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GUIDE: Porting your Flash game to OUYA in 13 steps

I’ve ported my Flash games to OUYA and so can you! Actually, why haven’t you? Well, I can think of quite a few reasons actually. But! It’s quite easy to do! And it’s cool to have a game on a console, micro or otherwise! And it gets you some nice exposure! There is even an IAP API if you’re into that sort of thing!

To make it easier, I have written this little guide. Follow it, and you’ll have a game on OUYA in no time!

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NEW GAME: Knowing Me, Knowing You

AH-HAA!

I had very little time for the 2014 Global Game Jam, but still wanted to make something. So! I made a card game! As in, rules and cards you have to print out and play with physically.

It’s called KNOWING ME, KNOWING YOU and it’s a game about finding out what your friends think of you, and what your friends think you think of them. Basically, it’s a mix between Apples to Apples and Dixit. Sort of. Not really.

I think it meets the theme quite well (We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are). It’s best with four or players, ideally friends. Make sure to let me know how it went if you play it, and I’m open to suggestions if you feel it falls flat!

INTERVIEW: John Romero, MASTER OF DOOM

Despite what the quality of this blog may suggest, I write professionally for gaming publications. For example, you’ll find a rather long piece covering the history of the FPS in issue 245 of HYPER magazine, which should be hitting Australian newsagents soon.

I tried to avoid making it a traditional history piece, as that would be incredibly boring and unoriginal. Instead, I focus on how the nuances of design have changed over the years, and do things like compare Doom to The Legend of Zelda.

ANYWAY, I was supposed to interview a bunch of people for the piece, but too many took too long to get back to me, so I had to go ahead without them. I’ve decided to print John Romero’s responses here though, since they’re quite detailed and an interesting read.

Keep in mind that this isn’t a REAL interview. Rather, it was just a small set of questions aimed to provide me with material and professional opinions to bolster the topics and themes I was discussing, and the number of questions kept to a minimum to ensure a quick response (which didn’t pan out, but whatever). CHECK IT OUT BELOW.

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NEW GAME: A Ball Slapping Good Time!

A Ball Slapping Good Time is a fast-paced, two-player game about outmaneuvering and outwitting an opponent, as players bounce around and try to win with superior ball handling skills!

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You can play it online HERE, or find it on the OUYA.

It was originally a more strategic game involving space hoppers, as it was prototyped at a 70s themed jam, but this turned out to be not terribly fun, and it evolved into the faster-paced game it is now. It’s often compared to Dive Kick for some reason. (I’ve never played Dive Kick.)

I chose the name mostly to annoy the kind of people I wrote about HERE. Otherwise I would have gone with something like BEACH BALL BATTLE.

I think it’s a pretty solid and fun game, though I don’t like how abstract is. Most of my other recent games have tried to convey one or more feelings, or at least had some vague point behind them. This game is just fun. Which I *guess* is okay.

RANT: Getting My Boobs Out For OUYA

Not too long ago, I ported two of my games to OUYA. The first, Groin Gravitators, is a two-player game satirising masculinity and homophobia. The second, a game originally made for The Boob Jam, has the deliberately eyebrow-raising title of Those Darn Nipples!

Porting them to the micro-console was a rather painless process, and both titles were met with a positive reception from the OUYA staff before being thrown up on the store; they were even featured in the Play like BAWB playlist. Then, rather unexpectedly, my second game stirred up a minor controversy among OUYA owners.

Oh, those darn nipples! Always getting me into trouble!

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NEW GAME: The Heart Go Wander

The Heart Go Wander is a little game I made using Increpare’s PuzzleScript (which I recommend checking out). It is a puzzle game about relationships and feelings and all that noise.

It ended up as both a celebration and critique of your standard monogamous relationship. The hearts are supposed to be gender neutral (the partner can be both pink and blue, and the player is purple which is a mix of red and blue (in case you didn’t already know)), though I suppose the player is the dominate one in the relationship.

Originally the text between levels featured a poem about eating cake and getting fat together, but it felt just a bit TOO silly and out of place. The first release included a series of minimalist messages, but I ended up removing them because I felt they weren’t necessary and made the game just a little too pretentious. Plus, this way the game is more open to different readings. I don’t want to reveal my intent as it may invalidate someone’s interpretation, and that would be TOTES LAME.

The music is DEVIL’S EYES by Qua:

Here’s a crude joke to counter the seriousness of this game:

Can a man get a woman pregnant without physical contact? It’d be a long shot!

NEW GAME: Machine of Death

Machine of Death was my entry into the 19th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition, where it placed 8th. It was originally planned to be a Spring Thing ’13 entry, but annoying things like life got in the way. I ended up using the IF Comp as motivation to finish it up.

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Anyway! The game takes place in a world where a machine can predict a person’s death with 100% accuracy, but not clarity, often leading to unexpected and ironic deaths. Some even accuse the machine of having a wicked sense of humour.

Basically, it’s a collection of three short stories where the player is bestowed with a death, and must survive a situation later in their life with that knowledge banging around the back of their head.

Sometimes it’s a drama! Sometimes it’s a comedy! Sometimes it’s a food journal!

MoD was an attempt to do many things. Here is a list of those things!

* Create a low-key, slice of life game. Except, you know, with a strong possibility of death.
* Despite the above point, create entertaining and coherent stories.
* Maintain my sense of humour while being more restrained than my previous work.
* Create believable and interesting characters.
* SUBVERT EXPECTATIONS.
* Do a bit of world-building.
* Use mechanics to make it more than just a CYOA game (not that anything is wrong with that, I just find them dull to design).

Basically, it was my attempt to prove that I’m capable of doing more than just stringing together a series of jokes, which is what most of my earlier IF is. But most of all, my primary aim was to show the player a good time. I’m a cool guy like that.

I think I accomplished all of these, and the game was met with a warm reception. A common complaint was that I was perhaps a little TOO restrained, and I think that may be true. I could have gone a bit more out there while still being believable, and that’s the only thing I’d want to change. It is not a mistake I’ll make again!

I’m most proud of the characters I created, such as the nameless turkey sandwich girl. Like every character, she’s built from bits and pieces of people I’ve met in real life. And like every other character in the game, she has a story beyond the game. For example, she’s gay. And she has a name, I just chose not to reveal it. I find it interesting that no one suspected she may have been pulling the player’s leg when she reveals her death.

Perhaps she was, perhaps she wasn’t.

Also, the karaoke scenario was inspired by a true event in my life. I’m glad I had the opportunity to turn that nasty night into something entertaining!

Oh, and despite the title, I wrote the game as a celebration of life, not death. Some accused me of hammering this message a little too hard. Maybe, but at least it’s a good message.

Anyway, yes, for the most part I’m quite proud of this game, even if I could have gone a bit further with it.

Oh, and it’s based on Ryan North’s concept, however all of the fiction inside the game is my own.

PSA: Those Darn Nipples & Groin Gravitators now on OUYA

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That’s right! I’m a (micro) console developer now! You can download both games straight onto your console from the OUYA service.

For those interested in how I did it: both of the games were made in Flash, so it was a matter of porting them to Air and then to Android. It was pretty simple for the most part, thought it took me a while to work out some of the quirks.

You can read about the process I went through in this thread. A few vital steps aren’t mentioned there, but you should be able to figure it out if you want to do it yourself. If you get stuck, I recommend StackExchange or the official OUYA developer forums for help.

Those Darn Nipples took virtually no work at all to port over as it’s a simple game with very little happening on screen at once, but Groin Gravitators was a different story. Air is slow, and the OUYA doesn’t like it very much, so I had to do quite a bit of tweaking to have it perform at a level I was satisfied with.

As for the OUYA itself? I have very mixed feelings towards it. The hardware could have been built much better, and the operating system is a little clunky and is missing some obvious features (why can’t I organise my games, damn it) But hey, I’ve also had some good fun with the little box (some great multiplayer games, and it gives me a feeling similar to the days of diving through shareware CDs full of weird and wonderful games), and working with OUYA to get my games on it was a painless exercise. Woo!

Australian Gaming: Agro Soar

Agro was an obnoxious puppet popular¬†with both children and adults in Australia. I mostly remember him from Agro’s Cartoon Connection, where he hosted segments between episodes of Robotech, Samurai Pizza Cats, Sailor Moon, Ninja Turtles and OH MY GOD, NOSTALGIA OVERLOAD.

Here are a few “adult only” outtakes of Australia’s favourite toilet brush in action:

If you’re thinking “how on Earth did such a terrible role model stay on television for so long,” then there’s a good chance you’re not Australian. Lucky you.

Anyway, I bring him up because he was the subject of the ONLY Game Boy game exclusively released in Australia! Titled Agro Soar, it was developed by Beam Software, one of Australia’s most prolific developers. Or rather, they used to be. They were the team behind Nightshade on the NES and Shadowrun on the SNES, among many other titles of vastly varying quality.


The game saw Agro transported to the prehistoric era by an evil wizard for no particular reason. He must return home by running, jumping, sliding uncontrollably fast down slopes, and skateboarding. It’s ALMOST average, but doesn’t quite get there due to some poor design choices and level design, such as putting a wall of spikes right after sending Agro into ludicrous speeds.

But hey, it’s still interesting because it’s one of the few games exclusive to Australia, right? WRONG (kind of). It’s actually just a re-skin of Beam’s earlier game, Baby T-Rex. Apart from a few sprites and dialogue, it’s virtually the same game. But that’s not all! The same game was re-skinned ANOTHER TWO TIMES. One for the animated movie We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story and again for Bamse. It wasn’t the only Game Boy game to take part in multi-license mayhem, too. Here’s a Mickey Mouse/Garfield/Ghostbusters game! Seriously.

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Also worth noting is that Baby T-Rex seems to be a spiritual predecessor to Beam’s (slightly better) Radical Rex on the SNES and Mega Drive.


Oh, Agro was also the star of his very own redemption game, also exclusive to Australia. Click the image to watch the video over at YouTube.

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GOD, THAT VOICE. IT’S SO BOGAN.

So there you have it! A little bit of Australian gaming history.

NEW GAME: Those Darn Nipples!

I was pretty excited when I first heard about The Boob Jam! I mean, I love boobs! Surely I could make a great game about boobs! Then I quickly realised that, as much as I love boobs, I don’t really have anything interesting to say about boobs.

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I’m going to be using the word “boobs” rather excessively in this post.

I then thought it would be fun to collaborate with one of my lady friends on a boob game, and made a fool of myself by soliciting boob ideas on Facebook. It didn’t go too well:

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I actually quite liked the idea about catching people out, but the boob concept in my head was a bit out of my abilities to make a boob reality, so I shelved the idea of participating in the boob jam.

But then! One of my friends suggested making a game about a phenomenon she felt when her boobs developed; her nipples felt like they were where they used to be, rather than their new locations. I thought this could be the basis of a potentially enjoyable game.

We talked for a bit and THOSE DARN NIPPLES is the result. Made in about a week. You can play it RIGHT HERE.

Also available on OUYA.

Boobs.