Tag Archive for Paint It Jack

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:

Why I’m particularly keen on Paint It Jack

So far I’ve covered three of the eight projects that are up for consideration as my next game and I’ll be honest, I can’t say them proving to be the most popular. However the next game up for discussion, Paint It Jack, is possibly my favourite of the group. In case you’ve not tried it, the game is set in simple levels that are not too unlike Pac Man and you collect paint pickups to colour the world with various other objectives  (although the prototype is limited in that respect).

I don’t believe the prototype really encapsulated some of the fast, frantic fun that the game could involve, partly because it was just building up into the game. I’ve never been a fan of teaching players how to play via HUD messages or heavily scripted tutorials and especially not walls of text or video that rambles on. Instead I like to start things off very simple then just build the game up. This way you aren’t learning too much at once and you get to experience what is on offer. Unfortunately I took this approach in the prototype so by the time that you covered the mechanism that I’d developed for it, the game was over.

If, well when, I further develop this game I will first look to develop a much greater range of objectives, such as painting the markers specific colours, collecting objects and most importantly destroying those nasty sponges (and other baddies). All of this would of course have context, both within the level and story. When I say story, we’re not talking a novel and I’m not expecting to have people emotionally involved in the character’s quest. Instead it’ll be the good old fashioned “here’s your reason for the quest”, the quest starts with lots of levels then there’s a boss show down and happy ending. However it won’t be the cliched “Save the Princess” routine, I’ve something else planned.

The final notable gameplay addition to the single player is that there will be various weapon pickups. We’re not talking rocket blasters and machine guns though. I’m more interested in trap style weapons such as a mine, a big blob of paint that you get stuck in or a timed paint bomb that coats the surrounding area. Perhaps a nice bouncy grenade or some comical “Worms” style weapons could sneak in as well but one thing is for sure, I don’t want you to just face someone, press a button and win (cunning tactics aside).

But wait, single player? Does that mean there is multiplayer? Indeed it does. I plan to create a local multiplayer version of the game that would have players racing to paint say >50% of the room first. This of course would be whilst dealing with annoying sponges and your enemy setting traps to thwart you! I’ve also ideas for additional game mode such as a flagball mode where you can only follow a coloured path or battling over who is painting specific checkpoints. The one issue that I’d need to address is differentiating who painted what. From a code level that doesn’t worry me but visually it would have to be clear that Player A painted a certain area. Perhaps each player has a specific colour and paints using their colour, or they have to get the right pickups. Alternatively it could be dark vs light shades or maybe split screen, but that limits screen space.

Interesting note – when I first created the project it was called “Ultimate Killer Paint Tanks” and you played a tank that had different paint ball weapons in the form of pickups. I think I prefer Jack’s character though, the ugly little blog that he is. If I’m being honest, Jack’s design is accidental. After opting against the tanks as the game evolved I made a quick placeholder and meant to use the same design as Skwibble from Squeebles but got it laughably wrong. So much so that it stuck! I’ll maybe change him at some point, he needs a touch up anyway, but we’ll see 🙂

If you think this game sounds pretty awesome, why not vote for it to be the next full release from Oxygen Addict? If you are still unsure, tonight I’ll be continuing the blog spree by looking at Squeebles.