Posts Tagged ‘Game’

New Particle Mace Video

August 8, 2012

Particle Mace is going on the back burner for a bit while I work on Doodle Defense, but in the meantime it has evolved quite a bit. The game now features:

-Different modes of play. The game has Normal, Hard and Asteroid Field. Each of these modes tweak the rules the game uses to generate the universe. Normal and Hard are obvious; Asteroid Field has no enemies, but tons of huge asteroids. In this mode the particle weapon becomes a dangerous ball and chain that can smash the asteroids around you into smaller, more dangerous chunks.

-Missions. Each mode has a custom set of missions that change the game each round. These represent special challenges that can be preformed in a given round (a la Jetpack Joyride). I really feel that these greatly extend the play of the game by presenting new goals besides just lasting as long as possible (already an impressive feat given the hostile nature of Particle Mace). These missions include killing more foes, not killing foes, flying as far as possible, smashing asteroids, going on suicide runs, and many more. In the final game, completing these missions will allow the player to unlock new skins and other aspects of the game.

– Super tight controls thanks to using the lower third of the screen as a control pad, as you can see in the video. I went back and forth on this for a while since it meant sacrificing so much of the screen real estate, but what I realized was that the number one complaint I got about the game was the problem of covering up vital information with the finger. This not only fixes that problem, but makes it so that the player has far tighter control by being able to make smaller gestures in a field that stays steady instead of being relative to the ship.

Once Doodle Defense is finished up, Particle Mace will come roaring back. It only needs a little work, and then this vicious little arcade game should hit the app store.


May 21, 2012

Download Find Me A Good One for PC or Mac right here.

The game was made in Unity by me and Haitham Ennasr.

New Art For Word Cave

May 9, 2012

As the final for Code Play gets closer, I’ve been doing work on Word Cave, my collaborative spelling game for two iOS devices. Most of the new work consisted of adding some art to the damn thing (a non-trivial task given that I can’t even draw a straight line). There were some minor changes to the game play as well.

For those unfamiliar with the game, Word Cave is a spelling game played by two players, each on their own iOS device (either iPhone or iPad). The speller must spell words from the stalactites at the top of the screen, dropping them onto the enemies below. The shooter must run around on the bottom avoiding the enemies and collecting the coins that appear when the speller spells a word or makes a kill. The shooter also has the ability to shoot stalactites and cause them to drop either to help the speller or just to defend themselves. When the speller spells larger words, they create more coins and earn more ammo or even extra lives for the shooter.

The shooter getting ready to grab for some of the coins garnered for spelling "oak" and killing some enemies.

I thought about the art for a while since visuals really aren’t my forte. Eventually, though, I decided to embrace my total inability to draw and go for a very sketchy, notebook feel for the graphics. I essentially planned each image out as a vector shape and traced it with the pencil tool in Flash. I went with Flash because the pencil tool in that particular wing of the Adobe suite smooths itself in a way that I happen to like, and I used to use Flash a lot so I already have a flow for doing animation in it.

The shooter character's (very short) new walk cycle

The end result is not the prettiest art in the world, but it is consistent, and has the right vibe for the game. One issue I did encounter was with the font used for the stalactites. Right now, the font inside the stalactites is the only part of the game that does not have the same sketchy vibe. This is because the font I used for the rest of the game (Noteworthy) was hard enough to read that it really impacted player’s ability to play the game. This was obviously no good, so I setled on a much more readable font but one that still had an analog feel by choosing a typewriter font.

At this point, the game is getting close enough to being done, that it really needed instructions to be able to test it properly. I tried to boil the game down in as few slides as possible, but decided to combine both roles instead of having players just look at instructions for “their” role. Since both roles are important, both players should have an understanding of what’s going on. I also took this chance to point out that people playing this game should be talking to each other. I designed the game with the two players speaking (and hopefully shouting) to one another as they spot words that could be used. Noting this in the instructions feels a bit prescriptive, but I wanted to dissuade the players from the assumption that this was a network game that they just happened to be playing in the same room.

One larger gameplay change since my last post is that the game now punished three letter words. A common piece of feedback that I received was that the game should do something to discourage small words. Just receiving more points really wasn’t enough since most players are primarily concerned with killing the foes. To counteract this, any foes on screen when a three letter word is spelled receive a permanent speed boost. Any foes spawned after the fact are unaffected to prevent it from being too punishing, and the penalty is negated if all of the on screen foes are killed, but it still gives players pause before hammering out a small word.

A small plus sign appears above the enemy to show that it received a bonus

Before I present on Friday I also want to set certain letters (such as Q and X) to give more coins for being used as a way to reward players for using tricky letters in much the same way that nearly every spelling game does.

Although the game is fairly locked in for Friday, if I decide to continue with the project, I may remove the shooting mechanic. The shooter still isn’t as involved as I’d like them to be, and still exist primarily as a subordinate to the speller. I may try having their movement more directly affect the available letters, possibly having the jump cause the stalactite above it to fall. Hopefully this will make it so that both players will have to be mindful of the shooter’s position. Even if this is not the solution, I’d like to find some way to further engage the player on the ground.

But for Friday, I am pleased with the game. It has been consistently testing well, and now it has a distinct look. And after a few hours work, a bizarre-o load image that I’m pretty pleased with:

Word Cave

April 28, 2012

As my final for Code Play and Iterative Design and Research  (documented here), I am currently working on a small two player cooperative spelling game. The game is is played on two iOS devices which comunicate via OSC messages. One player takes the role of speller, who must spell words from the stalactites at the top of the screen to drop on the foes. The other player is the shooter, who runs around below Mario-style. It is the shooter’s job to not be killed and to collect the points dropped from spelling words and killing foes. As the name would imply, the shooter also has the ability to shoot stalactites causing them to drop and offer up a new letter for the shooter to work with.

Here is a video of the shooter’s screen during a play at Parsons today:

I was prompted to make the game after playing Spell Tower, Zach Gage’s fantastic spelling game. I loved how in this game, and many other word games, a single player game easily becomes multiplayer by just looking over somebody’s shoulder and shouting out words they could play. I wanted to wrap that role up and give it significance in the game. The shooter’s role is somewhat subordinate as the game depends on spelling, but they can see the letters available and being used and talk to the speller, and they have an important role as they define when the game ends as well as how many of the points earned are actually added to the score. Points that are not collected simply disappear. The speller and shooter must also work together and comunicate to time when to dorp letters and when to shoot out useless ones as well as just finding words together.

The view for the speller

I tested the game a bit at the end of this week and have been getting very positive feedback. People certainly have their issues with the game, and it definitely needs a lot of work, but these people tended to also want to play more than once. It seems to foster a good team mentality and pairs of players have become somewhat defensive about having their score dethroned. Although the game is going to be difficult to market as it currently requires both devices to be on the same network, I am looking foreword to building it out more and improving the visual interface of it.

Bounce Box video taken at Parsons

April 28, 2012

I recently had a chance to play Bounce Box at the Parsons Game Club. The video is a bit washed out, which is unfortunate, but so it goes.

The game can be purchased on iTunes for 99 cents.

Bounce Box Now Available on for iPhone & iPad

April 16, 2012


As part of my first foray into the world of iOS development, I remade and improved upon an older Flash game of mine that I liked, but which had some galring faults. Bounce Box is a retro feeling arcade reflex game with trance visuals where the player must move a paddle to keep several balls in the box while the background shifts with every bounce. It’s something of a solo Pong with pretty colors. I was also able to get awesome chip-tuner Bubblyfish to lend some tracks to the game’s soundtrack.

The previous version of the game featured a safety net on each side of the box that would absorb a single miss, but since the game already has a number of lives, this really just overcomplicated the whole thing. The second, and much larger change was that there was an exploit in the previous version where simply tapping the arrow keys rapid fire would prevent the player form ever losing. I made sure to test the iOS version of the game to make sure that no degree of brute force could guarantee a high score.

And high scores do matter in this release as part of my experimentation with the game was to integrate Game Center into the app to save high scores and achievements.

Although I made this game primarily as a test before creating more complex games in the future, I think it’s a really fun game to play on the subway while you’re waiting for your stop. It was interesting for me too, to revisit an older game of mine and iron out some of the problems that had prevented it from working in the past as well as coding it in a different language.

Download the game for your iPad or iPhone here!

2 Hour GDC Game Jam Game

March 6, 2012

While waiting on line for a screening of Indie Game The Movie (which was amazing), Fernando Ramallo suggested holding a Piratekart game jam. Two hours later, I had a quick and dirty puzzle game.

The rules are simple, but probably could have been been better defined. The game jam game is what it is, though, so I don’t want to edit it. I will, however, post the rules here:

-The goal is to destroy balls until there are five or fewer on screen.
-Clicking a ball selects it, clicking another one pulls the first ball to the second.
-Any balls hit along the way are destroyed
-Once a ball has been used to attract another, it cannot be selected

Play it here:

Jollyship The Whiz-Bang! Game

March 2, 2012

A while back I made a music video for pirate puppet rock odyssey, Jolyship The Whiz-Bang! I’m a huge fan of their music and working on the video was a lot of fun. I’m also a big fan of making games that take inspiration and mechanical cues from music. Pretty much since that video I’ve had an idea in the back of my mind to make a game that syncs up to one of my favorite songs of theirs, Sons Of The Waves.

The assignment this week for Code Play at Parsons was to create a shoot-em-up game in Processing, so I decided to go for it and finally have a crack at making the game. It is a prototype at best, made in a serious rush (hell, it doesn’t even have a proper end game screen, forcing the suer to close and reopen if they want to play again), but I think it’s fun for what it is.

The art is all taken from old maps, down to the health bars and bullets. I haven’t done a collage game in a while, so it was fun to reopen photoshop for the sake of cutting up images. Given more time, I’d like to finish out the song as wella s doing some real animations for the monsters. Something to look forward to.

Mac & PC App here
Processing source code here


February 14, 2012

Doodle Defense is a tower defense game I am working on where draw mazes and towers on a whiteboard with regular dry erase markers to stop projected foes. It’s crazy fun but it needs help to get funded.

Here’s a helpful guide to how the dang thing works:


Power Pong

February 9, 2012

This week for Code Play we had to expand upon the classic Pong game. I opted to keep the retro style, and try to incorporate a few power ups to the game.


Collecting a plus sign can:
-Make your paddle Bigger
-Make your opponent’s paddle smaller
-Turn the ball back toward them and speed it up
-Make your paddle faster
-Make your opponent’s paddle slower

The game now often forces players to weight their ability to both collect a power up and still catch the ball. And it’s just plain fun.

Source code and stand alone apps here