Sunday, November 01, 2009

New Facebook Game Revealed - Hospital Town

Finally I can talk about our brand new Facebook game.

It's called Hospital Town, and it's a fun game that lets you run a hospital with your family and friends as doctors and patients.

You get build out your hospital adding new specialist rooms (like a an X-Ray room or Plastic Surgery) and customize it to express who you are. You fill your room with beds and treat patients to earn money. You can also visit your friend's hospitals and help out with medical procedures, raid their supplies or do other cool stuff.

We've done a "soft launch", which means we've just let our friends and family know about it. This gives us a chance to get some honest feedback and stress test the game on a daily basis.

But the word-of-mouth nature of Facebook means that we've already grown the small number of players to over 240 people in a few short days.

One of the things I love about Facebook is that we can react to things very quickly. Already we've improved loading times and lag and we're about to update with a new version that has lots of little tweaks and extra tutorials. It's so cool to be able to quickly evolve the game based on player feedback into the game that they want.

Check out Hosital Town here:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lazy Update

Since Twitter entered my life I've been blogging way less while twittering at least once a day. So, as a sort of half blog, below is a compilation of my more interesting tweets and re-tweets.

Oh, and you can hear me on the Australian Gamer podcast here.

RT @MargaretWallace: Social Gaming, Beyond the Clones -

RT @TheVoxelAgents: More Train Conductor imagery: game icon plus desktop and iPhone wallpapers

RT @morganjaffit: Mac Build of My Mechanical Romance (our 48 hour game comp entry) at

Brainiversity 2 is now playable in Japanese. ใ„ใ„ใงใ™!

RT @deantak: PopCap Games raises $22.5 million to fund expansion into social games.

"Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity." - Charles Mingus

LucasArts Reunion video (from 2008) -

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sony and Nintendo, Apple is eating your lunch

The new iPods were announced today and along with the new video enabled Nano, the iPod Touch has been given some extra grunt and a price drop. This means you can buy an 8GB iPod Touch for $268 in Australia and $199 in the US.

In Australia a PSP will set you back $279 and a DSi will cost you around $288. DS games range from $40 to $60, and PSP games, well good luck finding them :-)

And how much are iPhone games? Most of my 30 odd games I own on iPhone cost around $1.19. The most expensive game I bought was Monkey Island for $9.99 - cheaper than the PC version offered on Steam (which I believe is a very cheap version!). Compared to DS and PSP the cost is phenomenally cheaper.

And the the quality is incredible. I'm extremely happy with the games I play on my iPhone which include Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manner, Cluck It!, Monkey Island, Sneezies, Wild West and The Deep pinball, Space Invaders Infinity Gene, Mr. Driller, Peggle, Dungeon Defense and iDig It - just to name a few.

So, what does the new price point for iPod Touch mean? Well, as a parent I know what I'll be buying my kids for their portable gaming console.

An iPod Touch with a $30 iTunes gift card.

This gives them anywhere between 10 and 25 games and still works out cheaper than a DSi or PSP with a game. Plus it plays music and has loads of free games for when they spend all their credit :-)

I figure that if I, as a parent, am thinking this then there must be a whole lot of other parents with the same thought. If I was Sony or Nintendo I'd be a little worried right now.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Adventure Web

Adventure Web

Back in the early to mid 90's I was heavily involved in making adventure games.

Despite only releasing Flight of the Amazon Queen for Amiga and PC, I had worked on a number of prototypes and near completed games including Stereo Jack (a brightly colored and humorous cyber-punk adventure that we called "cyber-clunk"), Gruesome Castle (a kids adventure game in full 3D that was almost completed but we had to move on to other projects when our publisher pulled out) and Monsters of Airie Deep (a sort of 3D adventure RPG)... and the list goes on.

But one idea I recently found stashed away on my hard drive caught my attention. This was Adventure Web. Conceived in 1995, the concept was a user created universe of small adventure worlds that connect together much like web pages do, with items and puzzles spanning the web in an ever expanding open ended game. The game was based on the Amazon Queen JASPAR engine, but modified for the web.

It was a nice idea, but like some things I do, it was a little too ambitious and a little ahead of the curve. Anyway, I've uploaded the document for you to peruse.

Click here to download and read Adventure Web in PDF format

I wrote the doc almost 15 years ago and it's an interesting insight into what I was thinking back then. It's also a fascinating reflection on how things have progressed as the internet has evolved - read the How Is Money Generated? section for a good example.

Ultimately I never developed the project and moved on to other things, like founding Krome Studios and creating TY the Tasmanian Tiger... but since then it's great to see that Facebook has made the creation of similar persistent game worlds a piece of cake.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Flight of the Amazon new interface video

The new improved interface for Amazon Queen is getting great reviews. John Davison of What They Play had this to say:
We've tried out the new system and it works very well. So much so, that returning to the drag-based interface of Monkey Island now seems remarkably sluggish.

So rather than trying to explain how the cool the new interface works on the iPhone you should watch this video instead:

Click here to get Flight of the Amazon Queen now.

In related news, iPhSoft, the publishers of Amazon Queen have just released Simon the Sorcerer, another classic point and click adventure game from the nineties - and it also sports the brand new touch interface.

And it doesn't end there, Charles Cecil is bringing Beneath a Steel Sky to iPhone soon - sporting some design tweaks as well as a new intro by Dave (Watchmen) Gibbons. You can read more about that game here.

It's shaping up to be a great year for adventure game fans - all thanks to the iPhone.