Thursday, 24 March 2011

Heading over to France again

I'm leaving on Saturday for Bethune, France for a week or so.

We're showing off some works in iCinema's AVIE as a part of an Art Festival in Bethune.

Apart from the cold (I checked a weather report that said it'd be hitting 0 degrees at night time), I'm looking forward to doing another international bump in and also getting to check out a bunch of the other artworks and performers who are going to be out there.

Monday, 21 March 2011


There's a new Independent Games Festival getting started up in Australia, called iFest, going up in April in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.

For more information, check out

IGDA Sydney's definitely going to be a part of it and a lot of the same people who've done amazing work on Game Jams and other events around here are helping put this on and I think this is a great idea to get people together and talking . . . there's no better way to get ideas and collaborations going.

Unfortunately my new team won't have anything to present yet by April, but we'll definitely be coming along to see how things are going nonetheless.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Designing Games for Smart Phones

I've recently started putting together a game prototype for iOS and Android. I'm working with a team of friends and we've put together a few different possibilities and culled them down to the point where we're prototyping to test gameplay.

We've realised a few things about successful iPhone games and what you might need to get yourself into the top 25 games (and hence into where the purchasing really happens). These are the criteria I've noticed for making money on the App Store . . .

  1. Use cute animals or something similarly cartoony in your art. If you have violence it must be heavily sanitised and comedic (think Angry Birds vs Crush the Castle).
  2. Use a single simple gameplay mechanic that is easy to pick up and immediately gratifying, but has just enough depth to have a skill curve.
  3. Be able to be picked up, played and put down in about one minute. I'm not an expert on all the apps that have gone through the store, but I don't think that epic storylines have really made it into the top 25 much.
I feel like I'm a pop music producer, squashing all the art out of music in order to make sure it sells . . . but I think the real challenge is: How do you stay within those boundaries of trying to make a game that's marketable while still retaining your own game design sensibilities and well . . . your dignity.

It's early days yet, but hopefully we'll have a release to show for it in a few months . . . I'll keep the blog updated on our progress as we go along (and yes if you want to help us out with testing etc, you can buzz me . . . but it won't be happening for a while yet).

Monday, 7 March 2011

Plants vs Zombies the Board Game

There's a strong trend for turning popular computer games into board games. There's a Starcraft board game, a World of Warcraft one (I own this one but it's so gargantuan and takes so long to play that it pretty much never comes off the shelf) a Doom one etc . . . even I'm putting together a board game from a computer game :)

But now, there's a Plants vs Zombies board game!

I haven't been able to get much information about the actual gameplay, but I love the idea of taking the rules of a simple computer game and translating them to a board game. How do you deal with going from realtime to turn based? How do you create a simple algorithm that can reflect a game's AI in a simple and easy to play way? I'm looking forward to seeing how they answer these questions in the Plants vs Zombies board game.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Star Wars vs Mosquitoes

No really. People who had previously worked on the USA's SDI defense system have subsequently put together a relatively cheap anti mosquito laser system. Yes, it tracks them and shoots them down with lasers.

The article actually has a huge amount of detail for how to put this thing together, from sensors to camera aiming to laser aiming and exactly what level of laser is needed to kill a mosquito. One of the best parts is is the videos on page 4 showing mozzies being melted by lasers. Barrels of fun :)

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Remote Controlled Flying Fish

I got bounced this video, which is probably the coolest toy since remote control helicopters became huge about 5 years ago.

I don't think they're on the market yet . . . but how cool are they?