Free to


I was a bit anti-Ouya in the run up its release – what I saw as its stance of championing “Free to Play” made me uncomfortable. Then, at some point before its release, they stopped using the term “Free to Play” and started using the term “Free to Try” – a concept I’m entirely cool with. That was enough to turn me from anti-Ouya to Ouya-neutral – it took getting my hands on one for 10 minutes to make me pro-Ouya. This thing is awesome.

For fun, I ported a bunch of my old flash games to it! Here’s the complete list:

Memrrtiks, Suashem
Don’t Look Back
Oiche Mhaith
American Dream
Hero’s Adventure
Bullet Time

I’m pretty sure I’ll be porting VVVVVV and Super Hexagon to it too, when I have time to get around to them. Probably soon! Ish!

(p.s. If you’re a flash developer looking to port stuff of your own, you might find this joypad class I made useful (with modifications by Hulk Handsome). It requires the AIR 3.8 beta, and the SWC from this adobe tutorial.)


Don’t Look Back now available for iOS and Android

About a week ago, I took a day out from working on Super Hexagon stuff to do a fun side thing – I ported one of my old games, Don’t Look Back, to mobile. It’s available now on both iOS and Android. (It was a pretty simple port, thanks to Adobe AIR’s mobile exporter.)

The game initially failed review on the apple app store, for a somewhat bizarre reason (some people are taking this weirdly seriously; I’m not, I think it’s hilarious). Thankfully, it got sorted out pretty quickly.( But yeah, it’s probably worth pointing out that the game is totally free, which is all I was really trying to express with that description.)

Revisiting Don’t Look Back was a pretty strange experience. It’s quite old now – I made it in January 2009 – and I hadn’t actually played it in some time. Despite numerous flaws which are glaringly apparent to me now, it remains a game I’m extremely proud of making.

2009, incidentally, is also the year that I made almost all of VVVVVV. One of the reasons I thought this port might be fun to do is that I’m considering an iOS and Android port for VVVVVV, so I’m seeing it as kind of a “trial run”. I don’t know if it’ll ever happen, and I’m not promising anything – but I’m definitely thinking about it.


Frown Upside Down

Probably best to just get this blog post out of the way, then.

At about 5am last night, the IGF finalists were announced – I was still up working, like I have been for about 4 nights in a row now, so I saw them the moment they were posted. Unfortunately, neither Don’t Look Back or VVVVVV are up for anything.

I can’t tell you how much it would have meant to be able go to San Francisco this March. I feel a little isolated out here in Ireland, sometimes – since Increpare left, I don’t know ANYONE else in the whole country who’s doing what I’m doing. There’s no point in hiding it, I’m completely and utterly gutted.

Oh well.

The reason I was able to give this a shot at all was because of all the support I got here a few months ago – I just want to say thanks again to everyone who donated and sent me messages of encouragement. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

I can mope about this later – VVVVVV will be out in just SIX days! I can’t believe it’s almost finished.


Ludum Dare 14 Themes

Ludum Dare 14 is this weekend, and I could not be more psyched about it! This’ll be my second Ludum Dare – my first was LD13, which had the theme “Roads”. For that, I worked on what eventually became Pathways. I also entered a mini LD earlier in the year and started what eventually became Don’t Look Back.

As happy as I am with those projects, this time I’d really love to actually finish something by the deadline! Which probably means coming up with a much more realistic plan for what I can actually do in 48 hours, instead of totally underestimating the amount of work it’ll take like I usually do. I don’t know what I’ll make yet, but it’s likely going to be very gameplay focused and not very content heavy.

(Also, Klik of the Month is tomorrow night; depending on how things are going I wanna give that a try too!)

The contest theme won’t actually be announced until the very last minute – the voting process is kinda complicated, but the jist of it is that there are multiple days of voting and one final round. So, while you can’t know for sure which theme is going to win out, you can make a pretty good educated guess by looking at which themes won in the previous rounds. Here’s the final round list of themes, sorted by score:

Score Theme
23 Rain
21 Advancing Wall of Doom
18 Attraction
18 Evil, defeat the lone hero!
16 Single Enemy
15 Epidemic
14 Microscopic World
13 Evolution
9 Flying
8 Procedural Generation
7 Gravity
6 Layers
4 Bosses
4 Distorted perception
3 Breaking the rules
0 Explosions
-1 Wormholes
-2 Recursion (specifically, Yo Dawg!)
-4 Very Short Games
-8 Cooperation

For the rest of the day, I’m gonna fix up my C++ and Allegro framework, and try to brainstorm a few ideas for the most likely candidates.


Don’t Look Back 2: Stop Looking Back

I’ve probably mentioned a few times before that I’m generally not all that inclined towards making sequels; but I’m about to make one very big exception. Now that Don’t Look Back has hit 25 million players and since I’ve had nearly a dozen people asking for a follow up, I’ve decided to give it a shot.

Don’t Look Back 2 is an improvement in almost everyway; more action, more jumping, more explosions, and more colours (I’m experimenting with a “blue” palette this time around). It takes over where Don’t Look Back ends; our hero has returned to the above world, but refuses to take another wife. This angers the Maenads, who swoop in to attack. To survive, he must fight them off – but this time, he’ll have more than a pistol to help him.

The game’s basically an arena shooter/racing game with RPG elements. As you defeat more and more waves of Maenads, you pick up shotguns, chainguns, jetpacks, and nukes. If you last long enough, you may even get a chance to fight the mighty Hades Prime….

I’ve also ditched the string quartet soundtrack in favour of something more fitting to its new theme; the new soundtrack is still a work in progress, but I think it’s coming together really well. It’s sort of a cross between speed metal and ska.

There’s still a lot of work to be done before this is finished, but I’ve put together a quick video of the prototype to show you how far along I am. Let me know what you think!


Updates and stuff

Just in the way of an update, thought I’d mention that I put the RPG thing to one side temporarily to finish up an old project; Increpare and I are back working on Judith. We’ve done a fair bit of work on it over the last week or so and are aiming to release it over the weekend, or very soon after. Probably!

In other news; Don’t Look Back is doing incredibly well, far, far beyond anything I expected. Last Thursday it reached an unbelievable figure of one million plays! I still haven’t gotten over the shock – I don’t know what to say…

I’ve gotten a whole bunch of emails recently, and I’ve been terrible about replying to them… I’m sorry! In my defence, it’s just that I’m really bad at making decisions – see, when I have one email I usually reply to it right away, no problem. When I have two it takes a little longer – I end up thinking about my response to both of them before I send either.

When I have over a hundred unanswered emails, on the other hand – as well as all the blog comments, shouts, whispers and private messages on various forums, it is sorta like being a deer that is staring into the headlights of an oncoming truck.


Don’t Look Back Soundtrack


Don’t Look Back has been online for just less than four days now. It’s been played 280,716 times on Kongregate so far.

That’s incredible! Kinda scary, even. (Even taking into account that 200,000 of those plays are probably me refreshing the page to check the stats.) It’s more than everything else I’ve ever made put together… hell, it’s probably 10 times more than everything else I’ve made put together.

If you’ve got in touch with me recently and I haven’t replied yet it’s because I’m just a little overwhelmed at the moment, I’m getting around to it, I promise! And I’ve got a couple of new things in the works that I’ll post about next week.

Anyway! A few people were asking for the soundtrack, so I thought I’d post it here:

[1] The Descent:
[2] Assonance:
[3] Cornered:
[4] The Ascent (Main Theme):

You can download all four songs in a zip here (1.9Mb)!