Posts Tagged ‘action’

Hanna in a Choppa 2

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Hotly anticipated sequel to the original comes Hanna in a Choppa 2. In this huge development of the original game you can fly 11 different vehicles across over 50 levels. Every level has a secret to discover, quiz questions to solve, random humour and more.

Play Hanna in a Choppa 2

This sequel offers fans of the original a much deeper gameplay experience. My final test to be sure that every single achievement was possible took over 12 hours from start to finish!

Just because it’s a deep game however, doesn’t mean you have to struggle through it all. It has been designed in the same way as the original, to grow and shrink to the player’s gameplay preference. If you want a short experience, just play through the new levels with the suggested vehicle each time. Love the new biplane? Cool – beat every level with it. Love a particular level? Great, master it with every vehicle. Love secrets? Ace, have at ’em. Think you can spot a reference? Prove it with the built in quiz. Think you’re the baddest ass-ist gamer ever? Get the lot, I dare ya!

Do as much or as little of the extras as you want. Enjoy!

Tony Robinson: Weird World of Wonders

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

This puzzle-platformer game was built with Aardman to help promote Tony Robinson‘s new series of lovely children’s history books.

Play Tony Robinson’s Weird World of Wonders.

In every game I try to introduce something new and original. In this one, you control two characters at once. Pee Wee and Nits. The boy Pee Wee can be controlled with arrow keys, and Nits, his dog, can be controlled with the mouse. That means that two people can play side by side on the same computer, in a cooperative manner. It’s great fun, give it a go and try to solve the level puzzles with your best mate!

I’ve loved Tony Robinson’s acting work since I was young, watching him play Baldrick in the Blackadder comedies. It was an amazing privilege to work with him on this project. His browbeating voiceovers totally transform the game, injecting character and humour throughout.

The Pirates! Land Lobber

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

I built this game with Aardman to help promote the Sony/Aardman release of the awesome and hilarious film The Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists.

Lob eggs at the targets on stage until you’ve knocked them all down. Then take the gold you’ve earned and upgrade your fruit-slinging weapons in the shop.

Play The Pirates! Land Lobber.

Home Sheep Home 2: A Little Epic

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Help Shaun, Shirley and Timmy find their way home in this super-cute BAFTA-nominated physics puzzle platformer.

Play the London episode on the web, free

Play the Underground episode on the web, free

Visit the official site to buy the game for your PC or iPhone/iPad

After the success of the original Home Sheep Home, Aardman asked me to work on a sequel with the ultra-talented artist/animator, Robin Davey (who did all the art/animation for the first game too). The original game was a pure Flash web game, hastily built just to raise brand awareness for the Shaun the Sheep show. The new game was to be a multi-platform paid download game, as well as a free-to-play web game. We had our work cut out for us!

So, what could both work as a free web game, and as a paid download? Why would anyone pay to play something they can play for free? Well, we came up with a few reasons:

  • Super high resolution graphics, running super-smooth in full screen
  • Lots more content – more episodes, bonus levels, more to collect
  • Developer’s commentary
  • Exclusive fun/silly cheat modes
  • Runs on your iPhone/iPad

Robin and I scratched our heads, scribbled lots of notes, drank lots of tea and ate lots of biscuits until we had a rough plan of the game. Then came months of hard work building it all. Top-designer Gavin Strange worked on the lovely interface screens. Tech genius Richard Davey orchestrated a textbook perfect technology-intercept with AIR3 for the desktop version, and lots of other people at Aardman were involved (check the in-game credits for the full list).

Alongside our own development we also worked closely with the amazing Mobile Pie to help them create the iOS version of the game. Mobile Pie’s star developer Matt Arahna and the rest of the team did a truly spectacular job of bringing the experience to the iPhone and iPad. They slaved for months ensuring the mobile version played just like the desktop and web versions, including every frame of the rich animation, beautiful layered backgrounds, physics, controls and more.

It’s been a long journey, and one of the most complicated projects I’ve ever been involved with! The multi-platform end product was well worth all the hard work though, and although the game has only been out for a couple of days as I write, it has already had hundreds of thousands of plays. Initial feedback from players seems very positive too! That’s the bit that really matters in the end – bringing a beautiful and fun experience to people who love games.

 

Deadly Planet

Monday, October 31st, 2011

To go with the brilliant kids wildlife TV show “Live ‘n Deadly”, the BBC wanted a major online game. They got Aardman to build it, and I was brought in as part of the team. I worked mainly on the design of levels 2 and 3 (Borneo and California), but also on the core platform engine a little, alongside Mark Burvill and a few others.

It was an ambitious project, with a pretty tight deadline. There’s the odd rough edge, but overall it came out pretty well! There were even tie-ins with the show, with the presenters giving out goodies for the game live on air.

Play Deadly Planet.

 

Light Strike

Monday, October 31st, 2011

To advertise the kids laser-tag toys Light Strike, I built a simple target-range game. It was created over the course of a couple of days, with supplied graphics from Chris Minett.

Even though this was a super-quick build, there was still time to work a little depth into the game. The gun has a 3-round auto, and using it will help you score higher. Don’t hit your own team colour too, and aim for the centre of each target for maximum points! There’s even a faux-3D effect on the gun lasers.

Play Light Strike

Infinite Monkeys Bending Reality

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Bend reality itself in this strange and innovative platformer that asks “What if monkeys could bend reality with their minds?”. Find out for yourself by playing Infinite Monkeys Bending Reality.

Postmortem.

I started work on this game shortly after Flash 8 was released, something like 4 years ago! It was written in AS1, and started out as a test of the new DisplacementMapFilter that had just been introduced. I built a dead simple early test where you could bend the level and jump around on it, and it worked better than expected. Sometime around then, I quit my full time job and became freelance, and Infinite Monkeys got pushed aside for more critical jobs.

Over the next couple of years, I’d occasionally find myself with a bit of time to work on the Monkeys. So I’d go back to it, add a few levels, do some graphical work, add a new feature or whatever. Then something more important would come up again, and Monkeys would get forgotten again.

This super-long gestation period seems to have led to a pretty big game with lots of features and plenty to like about it. Unfortunately it’s also led to confused and somewhat buggy code, multiple art styles and rather random storylines! There are missing features too. A few people have complained that it doesn’t save your progress. This is true, but it turned out to be a very hard feature to implement due to the disjointed way the whole game was built.

The public reception to Infinite Monkeys on the whole is rather better than I’d expected. You always get some people hating on games they don’t like for whatever reason, and you tend to get hate for anything that doesn’t work perfectly in a game too. I’d always expected it to be a Marmite game, splitting opinion neatly into “It’s bonkers and I love it” and “It’s hard and buggy and I hate it”. That happened, but it seems to have gone much more towards the first than the last; a pleasant surprise!

Most people seem to enjoy the intro. They like my silly voice and the weirdness of it. A few people seem to read deeper meanings than were intended here, like references to The Hitchiker’s Guide, pro/anti-evolution themes and all sorts. The only vague meaning beyond amusement, was that the game really has been bashed out by a sort of monkey at a typewriter: Me!

This game features four separate endings. Two are pretty easy to find – you run to the end and there’s a junction where you have to make a choice. The other two are much harder to discover. You have to do a tricky move to get past an obstacle that doesn’t look passable, then nip down the drain beneath (where there’s another junction). A surprising number of people have done this, and in fact one of these endings is the second highest achieved, according to the stats.

Graphically the game is a bit of a mix. I did most of the levels etc myself, just by trimming bitmapped textures with Flash’s built in tools. The game was originally intended to run over hand-drawn levels, but it turned out far too hard to get the hand drawn bits to match up with gameplay constraints. Plus there was an awful lot of levels in the end (over 50) and it would have taken forever to make them all. Some of them are animated too, like giant machines you have to crawl through.

The very best bit of graphical work in the entire game was the protagonist monkey itself, illustrated and animated by the super talanted Nick Hilditch. The monkey character is well received by the public, and helps give the game sufficient charm to make people play in the first place. Awesome!

Lessons:

1. It doesn’t pay to leave something on the back-burner too long. The world moves on, and you forget how the code works!

2. Have a bit of fun with hiding objects, easter eggs and the like around the game. People enjoy them, it seems.

3. Multiple endings are popular!

4. Buggy code will produce angry players! Doesn’t matter if you’re doing something difficult, they don’t care.

5. Intros can be worth it. Keep ’em short and punchy though.

6. Make something a little weird and mystereous, and some people will add their own meaning.

7. Everyone loves monkeys!

Championsheeps: Baahmy Golf

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Bhaamy-GolfChampionsheeps is a new suite of five children’s games, produced by Aardman Digital for the BBC. I worked on coding the Baahmy Golf game within the suite. The graphics and concept were all worked out when I got to this one. I just had to make everything work!

In Baahmy Golf, it’s Shaun’s job to break as many things as he can with just five shots. Almost all of the items visible are interactive in some way, so smash away and enjoy the show! Don’t forget to use your unconventional flippers (lids, a toilet seat, even a duck) to keep the ball in motion.

Play Championsheeps now!

Timmy Time: Bleat Dreams

Monday, May 24th, 2010

timmy-time-bleat-dreamsBounce Timmy as high as you can in this gentle-paced dreamy casual game. Land on the squishy cushions to leap up again, and pick up bonuses for a boost! Log into your Facebook account in-game to compete against your friends.

Sprocket Rocket

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

sprocket-rocket-1Use your imagination to modify your spacecraft in this Wallace & Gromit game built for the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). Draw a shape and it is attached to your craft and works in the game world. Can you create the perfect tool for the job?

Play Sprocket Rocket now.

sprocket-rocket-2