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

Play this game…

The Dreamerz

The Dreamerz is another collaboration with my artist friend robotJAM. It’s another point-and-click game but there’s not a Panda in sight this time. The concept for this game was actually dreamed up (see what I did there) before we made Panda’s BIGGER Adventure. I came across a game that I really liked, The Blue Beanie, and got in touch with its creator, asking if she’d like to do a collaboration.

I put together an idea for a game that I thought would go well with her style of art. Unfortunately it didn’t work out because she was unable to commit enough time to the project but I didn’t want to just ditch it completely because I really liked the concept of the game. I considered attempting to do the art myself but luckily I decided to see if Rob wanted to get on board first. He did a far better job than I ever could have done on the art and helped shape the game into what it is now.

I think we got the formula near enough spot on with this one with a lot people saying that they thought it was the perfect length and difficulty for a Flash game which is always nice to hear. It’s not too challenging but there is enough of a challenge to keep it engaging throughout and the puzzles are all (more or less) logical. We were also lucky enough to get a great sound designer, Reade McCardell, to work on the game. He put together all the sounds which add a lot of atmosphere to the planets. Check out his band here: Fresh Cut Salads.

It has been the highest rated game I’ve made to date, getting scores over 4 stars on Kongregate and Newgrounds, a really great result. It was also reviewed very favourably by JayIsGames, a site that reviews Flash games and that has reviewed several of my games in the past.

But it’s the great comments that players leave that make the business of making Flash games so rewarding. Several players likened the game to Myst and Samorost which was just fantastic since those are great games.

There were of course a few negative comments (you can’t please everyone!), most of them being about the fact that the sound puzzle was too challenging. That was probably the bit that I was least confident about before release since I was worried that people would find it tricky but I still like it and am glad that it stayed in the game.

Play this game…

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.

Play this game…

Twitter

Follow me on Twitter
Bad Eggs Online 2

Bad Eggs Online 2

Escape To Hell

Escape To Hell

The Ninth Realm

Falling Elephants

Falling Elephants

Super Villainy

Super Villainy

Hambo 2

Hambo 2

Ninja Bear

Ninja Bear

Bad Eggs Online

Bad Eggs Online

Battle Beavers

Battle Beavers

Synapsis 2

Synapsis 2

The Adventures of Red

The Adventures of Red

Blow Things Up! 2

Blow Things Up! 2

Animal Raceway

Animal Raceway

Hambo

Hambo

Legend of the Golden Robot

Spitfire: 1940

Spitfire: 1940

Blow Things Up!

Blow Things Up!

Toxers

Toxers

Brain Waves

Brain Waves

The Dreamerz

The Dreamerz

Panda's BIGGER Adventure

Panda's BIGGER Adventure

GearCopter

GearCopter

Popopop 2

Popopop 2

Planet Basher 2

Planet Basher 2

Panda's BIG Adventure

Panda's BIG Adventure

Planet Basher

Planet Basher

Orbit

Orbit

Popopop

Popopop

Panda: Tactical Sniper 2

Panda: Tactical Sniper 2

Bubblebot

Bubblebot

Panda: Tactical Sniper

Panda: Tactical Sniper

Salmon Survival

Salmon Survival

Pondskater

Pondskater