It’s not finished even when it’s finished.

So in retrospect, even with the extra development time, Naughty Bricks shipped in a pretty rough state. It was missing some key features like Gamecenter integration, as well as a lot of general polish and juiciness. A few updates later and I’m pretty happy with the state of the game now, I’ve tweaked and polished and generally improved every aspect of the game. Here’s a before and after pic:

Naughty Bricks comparison

Coming from more of an art background, I really took the art for granted, making it as I went, and never took the time I needed to find a consistent and presentable style. It’s still a bit of a dog’s breakfast, but I think it holds together visually much more than it did at launch.

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Naughty Bricks is OUT!

Available on the App Store or the Google Play Store! HERE’S A PRESSKIT

Naughty Bricks are attacking our solar system! Who will defend the earth? Who will avenge the moon?

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Game is done! So why isn’t it out yet?

So Naughty Bricks has been finished for over three weeks now, submitted to the app store, approved, and all that remains is for me to click the button that will release the game. So why haven’t I done that yet? Marketing. Or rather, lack thereof.


Storyboards for the intro of the Naughty Bricks trailer

I’m holding back the release of the game until I can complete a trailer and get a website up with a presskit on it, based on advice I was given about the futility of releasing a game without any sort of press push. It is the most frustrating thing I have had to do, sitting on a game when I just want people to play it! But I also don’t want to have run this marathon, only to stumble and give up right before the finish line.

A part of me doesn’t really believe that a good trailer will have much effect on sales, because it’s such a basic IOS puzzle game and no amount of marketing can overcome the fact that it doesn’t have a unique selling point to grab peoples attention. This comes back to my initial intention of making a really simple game that I could actually finish, rather than trying to do something ambitious and giving up before it was done. Well, mission accomplished, I’ve finished my first game! Just completing it is an achievement I know, but it has burdened me with making it a harder sell to get people interested in trying it.


An untextured render of the astronaut model for the trailer.

Another part of me thinks that it’s actually a good game, with interesting puzzles and an appealing presentation that has a chance of finding a niche, and I don’t want to let my lack of confidence get in the way of it building a market for itself. So I’m trying to do all the marketing now, at the worst possible time in a games development cycle (after it’s already finished!), because I have a hope that the game is actually good enough to be purchased. The other reason I’m going through all of this is for the learning experience, so that when I make my second game, the game that is unique and worth covering and will grab peoples attention, I’ll have the marketing knowledge required to make the most of it. Naughty Bricks was always about learning first, learning how to develop a game, how to finish it, and now how to market it.

More than three weeks ago I finished my game, and then I realised that I needed to top up my reserves so I could actually afford to make a trailer, so since then I’ve been working on contract work. I’ve made some really fun animations for different game trailers, which I’ll get around to linking soon, but now that I have a break, I’m going to put my animation skills towards a Naughty Bricks trailer. Come hell or high water, the game will be out in the next month with a proper trailer backing it up.


A Work in Progress render of shot 2 of the trailer.


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Finishing a game is harder than I thought :O

It’s taking much longer than I thought to just do the last little bits of the game, like an options menu, a few bug fixes and general polish. I’ve heard it said that the last 10% of the game takes 90% of the time, and it sure feels like it at the moment.

The main thing that set me back was the poor performance I was seeing on older hardware, so I thought I’d have a look in the code and see if I could speed it up a little. Venturing back into the disgusting mess of sloppy scripting I wrote when I started the game was quite a shock, and there were opportunities aplenty to make things much more efficient. In my excuse it was the very first code I’d ever written, and I guess it means that I’m getting a bit better if I can recognise how terrible it truly was.

From obvious moronic things like updating references every frame for no reason (with a string based FindGameObjectWithTag no less!) to more subtle things like comparing distances with Magnitude instead of Square Magnitude. So now that I’ve made those changes, and then fixed up the side effects that came from making the game faster, I’ve now got it in a much more stable state.

But now I can see even more ways to make it better that are really obvious in retrospect, but that would require a complete rewrite of some really fundamental underlying systems, and even though I want to make it “right”, I also want to get it finished, and soon. So I’ll have to put aside the temptation to fiddle with it and leave those lessons for the next game, it’s such a simple game that it works well enough, and hopefully nobody will ever see what a mess it looks like behind the sheer curtain.

Here’s some pics of the backgrounds of the episode screens for the game.


Episode 1 Background

Episode 1 Background

Episode 1 Dark World Background

Episode 1 Dark World Background

Episode 2 Background

Episode 2 Background

Almost done now! At least I think so!



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Naughty Bricks

Naughty Bricks

Debug Developer Buttons included!

Here are some Work In Progress screenshots of the first game I’ve had a crack at making. NAUGHTY BRICKS! (they are bricks and they are naughty, but not in a sexy way, unless you’re into that kind of thing). Having no idea how to actually make a game and having to learn it all from scratch, I took the sage advice for countless game development forums and decided to start simple, and start SMALL. I settled on making a BreakOut clone in Unity.

Naughty Bricks

Speedy thing go in, speedy thing come out!

Unity seemed like a good way to ease myself into it, without having to get my head around C++ or be shackled by the limitations of a system like GameMaker. A Breakout clone also felt like a good place to start as it was simple enough to tackle in a short time, but I could also imagine building on it and injecting a bit more fun and variety into the mechanics when I was a bit more comfortable with it all.

So that’s where Naughty Bricks came from. It started as a poor-man’s BreakOut, and then after adding a whole bunch of powerups and extra mechanics I realised I liked it better as a puzzle game with authored levels, so now it’s a poor-man’s Cut the Rope!

Naughty Bricks

Defend the planet! Avenge the moon!


It’s very strongly influenced by Cut the Rope, a game which I’ve had a lot of fun with, with a similar level structure and progression ramp, but replacing the cool and innovative rope physics with the very old and stale bouncing ball physics. I’m not trying to innovate with this, I’m just trying to get it finished and in a enjoyable state. In retrospect I wish I had been a bit more adventurous, but then perhaps I wouldn’t actually have been able to get it finished. I’m full of ideas, even a few good ones, so I’ll save them up for Game #2.

Naughty Bricks

Harder than it looks!


I’m nearing the end of development now, a few weeks to go I imagine to finish up all the levels, extra art and check for bugs, then I’ll have to figure out how to market the thing. It’ll be available for IOS and Android when it’s done, and my mum thinks it’s good enough to charge money for it, so stay tuned to watch me make my riches in the “impossible to fail, easy money” mobile game market! It will also be hilariously funny (and possibly educational) to watch me fail miserably and announce in a months time that I’ve had zero sales. Either way, there will be a game number 2, I’ve had way too much fun making Naughty Bricks and I’m not stopping now.


Naughty Bricks

There’s a rewind time mechanic! It’s like Braid meets Primer! “GREAT SCOTT!”


PS: If anybody happens to read this and can give me any advice or feedback, I’m all ears. I’m seriously figuring out everything as I go, so I expect to make mistakes a plenty in this first fumbling attempt at game development.

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