Hubris Release

I recently decided to try expanding the audience of Hubris, the map I built in the first few days of winter break, so I released it on IndieDB. Apparently this was a good idea. The number of downloads went from 40 to over 700! (Edit: 2400!) Articles also appeared on and The feedback seems to be good too (allow me to indulge a moment and quote some favorites):

“I’m definitely hoping we will see this world expanded into a full-fledged game of some sorts in the near future. Please?”
“Waouh!!! Excellent! Design <3”
“This is a really soothing and calm game :)”
“very Moebius [Jean Giraud?]-like. I loved it.”
“This ain’t a game. Sorry, but it’s ‘just’ art.”
“This reminds me of … ‘At the Mountains of Madness'”

Some people have been asking for a more polished future release with more content, a menu interface, and visual options. I’d personally like to see it released in a more manageable file size, though I think this is currently a limitation of UDK. However, I’ve not considered a future release, and have been keeping busy with The Singularity and my other projects between heaps of schoolwork.

If I do release a future version, I can’t imagine how I would expand the level’s content in any meaningful way. So a re-release of Hubris would more likely exist within a separate project as a bonus level. Either that, or I could try some sort of episodic bundle release of a few similarly short, atmospheric levels (Blizzard, Dig, and Singularity?) once they’re completed.

On a separate note, there may not be any updates here for a week or two. Finals week approaches and my tea supply is low.

Playtest and Conferences

What I’ve Been Working On

A few days ago a friend playtested The Singularity. The problems that emerged were due to a lack of logic transparency. Most teleporters in the level have a single stage, costing one cube, but some have two stages, costing two cubes; clarifying this difference without resorting to some clumsy UI is my current obstacle. Implementing the narration will also be core to the next build, because the themes aren’t clear without it.

Partially due to these problems, partially due to my desire for the creative freedom that only an early-project offers, I began shelling The Labyrinth. I’m still toying with ideas around it because the main set piece, a labyrinth, can be frustrating and boring to play. Regardless of the results, there’s an early screenshot above.

What I’ve Been Playing

Since the trailer for the new Blendo game has been floating around, I finally played Gravity Bone. What I found most interesting was how effective the linear objectives were. On paper the A-to-B progression sounds no different than Call of Duty’s singleplayer. Another segments involved first-person platforming, a device generally loathed since Half Life 2. Yet, Gravity Bone succeeds with its pulp-mystery, madcap charm. Maybe when that novelty fades there won’t be any content left, but until then I’m eager for the sequel, and you should be too.

This weekend I’ve also returned to Super Mario Bros 3 on my snes (as a part of Super Mario All-Stars) upon realizing I’ve never finished it. I’ve nothing to say about it yet except that I am terrible at 2D platformers.

What I’ve Been Thinking About

With all of the GDC talk, I’ve been looking into conferences I might attend in the future. IndieCade sounds particularly promising, since it’s on the West coast, and not until October.

Also while reading their site, I found a page of some speakers from last year’s conference, and I was blown away. Jonathan Blow and Marc Ten Boch’s presentation on Designing the Universe was particularly fascinating, and reminded me a little of Godel Escher Bach on the topic of creating meaning and complexity out of simple, repeated structures. Richard LeMarchan’s presentation on Why I Love Indie Games was also interesting as a summary of the amazing indie games in the last half decade, and what games can be. Find the time to watch these!