Space

Space is a subject I’ve been in love with my whole life. As a kid, I dreamed of growing up to be an astronaut (far later in life than most kids would consider normal).

From my childhood bedroom

As a game designer, fully half of my prototypes have something to do with space – as a setting, theme, or even a character. Still, it’s something I’ve struggled to express in gameplay. Initially, I just wanted to replicate the cool, dynamic visual of moving through space on a cosmic scale, the kind of thing they do on the typical Discovery Channel show or NOVA special.

Space physics prototype

But I also want to create games that reflect my personality, and that’s a little hard to do with an n-body physics simulation. So I kept experimenting.

One of the concepts I found myself repeatedly drawn to is a mix of strategic management and tactile action. I decided to pursue that idea with a game about creating and managing a solar system – small enough scope to be practical on a phone, but complex enough to yield a rich field of possibilities. That’s what I’m working on now.

Murphy’s Toast

Anything that can go wrong will land butter-side down. I’ve noticed a couple issues creep up in the newly-released production version of BuildDown, mostly related to external components (coughmicrosoftads), and am hard at work on an update that should make everything work as nicely as it did when we were testing it. Thanks to all the early adopters for your patience and understanding.

BuildDown for Windows Phone

Pretty soon, we’re going to debut our inaugural release, BuildDown, for Windows Phone. It’s a fast-paced new take on the falling-blocks puzzle genre. It takes a clever mix of strategy, skill and luck to master. And it’s gracefully crammed with all the hottest features.

But I have to be honest. BuildDown is not exactly a “new” game. The idea is one I’ve been playing with since college. It has a special place in my heart as my “hello world” of game development. And with every iteration, it gets a little better, a little more refined.

For example, putting the game on the phone is the best thing that ever happened to it. Tap to collapse columns. Drag to move blocks. Shake the device to loose a few extra pieces into the playfield. Everything is just so visceral and intuitive on a phone. It’s quickly become my favorite development platform (which is a subject I’ll cover in more depth in a future post).

I hope people play and enjoy BuildDown. It’s a game I’m extremely proud of. A chip off the old block, even.