Midnight Turbo!

So, not actually a game.. more like an interactive music video toy sorta thing.. This was my entry for the 2018 Global Game Jam. I worked by myself and created a sort of plaything that you can fiddle with while listening to this rad retro wave song I found online (Midnight Rider by Fazzio – https://fazzioretro.bandcamp.com/track/midnight-rider).

https://globalgamejam.org/2018/games/midnight-turbo 

Swoop along! WooHoo! (You need an xbox controller to play this.. its for mac so you will prolly need to download the drivers from somewhere, lol)

Midnight Turbo

Wavelength

Wavelength is a casual ‘dot-to-dot zen’ game where players try to link as many coloured dots as possible before the timer runs out. The game has won a few small awards and received a bit of press coverage.

Play it now..

Follow the project

Honours:

  • Game Republic Student Showcase at the University of Leeds – Honourable mention for Best Game Design
  • 2017 Global Game Jam (Jork Jam Site) – Best Art (on site), and honourable mentions for Best Audio, Best Concept and Best Overall Entry

Press:

Bonsai

Interactive videogame

Bonsai is the ancient Japanese practice of cultivating miniature trees and requires great patience and discipline. In this game, players are tasked with keeping a small tree alive, caring for it over a period of months or years and ultimately developing an intimate bond with the non-existent.
The genesis of the project is an observation on the “bigger, faster, better” mentality associated with procedural content generation. PCG systems rely on algorithmic methods to create vast amounts of content very quickly and are used in many computer games. The project seeks to take a counter perspective, asking whether there is value in a smaller and slower generative process. The ability to generate huge quantities of content also results in the content being quite disposable, a feature that the project also undermines. By slowing the generation of the tree down to take months or years, rather than minutes or seconds, results in a higher value ascribed to the artefact created. This is particularly true if the viewer has taken an active role in the process.

The contrast is highlighted in the game’s gifting feature where the cultivator of the tree can give it away to a friend. When the tree is gifted, the player no longer has access to the tree and must trust that the recipient will care for it and not let it die. This requires a degree of trust in the recipient on the part of the gifter, giving the object, otherwise meaningless, have an increased sentimental value. The issue is highlighted further by the dissonance in attachment to the tree between the gifter and recipient and whether the recipient is aware of how much effort and care has been put into cultivating the tree.

bonsai

 

Between

Physically interactive videogame with sound

A monitor or projected screen display a swirling tunnel moving through a star field. Points of light float towards the player in a patterned movement. The player stands in front of the piece holding a PS Move controller (a small baton illuminated at one end to act as a computer vision tracking beacon) which controls the movement of an eye-like glowing avatar on screen. The player’s goal is to move the avatar in line with the on coming points of light and collect as many of them as possible. As the player collects them, a narrative starts to unfold verbally.

The theme of the piece relates to the concept of reincarnation and thus the narrative follows the story of a character’s life, highlighting a key moment from their experience as a human. At several gameplay thresholds (or levels), the player is confronted by a large rotating geometric shape which they must pass through. If the player has successfully collected enough light, they will pass through the shape into the next level where the process continues. The light is symbolic of forgiveness, harbouring the idea that souls will repeat their journey’s through the earth plane learning lessons and letting go of their pent up karma. Each level is symbolic of a different chakra being represented by the colours, sonic palette, and narrative theme.

If the player fails to collect enough light to pass through any of the seven levels, they are returned to the beginning of the experience but with a different narrative signifying that the soul has gone back to the earth plane, lived another life and is now attempting ascendance again.

 

We’ve been porting Between over to the Oculus Rift recently (WIP):


Check out the website for more info: http://thegamebetween.com/

Don’t Let Them Die

Interactive videogame with sound
Don’t Let Them Die is a digital artwork created using game technology and exhibiting an element of emergent gameplay / narrative. A large screen or projection shows a mountainscape viewed from the sky filled with flocking birds swirling around the viewpoint in a seemingly random pattern. The track ‘Ghosts 1’ by Nine Inch Nails plays in the background giving a creating an ambience of melancholy and commiseration.

The behaviour of the birds is dictated by Craig Reynold’s ‘Boid’ algorithm, a common method for simulating the effect of flocking in birds and fish. Treating it as a heuristic model, the piece encourages viewers to also interpret the algorithm as a metaphor for how people relate to one another as agents within society.
The piece is not directly interactable however is designed as a game in that it has an explicit goal which is to keep the birds alive. The piece is internet enabled and pulls in live stock data from some of the top performing stocks in the world; if the prices of the stocks suddenly crash, then all the birds slowly curl up and fall from the sky in slowed motion. The message being portrayed by the piece is that the viewers of the piece are tasked to continue contributing to capitalist society, driving the economy forward and keeping the status quo.

Although the message is on the surface pro-capitalist, there are subtle undertones of a human urge to break free from societal and systemic constraints. The birds seem free, flying in which ever direction they choose across a seemingly endless landscape; however, they are almost entirely constrained. The birds exist within a computer simulation, the sky is merely a static backdrop, and their behaviour is completely dictated by an algorithm that they are unaware of.

VOID

This (incomplete) prototype/verticle demonstrates the space exploration & mining aspect of a proposed game idea called ‘VOID’. It’s intention is to install a feeling of loneliness and expanse. The prototype is a work in progress and many of the core and polished elements are not included. Below is a link to play the prototype and below that, excerpts from the game’s original design documentation.

Play VOID Here

 

Proposed Design: Excerpts

Intention

Void is about space mining and narrative expedition and is planned as an allegory for both internal and external alchemical transmutation.

The ultimate goal in Void is to uncover both internal and external enlightenment. This is achieved internally through completing the narrative journey and externally by transmuting the elements into their highest form, ‘Elixir’.

Externally, the player is tasked with exploring a procedurally generated universe seeking various elements and ores. These elements can be sold, held or combined. Each element has properties that will be enhancing or harmful and the player must choose which elements to hold onto and for how long. By combining elements in specific (and unique for each play-through) recipe sequences, the player is able create precious elements which boost their score and give them tangible bonuses.

These recipe sequences or ‘Arcanum’ are unlocked through narrative progression or through experimentation. Early on in the game, experimentation is the easier method however there is a ceiling to this and after a certain point the player will need to resort to following the narrative in order to unlock higher levels of Arcanum. This mirrors a real alchemist’s need to transmute internally rather than becoming obsessed with the physical transmutation of lead into gold for material gain.

Story

The game relies on a procedurally generated narrative engine to provide an internal trajectory for the characters and player. This both affects and is affected by the player’s choice in physical elements held. The over arching story unfolds across 22 chapters that vary in length, depending on the nature of the characters involved and the players decisions. Each chapter has a theme based on a card from the Major Arcana of the Tarot (as interpreted by the A.E Waite interpretation, See the Appendix) and follows the story of ‘The Fool’s Journey’.

The narrative engine is a complex system of AI interactions experienced in the third person. The player does not control the course of the narrative directly, but rather controls the player’s actions, which modify the characters intentions, which in turn affect the course of the narrative.

There are seven crew member characters aboard your ship, each representing an element of ‘The Great Work’ (lead into gold). Each character is defined by three main factors, their personality, their destiny and their situation.

Personality is defined by a pseudo-astrology. They are assigned a randomly selected birth time and day, which are then plotted onto a simplified version of an astrological natal chart. This defines the characteristics and temperament of each character. These traits act as a filter for any and all decisions and the interactions that the character makes are processed through these traits.

Destiny is defined through an 11 card tarot reading from the full 78 card Rider Waite deck. Each card defines a character’s destiny for 2 chapters and influences the way a character makes decisions, providing intent and direction for the interaction.

Situation is defined by the context of any given circumstance the character might find themselves in.

Interaction Process:

  • Situation defines the options available to the character.
  • Destiny defines the desired outcome of a situation.
  • Personality defines the set of rules by which the character will attempt to fulfil their destiny within the options presented by the situation
  • Story Chapter defines the subtle influence guiding all events and interactions.

These factors are all represented by numbers which influence a probability matrix to output a series of events and interactions.


 

Credit: Music by Paul and the Stretch

All free models taken from TurboSquid

CubeWorld script modified from Craig Perko’s “Let’s Program” series

Grab The Goodies

Interactive videogame with sound

Designed to educate children about the dangers of underage drinking, Grab the Goodies is an object association game where players must differentiate between objects that are healthy, and those which are not. The gameplay is intentionally simplistic and repetitive but is interspersed with trivia sections between levels. These trivia sections are the actual message carrier; they are unskippable and contain questions far too advanced to be understood by the intended 6-9 year age demographic.

The key element of this trivia section is disproportionate large red button that reading “HELP!”. When the button is pressed, a loud and annoying vocal outburst cries “Mom!”, or “Dad!”. On repeated presses, the voice gets louder and increasingly whiny, eliciting the attention of a nearby parent who will hopefully join in and help the child answer the trivia question. The intention is to initiate a dialogue between thee child and parent about the complicated issue of alcohol and its dangers through references already familiar to the child.

Grab the Goodies is available here:

iOS App Store

Android Play Store

More info…

Review of Grab The Goodies from the Android Play Store:

Rreview

 

Screen Shot: Grab The Goodies - Screenshot

Dream Terror

Interactive videogame with sound

Dream Terror is a top down survival shooter where the player is constantly being attacked by hordes of creatures and must survive as long as possible. The game features an array of weaponry and power-ups to help them survive as long as possible. The protagonist in Dream Terror is locked in a series of horrid nightmares. For years, every single time he falls asleep, he has the same recurring nightmare, awakening each time they get him. He is now very tired and is resigned to the nightmares so when he goes to bed each night, he falls asleep reading catalogues of military hardware, arming his war-torn psyche to fend of the horrid monsters for as long as possible… The man just wants to get some sleep.

Try Dream Terror Button(best viewed in Chrome)