Cave of Atman DX – Development Update September 2018

It’s been roughly two months since AVCon and so I figure it’s time for an update regarding progress with Cave of Atman DX.

Firstly I’ve just finished with a new build that I’ll be distributing to testers later this week. I’m looking to send this build to testers one by one, responding to their feedback before contacting the next one. Puzzle games require thorough play testing and so I’m trying to leverage the feedback from testers as much as I can.

The following are the major changes for this build.

  • Steam Integration for replays
  • Improved replay playback with duration, pause/resume controls and level names
  • Setup scripts to perform screen capture from replay data
  • Improved tooling for world map. Game now generates level thumbnails and simplifies stitching rooms together
  • Non-rectangular levels
  • Resolved AVCon Bugs
  • New introductory levels and branching levels

Unfortunately I didn’t get to prototype a shield holding enemy or build up art references. Instead I opted to focus more on adding to and adjusting the existing level set as it feels more critical at this stage of development. There are now more introductory levels which unlike the original game aren’t just instructional but also contain smaller hooks. The introduction area now branches earlier and each branch is more interconnected.

There are now 69 levels in the game. The AVCon build had a bug where you could attack over small gates making many levels easier. This means I don’t have a good reference on expected play time. My current estimate is around 4 hours, it took me 1 hour to play through the build.

With this next round of testing I’m looking to:

  • Gage impressions of overall quality and strength of puzzles
  • Use feedback to narrow down the overall scope of game regarding production quality

My focus for the next few months will vary based on the feedback received. I’ll definitely be responding to feedback and exploring several items on this list.

  • Keyboard Controls
  • Building art references
  • Creating end game puzzles

I’ve been in preliminary talks with several people regarding art. At this stage I need a better sense of what I’m after and so building a collection of references is critical. I haven’t done a great deal of work with artists so am feeling both excited and nervous in this area.

That’s all for now. I’ll try and post another one of these in the next few months.


Cave of Atman DX – AVCon 2018

Last weekend The Cave of Atman DX made its first public appearance within the Indie Games Room at Adelaide’s AVCon. I’ve been working on updating the original game from the start of the year. It was great to finally be back showing a game at AVCon, the last game I exhibited there was Expand back in 2014.

As mentioned The Cave of Atman DX is an updated version of the 2014 flash game. The game has been ported across from FlashPunk to HaxeFlixel. It now includes four new mechanics, an over world map, 32 new levels and the much requested ability to undo your moves. I’ve also added the ability to record user replays and crashes and send them to our web server.

I pulled out the following stats from our replay data.

Number of Sessions: 76
Average Session Length: 19.5 minutes
Median Session Length: 15.5 minutes
Longest Sessions:

  • 2 hours 20 minutes
  • 1 hour 43 minutes
  • 1 hour 17 minutes

Overall we were really happy with exhibiting and the response to the game. Thanks to everyone who checked it out.

The next few months will be quite busy for me so progress might be slow. However this is what I’m looking to work on next.

  • Steam Integration – Namely linking replay data to users
  • Improved Replay Tooling – Setup playback markers for level start and improved playback controls
  • Fix Bugs – Several minor bugs related to mechanics appeared at AVCon
  • Level Fixes – Improve tutorial levels and smooth out difficulty
  • Shield Mechanic – Create Prototype
  • Art References – Build up setup of references for artist

Current world map.

Adelaide Bundle and Exhibiting Games Talk

Just a short post today to let you know about somethings I’ve been involved with recently.

Firstly I’d to let you know about the Adelaide Bundle. The bundle is $20 USD and will be available throughout the Summer Sale. It contains 10 titles from artists based in Adelaide, South Australia. All proceeds from this bundle will be donated to Hutt St Centre to help those experiencing homelessness.

Our focus with the bundle was to highlight the existing and emerging talent within our community and to provide those who purchase the bundle a broad range of experiences. This bundle includes several digital and analog games along with a zine.

Secondly last night I presented a talk about exhibiting games. The talk was streamed online and is available to watch here.

Update 1: The bundle is no longer available. We raised $470 USD which is $637.75 AUD for Hutt St Centre. Thanks to everyone for supporting us. also featured the bundle on their front page which was really lovely.

Update 2: The organiser of the game dev talks has uploaded a cleaner version of the talk which can be watched below.

New Game: Zero Out

Back in late 2015 I prototyped a programming game called Loop Game. The prototype was shown at the local Adelaide games gathering called ARGGGH and raptured a small crowd of programmers who spent roughly an hour working through the problems.

The goal of the game is to write a computer program that will shift all the numbers in the grid to zero. However you’re limited in the number of if statements, loops and ReduceCell function calls you’re allowed to make.

Recently I discovered Google’s Blockly library which allows users to create Scratch-like programming editor. Their examples even included code that translated the users blocks into Javascript code. So given this and my day job experience as a web developer I figured it would be cool to remake this game using Blockly for the web.

So that’s what I’ve done in this new game called Zero Out. You can write your program using the Scratch-like interface or directly in Javascript. The game has 10 levels (two more than the prototype) and should take between 1-2 hours to play through.

Play Zero Out

Hope you enjoy the game.

Gem Thief Demake

Over the last week I’ve been working on a PuzzleScript demake of a now defunct iOS game called Gem Thief. The original game was released back in 2011 by Evil Genius. There are some really neat levels in this game which is why I felt compelled to demake it. I also hadn’t actually finished all 50 levels until I starting work on the project so this was a good excuse to do that.

You can play the game here on my website or over at

Beyond this I’ve been working on an updated version of Cave of Atman. Since January I’ve prototyped out several new mechanics and blocked out 32 new levels. I’m now starting to rewrite the game in HaxeFlixel (was originally in FlashPunk). So expect to hear more about that in the future.

Adelaide Game Playtesting Session – December 2017

Sorry for the late posting on this one. We’re having another playtesting event tomorrow.

Date: Thursday 7th December 6:00pm – 8:30pm
Location: AIE Adelaide Campus, 32 Grenfell St. Adelaide, SA 5000
Facebook Event for additional details

I’ve made some progress on the line game I posted about previously but it’s currently not in a playable state. Instead I’ll be working on a small PuzzleScript game I started doodling on last night.

Adelaide Game Playtesting Session – September 2017

Next week there is going to be another games playtesting event at AIE. This one is going to start half an hour earlier than our previous events.

Date: Thursday 28th September 6:00pm – 8:30pm
Location: AIE Adelaide Campus, 32 Grenfell St. Adelaide, SA 5000
Facebook Event for additional details

I’ve been busy with prepping Expand for PS4 lately and so I may not have a new thing to show. After a conversation at the most recent ARGGGH gathering I decided that I will finish a thing I started about a year ago. Here’s a screenshot.

Expand is coming to PS4 on October 3rd

Surprise! We’ve been working with Ukiyo Publishing and BlitWorks (porting) to bring Expand to the PS4.

Expand on PlayStation 4 will support extras with:

  • PlayStation Trophies
  • A bundle package with the game’s soundtrack
  • New language support in English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese and Chinese (Simplified and Traditional).

The game plays really well with the PlayStation 4 controller and BiltWorks have done an amazing job with the port. We’re really keen to expose the game to a new audience of players.

Moirai, Interview and Indie Games Room

So I thought I’d post up a bit about a few things that have happened recently.

Firstly Moirai has been taken offline and is no longer available to download. You can read the community announcement here. Shaun Prescott from PC Gamer interviewed me about it and wrote a good piece.

Back in May I did an interview with Angelo Valdivia from Player Attack. We talked about Expand, Moirai and the Slaughterhouse.

And lastly, the Indie Games Room at AVCon was a few weeks ago. This was my fifth year involved in volunteering for the event. Monkeystack put together this short video from the room on Sunday which was pretty neat.