Category: Games

Mash Mash Restoration

This weekend was Global Game Jam 2020, and although I had planned to tackle my fifth consecutive attempt at the event over in Brighton (back where I first started), I ended up going for a third year at the University of Southampton. The weekend was bookended by work on Friday and a competition deadline on Monday so all in all it was easier to avoid any long journeys. I took a fairly relaxed approach to the challenge (not sleeping under a computer desk like last year) and, with the help of Paul Robins, put together a project I’m really quite happy with. The theme this year was “repair.”

Mash Mash Restoration is the first Game Jam project I’ve taken the lead in that wasn’t made in Twine. I put it together in GDevelop 5 (much like Flappy Bard, Cookie Cracker and Bananarchy). As the title mich suggest, it’s (almost) a rhythm game in which you use three different sorts of repair tools spread across three conveyor belts in order to fix an endless stream of broken(?) robots. Continue reading

Hear Me on Voice FM Tonight

I got a chance to show Bananarchy at a game developers’ event in Southampton last night, and as you might expect its fruit-based control scheme attracted a fair bit of attention.

Later on in the evening I did a quick interview with Voice FM, which you should be able to catch sometime around 7pm tonight. You can tune in on 103.9 FM if you’re in the area, or use the “listen live” option online if you’re farther afield. At least a couple of other games people I know were also interviewed, so it should be well worth watching out for!

EDIT: The programme is now available on Catch Up through this link. My interview begins at 1:34:00, but do have a listen to the other developers featured in the second hour: they’re working on some fantastic things!

WordPlay 2019 Lineup Announced

Here’s something I’ve been waiting to share for a while: the lineup of games on show at WordPlay 2019 has now been announced!

WordPlay will be running on November 9th and 10th at the Toronto Reference Library. This is the same event that featured Wolf at the Door in 2018, and I’m pleased to say that they offered me the opportunity to judge games for the shortlist this time around! If you’re anywhere nearby that weekend, do drop in: I wasn’t sent everything that was submitted, but what I did play through was exceptionally good. It was tough to whittle it down to just the top few of those, and I’ve got no doubt that what the other judges chose must be similarly excellent.

Coming Soon(?): Bananarchy

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you might be aware that I’ve spent the last little while working on something that involved wiring bananas into my computer.

I’m now ready to announce that the thing in question was Bananarchy, an arcade shooter controlled entirely with two real bananas (or a regular keyboard or touchscreen, just in case you lack the hardware necessary to generate keystrokes using fresh fruit). You play as Hitcan – Agent 57 – and must use twin banana pistols to shoot down ever increasing swarms of flies that converge upon your precious pink donut.

I came up with this project as a submission for EGX’s Leftfield Collection, as they’re particularly interested in games that use alternative controllers and who doesn’t like bananaguns? If it’s accepted you’ll be able to play it at the ExCeL Center in London from the 17th to 20th of October 2019. If not, I’ll probably still cobble together a version to take to DIY Southampton and whatnot. Continue reading

Bananagglomeration: A Meditations Game

You might have heard of Meditations, a collection of 365 (or more) games being released one-a-day through a special launcher over the course of the year. It’s been mentioned in PC Gamer, the Telegraph, and various other places.

What you might not have heard is that today’s game is mine! July 23rd is significant to me because it’s the date of my first “banana story,” and that’s what this game is all about.

Described by Flyover Games as “strangely compelling,” Bananagglomeration is an idle clicker in which you accumulate as many bananas as possible, plus some other stuff. The organisers of theĀ Meditations project asked that it not contain any words – which is a challenge when your main development tool is Twine – but I got around it by constructing the game entirely from emojis.

It’s possible the 24-hour window for playing the game may have closed by the time you read this, but fortunately Luk & Lok have already recorded a playthrough of the game which is pretty representative of the thing as a whole:

This game was actually a bit of a precursor to Cookie Cracker, though due to Meditations‘ release schedule you obviously got that one first. This makes Bananagglomeration something of an oddity: it was made before I branched out into HTML5, released after, and may well end up being the only 0-word Twine game I ever write (unless you count Treasure Hunt).

If you do miss your chance on this, the launcher should make it available on July 23rd every year from now on, so stick it in your calendar or something. It’s also quite possible that I’ll release it myself at some point, though not for a few months at least. I like the idea behind Meditations and I don’t feel as though making my game available indefinitely before the launcher’s run is finished would be in keeping with the spirit of the thing.

I hope you enjoy!

Draw Nine

Draw Nine is now available on itch.io! This is the same game I submitted for IntroComp last year, but with a complete story and a brand new look. The cards you see here were produced by Joe Wright, who I highly recommend following – he writes excellent fiction as well as producing excellent art.

If you haven’t tried out the early version already (which included the complete story, but none of the visual flair), the game sees you take on the role of a magician who uses enchanted cards to cast spells. However, you’re given just nine cards at the beginning of the game and these must see you through to the end. The selection is random, so it’s up to you to choose the path through the world that makes the best use of what you’ve drawn. There may be a significant element of trial-and-error involved, but not to worry: there are many paths to try and several different endings to find. Continue reading

An Early Look at Draw Nine

I’ve been working Draw Nine lately – this game was my entry for IntroComp last year – and am now ready to share my first draft. Originally this was just a perk for subscribers to my newsletter, but I figure they’ve had long enough to take a look so I’m opening it up to everyone!

You can play the game by following this link and clicking “Download (356KB).” The HTML file will run in your web browser with no problems at all.

The story is complete but I’m open to making changes. I may also tweak the way certain elements of the game function, just for balance, but I’ll hold off until I’ve heard what people make of its current incarnation. I’m also planning to add a considerable level of visual flair – I’ve already got some great artwork from Joe Wright – but it seems prudent to tackle the actual content of the game first which is why you’re stuck with plain black text for now.

Play it, (hopefully!) enjoy it, and let me know what you think! You can comment on this post without needing an account or even an email address.

Flappy Bard

Here’s my first HTML5 game – Flappy Bard! You might be wondering why you’re hearing about this one after April 1st’s Cookie Cracker. Well, there are two reasons:

  1. I made Flappy Bard as a birthday present for my sister and wanted her to have a chance to give it a go before it went out to the general public.
  2. I thought that Cookie Cracker would make a better April Fool’s joke if people weren’t already aware that I could create this sort of thing.

Flappy Bard is essentially a clone of the classic Flappy Bird, but with some small changes to the way in which obstacles are spawned and an overall Shakespearian theme. Continue reading

Cookie Cracker

Depending on how closely you follow my work – and in particular whether or not you’re subscribed to my monthly newsletter and all the goodies therein – you might be aware that I recently began supplementing my Twine projects with simple HTML5 games. For the moment these tend to revolve around well established (and thus easily replicated) mechanics, which is why the latest is…

Cookie Cracker!

If you’re familiar with incremental games (and especially if you’ve played Cookie Clicker specifically) then this will look a lot like what’s already out there. While I’m still getting the hang of Gdevelop5 – the tool I’ve been using for HTML5 games – it only makes sense to follow a tried and tested recipe (to keep things cookie-themed). However, even while aiming for a fairly safe format, I like to think that I’ll inevitably work in some new ingredients. Continue reading

Twine for Beginners: Timers and Live Text

If you want to make your Twine games more interesting, there are few easier ways to do that than the (live:) macro. This thing can do as little as shuffle your random text from time to time, or as much as introduce completely new mechanics into your game. This tutorial will borrow a few ideas fromĀ others in the series, but honestly – if all you want to do is make your games a little more dynamic – it shouldn’t be too hard to follow on its own. Here are a few different methods of using (live:) to do interesting things:

Method Zero: What (live:) Actually Does

This macro behaves a little differently to (if:), (else:), (either:), etc. so I think it’s worth taking a moment just to introduce it. If you open up Twine 2 and type in (live:)[Here’s some text I want to appear live.], this is what you’ll see when you run the game:

At a glance, it’ll appear that nothing’s going on. However, what’s actually happening is that the (live:) macro is constantly refreshing that text. You just can’t tell because refreshing the text doesn’t actually do anything. It looks the same every time it shows up, so it doesn’t really matter whether it’s being re-displayed a thousand times a second or it’s displayed once and just stays there. However, the fact that this doesn’t draw attention to itself can actually be pretty useful, as you’ll see in the next step. Continue reading