Defend your villages and people in: Trap 3

The October Mini Game Jam was a lot of fun – 17 attending people in total! Whoo! Out of the available themes, I picked “Trap”. After some brainstorming, I combined it with a Match 3 concept, and finally arrived at:

Trap 3

Obviously I didn’t work with an artist this time.

It draws lots of inspiration from Triple Town: You get a tile, you place it somewhere, you get the next. When 3 of them match a so-called “recipe”, they merge into something stronger:

3 adjacent “person” become “people”, and 3 adjacent “people” become a “crowd”. They bring points per turn.

And then I added monsters. Monsters come in from the side every few turns, walk a step towards their next prey every time you place something, and later in the games, the monsters get stronger. Monsters have recipes too, for example:

If a spider and a person are adjacent to each other, they “merge” into a spider. So basically: it eats them. Same with spider and people.

Now if monsters could only eat people and cost you points, there wouldn’t be much of a point in that. And here comes the trapping mechanic, which is also a recipe:

Put two green blocks down, and if a spider walks next to it, the spider and the trap transform into nothing and give you points in the process. Same with snakes, only that you first need to make the stronger snake-catching blocks and have two of those adjacent. So this here is essentially a spider trap:

If you want to see the complete list of recipes I had, you can click here or on the screenshot at the top.

So much for that. Unfortunately, I somewhere along the process I got lost and everything took a lot longer than anticipated. Most of what I described above works, but there are no points and no goal, you can’t even lose. If you feel adventurous, you can try the prototype anyway by clicking here. I’ll probably not finish it, but I think there’s something cool hidden in there, and I might make a new prototype once I find out what it is!

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:

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.

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:

Berlin Indie Game Jam 2011

Finally, BIGJam again!

Last weekend my internship in Rotterdam ended, and not a moment to soon, since another epic event was just awaiting me in Berlin: This year’s BIGJam! A nice café, a couple of frantic 3 hour jams, drinks, good food and lot of awesome independent game developers, what more could you want?

And noooow I present you: The prototypes!

Jam #1 (3h): Space Jump

The first 3h jam started on Friday with the topics “zero gravity” and “acrobatics”. Since I was alone by then and sadly devoid of my trusty Bamboo, my secret third topic was “abstract”. And it seems that “acrobatics” got lost somewhere along the way…

What I wanted to do was a game where one player controls the, well, player with the keyboard, and the other one controls the level with the mouse. This concept usually suffers from the player controlling the level being to powerful – which is why I just made it co-op. It became quite simplified along the way, and the result is Space Jump: One player controls the white circle, and the other can draw lines with the mouse to prevent the white circle from crashing into red circles or leaving the field.

Play it here:

Jam #2 (3h): Savior Cat

Saturday I was no longer alone: I had invited my ex-coworker Dominik, and we teamed up with an artist I met on friday: Tanja T-Rex. On our way to adventures and great prototypes we stumbled over the next topics: “free” / “cat”. Never turning down a challenge, onwards we went!

The result was another multiplayer game: Both of you are Savior Cats, freeing your brethren from the evil clutches of scientists who wanted to conduct their mad experiments on them! You couldn’t decide on which window is the safer one though – and now each Savior Cat tries to save as many cats as possible and throws them out of their own window.

Gameplay-wise it resembles a multiplayer-snake with a twist: You pick up cats by touching them, and then they follow you – but if another player (or scientist) touches a cat you carry, this cat and all of the following ones will now follow him! Play safe and only get a few cats to your window at a time, or be greedy and take the risk that somebody takes them from you because you cannot move them out of the way in time.

It is pretty fun and chaotic, the only thing preventing me from declaring it a complete success is that time ran out when we wanted to insert a crucial detail: The windows. Yeah, so far this game is without a goal.

Try it here anyway:

Jam #3 (3h): Valley of Sweet Death

After the immense success of our last prototype we stayed together, and being in good spirits we went on to the next jam. This time it was “delicious” and the totally fitting “suicide”. Wait, what?

Many ideas were formed and discarded, and after a while we settled on one. And mind you, that is the most political correct one that my team found (I’m totally innocent): A food cannon over a valley shooting at participants of a sort-of eating contest. Chocolate and sweets make you fat, but apples, motion in general and jumping in particular is good for you and therefore to be avoided.

Definitely not the favorite of what we made, but it is playable and works. I like the concept of needing to move to win, but losing what you need to win by moving.

Eat away: Valley of Sweet Death (Jam Version)

Jam #4 (5h): Ghost Huntress

5 hours? Madness! Since you can do sooo much in 5 hours, we decided to be really indecisive: It took us well over an hour to find our cover and game idea for the “be inspired by a cover” jam. Finally we arrived at the cover Ghost, and resolved to take one of my old prototypes named “Ghost Hunter” to the next level.

Ghost Huntress features a silent and invisible (and probably female, “GhostHunter” was already taken in my workspace) protagonist specialised in ghost hunting, saving children from the growing spectral infestation taking place in an orphanage. The twist: You don’t see the ghosts! But the children do – and they will run away from them, and surely being eaten (actually just frightened, but we didn’t come around doing the sprites for that) if the ghosts aren’t captured. You have to deduce the ghost’s position by watching the children closely before you can catch the ghost with your trap.

A simple concept which proved to be fun! And there’s much we can add: Flickering candles which will expose the ghosts for the blink of an eye, detectors showing how near they are, walls which they cannot pass and other cool stuff. And yeah: We actually might.

Until then, don’t get scared while playing the: Ghost Huntress (Jam Version)

So long, and thanks for…

…all the jam! Contrary to last year, I am very content with my results this time: A nice prototype all alone, and three amazing ones done with fellow programmer Dominik (a long time coworker) and Tanja T-Rex (who I met at the jam) as artist. Many thanks to our organizer jstckr for his work – and thanks to everybody who attended and made the BIGJam the awesome thing it was!

Looking forward to the next one!

Yet another (very colorful) Mini Game Jam

Yesterday we organized Yet another Mini Game Jam in Berlin, and well – it was nothing short of awesome. 8 jammers, 5 of them the first time at one of our Jams, and everybody learnt something and enjoyed themselves. We even had (gasp!) working prototypes at the end: Raising the bar to 8-10 hours the best thing that could happen to us. It’s so much less stressful and easier to get something done that you can actually play. The ever friendly and helpful staff of the wonderful Café Osswald made the combination complete.

The first theme choosing resulted in a tie between “Catharsis”, “Side-effect” and “Colors”, with the latter winning the following vote.

This time I teamed up with Robert Bergner, a student who actually came from Magdeburg for our jam, with whom I also worked together this years Global Game Jam. And this is what we made, in about 9 hours including idea finding, plus a few minutes bugfixing afterwards:

Working Title: “Colorful”

“You” are the red-blue-yellow colorbuckets in the middle of the screen. You can steer freely with WASD. The other circles are the enemies – they can only walk on their color, and they will try go straight to you as far as possible. Your buckets have 10 shot each, and they get refilled if you touch their color. By clicking on the buckets and dragging in the direction of enemies, you can fire color projectiles at them, mixing their color or recoloring them. It works like this:

If you shoot a primary color enemy (red, blue, yellow) with one of your color projectiles, they mix:

If shoot a secondary color enemy (green, magenta, orange – highlighted by their white border) they simply get replaced:

Enemies which change color try to get to the next patch of their new color as fast as possible.

This way you can control the enemies – which is as far as we’ve come in our prototype at the jam. What we’ll add in later:

  • Your goal: One of the color patches is the Collector Zone – you get points for luring enemies there. After a few enemies, the Collector Zone switches to another patch.
  • A time limit
  • Hit points: The enemies hurt you if they hit you, or maybe they even try to shoot at you!
  • Better algorithms for the color patch distribution

So, here’s the jam prototype! Please comment if you find a bug or have some kind of suggestion!

edit: The newest prototype in development is accessible here!