A Flappy Bird fan game.
Thanks for the inspiration, Dong. Looking forward to your next game when things settle down!
Hello 2014! Don’t worry, I’m not making any public new year’s resolutions – I never keep em anyway.
I was just thinking that I haven’t been posting much here recently, you know? Actually, it’s been a while since I’ve said much at all about what I’ve been working on. So, here we go: a snapshot of projects I’ve been working on recently, projects I’ve been thinking about working on, and projects I’m planning to come back to:
Last time I mentioned this, I was looking for an artist. Well, I found one! A very talented London based comic artist called Cristian Ortiz, aka CROM, creator of Golden Campaign.
Collaborations have a way of getting a little out of hand, but I’m still hoping that this one will come together as a small, contained world to experience. Realistically, I think it’ll take another month or so.
I took a complete break from this game just before the IGF submission deadline last year. I haven’t worked on it since. I needed some time away from it. Still do. I wanna finish a few small things before I take this on again.
Halting Problem is a big, scary game. There are a few ideas at its heart that I think have potential to be very, very special, if I’m good enough to bring them to life. I haven’t forgotten about this game. It feels the way Super Hexagon did, the way VVVVVV did, and the way At a Distance and Nexus City did – that idea that won’t go away.
When I come back to this game, I don’t want there to be any distractions – I can feel that working on this one is going to be all consuming, that’s it’s going to take everything I have.
I worked on a game for last year’s 7DRL that I still think about a lot. I dunno when I’m going to find time for it. Maybe it’ll resurface at some point, as something else.
I moved to London at the end of last year, and spent my first month here making an RPG about it. It’s a game about a place, and mostly about getting across what that place is like – lots of distinct areas with their own personality, based on whatever alien impression a brief visit with them left me with. There’s a shoreditch level, an islington level, a few other places – and an underground system that links it all together.
I’m long enough here now that it doesn’t feel alien to me anymore, so I’m not sure where to take it. Maybe that’ll come to me, as I get to know the city a bit better.
Really, it’s just tech at this point, and an idea. I owe Stephen a fan game…
VVVVVV’s last hurrah
VVVVVV is always going to be really damn important to me. It’s my final fantasy, the game that changed everything for me.
I’ve had an incomplete iOS version of the game working for over a year now, but other projects have kept me from finishing it up. I’d really like to get that out soon, though. Over Christmas I spent a little time finishing up the port, and I’m happy to say that the really hard stuff is done, now. I just need a week or two to sort out the details.
In addition, Nicalis have been porting the 3DS version of the game to PS Vita, and it feels wonderful on it.
So here’s an announcement of sorts, then.
This year, I’m going to release VVVVVV on PS Vita, on iPad, on iPhone, on Android, on Ouya. And, if I can manage it, all at the same time. This will very likely be the last thing I ever do with VVVVVV, and I wanna go out with a bang!
I’ve had this particular idea in one form or another since about 2010, and over the years I’ve made several ill-fated attempts to bring it to life. At last, I think I’ve found an approach that works! I like how it’s turned out – I hope you like it too. I’m happy to finally have it out of my head.
For the last month or so, I’ve been working on a couple of different small projects. Here’s another one I started recently!
I went to a jam at London’s V&A museum about a week ago. The theme: make a game inspired by the exhibits.
One of my favourite recent games is Dark Souls, and this seemed like a good opportunity to make a small Dark Souls inspired thing. One of the many things I love about that game is how it tells you about its world – letting you slowly piece things together for yourself as you discover useful game items containing parts of its history, fragments of stories with crucial details omitted.
I thought I’d try making a sort of dungeon crawler that had the same approach to item lore, only, based on real life museum exhibits from the V&A. Items that implied details of history lost in time, mysteries never solved. Pretty straightforward for a two day jam, I figured! Anyway, I got sidetracked and made a cool combat engine thing instead.
Here’s a vine!
I’ve basically got this really simple Dark Souls meets JRPG meets Street Fighter inspired system going on. It’s all about blocking at the right time, attacking at the right time, while managing your health, stamina and status effects. Nothing too complex, but it’s frantic and fun! I ripped the cutscene code out of my Experiment 12 game to make the battle animations, which are just clunky single frames that pan and shake.
So, here’s the thing. After the jam, I sat down and had another look at the game, and figured out some kind of bigger plan for what I want to make out of it. I wanna finish this up as a small, completely non-commercial thing and I’m just going to throw up online – and I’d like to do it soon, before the end of the year, preferably before Christmas.
It seems like it’s going to require a LOT of art assets, though. That one battle in the vine has three idle frames, three attack frames, a blocking frame, and it’s not even complete at that. And that’s just one enemy. I’m planning to have about eight of them! I’ll probably end up just doing palette swaps, but still.
So that’s a lot of work, and it’s not really work I’m that into doing – I’d much rather spend my time focused on the design, which itself has a bunch of scary time consuming challenges. So, I figured, why not team up with someone who actually enjoys drawing! You know, an artist!
I’m usually super reluctant to team up with artists, but I think it makes sense here, and it could be fun – I kinda love the idea of finding someone who brings something unexpected and cool to this universe.
So! If this sounds like something you’d be into and you’ve got some free time this month, drop me a mail, and we’ll talk more about it. (if you’re based in London, even better!)
Edit: I’ve found somebody! Thanks for the offers
(Above: my favourite Super Hexagon Let’s Play!)
Hey! It’s now been a year since Super Hexagon came out on PC and Mac! (the iOS birthday was about two months back, so this is a bit overdue really).
One of the main things I aspire to, creatively, is to make things that will matter long after I’m gone. That’s a lot to ask – I don’t think I’ve done that yet, with anything I’ve made. I don’t know if I ever will. But I think Super Hexagon might be the closest I’ve come so far. I’m very proud of it.
An opportunity came along this week to put the game on sale in a new online store, and I decided it’d be a nice pretext to mark the occasion; one year or so since it’s release. So Happy Birthday! I’m putting the game on sale everywhere! This weekend only, Super Hexagon is available on PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android and Blackberry for just 99 cents.
Thanks for all the support, everyone
I made a decision a few days ago that I felt like sharing here – I’m not going to enter Halting Problem into the IGF this year. I had a long blog post about why, but I’m probably better keeping it short – I just felt like I was having to rush some important decisions about the game to get it ready to show to people, and I don’t feel like that’s something I want to do, not with this game – I’ve kinda had that experience before, when I rushed to submit Four Letter Word to the 2011 IGF, and I ultimately regretted it. I ended up with something I just wanted to tear down and start over with.
This is a game I’m hugely excited about, and this is how I want to make it. At a relaxed pace, adding new things when inspiration hits, exploring ideas fully as they come. I think this is healthier, and better for the game overall. Maybe I’ll enter it next year instead!
Yay, I took some time out of crunching on Halting Problem to make a little thing. Play it here!