New Years Resolution

With VVVVVV’s release imminent, this blog is probably going to be all VVVVVV, all the time for a while. So I thought I’d take this chance to write about something else – 2010! I have no idea right now what I’m going to be able to do this year – a LOT rests on how VVVVVV gets on. But I’m feeling optimistic right now that things will work out – at least well enough to allow me to keep making games for another couple of months 🙂

I’ve actually known for months what I’d like to work on this year, if I’m able: Petri Purho and Gregory Weir and several other designers keep a monthly release schedule, and it seems like a lot of fun! I wanna try it! This year, I’m going to try making a new game each month.

I make no guarantees that I’ll be able to do this, and I’m not putting any real rules or restrictions around it – my “March” game may not necessarily be finished in March, for example, but I will at least attempt to keep moving onto new projects each month.

So, first question – what’s my January game? I haven’t a clue yet! My focus is going to be on finishing and releasing VVVVVV for a while, so I haven’t given it that much thought. However, I’m going to TIGJam UK2 on the 14th, so I’m hoping something grows out of that. Chances are I’ll be doing something pretty simple this month.

As for the rest of the year – well, I already have a pretty good idea what some of them are going to be…

Some more ambitious shooters

I tend to make shooters when I’m taking a break from more serious projects; they’re usually short weekend things for me (like Bullet Time, pictured above), which is a good timeframe for this sort of thing. There’s something about constructing a set of shooter mechanics that I really enjoy – it’s very different from the way I usually approach level design.

I don’t feel like I’ve really explored this interest of mine very much at all, so this year I’ll probably make several shooters.


This prototype’s been knocking around for ages now (since the end of 2008), so I’m hoping to find a month to finally finish it up sometime early this year.

Big Hero

This was one of my favourite unfinished games from last year! I started this just after VVVVVV, and since at the time I was thinking about VVVVVV as a smaller project I thought I’d leave it until that was finished. I’m still hoping to come back to it as soon as I can, possibly as my February project.

I probably didn’t really get far enough with the prototype to demonstrate why I like this one so much, but I’m really quite keen to develop it further.

A Puzzle Game

I LOVE designing puzzles. I am totally making a puzzle game this year.


The Detonate Thing

So! This has pretty much been my main focus for the last couple of weeks. At this point the basic gameplay is finalised, and I’m in the process of making levels. It’s taking far far longer than I thought it would or even might, but it’s shaping up really well. Even in the test levels I’ve had quite a few interesting matches against the AI, who beats me in virtually every game.

Detonate (or whatever I end up calling it) is a pretty simple game, and I really thought I’d be finished at this stage. Honestly, one of the reasons why it’s taking so long is that I’ve been in a bit of a rut; I’m getting a little tired of going from one big project to another, and it’s starting to wear me out. Whenever I finally finish this, I probably won’t be able to account for all the time it’s taken me.

I think taking the last few days off to work on bullet time was probably a very good idea – in fact, I think I’m going to put this on hold for a week or two altogether and work on something smaller for a while. I have an idea for something short and fun that I want to try making!



Papervision is a software mode 3D library for Flash, an environment which doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being very fast – so I’m pretty impressed with just how much this library seems to be able to do without hitting any slowdown!

I made a new prototype! Arrow or WASD controls, all it is is a 3D plane with random cubes and pillar models strewn about.

Tempting and all as it is, I probably won’t be making anything with this anytime soon, though. 3D in general is still very new to me, and there’s a whole bunch of stuff I’d need to learn how to do before I could make anything. I have a couple of ideas, but nothing I’m ready to start working on…

The next thing I’ll probably do is finish up Detonate, which has been sorta half finished for months. Will have more details very soon!



Ever since I started rapid prototyping, as I called it back at the end of October, I’ve let quite a few projects build up on me. One of my new years resolutions is not to start anything else until I start finishing a few first! With any luck, this should be a pretty productive month for me as a result!

(In any case, I can’t really afford to continue experimenting like this. My loan’s running out, so it looks like this venture of mine is almost out of time…)

In rough order of priority, here’s what I’m working on at the moment:

Space/Void [Collab with Cactus]

Of all the unfinished projects I’ve got around me right now, this one’s not only been around the longest, but it’s also the closest to completion. I made the levels for cactus’ game way back in last april or so, and it’s been sitting idle since then because we’ve both been too busy to add the finishing touches. I think it would be a pretty motivating start to the month if I could get this out in the next few days. First thing I’m going to try doing is explore the possibility of a flash port (which could work quite well for this) – if that doesn’t seem reasonable we’ll just finish off the game maker version…


I’m itching to get back to this, because I’ve got it to the stage where all the yucky vegetable coding work is finished and it’s just a matter of the chocolatey level creation and polish! Can’t wait 🙂


I’d been chipping away at this over christmas – as much as I love the concept behind the game, right now it’s not really what I want to work on. I was trying to get it finished as soon as I could because of the whole ludum dare thing, but it’s so overdue now that I don’t really care – I think I’d rather take my time with it.

I’m also hoping to totally redo the graphics – it’s nice in places but I don’t like the sprites and it’s way too much work to draw the entire game like this and have it look good. Anyway, I think I can do better with a bit of work on a new style.

Judith [Collab with Increpare]

Another project where all the heavy lifting coding-work is out of the way, Increpare and I are currently in the process of designing the levels of this. We should be able to finish it this month if we can find a day or two where we’re both free to work on it.

Electric Panic

That screenshot isn’t exactly representative, heh. Electric Panic is a new game that I’ve got in mind that’s loosely based on the mechanic I was exploring in my december KOTM entry PANIC. I’ll have more details once I get a little further along with it! 🙂

Flying Cities

Started this just the other day, but I like it enough that I really want to get back to it and see it finished… With its technical focus it’s very different to everything else I’m working on right now.

Tower Platformer [Collab with Dock]

Dock works in the industry and is apparently in crunch mode at the moment, so this has had to take a back seat. Probably won’t be finished for a little while, at least…

In addition to that, there’s also:

Self Destruct Update

I think Self Destruct was the best game I released last year. It also got by far the most positive response, even extending into friends and family who don’t normally play games at all. Which is why it annoys the hell out of me that there are so many little things to fix in it *still* – in particular that you need to be online to play it. Sometime over January I want to make time to finally update the game, even if I don’t bother with things like the replay uploads and other crazy things like that that I was planning.

And finally, just to mention:

Buster Drake

Buster Drake is basically scrapped, at least in it’s current incarnation. The biggest thing I wanted to try for Buster Drake was the aiming mechanism and I’ve used it for Never Opened, so as a result I’m not that pushed about approaching this project from that perspective anymore. There are a few other things I still like about the project though. I’ve got an idea for a radically different form that I hope to explore later in the year, time permitting. It involves sitting down and learning a few new tricks, though…

Phew. Better get to work, then.


Explosions in all directions

Honestly, I can’t say that I’m that happy with how Never Opened turned out. It’s ok, kinda fun in a way but it’s so far away from what I originally had in mind that I find it hard to appreciate it for what it is. It’s a bit like We Love Mind Control Rocket in that the gameplay that’s there is basically what I was able to compromise on and implement at the last minute rather than something I’d carefully planned out or designed. 🙁

Oh well. Live and learn, I guess.

There’s actually another game making contest taking place this weekend, Ludum Dare, which I’m considering taking part in… I feel like it might be a good way to get back into the swing of things 🙂 It’s pretty different from the TIGSource contests – for one, there’s a strict time limit rather than a fuzzy deadline, and it uses a universal world clock – meaning that everyone, from everywhere in the world starts and ends at the same time. For me, that means starting at 4am on Saturday morning.

I dunno about entering that one just yet, though. Will have to think about it a bit more. I won’t know what the actual theme of the contest is it starts, either…

Since I finished with Never Opened I’ve been back working on Detonate – here’s two new screenshots!

I’ve spent most of my time making slight adjustments to the exact rules – it’s still impossible to tell how any significantly complex turn is going to play out, but I think I’m at a point now where you can at least successfully make long term plans. There are two big rule additions that essentially make it work:

(1) A square cannot be “detonated” twice in the same turn – this means that tiles spread out from the detonation point rather than hopping about erratically (you can see that in the second screenshot), and

(2) an enemy square cannot be captured unless it’s from a detonation from a square that has more units than it. That means, for example, that a detonation of 4 beside an enemy unit won’t spread into that square unless there are 4 or less units in it. This means that you can essentially build “walls” of units to protect yourself from an enemy (and vice versa). (you can see that in the first screenshot where the yellow player meets the purple player)

Those are the two big ones, but there are smaller changes too – to detonation order, how units can move, and how many units can be placed in a single square.

(If you’ve never heard of overload and don’t know what I’m talking about, I actually found a mention of it in commodore format which explains the basic concept! You can read it here! You could also check out my old QBasic game Alternate Logic Puzzles which contains an implementation of it. 🙂 )

I know I said that I’d have this finished last weekend (that was before I started working on Never Opened), but I’m not sure I want to put a new deadline on this. I like where it’s going. I’m in no hurry to finish it! 🙂



Posted in detonate

Here’s a screenshot of the new strategy game I mentioned a few days ago! I’m thinking of calling it Detonate? Maybe? I’m not really sure yet…

It’s *sorta* based on the rules of Overload from the C64, but tweaked a bit so that it’s methodical and strategic rather than chaotic and unpredictable 🙂 I got the basic mechanics working today. Still quite a bit to do, though I’m aiming to have it finished by the end of the week!

Decided not to make a game for the CB contest after all 🙁


Peace is hell

‘case you missed it in the post below, Xoldiers was updated with a level editor and an online database of levels accessible from the game! You will fight for us! Download the new version! That’s an order!

Since the jam I’ve been meaning to catch up on all the little things I’ve been working on lately, but I never seem to have the time to do it properly – so I’m just going to quickly summarise everything:

Buster Drake:
A little while ago I updated the flash prototype with the new version of Buster Drake that I worked on at the jam. Gameplay wise there isn’t any difference; but on a technical level it’s a huge improvement. The original prototype was written in AS2 using a trial version of the Flash IDE – this version is written in AS3 using the free FLEX compiler and the FlashDevelop IDE. Aside from the fact that I’m now using free tools, I’m also approaching flash in a totally different way – I don’t have to think of things in terms of MovieClips and whatever any more – and now that I’ve gotten my head around it, I think I’m more or less at a level where I can do anything in flash that I might want to do in C++, speed concerns aside! Well, hopefully, anyway.

As for the project itself, Buster Drake is maybe bigger than I’d expected. Even the smaller, scaled back version that I’m working on now is probably going to take maybe a week or two to put together – so I’m putting it on hold for a little while to focus on other things. Specifically:

New Strategy Game:
So without giving too much away, there’s this little game that I’ve had in mind for ages and ages and ages – since the qb minigames days, actually! It’s basically a turn based territory control game that I like because it has a really interesting “capture” mechanic, but I’ve never really tried to make it seriously because that’s really all there is to it, and I’ve always felt like there was something missing. Just recently I had a jolt of inspiration that makes the game work, so I’m going to give it a shot and see how it works out 🙂 And I’m going to use flash! More details soon…

Commonplace Book Competition:
Aside from the B-Games contest last year, I’ve entered every game-making contest on TIGSource so far, and I like this theme a lot so I’d love to make a game for it. I was originally going to collaborate with another guy on something small, but unfortunately our “schedules” clashed and that doesn’t look like it’s going to go ahead anymore. I have something else in mind though. Something a little… different. A little darker than the stuff I normally make.

The deadline’s next Thursday though, so I’m not entirely sure if I’ll be entering or not just yet.

Untitled Tower Game:
This is the main project I worked on at TIGJam – here’s the mockup that Dock put together!

Dock and Corpus were working on a simple platformer on rails about falling, and I had this tower platformer engine [EDIT: Inspired by Nebulus, obv] from the previous night’s 3 hour “pick a game idea out of a hat” jam (I got “Trees”), so we decided to combine the two! We don’t really have anything playable just yet, but this is going to be my main focus for the next couple of days, so I hope it won’t be long before we do! The basic engine is all in place now bar one little silly thing, so we’re at the stage of adding gameplay elements.