– Download – (available for PC and Mac)
At the request of a friend, I made a little productivity timer gadget called ClickClock. The timer counts how much playtime you’ve earned: it’ll count up or down depending on whether you’re working or playing, respectively, and plays a little reminder noise every so often if the timer goes negative.
You can also set the work/play ratio (e.g. 4:1 will require four minutes of work for every one minute of play) and manually bump the timer up and down. It’s meant to be a tool, not an enforcer, and I’ve found just the fact that I’m on a timer at all helps me focus.
Design-wise, I wanted something simple but aesthetically pleasing, so I focused on condensing all the functionality upfront on one small screen in a manner that was clear and elegant. The fonts used are: Microstyle Bold ATT for the letters and Microsoft Uighur for the numbers.
It saves your time when you close the program. You can reset the clock by either manually bumping it back to near zero or by deleting the “state.cc” file in the same folder.
Murmur – Global Game Jam 2013
–Download– (windows only)
The 48-hours-to-make-a-game challenge put on by the Global Game Jam just wrapped up here in Portland, and here’s what the team I was working with produced: Murmur, a “ 2D side-scrolling one-button rhythm-based survival-horror” game. You run away from this monster you’ve created (you are a BIOLOGIST who has a problem with compulsively creating flesh-eating beasts) by tapping the spacebar on the red beats as they pass under your feet. The prompt for the jam was a ~10-second audio recording of a heartbeat, and we tried to reflect that with a rhythm game that represented/induced the same sort of pumping heart of TERROR.
To get away from being, as a fellow Jammer put it, “a one-note guitar hero”, you can also hit optional nodes to direct yourself down alternate paths. The highlight of this is being able to lead the monster to fellow scientists in order to buy yourself time while it chews on their bones.
We designed this choice (among others) to just add some variety and interesting gameplay decisions to an otherwise simple mechanic. We didn’t intend for the fact that it was a “human” powerup to be particularly meaningful. It was really interesting, then, to see people playing Murmur learn that they could do so, initially avoid it, then as the game got harder begin to resort to the sacrifice. There’s some message in there somewhere about people being moral only until it’s inconvenient.
All in all: I’m very pleased with the the scale and focus of this project. There were only three of us (plus one physically absent audiowizard- Mike Skalandunas) and we were able to come up with a core mechanic, design enough variation to keep things interesting, and produce a polished product within 48 hours (a little bit less, even, since we started late).
There was a bit of talk among us to throw in a couple more I’m not a huge fan of the lingering-commitment variety of gamejam. I like my projects wrapped up neat and tidy, which doesn’t allow me to fall into the habit/excuse of “I’ll fix and work on this more this later”. Working within your constraints, setting realistic goals based on available resources, etc etc, I’ll get off the soapbox now. Long story short: I think it’s a polished little nugget and that feels great.
Pyxis – 2014 Mayhem Jam
Anti-breakout. Play as Pandora, keep evil contained for as long as you can. Most polished jam game I’ve done.
[ Google Play ] [ download (PC) ] [ postmortem ]
As We Are – 2014 Global Game Jam
Short 5-minute puzzle game where you explore a situation from several different character’s viewpoints.
[ play online ] [ postmortem ]
Murmur – 2013 Global Game Jam
Atmospheric simple endless runner. Play as a biologist fleeing their terrible creation. Spacebar controls heartbeat.
[ download (PC) ] [ postmortem ]
Wirehang Reredux – Personal work-in-progress
Platformer where you primarily move by shooting out springy grappling hooks. I always wanted to be Spiderman.
[ project page ]
Geology Island – Personal work-in-progress
Analogue board game where you play as one of four bickering gods who are trying to craft an island via geological processes.
[ project page ]
# cool things #
Greg Dunn Design – Beautiful gigantic gold-etched neuroscience art.
Extra Credits / Extra History – Excellent video series on all aspects of game design and culture. Branched out to begin entertaining + informative history videos, as well.
Critical Distance – High-quality weekly digest of writing about games, with an emphasis on signal amplification for voices that you won’t find elsewhere.
Strickler’s Laws of GeoFantasy – Being a geologist sounds awesome.