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Aleks Samoylov

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A member registered Sep 14, 2014 · View creator page →

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Apparently I've designed several OSR games without even knowing it.

Spiral
A universal / setting agnostic, percentile based system. 
https://thealeks.itch.io/spiral

The summary more or less says it all. Spiral is probably my biggest (it's an actual "book" at 175 pages) and crunchiest (although that's not saying much) game and is basically "yet another" universal tabletop rpg system that one can use to play all sorts of campaigns. It's designed to be flexible and accessible, and is kind of what would happen if the Cypher System and BRP had a baby together, I guess?

I tend to mostly make original systems (and sometimes hack my own systems further) simply because it's the design / challenge space that I personally find to be most interesting, engaging, and enjoyable. It's basically just a preference thing. I find it weirdly fun, and I am not entirely sure why. That said, I did have a good time designing my obligatory PbtA hack, and am pretty proud of it.

Maybe something to look into for next year...

Oh snap, this is actually local to me.

I recently released The Other Shoe , which is a GMless, Tarot based storytelling game about mental illness. I have no idea if it works as a game, honestly, because I didn't feel like playtesting it (I get enough of being mentally ill in real life), but I think it is, at the very least, interesting. 

I'm Aleks. Pronouns are they/them. I make games, a lot of which are tabletop role playing games. Been publishing on itch for a while, although not exactly selling a great deal. I also make other kinds of art and write things. I tend to be much more verbose when I'm writing on a topic that isn't me, I guess? The foundation of my method ... is love.

Now that it's becoming more acceptable to actually charge for jam games, I am a lot more interested in the prospect of participating in future jams. I had promised my therapist to mostly stop releasing free stuff, so now I can do jams and not break my promise! Yay! Hopefully, there will be more ttrpg and tabletop jams popping up. I might resurrect Tarot Jam, which I hosted a few years ago, with more of a storytelling ttrpg focus. The result of that jam was the first tabletop rpg I actually published, and it wasn't exactly great, but it definitely sparked something in me. 

I've got a few ideas, though this list is far from exhaustive and a few topics are probably obvious.

Introductions (for ... introductions)
Table Talk (discussion from a player / enthusiast / GM perspective)

- Recommendations
- Looking for groups / players
- Questions / Advice
- Rules Discussions

Design Discussion (discussion for people making / hacking / designing games)

- General theory discussion
- Advice and critique
- Shameless Self Promotion
-  Hacking discussion (for hacks of other systems: PBTA, Forged in the Dark, etc.)
- Cons and such (I hear cons are important ... I never get to go to them, but I guess people should have a space to talk and maybe plan meetups)
- Playtesting (looking for playtesters, best practices, playtest notes, etc.)
- Shop talk (for discussion of marketing, sales, boring and awful business crap)
- Opportunities (tips on PAID work for people with game design and game design adjacent skillsets).

Art and Stuff

Again, these are just a few ideas. Honestly, I am not sure if this many topics would be necessary to start off. When the community is still small and new, spreading things out too much may not be the best idea? But I do think general discussion, player discussion, and designer discussion sub-forums may be a good place to start.

Agreed. I don't know 100% which systems do or don't have open SRDs / OGL / open licenses or whatnot. I guess in the indie space, PbtA is the one that comes up most often, with FitD coming in strong (but Blades was a PbtA hack too, I think, so it's  hacks, of hacks, of hacks). I think FATE games can be made under OGL also, though? Savage Worlds probably doesn't belong on that list, because now that I'm looking at it, their license seems to be only open-adjacent, at best. Anyway, yeah, definitely no need to include the big ones, but maybe some players / customers will find having a few of these categories useful. I don't know. I've heard that some folks are really particular, and just want to play PbtA games exclusively, or just play FATE exclusively, or whatnot, so they might be able to narrow things down a bit that way. 

A lot of previous posts have touched on what we're all thinking and needing. I love itch.io in general, but when it comes to my tabletop RPG games / products (I make digital games as well, but ttrpgs currently form the bulk of my catalog) discoverability has been a problem on here. Having specific analog games / physical games tags would go a long way.

Making it easy for someone looking for ttrpgs / analog games / larps / etc. to find a full, comprehensive listing of those offerings would be fantastic. As it stands, I often can't  find my own games if I search by category alone, and I actually tag them as "physical games" as well as whatever other tags I find to be appropriate. Half the time, they don't show up at all if I click on physical games and scroll through from start to finish (I am not entirely sure why this is).

So basically, yeah, a comprehensive high level tag for physical games should list ALL physical games (sortable by date released, alphabetically, or etc.), and then lower level, more specific category tags should list ALL games tagged with that category. As for the categories themselves, here's a list off the top of my head. Some of these have definitely already been mentioned, but I can't imagine it hurts to reinforce / reiterate.

Formats:

- tabletop rpg / pen and paper rpg
- board game (print and play, most likely)
- GMless tabletop rpg
- Solitaire tabletop rpg (I think this has been referred to in a previous suggestion as Roll and Write)
- Dice based game
- Card based game
- Diceless  game
- Print and play game
- Live Action Role Playing Game / LARP (some subcategories: Parlor LARP, Freeform LARP, High Immersion, Low Immersion, Powers and Secrets LARP, Nordic LARP, etc. ... there are a lot of kind of LARPS, but I am far from a LARP afficianado, so I'm sure more research will reveal a more complete picture).
 - Micro-game
- Anthology
- TTRPG Supplement / Module / Adventure (sortable by system, and with an available "system agnostic / universal tag")
- Rules heavy game
- Rule light game
- Storytelling game
- World building game
- Old School Revival (OSR) - This one is maybe somewhere in between a genre and a format.

Some Common Game Systems / System Tags:

- Unique / Original System (super important!! - not everything is DnD or a hack of something else. Most of my games fall into this category.)
- Powered by the Apocalypse (Apocalypse World Hack) 
- Forged in the Dark (Blades in the Dark Hack)
- F.A.T.E.
- Gurps
- Savage Worlds
- Cypher System
- The Dark Eye
- Gumshoe
- Basic Roleplaying
- and so on. DnD / Shadowrun / etc. are obvious ones, probably.

Some Common Genres / Genre Tags: 

- Universal / Genre Agnostic (again, very important to make this its own, viable tag)
- OSR - (again, it's kind of a genre / format / philosophy, I guess?)
- Sword and Sorcery
- Cyberpunk
- Superheroes 
- Family friendly 
- Horror (Gothic, Cosmic, etc.)
- Heroic / Nonheroic
- Dungeon Crawl
- Basically, a lot of genres pretty much directly overlap with other media. So there's probably multiple analog games in every conceivable genre (or at least one).

None of the above was meant to be exhaustive. It's just the stuff that comes most immediately to mind. 

I think having the link to physical games show up on the front page is a great early step.  It'd be great to be able to search for all physical games currently on sale (currently, it won't let me do so, but that might also be because nothing is on sale?), and to have an accurate, easy to access "new releases" page for the top level category and any number of lower level categories (as it stands, this seems to be a feature, but it never works correctly for me ... again, don't know why).

Anyway, thanks for giving physical games more consideration. If my work had even a fraction of the discoverability on itch that it does on drivethru, it would likely make a tangible difference. Maybe nothing life changing, but every dollar and cent counts, honestly.

Aleks

I'm sorry...At the time I made this game, I didn't have a linux or a mac machine to test on, and I have heard that it works for some people and not for others. I will try to revisit it in the future and bring it up to snuff as much as possible.

WASD to walk around. Left click to interact with object. Right click to zoom in.
I think that's pretty much it.

Very interesting (and nostalgic) experiment!

I absolutely love poetic, psychedelic dreamscapes, and this was right up my alley. I had an absolutely amazing, exciting, intense experience with this game. Loved the prose: evocative, and vaguely childlike, and so full of rich imagery! It was just, overall, an extremely effective and affecting work!

Thank you so much for your comment. It made my day. I'm so glad that you got something valuable out of it!

That was one of the most concisely powerful and affecting art-games I've played in the past few years. You've done so much with seemingly so little. Thank you for this experience.

Thank you! Sadly, the inscriptions are pretty much it. You can return to the bedroom from the menu, and the game just ends whenever you feel like quitting out of it. I'll probably have a clearer "path" and clearer destination in any similar games I make in the future.

This looks really great so far!

Yeah. It can be a bit pricey, especially at full cost (I managed to snag it o sale a while back). But those lists are pretty darn powerful.

This is really cool. I'd have no idea how to do something like that in GM.

Huh. Interesting and odd. The sound isn't supposed to be especially loud to begin with, but I am not a tech savvy enough person to instinctively understand why there'd be such a variance on different platforms. Sadly, I pretty much have to release the Mac/Linux versions of my unity games "as is" for now...I don't have the hardware to test them. Never owned a mac, and my Linux laptop bit the dust a few months before I made this. Hopefully, will find solutions in the future.

Sure. I don't see why not :)

These are gorgeous! Thank you for sharing them!

This is a pretty open ended jam, so if you wanted to submit them as a jam entry, if only for a bit more visibility and access, I certainly wouldn't complain :) .

That sounds really cool!

I'm super glad to see that there are so many people interested in this (at least based on how many have joined so far). I figured it was about time we had a Tarot jam. It's a very rich vein to draw upon. Anyway, it's a two month long game jam, and there's no rule against starting early, so you have plenty of time to brainstorm, and plenty of time to change your mind.

The Tarot is a very interesting thing to explore from a game design angle. I feel like it's steeped in all sorts of occult lore these days, but it was originally invented for the purpose of playing games, and I know I'm finding it to be a cool platform to work with. My own current concept (although this may change) is a tabletop roleplaying/storytelling game that uses the Tarot to generate the game world and to resolve in-game actions/disputes, but one could come at it from many different directions. Definitely doesn't have to be a game that directly uses Tarot cards as part of its mechanics.

Anyway, if you do decide to make something for this, I'll be excited to hear about how things are going.

Thank you very much :). I really appreciate that!

That makes a lot of sense. Seems like a unity build problem other people are having as well. I think I should be able to confirm it (and hopefully find a work around for it), once I get home tonight. Fingers crossed. Thanks again for letting me know about this!

Thanks for letting me know. There is, in fact, supposed to be music/sound, yeah...I'm sad to find out that I guess this doesn't work on macs? Not sure how to troubleshoot or test that, unfortunately, without any kind of access to a mac computer. I am not sure about input smoothing, but I'll look into it for a future update (or possibly my next game). I'm not much of a programmer sadly. Am learning as I go along.

I'll be uploading an update tonight that should fix a different cursor issue (really only effects multi-screen setups, though) and lock the framerate to 60, which I think might improve the oversensitivity factor a bit (some folks with super awesome PC's and high-refresh Monitors have reported that things go super fast when the framerate gets very high, and that should hopefully fix that).

Anyways, thanks for the info! Really appreciate it. I'll definitely try to work out that music thing somehow. I was rather proud of my sound design for this game, simplistic though it is.

Just re-watched the Myst and Riven ones again...
Definitely a nice reminder of everything that I loved about these games, and everything that went into making them.
Now I'm ready to keep going :).