Cover art for Crisis, Captain!Everyone has had a fantasy of commanding a star ship on a mission of exploration through the galaxy. Now, you too can experience the thrill and the tension and the stress of starship command in Crisis, Captain!

Wormholes, abandoned space stations, arguments with your officers and hostile warships are just some of the things you are likely to encounter in an average mission. Can you complete it without your ship exploding, your crew dying or your officers revolting? Well, no, you can’t – one of those things will definitely happen, but how much can you discover before the end inevitably comes?

I’m soft launching my first game into the internet today. Crisis, Captain! is a free Android game and is still in development with new content and fixes being released semi-regularly. This is pretty much the first thing that I’ve ever created that has a certain degree of completion to it, the first finished project I’ve managed in Unity and the first game I’ve built for mobile.

Update: There is now a PC build available for Crisis Captain over on Itch.io – it is very much the definition of a lazy port, but it took me about five minutes to throw together. Basically I can see how tempting it must be for developers to make bad ports now.

You can download Crisis, Captain! for free from itch.io for Android and PC.

I have a belief that anyone trying to create anything will inadvertently create self portraits of themselves over and over again without even realising.

I have started working on some pixel art for a new project and was very proud of some alterations I made on my ‘Ding sprite’ from Ego to make him a low level dungeon-crawling adventurer.

 

 

I thought that looked pretty good, until my girlfriend noticed the following things:

1) That’s probably closer to my actual hair colour anyway.

2) I appear to be wearing that particular tee-shirt today.

Right down to the V-neck.

Score one for extra confidence in a theory, lose one for falling back into artistic self-insertion habits.

I am ever trying to learn the art of Game Design through trial and error, or as I like to call it, error and error (which if you learn by making mistakes is twice as efficient).

One element of the design process that routinely throws roadblocks up in my path is the graphical development.  When you start making your game, it is inevitably not going to look like a polished game unless you’re making text only interactive fiction, and even then you might end up changing the font.  This is unavoidable and is something that you shouldn’t be worried about, but there’s a balancing act here whereby you need to get it looking like something you’re at least partially happy with, otherwise you’re not going to work on the game at all.

I am awful at working on things at the best of times, but I so frequently get stumped by the issue of working with placeholder graphics.  I want the game to look like its polished state from phase one and that urge can damage development and general productivity.

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Chaotic Tortoise Studios (CTS) is an indie games development studio that exists largely only in my mind.

I like this sprite. This sprite is not a problem. I will probably post this sprite a lot because I like this sprite.

I’ve always appreciated that to make a video game it takes a lot of work and mastery of several different disciplines.  Despite this, I’ve discovered that I never actually really appreciated just how much of this work and mastery goes in to making even the crummiest of games.  Never again will I outright dismiss a title as bad or worthless without first spending a bit of time checking the small minor details that I have overlooked. 

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Despite being on the cusp of launching into my career as a profeshnul riter, I’ve been doing more work on fabricating my own computer games.  Putting the two together, I intend to therefore keep an ad-hoc log of my development process / journey / odyssey.  

 I’d like to say this is with the high-minded intention of helping other no-hope-want-to-be-developers like myself, but to be honest, it’s probably because I just like the sound of my own typing.

 Additional Notes:

All development-diary-like entries will now be included under the category Chaotic Tortoise Studios, and will be prefaced by CTS, because three letter acronyms (or as I call them, TLAs) are brilliant and everybody loves them.