Hyper Dodge was made for the Ludum Dare 31 jam. My intention for this jam was to practice my polishing skills and make something that felt slick, coherent and had no rough edges. I just got lucky and ended up with a game that’s pretty fun too! It’s a single screen arcade game where the goal is simply to avoid crashing into the other objects for as long as possible. The thing that really made this game work is that when you graze (aka get really close to) an enemy time dilates and the game slows down allowing you pull off more impressive dodges whilst also increasing your score multiplier. This can leading to some high level play such as “orbiting the bull” which involves circling around the red enemy (which follows the player) and popping in and out of slow-mo range to increase the multiplier. I was super happy when I saw people figuring this stuff out and competing for high scores. Just marvellous! Shout-outs to Dorianne Dutrieux and Peter Cardwell-Gardner for the art and music respectively.
I originally made Paint Racer in about four hours at a jam inside the Cape Town City Hall, before later polishing it up for a Super Friendship Arcade event. Theme of said jam was brilliant: make a game that is persistent between play sessions. Paint Racer is quite simple, it’s a local multi-player racer where you zoom around collecting coins, and whoever collects the most, wins the race. Players move faster over coloured paths than on the darker terrain (not unlike Chalo-Chalo). The interesting part however; is that while racing players are also “drawing” the track for the next race with their movements. I like this game. It’s quick and fun with a rapid turnaround and a nifty hook/gimmick.
This a joke game we started making at QCF for the 7DFPS jam, and to be honest, I’ve made games with way worse jokes. The premise is that you are inside the world of a standard AAA shooter, but you’re not the protagonist. Instead, your job is to do all the absurd things necessary so that the player (the actual protagonist) has a smooth sailing experience. Ever wonder how Duke Nukem can lug around 10 different grossly oversized weapons without breaking a sweat? It’s because some some dude is running around behind him with a shopping trolley full of grossly oversized weapons. The game plays out as first person physics game, and has you running around whilst transporting and reloading weapons and trying to stay out of sight of the player.
I made this game with Nick Cuthbert for a Super Friendship Arcade party. SFA is a social setting with a lot of people, so I wanted to try make something that was simple with a lot of players (ideally played with a midi keyboard). What’s the most common problem when you have 8 players on the same screen? People don’t know which avatar they’re controlling. I decided to embrace that problem, and build the gameplay around it. The game puts players in control of a random person on a pole, and they must wiggle left and right to figure out which avatar is responding to their input. But don’t wiggle too far and lose your balance! Once the player has figured out who they are, they simply need to press both buttons at once at the correct time to demonstrate this knowledge and win the game. Simple!
A glorified traffic simulator with some nifty ideas! I spent quite a lot of time working on this over the course of 2014 (and once or twice in 2015). It’s a city builder where every person and goods transport is simulated as a vehicle on the roads. The key idea behind the game is that production only happens citizens when are at work, and every minute they spend commuting is eating into their productive working hours. In other words, your city is losing production efficiency because you let a truck get onto the highway at rush hour and everyone is stuck behind it. I’d like work on this idea some more. It has legs, but needs more good systems behind it.
Neon Shadow is a sci-fi throwback to the classic shooters of old. I worked on a full PC remaster as well as multi-player updates adding maps, bots game modes and more. For a game with such a short development cycle, Neon Shadow is ridiculously fully featured. A rad single player campaign, split-screen co-op, on-line cross platform death match and host of other things. The game also enjoyed a decent stint as the top selling game on Ouya. I had a lot of fun working on this, and it’s about as good as shooters on tablets get.
Tom Sparks was the first game I worked on as a professional game developer and one of my favourite projects ever. I had an absurd amount of fun working on this and went through the biggest and fastest learning period in my game dev career. The game is a top-down action adventure with increasingly crazy weapons ala Ratchett and Clank. We made a polished vertical slice, but the full game sadly never saw the light of day. The publisher we had decided to stop funding development and instead try fund the game via a doomed Kickstarter campaign. Tom Sparks isn’t perfect, but it will always have a special place in my heart and I’m very proud of it.
Global Game Jam happened again in 2014 and I made a local-multiplayer arena game. Originally I was just experimenting and making art for another game. But that project got bogged down with technical details, so I started adding some movement to test the art and effects I was making. One thing lead to another and I ended up with this. It’s a simple game, but has surprisingly high skill ceiling. Local-multiplayer games are always fun to make and test, and I’ve had an enormous amount of fun with this one. It’s pretty good.
I decided to re-make the much loved (by me at any rate) YouDunnit as part of research project. This version takes a JRPG approach with saner dialogue, saner pacing, more explanations and is generally a more cohesive and understandable experience. But unfortunately doesn’t solve all the crucial problems of the original. I had some extra constraints (for the research) that weren’t ideal, but I’m still taunted by YouDunnit’s existence. I know there’s a gem of a game in there somewhere. There’s all potential in the world for something clever, unique and fascinating. But I don’t yet know how to bring it out.
Railbait was an entry for the Global Game Jam in 2013. Myself, Rodain Joubert and Danny Day interpreted the heartbeat audio theme as the sound of a train on a track. The game involves building a train out of various different carts and carriages (engines, shields, turrets, storage carts etc.), and then drawing a path through the level for the train to follow. Will you pass through all the gold mines and make maximum bank, or should you rather make a bee-line for safety? Maybe you should go around the mountain to be shielded from the snipers? Or perhaps you should buy a plow, stick it on the front of the train and deal with the snipers directly? Anyway, I really like this game idea. It’s another one that needs to be revisited.