Paid what I could! Thank you so much for making these amazing games. Crypt Worlds was a big influence in my teenage years and I can't wait to play the sequel, and the other two games also sound lovely. Stay safe, and much love.
Fundraiser for Zoë's Psoriatic Arthiritis
A downloadable park for Windows and Linux
Hi folks! I'm Zoë, also known on Twitter as @spinnylights. My partner Lily and I have been working side-by-side for years developing games together. Sadly, I've recently developed an autoimmune disorder that has made it extremely hard for me to use a computer keyboard, game controller, or MIDI controller. This has stopped my development work in its tracks by and large, because I take care of both the music and the heavy duty programming. I also work 50/50 with Lily on the writing and game design, which is hard to do without being able to type much. To raise funds so we can get some equipment that might help me, Lily and I have decided to make our in-progress games available to the general public for the first time, on a pay-what-you-wish basis.
I'm still waiting to see a rheumatologist for a definitive diagnosis, but my GP thinks it's probably psoriatic arthritis. It's causing pain and stiffness in my joints, especially my hands and feet. It's also affecting my nails and tendons, causing pain and sensitivity in my fingertips and wrists and making it hard to press buttons.
The two main things we hope to get are
a keyboard that I might be able to use less painfully (done ^__^ ty) and a recumbent exercise bike so I have a way to stay in shape; as a long shot it would great if we could get a MIDI controller with light enough action that I could actually still play it. There are also a few little things, like a mic stand for the sake of computer voice control and a pastry cutter so I can get back to making biscuits and pie crusts. Of course, we'll also need to pay for bus fares, co-pays, and medication in the course of my treatment. This is all new to me so there will probably be other costs we can't predict now. We already live month-to-month on extremely thin margins so we don't have enough extra income to cover these sorts of things as-is.
These three games are all works in progress, but they each have enough done on them to be played for hours or days. Each one is also in a different genre, so there should be something to suit a wide variety of tastes.
EPISODE 0 - SONG OF HOMUNCULUS: This started out as a casual side project of Lily's back in 2016, but over time it became a larger and much more ambitious project as we both began to work on it. It's an RPG with a top-down perspective, party members and inventory, turn-based combat in a sense, etc. The emphasis is largely on the narrative and aesthetic aspects of RPGs although you might be surprised at some of its more mechanical features. It's mostly done at this point and much of our recent efforts have gone towards finishing it. There's a lot to do in this game, maybe even days worth of gameplay, with lots of small "quests" and some big ones too. We've had an extremely entertaining time writing the scripts for it and hopefully you'll find them similarly entertaining to play through.
EPISODE 3 - CRYPT UNDERWORLD: The sequel to Lily's 2013 game Crypt Worlds. Right now the environments are mostly done and a smattering of the games mechanics are there—you can piss, bop things around, grow plants, etc. Some of the characters have dialogue, others don't yet. We have big stories planned out for some of the characters, but they have yet to be implemented at the moment. This is mostly an exploration game right now but there is a lot of terrain to explore and Lily has done breathtaking work on the graphics.
EPISODE 5 - THE LAST CAR: A 3D physicsy game where you play as the last car on Earth in the distant future. Being a car, you can certainly drive around on the ground, but you can also move in a lot of other ways. This game has a lot of emphasis on pure aesthetic enjoyment in all the ways a 3D game can provide. There are many ways to change the car's behavior, different environments with a variety of geometry, characters, and sound, physics-enabled objects you can knock around, bounce off of, carry with you, etc. This game is maybe 75% done. We have an ending planned out but it's not in yet, and I have plans to redo the music system to provide more emergent behavior and interaction with the other parts of the game. We also have a few more items we'd like to add and other such things. In the current state though I think the game is a great pleasure to play already—both Lily and I often start it up just to play with it for a while because it feels very good. It's easy to make very entertaining videos with and we suspect it might be great fun to speedrun once the ending is done.
As a quick disclaimer, these are all works-in-progress, and are provided to you "as is" and without warranty of any kind, express, implied or otherwise, including without limitation any warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. I worked hard (and painfully -_-) yesterday fixing the worst bug I know of in any of these games, but will probably still be some glitches, crashes, inescapable states, etc. If you find things like this feel free to tell me if you want (my Twitter is a good place).
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Paid what I could, even if it wasn't a lot. Keep it weird!
As someone with an autoimmune disorder myself, I hope you can get proper treatment soon! Can't wait to enjoy these games :)
(from zoë) thanks, i hope you enjoy!! ^__^ i do too—i've had a couple appts by now but still have yet to see a rheum, the coronavirus is making things harder :/ it's happening bit by bit though
I donated a bit to help! i really hope things get better for ya both and thank you for the amazing games. you two brought me a lot of joy!
I found out about Liliths' games after Vinny from Vinesauce played and streamed Crypt Worlds back in 2013, and I was blown away by the unique style and dreamlike aesthetics it had. I only just found out today that you guys were working on a sequel, funnily enough due to Vinny streaming it and mentioning a fundraiser. I donated a some money towards the treatment, if only to get a sneak peek at Underworlds, but I sincerely hope everything works out for Zoë! Thank you for making these interesting and frankly bizzare worlds for us to explore!
What kind of computer keyboard were you looking to get? Something with very light switches, or something that's very adjustable for better ergonomics? I have a couple of very light keyboards that I wouldn't mind parting with if it would help
(from zoë) One of my friends actually got me a keyboard with very light linear switches the other day—I wanted to try it out for a bit to make sure it would work but so far it's still working pretty well so I think I'm probably good for now. I crossed it off the list for the time being. Thanks so much for the offer though, it's very sweet of you ^__^ If I start to feel like this keyboard isn't working out after all I'll let you know.
One thing I probably will need to get is some kind of arcade-stick-type game interface, because I still can't really stand to hold down the buttons on this board for long and I'm having little luck with gamepads either. Makes it hard to playtest stuff :/ I might just get a soldering iron and try to make my own since that seems like the cheapest approach.
Hey quick question-I'm having trouble opening up Song of Homunculus. I just get this screen. Sorry for bothering you I'm bad with computers. Many thanks!
(from zoë) No worries, you're right to bring this to our attention! I probably won't be able to get back to you until this evening, but in the meantime, is that file (`GetFileSize.dll`) at the specified location (`C:\Users\Paul\Downloads\Song Of Homunculus\lib\`)? To get there easily, you should be able to open a File Explorer window (press Win+E), copy and paste that `C:\Users\...` path into the bar near the top of the window that says "Quick Access", then press Enter. Feel free to reply with a screenshot if you're not sure of anything.
Yeah, it's in there.
Thank you so much for doing this!
Oh it's Windows 10 64-bit. I think the 64-bit is the problem?
64-bit should be fine (unless you have a very particular reason for suspecting that)—that DLL should work on 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. You're running a more recent version of Windows than the library was compiled on, though, and I do wonder if something changed in an update that's causing problems. I would be kind of surprised, since it's very a simple library and Microsoft is pretty attentive to backwards compatibility, but if you're willing to build the library on your end it would be great to rule that possibility out.
The easiest way would probably be to install Visual Studio Community, then download this source archive and extract it wherever you like. If you then open the extracted GetFileSize directory and double-click on `GetFileSize.sln`, it should open in Visual Studio. From the menu bar, select Build -> Rebuild Solution. You should then be able to find the file `GetFileSize.dll` in the `Release` directory within `GetFileSize`. Replace `SongOfHomunculus/lib/GetFileSize.dll` with this new file, then try running ~Song of Homunculus~ and see if anything changes.
I can also walk you through using mingw if you would prefer not to install Visual Studio. If this seems like too much work, also, let me know and we can try a different tack.
Made a small donation for your awesome weird games!
Hey! These games are awesomely weird. I wanted to throw some support your way. Here's a video I made from some of the stream highlights last night.
I hope you're able to get the treatment you need and continue making super weird games! I love the work you and Lily do!
The games you make always make me so happy, I truly hope this fundraiser will help you. Thank you for everything you do and I wish you the best of luck !
I made a small donation, hope that helps.
A suggestion: CRYPT UNDERWORLD art style is unique. You could try recording a 1-2h video course or video step by step of your process and you could try publishing on Udemy or Skillshare. I know some creators that did something similar and could quickly raise some more money.
(from zoë) thank you! and yeah, that's an interesting idea—the graphics are lily's wheelhouse so she would be the one to do something like that probably, we talked about it some but i'm not sure how comfy she would be doing it…we'll definitely think about it though, there might be a way we could work together on it to make the process doable
The worlds you two create bring me so much joy. I am thankful that despite your suffering you still manage to put out great art. :) Here's hoping that this fundraiser is successful.
(from zoë) awwww thank you, i'm so glad ^__^ yeah, there's been a lot of gritting my teeth; lily's been really supportive too which helps a lot (and she's been picking up a lot of the slack this month)—we're both really determined, i don't think we'd stop at anything if we could help it at all ;D
I hope that you will get enough from this fundraiser. You both are amazing. Thank you for what you do.
good luck with the arth ritis. the troubles that can assail the body are dreadful
(from zoë) yah i feel like i can barely do anything rn ｡ﾟ(*´□`)ﾟ｡ i can only type in short bursts, i haven't played a single game for weeks, it's like all i can do is sit there (｡ì ‸ í｡) i'm really hopin i respond to meds okay once i get them
there are some medicines that can help, but beware the risk of side effects
(from zoë) yah i'm still waiting on rheum, we'll have to see what they say…the immune suppression stuff is kinda scary but my immune system isn't working so great rn anyway so :/ i recently got an infection bad enough to leave a scar from a cut so tiny i didn't notice it for like half an hour…at that point i'm like, i guess it's squandering the resources it has attacking my cartilage and stuff anyhow
Not the best of circumstances I reckon - hope the fundraiser gets some exposure here and there.
Best of luck and thanks for all your hard work!