Rethinking & Rewriting


It’s been ten years, almost to the day, that I attended my first programming lecture and learned how to code. I was really lucky to be able to spend years of my life learning how to do that and not worry about much else. Most people don’t get that opportunity, and that can make it hard to think about how software gets made, or what programming even is. Lately I’ve seen a few cases where people have made guesses at how hard it is to make games, and while it’s easy to laugh at these claims, it makes a lot of sense to me that people think multiplayer could be added to No Man’s Sky in a week. After all, the main way a lot of people experience games development right now is Early Access, where features are rapidly prototyped and added into games, often at high-speed.

This way of adding features to a game is one particular approach to making games, and it has an impact on your game in a way that’s hard to see if you’re just reading patch notes or occasional developer tweets. So I thought it might be interesting to talk briefly about what it means to write a single line of code, and how Hello Games probably could write multiplayer code in a week, but you might not want them to. If you’re a programmer yourself, this post might not have much to interest you, but if you’ve never seen the insides of a program, it might offer a quick thing to think about.

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Procedural Snake Eyes

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I spent a good couple of weekends last month playing alien-busting strategy sequel XCOM 2. I enjoyed a lot of my time with the game, but it also frustrated me a bunch of times as well – in particular, it frustrated me in a lot of ways that Invisible Inc, Klei’s 2015 sneaky masterpiece, didn’t. After completing my XCOM 2 campaign and going back to Invisible Inc for a bit of mulling, I think I’ve come to some conclusions about an important way the two games differ, and how it reveals subtle problems with how procedural generation interacts with other game systems. I want to tell you why I think Invisible Inc structures itself better around procedural content and why I think it’s important (and why my opinion might not matter, too).

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Generating Cyberpunk Cities



Rogue Process is a game about running through cyberpunk cities and making a huge mess of them. The prototype for the game was an endless runner, where buildings were only seen for a few seconds and then thrown away, but now the game has a very different flow and so it needs a different kind of building. Now you break into skyscrapers, plot paths through security, steal targets and execute an escape. Buildings aren’t just important – they’re almost the entire game. So I thought I’d talk for a bit about how I’m creating the buildings in Rogue Process and why it might let you design your own.

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Rogue Process is a cyberpunk action game about breaking into buildings, taking over computer networks, and throwing yourself out of windows. You play as a renegade hacker, who makes their living stealing the darkest corporate secrets hidden away in the tops of skyscrapers.

Any device in the world can be hacked simply by typing its name on your keyboard. So you can throw yourself off the top of a building, hack a window to weaken it while you’re in mid-air, and burst through the glass ready to hack your next target.

Rogue Process is based off a #cyberpunkjam game I made in 2014 called Currently Running Processes, which you can still download and play for free.

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Rogue Process is being made beautiful by Marsh Davies, an incredible artist, as well as an awesome games critic and part of the Crate and Crowbar podcast. Marsh is creating an amazing world for Rogue Process to take place in, a mix of procedural art systems as well as handcrafted, punchy pixel art and awesome lighting. We’re still looking for a musician for the game to give the right musical backing to your cyberpunk adventure – more on that in some future post.

Check back here for development logs, updates on our progress, and trailers for the game as we develop it further. We’ve already put so much cool stuff into Rogue Process, from procedurally generated skyscrapers to your own personal set of corporations to thwart, with lots of exciting things still to add and tell you about before the game is done.

If you want to keep in touch in other ways, you can find me on Twitter, or follow the Rogue Process twitter for tweets about the game’s development. We’re also going to be streaming development from time to time live on Twitch – we’ll post and tweet updates about that when it’s ready.


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