2013 POPUPUP

Pop Up Pup : In this game you’re a balloon dog who has to float around avoiding sharp things and rescue your inflatable pals. You’re a Pup, you go Up, and you probably will Pop. Simple! This POC was coded in Unity and is quite fun to play – the PUP himself is created from balloon primitives which can pop individually and affect the Pups flight and steering abilities. This level (fiendishly I thought) teaches the player that they have to get hurt sometimes to escape because the Pup in his pristine state is too big to fit out the exit and has to lose a few limbs to the persistent Bees before he can reach safety. Other animals in store are a penguin and a sheep- early testing shows me that the Penguin is PARTICULARLY hard to steer..So much for survival! 😀

2012 ESCHER

Another variant on the Zero gravity / Walk on the walls ideas explored in AMAZED, this time from a first-person perspective. The environment is intentionally blank so that flipping the gravity will make the passage through the maze disorienting. Colour is your only real clue to your intended path; first get to the yellow door, then go to the blue door. Not exactly a challenging objective until you actually try to get there! This POC was coded in unity with some VERY crude C scripting, so the flip direction’s ambiguity while you are playing I’m calling a game-play feature rather than a bug..

2013 AMAZED

An update of my original Amaze game with another dimension added. The guy arrives through the Yellow door, and has to find the Magenta exit. He can only move forward or turn,as in the original, but this time he can jump and flip left or right. When he does this, the wall becomes the floor.( If he misses a platform, he falls to his death, in fact, he could fall off the walkways at any time!) I’m playing with two view modes; The left view is Isometric, the right view is Perspective. ISO feels good for strategy – planning how to get to the exit, (and before that, the Magenta KEY to unlock it!) and PERSP feels more dynamic and immersive. Its quite an artistic challenge to design the levels so that they are a puzzle, but also work well from the camera angle – nothing can be overlapping or blocking what’s behind it too much). I think I’ll eventually put the ISO/PERSP choice on a slider so you can dial in the amount you want. Next steps are to add the foes – Dog, Spider, Snake etc – onto the other planes as you walk around. Dog appears in your path, you flip to the wall, Spider is already there. ( I think you can escape foes by flipping onto a different plane, then they lose sight of you.. maybe..) I now have to implement this animated demo in code so I can experiment with maze design.

2015_AMAZED_GAME_DEMO

Coded in Unity in CSharp, this is a working demo of the Amazed game I previsualized in Maya 2 years ago. Very crude code, but all the functional pieces are there – intuitive gravity / down vector flipping, prize / goal collection, and (at about the halfway point of this demo) spider mode; you now play hanging from the ceiling. Although its the same maze, the inverted view makes it a whole different challenge. This game is intended for a watch-level platform. Its designed to be controlled by 6 screen touches, one for each of the 4 directions you can face (and move), and one for each of the directions you can flip (left or right).

2011 TUHURA NAVGAME

A return to the Carter Observatory and onward into space, this game project was essentially an interactive version of the Digital Orrery completed a year earlier for Wellington interactive experts Story Inc.

Working with software engineer Chris Ellis, I created the game in Maya and Unity. Since it was targeted at children 6-10 in a museum setting, I designed the game to be primarily ‘on-rails’, controlled by a joystick with a single button and featuring a spare, simple interface.

Installed in a themed spacecraft interior and playable on a large oval screen, the game let children fly the ship past asteroids, satellites and moons while balancing their fuel, life support and shield levels. (Learning factoids about the solar system – the primary objective – was an inevitable side effect)

2007 SHARD

A puzzle game demo that challenges you to find the image hidden in a glass sphere full of crystal shards. Its tough to find once the glass ball is randomly spun, and time is short. Created before the iPhone, it would be perfect for that multi-touch platform now.

Coded in blitz Basic, the first level artwork is based on a painting I did while at TVNZ as a titlecard for a programme called ‘Soldiers in Hiding’.

2006 MUTE

I wrote Mute originally as an audio-only game that focused on using 3D sound to locate and collect various parts of a musical theme. But I’m too visual – I couldn’t just have a black screen!

I opted for degrees of obscurity in the level layouts so that while 3D sound was vital for finding the instruments, there was still a certain amount of visual reinforcement. (The snow level is harder than the dark level for example)

Mute was written in Blitz Basic on a PC and these demos feature a mod from the legendary 4mat and a custom composition from Leto Plaisted. Watch with headphones.