New Game! Pile O’Bubbles

 Here’s game number two for Wicked Pissah Games!


Pile O’Bubbles is part puzzle, part action, part strategy. You start with a couple of blue bubbles connected by an elastic thread, resting on a bed of small green bubbles. Your job is to get one of the blue bubbles into the blue target area. You do this by inflating the green bubbles to lift the blue ones up.

Sounds easy enough. But did you ever try to control a pile of bubbles? Pile them up, avoid the various obstacles, and make it to the target to complete each level.

Gravity Pods 2.0 Level Editor Preview

One of the most requested features for Gravity Pods 2.0 is a level editor so people can create their own levels, or just make setups to fool around with. This is something I had in mind from the start, but it is quite an involved project, so all the levels for the first version were created by hand-editing xml files. But a visual editor is definitely in store for version 2.0. Here’s a preview of it in action:

As you can see, there are already a couple other new features, such as a movable gun, and the ability to aim the gun using the mouse (probably the second biggest feature request). Still lots of work to do, such as the placing of the target and the various fixed pods. There will even be new types of pods, and … other things in there.

I’ll actually be using this editor to create all the levels for version 2.0, and hope to even have many of the levels created by someone(s) other than me. So if you are interested, let me know, and when things are further along, maybe you can help out. It’s also totally my intention to release the editor so others can make their own levels to play themselves or share with others. Hopefully we’ll get some kind of system up here so you can upload your levels and share them with the world. Voting, contests, prizes, who knows?

Wow, what a launch!

So I launched Wicked Pissah Games late Sunday night. I don’t think more than a few people saw it til Monday. As of mid-morning, I was a little disappointed. Then suddenly things exploded. By early afternoon it was on the front page of Digg and now has over 1300 diggs. On the digg comment page, there are almost 100 comments, with people posting cheats, screen shots, hacks, and bugs. Dozens of blogs and other sites have reviewed and linked to the game. My favorite comment so far is, “I made it to level 13, and proceeded to punch myself in the nuts until I got up from the computer and walked away.” As a developer trying to make an addicting game, you don’t get much better feedback than that. 🙂

One of my recent favorite sites, Jay Is Games did a full review on the game. Traffic has spiked out of control. Luckily I have a terabyte of bandwidth per month, so I’m safe there. On the business front, I’ve gotten a couple of requests to license the game, and my Google ad revenue has increased by about 100x. Not bad for the first couple days!

A lot of people have posted various issues with the game, such as the aiming mechanism going out of control (the only real “bug” I see) and other improvement suggestions. I’ll definitely be looking into all these, along with some ideas of my own and putting out a next version. I’ve also been thinking of making a visual level editor and have other people contribute to making the levels. Oh, and I can’t forget to make some other games as well. Many ideas in my head, a few started on, a few still brewing.

So thanks for all the support. Keep the suggestions coming.

…and we are live!

Sort of. I finally got the site looking somewhat like I want it to – lots of WordPress hackery to make it look more like a site and less like a blog. Pretty much finished up the Gravity Pods game and sent it out to a few friends to check out. Well, it’s Saturday afternoon. I hope to launch by Monday morning. Watch out world! 🙂

First Post

Welcome to Wicked Pissah Games. My name is Keith Peters, and you may know me from my other site, BIT-101. That site’s done pretty well by me, and I have no intention of shutting it down, but here I am with another one. Why?

Well, over the years, I’ve dug into all kinds of cool Flash and ActionScript stuff, and learned more and more and squeezed all kinds of neat behaviors out of the Flash player. Done lots of stuff with math and physics, and along the way learned programming. Yeah, you read that right. I learned programming while doing all the cool stuff on the BIT-101 labs. I guess when I started, I kina sorta thought I knew some programming. And a year or two in, I felt I was pretty much a hotshot. But when I look back on what I was doing back then, from a purely development viewpoint, it was pretty scary. So as I was doing fun stuff and showing it off on my site, I was also busy learning all kinds of best practices, architecture, patterns, and all the other stuff that goes into making solid scalable applications. Most of that manifested itself at my regular jobs where I was writing said applications.

But a funny thing started to happen. The more I went into this whole architecting and designing and pattern hatching stuff, and the more I made solid, scalable apps, the less fun it became. The more you go into this stuff, the more you are drawn in to making these really boring applications. At least they are boring to me. Boring compared to making something spring around the screen or making funky shapes with the drawing api. It got to the point where I was really pretty burnt out on Flash all together. I’d do my day job, and that was fine, but when I came home, I’d just want to watch a movie or play a game or surf the net. No excitement about Flash at all anymore.

So I was looking for something to wake me up, something to be excited about. In the back of my mind for some time, has been the idea of doing some game development. Someone once said that a lot of the experiments I did on BIT-101 “orbited around being games.” I thought that was a really astute observation. They were like all these little pieces of games that were just floating around out there. I knew that if I could get focused enough to pull a handful of them into a single cohesive whole, I could create a decent game, or two. Or a dozen.

Then, a few weeks back, I was in a bookstore and saw Jobe Makar’s Flash MX Game Design Demystified. Yeah… Flash MX. And yeah, I know there’s an MX 2004 version, but the store didn’t have it. I could have gotten an up to date version on Amazon, but I figured even that would be dated, and what I was really looking for was the inspiration and some of the basic concepts of designing games. Not so much the code. So I bought it on the spot and read through it. Again, not page by page of how to do these things in AS1, but pulled out what I needed from it.

Then I started writing a game. The Walkers game that as of this writing is still being worked on. But WOW, was that fun! I knew that it was going to take a while to get to a point of being a real game, and I had an idea for another game that would be a bit simpler, the Gravity Pods game, that although not finished yet, is nearing something that could actually be released. I was up til 3 a.m. a couple of nights writing that stuff. It was like the good old days. Addicted to Flash again! And all that architecture and designs pattern stuff really paid off. It’s actually really fun to use that stuff when you are doing a project you are really into.

Now, while I, personally, was having a blast at writing these things, I read two things in the past week which really blew me away.

First was the news that Line Rider had been bought by a game dev company and is going to be released on the Nintendo DS and Wii. It’s an awesome game (if you can really call it a game), but it’s really simple in concept, and it’s totally something I could have done. I had figured out the mechanics of that kind of thing in Flash back in 2003 I think. So I kicked myself a bit, but the gears started turning.

The next was reading this article about how the guy behind the Desktop Tower Defense guy, and how well he had done on that game:

Again, this game is not rocket science, but is amazingly addictive and has done very well by its creator.

I knew I had to get into this game development game, for real. And thus Wicked Pissah Games was born. Right now the two games I have up here are still works in progress, but I definitely plan on getting them done to the point where they can become fully playable games and enter the viral market. I had been thinking along the lines of creating simple free versions on line, and a more full featured AIR app that would sell for a small amount, but after reading the second article above, I think I’ll be going the same route as Desktop Tower Defense.

I also plan to blog here about various topics related to game design and development for casual games in Flash, though I don’t have plans at this time to release the games as open source. We’ll see.

Well, that’s my long-winded intro. Now let’s see if I can live up to it.