The Adventures of Red

This is the first game that I have made with my brother, John. It’s a point and click adventure about a small yellow explorer called Red and his quest to find a chocolate muffin.

This game came to life in the first place because we wanted to make a game that we could share the coding work on. With John just starting out we thought it would be a good idea for me to build the main framework of the game but still allow him to do some of the code. That led to the idea of having a selection of mini puzzles that you solve one after the other.

We ended up working in a more traditional artist/coder relationship with John doing all the art (although he did code several of the rooms as well). I don’t feel that it’s very practical to have more than one coder on a small flash game such as this but in this case I think that it influenced the design of the game in a positive way. Choosing to make a game with mini puzzles led us to the idea of the castle which turned it from a collection of puzzles into a full adventure.

That in turn meant that we could add a main character to the game. Initially ‘Red’ was called ‘Pico’ (a name that I still kind of prefer I think) but we discovered that Pico was already a popular game character so we decided to change his name. I do like that we called him Red (yes, I am aware that he’s yellow!) and it’s fun seeing some of the comments appearing about his name.

Update: John now has his own website to showcase his games: JohnDonkin.com

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Panda’s BIGGER Adventure

The second half of Panda’s BIG Adventure sees our favourite back-talking Panda catapulted forward in time to a future where Elvis, the true owner of the time-machine, is being held captive in a robot prison. Ok so the plot gets a little ridiculous in this one but it’s all good fun.

This part of the game wraps up the adventure and features 5 new time zones; the future prison, Leonardo Da Vinci’s pad, Al Copop’s secret moonshine production facility, a World War II trench and the not so wild west. As an extra bonus, for the first time ever you get a glimpse of Panda’s swanky HQ when you face up against the final terminator-pirate boss.

We’ve enjoyed making the Panda games a lot, especially coming up with crazy plots and weaving the film references into the games, but we’ve decided to hang up our Panda shaped hats (for the immediate future at any rate). As much as we enjoy the genre we want to branch out into other areas and make different kinds of games.

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September 23rd, 2010 Games Tags: , , , , 5 Comments

Panda’s BIG Adventure

I took on board some of the comments about how people were frustrated by the fact that you couldn’t kill things in the Panda Sniper games. Rob (robotJAM) and I decided that perhaps we should go for a different style of game for the next in the Panda series and since we were both fans of point-and-click adventure games, that seemed like a logical direction to go in.

I grew up playing games like the fantastic Myst series and the Discworld point-and-click games and so was naturally inspired by these when I came to make my own games. The humour in the Panda games is quite similar to that of the Discworld games and there is at least one direct reference to them in this particular game.

The plot for this one took us quite a while to properly nail down. We liked the idea of including film references as we had started to do on the previous Panda game so for a while we considered setting it in a film studio and having Panda wander through different sets. I can’t remember why exactly we ditched that idea but we decided that we could achieve all that and more if Panda discovered a time machine. We came up with a plot that saw Panda stumbling across a time machine, promptly breaking it, and then spending the rest of the game trying to fix it so that he could get home.

It soon became clear that there was enough scope there to make two games so we split it in half, a sensible decision for two reasons. One, there really was far too much content for just one Flash game and two, we could get two sponsorship deals this way!

We also made a half-hearted attempt to inject a little replay value into the game. The trouble with this type of game is that it doesn’t really offer the player much of an incentive to play it again. We make a reasonable percentage of our income from adverts in our games so it’s in our interest to get as many plays as possible.

We included hidden critters in Panda’s BIG Adventure as a sort of extra bonus, some of which require solving mini puzzles to find. It’s hard to say what kind of effect this has had on how the game has performed, I suspect very little, but I still think that it’s a nice little addition to the game.

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