April Update: Hello, Blimey. Fallen City, AV-Seq, The Bunker.

It’s been a while since we had an update on here, so I thought I’d say a few things about how we’re getting along.

Our Channel 4-funded project, Fallen City, is storming ahead (as you can see above) and we’ve now got our angry little chaps wandering about in cities that are part placeholder, part final art. It’s a lovely feeling to see the vision we had for the game being slowly filled in with the details required to make it real. The two artists we have working on the game are doing a great job, in spite of the strange brief we gave them, and the occasional problems generated by myself and James (my co-designer) really not being artists in at all. We’re also really getting to grips with bug-hunting, and okay, wow, we’ve managed to create, identify and (hopefully) expunge some exotic Ouroboros worms of design-meeting-code-meeting-design.

Fallen City, as I’ve mentioned before, is an educational title about appreciating cities. The tagline will be something like “Get The Fallen City Back On Its Feet!” That’s precisely what you’ll be doing. Turning a delapidated, abandoned city into something beautiful and alive. It’s a sort of a metaphor for reciprocity in living, in which you prod the resident “Angries” into tidying up the city and, ultimately, causing them to drop their cynicism about the place they live in. Having realised that taking care of the world around them means that the world takes care of them, the Angries become something else. Maybe not Happies, but certainly something less frowny. It’s an odd little game, but it’s starting to have real character, and I hope people will take to it.

Our impossibly industrious programmer and 3D graphics master Tom has also been putting the finishing touches to a project that he started way before Big Robot began flexing its pneumatics. That’s AV-Seq, which you can see an image from, below.

It is, as the title might suggest, an audio-visual sequencer game. Nodes fall from the top of the screen and must be connected according to colour and the detonated in the sequencer grid below. Detonations open up patterns within the sequences, which is based on the musical track that is playing underneath. The patterns create their own sort of melody over the top. It’s shaping up to be a fine musical puzzle game, and it’s already rather mesmerising. We’ll have more on this soon, I suspect, because it might well be our first proper release.

Much further away, in the realms of strange experimentation, we are producing things that look like this:

This is our other, more ambitious spare-time project. I am playing games like Stalker and Darwinia as part of my research for it. We’re designing clever, polygonal robots to live in it. It also has a name: The Bunker. This is our long term plan, and something that we’re going to have to raise money for to make in the way it deserves. It’s going to be the project that – in a nonetheless lo-fi indie sort of way – expresses my interest in open, living worlds, and also robots. Robot ecologies. More on that soon.

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