Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Goodbye Ratmaze 1.0

Hi! Welcome back to the games.pixeljam.com blog. This week I would like to briefly touch on what's new with Gamma Bros, and then I think I'd like to take some time to reflect on a game Miles and I were developing last year that will probably never be finished that we call "Ratmaze".

So, first things first, a Gamma Bros update. Who are they again, you ask? Well, their names are Buzz and Zap, and they are brothers (by blood, although it's unclear exactly how), and they work together on a space station, doing some very important work (we think)..

They seem to be great with computers and are a bit on the strange side. I'd say Buzz (redhead) is a little more high-strung than Zap, who is more evenly balanced. they've both got girlfriends back on Earth, and the part of their lives that you, the player, will be involved with is getting them home from work safely. I'll get further into the history of these guys, where they made their first appearance, etc. another time.

As for what's new, Miles and I have both fortunately gotten a bunch of client design work recently, and since making a living is of primary importance, and cash reserves are becoming frighteningly low, that's where our time must be spent. We took many months off so that we could produce Gamma Bros and lived off savings & credit. Sadly,we haven't really worked on the game in over a week & I've also been having a rough time with my broken arm, but that's another story. We're hoping of course to find a way to make our living off of creative projects, retro games primarily. We truly want to make many great, fun games, we are just bursting & exploding with ideas and have about 6 or 7 games slated for development after Gamma Bros, including a sequel to Gamma Bros that will be a combo of spaceshooter, platform action game and adventure story. think Galaxian meets Robotron meets Master Blaster. maybe add Bionic commando in there..

Soo, speaking of games on hiatus, let me tell you a little about a little game that we were working on after we put our first large adventure game on indefinite hold. It was called "Ratmaze" and we took it as far as completing the game map, adding some cheese to the rooms, and making the rat controllable to run around (u,l,d,r) the maze. the idea was to make a simple game where you had to do certain tasks to collect all the varieties of cheese in the maze within a specified time limit. The game would have been relatively non-violent, no killing, just lots of dodging, running around and knocking over "enemies" (snakes, bugs, bats, worms, spiders, scorpions, mousetraps, other rats & mice maybe). There would also have been a large main cat that would stick its paws and face into the maze occasionally to thwart the rat's mission, but the cat wouldn't kill the rat, just stun him for a moment, where he would lose precious time.

There would have been secrets too, of course. There's got to be secrets in video games. it's like rule #3 of video game making! Well, that's about all I can tell you about Ratmaze. we've moved on to our Gamma Bros game and will probably leave Ratmaze behind. I loved the little Rat, so he'll likely be seen in some of our games to come, and maybe there's a possibility that we'll try a Ratmaze 2.0 in the future, many games later, but for now we've just got to consider it a learning experience & move on. Perhaps we'll let people run around the relatively empty and unfinished halls of Ratmaze sometime, but it's not that entertaining beyond a minute or two & once you've gotten all the cheese. it's totally unfinished & somewhat lifeless in its current state. check out some more of the screens: (click for larger views, actual game size)

An example of a piece of cheese that Rat would have been searching for. I think that's a small wedge of swiss.

Ah yes.. something pood here.. and you would have had to carry this poo pile over to the area where the spiders had blocked a passageway with a spider web! The flies on the poo pile would follow it and the spiders would have been distracted with catching them as you worked through the web to get to the new area. :)

At some point, you would have had to locate an old can, put it in the water and use it as a boat to be taken to a previously unreachable location

You'd have to find the little rat-sized helmet to get the cheese from this trap..

uh oh! watch out rat dude. it's the fussy feline trying to wreck yo' sh*t!

Well, there you have it. Ratmaze. Sorry little Rat buddy. Maybe we'll see you again in the future.

That's all for today. check back in a week or two for more of.. something. oh yeah, please send us email to games@pixeljam.com if you'd like to be on our mailing list. We'll let you know when Gamma Bros is ready, and future games as well.


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