69F4 (Feel Bad Friday)

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus | May 20, 2016 | No Comments

We’re back again – reaching some semblance of consistency perhaps in this weekly endeavor?  This week for Feel Bad Friday – I take on 69F4 by, who else, NealCruco.  Enjoy watching me squirm:



If you want to try out the level yourself, you can grab it here.  Thank you, NealCruco, for sharing it with us!  As you can tell, I had a lot of fun.


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Hydrogen’s Mysterious Attraction

Posted in: Bond Breaker, Lesson Time! | May 16, 2016 | No Comments

One of the most common questions I’ve gotten about Bond Breaker is this: why in the world should Hydrogen attract protons? Something seems fishy, and I try to answer it once and for all in this video:



This is the second installment in my TestTubeGames Explains series (you learn about how magnetism is really just electricity here)

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Bond Breaker on Greenlight

Posted in: Bond Breaker | May 13, 2016 | No Comments

Bond Breaker has been played over 250k times!  (Which, I’ll note, is 250 trillion nano-plays)  The web-version of the game has been quite well received, so I thought I’d try to bring it to PC/Mac!

All the joys of playing the game on your computer, with none of the issues with getting WebGL to work!

(It’d still be free, naturally)

I posted it up on Steam Greenlight to see how people would respond to the idea.  So far, I’ve gotten very positive feedback about it.  It’s a vote-based system… so if you want to see a downloadable version of Bond Breaker 2.0, you can give it a thumbs-up here.


Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 11.35.14 AM

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A377 (Feel Bad Friday)

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus | May 13, 2016 | No Comments

Another week, another Feel Bad Friday — this time I take on a new level by NealCruco: A377.  It’s a level about shortcuts?  Or about the lack of shortcuts?  You’ll just have to watch to find out:



A big thank you to NealCruco for sharing this level — and also for keeping on me to keep recording these videos! :)

If you want to check out the original post for A377, you can find it here.  Good luck!


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You only get one Jump Rope (FBF)

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus | May 6, 2016 | No Comments

Back with another Feel Bad Friday this week (Are we getting consistent again?  Who knows!)

This time I take on You only get one Jump Rope by A Random Player.  It’s an older creation – and was actually the inspiration for Random’s later level, Juggling.


If you want to try the level yourself, you can grab the code here.  A big thanks to A Random Player for sharing it with us!




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7-Segment (Feel Bad Friday)

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus | March 19, 2016 | No Comments

We’re back this week with a player-made level in The Electric Shocktopus.  In fact, A Random Player-made level called 7-Segment.

In it, A Random Player somehow managed to not only build a computer (that can operate a digital display)… but also make it so you need to hack the computer to beat the level.

Confused?  Then give this a watch:



Still confused?  Great, me too.  Wow.  I have no more words right now, I’m just stunned.  Incredible.  Definitely worth a watch.

And worth a play, as well – to grab the code yourself, head here.


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Speed – FBF

Posted in: Bond Breaker | March 11, 2016 | No Comments

This week, in honor of the release of Bond Breaker 2.0, I figured I’d give it a spin for Feel Bad Friday.

I took on Speed, a level by A Random Player, from way back in the day when we were running the Bond Breaker level making contest.  Ah, memories!  Well, I popped back into the level, and saw if I could beat it… and you can see the results below…



A big thanks to A Random Player for sharing this level with us!  If you’d like to grab the level code yourself, you can find it here.  Or if you just want to play around with Bond Breaker 2.0 (which, I’ll add, it totally and unequivocally free), you can do so here.


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Bond Breaker 2.0 Released!

Posted in: Bond Breaker | March 3, 2016 | No Comments

I’m excited to say that Bond Breaker 2.0 is out! It’s a major update to the game that we’ve been working on for a while, which adds more levels, more science, and a lot of improvements.



The game is a joint project between the Center for Chemistry at the Space Time Limit (CaSTL) at UC Irvine, and me.  In it, you go on a puzzle-filled journey through the world of atoms and molecules.  As you might expect – coming from me – the game is built on a physical simulation of the nano-scale world.



The new update adds in:

  • Now over 100 levels!
  • A basic level track, to explore the different mechanics
  • A challenge level track, to drill deep for more difficult puzzles
  • Oxygen atoms / molecules / water!
  • Polar molecules and microwaves
  • A new, quantized heat mechanic
  • Scanning Tunneling Microscopes that now move, and map out surfaces

As well as a myriad of small changes and fixes.  I hope you enjoy.  I know I’ve had a great time watching people play this updated version, especially all the kids at the iGamer festival last month.




You can play the game (as always, completely and utterly for free) on the Web, on your iPhone, or on your Android device.

If you *do* give it a play, drop me a line – by email or in the forums – and throw some feedback my way.  I’m always interested to hear what is working well in the game, and (more importantly) what isn’t.

And if you *still* aren’t convinced to go play the game, here’s a new trailer I built to show it off:



Happy breaking!


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3F46 – FBF

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus | February 26, 2016 | No Comments

After a few weeks on hiatus, for various reason, Feel Bad Friday is back, with 3F46 by NealCruco.



Whew.  As (nearly) always, that was a hard one.  Great challenges in it, though, and a nice way for me practice my Shockto-skills.

If you’d like to go play this level yourself, you can grab the code here.  And a big thanks to NealCruco for sharing!

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iGamer Festival

Posted in: General News | February 23, 2016 | No Comments

A few weeks ago, I took TestTubeGames on the road (and internationally, at that!) when I took part in the iGamer Festival in Paris.

Now, after finally being done with jet-lag, and playing catch-up, here’s some takeaways from the trip:


1. It wasn’t a trap!

It’s not every day you get an email from someone who wants to fly you to Paris.  Especially not just because you make indie games.  Naturally, it seemed too good to be true!  But indeed, this was legit.  It was a two-day event at the science museum in Paris, where I, and about a dozen other developers, showed off our science/research-related games.



2. There are some rad people working on science games!

I got to meet great developers from around the world.  And the Venn-diagram overlap between our interests was small enough that there was a whole lot to be interested in.  There were people who made language-learning games, or games that probed the thermodynamics of creativity (yeah.), or modded games to work in classrooms, or made popular science-related games like a little thing called Kerbal Space Program.  To name a few.  There was so much to learn by talking to other developers.  And a whole lot of fun to be had, too.

Meeting other devs was my big goal in going to this festival, and I was not disappointed.


3. Language barriers make for great playtesting

So, this event took place in France.  Where they speak French.  I, however, do not speak French.  And here I was showing off a couple of my games to a bunch of museum visitors.  Families, kids, people who weren’t interested in speaking or reading English. (Naturally.)

That was one of my big worries going into this – how would I communicate?


Turns out, it was a great reminder of one of the core tenets of playtesting — talk to the player as little as possible.  The game should be intuitive, it should require very minimal introduction (I can say ‘please’ and point to the chair… which is about all the introduction people neeeded).  With just a few key words (‘faster’, ‘spacebar’, ‘great!’) I really had everything I needed to show off the game.

And it revealed the points in the game where the mechanics were not intuitive very, very clearly.


4. Old science equipment is awesome

The trip was very quick – and I only ended up with about a half-day to go and see Paris.  (The first day, namely, when I was nursing my jet-lag.)  Not much time, but I did manage to make it to one of my favorite museums in all of Paris: the Musée des Arts et Métiers.


They have an incredible collection of old science equipment, from that era when tools were half-art.  And where scientists were able to do things that, given their rudimentary equipment, seem impossible (gasp, no computers, or photo-gates, or lasers?).


Foucault measured the speed of light with these mirrors, a bellows, a pipe organ, and a tuning fork. Pretty sure MacGyver was based off him.

5. A Trophy!


Ah, yes, the final takeaway from the event – a 3D printed trophy!  The festival also happened to be a competition, and I’m delighted and honored to have won.  I chalk it up mainly to the fact that (a) it was based on votes from the public, and (b) I was right next to the door where people came in.  But it is a huge honor nonetheless, especially given how neat the other projects were.

Developers and Game-Jammers exhausted after a long weekend!

Developers and Game-Jammers exhausted after a long weekend!

A big thanks to the folks over at the CRI institute (namely, Alexandre and Julie) for arranging the event.  I had a blast, and look forward to next year!



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