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    Guess who is back? A small life update

    2018 - 03.26

    So obligatory: it’s been a while since I’ve posted/spammed the interwebs with my random musings. Life sometimes gets a tiny bit crazy. However, I’m back now with a small update with what is new with my life.

    At the end of last year, I lost my job (boo! hisss!) – and after the initial shock it suddenly occurred to me – I was in a financial position that would allow me to focus on my real passion, game development (yay!). I sat down in a dark, candle lit room and started drafting down ideas: gameplay concepts, themes, badly drawn stick figures doing things to each with weapons of mass destruction.  That kind of thing.

    And from those scribbles an idea started to solidify. I’ve always loved simulation games, a hobby that started many, many moons ago with SimEarth. Since then, I’ve played a lot of them: RimWorld, Dwarf Fortress and Prison Architect, to name a few. I dread to think how much time I’ve spent commanding virtual people to build/slaughter things [edit: I just checked my steam stats for RimWorld and Prison Architect and can confirm I’ve spent *way* too long playing both]. There is something supremely satisfying watching your people work with blue prints you create in order to build something magnificent. Seeing how they interact with each other, watching behaviours and friendships form. Poking one place in a simulated world and watching something happen. Slowly, but surely, FringePlanet started to take shape.

    Concept Artwork
    Fringe Planet is a simulator game. It’s set in a universe where both science and magic co-exist. It’s heavily voxel inspired. It has quite the grand road plan (which will be appearing on it’s homepage: http://fringeplanetgame.com). It’s aimed at the single player PC market place (via steam) but a Mac/Linux version is fairly high on the priority list as well.

    It has been under development for about three months now, and I’ve got to the point where it has actually started to look and feel like a game. That re-assuring feeling you get when you’ve taken an idea, written a bunch of code, and got it into a playable state and a little voice in your head actually says “wait, this is actually really fun”.

    So, I then took the next big step, and formed my own company. I’m a director of a company now – it’s a bit weird thinking about the reality of that. I even had to record the official minutes of the meeting where the company was formed. Attendance of which consisted of the Director of the company (me), the shareholder of the company (me), the secretary of the company (me) and the company mascots (my cats – though they were busy playing at the time so may not have been paying that much attention).

    I’ve  applied for funding from various sources, and will be blogging about that process in the future – alas, my funds are not infinite and the earliest realistic release date for FringePlanet will be early next year (though I am planning to run a private alpha before that).

    I’ve got into a regular schedule of development work: Mondays are “code clean up” days – refactoring code, documenting things, cleaning up any debug code, fixing any bugs that occur during the daily play through. Wednesdays are “idea” days – fleshing out game mechanics, working on specific implementations. Saturdays are “eye candy” days – making things look prettier, creating textures/models etc;.  Every night after I finish work I create a daily build of the game. I’m using a raspberry pi powered GitLab for version control (it’s even got a speaker attached to it and it plays a fanfare whenever I push). Working on Fringe Planet has very much become my life.

    I’ll be blogging about both the game and the journey, and of course, spamming twitter randomly about it – GreenSlimeGames.com will be my personal blog about the journey, professional type blog posts/news about the game will be on FringePlanetGame.com.

    This is all a very definitely scary process – biting the bullet and making game development my full time job – but it is the most satisfied I’ve felt in my life.

    Gameplay image

    Nic Nic

    Mine your step

    2013 - 03.07

    Introducing : Mine your step

    Originally an idea I had on a Sunday morning after watching Futurama, this game has come together pretty quickly. You will die, a lot. Your deaths ( well more accurately, your pile of remains ) help other people navigate the dangerous terrain. It was going to be called ‘Blind in a minefield’, with the idea being that the screen was totally black and all you could see would be deaths and your avatar. This was primarily because my drawing/art skills suck bigtime 🙂 But I found a nice tileset for it and the game evolved from there. I’m quite amazed that I managed to get March’s #1GameAMonth done by the 6th 🙂

    How to play

    Story :

    You are a marine. Get to the base. End of story 🙂

    Controls :
    Arrow keys to move.
    Stepping on mines to die.
    Music controls are in top left hand corner of the screen.

    Notes :
    There are currently 12 levels and I am shocked so far to see that people are currently on level 6. If it continues like this, I will most definitely add some more additional levels. You will die a lot ( said that once or twice ). That is fine. Think of it as massively co-operative game. The more you die, the more you help others. Mouse over bloody remains to see who made them.

    The game can be found here : http://www.greenslimegames.com/games/html5/mine_your_step/. You will need a modern browser to play it. If you find any bugs feel free to let me know! My #1GaM profile is : http://www.onegameamonth.com/BeeBug_Nic feel free to leave some fan mail <3 ... or not :)

    EDIT : This was written on the release night, but decided to wait before publishing it ( as it takes me hours to blog about anything ). At the time of hitting the publish button, I’ve received an amazing amount of feedback! I treasure all of it! 🙂 Amazingly I also appeared on indiegames.com. Many thanks to all of you for playing and dieing – as well giving me feedback! Currently the global death toll is 2741 people lost! Thank you for your sacrifices soldier!


    The Badly Drawn Adventures of Lieutenant Ivanova Zolnerwich

    2013 - 03.02

    Introducing … The Badly Drawn Adventures of Lieutenant Ivanova Zolnerwich – Chapter 1 : Investigation

    With possibly the longest name ever, this is my February entry to the #OneGameAMonth. It’s a side-scrolling platform with dreadful graphics 🙂 Story wise, there is quite a bit going on, but you will need to find all the audio logs ( optional items ) in order to understand what is going on.

    How to play

    Story :
    You are Lieutenant Ivanova Zolnerwich, a relatively recent recruit to the Space Core. On a routine patrol in your aging space craft you receive a distress call from a nearby agricultural world. You decide to investigate further, and set your ship to autopilot with the order to land at the planets command center. You hastily put on your Core-issued green spacesuit and prepare to investigate the distress call.

    Controls :
    Left and Right arrows to move,
    Up to jump and enter doors
    Space to fire

    Notes :
    Doorways always have a flashing pink aura around them. Boxes can be pushed around. Slime, in all its forms, is pretty unhealthy. You need to collect key items to unlock additional areas – these are always prompted. Force fields can be turned off by finding the correct switch. You don’t need to collect all the audio logs to complete the game – some of them are hidden in fairly sneaky places. Yes, it does look ugly. Monsters can be tricked into moving boxes for you. There is no way to increase your health, every bit of it counts.

    The game can be found here : http://www.greenslimegames.com/games/html5/tbda1/. You will need a modern browser to play it. If you find any bugs feel free to let me know! My #1GaM profile is : http://www.onegameamonth.com/BeeBug_Nic feel free to leave some fan mail <3 ... or not :)


    The Tombs of Tutankhamen

    2013 - 01.30

    Introducing …. The Tombs of Tutankhamen


    This, as mentioned in my earlier post, is a remake of an old BBC Microcomputer game I spent far to long as a child playing. I’ve kept as loyal to the original as possible, but brought the movement, controls and scrolling up to what is the ‘norm’ these days. I’ve also added touch screen controls to it, so it is playable on mobile devices. Mobiles controls are not as nice as I want, but I want to re-visit them later and use on-screen buttons.

    It’s powered by the awesome HTML5 – using the very cool impact.js framework. Really enjoyed working with impact, but I’ll talk about that another day. I must admit, I was rather shocked at the speed of the main game loop when dealing with the canvas. Seems browsers are starting to get quite good at this graphical nonsense 🙂 Anyway, without further ado :

    How to Play The Tombs of Tutankhamen

    Story :
    You are Doctor Procman, who has found yourself trapped in the Tombs of Tutankhamen. After deciphering hieroglyphics over an ancient and dusty altar you discover the only way to escape is to collect the 16 crowns and find the exit. Unfortunately, five colour coded doors stand in your way. You must find the keys inside scattered around the tomb to unlock additional areas. To add to the stress, there are boulder traps which will stop you from turning around. Oh and did I mention there are huge giant green spiders that will kill you if you get too close? Yeah, thats right, giant green spiders.

    Controls :
    Arrow keys to move
    R to commit suicide ( in case you get stuck, or just bored with life )
    Mouse click to mute music and change volume

    Notes :
    This game is pretty hard. You won’t complete it on your first game, you will need to learn the rooms. The one-way traps in the original are all present in this version and boy do they hurt 🙂 ‘R’ is your friend there. The spiders move at different speeds, you will need to judge your runs very carefully. There are two easter eggs in the game, one of which may come back to haunt me 🙂 The map itself is made of 16 rooms, you may need to scribble down some routes on a bit of paper. Five coloured keys exist and when you pick them up, the matching door will vanish. You can gain access to the last door fairly simply, but it will not open until you have all 16 crowns.

    The game can be found here : http://www.greenslimegames.com/games/html5/tut/. You will need a modern browser to play it. If you find any bugs feel free to let me know! This is my entry to OneGameAMonth which I shall be talking about tomorrow 🙂 Oh, and my profile there is : http://www.onegameamonth.com/BeeBug_Nic feel free to leave some fan mail <3


    Steam Greenlight and UK Kickstarter …

    2012 - 07.10

    What a crazy day it has been with two very, very exciting bits of news not only for indie developers but especially for UK based indie developers. Being one of those, the excitement levels are high indeed! The two bits of news which are causing me almost orgasmic levels of excitement are : Valve annoucing Greenlight and Kickstarter annoucing they will let UK based games be funded.

    Why is this exciting?

    GreenLight – Getting a game onto steam has always been rather of an opaque process, with no idea why a game has been rejected/accepted. Greenlight is going to address this by letting the people who play games on Steam actally rank/vote and get games into the approval process. You need only a very small amount of information in order to get your game into Greenlight – even having a playable demo is optional ( though probably a sensible idea if your trying to grab votes 🙂 ). To get a game on Greenlight, you’ll need the following :

    •   A square branding image (similar to a box cover) to represent your game in lists and search
    •   At least 1 video showing off your game or presenting your concept
    •   At least 4 screenshots or images
    •   A written description of the game along with tentative system requirements

    (taken from the current Greenlight homepage) That is a pretty low bar to get something into the system – my biggest worry is having good projects lost due to the inevitable deluge of ‘I WANTZ 2 MAKES A MMORPG LIKE WOW BUT WIV CARZ AND STAR TREK ( AND PONIES!!11one)’. Having said that, with community feedback, it allows someone to tweak and adjust their ideas – a useful side effect to this system. Gamers getting games they want to play into the approval system makes a lot of sense, and promises some intresting times ahead 🙂

    Kickstarter allowing UK funding – I honestly can’t decide which is getting me more excited, this of Greenlight. Simply put, it was tricky to get crowd funding for indie games in the UK. Not impossible, as many sites offered an alternative venue for crowdfunding games – however, none of them really compared to the pull that Kickstarter had. Now, with this adjustment, it will be possible for UK based indies to get their game crowd sourced, without having to trust a friend in the US to handle the cash for you 🙂

    Why is this so exciting to UK Indie developers?