Tag Archive for Game Development

A new look for Paint It Jack

Paint It Jack was originally designed to look like an old school arcade game with Pac Man being a major influence. Of course with my limited art skills and low effort for the prototype, it didn’t look great but I did like the style. However I somewhat suspect that I was alone in that.

With the new project I’ve decided to use multiple worlds with very different art styles. One will have similarities with the previous game using neon colours on a black background. It will be full of bold colours and whilst arguably a little gharish, it will keep faith the original design.

However with the other two worlds that I am planning for the initial release, I hope to have a much higher quality of visuals. My initial work, with the help of my wife, is leading me to think this will be the best looking game (excluding Invertical Touch as Hunted Cow provided the art for that!), although the bar I’ve set is pretty low

I’m hoping it will be quite fun to play with shaders rather than having eye bleeding colour. I also want to have the whole environment gains colour as you paint more of the level, rather than just the path.

The characters and items will all be getting a revamp. Sticking to a top down view makes this a little more challenging but I won’t leave assets as “job done” once I’ve completed my first go. I hope to rework them, try again and give myself a range of options.

I also hope to create a range of unique and interesting characters, although perhaps not for the first phase..

Wetting my appetite with Paint It Jack


For some time I have been working on an unannounced project, whilst also dealing with a big personal event (Achievement Unlocked: Got Married) and a not entirely enjoyable day job. On top of that I’ve got new consoles to play and the desire to have a life away from my desk.

This has meant that sitting down to struggle through some rather challenging areas of code & design has been less and less appealing. Progress has been slow and this has affected my hunger and desire to work in my spare time.

To reinvigorate myself, a new project has been started. I’m going to work bloody hard to finish this and unlike some other projects, getting it playable and shipped won’t be enough. It needs polish. It needs depth in gameplay.

I am looking to take the concept of “Paint It Jack“, a simple game about painting the gameworld that was prototyped in 2012 but never finished. I hope to go beyond my initial plans and make a fun arcade game with a range of game modes, characters, different enemies, pickups, a well built progression and also visually attractive – or at least less MS-Paint than my other games.

Over the coming weeks I plan on writing an article each week, tracking development and looking at features that I’m planning and sharing screenshots. I hope this, even if no one reads them, proves a fun and interesting experience that also spurs me on.

Paint It Jack prototype, 2012


I don’t expect to implement everything for initial release but I’d love to get something in a solid shape to put on GameJolt and/or IndieDB before moving back to the unannounced project. Once that is released, or at least functionally complete (pending playtests, feedback etc), then I’ll move on to developing the next series of features.

I hope that once this first phase and initial release has been completed, I’ll be fully up to speed again and ready to really engage with the challenge of my unannounced project. If writing little articles, like what I’m planning with Paint It Jack, is valuable for myself, then I’ll look at doing the same with the unannounced project. When looking at what has been completed (and working), I’m quite proud. Hopefully in a few months I’ll be able to really build on what is done and get a pretty awesome strategy game out by the end of the year.

Note: Unannounced project is not an original IP, hence no title. Perhaps I should think of a fun code name. Like how a film called Mary Lou was being shot near my flat recently…

Here’s a video of my old Paint It Jack prototype:

This time I’m going to do a proper job

Last year saw a crazy amount of games released (check out my 2012 reflections) and I’ve already released two Android games this year along with a free version of Invertical but things are going to get a little slower now.

I’m not stepping off the gas (at least by much) but rather trying to focus on creating more “complete” games. My current Android prototypes will find themselves on the backburner whilst I work on two other titles. First up we have a re-release of Invertical. After getting positive reactions during an event last weekend where I demoed the game, I want to improve it further. Its a cool game but could it be even better?

There are two weaknesses that I’d like to address. The initial impressions you get aren’t great. The front end is too simple, early levels look dull and most importantly, the store front artwork doesn’t excite. I’m hoping addressing these will help in bringing attention to the game and getting it some coverage. The other key area is progression and use of books / scrolls. This still isn’t 100% but I’m probably going to have a few bonus levels that are unlocked based on how many books and scrolls you have. Finally of course I’ll tidy up a few of the levels while I’m at it.

I’ve not fully announced the second project and I’m hoping on taking a lot more care and time over its release. The project is a huge learning curve for me and I want to be a bit more of a perfectionist. Often I’ve been guilty of cutting corners to “get it out there” so this time my approach is going to be a little different. I want the game to be a good representation of gameplay when I reveal it. I want the game to be awesome already before thinking about letting others play it and most importantly, I can’t let myself say “that’ll do” for any aspects come release!

As I am really bad for going “ooo nearly there – lets show it off”, I have a plan! After finishing that build, promo artwork, video or screenshot I’ll save it for a day or two. If I’m not happy with it a few days later, it won’t go out. This applies to the revamped Invertical as well!
One thing I’m keen to do is a blog a week. This will help me focus on being productive and having something to talk about or show each week, even if it is just a paragraph or two. Hopefully it will be interesting as well, discussing some of the challenges and also anything useful I learn. In particular looking back at how the game evolves could be a good read! If I’m lucky it may even raise awareness in the game, which of course would be fantastic. Not only could that help the launch but it should help in gathering feedback! This won’t start until I announce the project and its nowhere near ready at this point.