1. image: Download

  2. The PixelTron

    The PixelTron is a project Liz and I created for the 2012 Northern Spark outdoor lighting festival in Minneapolis. Originally called the PixelTron150, it is a 15 x 10 grid of pixels, each measuring 6” on a side, leading to an overall screen size of 7.5’ x 5’ x 8”, housed in a custom-built arcade cabinet that stood 8’ tall and 8’ wide, with a total depth of about 4’.


    Each pixel is lit from behind by a single color-changing LED, similar to the kind used for the lights on the Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco and Oakland.


    The PixelTron accepts an arbitrary video signal and can be used to show absolutely any image, game, or video imaginable. However I created a custom game for the festival, a 3-player racing game called Low-Rez Racer that was designed specifically for a resolution of 15 pixels by 10 pixels.


    As part of Northern Spark, the game was installed on the Minneapolis Riverwalk near the Stone Arch Bridge between sundown and sunup, and was played near-constantly the entire time by people aged 5 to 65 and of varying levels of sobriety, totaling about 2000 players in one night. We received kind words from many passers-by, including Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, representatives of the Walker Art Center, and The Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

  3. Compare & Contrast: Free-To-Play Monetization vs. Mind Control Strategies

  4. Crystallon Design Notebook

  5. Thoughts On Riot


    Some Italian developers have gone to crowdfunding site IndieGoGo to ask for funds to make a game about riots. And to bite Sword & Sworcery’s art style, apparently.

    I think this is really fantastic, and seeing this coming out of Italy, which is itself undergoing some popular civic upheaval right now, is really exciting. Part of their pitch reads, “Living in a country drowning in debt and corruption, it is practically impossible for Team ‘Riot’ to find way to fund the project in Italy and we are therefore asking for your help.” (emphasis theirs)

    I have some reservations about whether they have any idea what their core mechanics are. I also worry that their dedication to representing “the protest experience” by “attempting to depict both sides of the fight without bias, only objectivity and facts,” may not lead to the most compelling gameplay, even if it might be an interesting approach to journalism.

    The fact is that you’re making a game about civilians getting their skulls cracked by armed representatives of the state. In real life, protesters “winning” an encounter after it turns violent is extremely rare. In the end, The Man almost always has the bigger weapons. If the public gains any benefit from a riot, it’s usually in the aftermath, when governments react to public outcry over cracked skulls. This just isn’t how popular strategy games work, so in order to succeed at their stated mission, Team “Riot” may be forced to make some pretty fundamental gameplay innovations, lest they be reduced to a dismissible fantasy that overlooks the reality of power imbalances on the street, or a game where The Man always wins.


    Back when I went to Zuccotti Park during the Occupy Wall Street protests, I started thinking about how you could adapt the experience of protests and riots into game mechanics. A bit of research revealed that there have been a handful of tabletop strategy and war games that take protest as a model.

    Results of said research are after the jump.

    Read More

  6. Plays: 249


    Margaret’s excellent track for the Crystallon soundtrack. Can’t wait to hear it in action.

    Things got pretty harried at the game jam, so we didn’t share as many assets as some of the other groups, but here’s a little something Meg made for Crystallon’s background music.

  7. Somehow, despite having never used C# or the Play Station Mobile SDK before the start of the IndieCade East gamejam, I managed to help my teammates get our game, Crystallon, into the semi-finals, the results of which will be revealed at GDC at the end of March.

    Now I have 4 weeks to add a bunch of features, fix all the crash bugs, AND OH YEAH, MAKE THE WHOLE THING RUN ON THE PSVITA.

    If I manage to split my time between coding and crying in the shower, I might just pull this off. Wish me luck.


    Phoenix Perry, Ben Johnson, and Margaret Schedel are hard at work on their entry for the Playstation Mobile Game Jam here at IndieCade East. In line with the “evolution” theme of the jam, Crystallon is a match-three puzzle game about exponentially increasing geometry.

    I know what you’re thinking; “Crystallon? Isn’t that the greek word for “cold drop” which is also the way atoms are arranged into solids?”

    Yes. Yes it is.

    And the atoms of this group have arranged into a solid team. Professionals, and professors; Ben is an ex-AAA gone indie dev/designer and fellow core member of Babycastles, Margaret is a composer and cellist who teaches at Stony Brook University, and Phoenix is an experimental game designer who teaches at NYU Poly, ITP, and Steinhardt.

    -Colin Snyder, Gameifesto

  8. If you’re interested in indie gamedev or the New Arcade movement, you need to know about MaKey MaKey.

    USB + Arduino + Alligator Clips = No Limits

  9. The PixelTron 150 is a 15x10 pixel screen that takes an arbitrary video feed and down-rezzes it.

    I’m developing a videogame for it, which you can play at the PixelTron’s public debut at the Northern Spark lighting festival in Minneapolis! Everything starts at sundown on June 9th and lasts until sunrise on June 10th.