It’s been a while since I wrote anything on here. It’s been even longer since I updated any of my games. Unfortunately, I stopped the majority of development on a number of projects, both new and old (Addicted to Spelling, Look Into the Light, Trace and First Formula Racing, for the existing titles) due to a number of health issues and family commitments.
Basically, due to my diabetes, or the injections in my eyes, or a combination of the two, I had a ‘neurological event’ which is likely to have been a transient ischaemic attack. I ended up in hospital for a short time, but fortunately there was no permanent brain damage. It seems as though I dodged a bullet, but it took it out of me and meant I had to have a bit of time off. This meant that my kids needed income from somewhere (self employment means no sickness benefits) so their mum went to work full time and I started looking after the children.
I’ve been improving quite a lot, and am mostly back to my old self, I’ve even been doing bits of work here and there (Chicken Wings being my favourite) and have redirected my efforts towards a project that I think can help people like me. That project is the Active Diabetes App. It’s looking pretty good. I’m starting an Indiegogo campaign for it in about a weeks time, and it would be great if you could support it.
It’s been an interesting few months for me. I’ve not got a lot of work done, which is an issue as it means I’ve not had the chance to do all the things I wanted with Look Into the Light. As a result, I’ve changed a few things round with it, and will be releasing it in chapters. Instead of forcing people to either wait or pay, the first chapter will be free, then each subsequent chapter will be $0.99. For early adopters, buying chapter 2 will get them chapter 3 for free.
If it does well, the chapters will come out regularly until all 5 are complete. If not, then I’ll prioritise other projects and update as and when I can. There are 2 things which I haven’t had chance to do, but wish I had, which is to record the ‘Twinkle twinkle’ theme into something more grandiose, and to record a voiceover dialogue for the menu which gave a little more insight into plot. Again, I’ll add these if time and money permit.
It’s out now, and the first update adding new levels and fixing a bunch of stuff will be along in the next week or 2. I hope you like it.
*Update* – I’m about a third of the way there on the update. I got a full time job (temporarily) to pay the bills so I’ve been a little delayed in getting stuff done. It’s coming though, just not as soon as I would have liked!
Look Into the Light is my first OUYA developed game. It’s a first person platform/puzzle game where you have to reach a light in each level. You do this by, well, jumping on platforms and solving some (admittedly light) puzzles. It’s also a game about
When I was young, I had an idea about making a film that made people afraid of the light. So many horror films are based on our primal fear of darkness, and I wanted to do something different. I never had the time, skill, resources or even plot to actually make it happen but it was always a germ of an idea in my head. That germ eventually led to Look Into the Light’s primary mechanic. You literally have to keep the light source on screen at all times in a level (with a few seconds leeway) to complete it.
That mechanic, in and of itself, keeps each level nice and self-contained, but it doesn’t create any sort of emotional connection with the game. It gives rise to some interesting puzzles where certain platforms only move when not looking at the light, and vice versa, so looking into and away from the light becomes a cat and mouse challenge in and of itself, but there’s no tension. No threat.
The next step was to create a fiction around the mechanic that could serve to heighten the sense of tension. As a parent of two young children, the thought of losing them is the scariest thing I can imagine so I decided on a world where everything was created from trying to escape the light, but being forced to be drawn into it. The game world in which you play fractures to allow the narrative to seep through, using audible clues, the limitations of the OUYA hardware (the game world ‘breathes’ as the framerate is managed) all to break one sense of illusion and present the player, you, with another. A glimpse into something darker.
The main narrative is played out throughout the game, including the menu screen. This was a choice I made based upon my monetisation method for the game. Each level is self-contained, heading back to the menu screen after each success or failure, and for those interested in the fiction of the world, they will get it here. Each time you play, the amount of time you have to wait before you can play again increases (up to a maximum of 1 minute, so you’ll never be waiting too long), which can be removed with a single $4.99 purchase. So, as few people will pay for the content (if I top 5% conversion I’ll be pleased), I imagine that people will spend a fair bit of time on that single screen, which makes it a great place for exposition as far as I’m concerned! (Edit: the first versions of the game don’t yet have this mechanic)
I hope you guys enjoy playing it (actually, no, enjoy is the wrong word to use. I hope you feel uncomfortable playing it, but think that it’s worth playing). I’ll cover some more aspects of the game as I get a little closer to release, but for now, you can play a demo in your browser here!
First Formula Racing is not an F1 game. It might have a passing resemblance to the roster names, the team colours might seem similar, but I promise you, Formula One and the FIA have nothing to do with it… Which is pretty obvious if you actually play the game…
It is, however, a touch focused racing game with a bit of a difference to other titles. I was working on an update/sequel to AJM, and I wanted to bring it a new flavour. Then I got hold of New Star Soccer and lost my life to it for a little bit. It was almost exactly perfect, and made me think about how games could be structured on mobile to be more passive activities. I redesigned what I had to fit this new aesthetic, and created a formula one racing simulator. Then I took my old game to pieces, and added it back in on top of the simulation.
Nothing about this game is perfect. The number of flaws I can pick out will probably be about 100 times longer than the flaws you will notice (though you’ll definitely notice them) but I think it’s fun. It will also get better over the next few months. I plan to add (in this order, but might not get round to doing them all, depends how many people buy it):
Weather (Rain should be and is a massive part of Motorsport)
More tracks (Ideally, individual corners for each race, especially street circuits)
And also fixing the bugs… The first one being the overall standings one. You’ll know it when you see it…
Hopefully some people will enjoy this game for what it is. It’s not supposed to change your life – just pass a bit of time!
(This app is currently unavailable, but will be relaunched soon)