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Game-making related thoughts.

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My Malicious Game.

Performance Space – Rylie James Thomas


Cat Lessons.

Babysitting a kitten has tought me that I am pretty good at making kinetic cat-play-structures with carpet offcuts.

Brainstorming how to apply similar things to digital people-play-structures.

Been playing with Kooltool a bit today for the 100th KOTM event.

It’s mucking-up a bit sometimes when I try to save things, so here are some drawings / fragements from unrecoverable games.

Make sure to view them on different coloured backgrounds! For example white in the Tumblr feed, blue on my actual Tumblr page, and grey (in Firefox at least) by right clicking and selecting ‘view image’.

Game Ideas Wiki

Okay so I am probably going to start a wiki about game making and I found this when trying to see if there was anything like that already about:

Next game.

I wrote down these things I want to do in my next game maybe:

Dennis Carr passed me these Japan Game screenshots. I particularly like the third one.

He also makes some real neat games, especially with RPG Maker. They are part of why I am interested in RPG Maker again, actually.*/ihavefivehat

Here’s a screenshot from Warpdoor, I guess taken by Chris Priestman.

I like to look at people’s screensots of this game.

Notes on Japan Game:

These are notes on Japan Game.

The original folder was named ‘Japanese Driving Game’. I wanted people to use a car that could drive on slopes of any angle, so it’d be able to drive right up all these models I downloaded That never really worked right for some reason, so I put it on hold for a while.

I thought it might be easier to rotate thew whole level instead of gettign the car to drive on funny angles. I wanted to use a model of a metal toy motorbike, but the model wouldn’t load. Then I tried to find a bullet train, but the only good one was a Cinema 4D file which nothing likes execpt Cinema 4D. By this time I’d already decided to make the world a sphere.

The game runs in a window with the same ratio as the dimensions of the Japanese flag. That’s why I didn’t release a downloadable version. But I might do so later if forcing it to run in a window is a thing.

When playing with it post release I noticed that the oni mask lines up with ramen, like he’s going to eat it :D

I really like looking at the graphics of these last two Unity 5 games I’ve made.

Might add to this later.

RPG Maker MV is a bad name.

This is a pointless post to say that I am a little bit exited abotu RPG Maker MV coming out soon, even though I’m not $70 excited.

Mouse control feels nice, and being able to play games on Macs, phones, and web browsers is exciting too. Also there’s a proper ‘caterpillar’ system now, I don’t think that’s been there since 95, but I haven’t messed much with XP or VX.

I guess part of this interest is fed my nostalgia, part by seeing RPG Maker games as a way to make money, and part that I am really familiar with it and like working with it. Maybe those reasons carry about the same weight.

Some screenshots from Japan Game, which I’ve just finished.

‘Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, roughly a hundred billion human beings have walked the planet Earth.

Now this is an interesting number, for by a curious coincidence there are approximately a hundred billion stars in our local universe, the Milky Way. So for every man who has ever lived, in this Universe there shines a star.

But every one of those stars is a sun, often far more brilliant and glorious than the small, nearby star we call the Sun. And many — perhaps most — of those alien suns have planets circling them. So almost certainly there is enough land in the sky to give every member of the human species, back to the first ape-man, his own private, world-sized heaven — or hell.’

Arthur C. Clarke, in the foreward to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Clicker games.

I guess these have been a big thing on phones for a while, but I hadn’t played one until they started appearing on Steam a few months(?) ago. I think they’re quite easily dismissed as junk (they’re kind of an end-point of a pretty crummy trend in game design), but I also think they do some unique and interesting things:

  1. Like I said, they can be contextualised as a progression of that kinda constant reward/acknowledgement/super phoney power fantasy videogame thing.
  2. Cheating is allowed for in their design. It’s common to use auto clickers, mess with the system’s clock, rapid fire functions (etc.?), and none of these fundamentally ‘break’ the game. Perhaps only save file hacking does. The only other place I can think of this occuring is in some difficult ROM hacks, which are designed around save state functions.
  3. Not asking much of the player is unusual. The idea of ‘respecting someones time’ is bandied about, and these do that in a different way; not by exclusing ‘padding’, but by acting independatly. That’s kind of human!
  4. Good to get away from challenge == good. There’s no difficulaty to these games, anything can be overcome by time. Similar to any game that uses experience points I guess, but here that feels a bit… smoothed.
  5. Use of achievments to guage

Notes on the ones I’ve played:

I realise these are a bit devil’s advocatey, but it’s a useful thinking mode for me. I mean: I hate achievments and time/levels over skill but—

Also I feel like i’m using junk language cliches to talk about them a bit, like I’ve slipped into another persona or something.

I’d like to understand them more/better.

Since leaving this to rot in my draughts folder I’ve come across Mattie Brice’s Why Idle Games Need a Takeover and, via that, Zoya Street’s An Early History of Games Designed for Inactivity, which are both a more interesting read, with a bigger scope.

🔫 Dream

It’s taken me a while to finish this oof, but Gun Dream is done and out:

I had a gun in a dream I had. I walked round a house shooting lots of things and enjoying my gun.

So I wanted to make a game where you had a gun, but instead of a kind of thoughtless, default tool I wanted the gun to be a tool for play. I got a bit excited about real-tim shadows and reflections, and it took a bit of learning to use them in Unity 5. The reflections were nice and smooth for a while, dunno what happened. The shadows stopped working for a while but they’re back. I guess I don;t play many fancy looking games (not on anything that’s not super-low settings, anyway), so I find it pretty stimulating to watch the shadows and reflections move. I got pretty excited with how easy it was to make that glass arm. I thought that was a pretty good solution to not wanting to assign a particular gender or ethnicity to the gun holder.

Some doodles.

The first I did last night, and I think it’ll be the location for that fixed-camera game I want to make. The player will weave in and out of that floating island thing, working their way up? I imagine the little dots as holes, something like caves.

The lower one is for something that I’ve been mulling over and redesigning for years. Maybe it’s still called ‘The Red Tower’, though I guess I wrote ‘OV’ (’ou’?) up there for some reason. The most constant thing with that idea has been at the beginning you plant a seed and this tree tower thing grows out of it and then you head into it working your way up floor by floor. I should post some graphics from the ol’ KNP version next time.

Lovely Warriors of Friendship.

Exciting news! Andante Troppo Belmondo, the star of Castlevania 10 and Muscleveinia has made a cameo appearance in the ensemble platform shooter Lovely Warriors of Friendship.

I’m gunna gussy up the ol’ Castlevania 10 page in celebration, tomorrow.

Brainstorming something that uses hexes and this perspective. Probably 2-D because 2-D animation’s a million times easier for me.

Every time I play a game with fixed camera angles—

—I really want to make one.

Yesterday I played Udom Nebdon by Paul Lawitzki and got a bit jealous of how much architecture you can show with this type of camera. I was also glad I could use ‘tank’ controls.

Last time it was Lake Of Roaches, by thecatamites.

It seems like a pretty simple thing to do technically (both stationary and follow the player type cameras, and using triggers to switch), and I feel like my ideas have been a bit stale lately, so haven’t been resolving them (though Person actually loads a lot better now it’s in Unity 5…). I think I’ll revisit something I’ve already put together a little bit, and plop in a new camera. Or… I should make some specific spaces. I have this little catalogue of objects I’ve made in Sketchup I should do more with…

A lot of Blueberry Soft things today.

Today I:

Gun Dream.

I had a dream where I had a gun. That’s all I remember.

Still, I’d like to make a game where you have a gun and you shoot things. You just walk round shooting things. Seems like other walking round shooting things games are more focused on killing people/etc than shooting things. Except that Receiver game, I guess.

I may as well mention that working on Person has become a hassle. I got it workinging fine in Unity 5, but trying to reimport the (now) optimised models hasn’t worked >:( and I really need to get that done so it’s playble by more people / so I can add a lot more.


I was playing Neon Haze a douple of hours ago and got this vision of a Twine-like thing where words would appear one at a time, and links would stay on only one word at a time, moving to the next relevant word when it appears. I wanted to follow the words appearing with my mouse cursor. Maybe words would even be revealed by moving the mouse.


I should also mention that I’ve been updating some of my Klik & Play games so that they’ll work in contemporary Windows.

I’ll keep track of what’s done at

And hopefully I’ll get round to fixing up all of them.

Oh, and the proper-with-sound-and-everything video for Davey Game is up now.

X/285 Brunswick Road, and games in browsers post.

I’m trying to be more considerate of how I present my games when they’re playable in-browser. How to use text and other things, how the page/s is/are designed, dimensions of game and how it sits on the page…

I consider X/285 Brunswick Road a webpage as much as I consider it a game (or more than?). Maybe I don’t have anything else to say about that. But I think I’ll be re-looking at some other games I’ve released and re-presenting them. Also I want to move/copy across things from being hosted on Dropbox to my website.

Itchio's a bit disappointing RE this. I wouldn’t put Brunswick Road up there because, well, I can’t with their lack of customisation (or am I remembering wrongly?). To some degree a game’s page on sites like that (and Newgrounds, Kongregate, Game Jolt) gets backgrounded because the person knows they weren’t considered (though the choice to use those platforms shouldn’t really be~)

I guess at the moment I’m generally more interested in making websites than games.

Anyway, this is first week of art school stuff, and I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before :/

Anywany::::: new thing, I’m proud of it > Brunswick Road/



Exclusive review double feature!! Two games about space. I think some frequently distinguishing features of Unity games are (a) necessarily simplified camera setups where the camera is if not in firstperson mode then either orbiting around the player model or else lodged behind it, and (b) a kind of wary fascination with how much space you have to play with, and the difficulty of segmenting it up between collections of disparite 3d models to form an engaging closed world. If you look up unity projects on youtube, or especially horror games made in the engine, there’s a lot of enormous, empty, rolling grass plains with solitary props - buildings, trees, MAYBE some rocks - dropped around long distances from each other, because the biggest reference model for these spaces are 3d games with a guaranteed 10-20 minutes of walking between each new area or content bloc. Those geographies get abstracted and reproduced as voidscapes. 100 Free Assets takes 100 assets and rescales them and dumps them around empty space. You can climb on some and clip through others while some remain permanently unreachable. Car Park Dream lets you drive around an enormous, ambiguous stone structure in a weird flesh dunebuggy. In Unity, the fact that the camera (medium of gameworld representation) is so tightly and ostentatiously tethered to the player movement system can lead to a strong feeling of detatchment from the area you’re placed in. Your camera and your body form a tiny, circular pact of mutual benefit and everything outside of that relationship is intrusive, arbitrary, meaningless. 100 Free Assets has you jumping and crawling around descaled, rescaled, repeated and recombined dumps of unrelated nonspecific game models. Some you clip through, some you don’t, some are stretched out beyond all recognition and some are far out of reach in the background, so all of them are approached with caution and doubt. It is a universe of things grouped together and rapturously indifferent to the niceties of gravity and collision detection which the player must abide by. In Car Park Dream the camera rotates around a lumpy flesh car in the middle of a large temple-like structure, but my experience has been that the game is much more effective when you don’t use the mouse to move the camera and just let it remain pointing off in one direction as your car traces around the unusual environment you are placed in. The sense of an unwieldy half-disconnect between camera and body led to a more dreamlike sense of total apprehension for me: once I started moving the mouse around to see what I was doing, the us vs them relationship of player elements vs environmental elements quickly reasserted. The sense of suspicious, grounded, probing ego was restored, that of ontologically equivallent parts dumped together (carpark, car, camera) to form a tiny self-absorbed system was lost. Oh well… “only in dreams”.

I really like this bit you wrote: ‘In Unity, the fact that the camera (medium of gameworld representation) is so tightly and ostentatiously tethered to the player movement system can lead to a strong feeling of detatchment from the area you’re placed in. Your camera and your body form a tiny, circular pact of mutual benefit and everything outside of that relationship is intrusive, arbitrary, meaningless.‘

Game thoughts.

I’ve been playing some videogames lately. Last year I played through Grim Fandango and liked it a lot which, combined with finally playing the first act of Kentucky Route Zero, has had me in a point-and-click mood for a while. A few weeks back I finally got to playing Full Throttle (the only full version of any of those Lucas Arts games I had back then was Sam and Max), though I didn’t enjoy it so much, and played the second act of Kentucky Route Zero, which I also didn’t like as much as the first, but I REALLY liked some of it, like the abstract-ish driving through that cave thing.

Yesterday I gave the first Ys (via the Steam release) another shot, and after it not clicking the first time am finding myself in RPG mood. It seems like in that game once you get a level higher suddenly the enemies you’re up to start to die in one hit. Got me thinking about how experience works in these types of things, and how it might be nice to link it more to knowledge. So you gain knowledge of how to fight particular enemies (for example) which then makes them easy to fight (but still satisfying somehow, maybe you just clean them up like in Earthbound?). I seem to think a lot about how dumb experience points are in RPGs, and alternate ways of approaching the good qualities of the idea. I think the current version for that game I’m making is have only a few levels, which are achieved at certain events in the game. Maybe I’ll combine the two.

I also had a wee think about a 3-D game with Ys-ish combat this morning as I was waking up (very good time for thinking). I wanted to have a spear that you could just hold out in front of you and it would do damage so you just bump it into things and try to avoid their weapons. Like some old Atari game really. And also kinda like that dangly whip in Super Castlevania, and maybe that Hammerfight game—so a little bit of momentum. My first thought was to control moving it with the mouse-wheel. I don’t think I want the velocity of the spear to affect damage (but maybe a little?), but I’d like to be able to thrust and retract it slowly and fastly. Then thought maybe just tying it to mouse movement would be better (like Elder Scrolls (do they still do that?)), and also have a shield and things that you can change the height of with the wheel. Though maybe it would be more fun to be able to block with mouse movement. Maybe you can alternate which one has complex/simple control. Sounds like a fun and clunky thing to Unity-up and some point, anyway. I think I was also thinking of King’s Field a little.

I said I was taking a break from game making, but I think it’s still my favourite imaginative activity, or the one where it feels most free. I’ve been making little drawings that I imagine as videogame screens which I will turn into something later. But otherwise I’m enjoying my break! Trying to remember how to paint, making drawings with things I find in the bins at work, starting a gallery…

I started rewatching Ubu Roi on Youtube the other day. There’s probably a lot in there of interest to videogame making people; regarding screen composition in particular.

I took this screenshot because it reminded me of the RPG I’ve been tinkering with (for the last ten years) (which I think I’ve mentioned). I was thinking about it again a bit yesterday. I was a bit annoyed after work, but had my mood fixed up as I followed a beagle down the street. That got me thinking about status effects. I’ve always enjoyed mulling over them, and making them a bit more involved and down-to-earth than usual. Yesterday I imagined there being things like moods—so dullness, apathy, sourness, etc.—which would be improved by things like dogs and sugar cane juice. I also started to think that different things should effect different characters differently. I can’t remember if I wanted to have multiple characters though—

Future things.

Criticise my work, please.

These thoughts have been bouncing round in my head for a bit, thought it might be constructive to put them down somewhere.

I’ve been playing round with making games for at least fifteen years, I figure, but I never considered myself a game maker until last year (2014). Before that I studied fine art, and for the five years prior to 2014 would have considered myself an artist. During my final year of my degree my course was changed a lot. Some changes potentially for the better, but mostly they were obstructive impositions by a University that acts more like a corporation. My frustrations with this wore away my tolerance for other elements of the art world that I thought I had been okay with (even if that okayness was a concession I would rather not make). So in the last couple of months of the degree I started making performances in existing games as a break. I had recorded some Let’s Plays over the mid-semester holiday, and decided to just keep working on them. This led me to making my own in Unity, and that ended up as my final work for the year. I wasn’t so happy with what I finished with, but I didn’t see the course as any sort of end point so$mdash;

(with hesitation I think that studying art would be a good idea for a lot of games makers, certainly 100 times better than studying game design (Maybe just for a year or two, before homogenisation occurs). You learn how to work (which is very important!), and how to be critical and be criticised. That was my experience at least.)

While there are lot of things surrounding art that I do not like (and don’t really want to get myself grumpy about ever again), there is wealth of good, rigorous writing and conversation that I like a lot, and don’t see around videogames (a lot of that conversation also overlaps with games and other mediums of course). There are high expectations on people and their work, and works are treated as though their conception was as rigorous as their reception. I think it shows a lot of respect to really look hard at a work, to trust that the author has done the same.

I feel like games are mostly treated as disposable, or at best neat little distractions, where not much is sought in them other than a novelty that is easily transferred to the next game once the current one is finished (with). And most games don’t deserve more than that!, and/but they never will if we don’t start expecting more. I can’t remember the last time I read anything constructive about a short-form game.

Of course we still need to be encouraging. We still need more voices and more breadth in game making (and other mediums). In a Twitter thread the other day I said: ‘we need to encourage and help more people make things, and we need to then help people make better things’, which I think is a nice enough way to put it. So, I dunno, perhaps for now this criticism needs to be happening most among game makers; maybe in a dedicated criticism forum, maybe we just need to ask people, and make ourselves available. It’s a lot easier in-person, but us game making people seem to be spread thin. I dunno.

I’m rambling about this because I think I’ve been lazy, and I’ve gotten away with it. Criticise my work, please.


Cameras in videogames.

Cameras in videogames are weird. Or the confusion between the camera and player follows an odd logic.

For example typically in a first person game, where the camera is not a camera but the eyes of the player, the game will act as if there is a piece of glass between the player’s eyes and their environment. There are lens flares (that particular effects been round since the PS/N64 era I guess), blood will splatter, water will collect in drops; all done in the name of immersion, though in effect they are actually distancing.

It’s easy to make some old-man, sweepign statment about how we now perceive the world through camera lenses, instagram filters, and screens, but I don’t think that’s helpful.

I guess in third-person games it makes sense. And there we get games that actually think about it like Dog Days and Super Mario 64.


The Euphonia, a mid-19th century gadget that could simulate human speech by pumping bellows-fed air over an artificial tongue set in a chamber of weird plates and valves. It had a woman’s face and coils of hair in ringlets, and spoke in a “weird, ghostly monotone.“ 

By pumping air with the bellows and manipulating a series of plates, chambers, and other apparatus, including an artificial tongue, the operator could make it speak any European language. It was even able to sing the anthem God Save the Queen. The Euphonia was invented in 1845 by Joseph Faber, a German immigrant. A little known fact is that this machine greatly influenced the invention of the telephone.

This is videogames, isn’t it.