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I've made the difficult decision to officially discontinue the rest of the Riddle Transfer series, along with anything directly associated with the Riddle School series or its characters.
When I came up with the first Riddle Transfer game, I'd originally intended to finish all of the games at once and release them after set periods of time, because the element of surprise about the series would have remained intact and the insistent requests for sequels would already have been met. I dropped this idea when the first game took me six whole months to make, which is a longer period of time than I ever anticipated or hoped to spend working on it. I spent the next fifteen months feeling anxiety about RT2, chipping at it from time to time hoping something would come out of it, and nothing has. I wanted so much to make RT2 and finish the other three games afterward so that those who liked the previous games would see the rest of the story and be contented by the continued content, but ultimately I have decided the end product simply wouldn't be worth the pains it would take to make.
My main motivations with RT1 were simple but ambitious. I wanted to change the way Flash games and adventure games were seen. People insist the point-and-click adventure game is a dead genre, just like people insisted the side-scrolling platform game was a dead genre, but that says nothing about its still-limitless potential. I believe the reason people think point-and-click adventures are a lost cause is because they haven't been "done right" yet. Often players are either required to skew their thinking to match the logic of the game developer, or look at a walkthrough because the logic is so obtuse. Some developers compensate for this lack of clarity by dropping ten-ton hints everywhere, but when the puzzles are too reliant on hints, there's no epiphanies or sense of discovery involved. I didn't want to make a mindless or frustrating game, but one that actually made sense and encouraged players to mentally piece things together to proceed; Riddle Transfer was meant to be taken seriously as a game that was truly satisfying. And I wanted to prove that this was possible with Flash, the same program most people use just to make simple little browser games that they can pass the time with when they're bored.
But what purpose would it serve to make an entire series like this? I already know what the response to RT1 was: people still cling to Flash games as a way to temporarily escape boredom and don't see the intended artistry in a carefully designed experience because the immediate expectation of a Flash game is 'quick and easy fun', and my game hasn't changed that. I may have created a game people found interesting enough to rate high and ask to see more of, but they missed the point I was trying to make. Perhaps it was a subtly-made point, or one that's easy to disagree with or pay no attention to because it isn't commonly emphasized. But for this reason, there is no point in continuing the RT series, because I know full and well that I could butter up the remaining games as much as I want, adding new puzzles or story twists or playable characters or whatever, yet at the core, they would be the same game as RT1 and would not bring anything new to the world of Flash game development. It would just bring me a little short-lived Internet 'fame', which is a terrible primary goal.
I pondered over the reasons why I would legitimately devote the next several years of my life to this Internet series, and for the most part, it boiled down to satisfying my fanbase. But since the time I started making the series, I've discovered a few things wrong with that mindset. Fans cannot comprehend the amount of time, work, and personal sacrifice it takes to make games of this size unless they have been in a very similar position themselves. Fans go by what they know, and what they know about you and your work is always going to be significantly less than what you know. If you aren't putting yourself in the perspective of the game's creator, it might at first seem selfish for them to terminate a project because they don't want their main goal to be satisfying others, and I've thought the same thing, but that's not what it's like. It feels less like providing enjoyment and more like a form of appeasement. You can't put hours of days of months of your life struggling to finish something you see no value or substance in anymore.
Long ago, I thought that the Riddle Transfer series would be worth making because of its storyline, and how everything would come together in the end in a climactic way, but looking back on it now, the ideas I had for the story were all very weak, partly because I had a less well-developed sense of story structure than I feel I do now, and partly because the foundations of RT's story were centered around very shallow, basic characters that don't deserve any limelight. As a level-headed bald kid with two big eyes who goes to school and makes sarcastic comments, the series' main character Phil might be an easy figure to relate to, and in many ways, he might be deeper than the average Flash game protagonist, but he's not deep enough for me. He's a surface-level reflection of my most basic thoughts, and it's easy for anyone to tell what nearly his whole personality is in a matter of moments. As a storyteller, if I'm going to make an effective and captivating story that will keep my own interest after dedicating to it for months or years, I want to write for a more believable, complex character than Phil Eggtree, and I don't want that story to be way too difficult to understand, full of contradictions, or in other ways disconcertingly flimsy like the plotlines of Riddle School and Riddle Transfer are.
People have told me I ought to stop working on the series if I don't feel like it's in me anymore. And I've finally come to terms with the fact that it's not in me anymore. An online friend of mine, TheWildALK, once told me I wouldn't go through with the rest of the series, and though I sought to prove him wrong, I discovered he may have had a point. I've thought about it hard, and there are no strong reasons I know of to keep working on this series. It had a good run, I'm really happy with how it turned out, and I've learned a lot of things from it, but I don't think there is anything else it can teach me that I couldn't be taught more adequately through moving on to bigger and better things. I've poured my heart into this series for a huge portion of my life; I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel like a small part of me has gone from making this decision, but I believe this choice of abandoning the series is for the best. My perspective on art and design has changed. I've realized potential in game design that has not been sufficiently touched upon, and if I dwell on the past any more than I have, I won't be able to test my theories or fulfill my goals for the future.
Thank you all for your overwhelming support to the series over the years. I deeply appreciate it.
For the sake of completeness to those who are curious, this post spoils everything that was going to happen in the series, had I opted to go through a half-decade of headaches to push it to its originally intended finish.
I am going to make one last thing perfectly clear now:
No one has permission to continue the series.