Archive for the 'Work' Category


Looking for a 2D artist

Edit: The position has been filled!

I’m looking for a 2D artist for characters, environments and UI. This is for game assets, although there will be a bit of concept work around characters, animals and buildings.


  • Intermediate-level Photoshop or GIMP knowledge. Or some other program that spits out PSDs.
  • Characters with Western-style animation influences.
  • Flair with nature scenes and foliage.

Extra points for:

  • A lush shading style for backgrounds.
  • Based in Wellington.

This will be a work-for-hire contract gig over the course of several months starting November-ish (I’m flexible on the timing. Let’s chat).

Portfolios to:


Progress Update

What I’ve been up to lately:

  • I’ve been pitching a concept for a tree-top city builder game, that’s too large for me to self fund.
  • I shifted house.
  • I added ramps to Pinballesque. This turned out to be circuitous. I figured that moving from a 2D to a 3D physics engine would be the simplest way to achieve it, and might get me more realism.
  • After the reimplementation I wasn’t very impressed with PhysX. It had trouble with really fast rotation which I ended hacking by making the ball slide instead of roll (And yes, I did crank the max angular velocity). The continuous collision detection in the version I was using wasn’t reliable, which is bad news for something as fast as a pinball. Initially I tried to implement habitrails as extruded tubes of collision, but a mess of thin collision geo seemed like a far worse solution that just hacking it with a spline.
  • After I wrote my custom physics for rolling along a spline, I went back to Box2D. Now I have a 2D table surface with 3D ramps and rails, and rail visuals courtesy of Curvy. It works well.

I’ll have a new build up after I’ve built a table that does a decent job of showing off ramps.


Moving targets a non-starter

I spent a big chunk of this week trying out moving targets in Pinballesque. They’re tempting because they’d let me build a game out of spawn patterns and movement behaviour rather than table geometry, which would be less work. It turns out they suck pretty hard in this game:

  • The combo system is all about making patterns, so inadvertent hits are really punishing. This rules out spawning a big jumble of objects. In Breakout it’s a good thing if the ball makes it through the outer layer and starts bouncing out of control in the interior layers, but that’s death with this combo system. I wound up restricting them to a single layer and tried to make sure the return angles were fairly straight.
  • I needed to move the objects very slowly, so the player has time to wait for the ball to roll to the right part of the flipper. To change the configuration of objects at more than a glacial pace, I rhythmically pulsed the movement.
  • I needed to make the objects fairly large as well.

Add it all together and the experience isn’t really that much different from a series of ramps that periodically cycle through colours.


Leaving PikPok

I quit PikPok this week. I’ve been at Sidhe since mid-2006, and working in the PikPok mobile label since the start of 2010. I’ve met some startlingly talented individuals there and it’s a shop with great prospects, but it’s time for a change. I’m quitting to work full time on my own projects – I want a train-wreck I can call my own.

When I’ve got something ready for public consumption, I’ll announce it here.


Flick Kick Football is #1 in the UK

Flick Kick Football is #1Some weeks ago I was the code lead working on a little soccer game for iPhone called Flick Kick Football. To my great satisfaction, it’s currently the top selling iPhone application in the UK.

Updated, 17 July 2010:

…Aaand Angry Birds is back on top again. 16 consecutive days in the top spot – we’re pretty happy with that!


I made a random number god!

Any Nethack player will tell you that RNG doesn’t stand for Random Number Generator, it stands for Random Number God! The RNG’s divine providence influences every aspect of Nethack.

I’ve built a Random Number God of my own (ably assisted by Jeremy Lai). It procedurally generates levels for Bird Strike, PikPok‘s latest iPhone game. Level generators are close to my heart, so I’m thrilled to have worked on it!

I’m inordinately proud of Bird Strike. It’s not the most high-tech project I’ve ever worked on, and not the most ambitious, but it more than makes up for it with quality. The rest of the team have put together a game that’s pure, fun and charming. I really hope the fans enjoy my contribution to it.

Here’s the iTunes link.


Day Job Announced!

swcwrhI can finally say what I’m working on! It’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes.

Or as I prefer to call it, Craig Timpany’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes: Episode 1: Watch Out For Bears. They still let me master submission discs, so who knows, maybe that’ll be the final title*.

Here’s the press release.

Naturally I’ve got to be pretty careful about what I say about projects in public (Hi employers! It’s good to see I’m developing some Google pagerank), so if you read this post aloud, you should read it in the manner of someone who has a gun held to their head.

If there’s one thing I hate about working in console games, it’s the bullshit secrecy around projects. You spend 75% of the time unable to say anything about your job, and the remaining 25% unable to say anything candid. There’s really only one reason for it: if you ration out information, you gain control over media coverage. Journalists will do terrible things for an exclusive. Never believe anything you read in a preview. Only pay attention to reviews.

* Yes, employers, this is an invitation to take me off build duty. I am clearly not to be trusted and should be assigned to more interesting things.