Fight for your life in Guardian of the Void Children

Another month, another Berlin Mini Jam. This time, two of the topics were “Guardian” and “Void”, so I teamed up with Michael Kessler and did this:

Guardian of the Void Children

The Void is a harsh place to bring up children.
Our particular mother here is just about to find out how harsh exactly,
now that a swarm of drones located her nest…

How long can you survive their relentless assault?
Defend your nest, your children and your life in this
Tower Defense/Top-down Shooter crossover!


Play it here, directly in your browser:

The Great Hunt: A Massively Multiplayer Offline game prototype for up to 10 players

June Berlin Mini Game Jam. The theme is “hunting”. My secret theme is “Massively Multiplayer Offline Game”. One man, one mission, 8 hours to go!

8 hours (plus 3 hours bugfixing) later I’ve got this:

The Great Hunt

Enough with the monsters killing off the villagers!
You are a brave hunter, and you’re getting paid to deal with these pests!

Well, you’re not the only one hired though. And only the best will get paid.

Be the last man standing, or at least finish first with 60 points!

Play here, as always directly in your browser!


While the game is playable and actually features up to 10 players (on 4 keyboards, no less), it fails in many other ways.

The basic idea behind the game was “Too many cooks spoil the broth.”: You need other players help to take down monsters, but the more players participate the less points you get. So when you’re standing in front of a monster with others players beside you, you’d be like “Dude, back off, if you stay here we won’t get much points anyway!”, or maybe you’d switch last second to another monster.

So much for the theory. In reality everything goes down so fast (and is so chaotic) that there isn’t much communciation or tactics. Fights also take too long and are not balanced, and there are not much real choices.

I have to admit that I’m not sure how I’d fix the game without introducing more complexity like power-ups. Anyways: It was a fun experiment, and lessons were learned. (The main lesson being that 10+ people games are possible in 8h. I guess I’ll never learn, haha. Looking forward to next jam!)

Alchemist’s Duel: An arcadey puzzle game for 2 two-people teams

“Alchemy” was the theme for the May Mini Game Jam, so I made a game about alchemists trying to reproduce a certain formula and their faithful henchman collecting ingredients for them:

Alchemist’s Duel

You are right before finishing your Magnus Opus!
Only one recipe left… Same goes for your rival though.
Send out your collector to get you the ingredients you need,
and be the first to finish your glorious work!

Play here, directly in your browser!


To finish, you have to fill your goal field with the right elements:

The three light blue, the yellow and the green elements are at the right place. The dark blue shouldn’t be there in the red goal field. Three fields are still unfilled. Push the blue element out, and fill all the goal fields with the right colors to win!

Noise: A split-screen game for 2 players about stealing sweet stuff in the dark

For our March Berlin Mini Game Jam, the themes were amongst others “Thievery” and “Noise” – and that’s what my friend Dominik and me combined into an ultrasonic burglary simulation:


A dark room, full of jewels – and stuff to run into.
Luckily you have your ultrasonic locator to “see” in the dark.
A few moments later, you realize you’re not alone.
You ready your bludgeon…

Play here, directly in your browser!


This game employs a Hidden Information Split Screen™ (which can optionally be simulated by having two monitors):

Do you feel the Force? Well, those balls do.

Hey folks, it’s history time! I have some old (and fairly new) prototypes and mini-games that I never published – so far, that is. So here’s our first installment in the series!


I did this for the 2nd Blitzkast, ignoring the optional topic. There are balls, and you can draw lines to affect them. It might become something like a shooter and/or a tower defense game if I ever decide to get back to it.

Here are the different versions, as always directly playable in your browser:

Global Game Jam 2012, or: Keep rollin’ in Super Snake Wheel

At the end of every January, people all around the world gather to make awesome games in an absurdly short time. Developing a game in 48 hours is nothing short of insane, and I don’t think it comes to anyones surprise that this appeals a lot to me. And here I proudly present our result this year:

Super Snake Wheel

“We can’t stop here! This is bat country!”
Well, Mr. Snake might have been a bit drunk when he and his companion Mr. Gecko ignored all the warnings and set out to their adventure. Being one of the few snakes who can form a tire out of himself, he’s now rolling down the hill while Mr. Gecko defends him from birds, barely keeping his balance! Take control of this duo of odd heroes in this quirky adventure for one casual and one hardcore player!

Play the updated version online at Kongregate!

Check out the original GGJ build!

And of course credit where credit is due, and these amazing guys deserve a lot:

  • Game Design: Matthias Niebergall
  • Art: Kirill Krysov
  • Programming: Dominik Hübner and myself
  • Music taken from the wonderful Kevin MacLeod
  • A big thanks to all the people organizing the jam, globally and locally here in Berlin. You’ve done a great job!

By the way, we even satisfied a diversifier (an achievement for the developers) this year: “Collaborative Casual/Hardcore (Two players: one casual, one hardcore): Collaborative play for two, but one player has more to do than the other (or the difficulty level is different between them).” I am sure you will agree after you’ve tried both the casual Mr. Snake and the slightly more hardcore Mr. Gecko: The former just has to jump and duck, while the later has to balance on the snake, jump at the right times and use the mouse to shoot at birds!

Lessons learned

Even though this is not my first jam, it seems that every single one has some valuable lessons to teach. These are mine this time:

  • Even though it’s an a very small timeframe, make a rough project plan with milestones so you won’t lose focus.
  • Every milestone should be playable (player interaction and a goal), especially the first one – which should ideally be ready when you go to sleep the first time. It does wonders to your motivation!
  • Programmers, make a task list. It keeps you focused.
  • You cannot say if something is fun until you can test it. Halfway through the project I felt like giving up because nothing seemed to be coming together, and 12 hours later we had this amazingly fun prototype! So even if it seems like the game won’t be any good, at least implement the first playable prototype.
  • If your code is based on a pixel oriented framework like Flashpunk, don’t mix in vector based stuff like MovieClips. It just leads to a whole load of implementation overhead.
  • If you want to pull an all-nighter, at least sleep the first night. Otherwise you might fall asleep the second night which will surely lead to you missing the deadline.

This year the GGJ was certainly not easy and at times tedious and exhausting, but the result totally makes up for that. I daresay that it is one of my best prototypes so far! I am very happy that I have participated, and I’d like to thank everybody who made the weekend as amazing as it was!

Color your world in Extreme Painting: An 8 hour prototype

After skipping December, even the Global Game Jam in two weeks couldn’t stop us from doing our own Mini Game Jam yesterday. 13 people assembled in the co.up coworking space and in 8 hours, multiple game prototypes were created for either the topic “Future” or “The End is the Beginning”. Here’s mine.

Extreme Painting

In the future, a sport called “Extreme Painting” is all the rage:
Two contestants are equipped with particle cannons and try to color as much of a field as fast as possible, only stepping on their own color.

Each field which has your color is one point, independent of how strong the color is.
But the stronger the color, the harder is it for your opponent to erase it.

Play it in your browser by clicking here!

I need a Time Crab for my next 8h jam

At our November Mini Game Jam I teamed up with artist Alfonso Montón, forging an epic prototype for the theme “time” (and possibly “trap”):

Time Crabs

Might or might not be a screenshot

Don’t be fooled by their cute appearance! If you hesitate one moment, a Time Crab will envelop you in a Time Bubble and begin to tear you to shreds with its Time Claws*!

Fortunately you are a Time Crab. So is your opponent! May the fight begin!

Play it in your browser by clicking here!

Time Bubbles

….work like a local field of bullet time: It slows everything inside down, but you a fair bit less than everything else. You can use it in two ways: Aggressive, by throwing it at an enemy and proceeding to shoot at him while moves slooowly, or defensive to dodge bullets. The shooting mechanic makes the prototype not very playable, but I really like the bubbles – in fact I might use them in another game. (And yeah, they are like a more selective time slow ring in world 6 of Braid. I totally forgot that it even existed!)

And a Dropped Idea

I quite liked my second idea too, but there was hardly enough time for it: A cross between Tower Defense and Capture The Flag. First you set up your base with turrets and traps, and then you leave to get the enemys flag. You can detect and disarm traps, but only while you aren’t carrying the flag – so prepare a safe way out. PvP would probably be enabled (and might include Time Bubbles) and minions.

Okay, now that I think about it, it sounds a bit like a more RTS-like DotA.

*) Time Claws are not included in the prototype and will later be added as a purchasable expansion pack.

Gradient: How Not To Be Seen

Another month, another Berlin Mini Game Jam. This time the topics were “adaptation” and “conflicting goals”. I took the former one, and made a stealth game:

You are the circle, trying to blend in with your environment as much as possible by changing your grey value. Perfect white or black heals you if you have the same color. Stay alive as long as possible!

The game began as local multiplayer at the jam, and over the next days I added a singleplayer mode, Kongregate scores, more polish, and of course sound and music which are made by Moritz Ufer.

The core gameplay was actually finished and the prototype playable after 5 hours, so I had 3 hours for polishing – nice. Best prototype I made at a jam all alone so far!

Play the game here:

Hack the Grid in NetRush: An 8 hour prototype

A few weeks ago, we had the September Mini Game Jam of our Berlin Game Developers Meet-Up. This time, the topic was “hack” with the alternative topic “share”. After an hour of brainstorming, dismissed concepts and talking to a lot of people (especially Iwan), I arrived at the concept for NetRush.

Each of the two players has a cursor with which they can navigate through the grid of nodes. Green nodes are free: Free for you to be invaded, that is. You get points if you hold them at the end of the round – if you’re not dead. The first one to gain a total score of 100 wins. You have multiple stats which you can assign freely:

  • “Speed Up” lets you capture nodes faster
  • “Spread” gives you a chance to capture neighboring nodes for free
  • “Success” defines your chance of invading a node
  • “Shield” is your health – it takes damage for you, and if it falls under zero, you’re dead

A more visual explaination is available here:

Play the game online here: