Deflectus postmortem.

After experimenting with various control schemes for Deflectus, I decided it just wasn’t working. I mean, the code is fine, the controls are smooth, I could probably turn it into a playable game eventually. It was an interesting and basically successful experiment, and I may re-use ideas from it elsewhere. The visual style is kind of cool.

But I envisioned Deflectus as a cross between Pong and Tempest, both games that are designed around knob-style controllers. A traditional Pong paddle controller is like a big volume knob. A tempest spinner is similar, but loose and heavy so it really spins. These days, most of us do not own any knob controllers, except maybe the scroll wheel on a mouse, which is too stiff for Pong. (I tried it first, for Deflectus.) None of our standard modern controllers really come close to the experience of these vintage control schemes.

Since I intended Deflectus to be just as much of a visceral knob-based game as Pong or Tempest, in practice it would always have been a compromise. I’m not such a huge fan of Pong that I wanted to keep struggling to fit this round Pong into a square hole. Good game design involves many quick experiments that teach the designer something but don’t turn into games, and Deflectus is one of those.


…is the name of my latest game. It’s a little action-puzzle game implemented in just 1024 bytes of JavaScript code.



That’s not a lot of code. This is my entry in JS1k 2015: The JS1k hype train is real!, a JavaScript code golfing competition. The challenge is to create a demo (as in “demoscene”…basically like a screen-saver) in just 1k of JavaScript or less. I figured that was just enough to make a complete game. Yep.

So go play my game, and check out the rest of the entries too.

Ludum Dare 31 is on….

Ludum Dare, the popular game-making challenge, is running this weekend. Coincidentally, I need to break in a new software-development computer. So I’ll see if I can make a game this weekend. Wish me luck.

I’ll post occasional updates on the Ludum Dare multi-blog, starting with this one: OK, I’m in.

The game will go here when it’s done, or even sooner if there’s interesting progress to show:

Fah Who Foraze, Ludum Dare!

For years, I’ve been hearing about the Ludum Dare, a long-running make-a-game-in-48-hours competition. I’ve created some computer games in a month or less, and some interesting software in about a weekend. But a complete, playable, fun game in 48 hours is an intriguing challenge – plausible, but not easy.

The current Ludum Dare starts in half an hour, and hey, I’ve got some free time this weekend….

Nothing motivates like an arbitrary, voluntarily-adopted deadline shared by a bunch of strangers, so this year I’m in.

(As for the name, I knew “Ludum” referred to games, like “ludic”, a word ludologists throw around these days. But I thought the Ludum Dare was, you know, a dare!  And it is, but apparently the name is all latin, a motto: “to give a game”. So it really should be pronounced…um…I’m no latin expert, but my understanding is that it’s more like Darla without the L.)