Archive for September, 2010

Speedboat Forever

Sunday, September 26th, 2010


Here’s a minigame that I made in 23 hours (including sleep, meals and distractions) at the recent OrcaJam in Victoria. I made it using a mini-framework in BlitzMax that I started coding in the week running up to the OrcaJam and extended more there.

The OrcaJam was awesome, I met loads of great Indies, and some fantastic minigames came out of it. If you get a chance to do a gamejam, do it, it’ll teach you a lot!

My personal goal was to make a complete game with:

– a title screen
– basic playable game
– win and lose states/screens
– music and sounds (I reused music that I made for my other framework games, except for one Holiday Bonus tune. But all the sound effects are new.)
– a basic level of presentation

Yes the graphics are bad programmer art and the gameplay is very basic, but it is a complete game, and it feels good to be able to make one quickly. Now that my mini-framework is more complete, I could do it again in a few hours.


– Use the arrow keys to avoid the rocks (grey squares).
– Pickup a certain number of yellow squares to complete the level.
– The bigger the yellow square the more points you get, but watch out, your speedboat will also grow larger!
– Each level requires you to collect more pickups, and you move faster, plus there are more rocks.
– Have fun! See if you can survive at top speed!

Download it here:

Windows (2.36MB)
Mac (2.58Mb)


Hidden Object Adventure Games Rock

Sunday, September 26th, 2010


If you say “Hidden Object Game” to a “gamer” they’ll either groan or say “what’s that?”. If you say it to an Indie developer, they’ll probably ask you to leave the room. However, I wonder who many of these people have actually played a good one and how many are just parroting a standard response?

There are two types of Hidden Object Games as I see it:

1) Straight hidden object games like Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst. This is the type that most people think of when they hear “Hidden Object Game”. I happen to enjoy playing them with my family, but I can see why many people find them boring.

2) Hidden object Adventure games like Azada: Ancient Magic and Drawn: The Painted Tower. These are basically point and click adventure games like from the old days, except that they have high production values and aren’t fiendishly hard. Sometimes these games contain a combination of adventure and hidden object elements such as Dire Grove.

I personally prefer the second type of HOG as they are more like the old-skool point and click adventure games and there are some REALLY good ones like Treasure Seekers: Follow the Ghosts. Many non-casual players don’t know what they are missing!

So if you get a chance, join the millions of casual players who love these games and check them out sometime.

PC Downloads Overtake Retail Sales

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Photo by By jiazi (Tim Wang)

I read this article and was interested to see that in the first six months of 2010 more game units were shipped digitally than via retail (although retail still accounts for the most revenue). That’s a pretty cool turning point for the industry. Naturally Steam was the biggest vendor of digital games, and who was the biggest Casual game provider? Why Big Fish Games of course!

Clearly if you an an Indie making arcade games you’ve got to target Steam and Direct2Drive (as well as selling direct of course). And if you are making casual games, that top 5 list should be a good starting point (Gamehouse is Real Arcade by the way).