Old Coding Game Tests – Ring Test

Hi, this is Brandon.

Ring Test

Download (windows)

Press Any Button – create ring

Now I know what you’re thinking…What an amazing game, why isn’t it on steam, origin and epic games store? Because it was too controversial and artistic to be considered a gaben.

Ring Test was essentially me talking to my brother about visual effects for a concert and so I quickly stitched this test together in an hour. The idea of using any key was that if he can send inputs from his instruments to the computer, then surely the input could be read in a program that checks for an any key input. It was not used for the concert because there never was one, it was a lie. It was also too controversial and fell apart due to harsh subjective opinions due to people’s nostalgia.

The ring effects are very basic, I actually use this effect a lot in my games because it’s so efficient and easy to program in. All you really do is take your x_scale/y_scale variables and continually add to them each frame, while also reducing the alpha/opacity of the sprite. Then when the alpha reaches 0, just destroy the object.

As for the origin of this effect, I discovered that I could do this very late in Frog Hop’s development, so you only really see it occur during the angler boss in frog hop.

The blue shockwave, the white pulse from lighting and the yellow attack warning show case this effect.

It was only after Frog Hop that I learned to utilize this A LOT in Nameless, for things like explosions, gunfire, hit effects.

The fade out effect happens a lot faster here in 3-4 frames.

I think I use this effect in the target kills in Ato.

I follow similar principles as Nameless, though in Ato I don’t use this nearly as much and mostly rely on particle effects. It happens extremely fast when the targets are destroyed.

So that’s all I got, hope you enjoyed.


Ato Progress Report February 2019

HI all, Brandon here, Ato is pretty close to reaching beta, I just have to play-through the game myself several times just to get rid of any major bugs.

The music is all pretty much exported and coded in, same with the sound effects. It was…tedious to code 250+ sound effects and 50+ music tracks.

There’s a minor feature I wanted to share called “runes” where you can only equip one. Each one has a special effect, which can affect an aspect of your playstyle.

The menus are pretty much done. I still have to code in the different difficulties (The “Experienced” difficulty is targeted to be the demo difficulty).


I’m hoping on March I’ll be able to update you guys more regarding beta release. Stay tuned!


-menus done
-file system
-music coded in
-sounds coded in (though some are probably still needed)
-rune system fairly functional
-bug fixes


Old Coding Game Tests – Project Q

Hello this is Brandon, creator of Half-Life Alex

Project Q (AKA apparently this was made in 2015, before Persona 5 was a thing)


Download (windows)

Left click – create circle

Right click – trip out

“Project Q” was me trying to make some kind of tunnel escape kind of game. I think I took influence from a game called S.T.U.N. Runner and though about making something like it? (And probably some other atari arcade game that I can’t quite recall off the top of my head)

Image result for arcade tunnel race game

My thought was to spawn circles continually so that it creates the illusion of moving through a tunnel. The result however was something slightly less expected but still interesting. Probably to create the tunnel effect I’d have to mess with the scale rate a bit more to get it to better create the illusion.

I’m not sure why I didn’t continue messing with it, I’m pretty sure this was during the development of Frog Hop and some other small projects (like Bumpy Birdy?) So I think I just was already overwhelmed and decided to just leave it be.

The code is super simple, the circle object (which uses the draw_circle command) that is spawned just has a size value that increases and when the value exceeds a certain limit, the circle object destroys itself and also sends a command to have the background color match the circle object.

Easy. Done. Ready to Ship for 80 Dollars Collectors Edition. DLC not included.


Mockups and why they’re amazing (behinds the scenes stuff too)

Howdy folks, Sheriff Woody here from Toy Story 7: The Electric Boogaloo here to talk to you guys about mockup art and why it’s so gosh darn, rootin’ tootin’ important for game development.

“Toy story is good.” -GabeN

So anyways, this will be a fairly hefty post, but there will be plenty of visual material to look at.

Mockup art is still or animated material that attempts to communicate the “final look” of a product which can help a team cohere with an idea (sort of like a visual model that gives the impression that we’re “playing” it). Mockup art is in some ways like concept art, though concept art is more about the raw bare bones rapid idea building for things like character designs, environments, User Interface, effects, gameplay mechanics and so on.

Of course Mood Boards are also a form of conceptualization, they are in someways the precursor to the concept art phase, where the director tries to give the concept artist an idea of what they want something to look/feel like. Below is an example of a Mood Board:

In this made up example, let's say we want to have our concept artist design a somewhat realistic and modern looking train for some epic escape sequence.

In this made up mood board example, let’s say we want to have our concept artist design a somewhat realistic and modern looking train for some epic escape sequence in our game. This is to some degree what we probably would hand over to them.

As you can see above, the train example is simply our attempt at giving an artist a feeling of what we want and that they can tinker with these images to create some kind of conceptual art piece.

Concept art afterwards takes these elements to create an idea that we can get a feel for.

Clearly we would turn a train moodboard into this…

This is concept art from Counter Strike. while yes concept art can be made to look pretty, the true purpose is to quickly meld ideas for the director to decide.

This is concept art from Counter Strike Global Offensive. while yes concept art can be made to look pretty, the true purpose is to quickly meld ideas that look *just* good enough for the director to decide.

And generally this process of concept art is very loose and continual until something coheres.

But now, let’s get on with talking about mock ups and why they’re so boss…

(prepare for less impressive artwork compared to above!)

So with Mockups they are a conceptual tool that gives us a feeling of the kind of game we are making and what it might play like.

Below you can see the very first conceptual mockup of a game I made in collaboration with Jolly Crouton Media called Franchise Wars.

mockup example for the game franchise wars

In this very first mockup for the game Franchise Wars. While almost none of this made it into the final game, you can still see ideas of the HUD and cursor, the feeling it might give from a gameplay standpoint (and maybe even audio)

So even though this example did not at all represent the final product, it still communicated the idea of a turn based strategy game.

Actually I think the idea of that one was sort of an aggressive strategy game where you collect more tacos than the enemy team and…uh, yeah i dunno there’s some random stuff going on.

I mentioned earlier that mockups can be animated, and it’s true!

Franchise Wars attack mockup example

You can see though that these did not result in the final game, but you’ll see ideas being played around with visually to help programmers implement said features.

Actually in a game that a friend and I made for the Global Game Jam 2020 called Trapped in Time, I made an animated mockup for him below:

Trapped in Time upgrade interraction mockup

This mockup’s goal was to give the programmer an idea of how to design the UI interface for our resources as well as the interactive workbenches in game.

So while you don’t have to make mockups super fancy, you can still be very specific with certain designs of things to make it easier for your programmers to figure out how they will code the system you need by doing this. Mockups are simply amazing when words are just not enough to communicate the feeling or visual look of an idea.

It might seem like social media promotional material, but it’s really meant to help keep everyone on the same page. Because try imaging how this interface would have turned out had I not made this example for the coder.

It would be like me trying to explain to you that we’re going to make a frantic cooking game, and the kitchen shelf will be along the northern wall, and there will be a ui on the screen that shows your orders and your guy can hold items, and there’s a microwave and the walls will make the shape of a ‘U’.

While an abstract idea might be formed from this, it’s just not specific enough to help other people really understand what I just spewed out in the previous paragraph. And even if I was more detailed in my explanation, it would only make other people’s heads spin…so…

How about we…

Make this better…

UI and interaction mockup for Day of the Dad

Much better…

This example is from the Global Game Jam 2019 game, Day of the Dad.

As you can see, instantly this example gives us a feeling of how the UI might operate, the mechanics of the cooking ware, the UI above said cooking ware, how the Meters work, the end goal with the kiddos. It’s all accomplished in just a single image.

After all they do say that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” – Gabe New L

So yeah, I think you get the idea, mockups rock, use them if you are an artist/designer and you are in a team environment. They help reduce future frustration because no one likes to work on something for hours only to have it get thrown out. This definitely can help reduce that, though at the end of the day, mockups are a communication tool, an effective one at best especially for artistic projects.

For the rest of the post, I’ll just kind of spew out other old concept/mockup images I’ve made.

From the game, Ato.

The above example is from my current project called Ato. An atmospheric sword dueling game. The example was a test for visual color usage before I really committed to the look.

Level design concept, which actually I made a good number of these for myself visually because the tools to design levels were a bit lacking. So having created these helps me get a better feel for the level design. (because again the tool to create the levels was purely data entry, that’s right, no real-time visual feedback, just numbers and words to plug into a gray chart)

background designs

object spew, not really meant for sharing but when I work I like to have a canvas image file to work off of for comparing sprites all in one image.

The first conceptual image I made for Day of the Dad. (I think that thing at the top right by the microwave was a ramen cup?)

When I made Day of the Dad with the fine fellows of Cincinnati, I did not have Unity, so I literally designed the level in pixel art so one of the programmers could actually have something to go off of.

I think my approach with the level was to make it just varied enough and provide strategy. The idea was you that had very few but super close cooking ware options near the doorway. But to clear out larger amounts of orders, the bulk of the cooking happens on the back end so you have to plan ahead your mass cooking/delivery approach when you clear orders out. The microwave closest to the door was intended as a desperation, while the back 2 are also desperation, but mostly I think it was the same idea of mass cooking, however to effectively utilize them is tricky and requires some degree of setup. All in all it was quite challenging trying to make a “good” and varied single level for the game. (Of course, if we did have more time (since we only had 48 hours), there probably would be more level layout types)


Believe it or not, this recipe chart was incredibly invaluable to the programmers. References like these are logical and easy for them to understand and process.

So that’s about all I got, like I said this post was pretty hefty, but I hope you found it interesting/helpful.

Thanks for reading!


20 seconds to beat the game easy

Global Game Jam Success

Brandon here, I have survived the jam, now I no longer need to finish making Ato…


Just want to quickly announce the game my friend Mike and I made called Trapped in Time. Your goal is to fix a time tear with the resources you gather while also upgrading yourself. It’s essentially a resource gathering game, but the twist is that you’re stuck in a 20 second loop, which means you lose everything you collected…EXCEPT your upgrades.


Download for Free (windows)


Global Game Jame 2020 Page

I don’t have much else to say, the jam site was pretty good and I couldn’t sleep due to my insomnia so that’s great to hear!



Ato Progress Report January 2019

Hi all, Brandon here.

With the help of my friend, Mike, he was able to help me code the map system into Ato. I’ll keep it short and say that it was not easy to add, especially with the current logic of the game’s save system and room design (and even Game maker’s fickle ways of handling data). After tediously coding in each line to carefully add every single room into the map, I can at least say that the feature works and hopefully will help you enjoy Ato a bit more.

Menu work is still coming along, still a bit fickle. Menus are also pretty tedious having to put in entries for things and adjusting stuff constantly. (and to be honest I’m not really that skilled at advanced coding for flexible UI menus/systems)

Some assistance has been given as well for translation work for the menus in the game, I don’t think it was entirely necessary but I think it will be nice to have regardless.

Work on sound effects is being worked on, sound design is actually pretty easy to get into. It’s definitely a very playful and experimental role when it comes to creating sounds and ambiance. The biggest challenge is just trying to nail the right feeling of a sound and having its timing fit well with whatever it is you’re making.

Music is coming along nicely, a good number of the songs are done and just need to be implemented. Unlike the demo, I’ve been cranking away at making the music a bit more dynamic and having a more intense version of a song kick in when a fight starts to pickup.

Also minor news I’ll probably be doing the Global Game Jam 2020, I’m not 100% sure if I’d want to show that game on an update on indiegogo (since I feel it’s kind of irrelevant?). Otherwise following tinywarriorgames.com or the discord will keep you tuned in regarding that.



-Map system
-Warp system
-20+ sounds implemented
-10 rooms added
-2 side things


Old Coding Game Tests – Physics Tests

Hello this is Brandon, creator of full-life 3

Physics Tests


Left Click – spawn object

Right Click – hold and fling

Physics test was me learning about Game Maker Studio’s built in physics feature using Box2D. If that was too much to process then unfortunately you won’t be able to understand the upcoming scientific algorithmic calculus trigonometry nerd stuff that I’ll explain up ahead, might as well stop reading, bye.

Thanks for reading,




Setting up the physics isn’t too hard, and mainly requires some awareness with game maker’s quirks in order to properly utilize it in your game. I will say that game maker kind of threw in the physics feature and if you’re expecting to just toss it into your project with a click of a button you’re in for a world of…learning?

Basically, while yes you can tick the physics option and then assign a shape (or code in a custom one (more on that later)), you then have to be fully aware of game maker’s nuances with using the “solid” option and the collision event.

“solid” is a feature that’s mostly for basic “drag and drop” coding, it’s used for some collision events to occur with physics. However it’s not necessary as you get more in-depth with Game maker but w/e.

Really you just need to have these on (I think, this is all from memory and I’m sure Game Maker 5 HD Remastered will change how it all works) in order to have it work. But then of course there are all sorts of problems you will run into when you have the “solid” option and use the collision event for the solid grounds.

So why would I waste years of my life making something that was not successful? Well this code test was mainly used for the game Visceral Force, a casual physics puzzle game I made based on my experience from testing with this project.


oh and i mentioned custom shapes, basically with making an object use Box2D, you need to give it some kind of basic shape for it’s collision to work. However if you have more complex shapes, you have to be more creative and make an object be build of multiple shapes, i.e. I believe the blue crosses are made up of 3 rectangles. (but keep in mind, doing this too much puts stress on the performance)

So that’s all I got, physics, while nice has it’s own nuances and IMO if you’re thinking “I’ll just toss this into my castlevania metroid procgen roguelike indie trendy not cavestory original game to make it 10000 times better” then you’re right, you can do it, just expect to run into problems if you didn’t anticipate using the fickle solid feature and collision events. Of course if you don’t there is always the solution of just having hand coded physics for object movement instead of being an elitist with the physics sys-

Thanks for reading!



Old Coding Game Tests – Oval Orbit

Hi this is Gaben, welcome to half strife 4

Oval Orbit


QW,DF,AS,ZX,ER – manipulate orbit

Oval Orbit test was mainly a means of playing around with maths in game maker in order to pull of unique orbiting motions.

The combinations are quite varied, which is why I had several of them on screen so you can enjoy the variety that can be achieved.

I primarily used this for projectile attacks in games like nameless, I’m pretty sure I explored this coding test way after Frog Hop was done.

Do I use this in Ato? well…one can’t be too sure.

Do I use this in half life 3? yes.

-Gabe N

Old Coding Game Tests – Joint Flash test

Hi, this is gabe newell, welcome to half life three

Joint Flash Test


Joint Flash Test, is just a pure visual code test, the idea was to figure out means of making it easier to design bosses with joints without code.

I experimented with this idea using Macromedia Flash (which become Adobe Flash and then became Adobe Animate).

The concept was, instead of brute force coding a bunch of annoying scripts and math functions and timings, why not just create the animation ahead of time in flash then export it somehow.

So the idea was I animated some dummy characters above, and then I exported a low quality png sequence for the sausage thing and the stick dude.

The result was that indeed you could have motion tween animations, and you could then theoretically break it apart so that if you fought a boss and could destroy it’s arm, you’d have to export a separate png sequence for that arm. The challenge then becomes if you’re going to do different animations then it can be a bit tedious to handle the exporting and importing which from my experience is really tiring.

I’m not sure what I think of that approach now, but it certainly can work (even if it’s a bit jank because you would have to figure out collisions since the origin point of each joint doesn’t change). And the issue of wanting to work with delta time smoothness or even intentional game slomo sequences would make the result choppy instead of smooth.

So yeah, that was a test, this was a post, that was a gaben.



Old Coding Game Tests – Doodad test

This Brandon, here code game test

Doodad test


Left click – spawn doodad

Right click – spawn doodad extra

Doodad test was a means to play around with Game Maker’s built in code for things like direction, speed, friction, etc.

At first it seems like it’s not much, but in reality it breaks the fourth wall and becomes a game of the year game.

I used these a lot actually for Nameless, for things like bullet shells, impact particles, debris, etc..

Some of the ideas behind it are used in Ato, but Ato is a more modified version for things like the statues pieces when they get broken.

I don’t have much to say, I think I also used it for the magic drop soda bottles in the Frog Hop April 1st video (NOISE WARNING):