Ducky fuzz is a simple game about juggling ducks on the ocean by controlling the waves, avoiding sea mines collecting as much bread as possible. Easy to play, difficult to master.
It’s a simple game, but it’s packed with content. Along the way there are many extra challenges to achieve. How many ducks can you juggle at once? Can you travel over 1000 nautical miles? Can you safely detonate 100 mines?
There are also puzzle stages, where you use a set number of ducks to clear a level, gaining a star rating depending on how well you did. And completing these challenges will unlock new duck costumes and special powers. You’ll see some surprising characters on your journey!
The game is an extension of a game I made a while back for the Experimental Gameplay Project called ‘Whistle Wave’, in which you controlled a wave by… well… whistling. Whilst the whistling thing didn’t really work, the idea of bouncing about on waves was appealing, so I wanted to go back to it.
The game is almost finished. Release date is currently ASAP, although begin the xmas period, there’s very little chance I will make an iOS launch before the 25th unless I rush it out, which I don’t want to do. Which means that Android people, you’ll probably get it a little sooner (before xmas), iOS people will need to wait a little longer. For more information, watch this blog, or follow us on Twitter.
Until then, here’s a trailer! And if anyone would like to cover this game and help out with promotion, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Just what is in the Smiling Bag?
I recently visited an exhibition of work by the artist Sister Corita Kent. She produces a fantastic body of work which was great to see up close, but it was her process that I was most interested in. As with most artists, their working process is the most important and interesting thing about them. I believe she was very conscious of this.
She came up with a list of rules , which can be summarised jovially as “there are no rules”, but there is a definite theme of finding, acknowledging, and respecting your references and role models running throughout them all. Particularly;
“GENERAL DUTIES OF A STUDENT:
PULL EVERYTHING OUT OF YOUR TEACHER.
PULL EVERYTHING OUT OF YOUR FELLOW STUDENTS.”
Although she was, in fact, a teacher, this could be taken as acknowledging any kind of influence in your life and work. And this doesn’t, nay shouldn’t, have to come from the same field that you’re working in. Independent film maker Jim Jarmusch has this to say on the matter;
“…Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows…”
So… learn to recognise your influences and references. Actively embrace them. Here are three people, among many, that I believe have influenced my own work over the years.
David Lynch – Film Director
I’ve been a fan of Lynch for as long as I can remember. From him, I take his uncensored, stream of consciousness approach to directing. For him, the creation of a movie isn’t a one way process, or two or three even. The direction of his films can be changed based on spotting a red car on the way to the office, or someone fluffing their lines on set, or even a dream he had the night before. He once famously integrated set dresser Frank Silva into the plot of Twin Peaks after he accidentally trapped himself on set!
Incidentally, the name ‘Smiling Bag’ is a Twin Peaks reference.
Bill Hicks – Comedian
From Bill hicks I take his fearlessness of failure. He knew the material he was producing would have a limited audience, and to this day he hasn’t yet found a particularly strong following in his home country. A lot of other comedians would have changed their act or given up all together. But he didn’t. And the discovery that, in some parts of the world, people ‘Got’ him, was enough for him to keep going.
Jim Henson – Puppeteer
This is my favourite picture of Jim and Kermit. Now, take a good look at this picture and tell me how many people are in it.
That’s right… two.
From Jim Henson I take his ability to create fun from very limited elements, in this case a piece of green cloth and two ping pong balls, by simply injecting a bit of his own personality into it. Jim was such a master at this, that he effectively gave his creations life! And while there were some large technical challenges in producing the Muppet Show, the funniest stuff, the real magic, was always in the performance and the dialogue.
So… what’s in the Smiling Bag?
Of course there are more, but those three are at the top of my list. And the first thing you might notice about them is that none of them are in the field of videogames. Of course, many in this field do influence my work, but I think too many people these days, especially in the games field, draw from influences which are close to what they’re making themselves. And while that does still create originality, it’s never as potent as when it comes from somewhere else entirely. To close, I’d like to borrow one more quote from Jean-Luc Godard, again via Mr. Jarmusch actually,
“Always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: ‘It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.’”
So the answer to the question “What’s in the Smiling Bag” is ‘everything I’ve ever seen, listened to, read, experienced, done… it’s a bit of all the people I’ve mentioned in this blog, and many others. It’s me.’
What’s in yours?
I Am Level is out now on Android and iOS! Download Links are at the bottom of this post.
Platform : Android, iOS, Web
Client : None! This is an independent release.
My Role : Concept, design, art, programming
Additional Credits : Music by Malcolm Brown, Additional art by Sam Phillips, Malcolm Brown, Alex McGivern and Ross Kilgariff
Description : Flick, bounce, and roll your character through the bizarre yet stylish world of ‘I Am Level’ in this original mix of pinball and platform game. Tilt your device to get the ball rolling, then tap or hold anywhere on the screen to fire off pinball bumpers, springs, and doors. Clear the screens to unlock more of the map, and level up your player to unlock new costumes.
Tilt your device to get the ball rolling, then tap or hold anywhere on the screen to fire off pinball bumpers, springs, and doors. Clear the screens to unlock more of the map, and level up your player to unlock new costumes.
“Oh wow, this is wonderful” – PC Gamer
“I Am Level is one puzzle platformer that I had to force myself to put down. The beauty is in its visual simplicity and complexity.” – TouchArcade (4/5)
“I Am Level is the one game this month – probably this year – that completely restores my faith in iOS game developers.” – Arcade Life (9/10)
“I haven’t played a game like it before” – CalmDownTom (4.5/5)
“I Am Level is extremely good fun and has bags of charm in its retro aesthetics” – Retro Spirit Games (8.5/10)
“I Am Level has this wonderful charm that will keep you challenged and intrigued for hours.” – JayIsGames
“An addictive wee way to spend a few short minutes on the toilet” – square-go (4/5)
Where to get it…
Android Version : Google Play Store
iOS Version : App Store
I am Level is nearly finished! With any luck, the game will be released some time in September 2013, but first, here’s a launch trailer!
The game will be FREE upon launch for 1 day for every 25 plays it gets before the 6th of September, 2013. So please give it a watch, and share it as much as you can.
Some time on the 6th Sep, I will tally up all the views, and announce the result. And look out for the game on Android and iOS shortly after that.
Platform : Android
Client : Proper Games
My Role : Programming, additional design
Description : Enter the Temple of Tiles and use all your strategy and cunning to defeat your opponents!
Embark on a journey to master the ancient board game of Deshi, the “mental martial art”. Overcome your teacher’s challenges and ascend to the top of the temple to face Master Renshu. Here you will learn the tactics of foresight and the arts of magic to ensure your victories. Play against friends to battle for rank supremacy, and show them who’s the true master of tile tactics!
The first player removes a numbered tile from the board. The number shown on the tile is added to their score. Their opponent must then take a tile from the same ROW or COLUMN as the first player’s tile. Play proceeds until either player can make no more moves, at which point the player with the highest score wins. As the journey unfolds, more kinds of tiles and rules are introduced to increase your tactical options.
• Over 25 challenging levels to beat
• Earn stars and advance through the temple
• Networked multiplayer mode – so you’ll always have new opponents!
• Local ‘hotseat’ multiplayer lets you play against a friend using one device
• Add up to 5 special powers to gain an edge on your opponents
• Enter Zen-mode to double your rewards
• Stunning visuals and an original soundtrack!
Link : Google Play Store
This weekend I’ve been at Dare Protoplay, and the accompanying Indie Fest. Held in Dundee, it’s a mixture of the world renown game design competition ‘Dare To Be Digital’, as well as platform for indie developers to showcase their work. For all exhibitors and participants, it’s a chance for them to show off their new games, and see how people react to them, often for the first time.
Which is exactly what myself and the folks from Proper Games have been doing there, showing off our new game ‘Dungeon Run’. It’s being made by a fantastic team, a mixture of Proper Games Staff and freelance / indie developers.
We’re touting it as a ‘Massively Single Player Rogue-like RPG’, a cross between Lemmings and Dungeons and Dragons. It’s about a lot of guys with a flagrant disregard for their own wellbeing crashing through a randomly generated dungeon collecting loot, fighting enemies and dodging traps.
The characters live in a village with a mysterious dungeon mouth in it, which they are attracted to like moths to a flame. They pile into it in the hope of finding riches. Nobody ever makes it out alive… but by spending the money and gems you’ve accumulated at the various village shops on new equipment and upgrades, they’ll hopefully get a little bit further each time!
It’s been going down an absolute storm at the festival, which has been a real confidence booster for all of us. It’s about half way through development, and we can’t wait to get back to working on it. For more information, keep your eyes on the Proper Games website, my own blog, or follow us on Twitter.
It’s been over a month since the last update on this game. In that time I’ve finished work on one project, started another project, as well as continuing work on this one… so, a busy month!
Quick Recap – I am Level is a single player platform pinball game mashup in the retro style. Think Jet Set Willy meets Pinball Dreams. It’s being developed and launched by myself, with contributions from friends, with the aim being to hit as many platforms as I can, starting with Android and iOS. As you can probably tell from the screenshots adorning this post, I’ve taken the decision to go back to the Spectrum homage graphics.
A lot of talented artists looked at the game and found that they liked the visualizations of the Speccy style so much that they couldn’t see the game looking any differently. Either that’s a lesson in not making such styalized placeholders, or it’s an indication that there is a lot of love for the retro impressionist look out there. I hope it’s the latter.
The map was completed in mid May, and the process of going through the screens in a sort of ‘Decoration pass’ began, which is where the project is at the moment. Obviously, there’s a lot of work to do, and it’s been quite slow going now this project has become part time rather than full. However, the sprites are very simple. They’re two colour, 16X16 sprites, so a few of my online friends have actually been contributing towards this effort. It’s great fun, and there’s been no shortage of participants. Thanks guys, you WILL be credited.
The current development costs, if you don’t count my own time or anyone else who’s made art for it that is, stands at a paltry £15 at the moment, so it won’t need to make a hell of a lot to break even!
The next phase after all the screens are polished and decorated will be to wrap the game in a kind of ‘Product’, find some people who wouldn’t mind giving it a play through, and I then need to think about exactly how to go about launching the thing. So, still plenty of work to do before it’s ready to see the light of day. I’m posting regular updates, it’s still too early to show off, but if anyone wants to follow its progress more closely then please feel free to get in touch.
Aaand… The current progress of the map…
Right, thanks for having a look in, adios for now!