About MurrayL (twitter: @GameDevIdeas)

I'm a UK-based game developer. You'll mostly find me working by myself or in a (very) small team.

My favourite elements of game design:
* Humour (the good stuff)
* Sci-Fi
* Co-operative Play
* 'I'm totally screwed but it's hilarious' moments
* Local Multiplayer
* Strong narrative (as opposed to 'hurr durrr I've got to save the world!')

Check out my Twitter feed (@GameDevIdeas, linked above) for more inane ramblings!


Ludum Dare 31
Ludum Dare 26
Ludum Dare 24
Ludum Dare 23
Ludum Dare 22

MurrayL's Trophies

MurrayL's Archive

Not for Kids

Posted by (twitter: @GameDevIdeas)
Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 7:35 am

Okay, so there’s some swears in the game. I’m a fan of grown-up humour, so sue me.

And if you think swearing doesn’t count as grown-up humour, you suck balls.

We’re Going on a Holiday!

Posted by (twitter: @GameDevIdeas)
Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 5:34 am

Okay, so it’s been radio-silence so far, but not deliberately. For LD48 23 I’m working on a Jam entry with one of my buddies.

We’re building a quirky adventure game using AGS, and we’re pretty happy with how it’s going so far!

It’s a cautionary tale of science-gone-awry in the future. Failing that, a convincing argument against family holidays.

Initial Evaluation

Posted by (twitter: @GameDevIdeas)
Sunday, December 18th, 2011 12:44 pm

So Head South is now free to roam the infinite wastes of the internet.

If you haven’t played it, it’s available at http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-22/?action=preview&uid=7835 . If you vote after playing, please be kind; this was my very first Ludum Dare entry.

What did I love?

Making the art
I’m not normally one for 3D modelling, but I managed to whip up 16 separate models in under 48 hours. That’s got to be some kind of record.
I deliberately kept everything low-poly, and not just because it’s ‘fashionable’ to be lo-fi in the indie games scene. I did it because I spent a lot of time playing on my PS1, and as soon as I finished making the first little village huts I realised that was the art style it was reminding me of. Set all textures to ‘point’ filtering, optimise those models and relish the pixels.

The music
The music actually only took me about an hour to do, but it’s something I always enjoy if I’m in the right mood. I opened up a synthesiser, tested a few notes and then hit record. Aside from a couple of test tracks, whatever came out of me at that point was what you can hear in the game.

The coding
Okay, so it’s nothing impressive at all and the bulk of the gameplay mechanics (looking/moving) were pre-written Standard Assets that come with Unity. I still wrote 10 scripts of my own, and I think I did pretty well to cram all the functionality I needed into them without them becoming unwieldy. Commenting was, sadly, not done. No doubt I’ll regret that at some point in the future, but I like to live in the moment.

What would I do differently?

More of a game
There are plenty of things to be proud of in the final release, but I have that nagging feeling that it will turn off a majority of people simply because there isn’t really a win/lose condition. It’s more of an interactive story; you can choose who to approach, and you can choose how to interpret that person’s situation. That being said, if even one person plays Head South and genuinely feels something then I’ll have done my job.

More life
Probably the most fun I had in the development process was after I was done creating a landscape. I got to play God for a little while and create people with stories. There was a lot of passion that went into creating things like the little lost submariner, and I wish there was the time to do more. More to explore and see, and more to think about.

More expanse
This is linked to the above point, really. I fluctuated between different terrain sizes, but I think I should have stuck with the larger ones. They take longer to traverse, but they have so much more scope for interesting things to be going on.

I’m sure there are plenty more things that will come to mind. Probably while I’m trying to go to sleep. If I think of any other major points of evaluation I’ll stick ’em up in another post, but otherwise I’ll wait until the votes are counted and evaluate based on what people said. I can’t wait.

I’m Uplooooading!

Posted by (twitter: @GameDevIdeas)
Sunday, December 18th, 2011 12:18 pm

The game is finished and making it’s way across the intertubes. Soon it will be ready to be beamed into your face.

Head South

I Did It

Posted by (twitter: @GameDevIdeas)
Sunday, December 18th, 2011 7:37 am

Oh no. I succumbed.

Good luck finding it, though.


Cute, redefined.

Srs Bsns

Posted by (twitter: @GameDevIdeas)
Sunday, December 18th, 2011 5:53 am

So, yes; my game is ‘serious’. It’s more about different interpretations of alone than it is about any gameplay.

I hope people give it a chance and can relate to one or two of the things they encounter.

ObeliskNot long left…

A Round-Up of the Day

Posted by (twitter: @GameDevIdeas)
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 7:42 pm

I’m done for the night, and my screen capture software is having a well-deserved breather.

Here’s a couple of shots that I think exemplify my day of work. Me doing hard work (and enjoying the view!):

Working Hard

And, of course, everything falling over spectacularly:

3ds Crash

3ds Max goes on strike

More work tomorrow! I hope you all enjoy the game when it’s done.

Moving South

Posted by (twitter: @GameDevIdeas)
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 6:56 pm

I’m gradually progressing with the environments. Two left.

I’m now working on the snowy wastes between the player and the coast. It’s cold here.

Snowy Figure

For bonus points, check out the AWESOME 'COMPASS' at the top.And by compass I mean arrow. And by arrow I mean cone.




Wot I’m Using

Posted by (twitter: @GameDevIdeas)
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 5:23 pm

Just noticed that I should have listed any odd code libraries I’m using before starting my entry. Hopefully, however, the Unity standard assets count as part of the engine, not as code libraries.

If I’m misguided, please tell me so in the form of an angrily worded message.

But, seriously. I’m winging it from scratch with only a select few of the Standard Assets to help me along.

Obligatory Submariner

Posted by (twitter: @GameDevIdeas)
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 4:06 pm

Well, I’m not sure if they’re obligatory or not. But there’s one in the game.


He seems to be having problems.

Back-End Improvements & Considerations

Posted by (twitter: @GameDevIdeas)
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 3:09 pm

No dirty jokes, please. I’ve been working on my back-end a bit.

I’ve now got some nicer systems for showing messages to the player. That seemed kind of important since that’s how the storyline (such as it is) will be conveyed.

It doesn’t make for very pretty screenshots, though, so here’s another one of the troubled pilot – complete with a new texture smeared lovingly all over his face.

Expanding the World

Posted by (twitter: @GameDevIdeas)
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 1:38 pm

So I’m reasonably happy with the (very) basic interactions I have so far. No doubt I’ll decide that I want some more depth to the gameplay far too late to change it, but for now it’s turning out to be anĀ (hopefully) interesting journey game.

Crashed Plane

Someone won't be home for Christmas.

It’s about someone exiled from their home, the journey they make to the South, and the people they meet along the way.

Adding Life

Posted by (twitter: @GameDevIdeas)
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 10:02 am

So the starting village is now pretty much complete. It has a neat atmosphere and villagers who look at you and say disparaging things.

Disappointed Villager

Is there anything more demotivating than disappointment?

Now to work on the rest of the game.

Working on it. Honest.

Posted by (twitter: @GameDevIdeas)
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 9:05 am

So I woke up just past midday to find the theme ‘Alone’. Not quite what I was hoping for (I was secretly rooting for tunnels), but at least kittens came last.

Peaceful Village

A lovely village scene

I’ve sketched out a rough idea of the sort of game I want to make, which is good. I then dived into 3ds Max and made some tasty models, along with fresh-faced new textures to go with them. Above is the starting scene for the game; a delightfully tiny little village in the middle of nowhere.

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