2010 - Risk Factions

Risk Factions screenshot This was an XBox game developed as a downloadable for the marketplace. The game offers both a faithful recreation of the popular tabletop game and a new new version with an extended set of rules and more graphical appeal.

It includes a short but funny single player campaign with some really top-notch cut-scenes but the main course really is the multiplayer mode - letting you play with your friends on the couch or through the Internet. It's a regular XBox downloadable so it features all the expected achievement and multiplayer features.

Risk Factions screenshotI didn't get to do much art for this one. I did edit a a metric ton of assets though for use in the hud and the front-end - my main job was coding these two. By this time the company's tech using lua for front-ends was very usable so the whole front end and the game hud was decided to be coded in lua scripts and I was the main person responsible. Of course everything I did was possible thanks to my wonderful colleagues writing the C++ parts it used and most of all Nick Slaven who developed the wonderful tech for me to use (and abuse).

The use of lua scripts meant fast implementation for testing purposes and since there was no compile time you could launch and see the changes immediately. At the same time the system was powerful enough to do pretty much anything you wanted - at one point I wrote a tetris variant (with some extra features and exploding bricks) which you could play whilst waiting for other players to finish their turn. I hasten to add I did it in my spare time of course! Obviously this didn't make it to the release. The job of keeping the defending player occupied was filled by the fantastic battle animations.

At this point I decided to permanently switch careers and concentrate more on code and technical issues. This didn't necessarily mean quitting my job at Stainless but doing so made it a lot easier. The deciding issue was something else though - as wonderful as my work there was, it meant living on the Isle of Wight where the company is located. Cue all the Isle of Wight jokes - they are all untrue. It does however have the only Pizza Hut in the universe that doesn't deliver and routinely runs out of pizza bases. And there's this small matter of not having a bridge to the mainland.

With great pains I told my superiors about my plans, arranged to stay on for a little longer to ease the transition (and got to play around with prototyping the front end for Magic the Gathering) and by the end of May 2010 I was off on my prolonged unpaid holiday, or put bluntly, unemployed.

I took up sleeping in and drinking G&Ts as my main occupation. Having resolved some personal and family matters I embarked on Metal Crusade - a foolishly grandiose project intended as a demo to get me a job. I'm three months in and it's obvious it'll be a project that will provide fun and amusement for years of development to come.