Posts Tagged ‘My Games’

Post-Grad Talk at Carleton University

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Last week I was given an opportunity to join my manager at Magmic in a panel for a fourth year class in IMD to discuss my experience after graduating and joining the game development industry. This was the same class that I developed Hideout! for and I was happy to pass on some knowledge that I’ve gained from my experience.

During this time, I highlighted a few important things that new grads should keep in mind when searching for a job (specifically in the multimedia industry) and entering the creative workforce. I also touched on the importance of knowing existing design patterns and conventions of the trade to succeed in your new position. The slides are very lean as I needed to keep my talk short, but you can download them here:

Download Slides (PPTX)

Hideout! Downloads: First Four Days

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Hey Everyone! The “estimated” data for the first four days of downloads and sales for Hideout! are in! We’ve had over 1000 people try out the game, which definitely shows that people like the game box and marketing material! And 28 full game copies have been sold! To be honest, these are pretty much the numbers that I was hoping for, maybe even better, especially considering the game was originally designed without sales in mind. But I’m really most happy because of the sheer number of people that have had a chance to try it out! 😀 I hope you’re all having fun with the game!


Date Trials Purchases
8/26/2010 385 8
8/27/2010 296 4
8/28/2010 219 10
8/29/2010 176 6
Grand Total 1076 28

Purchase/Trial Ratio: 2.60 %

Hideout!: Designing Lasting Arcade-Style Gameplay

Monday, August 30th, 2010

When I initially designed and implemented the gameplay of Hideout! I had created a game where the best players would consistently get to about level 5 or 6, while beginners would typically achieve level 3 or 4. This wasn’t very good – I wanted experienced players to be able to get much higher up, maybe up to around level 25.

During the update and port to the Xbox 360, I spent some time working on this problem and was successfully able to create a very effective solution that kept beginners at around level 5, but enabled skilled players (myself) to reach level 23!

The Problem

When I had initially programmed the level progression, I had designed a number of the gameplay mechanics to progress in a linear fashion, such as the UFO speed, the time it takes for a UFO to discover you, etc.

I wanted the experienced players to be able to get to a “high” level, maybe in the twenties or thirties. This essentially resulted in the following scenario:


Interestingly, this implementation presented a huge problem: Players couldn’t tell that the levels were actually getting harder. Said differently, the difficulty steps were too small at the beginning levels. This meant that the players would easily become bored of the game because they assumed that it was the same thing over and over, with no difference in challenge from level to level.

To resolve this problem, I simply made the gameplay mechanics become harder much more faster than in the first design. This resulted in the first version of the game:


This caused a second problem, which I described at the beginning of the article: Even advanced players were not able to get very far in the game, compared to the beginners. It became impossibly hard to get past the low-to-mid range levels.

The Solution: Using Asymptotes!

After looking back at the game and performing this analysis, it was quite easy to come up with a solution to the problems: Instead of using a linear progression of gameplay mechanics, I simply implemented a function with an asymptote. This asymptote was positioned approximately around where I had determined that the gameplay mechanic was essentially impossible for humans. I also scaled out the function to make the curve start levelling out around the level 100 mark:


This new approach enabled the players to both feel that the game was getting harder and allow them to slowly creep their way up to the highest level they could, anywhere between levels 10 and 25. This gave players a feeling of accomplishment as they played the game, because they could really see themselves getting better and better the more they played, but also understand that with each level the game was actually getting harder.

It’s nice to use a graphing calculator to help you make your function just right (Microsoft Math is one example). In the end, I feel that this approach has really made the Hideout! experience all that it could be and I’ve seen lots of players really get hooked on it and have a lot of fun.

Make sure to check out the new Hideout! to see what level you can get to! (And, of course, brag to your friends.)

Hideout! Now Available on Xbox Live!

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Hideout! has now been released on the Xbox 360! You can find it for download (with a free trial game) in the indie games section of the Xbox Live Marketplace or visit the game’s website at to watch the game trailer and find out more information. I had a tonne of fun making this game, so I hope you have just as much fun playing it!

Hideout! box art

If you have a moment to rate the game, it would be greatly appreciated as ratings strongly impact the number of people who will try out the game. Special thanks to everyone who helped with the development and testing of this game — It’s because of you that this game grown into such a fun experience! Happy gaming!

Hideout! screenshot


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