22 Nov 2013

An Office Epiphany

We are one week into our new office space and things are going swimmingly. We are lucky enough to be in the offices of Epiphany Games, sharing the space with Flat Earth Games and Sitrep Games. We promised pictures of the new space, so here is a small collection showing out (mostly) set up area.

The blurring is there to disguise some of the Epiphany related things on the walls around the office (shhhhhhhh secret Epiphany things!)

20 Nov 2013

The treasure of Tiger Pirate

As part of moving to our new office, we needed to pack up our old office. We had accumulated a lot of stuff (as offices tend to do), so as we sorted through everything, we kept finding things we thought were long lost. Things like old business cards and posters we never knew we had. Amongst the general detritus, I found a tiger hat. I of course immediately put it on my head. Next I came across a mostly full bottle of rum that Paul had lying around for some celebration or other. After a little more cleaning and sorting of paper (including the establishment of the “wall pile” for things that will be going up on the walls in our new office), I found the final component of tiger pirate: a cardboard poster tube to use as a telescope.

Thus Tiger Pirate was born!

Ant the treasure you ask? It was a fancy box full of a variety of custom flash drives that we had been given as a sample over a year ago. Though it turned out none of the flash drives actually worked.

At least Tiger Pirate still had her rum.

15 Nov 2013

Steam Greenlight: An Analogy

Imagine you’ve been kayaking at the beach are now heading for shore. You’re riding a massive, powerful series of waves, and it feels like you’ll be there in no time. Then the wave disperses, and it occurs to you that you’ve made no progress for several minutes. It soon dawns on you that you’ve been trapped by a devilish riptide.

Now you’re paddling furiously, trying to inch your way closer to the beach. Time ticks past – it feels like you’ve been out here forever. Sometimes you make a little progress, sometimes you are pulled back a little. Very gradually, you’re closing the distance between yourself and the shore. Then you catch a break – a freak wave grabs you and drags you many feet closer, carrying you further in an instant than all of your strained paddling has managed. It’s exhilarating, although it does feel slightly unfair that the gods have so much more power over the situation than you do.

Still – if you were to relax, you would quickly be swept back to where you were previously and beyond. And so you continue sweeping the paddle to your left and right, arms straining, inching your way toward dry land. A lot more time passes. You are nearly ready to give up when another wave hits. This pattern repeats: long, silent struggles punctuated by brief moments of ecstatic progress.

Finally, the beach seems to be within reach. Now every inch gained feels precious as breath, and each loss like a splinter shaved from your soul. And the losses are coming more frequently now – several for every gain. Your arms burn. You’re slipping, losing your grip on your oars, about to lose everything.

And then that final wave arrives – the one that carries you in a graceful, soaring arc and deposits you panting on the sand. You feel a little relief, of course. But the elation you expected to surge through you is absent. You’ve survived Steam Greenlight, yes, but where does that actually get you, in and of itself?

Only to the threshold. Now the real work begins…

13 Nov 2013

Taming the Charge

This kind of follows on from this post.

Something I think about a lot when designing Particulars levels is the charge distribution. When placing particles, I’m actually placing charges, which form ‘hot spots’ of positive and negative charge. By creating areas of strong charge, I create motion, which I can direct in predictable ways. By doing this, I can often build ‘safe spots’ for the player, which I can then shift around using other particles to ensure that the player doesn’t stay still.

11 Nov 2013

The end of an era

Paul and I recently attended the last ever Jurassic Lounge. Jurassic Lounge was a weekly event that took place after hours in the Australian Museum. Artists, circus performers, DJs, speakers and all manner of creative types make magic amongst skeletons and mineral samples. On our particular night I played Just Dance on a giant screen, visited a market, did some craft with Reverse Garbage, listened to a band, watched some poledancing, and participated in Hot Dub Time Machine (the actual best dance party ever.) It was pretty sweet.

RIP Jurassic Lounge. I’ll miss you.

06 Nov 2013

Level Design through Motion

Making a particulars level isn’t really like making levels for other games. In most games, the design is ruled by spatial issues: the size and shape of spaces, routes to objectives and placement of events are paramount. In Particulars, time and motion take centre stage. I’m constantly trying to figure out how the level will change as time progresses – where each particle will move over time, and what responses that will provoke from the player.

05 Nov 2013

The Stanley Parable

If you haven’t yet played the Stanley Parable, you really should. It’s really good. Really.

I don’t know how else to tell you how to play it. Maybe I should make a list of things it’s not:

Does that help?

31 Oct 2013

Humble and Steam keys for all!

Humble keys should arrive in the inboxes of all existing Alpha owners tomorrow! These will also give you access to a Steam key once we launch there. Stay tuned for news on when that might be…