Stargazing Leaving the App Store

Long time no post! I’m currently doing a bunch of contract work so my own games are taking a bit of a back seat (temporarily!) Anyway: recently Apple have done a sweep of older apps to make sure everything is alive and updated; as the title of this post may suggest, Stargazing falls a bit short of requirement. I’m not ruling out putting up a new version at some point of this now three-year-old (!) game, but it’s not going to happen any time soon.

To say farewell (or see you later?) to Stargazing iOS, I have made it free because why not – it will be there for just a few more days before the app is removed. This does not affect Stargazing on Android, which remains available as before.

Free Stargazing while it lasts: appstore

Stargazing Sale

Welcome to the zodiac month of Pisces, and the Stargazing Pisces sale!!1!

StargazingIt’s been almost three months since Stargazing released and I would kindly thank anyone who bought it so far. I feel like this might now be a good time for a little experiment with the pricing so: as of today Stargazing is available at a greatly reduced price on the two major app stores (£0.69 or local equivalent) for the astrological month of Pisces (February 20-March 20). The constellation Pisces plays a small role in the game as seen above, so this satisfies my desire to give a narrative to everything. If you haven’t checked out the game yet: now might be a good time! It’s possible the price change hasn’t propagated to your particular part of an app store as of this post, but if not it should be there very shortly.

appstoreGet it on Google Play

Meanwhile, work continues apace on the space colony ship project I briefly wrote about last month. I intend to start putting out posts about that game very soon!

Of Homunculi and Dollarz

Hello again! With Stargazing out there it’s time for… other things! I will start posting about my next major project shortly but in the meantime we had another Ludum Dare to take care of! The theme this time was “You only get one”.

This is the most I’ve ever struggled with a Ludum Dare theme. It sounded okay at first but as I thought into it more and more, I just couldn’t get to an idea that I felt motivated about. I absolutely nearly just gave up on Saturday before I finally came up with something I thought I could work with.

A Day at the Homunculus Races

A Day at the Homunculus Races

The “you only get one” hook in my game is in the sense you are granted one dollar to bet with at the races. From there you can try to amass as much as you are able through shrewd betting. It would have been too simple to make this about any racing that could occur in reality so instead I am transporting the player to some dubious future where a series of homunculi fresh from the labs are being tested in races. If nothing else, I hope the game can raise a chuckle or two as these awkward humanoids sprint across the screen 🙂

Due to my struggles with the theme I didn’t get to any audio but I wouldn’t say it’s essential here – this one is more of an idle browser clicking game.

Play “A Day at the Homunculus Races” here

My compo page at Ludum Dare

One Game A Month: September

Woah! I hear cries of astonishment at a “One Game A Month” post actually appearing well within the intended month. Well, yes, my new-found independence allows me the time to perform such feats. As it happens this particular game was mostly developed a while ago for a previous month (the Unity project name is in fact “July”) but I never got around to finishing it (loose definition of finish) until now.

Night Fishing

Night Fishing

This, then, is “Night Fishing”. I’m struggling to properly describe some of the things I make lately but this is more along the lines of the thoughtful, short, barely-a-game pieces. Almost an interactive picture really with a gentle narrative voiced by the only person in the scene. A lot of attention has gone into the aesthetics here and indeed the mechanical “gameplay” is only very slight. I hope it still proves meaningful.

I’d be particularly interested in what people think of this. Could it be expanded and if so how? Feel free to let me know below (or Twitter etc)!

Play “Night Fishing” here

10 Seconds

I should start with a word on the lack of a “July” post for One Game A Month… So yes, I have failed in my mission to release a new game each and every month. With moving home (AGAIN) and other upcoming life stuff (TBA) to deal with I had to sacrifice July. Bit of a shame. However! Here in August we had the latest Ludum Dare last weekend, so I have a game for the month!

Back to Flash and Flixel, I took on the task of making a game on the theme “10 seconds”. I couldn’t believe how popular this theme was, dominating the vote. I didn’t hate it, but it feels like one of the more mechanical themes. I tend to prefer taking inspiration from something… well, that is actually a theme. But anyway, I’ll work with what I get.

Barrage Trigger

Barrage Trigger

I settled on something of an endless runner in the sort of spirit of Canabalt. The 10 seconds come in as an interval between which a series of missile attacks are launched at you. I spent quite a bit of time getting visuals I was happy with here: particularly with the colour palette and the character animation. Visual quality is something I often let slide with such limited time so it felt good to arrive at something I was quite happy with here. It has been suggested the game is a bit slow to get going for a runner, which is probably fair. I was trying something a bit more tactical and cautious. Overall I felt pretty happy with my weekend’s work.

Play “Barrage Trigger” here

(The competition entry page with a little more info and the option for follow entrants to vote – for the time being – is over here!)

One Game A Month: June

June… what happened in June. I went to Rezzed! I think it’s the first games show like that I’ve attended and I enjoyed it. How I would surely like to have something to show at such an event in future!

4 ElementsGetting back to my self-imposed challenge of releasing a game every month: I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but this was another very time-limited month. I made a go of trying to finish the little match-3 puzzle thing I started the month before. It’s incredibly simple and by the time I uploaded it on here I was just happy to say I’m done for now on it. It was an interesting exercise but I don’t even particularly recommend playing it, but you are welcome to if you wish.

No idea what to get onto for July!

One Game A Month: May

Presently I hold down a job in the actual salary/desk job games industry and as such am prone to sudden bouts of overtime requirement. This has really held back my efforts over the last month (and this month isn’t likely to be much better…) But enough of that, onto what I actually have achieved!

Catch the Light

Catch the Light

My initial plan was to knock up a little puzzle game. However, between fighting nasty little rare logic bugs and building up the mechanics it became clear in my few spare hours it wasn’t going to come together. Hopefully I’ll get back on that for this, the month of June, but what I have managed is an ultra-quick little game for May!

The self-explanatory “Catch the Light” sees the player in a standard first-person perspective chasing a hovering little ball of light around a stark monochrome environment. How many times can you catch it in a minute? A game of reflexes, orientation and observation. It would have suited the last Ludum Dare really, in its minimalist ways!

Play “Catch the Light” here

Minimalism

…Was the theme for the 26th and latest Ludum Dare, which came and went last weekend and which once again I participated in. Minimalism is certainly a very useful theme for a game jam in that it encourages you to drop the baggage of detailed artwork or superfluous features, but I could see it being dangerous in enabling excuses too…

PyramidI’ve threatened to make a roguelike a couple of times before. In fact one previous effort got quite far before I abandoned it. So what better time to finally get one out of my system than a game jam about minimalism? Roguelikes have always gone for a minimalist graphical approach anyway, right?

PyramidMy fourth game of the year, then, is Pyramid: a minimalistic roguelike. Things went quite well on balance: I actually went with my first idea, which is often a bad move but it allowed me to get good and focused early on. The pyramid motif comes from the level progression: level 1 is merely 2×2 squares, and indeed looks very minimalistic! Each subsequent level expands the size of the layout by 1 in both directions. Gradually a vision fog comes into play more and wandering spirits (the coloured blocks) appear and will attack you without a second thought.

I’m quite pleased with the clean visual style. It certainly helped having the simple graphics (although getting that highlight on the top and right edges of the squares took far more investigating than it ever should have… there’s always something).

So now we’re into May already! Four games in four months achieved, but my day job is going into overdrive this month leaving me with concerns over what I can do. I have this fishing thing in the works, hopefully I can find enough time to make it a game. We shall see.

Play “Pyramid” here

And I almost forgot – I’ll stick a timelapse of development up soon but I just haven’t got around to compiling it yet. Busy busy…