kill you? And he's all like, nope, I don't have any hitpoints. And Dink's all bummed out and has to go get festive.


Honestly, I think the locals would rather he didn't.

I highly recommend "Pinky the Pig" for a good laugh. It won't take up much of your time. There's only 39 screens. If you don't feel like playing it now, give it a shot during the holidays.

--

Well, that's 2010 in the bag. There were some substantial D-Mods that year! "Three Amulets," "Grasp of Darkness," "The River" and especially "Historical Hero" were quite beefy. Quite a few of the romps were on the more substantial side of that spectrum as well. 2007 may have had a lot of D-Mods released, but many of them were extremely short; I think that 2010 definitely had more total D-Mod content.

As of right now, there are 28 D-Mods left to cover. See you soon for those.
January 10th 2015, 05:12 AM
pq_frog.gif
Skurn
Peasant Equatorial Guinea steam duck bloop
can't flim flam the glim glam 
Pillars + tiny fences = ladder. Of course, it doesn't do anything in this unfinished game.


It's uh...not a ladder. It's keeping the church up there.
January 10th 2015, 05:21 AM
pq_knight.gif
ExDeathEvn
Peasant Male New Zealand xbox steam
Don't look at me, I'm a ghost 
No award ratings this time? :c Oh well.
But hey, you're so close you can almost smell the finish line! And it's been a hell of a project that you've undertaken.

Looking forward to the final stretch!
January 10th 2015, 05:26 AM
custom_coco.gif
CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
Oh, I see it now. It looked like a ladder to me at the time. Eh, I'll just take that caption out.
January 10th 2015, 05:30 AM
pq_frog.gif
Skurn
Peasant Equatorial Guinea steam duck bloop
can't flim flam the glim glam 
No, it's better than the dumb shit I came up with.