1. Amazing fanart for my next game, Close Castles!

    by: Lindsay Jorgensen

    (Source: twitter.com)

     

  2. coryschmitz:

    Set of posters for Sirvo’s award-winning video games Puzzlejuice, Threes!, & Close Castles.
    Client: Sirvo

    Grids are sort of my thing.

    (Source: coryschmitz.com, via spacetronaut)

     


  3. Making Games Having Fun

    I’ve been doing a lot of work on Threes lately, but all of it has been intangible. A lot of email. A lot of planning ahead and making sure that all of our goals align down the road. A LOT of email. These plans are going to be great when they hit, but Greg and I have been going kind of nuts because it doesn’t feel like we’re doing anything at all.

    And then today we saw this:

    image

    I retweeted it instantly, which prompted this message from Greg:

    image

    We’ve been wracking our brains about how to handle Threes merchandise. How should we manufacture things, how should we distribute things… at one point we were talking about how to “manage our image,” which makes me gag just thinking about it.

    So this image inspired us. It inspired us to throw all of our planning and brainstorming and management to the way side and actually have fun with our lives and this business we’re running. 

    Two hours later we launched two separate Teespring campaigns and within a week the first non-digital Threes products will exist.

    Planning be damned.

     


  4. Threes

    This Thursday I released a game called Threes with Greg and Jimmy

    As of this writing it’s sitting at the #1 spot on the paid apps section of the App Store. We are all floored by the reception it’s been getting and I’m basically paralyzed in awe.

    Thank you all for playing <3

     


  5. iOS7: Unskippable Cutscenes

    (Warning: The following is an incredibly nitpicky article about design, but it’s written by a guy who believes that tiny details can drastically color people’s experiences with everyday objects. You’ve been warned.)

    Every interaction in iOS7 is animated. When you unlock your device, the icons fly in from the side. When you open an app, its icon grows and fills the screen. When you open a folder, the folder slides smoothly into the center of the screen. These animations give iOS7 its Vaseline-smooth feel, but there’s a catch:

    The animations are slow, intrusive, and they make the entire OS feel unresponsive.

      

    The Unlocking Animation: A Case Study

    I’m going to use the screen unlocking animation as an example, but this problem has infiltrated every corner of the OS (including folder interaction and the multitasking screen). I’ve embedded some videos, but if you have an iOS device feel free to play along at home.

    Here’s the unlocking animation in iOS7 (1.5 seconds)

    Here’s the unlocking animation in iOS6 (0.5 seconds)

    It doesn’t look too remarkable. In fact the new animation looks pretty good. But the new animation is three times as long as the old one, which exposes some pretty notable flaws.

    1)   You cannot progress until the animation finishes.

    If you attempt to open an app during the animation, it delays. If you attempt to swipe to another screen… you just can’t. You are required to wait until the animation ends. User progress is impeded for the sake of visual flair. There is a wall of time between you and your productivity. That doesn’t sit well with me at all.

    2)   It’s impossible to know exactly when the animation is complete.

    Keeping in mind that I am being asked to wait until the animation finishes, it would be nice to know when, exactly, that happens. The icons fall into place one at a time (which is absolutely lovely), but it means that I have no clear visual indication that the “cutscene” is complete.

    On top of that, the icons slow down as they approach their destination for added smoothness. This means that I might think the animation is done when, in fact, one of the icons is a pixel away from its destination, which means my swipe will be ignored.

    3)   1.5 seconds is a long time to wait for something that should be invisible.

    Neither of the problems listed above would actually be problems if the animation was faster. Simple as that.

    iOS6 proves this because (fun fact) it is just as animated as iOS7. The animations in 6 are as omnipresent as in 71, but you don’t notice them because they get out of your way.

    I’ve noticed a lot of people complaining that iOS7 is sluggish on their older devices, but I would not be surprised if a significant portion of those complaints are solely based on the fact that the animations are three times slower.2

      

    Solutions

    There’s three possible ways this could be improved:

    Speed up all the animations. This is definitely my preference. The OS would lose some of its “liquidy” feel, but it would be a pleasure to use again. This would refocus the experience to be more about the apps and less about the operating system.

    Add an option to skip animations. This, somehow, seems the least likely option. In the past Apple has preferred to solve problems universally, instead of letting users tweak little nit-picky settings like this. 

    Allow the animations to be interrupted. If drawing attention to the animations and the liquid feel of the OS is a priority (which I can imagine it is), then at least let me get them out of the way when I need to do things fast. Let me swipe or tap out in the middle of them.

      

    Subtle Communication

    This problem feels superficial (probably because it is superficial), but honestly I feel like it epitomizes a deeper truth about iOS7’s design philosophies. 

    During the moments that I’m forced to wait and watch my device be pretty, I can’t help but think that Apple is trying to tell me how much they love their design more than they love their users.

    I don’t believe for a second that anyone at Apple thinks that way, but that’s definitely the message I’m receiving.

     


  6. Going Independent

    This Monday, after the most introspective conference of my life, I left my job at thatgamecompany. I’ve chosen to become an independent game developer.

    My friends, family, and even the entirety of TGC have been nothing but kind and supportive. I can’t reiterate enough how lucky I am to be surrounded by a loving network of people who believe in me and what I’m capable of. I am eternally grateful.

    But there are questions. Everyone has questions. The main question I’ve been getting lately is “Why?”

    “Why would you leave one of the indie-est companies on the planet… to go indie?”

    To be completely clear, this was one of the most difficult choices I’ve made in my short life. I joined thatgamecompany immediately after graduating college and then worked there for a total of ten months. We all grew incredibly close over those months, so leaving the job felt like I was leaving a family. 

    In addition to the emotional baggage, the New Game they’re making isn’t just something that you can casually abandon. Obviously I can’t divulge any details about it, but… It’s going to be huge. And I don’t mean it’s going to be a long sprawling game, I mean it’s going to be an IMPORTANT game. I genuinely believe it’s going to change the industry in a really positive way.

    All of this just made the decision harder, but the fact of the matter is that I was unhappy. I started out loving my job, but as the months wore on and progress continued at a snail’s pace, I started getting more and more frustrated.

    Every so often I would have a new idea for a project, but I’d have to brush it under the rug to focus on work. It was killing me to know that I was completely unable to pursue any of those ideas, and that they just had to sit there and rot while The Game inched along.

    The Game is going to be incredible, but it is moving slowly. There are YEARS remaining on the project and, quite frankly, those are years I don’t want to give up for a game that isn’t truly mine.  

    I’ve decided to be independent because at this point in my life I want to follow whims. I want to pick my own dreams. I want to work on projects without having any idea if they’re going to succeed. I want to experiment and ramble and gamejam and make mistakes. I want to work with amazing friends across the world. I want to travel across the world and make new friends.

    Guys, I’m going to be a little selfish now. I’m going to do my own thing. I hope that’s okay.