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Have to remember to do something with this strong list of videogame tasks from AfterEgypt.

Ario Barzan’s got a good essay up on Gamasutra at the moment. It argues for game makers to look outside their field in more depth, particularly highlighting the architectural drawings of Piranesi and Boullée.

Piranesi and Boullée: Two Artist-Architects Unmined by Game Designers

Ario has a lot of other things worth checking out: a great Castlevania writing blog Brick by Brick, music, and drawings which I don’t have a link for which Sergio provided a link to.


You Are a Fireball - BlueberrySoft

“Truly the Citizen Kane of things videogames can teach us.”

PLAY - Browser, Unity


I keep forgetting to write about this, so here goes:

I made You Are A Fireball for the most recent ‘pageant’ on, whose them was 'magic is real’. I was keen to give the place a try, and reading the announcement thread for the latest event in the forum I felt challenged by the line 'a game about fireballs that’s actually interesting somehow’.

I’m quite happy with what I ended up with. I think the main difference to my original plan was that it was to take place in more of an indoor setting. Otherwise I think I exceeded it by having somewhat randomised (pseudo-random, I guess) levels (achieved buy rotating each map piece when the level loads), as well as randomised wizard placement.

There were other features I added—or tried to add—but ended up removing—or cancelling—because I felt that they distracted from the idea of being a fireball, even if they made the game function a bit more 'smoothly’. Things like having the player respawn when they crash, and keeping scores. I enjoyed thinking about how much to impose upon the player. I mean, I thought I would prefer to leave determining victory, and tallying scores to the players, for example.

I learnt a lot! Implementing plenty of things I hadn’t tried before: clunky randomisation, split screen multiplayer, some programming things like cases and random numbers and feeling more confident with JS in general.

I still haven’t actually tried playing it with another person.

Oneiric Gardens, by Lilith.


There’s some pro climbing in those videos above, I reckon. Do not invite me to your house, I will get on your roof.

Oneiric Gardens is a very pretty collection of play spaces, organised as one connected world. I’m struggling to say things about it, for some reason. But anyway!, I highly recommended it. Though you should play with it before watching my videos.

I’ve been meaning to work on a bigger version of the Unity games I’ve done for a while. Playing this made me think about including lots more secret things; little acknowledgements when players get into odd places and do seemingly unexpected things. That’s not to say I have a particular belief that acknowledging or not acknowledging those types of things is better, or that I felt disappointed in Gardens.

I think the ‘length’ of Parrot Dream was the start of my thinking about that. I wanted to be able to wander off into the void, then stumble across islands, and areas that were like a 'dream game’ in their own right. Like a good version of Wind Waker. Oneiric Gardens is like a dense version of that, in a way.

Game idea.

I was thinking about surrealism, and how I only really connect with it as a written thing (so not in painting, I mean). Paintings are too explicit, whereas words leave a lot of the work to the reader, so the ‘images’ created are personal.

Then I realised that I also like it in games (maybe more so?). But games are even more explicit than paintings, so why do they work? I figured it must be because I have some control over what I see, how I see it, how I find it, and how I interact with it.

Mostly I’m thinking about the game LSD Dream Emulator when I say this. Which led to me wondering about how a system like you have in the Scribblenauts games—where you type a word to make that thing appear in-game—could be applied to a 3-D 'dream emulator’ type game. I think you would need more control (colour, size, location, etc.), but think it could be a great way to construct a videogame space.

Game idea: Mercenary Force 3-D.

I’ve always had a soft-spot for that little Game Boy game Mercenary Force. If you’re unaware it’s a shooter where you control a team of chaps. You select them from a few classes, each with their own types of attack types and patterns. So you walk around as this gang shooting things in all directions in patterns determined by the chaps chosen, and changable formations.

I like the idea of doing a similar idea messily in 3-D. A team of wierd warrior types chucking stuff around.


I like this description from Kevin Bradshaw for his game Her Garden: ‘Her Garden is an exploration/gardening game.’ I am going to make an exploration/gardening game, I think.

(The Ludum Dare page is here, though I haven’t been paying attention to the event, and found it via Warpdoor.)


Today I bumped into an old game of mine, the second one I ever made for Glorious Trainwrecks, which I think makes it the second game I ever finished. Certainly not the second game I ever started.

I like those two first games I made. I remember them both being kind-of desperate things, just being nervous and unsure about if I could even put a game together. In he second one, Moving Maze, I can feel the struggle to get anywhere near the idea I had in my head, and the relief of just getting something done.

Seeing the little preview screenshot of my first, Nonosleep (or is it No No Sleep?), also reminded me of how that game started. That first screen was foremost a drawing, which I wanted to be playable. I wanted to convey lots of information with that single screen, and I’m still happy with it. I don’t think I approached any game since in that same way. There are certainly plenty of single screens that are attractive and carefully composed, but nothing that could strongly stand apart from the game.

Good work, me!

I say.

‘Indie’ is a cutesy diminutive applied to separate us from competing with the companies who make 'real’ videogames.

I tworted that in response to an indirect question a little while ago, and I am quite happy I was able to articulate that in so few words. It also went through several much grumpier sounding editions, which I am glad I didn’t unleash.

Game idea.

(Don’t know about a title yet)

You play as a team of investigators–made up of soldiers, engineer, scientist, etc (can you customise?, they will act like Mercenary Force)–who move as if one character. your aim is to disable a giant, hollow planet, space ship, thus stopping its destruction of earth (or something)

You are briefed that you should take an elevator straight to the core (perhaps other teams will meet you there?). You can do this and take out the final boss straight away, if you are good enough. Or you can explore other floors, perhaps find things to help, or disable functions of boss, or whatever, and then take it on when stronger. A score is kept, and of course this can be increased by exploring more.

Each character in your team is also a ‘life’, so that for each life lost you lose some ability/firepower. Thus exploring is dangerous, and you may lose a life and make the final boss more difficult.

tiny game WIP memory garden with secrets by lilith (honking cubes voiced by porpentine)

My previous thought was that: if you want to explore dislocation, power, and control, videogames are the best medium to do so. Now I’m tempted to say that making videos of videogames is the best medium for that, or some combination which is making videogames that are never played, only seen in video.

Thinking about a game.

Thinking about a different way of moving in a 3-D game.

Probably first-person.

Perhaps obtuse and changing controls. For example moving in ‘jumps’ rather than smoothly, to abstract the 3-D space.

Don’t want it to feel like 'path’ movement though.

I keep meaning to play more with using an orthographic camera in Unity. Maybe switch between perspective and orthographic.

I guess this could be some sort of kin of Colour2.


TERROR TOWER is the game I made for today’s Klik of the month Klub event. This time round there was a requirement: that each game be made with Game-Maker, which has just had an open source release.

Game-Maker was pretty bewildering at first, but once I got used to things I came to like it a lot! In particular: the drawing program and its nice preview area / sandbox. Music is a bit fiddly, and I couldn’t convert the CMF files I made properly :-(

I couldn’t find a palette file that matched Game-Makers default, so I left out any reference to a palette file and ended up with something like a randomised palette! I’m not sure if that feature had been discovered before.

I also, inadvertently, made a tile that acted as sludge (IE: slowed down the player), by using animation and changing how the tile’s pass permissions were set in each frame.

I’m going to use Game-Maker to restart a project I may have already mentioned here(?)

Game idea: Trouble in My Fingertips.

Make this later today:

  1. Game opens.
  2. There are fingers
  3. You lose the game if you press a button
  4. (also you can’t win by quitting)

Game idea.

Game where Blueberry Soft mascot can fly everywhere, and there is cloth to fly through.

The Milk Maid.

Today, for some reason, I decided to read a spamish E-mail from Sketchup. In the E-mail there was a link to a 3-D version of the Vermeer painting The Milkmaid, which, though the concept seemed pretty tacky and gimmicky to me, I was curious to play with.

As expected, there are lots of odd polygons and texturing, and I had fun exploring the model with the camera (which you can do on the page linked), and taking screenshots of striking things.

Thought I may as well download the thing and stick it in Unity, and here’s the result.

Interestingly, the textures behave a bit differently. A couple got lost in transit, and the weird tiling that happens in some inside parts gets slightly ‘fixed’. But the game (with some high jumping and steep surface climbing added) allows some extra exploration options, for example: you can walk around in the milkmaid’s arms.

Game idea: QWOPzilla.

A QWOP-like where you are Godzilla, awkwardly making a mess in Japan fighting other monsters.

Sometimes they have stimulating text too:

‘Flakes of rock occasionally crumble from the ceiling of the hollow space that surrounds the capsule stones, striking the capsules on their way down.  The sound is like windchime marimbas.’

'The fossil laboratories hold vigil where stone sleeps.’

Matthew C Barrett


Gusen Memorial / Langenstein, Austria


Stalker 1/Stalker 2/Stalker 3 (Корвет)

There’s a game I’ve been making and remaking for a very long time, maybe five, maybe ten years. I guess it’s a hodgepodge of things I like about computer role-playing games, and things that I wish they did (often much) differently. It’s gone through a bunch of radical revisions, but it’s always been based around a very involved calendar that everything in the game runs to, and a very open world. Otherwise I think it’s been getting smaller (not narrower) and tighter over the years. At the moment it’s kind of like these Stalker games above, in that each area has been condensed into an interesting screen or two, that is puzzley, persistent, and changes over time. These screenshots reminded me that I want to put it back on my to-make list. I probably enjoy making this game in my head more than actually making it, though.

Ludum Dare 29: Beneath the Surface.

Ludum Dare 29 was my first experience of the very popular competition, and my reaction’s been mixed.

I was initially a bit miffed to find out that my game would be excluded from the main competition because I included a 3-D model not made by myself (the same monster I used in 100 Free Assets). It seems like an unproductive restriction, but it fits with the event’s concept, so no big deal.

Mostly I’ve been disappointed by the feedback received. I guess I’m too used to Glorious Trainwrecks and Select Button (.net), where people are open minded regarding what a game can be / what they want from playing. The comments on the Ludum Dare website mostly said something like: I like the atmosphere but want designer determined objectives, some even conflating objectives with ‘gameplay’. I guess I mostly just think that if that’s why people play videogames I don’t understand why they bother with them. Perhaps it made it all the more heart-warming to find more sympathetic comments, particularly this one by the author (Kyle Reimergartin) of another LD entry I really liked:

'I stomped around and climbed mountains and waved my mouth at the surface. I looked for food but there was none. I settled back into my dreamless sleep and exhaled exhaled exhaaaaled.’

The rating system is pretty trashy. You are asked to give a score out of five in the categories: Overall, Innovation, Fun, Theme, Graphics, Audio, Humour, and Mood. Apart from the fact that it seems to favour games reviewed by fewer (if positive) people, it endorses a really superficial, compartmentalised way of thinking about games.

It’s also been pretty annoying hearing people mispronounce the competition’s title!

The main positive I got out of the competition was a fun weekend of playing lots of different games, and, now that I have a Twitter account, getting in contact with people whose work I liked. I’m also happy with some of the little experiments I made, and look forward to what else will come of them. I would have liked to do more with the seams, and glitching through them to reveal new places, and had more of those places/layers to the game. I think  it’ll become a bit of a template for first-person games in the future.

You can play my game, Beneath the Surface, by following this link.

Game ideas.

Just posting this to keep a more easily legible and findable version of a Twitter conversation with @gt_effbee

Le Weekend.

Lots of game making events this weekend.

I’ve finally registered for Ludum Dare, so plan on spending a day on the ideas I have for that (mostly about layers of polygons, fake walls, surprises).

And there’s a Glorious Trainwrecks event. I feel like I haven’t done an event there in ages, so want to make something. Though I also might give another game idea/title generator a shot, so here’s a list of what I’ve got and like from

I’d also like to not do something in Unity for a change, but I’ll see how well that matches up with the idea I go with.

Now, to respond to the above video, a performance of 4'33" in Level 1-2 of Super Mario Bros. (SNES All-Star version) – Imagine the game is now more aware of our silence. How long it’s been since we last pushed a button, and what that button was. If the button was “A”, the room gradually begins to grow when we release it. If it was B, the hue of everything on the screen shifts, cycles. The speeds of these processes are determined by how long the button was held. The goombas, too– if the last button was A, they’ll jump in a rhythm based on the time relation between that pressing and the previous pressing. If the button was B, they’ll turn into fish, and suffocate– the speed of their death is determined by the size of the room. The lights grow brighter as they die. If the last button we pressed was the down arrow, water will begin to rise (and again, its speed is variable). The color of the room determines the speed at which which we move through the water, it’s resistance, or “feel”. And in the water, when the feel is right, we too might become a fish.

David Kanaga

Game idea: First-person Scooter.


Reading back over my notes I was reminded of Something that happens in IO SATVRNALIA!, and my want to do more with that.

You can get the camera right inside the kids/babies, and I wanted to make a first-person game where that is your view; you’re looking out through a head.

I’m going to make a head that looks around attached to the camera, and make the body+scooter control like a car. There will be jumps.

edit: maybe Mach Rider music.

Perhaps you can also get in a car and look out of that. The car would also be able to drive under water and in the sky.

Game idea: Survival Carror.

RE-style, fixed cameras. Survival horror. But you are a car.


Mortal Cities and Forgotten Monuments — Failed Architecture


Mortal Cities and Forgotten Monuments — Failed Architecture

Game idea: First-person Scooter.

Reading back over my notes I was reminded of Something that happens in IO SATVRNALIA!, and my want to do more with that.

You can get the camera right inside the kids/babies, and I wanted to make a first-person game where that is your view; you’re looking out through a head.

I’m going to make a head that looks around attached to the camera, and make the body+scooter control like a car. There will be jumps.

edit: maybe Mach Rider music.


My niece’s boxer sweet pea, pictures taken on my last visit before she was put to sleep.. Feel free to use however you wish. Derived from “concept 2”

Hello. Sweet Pea is the official mascot of Blueberry Soft. Faster than Sonic, Browner than Mario, a dog like Parappa.

Game idea: Car with grappling hook.

Preferably a car that can drive on walls a little bit.

Game idea: Car + cloth.

Unity 3D cloth.

Car Park Dream.

Play online here:

Download here:

Game idea: (that I am actually working on).

Some unstable, flashing, fragile cross between Beyond the Forbidden Forest, Caverns of Kafka, Bataccas, and SkiFree.

I’ve already drawn a picture of one of the songs. Hearing it woke me from a dream.



This last shot got my mind vibrating. Thinking about sprites made of images of clay/das figures.


I was thinking a bit more about 100 Free Assets just now. I guess it was a bit of a silly stem, but I was thinking about introspective activities to base games about, and started thinking about jumping, from platform to platform, up a vertical game world; like a Metroid section, but in 3-D. I’d like to do something like that, but using that slow jump like in 100 Free Assets. Black, unlit walls, platforms very far apart, weird control dynamic.

I was also reading this at the time: SUPER CASTLEVANIA IV - Study No. 4.


A few good videos of this on Youtube :)

Oh! This is lovely. Strange large sprites that when they stop don’t complete walk animations. Clunky controls / combat. Room names. Black. Big world. I like all these things, and want to do something like this.


enda mariam - biet christian, arbate asmara street, asmara, 1920

What are Videogames About?

Notes after Stephen Gill Murphy's 50 Short Games

I had a lot of game-making related thoughts while playing through these games. Often when playing (or watching, or—) my mind can wander to creative thoughts, but in this case ‘wandering’ does feel so much like the right word. Here those thoughts didn’t take me away from a particular game, but felt like a dialogue (to be a shade hyperbolic) with it. Unfinished things, things quickly made, experiments; these things are often the ones I find most satisfying / creatively stimulating

I made a few short notes as I played through, and below I expand upon those.


I played through the games in the order they appear in the launcher. Playing Cowboy Living . In the accompanying notes Murphy writes, on using frames:

I’ve found that, strangely, putting an artificial frame around a 3d game (so that the 3d is viewed through a window within the larger game window itself) makes it more compelling to move around in it, I suppose because it’s harder to identify your own viewpoint directly with the camera’s and so the whole game ends up being processed on two levels at once, one where the player is the camera as it glides around and another where the player sees the camera as part of a larger framework.

Something I like to do in games (but often don’t) is to take a moment to shift the player from outside the game to inside it. A down-the-rabbit-hole type event, is how I usually see it. I’m not quite sure how that relates to using a frame, but it reminded me of that thought. I guess the frame sits there in between the player and the game, not quite letting the player enter, not quite letting them leave. A vibrating, liminal (if you’re not tired of that word) space.


I’ve mentioned this on Glorious Trainwrecks, but I am very fond of the way Murphy uses text: particularly the text that sits in the the background, as part of the game world, and is revealed by moving around that world. Text is not played with enough in games. I like the openness of it. Words are very open things, I guess, but often their users do not treat them like they are. Here we wander around revealing some, in an uncontrolled order, potentially fragmentary.


I began to think about putting together a few compilations of my own. I had downloaded some of the 50 Short Games games as they were first posted, but stopped when I heard they would be released all together as one package. Together they are a strong package, informing each other, constantly recontextualising each other, very active. I would like to see how, for example, my dream games would work together, or a compilation of all my begun but unfinished games. His notes were a real asset too.


Each game is made from graphics drawn on index cards: one card per game (mostly). There are a few images of these in the accompanying notes, and I intend to take an index card or two and make my own games from these assets. It’s a nice little limitation, and they make lovely, strange, little prompts to respond to, as well as a great way to start a project.


Gosh, these menus are nice looking.

This is coming from a good place. Please stop making games. You are considerable bad at this. All of your games are awful. You are a disgrace to good game programmers, please do us all a favor, and stop FOREVER!!!



I would like to see the concept of ‘tilt’, as seen in Pinball games, applied to non pinball games.

Game idea: Scorched Mirrors.

Another old idea.

Like Scorched Earth: a versus game featuring tanks shooting at each other. The twist here is that there are ‘mirrors’ on the board, which can be moved and rotated by the players. These mirrors are both used for offence and defence: rebounding shots, etc.

I need to find the original notes, which had more specific details RE how turns played out, balance thoughts, etc.

Game idea: Mouth Game.

Make a game full of mouths. 3-D, lumpy, shiny, misshapen, rolling mouths.

I think I’ll make this tomorrow.


Game Idea: At Gunpoint.

I have been transferring all my old game idea notes from a mess of text files to one hidden blog. I plan to add the best ones here.

Here’s an idea I really like, but don’t feel capable of pulling off.

A one-on-one multiplayer game where one player is held at gunpoint by the other. Players would take turns as hostage and hostage taker. Some kind of grading/matchmaking system to pit players good at getting away against players good at not letting hostages escape. Perhaps even show a rating for a bit of extra mind games. It would require a really nice animation setup, lots of interactivity with environments…


Do people like architecture photography, and architecture renders? I mean, there are qualities to appreciate, but only the qualities that are against the image’s purpose—their falseness and ineptitude. Anyway, I have the same distaste for taking images of my 3-D games. I guess my approach has been to make them interesting images in-and-of themselves, and hope the viewer is able to appreciate that they can only be poor approximations and pretty pictures.