Philly Dev Night talk!

Cape Town, super friendship arcade, Talks, Team Lazerbeam

Tomorrow night I’ll be speaking at Philly Dev Night, the weekly meet up for Philly’s game-making community. I’m currently in town visiting some of my dear music-making friends, and figured I should totally see what’s happening in the city in terms of game development. I’m really looking forward to meeting some of the city’s local developers and sharing some stories about the exciting things happening in Cape Town.

Ben alt games poster

I’ll be chatting about Super Friendship Arcade, and the experimental events we’ve been putting together, as well as the endeavors of my alternative game band, Team Lazerbeam. The night’s happening at the Philly Game Forge, kicks off at 7PM and I’ll be up at 8!

team+lazerbeam team lazerbeam load screen title+screen pIZZA qUEST TITLE ART snow-cones-01


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”


Here we go magic.


And it starts like…

It’s strange seeing the first words of this new blog manifesting in front of me. Twenty. Twenty Two. Twenty four.

I wrote thousands upon thousands of words on my old blog; So Many Animal Calls. This happened between sometime in 2007 and October last year. That blog was, primarily, about music (or rather, adventures around music). Bands from Pretoria and DJs from Joburg and so many of the best moments of my life. Somewhere on that ugly blogspot, between those thousands of words, there are stories and pictures and comics about making robot suits with my friends, animating visuals for shows, performing visuals with keytars, playing other people’s songs for packed dancefloors, playing short animations for half-full cinemas, drawing heaps of kittens, traveling South Africa with some dear friends and other bits of The World with others.

This blog won’t be about any of those sorts of things. This blog is going to be about the one thing that, for years and years, I’ve found more exciting than anything else. This blog is going to be about games.

At the time of writing this, I’m a little over 31 years old. Ever since the first time I saw a Double Dragon arcade cabinet, I’ve dreamt of making my own games. I estimate that as at least 25 years worth of wishing. Now, in 2015, making games is no longer just a dream. At long last it’s becoming a reality.

I’ll surely ramble in detail about how this came to pass. For now, let me just say I’m so happy that the stars aligned. I was led to a tribe of incredible humans already making fantastic realities of their own dreams. They welcomed me into their chaotic, extended family. With a rotating cast of various family members, I worked on 10 game projects last year.  These times were some of the greatest creative experiences of my life. The best part is knowing there’s so very much more to come.
I’m so looking forward to writing about the things I’m going to make. I am just as enthused to write about the amazing things other people are making around me. I’m surrounded by a small army, comprised of some of the most creative, friendly, motivated, kind and brilliant people that I have ever met. It’s not going to suddenly happen with one game, but together, collectively, I’ve no doubt this gang is going to change this world. Imagining our own little realities and bringing them to life. Game by game, transform this world into a better place than it was when we got here. Thread by thread, reweave the fabric of The Universe.

No magic; just magic.