Puzzle Poker - Another game out the door (finally)
May 10, 2006
It has been a busy last couple of weeks and its very nice to get this one out the door. Before I go and get
a little rest let me lay out a very short time line of its development.
Last November I asked Jeff to get a copy of Torque Game Builder so I could take a look at it. Played
around with TGB for a while and then over the next few days created a little prototype of a game that
I knew my 6-year-old Aidan would enjoy. He is always hanging out in my office - one of the fringe
benefits of working at home. I can't talk about this game much because its going to be coming out
sometime in the next few months. Digging in and finishing a short little game prototype is a good
way to get familiar with an engine.
After this first prototype to get familiar with TGB I started work on the idea I had for
Puzzle Poker. Started work on a Wednesday afternoon and by Thursday afternoon I had a prototype
that played very much like the final game. TGB is great! It let me focus on game design and
getting a game up and running quickly to see how fun it is.
Here is what the gameplay screen of this first prototype looked like:
When starting out on a new game I don't care at all about looks - just gameplay. I quickly draw
very bad artwork to use. The main menu was just functional:
I then sent both prototypes to Jeff to check out and see what he thought of them. He liked both
them -- that was good and made me happy.
I spent December and January experimenting with different things on both Puzzle Poker and the
other game. Got feedback from Jeff and Jay on what was working and what wasn't. Pretty much
nailed down what the final game would be like at this point.
on board in January and checked in the first pass at the artwork on Febuary 7th. It was awesome! All
the artwork you see in the game is by him. He is very creative and easy to work with.
From there - lot's of hard work. Crafting. Modifying. Making fun is hard work.
Actually my Mom wasn't hooked at first - instead she had a little problem getting how to play. I
just stood and watched and tried to remember what I told her and then put that in the
tutorial. I got the idea for pop-up card-moving-hints from telling her "try moving that card
from here to there."
She is hooked now which is a first for any of my games. For some reason she wasn't very interested
in aliens invading the Antarctic.
The clubhouse idea was that you could get top scores for a smaller group of people - like
friends and family. Anyone can create a club and password protect it for their own group or
just leave it open to anyone.
We crafted this over time to try and make the clubhouse concept more obvious. I'm still not sure
if it is clear enough in the game as to what clubs are. The suggest-a-clubhouse button was a
late addition along with the clubhouse websites to get people to try it out. We are going to
amp up the clubhouse website end of things soon.
I visited the GG offices for a few days at the start of March. It was fun to hang out in such
a creative and dynamic atmosphere. They are a very busy group of people. One of the nice benefits
of this trip was I got to meet Melv because
he was at GG for a short working visit.
I hesitate to list names because I know I'll miss someone, but thanks to: Benjamin, Justin, Eric,
Mark, Tim, Rick, Joe, Paul (up til 5am working on a short Mac deadline!), Matt(s), Robert, Melv,
Josh, and the whole TGB team who made Puzzle Poker possible, Ben, and I know I am missing some
Anyway, I'm tired and I've written more than I planned. You can try the full game for free for
60 minutes. See if you can beat my top score. I'm not as good as some of the Garage Game guys. Now
I'm going to have a beer and relax for a while.
If you've read any of my previous plans you know that my son Aidan has had some medical problems. He has been
doing real well lately. He gave us a scare in January where
I drove faster than I had since Ray Tobey drove me down to Amiga headquarters a long time ago. Aidan
is playing and enjoying t-ball this spring even though he really doesn't get it.
This indie game business works well when you or a family member have off and on medical problems. It
gives you a flexiblity that you would not have in a regular job.