Archive for 2007


Saturday, April 21st, 2007

emarcyI inherited the Emarcy music label website when it’s owners decided not to continue working with the original site creators. We did lots of enhancements and additions to the site over the years, and I still help maintain the site for Hyperlaunch on a freelance basis from time to time.

Have a look through the media section. You might just find something you like! The site’s owners are comitted to keeping the site up to date via the PHP CMS, and are often adding new free music and videos for public consumption.

Travis: Trolley Dash

Friday, March 30th, 2007

travisUse the cursor keys to race your trolley around the supermarket in this Travis oriented racing game.


This game was written as a development of the Unaccompanied Minors racing game, and used much the same engine underneath. The major change here is that the trolley doesn’t have to behave like a car, and as such needed to be much more slippy-slidey. The simple way to achieve that is with a basic vectored thrust and momentum movement model – something I’ve written many times over for space rocket style games in the past. It’s easy to get it feeling great for rockets (and trolleys), although it really doesn’t feel right for anything but the slipperiest of cars (think ice-racing rally cars, for example).

There are other enhancements over the Unaccompanied Minors game here too. The tracks have a clearly marked out path you can follow, so you needn’t get lost at every corner. Track design in general is much better too: There are shortcuts for the observent to find, pickups to collect for bonus points and the game runs better too due to better prepared graphics (the artist for this one followed my direction perfectly in terms of what would affect performance).

The mood of the game is a little depressing for my taste. The yellow floors and dimly lit store rooms remind me of the bad strip lighting in stores like Lidl and Aldi. That’s on purpose of course – it’s like that to fit in with the Travis song/video, but it still drags the mood down a bit for a racing game.

The biggest mistake in this game however is the collision response. It’ s much improved over Unaccompanied Minors, and you can do a lot more when you have a momentum vector hanging around that you can modify. The edge approximation still sucks however, and it’s not hard to find yourself accidentily rotated into a wall. There are all sorts of horrible special-case hacks in the code for recovering from such incidents, but luckily they don’t have to be used much, unless the player attempts some of the tighter shortcuts where it’s easier to get stuck.


  • Half-decent collision response still isn’t good enough!
  • Decent performance makes everything feel better
  • Everybody likes sliding around

Toonami Pinball

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

toonami-pinballThis game selector was built for Toonami to give kids a fun way to select a random game to play. Hold the down-arrow to pull back on the plunger, and let rip!

The Reef Scene Builder

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

the-reefCreate your own underwater scene from the film ‘The Reef’ with this tool. Once you’re done, save out a beautiful high quality wallpaper sized image of your handiwork.

Visit The Reef Scene Builder

Klaxons Artwork Creator

Friday, January 26th, 2007

klaxons-mythsCreate your own cover for the Klaxons album ‘Myths of the Near Future’. Click to add elements to the screen, then drag to arrange them as you see fit. When you’re happy, click ‘save’ to get a jpeg version of your image.



Thursday, January 18th, 2007

barebackTranquilise warewolves and bring them back to the safehouse in this moody driving game.

Use cursor keys to drive around and the mouse to aim/shoot. Use the minimap to navigate.

Play Bareback


This game was written to promote a novel called Bareback, about lunes (warewolves to you and me). It has nothing to do with what you’ll find if you google for ‘bareback’, which I don’t suggest you do if you’re in the office!

The premise is that there are various people out there who turn into wolf-like creatures by night. It’s your job to drive around in a pickup truck tranquilising them and locking them in a safehouse until the morning. It’s got good ingredients: Driving, shooting, dangerous creatures. Unfortunately, the overall effect just doesn’t work in this game, as you’ll see if you play it for a few minutes.

I think the core problem here is that there’s too many concepts mixed together. You have to drive around in the dark, slowly, navigating. Then you have to do shooting and dodging and collection of knocked-out-animals. Then you have to get them back to the safehouse with more dodging/navigating/driving in the dark before one of them wakes up.

Another problem is that none of the tasks ended up much fun! The van is slow so that you can keep it on the road. What’s fun about driving a slow van? Might as well do it for real and earn some dosh for it. Navigating is hard, as the mini-map is small and whilst the zoom works well, a lot of the time your attention is entirely focussed on a tiny part of the screen. The roads are dark and colourless, meaning you’re squinting endlessly to see what’s happening. That’s an eyetest, not a fun pastime. Shooting is difficult and restrictive, so isn’t very rewarding. Then when you do get a vanload of warewolves all sorted, you probably won’t make it back to the safehouse in time before the buggers wake up, undoing all your hard work.

This game went through a lot of itterations before it’s final state. We spent much longer than we normally would on trying to get it right. We knew at each itteration that it didn’t play well, but no matter what we did it just didn’t improve much. 


  • Sometimes, the core concept is just broken. Give up on it already!
  • There’s truth in the saying: Throwing good money after bad
  • Games must be fun. MUST
  • If it feels like work, it probably isn’t fun
  • They can’t all be hits!