Author Archives: Matt Roszak

The Big Journey

I’d like to take a moment to shill a mobile game that I actually like: The Big Journey!

As you’ve probably heard me mention before, I think that most mobile games are nothing but endless time wasters filled with micro transactions and horrible psychological exploits. (I blame casual gamers who don’t want to pay up front for anything)
But I like this one, so I’m doing my part to promote something good. It has actual level design, and no mobile bullshit. I also really love the art style and music, to the point where it might inspire the cartoony cutscenes in EBF5 a bit.
It’s not a masterpiece or anything, it’s just really good by mobile game standards, in my opinion. Also Sushi Cat is in it.

Anyway, it’s on iOS and Android for like $3 and takes around 2 or 3 hours to beat.

Plant Monsters

I’m still drawing monsters!

Back when I decided to continue doing these, the plan was to draw very quickly without overthinking it. But my drawings are starting to take some time to do, as I shade them in and start planning them a bit more. I’m still sticking to the “no eraser” and “no sketching” rules though. The point is just to get some silly ideas down quickly.

Which one is your favourite?


Rise of the Robots

I recently read “The Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of Mass Unemployment” by Martin Ford, and even though I’m already quite familiar with the topics covered, it was sobering to have all of the information together in book form.

Until now I’ve read a few books about the singularity and the threats posed by super-intelligent machines, but that’s all still in the fairly distant future. Rise of the Robots discusses major problems that will arrive within the next 10 and 20 years, and in many cases are already happening: Automation will soon put a huge proportion of the population out of work permanently and create wealth inequality like we’ve never seen before.

The important take away is that the production of goods is starting to rely only on capital and not on workers, meaning that anyone with a lot of financial resources can set up a factory or a datacenter and produce tons of goods and services with very few employees. This is easily visible when you look at the tiny amount of workers employed by tech giants like Google and Facebook – most of their infrastructure is already automated and requires very little human oversight. It’s very important to remember that the number of new jobs created by automation is a tiny fraction of the jobs being replaced, and not even engineering and science degrees will guarantee a decent job anymore.

One particularly relevant point to me was that the internet itself –  ”the great equaliser” - is a great source of inequality. The new digital jobs being created: eBay seller, blogger, YouTuber, indie game developer, etc… are extremely unequal, with only a tiny number of people actually making a decent living doing these. It’s a winner-takes-all situation, but the platform owner always gets his cut.

The book also sold me on universal basic income, as I don’t see any other way things can turn out well once 30% or more of the population is unemployable through no fault of their own. Fast food and transport industries are upcoming targets for automation, and they currently employ a massive number of people. Those jobs are over, and the economy as we know it can’t function without money in the hands of consumers.

Anyway, I strongly recommend the book, especially if you don’t follow tech news and don’t yet realise how for automation has advanced in recent years. It’s an easy read with clear explanations and is not overly technical or longer than it needs to be. There’s a many more eye-opening examples in there that I haven’t mentioned here.

Finland Blog 2

Hey guys, I’ve been in Finland for the last two weeks, mostly visiting Ronja’s friends and family in Helsinki and Turku, like last time. I don’t feel like writing about all that again, so I’ll just quickly note that I visited the zoo and Uspenski Cathedral, as far as major tourist destinations are concerned. Instead I’ve been taking mental notes about how Finland compares to the United Kingdom. So here’s a list of pros and cons:

• There’s tons of cyclists and cycling infrastructure. Renting bikes is cheap and there’s lots of cycling paths. Cycling is viable way of getting around cities here.
• You’re allowed to drink alcohol in public! This makes picnics a viable social activity.
• People in Finland are on average very fit. There’s no obesity epidemic around there like in the UK.
• Public services are much better than in the UK. The cities are quite clean, public transport is good, parks are well maintained, etc.
• Finnish homes are built very warm to help you survive the cold winters.
• There’s a lot of old cars on the road here. Good place to see some classics. Also not a lot of cars on the road in general.
• Finland has lots of natural forests, lakes and seaside, much of which is within walking distance or within the major cities.

• There’s tons of cyclists, and their etiquette is terrible! They don’t wear helmets or alert you when they’re coming up behind you. They’re also allowed on sidewalks, so you’ll be dodging them constantly.
• You’re allowed to drink in public, so there’s a lot of old drunk guys and other weirdos wandering around.
• People in Finland are on average very fit. The men make me feel insecure and the women are too skinny for my tastes.
• All those public services must cost a lot, and as a result taxes are high and goods are expensive. (a reason for all those old cars)
• Finnish homes are built very warm and don’t have air conditioners. Summers here are thus uncomfortably warm indoors.
• There’s noticeably more smokers than in the UK, and a lot of cigarette butts lying around *everywhere*.
• Surprisingly, Finland has a lot more murders, suicides, and traffic fatalities than the UK! (life expectancy is roughly equal in both though)
• The UK wins when it comes to hillwalking and mountain destinations. Most of Finland is pretty flat.

Overall there’s a lot of trade offs there. Keep in mind I’ve only visited Finland in summer and haven’t strayed further than 2 hours away from Helsinki. I guess both countries score very well in general, and you can’t go wrong living in either of them.

Also, Finland has some really good juice packaging:
fin packaging

RIP Flash

As many of you have probably heard by now and started to panic, Adobe has announced they are phasing out Flash by 2020. As ya’ll should know, all of my games are still made in Flash.

Adobe is only discontinuing Flash in browsers, meanwhile it will still run fine as standalone AIR apps on Steam and mobile, so there’s no chance of Flash games suddenly disappearing. And Flash on browsers will still be around til 2020 anyway, so it probably won’t affect EBF5 much. Even if this turns out to be a problem, I can always release free/demo versions of my games on Steam instead.

Adobe has also announced lots of new features for Desktop AIR in the upcoming years, including more resolution options and GPU support. So who knows, maybe EBF5 won’t run like shit once these new features come out!? It would be a miracle!

Either way all this news is a great relief for me. Adobe has been quite quiet about the future of Flash and AIR for a while now, and it’s been driving me crazy. It’s good that they’ve finally revealed their plans. If things go well, I may even keep using Flash after EBF5 and work on some small spin-off games again. I really miss being able to pump a game out in 2 months. I would like to try that again.

Anyway, I’m going on holiday for 2 weeks. Bye.