Trailer Maker: Desktop Dungeons: Enhanced Edition

Cool Your Jets, Desktop Duneons, Goat, QCF Design

This is a very long overdue post, but I’m happy to finally be getting around to sharing this. Following on the Kickstarter video that Cool Your Jets made for Cadence, we were approached with a cool proposition from Cape Town game creators QCF Design. The studio was plotting the launch of an enhanced edition of their cult hit Desktop Dungeons. They wanted us to make a trailer it.

DD Trailer delivery_00692Being fans of the studio and the game, we were obviously really keen to take them up on this offer. Additionally, the creation of game trailers is a pretty great venture for a team of animators that want to spend their days working on games. Understandably, our response to QCF’s invitation was a very loud “hell yeah!”

DD Trailer delivery_01120

Fast forward a few weeks, and we’re right in the middle of making said trailer. The timeline is insanely tight, but with the support we’re getting from QCF the trailer is shaping up to be something very special. Working alongside the studio’s artists, Dorianne Dutrieux and Daoyi Liu, we’re able to realise the Desktop Dungeons world in an awesome, imersive way that we’re all really stoked with.

DD Trailer delivery_00561Fast forward a matter of days and the trailer’s done! Desktop Dungeons: Enhanced Edition goes live! Response to the trailer is great, and for me, it’s just awesome seeing something we made showing up on Steam.

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 1.56.19 PMAll in all, a whirlwind project with results we were very proud of. I’m hoping we get some opportunities to make more game trailers soon. For now, here’s the debut effort in this corner of animation!


SFA Beta Thank You!

Cape Town, Community, Illustration, Local Multiplayer, Make Games SA, South Africa, super friendship arcade, Thanks

This past Saturday a small army of friends banded together to throw Super Friendship Arcade: Beta. The night was a phenomenal success, leaving all involved with feelings warm and fuzzy and hands red and tingling from so very many high fives.

I’ll soon pen a proper report back on the night, but for now I figured I’d share the extensive, heartfelt “thank you” that we sent out to all involved. And it starts like:
IMG_6042“Wow! We’re completely overwhelmed and blown away by what went down last night! It couldn’t have been more awesome. We want to say some massive thank yous to everyone who made the night the amazing event that it was.

Thanks so much to The Manila Bar for giving us such an ideal new home. The space felt like a perfect match! The Karaoke was such a nice addition!

Thanks to all the international developers who’s games we showed off.

Special thanks to all the local game makers for their awesome contributions to the night. Thanks to all who built hardware and controllers. Thanks to everyone that joined us for any of the jams that helped shape this party. We couldn’t have been more stoked with the huge collection of fantastic, locally-built elements we had in The Arcade last night.

Thanks to all the friends that volunteered to help make the night happen. Your time, energy and support means the world to us.

Thank you to all that helped spread the word about this night. To anyone that got the gospel out there, we really appreciate your posts, shares, words and enthusiasm!

Lastly, thanks to everyone that came through, played games, high-fived strangers and made this night the amazing success that it was. We couldn’t have asked for a more awesome collection of superfriends! Thanks to each and every one of you for being a part of our little utopia! With your support, we were able to cover the night’s expenses, and beyond that made a profit on the whole venture. While we still need to figure out what we want to get with it, these funds will be going towards procuring electronic components to build new custom controllers and buying elements for new gaming stations. We’re very grateful to be able to throw these parties, and beyond that, it’s amazing that we’re able to build up our resources to make each arcade bigger and better than the last.

Once again our most sincere thanks and atomic high fives to you all. We love you guys!”


SFA Beta Lineup and promo video!

super friendship arcade

Last week a did a post lamenting my life becoming a case of way to much work and way too little play. I’m very happy to report the tides have changed since then; work has calmed down quite a bit and I’ve had some really good time to work on Saturday’s Super Friendship Arcade, and a trio of games for the night.

I’ll post more on the games soon, but for now, I thought I’d share my two latest creations for the event. First, we’ve got the lineup poster for the night:
We’re really excited about this collection of games we’ll be showing off. It’s especially great being able to count so many “SA”s next to titles. The night is going to be a great representation of the combined efforts of developers from across SA and I look forward to there only being more local games ansd hardware to show off at future parties.

Then there’s this little sucker. I’ll let him speak for himself:

As I type this, I’m on the tail end of having worked through the night to get this video finished. Under any other circumstances I’d be feeling a little sorry for myself. However, having pulled an all-nighter for something as great as an SFA promo, I can only be filled with joy.

Super friendship Arcade Beta is going down on Saturday night at Manila Bar. If you’re able to make it through, this night might just change your life.

Snow Cones – a dessert dating-sim

Dating Sim, Ludum Dare, Snow Cones, Team Lazerbeam

Snow-cones-03I’ve been holing back on sharing this, as it’s pretty half-baked. With the exciting stuff going down over the next while, I doubt Team Lazerbeam will be baking this treat any more, any time soon, so figured I may as well put this out there.
Snow-cones-01Snow Cones was a Ludum Dare entry, jammed between Richard, Jason and I. Rich coded the whole thing, Jason played and recorded a bunch of songs with an acoustic guitar and I took lead on art (while the rest of the team all made contributions on this front).
Snow-cones-07Taking the theme of “an unconventional weapon” we focused on the idea of love as the most powerful weapon of all. The basic concept of Snow Cones (a sweet game about two icecream cones enjoying a date in the snow) is one I’ve had knocking around in my head for a year or so. I showed Rich some concept art for the idea, and, being pretty in line with the kind of emotive experiences he, Jay and I have been interested in playing with, thought it was something we should pursue.

Snow-cones-05Deciding to try make the game in 72 hours, Rich and I laid out the basic design: the player would take the role of a lonely gender-neutral icecream cone, they’d play through preparing for, and heading to a date, and then be presented with a non-linear series of date activities, while growing closer to their love-interest.
Snow-cones-06This was a pretty ambitious concept for a 72 hour game and what’s more the jam overlapped with Jason and I finishing our trailer for Desktop Dungeons and Anja and I having an out of town wedding to attend. Needless to say I only got to spend a fraction of these 72 hours on the game. By the wee hours of Tuesday morning, with moments to go before submission, we made the call to drop all but one of the date activities. This meant many songs that were recorded, cones that were drawn and codes that were coded aren’t seen in the current build of Snow Cones. We do have every intention of integrating them when we have a chance, but for now;
Click here to play “Snow Cones: Half-frozen Edition”


Super Friendship Arcade Beta!

super friendship arcade

The Super Friendship Arcade is back!

South Africa’s greatest video game celebration will return on Saturday the 16th of May. The third night in the SFA series, the party will see The Arcade invading a brand new home; the excellent Manila Bar.

I’ve written at some length about the immense impact these nights have had on me. I’ve also written about awesome jams and hangouts and fun times that our gang has enjoyed in preparation of this next episode of SFA. Needless to say, now that it’s finally happening, I’m stupid exited for this.

We’re busy finalising the killer lineup of games that we’ve handpicked for the night; watch this space for details. If you’re the facebooking type, head here to RSVP and invite some of your own superfriends while you’re at it. Mega-godzilla-high-fives are guaranteed!


And on and on and on…


I have a lot of actual, exciting, game-related news to share, but first, here’s a small explanation as to why recently there’s been so little (read: zero) recent posts on exciting, game-related news. I’ve been busy. Very, very busy.

In the space of the last three weeks, from start to finish, Cool Your Jets made:

A 1 minute trailer for a South African game studio.

A 3 minute animation about recycling in Finland.
A 3 minute, pitch video for film-makers in The US.

There was also the juggling of the beginnings and endings of various other projects over this stretch. And sandwiched between all that, I squeezed in a poster design for the next Superfriendship Arcade, a poster for the UK tour of SA band Al Bairre, the finishing of a logo design for a friend and the co-creation of a little icecream cone dating-sim. Through all this, I’ve also been chipping away at a certain psychedelic, space-horror comic-book, which, as things have played out, might have been the most challenging project I’ve ever taken on.

I’m busy.

The past three weeks have been especially extreme, but mostly it’s just in keeping with the way this year has been heading. Day after day, week after week, it just feels like there’s more and more that I have to do. Finding the time to do what I want to do becomes an ever-growing challenge. And so, it’s now May. Four months into the year, I’ve barely posted any magic up here and the sum total of my game-making endeavors for 2015 are a half-baked dating-sim and a not even half half-baked platformer about dancing bears.

I don’t want to dwell on this for to long, but this blog is after all here to document the story of me making games. Right now this is the story: Ben has no time to make games and is barely keeping his head above water. I’m grateful as hell for all the work, and I do love my day job. But at the same time, it breaks my heart that I’m left with so little time to do the best thing I can imagine using my hands and brains for; making games.

This post isn’t me complaining, or acting defeated. The bottom line is only this; it’s tough trying to follow your dreams. Regardless of what kind of dreams these are, most anyone that does follow their’s will tell you the same. Right now, the only way I can make little bits of time for games is at the expense of sleep, or hanging out with Anja and that really sucks. So it goes.

I hope that not to long from now this story will be different. It’d be amazing if I just got to dedicate one solid day a week to making things for people to play. I hope that’s what my story will be in the not too distant future. For now, I’ll keep fighting to find the time, loosing out on sleep, scribbling messy sprite sheets and pushing on and on and on…