Tuesday 29 November 2011

An Entrancing Post

Chip's Challenge, Epyx, 1989

As a kid I was into mazes. I mean, really into them. You know how some kids love to draw, and they'll come up to you with their drawings and make you guess what they are? And they're kids, so they don't know what normal people draw so it'll always be something weird like a man trapped inside a horse or a block of flats with eyes, and everyone will smile and gaze into the middle distance as they remember for a while what it was like to be a kid...

Well, I was into mazes. I'd come up to you and demand that you solve my maze. No adorably misshapen zebras, no fire engines, no smiling cats. Unless the cat was blocking a pathway in the maze. Then you'd need to go and fetch the catfood from the other side of the maze to get past the cat. And you'd need to ask the horse for help. And you'd need to talk like a horse.

S C OUT, Atreid Concept, 1992

When I got a bit older I got into computer games. Those two passions came together when I wrote a game called Blackshift. I was about 16, and didn't really know that much about computer programming. The game suffered from a horrible case of programmer art, and, as long as I'm using programmer as a euphamism for awful, programmer code. It stole most of its game mechanincs from a little-known DOS game called S C OUT, and what it didn't steal from that it stole from Chip's Challenge.

It became reasonably popular, though, and I've always thought it was a pretty good game. It was a few years before the whole 'indie game' thing happened, though, and it never got really big.


So, fast forward to now, and I'm thinking: I want to bring Blackshift up to date, re-write it with 3D graphics and decent code, secrets, achievements, online play, hats, DLC, FMV, FML, MySpace integration, microformats, bitcoins and the cloud. See if I can't sell it in one of these new-fangled app stores. And I know I've got precious little time to do it before the indie bubble bursts, the economy collapses and it's back to roaming the streets at night, gurning for bottle caps and foraging for bits of orange peel. So to help me with that, I thought it might be fun to do a dev blog! So welcome to that!


  1. RGA

    I always liked Blackshift and to think that it will be combined with Netshift's quirks and faubles, I almost farted!

    Lead on Mr. Carbon Business, toil in the darkness and the sea of storms to finish this projectile. Myself and Pov will visit here often, cheer you when you make progress and bash you with laser guided fraggles if you fail!


  2. Awesome. I always loved Blackshift, and even wrote about it a few years ago in my blog [1], I think it's a great puzzle/maze game.

    I would love to see it all revamped. And maybe then you can enter it into Steam Greenlight[2] and/or a Humble Indie Bundle[3].

    Good luck!

    PS: I know you know this sites, but just adding the URL for proper reference.

    [1] http://www.fepe55.com.ar/blog/2007/02/22/blackshift/
    [2] http://steamcommunity.com/greenlight/
    [3] http://www.humblebundle.com/


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