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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Panda: Tactical Sniper 2

The second in the Panda series was a more ambitious project. By this time I felt more confident with the code and I had robotJAM on board from the start which meant that we could plan the game together and bounce ideas off each other. The first game had pretty much no story since I hadn’t bothered to plan out any levels from the start and just bunged them together as I thought of them. A story did materialise as I made the game which involved Panda trying to get back his stolen biscuits from a rival gang of Lions.

In this one we wanted to include more characters from Panda’s gang so we came up with a plot that involved assembling a team of bears and attempting to steal a huge diamond. Since the plot is essentially very similar to that of many classic heist films we started coming up with a variety of film references, a feature that we enjoyed so much that they became important additions to all future Panda games.

The last level of this game sees you in a precarious situation lifted straight from the original Italian Job. In the film you never get to see if they make it out or not (apparently due to budget cuts) so we thought it would be fun for Panda to finally find a solution to the tricky problem.

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September 22nd, 2010 Games Tags: , , , , , 1 Comment

Panda: Tactical Sniper

This was the first game in what was to become a series involving a character called Panda (yes, he’s a Panda, original I know) who fancies himself as a bit of a gangster. I wanted to make a sniper game (only partly because I was still finding my feet at writing code and it seemed like a fairly easy option) but I decided that I would make it non-violent because there’s tons of violent sniper games. Most of the criticism of the Panda sniper games came from people who got frustrated that they weren’t allowed to kill things in a sniper game, but I like the fact that it breaks the mould a bit.

By this time I had found out about sponsorships and that, apparently, you could make some pretty decent money from flash games. So I knocked up a few levels of a sniper game with some fairly poor artwork in and sent it out to a bunch of sponsors and somehow got incredibly lucky. A sponsor, Bubblebox, saw potential in the game and made me an offer that made me pretty much bite their hand off! Not only that but they also wanted to pay an artist to spruce up the graphics. They wanted a few more levels so I got to work making those while robotJAM did a great job polishing up the artwork.

Rob (yes, it’s confusing, we’re both called Rob) has become a good friend and we’ve made several games together over the years including three more Panda games. Panda: Tactical Sniper is the most primitive of them but incredibly it has actually had the most plays. I don’t know the exact count unfortunately but it’s around the 10 million mark now. It also won Mochi’s coveted Flash Game Friday award :)

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September 21st, 2010 Games Tags: , , , , , 2 Comments

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