rAge 2015: No More Boxes!, Arduino & NagJam

Twoplus Games went to rAge 2015, and it was fantastic!

There were 14 local developers at the home_coded section at rAge this year, everyone showing off their awesome talent and games.

We took along three games: No More Boxes, Beat Attack and Invader Crush, because we couldn’t decide on one. We made a cool Arduino game selector gadget:

(The Arduino game setup. Thanks to IGN Africa for the photo)


Most of the time we spent playing No More Boxes!




We shared a space with Paul, creator of Clutchfighter:

(Steven Tu and Paul Campbell Potgieter, photo courtesy of IGN Africa)




Just before rAge, NAG put out a challenge – create a game in 72 hours (with the theme “Don’t Touch That”), and show it off at rAge. We made a game for it – Royal Smash Royale, a four-player arena where players have a hammer and must smash a horde of pesky critters – but watch out – every once in a while King Roy declares one of the species protected, and you mustn’t touch them, or you’ll incur the ire of the Royal Turrets of Protection Policing!

The game was SO GOOD (but not too good) that it won 4th place where a 4th place wasn’t planned initially. NAG created a spot just for this game, and for that we are eternally grateful (and bemused)!




Here are the bits of coverage that we’ve seen so far on our appearance at rAge, thanks to the press for playing our games with us 😀


In all, rAge 2015 was a fantastica experience. A great big thanks to NAG for organising, and for everyone in MakegamesSA for pulling together and making it happen as a collective!

Loved my Ludum Dare #33 – PokEscape

TL;DR: Had an amazing Ludum Dare, one week to go for rating LD33 games, so go play my game (available as web, windows, osx, linux):

Play PokEscape now!




Interpretive Dance


Last Ludum Dare, I went in with pre-conceived notions of what I was going to make, and I felt it would have been better if I didn’t. This time, I went in with a blank canvas. Hell, I didn’t even look at the theme list to prepare myself.

The theme was You Are the Monster – a theme quite a few jammers bemoaned because it’s quite close to a theme a few LDs back – You Are the Villain. I wasn’t around back then (darn kids, right?), but I vaguely had the feeling it was done before. I didn’t care though, brainstorm commenced, there were a few decent ones, but when our chatter made me laugh out loud, I knew I had to do it;

You’re a monster. You’re a pocket monster (pokemon). You’re the lamest pokemon ever. You’re Magikarp. No, you’re so lame, you’re Magicrap. But you want to be the best you can be. Which is Gyrados. No, Gyradeuce. The crap puns flowed. I laughed, and off I went.


A stealth game where you have to eat your cover


That was the final destination of the core mechanic brainstorm, and that turned out to be super important. There were many interpretations of that core mechanic alone – Initially the game was not going to be on a grid, and physics-based, so you would dash around the place and slide and roll, etc. A turn-based version was also considered. But eventually a real-time, grid-based system was decided upon because it was actually the most predictable in terms of building and balancing.


Art priorities: 1. Fast, 2. Acceptable


The process was fairly straightforward, I made placeholder art because I didn’t want to spend too much time on art in the beginning, and just like the previous LD, I didn’t really get a chance to update them later. I think this is pretty much going to be the norm rather than the exception. Make okay placeholder art, but don’t waste time on them initially.

I’m privileged in this regard because I’m an artist/designer primarily. But don’t worry, what advantage I have on art I make up in shortcomings on my coding side.


Three dee two dee


The one interesting thing that I feel like is worth talking about technically and art wise is the 3D/2D effect that I have, where the sprites order correctly. Anyone who knows about z-sorting knows it’s a chore, and I didn’t feel like making the game constantly read y values and re-assigning them to different layers at runtime. So I tinkered and came up with this:


By tilting all the sprites at an angle, they overlapped correctly without having to programmatically set each sprite’s layer at runtime. The camera is a perspective camera with a limited field of vision, so it looks 2D, but is set in 3D.

I really liked how the effect came out – there’s a little 3Dness to it but still has the 2D charm that I love. And I didn’t need to make polygons 😛


In action


Initial feedback on the game was super cool 🙂 It’s currently sitting on 110 ratings, which I think is the highest I’ve had (though I can’t confirm this, don’t know how to look up past rating counts).

There’s also been a bit of coverage by some really awesome people 😀

By Indiegames.com

By Jupi

By AmyNapkins

By LarryChupacabra


Thanks for reading! If you have a moment, try it out for yourself?

Play PokEscape


Postmortem: Mecha Cop 2875 – Ludum Dare #LD32

Never ever miss a Ludum Dare if you can help it. I missed #LD31, and I made damn sure I would make this one.


Which is actually pretty fun. However – a confession – I went into this jam with a preconceived idea of what I wanted to make, and just kinda rolled with the theme. I wanted to make a mecha platformer, and mecha kinda fit “an unconventional weapon” (no not really, I know), so I just went with it and made:

(Easter egg: 2875 is a… visual pun on 2015. 8 looks like 0 and 7 looks like 1)


A visual post-portem

When I first got the riding in a mech mechanic going I was ecstatic:


And then I got the plough-through-the-civilians-if-you-were-running-in-a-mech mechanic  :


Then I got to set up a bit of a level with a base of operations:


Slowly but surely, mission one, with mech destruction mechanics:


Eventually and finally, after the Compo period was over, I got to doing some art. so late!



The mechs made of cubes were only ever meant to be programmer art to be replaced later. But then I ran out of time and just animated them instead of upgrading them. And surprisingly, they turned out alright. Mecanim may be unwieldy, but it’s very very useful for doing things on the fly.





In retrospect, what went right:

  • Going in with an idea of what to make. Having a goal is actually a good thing.
  • Gameflow polish – I had a title screen, a completable game that had a start, a middle and an end, and a scoring system, and that’s quite valuable. Jam games without a feeling of progression are easily ignored.
  • Visual polish – the mechs were made of cubes and was originally intended as placeholders, but they actually turned out pretty well once animated.
  • Visual polish – a variety of particle effects made the game feel quite lively.
  • Making an accessible single-player game as opposed to a multiplayer one that’s difficult to playtest.
  • I’m getting better at Unity, so things went a lot quicker.
  • Using an existing and open-source platformer controller (some may see this as cheating, but I really don’t see the point of re-inventing the wheel each time in a jam, I already made a horrendously messy platformer controller last jam.)
  • I slept. About 3-4 hours each night, it made the waking hours that much more productive.

Annnnd what went wrong:

  • Going in with an idea of what to make – My goal (make a mech platformer game) completely stifled creativity and I ended up with a bit of a limp, lifeless game thematically. Comparing my goal this time to the goal I had set for myself for the previous LD, this one was a bad idea.
  • Overscoped. This is the number one killer of jam games. I fought this hard, but the fact remains I couldn’t make 48 hours and went into 72, and then STILL missed out on a lot of what needed to be in.
  • Too many interdependent systems – this was a cascading domino set that fell like this:
    I wanted mechs to be able to dash.
    I wanted the dash to carry a penalty.
    So, if you dash, you could accidentally stomp civilians and kill them.
    So I gotta make civilians.
    And of course criminals.
    Where would there be civilians and criminals? A fucking huge sprawling city.
    What do you do in a sprawling city?
    Missions, of course.
    What’s the point of getting into a mech if there’s only one?
    Let’s make three.
    What’s the point if they all do the same thing?
    Give them abilities.
    What’s the point of abilities?
    Give missions variety, mechs match mission parameters.
    Etc etc etc.
  • In the end, all those systems intertwined too much, building them took forever, and changing one meant changing a whole bunch of others.
  • No time to tweak and find the fun – this was a consequence of overscoping. Being too busy building interlocking systems.
  • Intended to do a 48 hours compo entry. Had to “upgrade” to a 72 hour jam entry.


In the end, I think this was the least successful of my three Ludum Dares, despite having experienced up and having made much more stuff in the time allotted than ever before. Sigh.

Although, it has seen pretty positive responses on the concept and its prettiness, which is encouraging. I’ve always wanted to make the mecha platformer, and it seems to be something people want. I just need to settle into the mecha seats and find the fun in the mechanics.

Give Mecha Cop 2875 a play!


Timeless Boardgames Day – Accessible Boardgaming

I went to a boardgame day yesterday, one that I hadn’t been to before, and of course, if I’m compelled to write about it, it must’ve been pretty great, right? Spoiler: Yes!

Mission, vision, etc

Firstly, Timeless Boardgames is a relatively new online shop in SA. I got in touch with them a while ago when I first heard of them, marketing an interesting concept of renting boardgames instead of selling them. It was an interesting concept with the goal of making boardgames more accessible to everyone – buying a big box of components is a big investment usually, and renting before buying would lower that barrier to entry for newcomers to the hobby who don’t necessarily do a ton of research online before purchasing, or know exactly what they may like or don’t like.

Unfortunately the rental model never took off, I’m sure with good reason. However, the heart of their mission: Making boardgames more accessible, lives on in these Timeless Boardgame Days.

Try before you buy. Heck, just have fun.

This is the point of their boardgame days, and that makes quite a subtle but very interesting difference.

The typical boardgame days we find around are a hobbyist’s gathering. The message is usually: “Everyone bring games, anyone can play anyone else’s game!”. With the secondary message “Don’t have games? Don’t worry! We all love to share our games, just come!”. While the boardgame community is very welcoming, newcomers don’t understand that, and are often daunted by the thought of “I shouldn’t go if I don’t bring games”.

Timeless Boardgame Days flip that on its head – the message is specifically “Come play if you don’t have games!” – they have a huge selection of open games (almost the largest single-ownership collection I’ve ever seen) for you to play, and every month they open new games based on a voting system – you can vote on which game you want to see in the next Timeless Boardgame Day if you’re at the event, which is very fun.


A day out

This focus accessibility has made these day events very successful in a short time. There is a cover charge of R60, but that’s really nothing for a day’s entertainment.

The venue is spacious, clean, with nice sturdy chairs. So often cheap plastic chairs get destroyed (granted the laughs those generate when it happens are great, but I’d much rather not see potential injuries)

You get free tea, coffee, juice, biscuits, brownies, etc etc. The desserts are a really nice touch, and lunch can be bought at a reasonable price. It was a boerewors roll, and you’re free to top it up with a selection of salsa, which is also a nice touch, and doesn’t remind me of the usual convention food standards.

Great company is to be had as everyone is super friendly and there are always staff on hand to explain or run the open games. Non staff are also more than happy to play with too.

Overall, Timeless Boardgame Days is yet another great addition to the growing list of places to play boardgames in Joburg!


I’ve put the details in my Ultimate Joburg Boardgaming Guide 🙂






Beat Attack + missiles + turbo = 0.06 update

We’ve been hard at work on Beat Attack, and it has resulted in a nice update both visually and mechanically.

Look at the difference! 😀



New features include:

Character select + Speed select. You can mirror match too!


The Bear has chuck attacks:


And Landshark has missiles!

And there’s a turbo speed setting that goes up to 170bpm


You can now play it live on Gamejolt, where you can IMMEDIATELY LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS OMG INTERNET POWER




It’s now got its very own page right here.

And we’ve started a the Beat Attack devlog on makega.me to document its progress.

Thanks for keeping tabs on us and Beat Attack!

♩♩ Beat, beat, beatbeat, beat beat beat beat beat, beatbeat, beat beatbeat, beat beat beat… 😀