I made GlowGrid, a minimalist, retro puzzle game with a neon aesthetic and a dreamy 80s synth soundtrack. It plays like a classic – simple mechanics leading to deep, strategic gameplay. Google tells me that the average play time is 40 minutes!
For my Masters dissertation as part of the Evolutionary & Adaptive Systems degree at Sussex I conducted research into the use of motion controlled videogames for physical rehabilitation. There has been a lot of interest in this field recently, however I found that the games produced so far typically have not been designed by games professionals and are consequently low on the fun factor.
As a starting step towards remedying this, I performed an experiment investigating the effect of player engagement on body movement: Can changing the type or level of player engagement lead to different types of body movement? If so, then a well designed rehabilitation game could manipulate a patient’s physical movements simply by virtue of them being immersed in the game.
The experiment was achieved using the Microsoft Kinect hardware and built in Unity.
Bytebeat is a form of generative music produced by exceedingly short computer programs that output raw sound data. As part of my MSc I developed Bytebeat Explorer (BBX), a prototype web application that allows the user to explore the search space of possible bytebeat compositions using genetic programming.
Sweatshop, the Channel 4 newsgame I worked on with Littleloud,
is now out for iPad! has been banned from the App Store. Unfortunately it seems that Apple don’t believe that games are a valid medium for social comment or criticism:
“We view apps different than books or songs, which we do not curate. If you want to criticize a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or a song, or create a medical app. It can get complicated, but we have decided to not allow certain kinds of content in the App Store.”
Another collaboration with Gary J. Lucken, Pushcat borrows the basic dig-and-push mechanics of Boulder Dash and adds elements of Match 3, resulting in an original, fast-paced mix of puzzle and action arcade gameplay.
The player plays the hero Pushcat, a purple cat who just loves silver – which he creates by combining gems of the same colour. As he progresses through the game new elements are gradually built on top of this basic mechanic, then mixed and matched to produce a wide variety of different play experiences – from slower, puzzle-based levels to action-packed, chaotic madness.
An educational strategy game for Channel 4 highlighting the plight of workers in developing countries and questioning the ethics of consumerist high street fashion. At least that’s what all the blurb says… my goal was just to make a really fun little management game where you could set fire to everything! (see above)
I’ve been working closely with the CBBC R&D department to design and prototype a series of game engine templates which can be skinned, modified and extended. The project goal is to allow development teams within CBBC to be able to theme a game template for a particular brand without the need for much-squabbled-over technical resources or outsourcing to external agencies. Thus putting myself out of a job.
So far I’ve worked on a very flexible board-game engine, complete with AI, a ‘cannon’ game template (eg. Tracy Beaker Party), a ‘break-out’ type game, and more to follow!
I love this kind of work as it allows me to focus on gameplay and production workflow rather than the ‘final 20%’ aspect which for me is the most laborious part of Flash production.
A multiplayer game for CBBC, based on the TV quiz show of the same name. Players must work together to complete a series of tasks… apart from the saboteur, who must scupper their plans!
This was a pretty ambitious project. I worked closely with the BBC Prototyping team to get a multiplayer server up and running on BBC infrastructure – no mean feat. I designed the games, built the Flash client and prototyped the server-side too. Note to self: Multiplayer games are HARD to make.