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Edge Not Found postmortem — js13k 2020

September 22, 2020

Title screen of Edge Not Found.

So I par­tic­i­pat­ed in js13k again this year, this time stick­ing to my cards bet­ter and decid­ed to make an eye- as much as a brain-bend­ing puz­zle game called Edge Not Found. After work­ing for almost a year in Type­Script (and Can­vas) for my job, I feel I have a lot more expe­ri­ence work­ing with the brows­er, along with the things I’ve learned from my entry last year. So here’s anoth­er larg­er-than-13kb post­mortem about a small­en-than-13kb game.

js13k last year was the most fun I’ve had with a game jam. There’s a lot of activ­i­ty from devs on Twit­ter (though not over­whelm­ing­ly so), the month-long dead­line is very relaxed com­pared to some oth­er game jams (you’ll fin­ish on time even if you con­tribute just half a kilo­byte per day!), and there are sim­ply some amaz­ing tech­ni­cal mar­vels that peo­ple cre­ate even despite all these lim­i­ta­tions.

Last year I want­ed to try out the Zdog library, this time my choice fell on rough.js, which cre­ates seem­ing­ly hand-drawn ver­sions of geo­met­ri­cal shapes like cubes and cir­cles. I stum­bled upon a blog post that explained how this effect was achieved, which made me want to try it out. Next to that, I’ve been work­ing on a mini JS frame­work called Toma­to that sup­port­ed tim­ing, hit­box and input man­age­ment, which I want­ed (and did) improve dur­ing the jam. And pro­gram­ming in JavaScript with a live reload plug-in is absolute­ly a blast thanks to the blaz­ing­ly fast iter­a­tion time.

And, of course, a seed for a game idea. I’ve made a cou­ple Sokoban vari­ants before, and my next idea was to have the lev­el con­tin­ue infi­nite­ly into all direc­tions. A small spoil­er warn­ing, though: I’ll vague­ly describe some of the puz­zle mechan­ics (though no puz­zle solu­tions!) in this post­mortem, so you might want to play the game a bit before read­ing on.

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Fake Illusions is out!

August 20, 2020

Yes! Fake Illu­sions (the game I’ve spent a year and a half devel­op­ing, and will prob­a­bly con­tin­ue to work on for a bit) is now out on both Steam and itch. It’s great to final­ly have it out of the door, and I’m curi­ous about how it will per­form on both plat­forms.

It has been a lit­tle bit of final sprint to get to this point, but the appli­ca­tion is nice and sta­ble now. I feel it’s the first game that I’ve made that I feel com­fort­able slap­ping a price tag on. So we’ll see how it goes! There’s also a new launch trail­er to go along with it.

If you want to request a review copy or want to use the game for edu­ca­tion­al pur­pos­es, feel free to reach out for a free copy: my con­tact details are on the top of this page.

Thank you and enjoy!

Designing Fake Illusions’ Accessibility

August 14, 2020

Fake Illusions title screen.

There have been a lot of games about opti­cal illu­sions recent­ly, but most of these have focused around impos­si­ble geom­e­try in Esh­er-esque envi­ron­ments. How­ev­er, many more inter­est­ing visu­al phe­nom­e­nons are still unex­plored in games. I had the idea of hid­ing “fake” opti­cal illu­sions inside real ones, and hav­ing the play­er point out the cheater. After an ini­tial pro­to­type with a few illu­sions, I’ve spent the last year and a half work­ing on expand­ing this idea, and I’m cur­rent­ly prepar­ing it to launch on Steam soon!

Because the game idea is so unique and visu­al-focused, it runs at a high risk of being very inac­ces­si­ble to play, for exam­ple for peo­ple with bad eye­sight, col­or­blind­ness, or oth­er hand­i­caps. I have some expe­ri­ence with this sub­ject when design­ing the acces­si­ble pre­ci­sion plat­former Mobil­i­ty, so I want­ed to ensure the same acces­si­bil­i­ty for this game, even though the two game ideas are wild­ly dif­fer­ent. Today, I’d like to run through my design choic­es for keep­ing Fake Illu­sions acces­si­ble while still embrac­ing min­i­mal­ism and sur­re­al­ism.

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Distraction-preventing Software and Tools

March 20, 2020

Since lots of peo­ple are cur­rent­ly stuck at home because of the coro­na virus, and I real­ly want­ed to con­tribute to not­GDC this year, I’ve decid­ed to write about some­thing that I want­ed to share for a while now: tools to pre­vent your­self from get­ting dis­tract­ed while using a com­put­er.

When using any inter­net-con­nect­ed device, the line between exer­tion and relax­ation can blur very quickly—and I can relate. In my case, one time dur­ing an intern­ship , I got side tracked and start­ed watch­ing… a Tetris com­pe­ti­tion. Of course I got caught: that was the moment where it dawned on me that the free­dom to get dis­tract­ed was too much respon­si­bil­i­ty for me. So I decid­ed to take away some of that free­dom, and opt­ed to add mea­sures on my com­put­er to achieve that. I’ve used a lot of pro­duc­tiv­i­ty tools over the years, so I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned and what worked for me.

Some con­text, though. I’m 22 years old, lived in a stu­dent house for around the past four years, and for the last months I’ve lived in an apart­ment by myself, work­ing remote­ly. Most of the rec­om­men­da­tions here will be Win­dows appli­ca­tions or brows­er exten­sions. I also have as few apps on my phone as pos­si­ble to min­i­mize dis­trac­tion there (a “dumb­phone” of sorts).

Some of the meth­ods I’m using might be a lit­tle extreme, because I need it to stay sharp and moti­vat­ed. So you might not be able to use very sin­gle tip here, but I still hope these pieces of soft­ware and oth­er tips will suit your use cas­es!

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Best games of 2019!

March 7, 2020

That’s a wrap on 2019, the year where I bare­ly played Steam games in favor of itch, the year that Switch eShop dis­counts start­ed get­ting amaz­ing, and also a year where I grad­u­at­ed and moved away from my stu­dent house. Oh, and I also made a bunch of small­er games, while wrap­ping up Fake Illu­sions. Whew!

Here are some games I liked. Like last year, I just played these games this year, since I don’t real­ly care about their orig­i­nal release date. The order of games is also pret­ty much “in the order I can think of them”, so take it with a grain of salt. Maybe two.

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