Posts Tagged ‘by-deeperbeige’

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!

Wallace’s Workshop

Friday, October 15th, 2010

wallaces-workshop-0Unleash your inner inventor and build crazy contraptions in the BAFTA winning Wallace and Gromit game, Wallace’s Workshop. You’ll need to use your intelligence, imagination and cunning to build everything from battery powered cars and rocket powered sleds, to Heath-Robinson contraptions and giant trebuchets!

Play Wallace’s Workshop now!

This Flash game is a little deeper and more involved than a lot of the other games I’ve produced. Take your time, and don’t be afraid to skip ahead if you can’t figure something out.

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Crazy contraptions!

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Battery powered car

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Inventive machines

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Rocket sled!

Rocket Science for Fun and Profit

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

rocket-scienceShoot rockets at planets in this fun casual physics game. You too can join the ranks of the very best scientists in the history of the world, and try to find that elusive perfect trajectory.

Play Rocket Science.

Regency Stages Rally

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

regency-stagesThe Weston Super Mare Motor Club (WSMMC) is organising a brand new rally event in 2011. To help promote the event, they wanted this website created to compliment a print-flier given out at a local enthusiasts day, as well as over the year before the event itself.

The timescales and budget were exceptionally tight, but the site was still delivered on time and to the required cost.

If you’re interested in rallying, why not get yourself along to the event either as a spectator, or even as a driver! Want to get close to the action? There’s a competition on the site to win a ride in a rally car driven by a top professional! What are you waiting for?

Weston Super Mare Motor Club

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

wsmmcWSMMC stands for the Weston Super Mare Motor Club. The group organises club-level motorsport around Weston Super Mare, including rally, sprint, solo, autocross and more.

Local motor clubs typically don’t have lots of spare cash hanging around for big flashy websites. WSMMC are no exception of course, so this project was delivered on a very tight budget. Nonetheless, the club still got all the features they were after and within the cost and timescales available.

If you’re into motorsport and you’re in the area, I strongly recommend you get along to one of their events. I’ve taken part in lots of them over the years, and they’re always brilliantly organised and amazing fun.

Visit the site.

Hazard Perception Challenge facelift

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

hazard-perception-challengeThe Hazard Perception Challenge is the best place on the web to practice for your official DSA driving theory test! Buy a course and get stuck in straight away. Now with new, improved look and feel throughout, the site is easier to navigate than ever.

Try it 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.

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Rabbit Rustler

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

rabbit-rustlerThe nasty farmer is breeding rabbits for his dinner! Fly over the landscape in this physics puzzle and save them from a chewy fate. Persuade them towards the teleporter by placing a tempting carrot, or push them with your ship.

Play Rabbit Rustler now.