'Puzzlepops!' Launching Worldwide May 12, 2016

The time has finally come to release this thing! 2 weeks to go!

Check out the official trailer and a brief description of the game below before its launch on May 12:

Puzzlepops! A minimalist game of lollipops and logic. Slide pieces of candy along lollipop sticks and combine them to complete each Pop! Plan your moves and use devious contraptions to freeze, melt, squash and swap candy.

SOLVE challenging and varied puzzles by building weird and wacky lollipops.

DISCOVER different contraptions and confectionery that will put your puzzle-solving skills to the test.

UNLOCK puzzle sets and progress from Trainee to Sweet Savant.

Sweet New Project

Over the last few months I've had the opportunity to work on my own solo project, which has been a welcome and rewarding experience. It's a logic puzzler for mobile based on a simple premise; making lollipops by merging various candies.

Here's a sneak peak at the game in it's current state:


Lessons in Level Design from Bears vs. Art

My presentation from a few weeks ago at the Game Dev Brisbane meetup discussed 15 level design lessons we learned from development Bears vs. Art. From the simple intuitive ones, to the more counter-intuitive and surprising observations. Check it out below!

PERFECTING OUR PUZZLES: LESSONS IN LEVEL DESIGN FROM BEARS VS. ART

Using examples from the development of Halfbrick's Bears vs. Art, this talk explores the key lessons learned from designing hundreds of authored puzzles. When developing a casual game with challenges requiring critical thinking, while being widely accessible, the team needed to work smart to curb player frustration in inventive ways. We learned much about what influenced a player’s perception of difficulty, their critical decision-making, and their experience of failure and achievement. Hear how to create successful puzzles for your game using simple methods of mixing chance-based/logical reasoning mechanics, directing attention with visual cues, and creating environments of shared responsibility.

Casual Connect Asia talk is up!

There is nothing better than seeing happy faces when people play my games and creating something that entertains, delights and brings genuine joy to someone’s life.

My talk from Casual Connect Asia 2015 is finally up on YouTube and embedded below! Gamesauce also interviewed me about the session, games dev, inspiration and my thoughts on the what the future holds, check it out here: 

 

LAYTON HAWKES: BALANCING THE TECHNICAL AND THE ARTISTIC

 

Doubling Day 7 Retention: Taking Creative Risks with Bears vs. Art

Using examples from Halfbrick's Bears vs. Art, this session showed how the developers used split testing to increase retention and creatively free themselves from a cautious start to soft launch. After first stumbling and making small changes, they embraced a new and successful development approach. In this speech, I discussed how to avoid Halfbrick's mistakes and shared the key lessons that led us to double our day 7 metrics.

Exploring Social Games

Originally published on March 21, 2011.

Introduction

The face of the games industry over the the past five years has changed significantly. Platforms such as the iPhone and Facebook have provi

ded unprecidented areas of growth for games. Due to the nature and popularity of these two platforms casual games have been the main avenue of expansion, the grand ‘notion’ of games is no longer constrained to the PC and consoles. What constitutes a ‘gamer’ is now broad, encompassing all genders, ages and nationalities, including whole family participation.

Social games are the most popular sector of the casual games industry. The company that is arguably synonymous with social game is Zynga. Zynga was formed in 2007 and focuses on the development of social games, and now in 2011 could be valued as high as $10 billion according to a recent article by the The Wall Street Journal[1]. In as little as four years Zynga have shown the amazing potential of the sector. Their latest game CityVille has over 90 million average monthly users, or in a more steady figure over 20 million people play CityVille every day[2]. It is currently the most popular game ever on Facebook. Social games have captivated a wide international audience.

With such huge numbers of players being attracted to social games, it’s hard to ignore that this sector will be a big part of the future of not only the games industry but the entertainment industry as a whole. This paper will explore social games, and what design principles are used to create them, including the mechanics and psychology at play behind them, what a social game is and to whom they appeal.  Specifically focusing on the social games of Facebook. What makes popular social games captivate wide international audiences, what are some of the keys to their success?

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