Monday, 9 November 2015

British Rail Gothic

This may give you some context for what follows: Regional Gothic meme.
  • Your train terminates unexpectedly at Crewe. You get another train, which promises to get to your destination, but after an hour travelling through the dark you arrive back in Crewe again. The next train does the same, and the one after. There are no exits from the station, just more platforms, more trains glistening wetly in the rain.
  • The train stops in the tunnel and the lights go off. This happens every day, and every day, as you sit in the darkness, you can hear… scraping sounds on the roof of the train. Chitterings. Once, something banged into the window right behind you, and you heard a feral cry. You pretended not to notice. You all pretend not to notice.

Sunday, 2 August 2015


I now have a Twitter feed. In the absence of blog posts here, you might find something interesting there.

Saturday, 13 June 2015


OMUK are veterans of voice recording for video games. Based in London and founded in 1996, they have recorded voice for more than 600 games, including The Witcher, The Book of Unwritten Tales, and Telltale Game's Game of Thrones. So when I and a dozen other indie game developers were invited to an evening at their studio I was surprised to discover how small an outfit they are.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Automated testing in game development

Automated testing in game development is practiced by some companies, but it is, to my knowledge, not common and not discussed much on the web. I am attempting to apply my four years of experience as a developer at LShift, which is not a games company, to my new life as an indie game developer.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Neverending backpack: A hack of Doctor Magnethands

My own work. Source images: This lab coat from
Gentleman's Emporium, used with permission, and 
this magnet, used under licence.
I have previously written about Doctor Magnethands, a light-hearted party-game/story-game where a band of heroes try to stop the Doctor from destroying "the earth by firing his radioactive rocket castle on the moon into the White House on Christmas Eve".

I was asked to run Doctor Magnethands for a friend's stag party by the best man. He sent around an email which pitched the game as Jon (the stag) trying to rescue his kidnapped bride-to-be and the rest of us trying to stop him. That's a little different from the original game. In fact, it is inverted - instead of a single GM (Doctor Magnethands) presenting challenges for the rest of the group to overcome, it is one player overcoming challenges set by the rest of the group. Here is how I made it work.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

What is the "Old School Renaissance"?

Return to The Temple of Illhan

Copyright  Dyson Logos. Used under these terms.
The Old School Renaissance, or OSR for short, is about playing and re-interpreting the original editions of Dungeons & Dragons which were released in the 70s and 80s. I have become very interested in OSR D&D in the last few months, and I am now running a campaign with some friends. I want to write about our game here on my blog. However, not everyone is familiar with this kind of game - this has certainly all been new to me in the last few months. So in this post I'll sketch out the nature of the game and in future posts I'll go into more detail.

First of all, I would like to thank Eero Tuovinen for his writing on this topic, and in answering the questions I posed to him.

There are many different views on what OSR means. What follows is just a description of the kind of game that I mean when I say "OSR".

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Help John Harper make more great, free games

The Owl, from Lady Blackbird

John Harper is the author of, among others, Lady Blackbird, Danger Patrol, Ghost Lines, Ghost/Echo, and Lasers and Feelings. He made all these free games while working at his day job, and most of his games are Creative Commons licensed, meaning they are free to play, remix and share. He wants to spend more time making great, free games, and so he has launched a Patreon to get some finance.

What is a Patreon, you say? Patreon is a crowdfunding platform. Unlike Kickstarter, which is about getting a big pile of capital for a single project, Patreon allows you to pledge some money - $1, $5, $100 - to the creator, every time they release something. You do this because you trust that you will enjoy and appreciate most things this author creates, or just because you want to support them. You can cap your monthly payments, so if the author goes on a publishing spree and makes ten things in one month, you don't pay loads of money unexpectedly.