Some recent gifs and stuff

Been posting a lot of random gifs and picture of Constellation recently. Let’s put them all in once place!

Alistair Aitcheson leant me one of his Codex Bash buttons to show Constellation at Now Play This last weekend. It’s amazing! Hit the big blue button to make stuff happen. It’s a genuine puzzle to figure out how to release this thing without a big blue button to smash.

Colour cycling! I think this is probably the last filter (there’s 20 total, now)

Game was missing hands, so I added hands.

Hello

Goodbye

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Later Play This

Gosh, it’s been busy here recently. Two weeks ago Ruari and I showed State Machine at the Leftfield Collection at EGX Rezzed. The week after that, I showed my other game, Constellation, at Now Play This, a festival of experimental game design here in London.

Both festivals and both games went down really well, but I am now extremely sleepy. I think in future I will try to avoid debuting two new games at two different festivals on consecutive weekends.


(photo taken by Ben Peter Catchpole)

So, what’s next for Constellation? Hopefully a release, and any day now!

Constellation is basically a game where you type in anything you can think of and the game tries to respond to you, so in theory I could work on it forever – but after seeing people play it last weekend, I feel like it works better as a game with a tangible size, one that lets you play with a set of elements that you get to know well rather than one that tries to let you explore infinity.

Coming soon!

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Circuits and Secrets

So! State Machine, then!

Ruari and I haven’t really said anything about State Machine since revealing it two weeks ago. Honestly, it’s hard to know where to start. We’ve been working on it for more than a year in secrecy – not talking about has sorta become a habit!

Anyway, I figure it’s best not to overthink it and just jump right in, so here’s some screenshots of a new system we’ve been working on recently – Electricity!

Electricity is cool because it ties a bunch of other systems in the game together. We’ll probably end up keeping it!

In the early part of the game it helps to illustrate how components interact (we used to use matching colours), and lets us make simple puzzles that introduce basic concepts.

In the later game, it turns into something more creatively expressive, as you (hopefully) start wiring things together yourself, and getting your robots to create circuits!

Oh, by the way, this week I’m at GDC! If you’re a journalist and you’re interested in checking the game out, get in touch! More than happy to demo the game for anyone interested while I’m in town!

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The Other Machine

Yay, looks like the Now Play This festival lineup just got announced! Time to announce another project that I’ve been working on recently:

Constellation is a sort-of-sequel to Constellation Machine, a jam game I made last year and have a bit of a soft spot for. Constellation is an attempt to take the ideas behind that further – to make something more visually interesting, more varied and more expressive.

I’m making Constellation for Now Play This, a festival of experimental game design running in London this April, where the game will debut! If you’re in London in April, come check it out!

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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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