It's been a good spell since my last blog post and I need to get this out there before even more life events pile up...
Portal Defenders: Tower Defense
For the 2nd annual "Flash Forward" game jam, me, @luis, and @pyragmus made an olskool tower defense game! It should be obvious that Kingdom Rush was a big inspiration since it's my favorite TD game. However, I feel like we added quite a bit of novelty with more complex boss battles and a unique upgrading system (those beefy Tank Men robots are 🔥). It took lots of demos to convince Luis he wanted to work on a TD game, but I think we were all pretty pleased with the final product. It was also a dream come true to have @JohnnyUtah do the Tank Men voices. The TD concept actually fits the "Portal Defenders" name better than the beatemup Portal Defenders we made back in the day. It was fun to explore the Newgrounds "multiverse" of characters and environments and we've even been talking about releasing an expansion pack with more levels sometime this year. It's also surreal to see a Flash game written in as2 running flawlessly on mobile devices today. In your face Steve Jobs! (and thank you Ruffle!) It's been played over 100k times at the time of this post. Oh, and we WON the Flash Forward competition! Still got it homiez... 😎
If you want to get early access to more stuff we're working on, drop your email here (we won't sell it or use it for anything shady): https://portaldefenders.com/
This is totally a humble brag, but I had 3 games show up simultaneously in the Newgrounds "Legendary Games" section. I love Newgrounds, Tom, and the community, so it really makes my "feel goods" feel good to receive this kind of recognition. <3
As a change of pace from the digital world, I've been experimenting with woodworking over the last few months. A while back a friend and I installed "French Cleats" in my garage. It's basically a system to modularly "hang" different organizational stuff from the wall in a secure, but modifiable, way. My cleats sat empty for over a year, and that made me sad, so I "carved" out some time to start making stuff (and get my garage space organized for once).
I started out with a rack for my clamps which also serves as a shelf.
Then I made some shelf supports that also double as screwdriver holders (also modular on the cleated wall). Super simple projects, but I'm a super beginner!
Then I moved onto something more complex, a "charging station/holster" for all my drills and their batteries/accessories. This time I used an iPad app that lets me make 3D models (Shapr3D):
Here's a video showing off the final product:
Finally, I got SUPER ambitious and 3D modeled a combination couch/bed furniture set for our upstairs loft area with tons of drawers and storage space (mind you, I had never built a drawer at this point).
We had people coming over for a big family reunion in 2 weeks so I used that as a deadline to motivate me. I had NO IDEA how complex the whole thing would be and how many unexpected roadblocks would arise. Luckily, I had my best friend (and mechanical engineer), Matt, there to help me and we got almost everything done in the timeframe. We woke up early and stayed up late for 2 weeks straight and still barely made it. After lots of trips to the hardware store, and lots of new tools, it actually turned out pretty nice and I'm super proud of what we accomplished. My wife even custom-sewed the foam cushion covers to complete the project. It felt like a very intense game jam and, accordingly, I'm still recovering from it a week later. Huge learning experience though!
Axe Throwing News
We added a bunch of new "achievements" to our axe-throwing "club" app and one of them, I just made up, asked the member to defuse a bomb with their axe... I had no idea at the time how we'd do that short of making a custom game using our web socket + Ruffle animation system... but then I got to thinking and talking with some people and went down a rabbit hole of electronics and made a demo of how a "real life" bomb defusing game could work with real wires and real lights and such. Check this video if that sounds interesting to you:
We also officially signed on a new venue in Porto, Portugal (our second axe-throwing/restaurant venue). It's super exciting and scary to see if we can replicate the business and the success of the first store. I'll likely fly out to Portugal again at the end of the year for the official opening. In preparation for the new store (and future stores) I've been rewriting a bunch of our back-office code and our gaming system to be infinitely scale-able for multiple venues. We also used the opportunity to do a major overhaul of our official website which turned out pretty nice! One big enhancement was support of 4 more languages, bringing our total language count to 7 (Portuguese, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, and German). This required a good touch up to my initial code for localization to make it more scale-able and easy to use for the translators we brought on.
Check it out (especially cool on mobile): https://usaxeclub.com/
I also doodled a bunch of art:
Inky Blotby BoMToons
Tankman Upgradedby BoMToons
Swamp Trollsby BoMToons
Sunset Blastoffby BoMToons
Digital Blacksmithby BoMToons
The Globby BoMToons
Droid No.25by BoMToons
Mayday Slugeeby BoMToons
I just got back from the family reunion, which wasn't exactly the stress-free vacation I'd hoped for, and I got tremendously sunburned on our beach day because I fell asleep without sunscreen... 🤪
I'm feeling pretty good about life lately, the only thing really on my mind is the need to get back on the horse with eating right and exercise... I've put on some pounds and would like to get into better shape.
What's up with you? Drop me a comment and fill me in!