Boomerang X’s Demo is Amazing

Boomerang X is a new first-person game from DANG! a studio in New York state that is also working on a game called IO Interloper that reminds me a little bit of Republique‘s surveillance camera hackery. Boomerang X feels a little bit more like playing Quake 3‘s railgun and messing with the timescale console command to give yourself as much time in the world as you like to obliterate your enemies while they’re running in slow motion.

I didn’t care much for the look of Boomerang X‘s screenshots, but once you get into the game the motion of the boomerang is very fun to watch as the player character whirls it around and then launches it through your weird insectoid foes. At first you’re just slicing through arenas with waves of enemies, like in the brilliant shooter Devil Daggers, and then hitting right click to teleport away from the ones that are chasing you. Pretty quickly the game shows you that the shift key turns on a slow-mo effect while you charge up your boomerang shot and that makes Boomerang X feel like a more brutal version of the Quake 3 timescale cheat.

Check out that demo with the Steam version it is incredibly fun and also has gamepad support.

Boomerang X is $20 on Steam for Windows or the Nintendo Switch.

The First C64 Demo That Doesn’t Run on the C64, Because it Runs on the C64 Floppy Drive

Are you keeping up with the Commodore?

Matthias Kramm just became a demo scene legend for creating the first Commodore 64 demo that doesn’t run on the Commodore 64. Kramm’s demo, Freespin, runs on the Commodore 1541, that’s the model of the Commodore‘s floppy drive.

The video and audio are both processed on the floppy drive, and Kramm explains everything on his blog including how he made the floppy drive generate a video signal, generated the music, loaded the demo into the floppy drive, and got around the flickering 50hz output of the C64’s monitor to record the video.

The global demoscene centers around creating audio and visual demonstrations that are either impressive for what they can do on limited hardware, or go far beyond limitations to do more than could be expected. So in that sense, it is maybe somehow less surprising that this would happen because of course after making demos fit into smaller and smaller amounts of storage or memory and other limitations the demoscene coders would eventually say “screw the C64, I’m going to run the demo on… the floppy drive!”

To someone who enjoys the demoscene results and will never make a demo, I’m still very impressed.

Terra Nil Looks Like a Beautiful World-Restorer

Restore all the biomes!

Terra Nil was originally a more pixelated prototype on itch, and is now a more full game with not-pixelated 2D art in development for Steam by the team called Free Lives who previously developed Broforce, but both versions of Terra Nil share a terrific idea the developer calls a “reverse city-builder.” Where you’re helping to restore a barren wasteland and then removing everything man-made in order to leave the environment better than you found it.

I checked out the free demo available as part of Steam’s E3-ish goings-on called Next Fest (running until the 22nd) where there are a lot of demos for download from upcoming games. This new version of Terra Nil is very interesting. Terra Nil involves a bit of planning ahead to determine the best course of actions in order to restore as much of the procedurally generated map as possible while balancing three different types of biomes. For example, you can place different structures to clean the land to make it arable and then irrigate it with the irrigator structure, but it turned out that you also need some irrigators near streams in order to make the wetland biome. There’s a whole lot of if you’ve done this in Terra Nil, then you can do that. It seemed overwhelming at first but after a bit it became clear that you’re not trying to be perfect, just a bit strategic in advance.

The natural scenes and sounds of the biomes in Terra Nil are also just very pleasant and relaxing. An almost perfect follow up to a chill Duolingo stream.

I’m looking forward to seeing where the Steam version of Terra Nil goes. There’s no release date or price yet but the developers say that while the demo is Windows-only they want to make the full game available on Mac and Linux as well. Free Lives have made versions of Terra Nil for all three operating systems with the name-your-price prototype on itch.

Lexaloffe Announces a New Fantasy Console for 2022

Lexaloffe’s Zep announced a new fantasy console today, Picotron is the third in their line after the original Pico-8 and the voxel-y goodness of Voxatron. According to the announcement we can expect an early alpha of Picotron in late 2022, and that the system is more focused on being a “practical and flexible development environment.”