• Environmentalism

    Side Quest: Eco

    Even in the virtual world, saving the rainforest is not straight forward For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been playing a game called Eco. The premise is simple – A meteor will crash into your planet in 30 days. Starting from the stone-age, build up a civilization capable of blasting the meteor to pieces and thus saving the planet. However, you need to do it without destroying the natural environment in the process. The catch is it’s an online multiplayer game. You need to cooperate with other players and manage shared resources to make progress both towards your own personal goals and the overall save-the-planet mission. So the game…

  • Digital Fashion

    Side Quest: Chasing Louis

    Where digital fashion and games collided, I found only a long hard slog. Last year it was announced that one of the senior designers for fashion brand Louis Vuitton was himself a big gamer and would be designing a new avatar “skin” for the video game League of Legends. Since this was a game I was familiar with, and given my previous experiments with digital fashion, I set myself the goal of acquiring said skin. It proved to be a long and less-than-fun experience, to the point I quit playing the game altogether. First Time I started playing League of Legends for research, as in my day job, we were…

  • Games Industry

    Wearing Pixels

    Coming from a video games background, the world of fashion appears otherworldly. A place full of lurid colours and fantastical designs springing off the pages of glossy magazines and posters. It often makes games look monochrome and unimaginative by comparison. But the fashion world is also distant and disconnected from games. So when the chance came up to attend a Digital Fashion workshop in Prague at the start of the summer, I was intrigued. Could technology provide a bridge between these worlds? How was technology changing and being used in this different, but highly creative industry? Here’s what I found. Hardcore Tech Soon after the workshop started, I was introduced…

  • Flight of Light,  PS4,  Wii-U

    The Colour of Light

    Apparently I wrote this blog when Flight of Light was launched way back in August 2017, but for some reason never published it. So here it is, looking back at one of the key aspects of the game’s evolution over its 3+ years development time! Flight of Light was developed using an organic / evolutionary design method – At each stage of development, I took the work-in-progress game to a lot of different events and conventions. Allowing its design to be guided by feedback and suggestions from those who played it. During that process, one aspect of the game’s design came up time and again. In conversations with players, it’d usually…

  • Games Industry

    Fixed and Flexible

    Last week, I went to Amaze Festival in Berlin. It was fun to meet up with lots of developers from around Europe, and the event’s focus on the more artistic side of game making was refreshing. In particular, I went to a talk by Jenny Jiao Hsia on prototyping her personal games. Interestingly, she had both a fixed art style and set theme (dieting) that she pursued throughout the many prototypes she made. Her aim in experimenting with different mechanics was thus to find how best to fit the theme and communicate her message, whilst still having a game that was fun, deep, intuitive etc.   (this was the best logo…

  • Flight of Light,  Games Industry,  Totem Topple

    Inseparable Marketing

    Recently read BadgerHammer’s blog on video game marketing. Like them, I’ve been pressing all the marketing buttons prescribed by industry “conventional wisdom”, yet getting nowhere. This spurred me to write down some ideas I’ve had mulling in my head for a while now about indie game marketing. Marketing is usually referred to as something game developers do during and/or after game development. As if it’s a parallel process to the nuts and bolts of making a game. It isn’t. Way back when I was at school, I did business studies and learned about the 4 P’s – Price, Promotion, Place and Product. They are all interconnected, but the focus of most…

  • Totem Topple,  Wii-U

    My year as a Totem Pole

    It’s been a year since Totem Topple came out, and six months since the patch that fixed it, so feels like a good time to take a step back and analyse what went right and wrong with the game. The fact that it had to be extensively patched last summer attests to the issues with the original version that launched on PC and Wii U back in November 2015. You can read more about the making of the game, how it faltered, and efforts to rescue it, here. However, I want to dig into the game design itself. For those unfamiliar with Totem Topple, it’s a tower defence game in…

  • Uncategorized

    Side Quest: Valkea Vuori

    Back in May, I went to Amsterdam for the Unite Europe conference, and whilst in the city, visited the Stedlijk design museum. It’s a weird collection of modern art and design, but well worth a visit if you’re into that sort of stuff. It’s also partly housed in a gigantic bathtub! Anyway, whilst there, I found a piece of art called Valkea Vuori by a lady called Rut Bryk (below). It had a really strong aesthetic that was vaguely reminiscent of old school isometric strategy games like Transport Tycoon. As a side project, I’m now attempting to procedurally generate a tiled world/map in video game form, which I then have…

  • Games Industry,  Wii-U

    Wii U has all the toys!

    The Wii U is reaching the end of its lifetime, soon we assume to be replaced by the as-still mysterious NX. I’ve spent nearly three years making games for Wii U in one way or another, and I plan to continue that for as long as Nintendo will let me. Why? The Wii U has all the toys a game designer could want. Both touchscreen and buttons. Motion control as well as more standard console controller setup. This range of choice when it comes to input methods means a much wider variety of genres become possible. I grew up as a PC gamer and I love strategy games like Civilisation…

  • Flight of Light,  PS4,  Wii-U

    Kickstarter Launch!

    We’re raising funds for Flight of Light’s soundtrack over on Kickstarter! The money will be used to pay a number of different musicians to compose the game’s soundtrack. If all goes to plan, there’ll be four musicians creating two pieces of music each to fit the game’s initial nine levels. (The ninth music track has already been composed by freelance musician Lawrence Shahid, which you can listen to in the trailer above!) For the next month, we’ll be putting out updates on how the kickstarter is progressing alongside the usual dev diaries and updates on the game’s progress.