Andy vs. Juggling

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus, General News | April 17, 2015 | No Comments

Things are going well at TestTubeGames headquarters.  I’m pretty much over that cold from last week (wow, that was a doozy).  I’m working on some new levels for Bond Breaker — including Oxygen:


A very, very rough draft of an Oxygen atom (the innermost two electrons are invisible)


(Wow, I’ve been refreshing my memory about p-orbitals and hybridization. How long ago did I learn about this stuff?)

*And* I’ll be at the Cambridge Science Festival again on Saturday.  It’s a fun event if you’re in the Boston area.  Tons of science activities and booths staffed with really cool research going on in the area.  Also there’s a Robot Zoo – which I’ve heard people are interested in?  There are activities all week, but I’ll be at the Science Carnival at the Cambridge Public Library.  Come on out and play some science games!


Games games games!

Last year’s science festival was off the hook!


Feel Bad Friday!

Then, of course, since this is Friday, there’s a little ol’ thing called “Feel Bad Friday” that we need to take care of.  Before we get started on this week, there was a bug in last week’s level, Meadowy, so if you’re so inclined, you can go grab the real level code here.

Okay, on to this week’s level!  This is another level by the prolific A Random Player — who could single-handedly keep me in the FBF business for quite a while, it looks like.  This one is called Juggling, and, as with every week so far, it is a very difficult level.  I even had to edit the video to keep it manageable.  Twas not easy.



If you want to play that level yourself, you can go grab the code here.  And a big thank to A Random Player for thinking of such an intricate level… playing through it before it was even known to be beatable… and then sharing it with us.  You can find all the levels that players (random and otherwise) have made, or share your own, in the TTG forums.



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Andy vs. Meadowy

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus | April 10, 2015 | No Comments

Slow week over here at TestTubeGames headquarters — I’ve been stuck in bed getting over a nasty cold.  But if there’s one thing that’ll snap me out of this… it’s a Feel Bad Friday.

This week I’m reaching deep into the history banks of the forums… all the way back to December 2013.  Back then, Shocktopus was heavily in development, Estonia’s Minister of Culture resigned, and Bond Breaker was still in the distant future.  Ah, good times.  Well, thanks to a little level converter we now have, we’re able to go back and play some of those old levels in the *new* version of Shocktopus.

Which means a whole bunch more levels to play!

This episode I take on exfret’s dastardly level Meadowy.  In introducing the level, he calls it “nice, simple level.”  Just, keep that in mind as you watch me play.  A nice.  Simple.  Level.  The level code is posted for the world to see, so feel free to give the level a try yourself.



Thanks to exfret for sharing this level way back when.  Now when it comes to making levels, exfret is kinda a big deal.  You can find plenty more Shocktopus levels by him in the forum, or if you’ll recall… he made a whole story arc for Velocity Raptor.  The See-All Seal.  Impressive stuff, I encourage you to give it a try if you haven’t already.


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Andy vs. 4348

Posted in: Bond Breaker, Electric Shocktopus | April 3, 2015 | No Comments

Me versus a number!  Woo!  I just finished up playing another player-made level of The Electric Shocktopus — for my weekly Feel Bad Friday video.  (Where I keep losing… and losing… and losing at my own game.  But, hey, I eventually win, so… yay?)

This week I played another level by NealCruco (who brought us 4A4c)… this time called 4348.  You’ll have to look deep into a title like to truly understand it.  Or just skip right to the level!



Thanks to NealCruco for providing the challenge this week!

Other News

A brief summary of the haps at TestTubeGames…

The Electric Shocktopus Version 0.5

The game is still solidly in Beta, but thanks to the help of the intrepid playtesters in the forums, we’re getting close to a more finalized version of the game!  Yay!  Now you can grab version 0.5, with tons of improvements and fixes.  Great for trying your hand at NealCruco’s level above…

Day of the Devs

Last weekend I spent some time at a games festival at Boston University — “Day of the Devs.”  I had a booth where I was showing off some games (Shocktopus, and Bond Breaker), and I had the help of a little someone to hand out business cards…

Handing out cards is all in the wrists. Oops, sorry Shocktopus.

I got some time to chat with a lot of nice game developers there, some of whom were indies, and some of whom were still students (wait, not mutually exclusive… but I digress).  I had a great time as always showing off Shocktopus, and watching people play.  It’s like Feel Bad Friday, but not me playing!

Bond Breaker, part II

There are some big changes on the horizon for Bond Breaker.  This is a project that I’ve been working on with the Center for Chemistry at the Space Time Limit (err, CaSTL) at U.C. Irvine.  The game has been out for a while now, but we’re working on add a lot new levels and mechanics right now.  There was always a plan that we’d get into advanced topics like (more accurate) Scanning Tunneling Microscopes, and Oxygen, and current research.  And right now we’re working on levels that do just that.  Fun!  So stay tuned on that…



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Andy vs. Traffic Light

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus | March 27, 2015 | No Comments

Each week, I try to record myself playing a user-made level, for the world (all 16 of you?) to see.  And, after three weeks, I might say (quite hesitantly) that Feel Bad Friday is becoming a tradition around here.

Oddly enough, even though I’m failing repeatedly at my own game (…yay?)… it gives me quite the encouragement to keep chugging along on it, fixing bugs and the like.

This week’s level comes from A Random Player (aka ‘Random’ for short).  Random posted the level Traffic Light in the TTG forums this past week, and I couldn’t resist giving it a go.  (Traffic light pun too subtle? Fair enough. Guess I can’t expect you to red between the lines…)

So watch me fail.  Fail again.  And fail dozens more times as I attempt to reach the goal with all three stars.  Enjoy.

Special thanks to Random for creating and sharing the level.  You can see this and more levels in the TTG forums.  As you can see, there’s some creative stuff coming out of there.


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Andy vs. 4A4C

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus | March 20, 2015 | No Comments

I’m back this week with Episode 2 of Feel Bad Friday – where I celebrate the end of the week by beating (or utterly failing at) a level that a player has made in The Electric Shocktopus. As the game’s creator, I figure this should be a piece of cake, right? This week’s episode: 4A4C by NealCruco. And it is a tough one.

See how I do with Danger! Death! and Tentacles! Will I throw my tea against the wall in frustration? Find out this week on Feel Bad Friday.

Click on the image below or follow this link to YouTube.


What does “4A4C” mean? The world may never know…


If you want to learn more about this level, see what NealCruco had to say about it in the forums.

It looks like I’ll have no shortage of tough levels for future weeks. NealCruco and A Random Player (from Episode 1) have been hard at work making tough levels for me. And I recently created a level-converter — which will let us play levels that people made in the old flash version of the game.

If you’ve got a level you’d like to share with everyone (and possibly get me to play it), stop by the TestTubeGames forums and share it with us!


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Feel Bad Friday – Episode 1

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus | March 13, 2015 | No Comments

With The Electric Shocktopus version 0.4 just released (grab it here), I’ve decided to celebrate by playing through Crate Path – a level created by A Random Player in the TTG forums.  You can watch below, or follow this link to see it on YouTube.





As you can see, User-Made levels are often *HARD* levels.  And who should be able to beat those levels if not *me*, the guy who made the game?  I have a whole lot of fun playing through levels that players have made — it’s great to be surprised and challenged by my game — so I’m going to try to regularly post these videos of me trying (and often failing) to beat user levels.

Have one that you want me to play?  Post it in the TestTubeGames forums!  Or just go there and try your hand at some levels that players have made.  And if you haven’t gotten The Electric Shocktopus yet, you know what to do… (still in Beta, but getting better all the time, so… go for it!)


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Bond Breaker in your Browser

Posted in: Bond Breaker | February 19, 2015 | No Comments

Okay, you’ve been able to play Bond Breaker in your browser for a while now.  But here’s the treat: you can now play it using WebGL! (w/o Unity’s WebPlayer)





I made Bond Breaker with a tool called Unity3D (nevermind the fact that my game is decidedly 2D).  This let me port it to iPhones, Android devices, and browsers.  You could play it on my website just like a Flash game.  Well, not just like a Flash game.  You see, you needed a Unity WebPlayer Plugin, something that most people do not have.  (For the record, Flash requires a plugin, too… but everyone already installed that a long time ago.  Not so much with Unity.)  And while it’s free and easy to download, there are a bunch of people who don’t want to – or can’t – download the plugin.  All people who wanted to play Bond Breaker, but couldn’t!

That’s Terrible

I know.  But a recent Unity3D update lets me port my game to JavaScript — where you can simply play the game in a browser.  No plugin required!  This will work on any browser that supports WebGL… so sorry, Internet Explorer 10.0 users, you’re out of luck.  Also you can’t play my game.  But if you have Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or any number of other browsers (IE 11 should work?), then you can easily go play the game.


Indeed.  I for one love this new, lowered barrier to gameplay.  I put these games up on my site so anyone can play them — and it’s a shame if they’re hung up on a technicality.  Keep your eyes peeled for future WebGL ports of my games… I’ve got my sights on the Gravity Simulator next!



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Shocktopus Beta

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus | February 4, 2015 | No Comments

It has arrived!  An open beta for ~~The Electric Shocktopus~~!


Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 10.11.55 PM

A Brief Fishstory

Once upon a time, Andy, a dear friend of mine, had an idea for a platformer where you were electrically charged.  You could electrically attract and repel to fling yourself all around the level.  But, the part that excited him most, was Magnetic Fields.  You see, when electric charges move in magnetic fields, they *curve*.  Picture running out of a building, only to be flipped up in a semicircle and find yourself re-entering the building… via the second story.  And upside down.

Thus SHOCKTOPUS was born.

Actually, thus a game filled with weird boxes was born…

Electromagnetism Game

What a game!

Which then became a game called MagneToad!

No one else is stealin' my credit for this!

No one else is stealin’ my credit for this!

(Skipped it for copyright reasons / Marvel wouldn’t return my calls)

So then I created Maxwell’s Monkey!

Kinda reminds me of a certain Yeti...

Cute, but not a snappy enough name.

…and thus…


…after a string of weird punny names, The Electric Shocktopus was conceived.

Electric Shocktopus Screenshot

“Wait, why does the octopus want bananas?” Potassium.

Of course, that was a couple years ago.  I developed the game over the course of nearly a year, finally bringing my vision to life.




Where it sat for a year, waiting.  My initial plan was to release the game as a flash game.  Give the game away free online, and I’d make money through some sponsorships/advertising.  But that plan never panned out.  Turns out, that’s (a) much less common/lucrative than it once was, and (b) not a great fit for an educational game.  So the Shocktopus remained on the back burner, while I turned to other projects – like Bond Breaker.



The helpful and ever-present prodding from friends/family/forum-goers finally set me straight.  It was time to release this game.  But not as a flash game – that wasn’t going to work out.  Instead I’d release it as a game in Unity.  It’d be faster, stronger, bigger, and no longer confined by the browser window.  After a fair bit of work porting the game over, it went from looking like this…

Admittedly a bit of a step backwards...

Admittedly a bit of a step backwards…

…to this…

Now we're talking!

Now we’re talking!

…and finally up to its current state.

Weird, the bananas are now stars? Far more hydrogen, and far less potassium...

Weird, the bananas are now stars? 0% your daily potassium, 10^8% your daily hydrogen…


As I mentioned above, this is a Beta, so it isn’t finished by any measure.  There are a whole list of improvements I’m planning on making.  But it’s here – you can get it, play it, make and share levels, and when you do, throw some feedback my way.  I’m interested to hear what you think!



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Too Many Asteroids?

Posted in: Gravity Simulator | December 4, 2014 | No Comments

I posit: there is in fact no such thing as too many asteroids.  At least, if we’re talking about the virtual ones in the Gravity Simulator.  I like to stay far away from them in the real world.

I’ve been working on the Gravity Simulator more, adding in features / fixing bugs for version 0.30.02 — which is coming shortly to computers near you!  But along the way, I’ve been getting distracted … erm… doing research making some pretty, silly, and pretty silly orbits.  Thought I’d share some of the latest.  Most were created thanks to the new auto-fire feature, that let me draw *a lot* of stuff really quick.  Because more is better.

Ring of Asteroids


More than a wee disturbance in the force, I’d say.  That ring is made up of about 300 individual asteroids, so many that it looks solid.  But as you can see, it’s clearly not.  As you watch the video, notice which asteroids the planet flings away from the star, and which get pulled closer in.  Why?

For a more, erm, patriotic version of this, let’s remove the star and planet entirely:


Kind of like the big bounce — everything coming together, but just missing the center.

Now how about if we get that ring moving…

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 5.20.35 PM

We are well on our way to screensaver material, here, folks!  A lot of asteroids of course means a lot of lines.

If, instead of putting down tons of asteroids, I instead add tons of planets (right on top of one another) — we get this:

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 4.29.26 PM

Those yellow planets are all orbiting around one another very closely, while orbiting that distant yellow star.  Since forces increase significantly as two planets get closer, having them all on top of one another requires a lot of accuracy — though I’m happy to see that the sim is cut out for the task.

You, too, will be able to play with the auto-fire soon.  Pop over to the forums to keep an eye on the progress, or to get an advanced copy.  Otherwise, it’ll be posted on Humble Bundle soon.


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The Results are In!

Posted in: Bond Breaker | November 20, 2014 | No Comments

The Bond Builder Contest was a great success – we got a bunch of cool levels that players submitted.  From nice-and-easy levels (I’m sure there had to be at least one easy one in the bunch) to ultra-hard levels (oh yes, there were those), and everything in between.  I learned that I am *not* the world champion of my game, though how people solved Prison Break so easily boggles my mind.

This contest wasn’t just for fun, though… there’s a lot on the line, here!  The winners get their levels added to the official game, right in the main campaign.  Think of the fame and fortune that would go along with having a level in Bond Breaker!

The researchers at CaSTL and I played through the three dozen levels that we finally got for the contest.  And through a very official, legit, *triple*-blind judging process, we picked six levels as the winners.

Without further ado, check out the newest Bond Breaker levels!


Puzzle 3

by _V_

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 5.20.16 PM

A classic video-gamey level.


by Matthias

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 5.20.36 PMEach time I think I’ve beaten this level, I find out there’s another trap I’ve fallen into!


Football Goalpost

by Tecnoturc

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 5.20.45 PMFlashing decoration? Who put that in my game?


Poolest Level

by Andre

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 5.21.01 PMTook me longer than I’d like to admit to solve this puzzle!


Love Story

A Random Player

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 5.21.15 PMThis one made me cry at the end.  Well, not quite.  But almost.



A Random Player

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 5.21.25 PMWill you take your chances?


Congrats to all five creators of the levels!  These will soon be added into the main game, but feel free to click on any of the images to play them right now.

Frankly, though, all levels we got were awesome and cool, and I wished we could put them all in the game.  So I decided that I *will* do just that.  Thus, you can find all the levels that people made for this contest (and afterwards) in a new user-made-levels menu of the game.  It’ll be updated with new levels as they come in.  So if you’ve made something neat, share it in the forums, and you, too, might become part of Bond Breaker history!


Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 5.21.37 PM


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