"Something for the weekend" text on a pink background.

I’ve hit double digits in this tenth instalment of OZARIN‘s weekly catchup feature. Let’s celebrate with an extra-packed Something for the weekend!

On this, the blackest of Black Friday weekends, I’ll be trying to grab a few gaming bargains. I’ve already managed to pick up a bunch of reduced items from my Steam wishlist, including a couple of gaming documentaries. There are plenty of great discounted titles, so if you’re a Steam user, check out their Exploration Sale.

Gaming news

This week, four new members were added to IGDA Scotland‘s board. Each of them brings their knowledge and experience to a board of advisors, who help to develop the game development scene in Scotland, through their involvement in education and events.

Congratulations to Malath Abbas, Jaime Cross, Tony Gowland and Jon McKellan on your recent new positions! You can read more about all of the candidates in this IDGA Scotland blog post.

The UK government has introduced a new work visa, which could greatly benefit the games industry. The ‘exceptional talent’ visa, which is aimed at “applicants with exceptional skills in digital technology” will allow companies operating within the UK to recruit talented, non-residents. It’s a hopeful piece of news which should allow the UK tech industry to compete with other countries on more even footing.

Today marks 20 years since an infamous loading screen patent was filed by Namco Ltd. The patent, which prevents other game developers from including mini-games during loading screens expires today. Those familiar with Namco’s first Tekken game on the PlayStation, which was released in 1995, will remember the Galaga (YouTube) arcade space-shooter which was playable during the game’s initial loading sequence.

News of the patent’s expiry is being celebrated by indie developers, who have announced the Loading Screen Jam via itch.io. Participants have until December 4th to submit their Loading Screen inspired game projects to the competition, so if you have a quiet week ahead, it’s something you might want to take part in.

From around the web..

Alan Zucconi shares his colour study techniques in Game Barcode: A Study of Colours in Games. Using Python, Zucconi shows how to output a colour script from a play through video. This is a great means of analysing videos – whether they’re of animation work or video games. Pixar are quite famous for their use of finely choreographed colour scripts to move their audience.

Last week, Mark Brown posted a new Game Maker’s Toolkit video, Following the Little Dotted Line. He discusses the importance of immersing yourself inside a video game and that the HUD and even the missions themselves can sometimes get in the way of just enjoying the world. The Game Maker’s Toolkit is a fantastic series looking a different aspects of game design. Definitely worth subscribing to.

Bryant Francis wrote this great article for Gamasutra, 7 great mini games that game developers should study. This ties-in slightly to loading screen games mentioned above, as one of the titles suggested in this piece is Galaga. Also mentioned are the Fallout 4 holotapes. These mini-games are scattered throughout the wasteland and parody successful classics, such as Pitfall, Donkey Kong and Missile Command. These are great little experiments that are worth considering if you’re stuck for inspiration.


Photo of a Monopoly board.

Monopoly started its life as a very different game.

99% Invisible is a great podcast, teaching design and history. In episode 189, The Landlord’s Game, Roman Mars (@romanmars) and guests discuss the history behind world renowned board game, Monopoly. The show features some insight on game theory by Eric Zimmerman. The latest episode discusses super hero costume design. It’s a really well produced show. I’ve been enjoying it for a while now.


It’s almost that point in the season where I take a little down-time over the Christmas holidays. As such, I’m accruing a number of tutorials to work through. Of course, it’s the season of sharing also, so here are a couple of resources I have my eye on.

Udemy: Code your first game is again, somewhat tied to above content, this tutorial teaches you how to code arcade classic, Pong, in JavaScript on Canvas. Whilst JavaScript might not be the first language many think of when they think ‘game development’, it’s a great place to start. Given the low requirements of building and testing JavaScript games, and its wide audience given that it runs in any modern browser, it’s worth considering. If nothing else, this will teach some of the basic thought behind game development.

Touch Arcade have put together a great collection of tutorials in the Pay What You Want: Learn to Code Bundle. Whilst the majority of these relate to web-languages (which are useful in their own right), it might be worth considering for the “Git Complete: The Definitive, Step-By-Step Guide” alone. Version control is of massive importance when it comes to creating your own projects, and Git versioning software can be a little jarring at first, but well worth the time spent learning. Currently, the full bundle will only cost you $12.86 and it’s available until Monday.

"Something for the weekend" text on a pink background.

No more work for a couple of days. Must be time to put my feed up. Must be time for.. Something for the weekend!

This week, Games Are For Everyone had a third successful outing in Edinburgh, opening all 4 levels of The Mash House to indie game fans of all ages. Alongside a fantastic display from talented game developers, resident musicians the Mantra Collective put on a great show, and Cara Ellison was signing copies of her new books. With thanks to everyone involved, Andrew put together what was undoubtedly the best GAFE yet. I’ve got much more to say on the event, but I’ll save that for another post..

I’ll look forward to its inevitable return in 2016!

Whatcha playin’?

Besides the numerous titles I tried out at GAFE, it’s been Fallout 4 all the way this week.

Fallout 4 screenshot. From the character creator, a male protagonist looking in the mirror, his wife standing behind him.

I was able to spend a decent amount of time in the character creation screen, crafting a protagonist that looked just like me.. and then, I gave him hair and made him much prettier; because video games.

My partner and I both have separate runs of the game on the go, yet it’s been great to see how differently our characters have interacted with the world and its survivors.

From the get-go, I maxed out my strength and charisma stats, giving me the character of a really smooth, ferociously strong idiot. I’m not about to hack any advanced terminals any time soon, but I’ll be damned if I can’t punch a raider’s head clean off their shoulders.

Fallout 4 screenshot. My character, loitering in Diamond City wearing a tuxedo.

I stole this tux from a thug early in the game. It’s one of the few clothing items I have that isn’t tattered and falling apart and it suits my charismatic tough-guy persona perfectly.

There’s so much to do in this world too. It’s just incredibly dense. I’ve barely touched the story since I’ve started playing, but I’m still able to learn a lot about the state of the earth from the people and the logs I’ve come across.

So far, Fallout 4 is a major contender for my favourite game this year.


This is a great tutorial from 3D Artist on how to create real-time hair for games. If you’re looking to create ultra-realistic character models, this is one approach to getting a really nice looking set of hair.

Whilst some of the applications it suggests have fairly high price-tags, I believe they all have trial versions. In most cases, open source alternatives are available (just a quick Google search away).

This tutorial was created by Tom Parker. More of his work can be seen on his website.

Twine Jam! Writing Interactive Games

Another Edinburgh based event, tickets are now available for this creative freebie. If you’ve ever wanted to take the first step into making a game, Twine is a really accessible and free piece of software which allows users to create interactive stories. Whilst it may seem a little too straight forward to some, it’s a great place to learn the basics of game development. You could even use it to write a prototype for something more.

The event is from 10AM to 4PM next Saturday, with food and drink being made available throughout the day.

"Something for the weekend" text on a pink background.

So last night I was taking the train to Glasgow for dinner and drinks with some old friends. As a result, it meant I was running late with my usual Friday release of Something for the weekend. My intention had been to post it when I returned in the evening, but as I was heading home I received the terrible news of attacks and mass murders in France. Needless to say, I felt it would be bad taste to promote the post during this time, and understandably my thoughts were elsewhere also.

The death toll from attacks in Paris last night has surpassed 100, with a further 300 injured. This was seemingly a random act of aggression, targeting innocent people who were oblivious to any ill-intent. This senseless killing was completely unwarranted, and cowardly in its execution. The very fact that some individuals made the conscious decision to mindlessly kill people is a horrible thought to consider, and yet here we are. Another attack. More innocents dead.

My thoughts go out to those lost, to their suffering loved ones, and to Paris; which has stood united having already suffered multiple attacks in the last year.

What follows is an unedited version of my regular weekly review. Thanks for reading.

Whatcha playin’?

No surprises that this week, I’ve been traversing the wastelands in Fallout 4.

Screenshot from Fallout 4. A figure glad in power armour wielding a large weapon.

Power Armour in Fallout 4

Though I haven’t played that far into the game, what I’ve seen so far is an ambitious, dense, post-apocalyptic landscape. There have been a lot of bug reports, but playing through on the PS4 version, I’ve only encountered some fairly playful clipping issues which haven’t really caused too much upset.

A lot of work has gone towards creating a believable world. As I’m sneaking through what remains of a diner, I can pick up the most products which litter floors and broken shelves, many of which with their own unique branding. It wouldn’t be enough to just create a world which was destroyed by nuclear war. The team first had to create a world where the player could believe people once lived, happily consuming produce, working 9-5 jobs. Granted, Boston isn’t what it once was, but if you use your imagination to cover up the rust and the collapsing roofs, it’s almost like the bombs never fell.

The crafting options have been completely overhauled since my time playing Fallout 3. No longer are you resigned to building out weaponry from blueprints found scattered across the wastes. Imagine Fallout Shelter on Jet, and you’ll be still be nowhere near as complex as the crafting choices on offer. Players are able to spend time building and developing their own colonies, populated with their own citizens. My better-half has been enjoying it immensely, but having already spent a lot of time passively enhancing my shelter on mobile, I really don’t want to get sucked in to this kind of gameplay again. Much like the base-building mechanic in MGSV, It can feel like a full-time job in itself.

My friend and journalist Matt Kamen has been writing a five day review of Fallout 4 for Wired Magazine. Definitely worth a read, as everybody has a different experience depending on how they play.

I also started playing through Life Is Strange this week. I was keen to pick it up following the release of final chapter; more so after the announcement of a sequel. From what I’ve seen online, the character design in this game is quite interesting, though the biggest draw was how highly rated the story and dialogue is.

Screenshot from the game Life is Strange. Two young girls, Max and Chloe, sitting on the hood of a car.

Max and Chloe from Life is Strange

I’ve spent about an hour introducing myself to the game, clicking on everything I could, and trying to get a feel for the simple, but enjoyable “rewind” mechanics. It’s been fun so far.

From around the web..

Don’t develop games full-time, warns Alex Nichiporchik (@aNichiporchik). In an article which discusses the pitfalls of burnout and the dreaded crunch, Alex talks about why he loves developing games and his time in the industry. Whilst his personal advice makes sense, it might not work for everybody. There are still plenty of good tips to be learned from his personal experience.

Mushroom 11’s Itay Keren (@itayke) presents How to design the best camera for your side-scrolling game, a great presentation which annotates many popular games approach to cameras and framing the action. Whilst side-scrolling camera movement wasn’t something I had put much thought into previously, framing your character in any game is incredibly important. Although modern games seem to have less problems with it, the first generation of 3D games were often criticised for their poor camera movement.

Justine Colla (@pastasauca) wrote a useful post mortem on using pin badges as promotion for their game, Station Stop at PAX Australia. I actually really enjoyed reading the step-by-step process of how the team designed and created promotional badges for their game. They turned out really well!

How to Design Levels With the “Super Mario World Method” written by Patrick Holleman (@tgdfweb), is a great analysis of the show, don’t tell technique in gaming. An excerpt from his eBook, Reverse Design: Super Mario World, Patrick looks at the way players are taught level mechanics in Super Mario World gradually, before exposing them to more challenging sections of the game. From a game design point of view, this method has always been more immersive, and feels more rewarding, than a direct tutorial approach. It’s a great article and in the wake of Super Mario Maker, where everybody has a chance to employ these techniques, it may even help players appreciate the intricacies of level design.

Twitter – Follow Friday


Andrew has worked on a number of Edinburgh based events, including what is clearly my favourite (because I never shut up about it), Games Are For Everyone. Now on its third outing, The Mash House has seen a consistently high quality selection of independently developed games made playable to the public. He even managed to swing a special guest for this week’s event..


Cara Ellison, writer, games journalist and globe trotter will be in attendance at GAFE this week to promote her latest book, and provide a special playlist as guest DJ for the evening. Her Twitter feed provides amusing commentary on a host of issues. I also discovered this week through her radio interview that she’s a fellow Scot, so that’s worth a shout-out too! Among other things, she is credited as a writer for Charlie Brooker’s (@charltonbrooker) How Video Games Changed The World (YouTube).

Check out Cara’s website for more of her work.

"Something for the weekend" text on a pink background.

Another week has come to its end. Welcome to Something for the weekend!

Topically, this is the #007-th Something for the weekend, for any James Bond fans who might read this. The latest of the Daniel Craig films, SPECTRE is in cinemas just now, and I was lucky enough to go see it at the local IMAX. Whilst it was enjoyable overall with some fantastic direction, I much preferred the previous Bond film, Skyfall; it still holds a spot as one of my favourite films of all time. I would still recommend checking it out, as it manages to maintain the level of quality expected from the James Bond series.

This week, I launched the Event calendar section on the site. It’s something I’ve had in the pipeline for a few weeks, and I intend to update it whenever I can get the chance. The new calendar will feature mostly UK based meet-ups, game-jams and expos, and of course I’ll add larger international press events and conferences; because it’s always useful to know when these are happening. If you have an event you’d like to promote, please get in touch with details and I’ll review it for the calendar.

Whilst my calendar is far from complete, events are curated for my readers. For a large repository of game industry events worldwide, check Gameconfs, which is a fantastic resource.

Watcha playin’?

Beyond my continued pursuit to raise my ranking in Rocket League, I’ve jumped back into Vault 191 in Fallout Shelter (iOS), as I eagerly await the release of Fallout 4 early next week. Today my Vault Boy bobblehead arrived, and with the launch trailer having just been released, I’m incredibly hyped for the Tuesday release.

Will you be picking up Fallout 4 on release?

From around the web..

METROID: THE SKY CALLS is an expertly crafted fan video, created as a non-profit project by Rainfall Films. The video stars Jessica Chobot (@JessicaChobot) and America Young (@American_Young), and features characters from Nintendo’s Metroid series, including Samus Aran. The same studio behind IGN’s Legend of Zelda April Fools Day trailer, the team have created a spectacular short with impressive visual effects.

Gamasutra posted an interesting article, Astroneer’s ex-AAA devs explore a strange new world of indie life, which looks at the up-coming space explorer and the team behind it. Astroneer has been making the rounds on Twitter (@astroneergame) – in part due to its reveal coinciding with the release of The Martian in cinemas. The developers talk about how they found their footing in a new environment.

The Ninja Theory Ltd blog has been updating their developer diary with great work-in-progress from Hellblade, their latest action title. In their latest videos, A New Body (YouTube – NSFW-ish) and The Face of Senua, both looking at motion capture techniques and showing off the crazy level of detail we can expect when the game is released. There are plenty more insights on their YouTube developer blog. Well worth a watch.

Digital render of Senua from Hellblade. A young woman with battle scars and face-paint.

Senua from Hellblade

Whilst I haven’t been keeping up with development on Hellblade prior to watching these videos, I will be from now on! I really enjoyed playing Ninja Theory Ltd’s Devil May Cry reboot, titled DmC, so I’m sure if the gameplay is anything similar I’ll enjoy playing.

Music fans will appreciate JOURNEY – Complete score with text commentary (YouTube) by composer Austin Wintory (@awintory) , himself. The soundtrack is set to a series of screenshots and artwork, with comment overlays from the man behind the beautiful soundtrack. It easily has to be one of the greatest game soundtracks of all time, and I never tire of listening to it. The commentary by Wintory adds a new dimension to the music behind the game and his thoughts behind the composition. It also includes subtitles and translations for his amazing final piece, I Was Born For This, with vocals by Lisbeth Scott.


Bigger than Hollywood has been a really good source of information, particularly the earlier episodes. The podcast is hosted by Tony Gowland (@FreakyZoid), ex-Rockstar turned indie-game dev and consultant at Ant Workshop. The show discusses aspects of game development with a focus on running your own business. Many of the topics discussed on the show are applicable to other types of freelance work, having previously freelanced myself I can acknowledge certain shared experiences. Tony produces regular, short and entertaining shows, and is definitely worth subscribing to.. if you can overlook his terrible (and frequent) ‘Ant‘ puns.

Tony has also been documenting his work on Tealy & Orangey (since renamed, Binaries). Despite its simple design, I’ve played through this game multiple times at events and meet-ups, and it’s a lot of fun.

4TG GameCon

The latest addition to the Scottish games events scene. 4TG GameCon (@4TGGAMECON) will run next year in Aberdeen, between the 6-7th August at the AECC Arena. Running from 10AM – 10PM each day, the convention promises 24 hours of gaming celebrations, from retro classic to the newest releases.

There hasn’t been much news on this so far, but comparisons have been made to Granite City Comic Con, which also ran in Aberdeen earlier this year, which was attended by more than 4,000 people.

"Something for the weekend" text on a pink background.

Happy Friday! It’s Something for the weekend!

This week, the biggest news has come from the Paris Games Week event, which opened on Tuesday with Sony’s PlayStation conference. You can watch the full 108+ minutes of the conference on YouTube or catch the highlight’s on the PlayStation blog. My personal highlights were:

  • No Man’s Sky (YouTube); which now has a release date (June 2016).
  • News that Gravity Rush 2 (YouTube) is coming to PS4 and..
  • Seeing Quantic Dream‘s new title, DETROIT: Become Human (YouTube) being unveiled. The new game is presumably based on their 2012 technical demo, Kara (YouTube), in which a self aware android is assembled in a factory and begs her creator for a chance to live.

There was also talk of PlayStation VR, with Sony announcing that 200 developers are working with the technology to produce support for titles such as Tekken 7, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, Robinson: The Journey and Battlezone. Movies were also mentioned as a medium to benefit from the technology, with ‘The Wire’ receiving a trailer showing off the incredible views experienced by Philippe Petit as he crossed between the World Trade Center buildings on a wire.

Whatcha playin’?

I’ve been enjoying beta access to Street Fighter V this week, and mostly having my backside handed to me by other players online. Created using the Unreal Engine, this is a departure from Capcom’s custom engines used for previous titles, and will be console exclusive to PS4.

Ryu, a male fighter wearing a sleeveless karate gi and red bandana, charges a ball of energy in preparation to attack.

Ryu in Street Fighter V

In the past, I’ve typically played using Ken as my main, but I’ve been enjoying playing as The 7-Colored-Bomber, R. Mika (YouTube). Despite her risqué outfit (a butt window??), and suggestive posturing, she’s a really quick fighter, and successfully pulling off her grapple moves are pretty satisfying. But y’know.. her finishing move is a butt-sandwich piledriver, so probably not the strongest argument against women being objectified in video games.

I’ve been following the Street Fighter V news for a while now – and attended one of their tour events in Edinburgh a few months back. I’m fairly caught up by the hype, and looking forward to the game’s release on February 16th next year.

I’ve also started playing Rocket League. I’ve never really bought into eSports, as a spectator or as a competitive gamer. Much in the same way that I don’t really follow traditional sports, but I enjoy playing recreationally. When playing Rocket League though, it becomes clear that I still have a competitive streak.

It would be a disservice to simply call this game, ‘football, but with cars’, and yet it’s a fairly accurate description. It’s an incredibly fast paced team game, where you use your vehicle’s weight and speed to knock a ball into the opponents goal. Games are quick, and I find myself playing a few rounds even when I have 15 minutes or so to spare. As lobbies are always full, no doubt due to this game’s popularity, I’ve never had to wait longer than 20 seconds to jump into a match.

There are numerous match types and rules, though I typically play with default settings; I’m still trying to learn some of the more advanced techniques. Coming next month there are a whole bunch of new game modes and updates too. I’d definitely recommend grabbing this one.

Resonate Total Gaming

Dates for a new, large-scale gaming event to be held in Scotland have been announced this week.

The news comes at a time when the media and government bodies have their eyes on the Scottish games industry. This event will seek to bridge the numerous sections of the games industry to the public.

Resonate is a gaming event designed with gamers at its core. We cater for all gamers: casual, hardcore, pro and kids.

The event will have exhibitions from leading developers and hardware providers. A LAN hall will also be available to play with friends and allow you to make new friends. Competitions will run in the LAN hall, the winners will have the ability to play in our Esports pro championships. A specific junior gamer area will be available with numerous activities.

Resonate Total Gaming will run between the 29th-31st of July, in Glasgow’s SECC. Tickets are available now via EventBrite.


"Indie Game Showcase" white text on pink background.

I’ve been playing around with the idea of a new, semi-regular section for the blog in which I’ll post new and in-development titles which have caught my attention. The Indie game showcase will look at the latest releases and games currently in development. These are titles which have caught my eye from around the web, Steam Greenlight and even Kickstarter.

In most cases, I’ll base my brief opinion on visual/audio elements, unless I’ve actually played the game in question.

I’m also happy enough to add work-in-progress from interesting user submissions. Send me a tweet or use my contact form to get in touch with your game details.


Screen capture of video game, Furi by The Game Bakers. Male character with white hair and red cape.

Furi by The Game Bakers


Fight your way free in our frenzied all-boss fighter, and discover what’s waiting behind the last gate. Furi is all about the tension of one-on-one fights against deadly adversaries. It’s an intense, ultra-responsive hack-and-slash with a unique mix of fast-paced sword fighting and dual-stick shooting. Each of the formidable guardians —designed by Afro Samurai creator Takashi Okazaki— has a unique and surprising combat style that requires focus and skill to defeat. The high-energy action gets a boost from an explosive soundtrack composed by electro musicians including Carpenter Brut, who created the trailer’s theme.

Stylistically, this game looks like a cross over of the Afro Samurai series and Tron. The trailer audio is fantastic, and the environments and character design are bright and memorable. From the gameplay featured in the trailer, it looks fairly fast-paced. Furi is due for release on PS4 in 2016.

Source: Furi press page

Moon Hunters

Screenshot from Moon Hunters by Kitfox Games. Pixel art desert village.

Moon Hunters by Kitfox Games


Moon Hunters is a myth-weaving adventure for 1-4 players, solving ancient mysteries and building mythologies. Explore a hand-painted pixel art world that’s randomly generated yet rich with legends, non-linear stories, and secrets. How will you be remembered?

Moon Hunters is a procedural world to explore, populated with hand-crafted stories and memorable characters. From howling mountains to lapping ocean waves, the world of Moon Hunters is brimming with ancient stories and myths.

Moon Hunters looks like a fun cooperative title, with RPG story elements. It seems clear from the trailer that the story will play a big part in the game, and trailer text ‘Show your personality’ and ‘Earn a reputation’ suggest that your choices in the game will effect it somehow. The level design seems open and light. I wonder whether branching story and procedurally generated environments will add to the game’s replay value?

Source: Moon Hunters homepage


Screenshot of GNOG game by KO-OP Mode. Features a front and back view of a house shaped like a robotic head. The back view is exposed, and occupied by a bear-like creature.

GNOG by KO-OP Mode


GNOG is a wondrous journey through a universe of visually stunning and playfully interactive monster heads. Explore a myriad of unique interconnected heads and the worlds they carry within, as you try to decipher each one’s quirks and advance to the next. Interact with the outside to change the inside and vice versa to reveal the exit!

This looks like a really polished title, with lots of quirky visual humour. Each ‘Gnoggin’ features new puzzle challenges which need to be solved in order to progress through the game and given the variety of boldly designed stages, it seems to be strongly influenced by the kind of plastic puzzle toys I played with when I was younger.

Source: GNOG homepage

Prey For The Gods

Screenshot from the game Prey for the Gods by No Matter. Features a male character on a snow covered landscape with banners blowing in the wind. Ruins can be seen in the background.

Prey for the Gods by No Matter


Prey for the Gods is a brutal journey set on a desolate frozen island, where your only chance of survival is to destroy the very gods you believe in.

In Prey for the Gods, you play a lone hero sent to the edge of a dying world to discover the mystery behind a never-ending winter. Arriving with only the clothes on your back, you must survive the colossal dangers that you encounter. To restore balance and reclaim the land from the brink, you will be faced with questions that not even a God knows the answer to.

As a fan of Shadow of the Colossus, I’m really interested in this title, as it seems to have a lot in common with it. Vast landscapes featuring ancient stone ruins, open areas, giant opponents and a solo protagonist are all easily identified even in the teaser. I don’t have a lot of info on this one just yet, but I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

Source: Prey For The Gods homepage


Screenshot from MegaSphere by Anton Kudin. Features a character firing a laser, causing an explosion in a corridor.

MegaSphere by Anton Kudin


MegaSphere is a sci-fi themed action platformer with a big shiny gun, mad battle robots and an unpredictable world that is different each time you play. Fight enemies, search for loot, hack AI’s, upgrade weapons and your suit. No hand holding, no tutorials — play like a grown-up!

This game has a great look and is full of action. A sci-fi platformer, this game is full of neon and explosive weapon effects and seems pretty fast paced.

Source: MegaSphere homepage

Now funding on Kickstarter



Wanderer tells the tale of a man called Rook, a greying convict who wakes from cold sleep aboard a massive orbital prison facility to find that it’s crash landed on the ruins of an abandoned Earth. With the guidance of a hacker named Jin and the aid of a ragtag group of survivors he recruits along the way, Rook must locate and explore the nine cell blocks which have detached from the prison’s central tower and scattered across Earth’s ghostly wasteland.

Along his mission, Rook will run into allies and adversaries in the form of dangerous fellow prisoners and bizarre parasitic extradimensional beasts that haunt the dead planet. Core gameplay fuses platforming, pseudo-turn based combat, puzzle solving, and interactive dialogue/decision making into a story driven, atmospheric experience. Tying it all together is a unique visual aesthetic that merges lo-res pixel art characters with a lovingly hand-painted world.

Wanderer references some classics from my childhood as its inspiration, mentioning Another World, Flashback, and Heart of Darkness on the Kickstarter page. From the details provided, the game already seems quite fleshed out.

Source: Wanderer on Kickstarter



Memoranda is a classic 2D Point & Click game for Linux, Mac and PC. It include more than 40 scenes, 30 characters and numerous puzzles. The puzzles are not always very easy to solve, but there are always enough clues in the story to solve them. This is the protagonist, who little by little realizes she is forgetting her own name. Interestingly, after working on the game for several years, we forgot to actually have a name for this character, and just use a nickname for her. But is she really losing her memory? Or is there something else that would explain the strange circumstances? We will find out as the story unfolds.

Whilst I’ve never read any of Haruki Murakami’s short stories, which Memoranda is loosely based on, the trailer makes it seems like it could make a fairly interesting game.

Source: Memoranda on Kickstarter

Hello Neighbor


“Hello, Neighbor!” is a brand new first-person tactical puzzler with Artificial Intelligence as an opponent. We think that modern games lack the deployment of Artificial Intelligence, therefore we decided to change the situation and create a truly smart opponent who will be able to:

  • Learn by himself
  • Study the player’s tactics
  • Undertake counter-actions
  • Remember the player’s decisions
  • Make plans
  • The mysterious and unpredictable game plot will make it fun trying to unveil the secrets of the game.

I quite like the look of this game. I’ve been following the developer blog on Tumblr and the art direction is quite interesting. I think what I’m most looking forward to, is that the game has a similar objective to Alien Isolation or Slender, but both of those games scare the hell out of me. I think the human element of the AI in this game will be somewhat less terrifying, whilst still providing a challenge.

Source: Hello Neighbour on Kickstarter

"Something for the weekend" text on a pink background.

Welcome, welcome! It’s Friday. Work’s finished. Here’s Something for the weekend.

This week I managed to launch the new OZARIN Tumblr Blog and it’s already been quite active! I’m curating some great content from developers, artists and other sources, so please give it a follow.

Whatcha playin’?

This week, I escaped my gaming funk and clocked up a whopping 4 hours (wow!) on The Witcher 3 (PS4) by CD Projekt Red. I’m completely new to the series, so I was a bit of a slow starter, but I feel that after playing through the first village and completing all the side missions, I’m picking it up fairly quickly.

In a land consumed by war, you must battle evil forces whilst you track down the child of prophecy. On your journey, you fight wild creatures using your incredible strength and skilled magic.

Screenshot from The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. Geralt, a witcher, fights a large antlered beast using fire.

Geralt battles a giant fiend in The Witcher III: Wild Hunt

I’m typically more of a science fiction fan over fantasy, but I’m surprised at how much I’m enjoying it so far. I just really like the characters and their dialogue, and despite my limited exposure to the world so far, I’m finding it incredibly well crafted. The open world of The Witcher III is pretty huge from what I’ve seen online, with different areas having their own bestiary and alliances. The game’s lore is also massive, with a lot of information appearing in texts found scattered through the world. There should be more than enough here to keep me busy until Fallout 4 is released in a few weeks.

Check out the trailer below. It’s suitably epic.

I’ve also been playing Downwell (iOS) when I’ve had some downtime. It’s a simple, quick reaction game with a classic feel available on iOS and Steam.

Make your way further and further down into a darkness filled with nasty creatures and mysterious secrets and collect the spectacular red gems scattered about the rocks. Step into an oddly placed shop to buy some helpful items or level up between caverns to battle well dwelling monsters and uncover hidden caves filled with riches and relics. No two trips down the well are ever the same!

Devolver Digital

It has a very retro aesthetic and has been a lot of fun to play.

From around the web..

Attention all Pokémon fans, if you’re visiting Japan, check out this Pokémon Gym! Based in Osaka, the Pokémon Gym is a cross between a store and a theme park. It opens this November if you’d like to visit. I’ll probably add it to my list of ‘places to see’ when I head to Japan in March/April next year.

Interesting and potentially exciting news from the Scottish Affairs select committee meeting in Dundee this week, when it was suggested the Scottish video games industry ‘could eclipse oil boom’. Chris Van Der Kuyl, chairman of 4J Studios, Dundee, was quoted saying:

If there was ever a time to get serious about this industry, this is it – if we let this opportunity pass by, others will take it and Scotland will languish.

He also expressed concern in the UK’s immigration policy as having a negative impact on talent recruitment in the industry, in regards to the difficulty foreign students have staying in the UK following graduation.

When thinking about gaming events, the first thing that springs to mind is usually E3 or GDC. In an article this week in the Guardian, Sex, art and picnics: the rise of the alternative video game festival, Jordan Erica Webber (@jawsew) attempts to shed some light on the smaller, more remote and possibly more intimate events which are open to gamers and developers. It’s a useful article which highlights some great personal experiences.

Speaking of events..

Games Are For Everyone: Volume 3

"Games Are For Everyone: Volume 3" text on pixel art background.

Tickets went on sale today for the third Edinburgh based gaming event by The Hit Point UK. The event will run on Wednesday the 18th of November, and as an attendee of the previous two events I can definitely recommend heading along.

From the organisers:

Come and join us on Wednesday 18th November, as we once again transform The Mash House in Edinburgh into a beautiful combination of amazing bar and incredible indie games space.

Returning for our third and final GamesAreForEveryone of the year, we’ll be showing off playable games, demos and installations by developers and artists from across Scotland (and further afield!), amidst a friendly atmosphere of drinks, music and wonderful people.

From incredible titles involving bluffing and deadly versions of hide and seek, right the way through to beautiful single-player projects and sports-based robots, the night will be a celebration of all things video games, and absolutely everyone is welcome.

So if you’re interested in games in any way, shape or form – or just fancy seeing something new from some fantastic local devs/artists/creators – then we’d love for you to come along!

You can drop me a tweet if you want to say “Hello!” whilst you’re there. Get yourself along!

Also on the subject of events, I’ll be working to introduce an events calendar to OZARIN in the next month. From there you’ll be able to track events related to gaming, design, development and other similar interests. Please look forward to it!

I’ll be back with more next week – have a great weekend!

"OZARIN now on Tumblr" text and Rinny mascot on a dark blue background.

I’ve been working on a custom theme for a couple of weeks in my spare time and can happily announce, OZARIN is now on Tumblr!

But why?” you may ask. “Surely that defeats the purpose of having a fully functioning web blog?“. And I totally get that, and you’re right.

Tumblr, I feel, is a very different animal.

My intention for this site is to focus on regular articles, such as Something for the weekend and others which I have planned (watch this space). I would rather use it for that purpose, than regularly post content I’ve found elsewhere on the web and add my own narrative to it. I’m trying to keep this site fairly personal, and usable. Furthermore, producing a single article is time consuming, so I would prefer to spend that time producing original, high quality content for the site.

Tumblr relieves me of these constraints, and by contrast, actively encourages more regular posts through social blogging. Different people use Tumblr for different things. Some people are very disciplined and focus content around a single subject; in the case of development, some indies are great at using it to promote their game/s (Campo Santo, MegaSphere, D-Pad Studio and CAPY to name a select few). Some use it as a means of sharing all the cool things that individuals or companies post, and to geek out as a community of fans – which is pretty much how I’ll be using it.

The OZARIN Tumblr will primarily be for fun. I put a shout out on Twitter asking for dev blogs to follow, and sourced a lot of my own from around the web. It’s a place where I can share awesome news, artwork, trailers, music – relating to video games, anime and related pop-culture without encroaching on my own original content here. It lets me geek out about the things I love, and gives me a little more free time to continue studying.

Please give me a follow if you do use Tumblr (ozarin.tumblr.com), and as always feel free to hit me up with suggestions.

"Something for the weekend" text on a pink background.

Hey hey, it’s another Something for the weekend! I’ve had a busy week in Edinburgh, so let’s begin!

Yesterday, Creative Scotland (@CreativeScots) held an information evening on Understand the Games Industry in Scotland, in Grassmarket, Edinburgh. It was a great opportunity, as somebody relatively fresh to this sector, to meet with others and find out more about the services offered by Creative Scotland in collaboration with the Scottish Government.

There were brief presentations, by Malath Abbas (@maltron3D) who is working on drone warfare game, Killbox. He was followed by Luci Holland (@LuciHolland), director of the Edinburgh Game Symposium, which is now in its third year. Both mentioned their projects and the help they received from Creative Scotland. Following this, Clive Gillman (Director, Creative Industries at Creative Scotland) presented his intention to gather information about the growing Scottish Games Industry over the course of the next two years. Attendees were involved at this early stage to present feedback on their proposed methods. They have since released their Creative Industries Draft Strategy for feedback, so please check that out if you have an interest in Scotland’s creative sector.

It was interesting to be involved with the process, and I’ll be following up soon with more news.

This weekend, I’ll be spending some time at the Edinburgh Filmhouse as part of the Scotland Loves Anime season. This will be the event’s sixth year of screenings in theatres across Scotland, with festival director Andrew Partridge securing fantastic premieres directly from Japan.

From around the web..

Duncan Fyfe (@DuncanFyfe), of Campo Santo wrote a great piece about the effects of Silent Hill on an all but abandoned town in Pennsylvania. Survival Horror looks at the mining town of of Centralia, which has suffered continual underground fires following a disaster 53 years ago. Centralia has become a nerd mecca for some fans of the series, though not all tourists have treated this hallowed ground in a manner deserving. The article is thoroughly researched, and contains a wealth of historic and political information. It’s a fascinating read.

Vlambeer’s Rami Ismail (@tha_rami) pulls no punches in his talk, You stand no chance (video below). Delivered at Control Conference to a room full of indie startups, Ismail produces hard facts and his own experience of ‘making it’ in the games industry. Whilst the outlook certainly comes across as a bleak landscape for teams and individuals working on their first title, this talk offers the realistic expectations of working in the industry in its current state. Worth watching, as Ismail delivers the grim situation in an entertaining manner, and offers solid sources for his findings.

On the subject of advice for startups, Gamasutra posted a useful article listing 7 Characteristics of a Successful Game Studio. It might not apply to everyone – particularly hobbyists, but it’s sound advice nonetheless and offers useful points to consider before starting your project.

Niantic have secured $20 million in funding from Google, The Pokemon Company and Nintendo, with an additional $10 million upon reaching certain milestones. Known for previously creating the massive Augmented Reality game Ingress, Niantic recently caused excitement among fans with a trailer for their upcoming title, Pokémon GO (YouTube). Working in collaboration with Nintendo and The Pokémon Company, Niantic aim to engage players the world over by using their AR technology, combined with geolocation to bring Pokémon to life. It’s the game fans have dreamed of for years. With their new funding, Niantic are one step closer to creating a game worthy of the franchise.


Photograph of Dr Alex Krotoski

Dr Aleks Krotoski

The Digital Human by Dr Aleks Krotoski (@aleksk) returns for its 8th season this week. Each week, the show tackles a new subject in tech and psychology, and features in depth interviews and analysis of how certain technologies have helped people, or in some cases, has caused upset. I’ve really enjoyed this series for a while, and whilst not strictly related to gaming, the show itself delivers a useful understanding of human interaction with technology. Aleks is known for her previous work on The Guardian’s Tech Weekly podcast. Some readers might also remember her from Channel 4’s late-night gaming TV show, Bits, which aired between 1999-2001. Laced with innuendo, an all female cast reviewed the latest gaming trends – it was definitely a product of its time, but succeeded in entertaining an impressionable 13 year old. You can watch a clip on YouTube, but I warn you in advance, it contains heavy nostalgia!

I’ve just subscribed to quite a few new gaming/development podcasts, so I’ll have more for you next week once I’ve had a chance to check them out.

There’ll be another Something for the weekend next Friday, with more awesome links and gaming goodness. Stay tuned!

"Something for the weekend" text on a pink background.

It’s been such a busy week for me in general, that I haven’t had much time for studying.

I’ve spent a decent bit of time working on a Tumblr theme.. more news on that next week. I’m also making a more conscious effort to stay healthy, by squeezing in some running after work. It’s important to take care of your physical health, as it’ll have a direct effect on your mental health. A healthy body and mind makes studying even easier!

Now that I’ve finished imparting my wisdom, here’s Something for the weekend!

Whatcha playin’?

I’m nearing the end of MGSV, but only really played briefly over the weekend. I’m going to try out Metal Gear Online 3 tomorrow, before I’m left too far behind.

Computer rendered image of three soldiers in formation.

I’ve also managed to squeeze in some Super Meat Boy since it hit PSN Plus on Tuesday. It’s a really fast, unforgiving platform game, but it’s fairly addictive and has some amazing music. Incidentally, Indie Game: The Movie documents the production of Super Meat Boy in some detail, and features Edmund McMillen (@edmundmcmillen), Designer and Tommy Refenes (@TommyRefenes), Programmer.

From around the web..

If you’re interested in the legal complexities involved with publishing your own game, Clones, Copies and Cease and Desists with IP Attorney Charles McArthur might be worth a watch. McArthur cites examples where clones have ruined the chances an app or game had to generate a much larger revenue, and how this can be avoided. He also talks a little about staff contracts, and some loopholes which Blizzard Entertainment fell victim through. It’s an interesting talk, if nothing else.

If you talk to anyone who had PlayStation and a healthy interest in game development, Net Yaroze is a subject which will often bring back a lot of nostalgia. But what happened to PlayStation’s first indie dev community? Whilst I know very few people who owned the black development console itself, I was familiar with it through Playstation Magazine demo disks. The article offers a few insights from Net Yaroze devs and a little history behind the system itself. I’m just thankful we have more affordable methods now.

It’s been almost 3 months now since Iwata passed away, and Nintendo is slowly moving on. In this article, a former mentor recalls the early career of Satoru Iwata, and looks at his college life, joining HAL Laboratory, and the first game he worked on for Nintendo.


Fans of Greg Miller (@GameOverGreggy) will be pleased to know he is now available in podcast form in, PS I Love You XOXO. The podcast covers the latest PlayStation news interspersed with witty banter, and this week included Shuhei Yoshida (@yosp) as a special guest. Plus, the intro music is really catchy..

Polygon Wireframe is the latest of Dave Tach’s (@dptach) podcasts for Polygon. The first episode looks at the unforgettable sounds of Grim Fandango, composed by Peter McConnell. Polygon Wireframe is a show created specifically for radio, and edits together music, conversation and analysis into a great audio experience.

The Game Dev Edinburgh meets

This is probably only of particular use if you live in, or nearby Edinburgh, but I went to a Game Dev Edinburgh meet up on Tuesday, and had a great time! There were a lot of other cool people there who know a lot about hobby game development, so it was great to learn from them. I’d definitely recommend anyone with an interest to come along. The next meet up is on Tuesday 20th, October, and will likely be in OX184 (Google Map), but keep an eye on the group’s twitter (@gamedeved) for more details closer to time.