Goodbye Nexus City

Happy new year everyone! I’ve used that guitar cover of The Ecstasy of Gold above as a placeholder song in various big projects over the years that haven’t worked out. It seemed fitting to share it here.

Near the end of 2012, I made the very difficult decision to abandon Nexus City (and it’s spinoff game, Selma’s Story).

For those of you with no idea what Nexus City is – it’s an RPG I was collaborating on with the writer Jonas Kyratzes. Originally a very small game, over time it grew completely out of control – at this point, Jonas and I have worked on it on and off for over two years. However, that doesn’t really paint an accurate picture – I haven’t worked on Nexus City itself since 2011, and I only worked on the spinoff game, Selma’s Story, for two months last year.

That said, even though it’s not a project I’m actively spending much of my time on, Nexus City has weighed heavily on my mind.

I’ve been thinking of Nexus City as “the thing I’m working on” since 2010. As a result, for a long time now, I’ve felt like I wasn’t really in control of what I can work on. Promising games would come along, and I’d stop myself from getting too deep into them, because I had to finish Nexus City first. Everything became a big ordered list of what I could work on and when, how long I could spend on it. It’s only when a project like Super Hexagon came along, and forced itself on me – became too much to ignore, that I was able to turn that part of my head off. And I could do it, but even then I constantly had that pressure – when this is done, I need to get back to Nexus City.

I don’t think that’s creatively healthy.

Nexus City is an amazing world with an amazing story, and there were times when I was completely obsessed with it – but the momentum is long gone now, and at this point I don’t think it’s ever going to happen. I need to move on to other things.

So, what’s next for this year? Right now – for the moment, I think I may just take some time off. I feel like I haven’t really done that in some time – it’s just been one project after another pretty much as long as I remember. After that? I don’t really know! I have a clean slate again for the first time in a very long time, and I’m very excited about that.


Previously, on Selma’s Story

Posted in selma story

Time for another quick update, I think.

I’m still working on Selma’s Story. Actually, I’ve finally gotten it to the point where there’s some real stuff to do in it. There are now about a dozen or so real battles in the game, with real numbers – it’s only a fraction of the ideas I’m planning to explore, but it’s enough to prove to myself that there really is something here, with this system. I’m really excited about where it’s going – already it’s a lot of fun, and I haven’t even gotten to the intricate details yet.

It’s shaping up to be a surprisingly big game too. It currently takes about 45 minutes to play through the prototype – already quite a lot longer than the 10-15 minute RPG short story I originally envisioned this side project being… That’s a little scary, but this game is going to be what it’s going to be. So be it.

Jonas is currently finishing up a big adventure game he’s been working on called The Sea Will Claim Everything, and I’m heading home to Ireland for a few weeks, so I’m taking a little break from this game for a little while. I was thinking the next two weeks might be a good time to finish one of those small side things I’ve talked about – before Selma takes over completely…


Selma’s Story

Posted in selma story

Hello everypony! I guess it’s been pretty quiet around here recently. Time for a quick update on what I’ve been working on!

A couple of weeks ago, I put all my side projects on hold to focus completely on the Nexus City spinoff game (which, for the sake of clarity, is hereafter referred to on this blog as “Selma’s Story”). It’s going very slowly, but I am, finally, starting to make some progress with it.

I’ve spent the last few weeks working purely on the game’s battle system – I’m basically trying to make a prototype version of the game which is just a sequence of battles one after another, at which point I hope to get Jonas involved to work the existing script around it.

The main reason I haven’t been posting about it is that I’ve got nothing to *show* – as in, I’ve got no screenshots to post. I’m trying to keep the system as pure as possible right now, so I’m doing it without any graphical distractions whatsoever – it’s all text!

As for the battle system itself, I’m really excited about it – it’s very pure, very simple, and seems to exhibit a surprising depth. Can’t wait to share it 🙂


Another new year’s resolution

Hello everyone! IT IS THE YEAR 2012 NOW.

At the start of last year, I wrote a long post about how things changed for me in 2010. Unbelievably, 2011 went even better. Between the steam sales, the humble indie bundle, and now the recent 3DS launch, VVVVVV continues to reach heights I never imagined possible. I’m incredibly proud of its successes, and incredibly grateful for what that’s meant for me.

Since releasing VVVVVV, I’ve worked on dozens and dozens of games. I don’t know how many exactly – I’ve lost count. A lot of those games didn’t go anywhere, and that’s fine. These past two years have been very creatively valuable for me.

But I’m looking ahead now, and I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the sort of work I want to do in the future. This year, I want to try approaching things differently. This is my new year’s resolution:

This year, I’m not going to start any new projects.

These last two years have left me with a number of very promising, incomplete prototypes, and what I’m going to try doing this year instead is focus on finishing these.

This is huge for me! It means no more entering Ludum Dare, no more Klik of the Months, no more throwaway jam games of any kind. It’s a massive, fundamental change to how I’ve always worked. But I feel very anxious to work on something bigger this year, and I want to challenge myself.

I’ve made a short list of my favourite unfinished prototypes. If you’ve been reading my blog before this, you may have seen me talk about some of these games before – there are three “main” projects on it that are the main things I’m going to focus on, and also a handful of smaller games that I’d like to return to if I happen to have the time.

Nexus City Spinoff

Nexus City is a huge RPG that I’ve been working on on-and-off with Jonas Kyratzes since late 2010. It’s a big, scary project, so last summer, Jonas and I talked about the possibility of making this short side game, as a way to introduce both ourselves and other people to the universe of Nexus City. It’s much smaller than Nexus City itself, and very much it’s own thing.

Jonas wrote an awesome script for the game, but other things came up last summer when meant putting it to one side. I’m planning to finally start work on it very soon, and I’m hoping to have it finished before March.

Nexus City

And then of course, there’s Nexus City itself. I’ve been talking about this game for a very long time, but I’m hoping to finally make it happen this year.


This relatively recent prototype came completely out of nowhere for me. I’m excited about it because it’s not really like anything else I’ve ever worked on. The nature of this game means that it’s very suited to being chipped away at, and I expect I’ll return to it frequently as inspiration comes and goes.

In addition to those three, there are also a couple of half finished shorter games that I’d like to revisit between projects:

I feel pretty attached to this right now, probably because it’s the most recent thing I’ve worked on. It’s a very short, stupid game. It shouldn’t take long to finish up either, so I’m going to stick with it while I still have a bit of momentum on it.
Big Hero:
One of the first things I worked on after finishing VVVVVV, Big Hero is a prototype I keep meaning to come back to.
In it’s current state, this game is basically finished already. Last summer I had bigger plans for this game, but I’m not sure they’re going to come to pass anymore. In any case, I think it’s something that deserves to be finished properly, in some form.
Annihilation Game:
I worked on this briefly in 2010 – I think I only ever actually posted about it once (under its old working title “Self Destruct 2”), but it’s a game I’ve worked on a fair bit, and continue to think about. I think it has the potential to be a very interesting game, and I’m really itching to make another shooter.
Not At a Distance:
At a Distance was a very challenging project at times, and quite a lot of ideas and content ended up getting cut from the final version. Enough that there’s almost a complete game’s worth of unused ideas still floating around. I’d really like to take some of those ideas and put them together in a playable form, as a short B-Side to At a Distance.

And that’s it. That’s everything.

Of course, like all new year’s resolutions, perhaps this is doomed to fail. I can’t promise I won’t fall off the wagon next time a Klik of the Month rolls around, and maybe it’s no big deal if I do. I’m really optimistic about this year, though. If I can finish even a fraction of these games, I’ll consider it a huge success.