Side Projects

September 23rd, 2016

So while I’ve been working away on Iron Tides this past year and a bit, I’ve still managed to sneak away with a few spare moments to work on a couple small Flash games. It’s not really something I want to go back to, as it’s undeniably a huge step back from making Unity games for Steam. But sometimes it is a nice change of pace to push out something small and different. I think it can also be a helpful reminder that simple design can still be effective.

A few months ago I took part in a Flash game contest. It challenged devs to develop a game in a single week, incorporating 1 or more out of 3 given themes: time travel, portals and easter. Now I’d never made a game in a week by myself. The closest thing I’d gotten around to was weekend game jams, but those always had a team of at least three. I made Rise of the Castle 2 in about two weeks, but that was a sequel so I had very little design to do and could reuse much of the code. This would be a different beast altogether.

With only 7 days to spare I knew I had to figure out pretty much exactly what I was making by the end of the first day. All the art and UI in the game also had to be finished in a day. That would leave about 5 days for the bulk of the coding, testing, balancing, level design and audio work. I decided to ignore the easter theme, as it was the obvious outlier. For a few moments I considered doing time manipulation mechanics, but then thought it would get far too complicated. Anything physics based was also out the window. And I knew I didn’t have time to do any extensive level design, so I would have to ramp difficulty algorithmically. What I wound up making was a simple split-screen defense shooter. The two sides represented different eras in time, and were connected by a pair of portals. You controlled a spaceship and had to defend two bases, one on each side of the time divide. Every time you passed through the portal it would shut down for a while, so you couldn’t just go through whenever. You could fire bullets through the portal into the other timespace, but naturally these shots were a lot harder to aim.

I also came up with a few different behaviors for the enemy aliens, and some tricks they could use to screw around with the portals. Given the time limit I didn’t manage to implement all of them though, despite skipping sleep here and there during that week. But all in all I think it was a pretty successful little exercise, this tiny little speck of a game that it is.

Unfortunately I didn’t end up winning anything in the contest itself (there were about a hundred entries and only the top 5 got anything), but I did get offered a decent licensing deal afterwards, so not such a bad end result.

I’ve also done a little bit of work on a post-apocalyptic defense game that shares a lot of mechanics with Rise of the Colony. The big changes to the formula are new ways to gather and manage survivors (the rough equivalent of colonists), and a new power system that requires weapons to be connected to a generator. I’m pretty happy with the look of that game and it wouldn’t take more than a couple weeks to finish, but at the moment I can’t spare even that. I do want to finish it at some point though. I can share a few screens from it when I find the time.

If you’re interested, take a look at my itty bitty portal game, Time Splicers:


– Peace and good splicing


Posted in Current Games, Project Previews | Comments Off on Side Projects


Comments are closed.