strategy

Dragon Queens

A game of strategy, tributes and glamour. Expand your influence, bring prosperity to your realm and become the greatest dragon queen in all the land!

This unreleased, debut title from Kaludoscope AB was set to combine accessible, tabletop-like strategy with a fantastical and non-violent theme. Players choose a dragon queen with whom to watch over a peaceful and sedate realm, transforming its villages and cities into prosperous centres for culture, joy and the production of luxury goods – gladly offered in tribute by their devoted citizens. These tributes inspire the dragon queens towards great magical feats, spreading influence further and ensuring that their realm is the most fabulous.

Developed by Kaludoscope AB to a prototype stage, from 2016-17.


My contributions: game & level design, UX, 3D & art, graphic design & pitch materials, testing

Dev tools: Unity 3D, Adobe Photoshop, MS Excel, Balsamiq & MS Visio

Platforms: iOS & Android

Exhibited: GameCity 11, LadyCADE Creative Coast 2017, Big Indie Pitch (Brighton) 2017

CEO & Designer: Gemma Thomson
CTO & Programmer: Delia Hamwood

3D settlement art by Kate Holden

After Antholojam

Antholojam was a month-long, remote game jam on the theme of golden age science fiction. The resulting anthology of some dozen games – curated at the point of application by Zöe Quinn and Alex Lifschitz – is due for release in January 2015. As the jam has wound up and the bug-free games have been submitted, I thought I’d reflect upon my time as designer, writer and UI artist under my team’s collective name, Wonder Games.

An edited version of "A Planet Wakes' title screen

A thrilling tale of civil engineering

This was my first time participating in a remote game jam, having preferred to work in the same room even during Boob Jam in 2013* – my only other effort in such a format. I still harbour a strong preference for physical-location game jams, however I learned a lot from working in this fashion for a change. My overall conclusion is that A Planet Wakes ended up being a much more professionally-handled project, precisely because we had to co-ordinate our part-time efforts across national boundaries and a 6-week development period. Put simply, there a line quickly became blurred between hobbyist game jamming and the experience my team all have as contract game developers. Credit definitely needs to go to the other individuals who made up Wonder Games, namely:

Prel Mattis in "A Planet Wakes"

Prel Mattis – the player’s point of contact at as a terraforming contractor

* Coincidentally, also working with Delia. Sadly we were unable to finish Boob Jam, for reasons truly worthy of anecdote. By the time the weekend was over, a router had actually exploded.

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A Planet Wakes is a narrative-driven strategy game which was inspired by golden era science fiction. You have been brought in to help a failing team of terraformers bring their project back on schedule, but the barren world they’re working on holds strange and distracting secrets…

Developed by ‘Wonder Games’ – myself, Delia HamwoodBarry Hemans and Liz Edwards – as part of Antholojam in December 2014.

“… a neat little gem that’s begging to go from prototype to polished game.”

Paste Magazine, 2017-03-12

My contributions: game & level design, narrative & scripts, graphic design, QA
Tools: Unity 3D, Adobe Photoshop, Google Sheets
Platforms: browser

A Planet Wakes

† Developed for Unity Web Player, which is now supported only by legacy browsers



Not a Game Podcast, and the Multiplayer Sweet Spot

The Not a Game podcast has just released its 40th episode, and I’m delighted to say that host Tom Hatfield invited me on this week! Not a Game is a weekly panel-type podcast with freelance games writers and developers discussing all manner of games-related topics.

Designed by Jacob Smiley

The “Not a Game” logo, designed by Jacob Smiley

In this episode: Tom, myself, Paul Dean and Jordan Webber discussed Halo 3‘s rather baffling plot, what we felt was wrong with Bioshock,  and the potential for a game-cum-storytelling platform like Storium.

We also discussed whether or not a game like DotA can be relaxing, which put me in mind of the multiplayer games I used to play online. In the podcast, I cited the example of Wintergrasp in World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. I realised that I seem now to have left this sort of gameplay behind, in favour of so-called ‘couch co-op’ -and while there are many other, more nuanced reasons for this, the most obvious reason is that I want to include my partner in these games, rather than playing with friends. Still, I long for this sort of gameplay and until now I wasn’t consciously aware of it really being ‘a thing’. Now that I think about it though, there is real value to be had in creating a game which accommodates this relaxed, social play – both for building loyalty and allowing players to explore the game at their own pace.

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Trainer’s Journey

  • Reviews

I’m currently a few weeks into Pokémon X, some 12 years since I last played a game in the series. I earned five gym badges, have logged over 190 entries in my Pokédex, and have assembled a shaky team of mostly pretty, gothic-looking creatures with which to battle.

Pokemon

I also recently witnessed my Wartortle evolving into Blastoise – the versatile, cannon-shelled turtle who became my favourite Pokémon way back in Pokémon Red. I have a vivid memory of trading two shinies for the shiny Blastoise card at the school gates, back when Pokémon trading cards were all the rage. So, it’s fair to say I have a nostalgic attachment to this series.

What’s surprised me – after a decade and 500 new Pokémon have passed – is how little has changed. Often this is a good thing, but for such a monumental series as this, I’m not so sure.

Read More »Trainer’s Journey