A Brief Diversion

Play with Fire - On Sale Now!

Lloviendofuego Ready to burn things to the ground? You can now download the demo of Play with Fire from Manifesto Games here!

You can turn the demo into the full game by buying an unlock code - and please do! If you want to see more original, unusual and inventive games, you need to support the indie developers who are the only people in a position to make these sorts of games (see the Indie Games Bazaar in the sidebar).

Most mainstream developers are now locked into a vortex of spiraling development costs where risk-averse publisher buying strategies dictate making more of the same but with fancier graphics and licensed IP. A few new things manage to survive the system, but they tend to get rarer each year. Let's try something different for a change!

Oh, and just so you know, we made Play with Fire for less than 1% of the budget of a typical game. For every humdrum videogame film tie-in you see, publishers could have funded a hundred games like this.

Also, if you blog, please help pimp Play with Fire for us. You can get screenshots from the Manifesto site. We need your help!

A few minor issues... the Manifesto page doesn't currently show the Fantasy Labs logo - they are the developer of this game, International Hobo are just the design team. Will get this fixed as soon as I can. Also, a couple of versions of Windows XP shipped by Microsoft are inexplicably missing a key dll for directX 9.0c. If this affects you, the missing file (d3dx9_30.dll) can be downloaded from here.

I hope you enjoy the game, and if you do - tell your friends!

Regular blogging will resume on Tuesday - see you then!


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I bought this yesterday even though puzzle-y things aren't usually my cup of tea -- it looks like fun. Best of luck with it.

Why did you go the 1 hour limit on the demo (rather than, say, offering only the first 5 levels), if you don't mind me asking?

Greg Costikyan suggested the one hour limit, and I agreed to it. To do a level-limited demo would have required more work from the team, and could have put Master back several weeks, which I didn't want. We needed to get it finished.

Plus, this way we could ship the entire game as the demo and just use unlock codes. The other way would have meant players downloading a 50 meg demo, followed by a 70 meg game which just seemed unnecessary.

I feel with this game that one hour is long enough for players to decide if this is a game they might enjoy. You can see quite a lot in an hour of Play with Fire, but it still leaves plenty left for anyone who is having a good time.

Thanks for buying a copy! And no, I don't mind you asking - I am happy to answer any question on just about any topic, although some questions take longer to answer than others. :)

May I ask, how was the experience of a one hour time-limited demo for you? It's interesting to see how decisions made in isolation affect real players. ;)

Best wishes!

To be honest, I didn't try the demo (and haven't played much of the full game). I'm beta-testing an indie RPG at the moment, which takes up a lot of time, but I wanted to show some support and it will be cool for some future rainy afternoon.

That said, I've disliked the 1 hour thing with other games. I've downloaded a couple of Trymedia games in the past with a 1 hour limit and that was a pain. Not so much because 1 hour itself wasn't enough...more because I was undecided with the purchase(s)at that moment and had other games in my queue, so I let it go for a bit. To come back a couple of weeks/months later with my interest piqued (you know how it is - you put something aside but later you think "Hey! I forget to get back to that xyz game!") and find you have 3 minutes and 12 seconds to have a second look is annoying.

It's probably not a big deal and you have other considerations to weigh up like the time factor, as you said. I don't understand why it requires 2 downloads, though? A lot of shareware titles get you to download the entire game but limit you to the first couple of levels.

It's not that it isn't possible, it's just an artefact of the way things are set up. The 1 hour limit is specified by the Manifesto installer. To limit the levels would have to be done by the development team. We went with the installer-based solution because it was the easiest. :)

Best wishes!

I had actually designed a set of demo levels that were not congruent with the lay-out of the actual game, but showcased a sort of level anthology. We decided not to use that though, for the reasons Chris described.

Thanks for buying a copy Dhruin!

I wonder how many people buy indie games other than people who work on indie games? ;)

Downloaded the demo and tried it. It's an interesting idea, though I haven't yet got used to the movement (for some inexplicable reason I expect AD to be slide rather than rotate, despite my FPS experiences).

The game needs cat-proofing before it can be played at Chez Ozzard! Both cats regularly wander across the keyboard, and between them they have managed to find the key sequence for switching to wireframe view (which I haven't found a way of switching back) and managed to press the Home key three times while I was near the end of levels. Some form of (switchable?) confirmation on a level restart would be a bonus.

In all the QA process, cat proofing was never considered. :) Wireframe view is on one of the F keys - F2? F3? One or the other. Pressing Home when you don't want to is a pain, of course, but on some fields you do it so often that a dialogue box to confirm would also be annoying. Perhaps we should have made it Shift Home so that you didn't do it by accident? Hmmm...

I can't play it. When it starts, the fireball is in the middle of a big blue nothingness, with just the words "puzzle", "challenge" and "fun". When I try to move toward one of the words-hovering-in-nothingness, the game freezes up. I reinstalled DirectX to see if it would help. It didn't.

Mory: very disappointed to hear you're having technical problems with the game. Can you let us know your technical specs? (Graphics card etc.) It may be that your machine is just not up to the task, or it may be a compatibility issue.

Specs? Okay. It's a 930 Mhz Pentium 3, with an nVidia GeForce4 MX 440 (which is actually a version of the GeForce2, not the GeForce4.) I've got 256 MB of RAM. Hardly a powerful PC, but then it didn't sound like this game really needed a powerful PC.

If your graphics card is a variant of a GeForce2, this is probably the problem as I believe the game uses onboard functionality that comes with the later cards. Very sorry if this means you can't play the game. :(

Okay then. I'm not at a loss for other games to play.

Was really looking forward to tryiong this, but alas! It does not work on Vista! something about security...

I've tried all the compatibility options, but none of them work. Please help!

gdude2002: very sorry (but not wholly surprised) to hear that PwF doesn't work with Vista. Regrettably, the company that implemented the game doesn't exist any more so alas there's nothing I can offer. In order to get the game to work you'll need to use XP.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

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