Archive for November, 2011


I was originally making this little side thing for SuperFriendshipClub’s Editor Pageant, but I’ve missed the deadline. So now I guess I’m just making it because I kinda like where it’s going.


At a Distance at Lunarcade, Shanghai

There is one more showing of the game before it’s December 7th launch, but sadly it’s not one I can attend – it’s in Shanghai, at Santa Ragione‘s LUNARCADE!

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At a Distance launching on December 7th

Hello internet! I’m back from Minecon. I don’t know where to start describing it. It was an incredible party, and a hell of a lot of fun. Vegas is crazy!

I was there with At a Distance as part of the event’s Indie Games Theatre, with a kiosk in the show floor. At a Distance has been finished for months – every time I show the game somewhere, I tweak it, make it better in some small way – but I’m not adding anything at this point. I’m just polishing.

In other places I’ve shown the game, I’ve practically walked people through it. This time, I decided to take a step back, and allow people to get stuck, get lost, and give up if they wanted to. None of those things really happened, though – which might be a sign that the game is ready for a public release, finally.

So, I’m gonna have a launch party of my own! At a Distance was made for an exhibition, so I think it’s only appropriate to launch it at one. I’ve booked a room in a small London pub for December the 7th, where I’m going to show the finished version of the game one last time, before I launch it publically on my website. The game’s going to be free.

Space is VERY limited, so I’m going to start by sending out invites. If you’d like to attend, get in touch and I’ll add you to the waiting list!


VVVVVV 3DS at Minecon

It’s been a while since I gave an update on the 3DS version of VVVVVV, but we have some news – Nicalis submitted it to Nintendo a few days ago. Which means it’ll probably be out within a couple of weeks, fingers crossed!

I’m currently in Las Vegas, at Minecon with my game At a Distance. As it happened, there was an empty kiosk right next to me, so I cheekily asked if I could use it for VVVVVV 3DS. They were pretty awesome about it, even going so far as to print a banner 😀

Having a lot of fun out here! Will post something about it when I get back next week.


Featured VVVVVV Level: “Deja Verdigris” by Ciolf

Here’s another short level I thought was cool. Ciolf’s Deja Verdigris is built around the idea of repeating the same rooms over and over again, adding some small thing to it with each iteration.

It’s tough, but not just for the sake of being tough – here the build up of difficulty across the loops is integral to the concept, setting you up for a final difficult challenge that you’ve been preparing for. Having multiple loops starting from scratch also results in the level having a really nice rollercoaster difficulty curve – something that can be hard to do well, and works great here.

(forum thread)

To play a VVVVVV player level, extract the .vvvvvv file into your VVVVVV levels folder. On windows, that should be in My Documents/VVVVVV, on Mac it’s Documents/VVVVVV, on Linux it’s ~/.vvvvvv


At a Distance at Minecon

So, just a quick announcement – At a Distance is going to be at Minecon, as part of the event’s Indie Games Theatre. I’ll be demonstrating the game sometime on Friday morning, and it’ll also be available to play at a Kiosk on the show floor. This will probably be the last time I show the game anywhere before I finally start looking to release it!

Minecon is the launch party for Minecraft, probably the most successful indie game ever made. This is a once in a lifetime event, and I’m really excited to have any excuse to be part of it. Hope to see some of you in Vegas this week!


Featured VVVVVV level: “CCCCCCCCCC Retold” by Whirligig

Whirligig’s CCCCCCCCCC is an incredibly cool little game that you should definitely check out if you haven’t already played it – Whirligig bills it as a demake-slash-sequel to VVVVVV, but really, it’s very much its own thing with its own ideas.

CCCCCCCCCC Retold is a re-imagining of that game as a VVVVVV level. I was expecting a pretty straight conversion, but it’s actually very different – while lots of the basic structural ideas remain (the story, the zones), the content itself is all new. It’s huge too – probably the biggest player level since Dimension 333333.

In places it’s way too tough for it’s own good – one of its 10 stages is a mandatory Vini Vidi Vici style challenge – but on the whole, the difficulty is pretty reasonable – easier overall than some other levels I’ve featured.

(forum thread)

To play a VVVVVV player level, extract the .vvvvvv file into your VVVVVV levels folder. On windows, that should be in My Documents/VVVVVV, on Mac it’s Documents/VVVVVV, on Linux it’s ~/.vvvvvv


Designing to reveal the nature of the universe

This is a really fantastic talk from this year’s Indiecade by Jonathan Blow and Marc Ten Bosch. In it, they talk about a particular approach to design shared by Braid, Miegakure, the Witness, and VVVVVV, with lots of examples from all four games. Very worth watching!


The Four Letter Word Thing

I’ve been working on something new ever since I got back from Indiecade. Thought it was time I talked a little about it!

So, I submitted two games to the IGF this year. One was At a Distance, which I’ve talked about plenty already here.

The other is something new that’s simply listed on the IGF site as “(Four Letter Word)“. Why they’ve listed it that way, I’m not sure – it was the filename of the build I sent, but it’s not the game’s title. I actually submitted it as “____”, but that’s not the game’s title either – just the best ASCII approximation I could manage.

This is the game’s actual title:

Since the entire game is in a made up alien language, it didn’t make sense to me to give it a english title. Also, frankly, once you’ve called a game “VVVVVV”, it gets pretty hard to top yourself.

____ is something I’ve been working on in this form since the last Ludum Dare (when I was calling it “Nyxgame”), but I’ve been thinking about it for much longer than that – the game is basically a mash up of a lot of small ideas I’ve had in the last couple of years that suddenly came together for me in a really exciting way. And it plays a bit like that too – it’s a combination of a bunch of different interconnected systems that do unexpected things, but in a logically cohesive way.

On the flight home from Indiecade, I found myself with a spark of inspiration, and suddenly realised how it all fit together. Despite barely having anything playable at the time, I entered it in the IGF because I wanted to force myself to do something with the idea. It was an impulsive, snap decision, one which was probably pretty bloody stupid. Honestly, I don’t really expect this to get anywhere in the IGF (my hopes are pinned on At a Distance). ___ is intentionally inaccessible, ugly, almost unplayable really. And worse than that, the build I’ve submitted to the IGF is so early in development that it isn’t nearly as inaccessible, ugly or unplayable as I want it to be.

As it happens though, entering it in the IGF actually had exactly the effect on me I hoped it would. Rather than this just being another game I never got around to making when the inspiration hit, I’ve been crunching on this for the last few weeks, and it’s finally at a state where you can sorta see what I’m going for. It’s still a good bit short of playing anything like the game I’ve got in my head, but it’s getting there. I’m excited about it. I’m going keep working on it, keep updating the IGF build, and find out where the hell it ends up.