I’ve just deployed the final chunk of the new site design, thus bringing the focus of the site in line with the main business function of

That being, to showcase our games to potential sponsors and licensees, so that they’ll buy customize versions and thus the cycle of capitalistic life will be complete, hooray.

More incremental updates will trickle in from here, but by and large the design is complete.

We’re closing in on a Primary sponsor for our latest game (Now with 3000% more ninja goodness), and once the negotiations and customizations are completed, that one will finally be unveiled to the world.  Good times.

The process of creating this game has been very enlightening for me personally, and has opened some doors that make the prospect of cranking out content at a much faster rate a real possibility.

I’m a coder/designer (and marketer) really,  anything that involves picking apart logic problems and discerning patterns to ferret out solutions is my wheelhouse, not so much with creating unique art from scratch.

Sure, procedurally generated assets are do-able, and abstract interface elements are something that my skillset allows for (hence the site re-design) but character drawings, compositing a landscape, or sketching out pretty much anything that lives and breaths just ain’t gonna happen.

Recognizing that limitation, the soon to be announced/released title is the first project on which I’ve worked with an artist, rather than trying to stretch my skillset in that, rather painful, direction.

The presentation and design of the game as well as the design and development process have all benefited, and I  am very pleased with the results.

The artist and co-designer I’m working with is an old friend who happens to be a ridiculously talented, Alex Rodriguez.  We’ve already moved on to design and development of our next title, so keep an eye on this space for further announcements about the soon-to-be-released and future project updates.

-Joe out.

Plunk Pool 2 Launched!

Whew. Well after a ridiculously long development cycle and sponsor hunt Plunk Pool 2 is now live!

I haven’t really chatted on here about the Plunk Pool games, which is an unfortunate oversight on my part,  as they really have been an interesting experience, from which I have learned a bit about the business of flash games.

To be honest, my first love is the more involved and intricate games, an RTS, a dungeon crawling adventure, something along those lines.  The Plunk Pool games are essentially an exploration of genres that I myself wouldn’t get deeply into (puzzle and/or sports games) but that I know do well and have a wider appeal.

So far, the ”franchise’ has done pretty well.  The original Plunk Pool game has registered well over 3 million plays, and the second plunk pool will no doubt do the same (once a few key portal versions go live later this week hopefully)

They were really fun games to make, much to my surprise, and writing the physics engine taught me alot about geometry and Actionscript optimizations.   I may be coming back to these games eventually, if time allows, but the next project will have more in common with the dark and scary theme than the family friendly generic game theme.

I’ve put LotD2 on hold for the time being to work on a couple slightly less ambitious projects that are in the chute now.

The most immediate project is still too early in production to announce, but if all goes smoothly, it will be the first project on which I have collaborated with an honest to bob artist, rather than relying on my unpracticed art skills to get the job done.

More to come…

Oh My.

Well hello there.

I’ve been gifted recently with a rather enthusiastic group of commentators it seems, thanks for reading guys.

Largely because of their enthusiasm, I feel compelled to drop a quick update, and chat a bit about the nature of the game projects.

First off, the update:

Level Editor.  There I said it, and I’m not ashamed.  I am working on the Level Editor, and will be using it to generate all content for the games.  As development continues, I plan on integrating the editor either into the final games, or as a standalone flash app, which will push user created levels into a database for the games to consume… We’ll see how that develops.

I’ve been wrestling with a number of technical issues related to the level editor (texture placement,psuedo 3-d level objects in a 2 dimensional game space, etc),  problems which, given the side-project nature of the game development currently, present a challenge mostly in finding a large enough block of time to allow for me to load all the data into my head and get in ‘the zone’ enough to actually get work done.  I’m a natural complicator, and I tend to build engines which I then use build actual things, rather than just hack and slash my way to a working product… it’s a symptom of my day job (corporate systems programming).  Because of this, I can’t just dart in and hack together some code, then dart out again and expect anything to make sense later, so that’s been a fun challenge in it’s own way.

Now a few words about the ‘side project’ nature of the current game development…  Due to pressing money concerns, I’ve been forced to spend the bulk of my free time working on an as yet unannounced project, that stands a better chance of paying the immediate bills than casual game development.  As such, my time to work on the increasingly complex game engine has been reduced to a minimum.

So, while I do apologize for the long drawn out development cycle to those who are anticipating the game, I can’t really promise that it will be forthcoming soon, due to the aforementioned money/more lucrative projects.  At the end of the day,  my hope is that this other venture will provide the cushion needed to let me really focus on my passion for crafting games, and even allow me to focus on what’s fun (making some more grandiose games, such as massive RTSs and things like that), rather than what’s most profitable right now.

Also, I’ll be endeavoring to update more frequently here, and actually put together some articles about lessons learned.  I’ll probably even chat about the Plunk Pool game (soon to be plural), and the lessons I’ve learned there.

Stay Tuned.