I worked on this Xbox One launch title at Zoë Mode. It’s the biggest game I’ve ever worked on, and it’s super-rewarding to have finished it despite tough launch-day deadlines, and to see a lot of people have fun playing it.

More details here on the Kuju website.

Screenshots

I worked on this game towards the end of my time at Full Fat, working with a designer to develop the core puzzle mechanics from scratch. There are a lot of nuances to uncover in the swiping and matching mechanics, and it’s just plain addictive!

View the game on Full Fat’s website.

Screenshots

 

Well I haven’t worked on my shmup Heart Attack for around 3 years. I’m reviving it, with a tank instead of a spaceship and hopefully some lovely 3D models!

Building on work I did before the gameplay systems are coming together. The bullet system is really flexible, and entities are  all put together through XML so adding a rotateable turret with a gun on to the player was super quick.

It’s not much to look at so here’s a bit of painting.

Tammy, a trainee pirate! Not for a game or anything, just for fun.

A little puzzle platformer made in 48 hours for the 26th Ludum Dare competition.

The theme was “minimalism”, which I tried to apply to the design of the game. I stuck to a single object type (bombs) and tried to make them interesting enough to make a number of different puzzles. The graphics are purposefully not minimal, because I like videogamey games! The audio is totally absent because I ran out of energy too soon.

Hope you enjoy it!

Download here (712KB)

The game’s Ludum Dare page is here.

Screenshots

At the weekend I had a go of a Japanese NES game called Castle Excellent (aka Castlequest). It’s rather unfairly difficult, so this is Princess Margarita inevitably trying to rescue herself after the Prince has got Game Over.

Fallblox / Crashmo is out on 3DS now, a follow up to Pullblox / Pushmo, and another amazing puzzle game. Following on from my Pullblox levels collection, here I’ll post any Fallblox levels that I make.

 Obviously my first level is another battenberg.

 Not an amazing level, but playing with ideas to do with the games’ 3D nature.

Me and Jonathan Whiting collaborated on this small game during TIGJam UK 7. I did the art and music, Jonathan did the code.

It’s a turn-based puzzle game – when you move the fish with the arrow keys, the enemies also move. Press R to retry if you get stuck.

Play the game in your browser here!

Screenshot

Decided to do a bit of 3D modelling this weekend, because it’s been ages. I got a trial version of modo and did a 3D version of my recent Puzzle Island character art.

One of the two main characters of Puzzle Island (I really need to come up with a name for that).

I realised whilst colouring this that I’d probably subconsciously stolen the pose from one of the Wyv and Keep pics. Incidentally, I’m rather looking forward to that game!

This is the original mockup I did of Puzzle Island, aaaages ago. I think the only thing I’ve reused from it is the tile with three flowers on.

It also has Trixie and Troy in (from Treasure Treasure) who I’ve replaced with different characters.

Long time no post! I’ve been very busy at work, but have been chipping away at this puzzle game occasionally. It doesn’t really have a name yet – it’s just called Puzzle Island for now.

It’s a mouse-based puzzler where you just click to issue orders (in the case of this screenshot, click the bomb to kick it!). The commands are basically Kick and Move, with the eventual goal of opening the treasure chest.

The colour is a recent addition, it used to be 4-colour Game Boy style. So the actual colours are work in progress. (That also explains the rather drab UI.)

It’s intended to be a pretty small and simple project. Trixie Treasure should still continue eventually, but I don’t really have time for such a big project at the moment!

The results for Ludum Dare 23 were announced. My game This Precious Land came 6th! Thanks to everyone who voted!

I’ve been avoiding showing too much of the later stages of the game, as the fun of it is discovering how the game works through playing. But here’s my perfect landscape, I think.

I thought I’d write a quick postmortem of my recent Ludum Dare entry, This Precious Land. For those who don’t know, Ludum Dare is a 48-hour game creation competition. A theme is given at the start of the time, and all art, audio and code must be created in the time frame by one person. (There’s also a 72-hour team version of the competition with less strict rules).

The Invaluable Shower (or – Keep it Simple)

I woke up to the theme – Tiny World – on the Saturday morning (I live in the UK so the competition fits nicely with my time zone and takes place across two solid days). I started sketching some ideas and stuff, and settled on the idea of doing some sort of puzzle game set on a tiny cube. As the engine I’m using is 2D only, I was thinking along the lines of showing various isometric views of the cube on the screen, to show all sides of it at once. I did some mockups.

Then I thought it all over in the shower and came to the sensible conclusion that I was overcomplicating the whole thing. Not only would the co-ordinates and stuff be a pain to manage, and the rendering awkward, but I’d have to draw objects from quite a few angles each for the various views involved.

So I stripped it right down to a simple single-plane isometric game. Once dressed and back to work I was able to get the basic grid system and rendering done really quickly. Then I could move onto gameplay.

The majority of my previous Ludum Dare entry was also thought up in the Saturday morning shower. Which brings me to..

 Take it Easy

I’m a firm believer in giving my subconcious time to process things while I’m doing other stuff. It’s amazing what you can come up with when you’re not trying. So even during a short competition, I like to have the aforementioned long shower, go for walks, cook and eat properly, and go to sleep at the normal time on Saturday night. As well as having time to step away from the game and think it over, it makes the whole weekend generally more enjoyable. Less chance of burning out.

No Distractions

I spent most of Saturday at the Coventry Ludum Dare jam. In the end there was only two of us. I tried to connect the laptop to the wifi there, but it wasn’t happy with it for some reason. This actually worked out extremely well, as I just got in the zone and made tons of progress when it was most important. After about 8 hours at the jam I went home with a mostly playable game, and added the rest of the content pretty comfortably on Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

Vague Design

I didn’t have a solid idea of how the game would play before I was almost finished with it. To be honest, I actually prefer to work this way, and in a 48-hour competition it’s pretty much necessary anyway. In the case of This Precious Land though, it meant I never came up with an actual in-game goal for the player to aim for.

I considered a few different possibilities: some sort of scoring system; a threat of some kind which acts as a time limit; in-game opponents or something. In the end the easy option was to leave the game as a sandbox where the player just creates a landscape they are proud of. I quite like the optimistic vibe behind this goal, and the freedom it offers the player – I found I enjoyed setting myself challenges to try within the game, for example creating an entirely non-military village, or only using forest tiles, and not leaving any poor-looking level 1 tiles on the grid at the end.

So luckily I think it turned out OK, although it could have fallen apart towards the end just as easily.

Lack of Testing

I didn’t make any plans for testing the game, and it basically got none. Draknek played it very briefly during the jam on Saturday, and we talked about the design while I was working on it, but other than that no-one else saw it.

Bugs-wise there wasn’t an issue, as I managed to keep the code pretty solid throughout. The game could have done with more balancing, though. There are a lot of values kicking around in the game – resource costs for building tiles, the resources gained from harvesting them,  the size of the grid, etc. I just had to make educated guesses about what would work.

Originally the jam was intended to take place on both days of the weekend, and with more people involved, which would have helped. I could also have turned to the internet for testing, but I think seeing people play the game in person is far more useful.

Overall

I’m really proud with how the game turned out. Other people seem to be enjoying it so far too! I’m looking forward to the next Ludum Dare, and in the meantime there are 1400 other entries to play.

“Learn the workings of nature, and make us proud of This Precious Land.”

This is a sandbox construction game / toy, created for for the 23rd Ludum Dare 48 hour competition, the theme of which was “tiny world”.

The goal is just to make a landscape you feel proud of*! It works a bit like Triple Town, with some Settlers influences too. Use a bit of experimentation and trial-and-error to learn how the game’s rules work, and then try and make whatever landscape you feel like.

Or, place tiles randomly and see what happens! It’s quite therapeutic to watch the world slowly build up.

Download here (722KB)

The game’s Ludum Dare page is here.

Screenshots

*not having a proper in-game goal is a little bit of a cop-out.. but this was the best way to balance the game in the remaining time. And I like the sentiment behind being proud of something, anyway.

Thought I’d celebrate the release of Fez with a bit of painting. A great game! Though I must admit I’m stumped when it comes to collecting the last few things. I’m sure I’ll figure it out, though.

I thought I’d post these 3D models from a puzzle game I was prototyping a while ago, Workchunk. I think that project’s probably dead now – though I’d like to bring the character back for another game in the future.

I made the models in Wings3D. With the exception of the bomb’s fuse, they only use vertex colours and screenspace environment maps.

  

Today I stumbled across this historic image on an old SD card.

These are the original bourbon biscuits that inspired the biscuit theme of Johnny Platform’s Biscuit Romp!

More moody Lizzy concept art.

Here’s more concept art for Elizabeth Shoots Ghosts! Lizzy’s got a bad feeling about this.

2012-02-29 Driveway

The in-game art is ticking along, but it’s mostly rough first-pass stuff, so not worth posting here yet.

GameSpy were nice enough to feature two of my games in their 101 Free PC Games of 2011! Thanks, GameSpy!

The two games were Johnny Platform Saves Christmas and Split Party. Lots of other games that are worth a look on there too.

Elizabeth arrives at the gates to her father’s grounds. Why are they locked?

2012-02-18 AtTheGate

A while ago I went to Bit of Alright, a quality day of game design talks / presentations / misc in London.

One of the  sections that I put in the ‘misc’ category was Game Design Rocks, where the challenge was to make a game involving rocks. Me and a few other people came up with Rock Trumps. Hardly the most original idea, but I was quite pleased with how we balanced the rules out in the end. I thought I’d record the game here.

Rock Trumps

- You need some small rocks, which are preferably a random assortment of size, shape, colour, texture, etc.

- For 4 players, each player randomly takes 4 rocks (5 for 5 players, etc). No one must see the rocks!

- Take it in turns to select one of your rocks – only by touching it, you still can’t look at them – and make a bet about that rock. For example, “I think I’ll have the biggest rock”. Choose any property of the rock that you want, or bet that yours is second biggest instead of biggest, or whatever you fancy. That’s the beauty of it not being a videogame.

- After announcing the bet, all other players select a rock of their own. All rocks are then shown, and you decide between yourselves who won the bet. The winning rock is discarded (this stops the game going on forever), and the winning player takes the each rock that the other player bet.

- Keep betting until only one person has rocks left! The same bet can’t be made twice, however.

That’s that.

I highly recommend everyone buys Pullblox (Pushmo in the US), a rather lovely puzzle game available on the 3DS eShop.

It has a level editor so if I make any decent levels, I’ll collect them in this post.

Super-size levels, and levels containing manholes and pullout switches, can only be played once you’ve unlocked those features yourself (about halfway through the game).

Battenberg

Naturally, a game this colourful requires a battenberg level.

TrixieTreasure

A puzzle made from a Trixie Treasure sprite (though not the sprite used in TTFF).

SkyTower

This level is mainly designed to feel like a bit of an epic climb. Make sure to build decent foundations and pull out as much stuff as possible at the base.

WarioSmallWario

A couple of tributes to one of my all-time favourite games, Wario Land.

FlyingRooster

Another Game Boy game tribute, this time Link’s Awakening.

This is a pair of officially-licensed NFL games for iPhone / iPod / iPad that I made at work.

Featuring all 32 teams, some quality high-scoring ball-flicking action, and of course many shiny effects by yours truly.

App Store Links

NFL Flick Quarterback

NFL Flick Quarterback HD (for iPad)

NFL Kicker!

NFL Kicker! HD (for iPad)

Screenshots

NFLQB001NFLQB002

NFLK001NFLK002

It’s Screenshot Saturday time! This is another mockup for Elizabeth Shoots Ghosts. I’ve revamped the graphics quite significantly since the last mockup I posted.

2012-01-14

The results were announced for Ludum Dare 22, for which I created Split Party.

The game was voted joint 6th overall, and joint 3rd in the Fun category. That’s made my day! Thanks to everyone who voted, and congrats to the winners. Go check out some of the games.

I did an interview for Quote Unquote, a website that interviews indie game developers.

There’s a load of my concept art, mockups and abandoned (or “on hold”) project screenshots at the end of the interview, too!

Quote Unquote – The Last and Final Word: Craig Forrester

I do a lot of sketching and stuff, and am aiming to post more of it on here. This one’s a concept for the living area of a yacht.

2012-01-03 Yacht Living Area 2012-01-04 Yacht Living Area 2

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