State Machine

[State Machine]

Phew, ok, here goes! The EGX Rezzed Leftfield lineup is out, and I’m very proud to announce that my new game is part of it!

The game’s called State Machine, and I’ve been working on it for a little over a year with Ruari O’Sullivan. You might remember a few blog posts about it at the start of last year – State Machine started as a tiny jam game for Ludum Dare at the end of 2015, and then never stopped.

From here on out I plan to post about the game quite a lot! We don’t know exactly when the game’s going to be finished yet, but we are aiming to release it this year! If you like, you can keep track of our development here. Or come play the game at EGX Rezzed in London at the end of March!

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Tiny Heist

Released in the last hour of 2016, I present: Tiny Heist! Scale the tower, avoid patrol bots and reach the rooftop with as many gems as you can find!

You can play Tiny Heist online here, or grab the downloadable versions!

[Play Online (Flash)]

[Download for Windows] | [Download for OSX]
[Source Code]

It’s also available to download on itch.io, or to play online on Kongregate and Newgrounds!

Some stray thoughts in no particular order:

  • This will probably be my last flash game. Oh well! Flash had a good run for me – 2008 to 2017 is a long time for a technology to stick around these days! In future, I plan to release my games primarily as HTML5 and desktop versions.
  • On that note, you can try out an experimental HTML5 version of Tiny Heist here! It’s still a little buggy and runs slower than it should, so I’m not including it “officially” above. I built Tiny Heist in my own framework Haxegon, which I’m actively working on, and which should hopefully speed up a lot as time goes on.
  • One of the big things I wanted out of this game was to learn about roguelike design first hand, and it’s definitely a success on that front. I learnt a lot making this. There’s a lot of stuff in this game that’s kind of a mess – things like timing, level generation, enemy design – but at a certain point it became more important to just finish the thing. Next time I try my hand at this genre should be a lot better, I think.
  • OMG it feels good to have this game finished! It’s been so long since I finished a substantial free game. Recently I’ve been knuckling down pretty hard on a big, serious project, so it was nice to vent and work on something lighter for a while.
  • I scaled this game down a lot to get it finished for the end of the year, but a lot of what I love about the project is still in there, though some of it buried very deep. I hope you enjoy playing it and discovering its secrets!
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Seven more days: Day 7

Day 7! Here it is! Very buggy, incomplete, etc etc etc. I’m going to poke at it over the next couple of weeks, aiming to finish it up before the new year. Let me know what you think!

[Play Online (Newgrounds Preview)]

[edit: this game is now finished! get it here!]

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Seven more days: Day 5

editor

Day 5! Trying to wrap everything up now. Spent most of today adding new room types to the generator and fleshing out the floors I’ve done so far. Turns out I made some pretty useable tools for this last year! I’m up to the 12th floor now.

After thinking it through today, I think 15 floors + a boss floor might work better than 20. 20 floors is long enough to suggest needing some sort of shortcut system for repeated plays, while 16 is manageable in a single run – and I think it makes more sense to keep it short and snappy and replayable. Also, conveniently, it gives me 4 less floors to design, which is nice.

So it seems likely at this point that I will be posting something playable here on Sunday night, which is great, but don’t expect it to be completely “finished”. I think I like this game too much to just throw it out into the world arbitrarily – so I’m planning a week or two of public playtesting! Look forward to seeing what people make of this!

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Seven more days: Day 4

floor6

Past the half way mark now. Got a lot to do over the next couple of days!

My rough plan for the game is to make a tower of stuff that’s 20 floors high, with four different stages every fifth floor. I’m taking it one floor at a time, and so far I’m up to floor 9. I’m trying to get up to floor 20 as quickly as I can, and get the frame of the game built – then, I’ll go back down and fill in the rough patches!

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Seven more days: Day 3

Day 3! Things are a still too shaky to share a playable build, but I took a video of the first five levels in the game so far!

There’s a bunch of weird code in this game I don’t understand anymore – and that means lots and lots of weird level generation bugs that I have no hope of understanding. So the main thing I did today was to add an AI director for the game.

Once a floor has been generated for the player, the AI director takes over! It makes decisions like “That door goes nowhere, let’s scrap it”, or “You haven’t found a weapon in a while, maybe you should find one on this floor!” or just “opps, this level is impossible, let’s make a different one”. Probably going to be giving it a lot more to do by the end of the project – it’s a lot easier than trying to fix the generator at this point.

Main design change of the day: I’m trying an even simpler version of the weapons/item system where everything is single use. The game’s more fun when you’re underpowered anyway.

Tomorrow, the next five floors!

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Seven more days: Day 2

leafblower

Day 2! After spending most of yesterday getting to grips with the game again, today I started adding some new stuff. By the time I’d stopped working on it last year, it had become a mess of half finished ideas – so my general approach is to simplify as much of the game as possible, and focus on keeping the stuff that’s fun. For example, I’m trying a system where you just have two or three inventory slots. Simpler than a full inventory system, and probably more interesting too.

Mostly what I’ve been doing today is cutting stuff out of the game – I’ve short circuited the level generator to just go back to giving me one floor of a tower at a time, I’m scrapping items and weapons that don’t have enough individual identity to be worth cluttering the game, and I’ve simplified some basic concepts in the game – for example, all the enemies are robots now, which means there’s no longer a class of weapons that’s effective against humans but not robots, or vice versa.

Tomorrow I’m going to get back to level design, so hopefully I’m not too far away from something playable!

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Seven more days: Day 1

atman

Hey hey! I’ve been feeling an itch recently to finish something small, so I’m taking a week off my big secret project to resurrect an old thing that I wish I’d finished last year!

Some of you might remember this game from last year’s 7-day roguelike (there’s even an early playable build knocking about). Things were looking really good for this one, but then right at the end of the week I botched it – I stupidly decided what it really needed was some huge overworld game structure, and it ended up fizzling out and going nowhere.

What it actually needed was a little focus to get it across the finish line – the game’s already fun and full of cool emergent stuff, and I’m hoping a week is long enough to make that happen. Here we go!

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Ludum Dare 36

thiefinworld

thief

Heya blog! Been a while, hasn’t it?

Last weekend I had a go at Ludum Dare 36, and for some reason thought it might be a good idea to try making an RPG. It went ok! Better than my weekend RPGs usually go, anyway. I’ve got the bones of something good here, I think, but it’s pretty far from actually being coherent or anything. Oh well! Another one for the backburner. (there’s a gameplay gif here if you’re curious how it plays)

So actually, the reason I’ve been so quiet is because I’ve been doing quite well at the whole sticking-with-one-project thing lately. I’ll have more to say about that soon, no doubt.

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Stephen’s Sausage Roll

5

Increpare’s magnum opus, Stephen’s Sausage Roll, finally got released yesterday. He started it way back when we lived together in Cambridge, and it’s actually kinda surreal to see it finished, at last. I got to see it grow and change over the years, and see the incredible thought and attention to detail that went into it first hand as he painstakingly iterated over every level and somehow brought this enormous thing together as a cohesive whole.

People are calling it the Dark Souls of puzzle games, which is fitting for lots of reasons – it’s bloody hard, for one – but mostly because, like the original Dark Souls, every part of this thing is deliberate and meticulously designed. It’s a masterpiece.

Stephen’s chosen to be pretty succinct with talking about the game to avoid spoiling its secrets, prefering to let people find out about it through word of mouth. So let me tell you about it. This is one of the best games, of all the games. Go play it right now.

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