About Vertigon

Game developer for 20 years. Was a programmer, now a designer.


Ludum Dare 37
Ludum Dare 34

Vertigon's Trophies

Fun - 3rd Place - LD 37
Awarded by LDA
on January 3, 2017

Vertigon's Archive

In Which I Join the “Celebrate My Rating” Club

Posted by
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 10:13 pm

The results are in!  I was thrilled to get #3 in Fun, which is a fantastic honor, along with Top 25 showings in Innovation and Overall.  I’m super excited by this, and think it’s fun enough to refine for release.  I’m all right with all the rating really, but I was surprised I didn’t get lower scores for Mood and Graphics, honestly.  I’m not an artist at all, but I wonder what I could have achieved if I had spent more than a few minutes on my graphic sprites, or tried doing them in pixel art.  Just a half hour of dedicated revision to my visuals near the end as the game coalesced might have been more impactful than the minor additional features I added during that time.

Cardinal Cell (LD37, December 2016)


This is a great boost compared with my quite mediocre first Dare last year, which isn’t surprising since for that one I didn’t really have a clear vision of my gameplay until almost the halfway mark…  I just winged it the whole time. This lack of clarity of purpose as well as my inexperience with 48-hour jams certainly contributed.  In the end I’m sure I was just coasting on the boost I got from Lovecraft fans by coining some Cthulhu chants. :-)

Arkham Madness (LD34, December 2015)


In hindsight my experiences indicate that having a clear gameplay plan was critical to my success, and last year it may have benefited me to take up to an entire hour to detail all the mechanics I intended to create.  And as I’ve said before, your game is all part of a single package…  It’s entirely possible (and very human) if people were more charitable on my graphics and sound if they had fun, just as baller graphics and sound could have improved people’s impressions of how much fun they had (although thank god they didn’t drag down my Fun ratings this time! :-).

The Power of Art

Posted by
Monday, December 19th, 2016 4:34 pm

I had a lot of fun last weekend with my game Cardinal Cell.  It was pretty fun in the end but it was ugly enough to make babies cry because I cobbled together the art on my own.  I could have maybe increased the quality another quarter-point on my own before finishing off the 48 hours…  I could have chosen a style.  I could have smoothed out the busy textures.  However, I was focused on closing the book with features-features-features.

I’m pretty confident that it was a mistake on my part…  while I go through other people’s games I constantly have to tell myself to not let an ugly game influence my assessment of its fun… or let a pretty game get away with dull gameplay.  Maybe it’s not fair, but that’s the way the world works.  Those of us with weaker art skills have a challenge to overcome.


Because the game looked so bad I did a quick reskin this weekend to use some pixel art and audio that I had handy.  I think the gameplay stands well on its own, but the revamp makes a difference in my opinion.  A friend offered up some real art and we’re going to rebrand it as…  wait for it… Skate Knight.

If you’re interested in seeing what a few hours of stock graphics and sounds can do for a game, click the image below to see the update on itch.io.



Posted by
Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 3:32 am

Whew!  This was my second real compo Dare and I’m slowly getting better at it, thank goodness.  I had a rough start on the first night (getting amped up is hard after a long work week!) but by Saturday things were humming along really well.  My game Cardinal Cell is balls-ugly, but I’m fairly pleased with how it came out.

I had an idea to incorporate the movement of 2048 into a fantasy battler for a little while now, but this was the first time I was able to put it into practice.  Excited about the idea and know where I want to go once I get out of this “One Room” and get some real art.  There’s a fair amount of possibility there.  I’m tired but it’s been a fun weekend overall.

Check it out by clicking below and giving it a vote!

Count me in!

Posted by
Friday, December 9th, 2016 3:49 pm

Second Dare and sixth gamedev challenge.  Let’s do this!

Made it!

Posted by
Sunday, December 13th, 2015 9:55 pm

I came up with a weird idea about growing your magical influence by traversing ley lines around a map.  You control a fanatic Cthulhu cult who wishes to bring the elder gods into the world.  A classic set of “adventurers” are set against you.

It was created in Unity 5.3.


Vote and play here!


A minor related web post here.

Way behind, but hey

Posted by
Sunday, December 13th, 2015 4:12 pm

What the hell am I making here?!? I have no idea! Yesterday was a mixed bag and I just didn’t hit gameplay that was enjoyable so I started rebuilding the ruleset… I’m not sure what I’ll have finished by 6PM, but I’ll get what I can in.

Arkham Madness:  You play the mad cultists who travel the ley lines to summon elder gods into the world. Beware of intrepid adventurers who are trying to stop you.

Whoooo boy here we go

Posted by
Saturday, December 12th, 2015 12:36 am

Capping a long, rough week with my first Ludum Dare!  Two Button Controls and/or Growing?  Hmmm…  I think I can work with that…?  Here’s to a rek’d weekend and hopefully a game (probably an ugly, ugly one) at the other end!

The first couple of hours was slow, but I think I’m getting somewere.  It’s a reach, but I’m thinking of “Growing” your power base to summon an elder god upon your city of your choice.  The play could be interesting but I’ve got to use a lot of time to experiment with and develop the puzzle-y aspect of the mechanic.  Hopefully I’ll have enough time left to get in the visual/audible flavah it really needs to be cool.

Screenshot 1

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