Game Programmer’s Block

Every now and again, you can be writing a game and be really enthused about it… and then suddenly your mind just goes a blank. All feelings about the game just strangely dissolve, and no matter how much you try to motivate yourself to continue writing it, you just can’t be arsed.

Unfortunately, Monster Mash has succumbed to this phenomenon. There it languishes, a year after we started it, still going nowhere. But fear not! This happened during Titan Attacks too, and what we did to get around that was write Ultratron instead. And then we went back to Titan Attacks and made it the best space invaders game ever (in our humble opinion of course).

So what has taken the place of Monster Mash? Well, the game we are now working on – and getting quite into with much enthusiasm and aplomb – is code named Treasure Tomb, and it might end up staying with that name too because I like it. It’s beginning to look a bit like this:


That’s the grassy bit. Eat flowers. Yum.


This one looks like the original Pac-Man.


This looks rather like the underground passages one might find in a volcano. Or Hell. I like Hell.


And here’s a dark and futuristic hi-tech “base” of some sort.

What’s the game all about then? Well, it was originally scribbled down on a bit of paper as the “scrolly dot munching shooter”. Imagine Pac-Man with a gun, inside a massive 100×100 screen world that scrolls, with a few treasures and powerups scattered about, and a few puzzles based on flicking switches and opening locks with keys. And there you have it. The core gameplay comes from Time Bandit for the Atari ST and Amiga, and of course we’re puppyfying it somewhat with powerups, lots of dots to eat, and lots more puzzles to solve.

Right now I’m half way through writing the map editor, which may or may not make it in to the released game. Chaz is busy turning those mockup screenies you see there into real tilesets for use in the game.

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