Well, we’re horribly behind on the whole website marketing etc thing. We thought that we’d wait a bit to send BlitzKeep out to reviewers, but holy moly somehow you all found it anyway! We’re incredibly flattered and humbled, but you’ve caught us with our pants down!

BlitzKeep’s website is (still very much under construction):

BlitzKeep was also release under our new game company, Flint Games. Grandendroit is unlikely to live on for much longer.

And if you haven’t gotten yourself BlitzKeep yet, get it here on the app store!
BlitzKeep on the App Store

Soon to come to Google Play and Android (expect it early next week).

If you would like to review BlitzKeep and need a promo code, or would otherwise like to contact me about it, please email me at:

Sloppy Sludge

Hello all 6 of my fans,

For funsies, I’ve just submitted a game called “Sloppy Sludge” to the app store. It’s a riff off Flappy Bird, except you play as some sludge going down a storm drain. Awesome! Torri Lindsay did the art. This is, of course, a way of trying to make this game PC enough for the App Store.

Editor Screenshot 1

The Story
Our tale begins with the chug of an automobile, the puff of a power plant. All that sludge has to go somewhere, and it’s often in our streets. The street cleaners then come by and clean all the accrued sludge away with their big brushes. And down the drain pipe they go. After a particular heavy rain, a nuclear accident, and some other stereotypical origin story nonsense, one particular piece of sludge became alive. Save it from decomposing!

This is a riff off the popular game, Flappy Bird, with similar gameplay. The difference is that it has Realistic Sludge Physics and the most satisfying squishy sounds you’ll ever hear outside of a gak factory. Also if you do well enough, you may even unlock a second Sludge Mode!

My high score is 56. Can you beat it?

Having issues with it? Why not get on Twitter and message me, @daemonpants. If that doesn’t work, shoot me an email, or leave a comment on this page.

Sloppy Turd

Hello all 6 of my fans,

For funsies, I’ve just submitted a game called “Floppy Turd” to the app store. It’s a riff off Flappy Bird, except you play as some poo going down a sewer. Awesome! Torri Lindsay did the art.

Sloppy Turd!

The Story
Our tale begins with the flush of a toilet. That satisfying sound commences the tale of a fresh poo and his quest to make it through a sewer without losing his sense of self.

This is a riff off the popular game, Flappy Bird, with similar gameplay. The difference is that it has Realistic Poo Physics and the most satisfying flatulence sounds you’ll ever hear outside of a spicy foods restaurant. Also if you do well enough, you may even unlock a second Poo Mode!

My high score is 56. Can you beat it?

Having issues with it? Why not get on Twitter and message me, @daemonpants. If that doesn’t work, shoot me an email, or leave a comment on this page.

Get you the demo!

Hey there!

If I met you at Good Game Club, it was awesome to meet you. 🙂 I hope you liked Travail.

If you didn’t get to play it and you wanted to, or you wanted to play more, we have available for free download the demo that we showed at Good Game Club.

Go get it!

It runs on Mac, PC, and Linux. Please let me know if you have any issues running any of the builds. There are some known bugs, but this game is still in heavy development, so hopefully you can deal with it. 😀

Thanks again for coming back to see Travail!

Travail showing Nov 13 at Good Game Club

On November 13th we’ll be showing Travail at the , an expo for indie games. There will be like 20 games there, from big names to smaller ones like us! If you want to meet us or get a hans-on play of the game, then get you there!

Casual Connect

We were at Casual Connect showing off Travail, and it was great! If you want to try the demo we were showing, get it below.

Mac OS X

Asymmetrical Multiplayer

I’ve got a Wii U, and I’ve had one since launch. Some people might scoff at that; hey, that’s cool. I generally play single player offerings on my Mac and use my consoles for party games. I have had an XBox 360 for 2 years and haven’t played it more than 6 or 7 times. Of the games I own, Nintendo Land probably gets the most time. Its big thing that it tries to push is asymmetrical multiplayer.

For those who don’t know what this relatively new term is supposed to mean, let me explain. Because one player has the game pad, which is basically a controller with its own screen, and everyone else has a wii remote, there are a lot of options open to make the game pad player function differently than the others. One of our favorite mini-games in Nintendo Land is called “Animal Crossing: Sweet Day.” In it, the game pad player controls two guards at once, and uses them to try to capture the other players before they gather a certain quota of candy. Because the game pad player has their own screen, they can go anywhere secretly, unlike in typical split-screen games.


I bring all this up because I think Nintendo is on to something with their asymmetric gameplay. Online multiplayer games have always done stuff like this, but there’s something awesome about all being in the middle of a room yelling at each other.

When we went to Indie Press Day, we got to watch a whole lot of people play Travail. We had two computers set up next to each other, and one of my favorite things about the event was cheering on whoever happened to be trying the game at the moment. There was a certain special moment when someone asked “can we play together?” I answered no, of course. But that little question and watching all these players got me thinking.

Travail’s at its most fun when you laugh together about how dumb Bones is being. The fact that he’s unpredictable but it’s “no sweat” to die is a big part of the game. Oh you idiot, you ran off the cliff. As such, the time reversal is key to keeping the game happy and not frustrating. I had thought about multiplayer options before, but really wasn’t sure how it would work. Two characters running at once? What if someone wants to reverse time? How does the camera work? It would have to be online-only. But time reversal just couldn’t happen. So you’d have to maybe remove reversal, but then the game wouldn’t really be all that fun. So I scrapped multiplayer, or at least put it aside.

But then watching people play and playing Nintendo Land gave me an idea. There are several distinct inputs that you perform as a player in Travail. Left-click for paths, right-click for walls, tap for jumps or to trip Bones, etc. Sometimes you’re switching between each so quickly it can be hard to keep them all straight. Oops, I drew a wall when I wanted a path! That can be funny, but also a bit overwhelming.

What if another player is drawing the walls, and you’re only handling the paths? Theoretically you could accomplish many harder tasks together, and likely would drive each other crazy at certain points. “Why did you put the wall there?” This kind of exponentially increases what’s fun about Travail in the first place. Not only do you have to wonder what Bones is going to do, you also need to deal with other players who may actively impede you!

An thus has resulted our own asymmetrical multiplayer. Each player gets their own pencil and can draw whichever mechanics are assigned to them, via a simple menu. To do this, I added keyboard support (use arrows to move the pencil around) and Xbox controller support. It seems fun so far, but I haven’t played it with anyone yet!

Screen Shot 2013-06-22 at 3.34.00 PM

Why did we lose a Death Boulder and gain a Travail?


Our longer-time fans, and those who saw us on The Next Game Boss, might remember that our game used to be called Death Boulder Bones. First it was a simple story about a guy trying to collect money, then that evolved into a guy trying to rescue his wife from a kidnapping… sort of. Then she’s, like, a vessel for Cthulhu, or something. It’s complicated.


The biggest lesson I learned from all the judges’ feedback, all the horrible (and sometimes nice) comments on YouTube, and how poorly our Kickstarter went, was that nobody was interested in some dude running in a temple – even if there was a twist ending. That’s all well and good. But – why would I care what other people are interested in? I don’t make indie games because I really give a damn what some 12 year-old on the other end of YouTube says. They can go make a game if they have a better idea. Then they’ll learn how bloody difficult it is.

But then I realized something, and it was something very very important.

I don’t care about a dude running in a temple either. Woah. Now there was a big realization. I was so invested in loving our unique gameplay mechanic that I didn’t put much thought into anything else. I knew the art was kinda generic and meh to me. I knew the storyline was poorly thought out and was a side note. But I just didn’t really put two and two together until so many people told me the same thing.

I minored in creative writing, and I have something like 300 pages finished in a novel. I’ve written lots of short stories, and started other novels. I even used to write a webcomic. I like to write. So why the hell was I letting it play second fiddle to some gameplay mechanic? Why wouldn’t I put them hand in hand? Perhaps more importantly, why wasn’t I making a game that really meant something to me?

The most important thing to me about a game is for it to be fun. Fun to play, and fun to make. As such, it’s what I tend to focus on. But I also have not gone the whole mile to completely finish a game before (even though I have at least 20 unfinished games and more ideas than that). At some point, perhaps from spending hours and hours working on Travail and from losing all this sleep and social time, the project jumped the gap between a hobby and something important to me. It became something I couldn’t stop working on, and it went way beyond just being a fun thing.

And that’s when I really decided – this game needs to convey to the fans how important it is to me. And a dude running in a temple does not convey that. A dude running in a government facility, or an alien world, or another dimension, also doesn’t convey that. So, what does? I thought a lot about it. For months, at least, I tried to figure it out. Then, one night, it all fell together in a sudden realization as I was trying desperately to sleep.

This game is about me.

Not really me, but it’s about an artist who is modeled off me. And modeled off any other person in the world who has really bled to create. Strived so hard to get their gushing braincase ideas to translate to a page or a computer. He or she is creating a comic book. That book might be about a dude in a temple, but that’s not the real story here. The real story is a creator struggling to get his words out. To make a story that works.

And now I’m in love with this project.

New Art Sampler

Here’s a little sneak peek at what we’ve been doing. Does it look comic-booky to you? Still some work to do, like retexturing the walls, the character, changing the HUD, etc. Wait until you see the pages flip…

New Style WIP 4/17/2012

Graphics style experimentation!

In our minds, one of DBB’s biggest issues right now is that it looks kind of bland and generic at this point. The art is not bad, it just doesn’t have a specific and interesting style. Since we’re indies and we can do whatever we want, it’s kind of weird we weren’t pushing the graphical envelope.

Also, we’re sort of all over the place with what the story might be. Bones is chasing down his wife, who has gotten into some deep trouble somehow. There is a random spirit helping him (the player) who is somehow related. And no, the spirit is not his wife. 🙂 We have some details here that we think are cool and fun, and a bit of dialogue written. But, just like the art style, it lacks a specific direction and most important it lacks impact.

So we’re looking at ways to improve both those issues. Step one is to turn this from a game with comic book cutscenes to a straight-up-diggity comic. The entire game takes place as a comic book story. Cool beans! And the main character isn’t some random spirit, but in fact is the animator. All this time we’ve been saying “you draw walls and jumps.” But now you literally draw walls and jumps.

The first step is to make the game look more like a comic book. We’ve decided to go drastic, and convert the entire game to halftone! So I wrote a nifty shader that does the work. Basically we want the game to look a lot like this classic Superman image:


It still needs a lot of work, but here’s some progress.

Black & White Halftone

Black & White Halftone

The above was my first go. It only has black and white halftoning, and it has no outlines or anything. You can tell it’s pretty difficult to make out, but it’s getting somewhere! The way halftone works is that the screen is filled with a bunch of dots, and the brighter something is the smaller the dot is. Look at Bones there and you can see how the white of his shirt causes very small dots.

First Color Halftone

First Color Halftone

Here’s the first shot at color! Using dots that are Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow (because old comics used CMYK printers), we can combine them to roughly produce any color. I also added some black outlines using object geometry, because otherwise it can be very difficult to make things out. The obvious weakness here is that everything becomes kind of uniformly washed out, aside from stuff that is closer to cyan, magenta, or yellow. Now you understand why old comics so often had characters with bright red, blue, and yellow outfits! Getting complex colors out of an old CMYK printer is difficult. The browns and tans above all look kinda bleh.

Yellow-Orange Experiment

Yellow-Orange Experiment

I experimented by dropping a yellow-orange cube in to see how it looks. The result is a gorgeous looking effect, basically exactly what we’re looking for.

Green Wall Experiment

Green Wall Experiment

That led me to try out making the walls a solid teal-green color. I think they end up looking great. With some gradient-like details, they’ll look much better I think.

RGB substitution for CMYK

RGB substitution for CMYK

Next I decided to see how things would look if I used Red, Green, and Blue dots. These are the color components that computers use to represent every single color you see on your monitor (and are the primary colors of light). Unsurprisingly, the image looks significantly clearer. The big problem now, though, is that the nifty effect is lost – it just kind of feels like a crappy filter over a normal game.

Ignoring Black

Ignoring Black

If you look at cool modern comics like Sin City, they generally have a few colors that really pop because they are sparsely used elsewhere. I decided to try doing this with specific colors. Here is when black or close-to-black are rendered solid (not using halftone). It’s definitely a little heavy.

Excluding Red

Excluding Red

And here is when we exclude solid red. I like this much better, and it’s more in line with what classic comics looked like.

Excluding all CMY colors

Excluding all CMY colors

Here is the final place we’re going to leave it for now. Anything that is close to one of the “primary” colors (that is, C, M, and Y, perhaps K (black) ) is excluded from the halftone. This makes the coins look particularly interesting because they stick out so much.

What do you guys think of this style?