Sticking with Blackwell

November 24th, 2012

Today, and for the first time, I played Dave Gilbert’s The Blackwell Legacy.

There are many games that I wish I liked, and I wish I played. The Blackwell games fit into this mould very well. I fell out of love with point-and-click adventure games a long time ago due to the gameplay contrivences. Meanwhile, I had a lot of respect for the tone and approach of the Blackwell games that seemed as though they were games for people, and not just games for ‘fans of point-and-click games’.

I bought it several years ago when he was selling all the games in a bundle. At that time I had only played the Blackwell Unbound demo, but I was thoroughly impressed with the puzzle design, gameplay and writing.

Today, however, I got stuck on the very first puzzle. The game starts with an awful contrivence, the worst of point-and-click adventures, in the form of a person that won’t let you into the building because he doesn’t recognise you. I assume this is some sort of joke or reference to the genre itself, but I worked through the dialogue options and headed to the area that opened up.

I was then faced with a puzzle in which I simply didn’t know what to do. I had to talk to a woman playing a flute, so I needed to distract the crowd from watching her. I tried clicking on the nearby objects (a dog, a bin, no response). I tried clicking on all the interactive objects in the previous room, nothing. I checked my inventory, nothing.

Meanwhile, the tiny glimpses of gameplay and character that I’ve been exposed to have been excellent. I love that there aren’t dozens of redundent objects cluttering the scene, and I didn’t feel like I was ‘pixel hunting’ amongst clutter. The character’s anxiety about drawing attention to herself was charming and believable.

So, I’m faced with stopping playing. Disappointing, but I’ll try the game again when I’m willing to find an FAQ.

For now, Blackwell remains a title in my idiom, and I intend to download FAQs for all of the games before I play them further. Either that, or I’ll be wreckless and jump to the latest game; Blackwell Deception! Importantly, the game has always endeared me enough that I identify with the title, without even having played it. Much like any sort of art or fiction, if you can engage your audience on first sight it often doesn’t matter how strained the relationship can be.


June 20th, 2012

Look what arrived in my life today! :) I already have a 3DS, so I’ll be transferring my save files and data over.

I’ve been on a bit of a break from game development recently, but I just started getting back into it. Juggling a few projects and trying to decide which one to focus on to completion. I’ll resume blog updates soon with some experiments I’ve been doing!

7DRL – Not finished, but not abandoned.

March 18th, 2012

I wasn’t able to finished the 7DRL challenge on time, but I’ve been really pleased with how my game is looking and feeling. I’ve decided to keep working on it. I feel as though many of the major problems with the project are behind me, and I can now push forward with getting the guts of the game in place. Watch this space!

’7DRL’ – Seven Day Roguelike challenge

March 14th, 2012

I’m participating in the ’7DRL 2012′ challenge, with my first attempt at a roguelike game. I’ve wanted to try to make a game like this for a while, so the week long challenge is perfect for me to get my feet wet. I had a bit of a slow start, but I now have some level generation working and tile based movement. Going to work on level generator until the end of the day then press on with gameplay.

Chatchat – a collab with Terry Cavanagh

January 29th, 2012

Terry Cavanagh and I worked together on a multiplayer online game called ‘Chatchat’ (I did the art). I really like how it came together, he did amazing work getting the online working seamlessly, and there are a lot of fun secrets. Honestly, I’ve had more fun playing online with this game than most online games.

Play it on Kongregate!

play ‘Nyan Nyan Stack’

December 21st, 2011

Over the weekend I worked on a game for Ludumdare 22 on the theme of ‘Alone’. ┬áThe original upload had some critical bugs, but I’ve fixed that now and made it available on Mac and browser too. Play it here, or download it from the LD site.

Please let me know what you think! :)

Ludumdare 22: ‘Alone’

December 18th, 2011

I just finished day one of Ludumdare, on the theme of ‘Alone’. I decided to go for something modest, and so far I’m pleased with how it’s coming together. I’ll have to see which mechanics I can nail down early tomorrow, and fix a few bugs, so I’ve got some time for level design and dialogue.

Pirouette; a new game by Stephen Lavelle and myself.

December 11th, 2011

A new collaborative game by Stephen Lavelle and myself.

Play free on iPad:
or on the web (flash):

Apple rejected this game at first, and demanded we reclassified it as a book. I find it flattering that Apple’s censors bothered to play it, I hope they enjoyed it!

I’d love to hear what you think about it.

My Dizzy Fandom

November 22nd, 2011

Codemasters have announced a new Dizzy game. I’m doubtful of how it will turn out, but it’s as good an excuse as any to talk about my love for the Dizzy series. It was never more nerdy than, in 1992, my eleven year old self had a comic published in Your Sinclair. It’s a bad comic with the world’s poorest panel flow, but here it is! :)

I found it in the Doodlebugs section of Let me know if any of you submitted Doodlebugs to Your Sinclair magazine! :)

Going dark

November 9th, 2011

Busy rigging up characters for Bugle. The characters are 3D models rendered with a fake 2D style.

Decided to change my approach to Bugle entirely, and I’ve basically ‘gone dark’ on updates. Based upon feedback, I’ve cancelled the original development diary, but instead I’ll do some regular in-progress gameplay videos and images. I won’t do film or voice footage.