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The death of main menus

Posted by Rowan Powell on December 30, 2017 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Main menus were a staple of games when I was growing up and in many cases still are, at least on the PC platform. But there's a trend that swept the mobile game up by storm that I failed to notice and in hindsight, may have contributed pretty heavily to a lack of popularity for my mobile titles. Main menus are dead.

As arcades once did, the new generation of pick up and play gaming has an emphais of getting players in and getting them hooked as soon as possible. In an environment where ...

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Reward structure in Axe of Kings

Posted by Rowan Powell on October 16, 2016 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)

When working their way through a game, the player generally wants some form of payoff for their time and effort investment which can come in a range of forms depending on the game and the player;


  • Resources (Health, Strength, Currency)
  • Options (Abilities, unlocking something, combinations of effects)
  • Non-Mechanic rewards (Character outfits, story content, cool view)
  • Novelty (New abilities, enemies, area)


Axe Of Kin...

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First experience putting a game on GooglePlay

Posted by Rowan Powell on October 10, 2016 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Sun & Sky was my first experience making a mobile game, outside of small prototypes and tech demos and as such I made quite a lot of mistakes, which is exactly what I wanted/expected!


The first thing I had to deal with what making marketing material for the Play Store. As much as I have confidence in my art and design, marketing material is something far outside my usual remit, so not sure I did a great job with the work I did for that, though it seems passable enough t...

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Level structure in Axe of Kings

Posted by Rowan Powell on October 8, 2016 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)

During early playtesting for Axe Of Kings, I was looking out for how the players engaged with the various elements of the gameplay and given that I had revised the level layout before (As seen in an earlier blog post) I thought the maps were in a good spot and I could focus on the other parts of the game during testing. As it turns out, this was not the case.


The levels were now much more compact and meaningful to navigate given the pace of the turns and interacting with th...

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Why am I here? Why am I fighting this fight?

Posted by Rowan Powell on September 15, 2016 at 5:30 AM Comments comments (0)

There's an interesting psychology in how players approach certain genres of game due to their core motivations for playing those games. Fast paced cathartic shooters don't tend to invite much of a story (Though some do try to offer something up) as the player isn't looking for a narrative, just a setting to enjoy the mechanics and power fantasy. Strategy games demand an explanation of the setting, but once it's established often leave the player and the mechanics to fill in what is 'happening...

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Sun & Sky

Posted by Rowan Powell on September 15, 2016 at 4:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I worked on a small mobile game called Sun & Sky from mid July to the end of August over the summer, based off an old tactics based idea for a game that had been bouncing around my head for quite a long time now - reclaim the worlds from.


The core concept is inspired from a webgame I played as a teenager called Creeper World, essentially a never-ending flood of 'creep' pours from certain areas of the map and you need to hold it back while you push towards certain object...

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Designing Engaging Dungeons

Posted by Rowan Powell on April 21, 2016 at 6:30 AM Comments comments (0)

I've been making a lot of progress on Axe Of Kings, adding lots of new content and getting players to try it out so I can try to gauge what's fun and what really should get an overhaul.


The original level designs for Axe Of Kings used the algorithm from the AI demo with some tweaks to allow it to make bigger levels, which gave some really interesting results and are enjoyable to look at ... but not very fun to play. The issues with this sort of level design stems from the f...

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Code alone won't make a game

Posted by Rowan Powell on December 31, 2015 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)

So something that I've always struggled with, simply because it requires a bit of perspective shift from my default state, is that what is fun to create and let lose as a programmer, isn't always fun to play with as a player.

This may seem obvious to a lot of people, but there's a subtely to it that's important, many times I've found that the very clever and useful bit of code I wrote into a game, the player simply would never notice without being told or just doesn't care a...

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A deeper complexity to puzzle generation

Posted by Rowan Powell on September 1, 2015 at 5:45 AM Comments comments (0)

So in my most recent project I decided to make a puzzle game, but rather than just hard-code a whole ton of puzzles I decided to make the computer attempt it for me, with mixed results.

The algorithm that I built for this is fairly simple and is based of simulating a player 'solving' a puzzle that doesn't exist and building a solution to that effectively random wandering.


  • Pick a direction to move (Ideally not where we just came from, but sometimes thi...
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Quick level generation algorithm

Posted by Rowan Powell on July 18, 2015 at 5:00 AM Comments comments (0)

For my AI demo I needed a level for the player and the AI to face off inside which met a few simple criteria,

  • All places on the map can be reached from any other point
  • The map has a variety of open and more cramped areas
  • The map is complex enough in navigation that items have a reasonable distance between them and it's engaging to the player
After a bit of messing around with various approaches I was inspired to making something akin to this rougeli...

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