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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Paris and F1B3 – FBF

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus, General News | January 23, 2016 | No Comments

Ha, the blog post title is always a mouthful when I play a level by NealCruco!  This week I took on NC’s level, F1B3.  Really had a grand time of it — as you can see from the video below. I posted an unedited version, very different from what I normally do.  Thought I’d see how people liked the change.  Do you like popping it on in the background as you do something else, and watching each and every shockto-death?  Or are you more a highlights-reel person?



Thanks for sharing the level, NealCruco!  Twas great fun!  If you want to play the level, too, swing by the forums and grab the code.

iGamer Conference

Some cool news, next week, I’ll be showing off The Electric Shocktopus at a Science+Research+Games conference in Paris.  The website, if you can navigate it, has all the info.  Or at least some of the info.  It’s still a bit of a mystery to me.  So stay tuned to my twitter (assuming I’ve got wifi in Paris!) to track my travels and travails as I take TTG international!


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Parallel Wires and Relativity

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus, Lesson Time!, TestTubeGames Explains, Velocity Raptor | January 14, 2016 | No Comments

The latest venture here at TestTubeGames?  Videos!

Teaching through games is great – and I love it (obviously) – but in addition to that, I thought I’d make some *videos* about the *science* behind the *games*.


And since everything I do needs a title (Feel Bad Friday, Gravity Simulator Image of the Day, etc), these videos have a name, too:


TestTubeGames Explains

In my first video, learn how Magnetism can be explained just by using Electricity and Relativity.




What do you think?  Was it understandable?  Crazy confusing?  What other topics would you like to see in the future?


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The Two Sides – FBF

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus | January 10, 2016 | No Comments

This week’s Feel Bad Friday showcases The Two Sides, by A Random Player.  You can head here to watch the video.



Without spoiling much — I’ll tell you there were a whole bunch of deaths…  Big thanks to A Random Player for sharing the level!

The video also shows off some of the new graphics for the game.  After getting some great feedback from the Greenlight campaign (still ongoing), I went ahead and did an art pass of the game, and ended up liking it a lot more.  You can catch the latest trailer on the GL page.


With the art pass in place, I posted the latest update to the game (Version 0.9).  You can read all about it here, or just go download the update from Humble (always free, mind you, once you’ve bought the game!).


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Perilous Sky – FBF

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus | December 11, 2015 | No Comments

There’s a brand new feature for this week’s Feel Bad Friday.  Not only do you get to *hear* me, now you can *see* me as I play!  That’s right, we’re going full-on high tech with some picture-in-picture.

For this week’s Feel Bad Friday, I take on Perilous Sky by A Random Player.  You can check out the video on YouTube!



A big thanks to Random for sharing the level with us.  If you’d like to play the level yourself, you can grab the code for it here.

And a reminder that The Electric Shocktopus is now a candidate on Steam Greenlight. It’s free to vote and support me as I make science games like this one!


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Shocktopus on Greenlight!

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

Alert, Alert… with The Electric Shocktopus nearly ready for the full release, I posted it up on Steam Greenlight!



For those of you who don’t know, Steam is a platform that a bunch of people use to buy/play PC games… and Greenlight one of their main methods of curation.  To decide whether a game should be allowed into Steam’s storefront, they let people vote.

So!  If you wouldn’t mind – a great, and free, way to support TestTubeGames today would be to pop over to Steam, make a free account if you don’t already have one, and thumbs-up The Electric Shocktopus.


I'd give it eight thumbs up, if I could!

I’d give it eight thumbs up, if I could!

Together we can help bring a hard-as-nails game about electromagnetism to the masses!


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GSim Image of the Day

Posted in: Gravity Simulator | December 7, 2015 | No Comments

I’ve been enjoying the semi-regular Feel Bad Friday videos – so along those same lines, I’m going to be posting daily Gravity Simulator images.  My goal: each day posting screenshot or gif of some interesting/wacky/pretty astronomical phenomenon.

Keep your eyes peeled on Twitter to see them.  Here’s one to get us started:


A shell of asteroids expanding in space

A shell of asteroids expanding in space


Simple… and nothing big.  But there is some neat stuff to be made here, and this will encourage me to keep playing around with the simulator.  And when the time comes that I can do an update to it, I’ll have a *whole* bunch more ideas since I’ve been dabbling the whole time.


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Shocktopus is Arriving

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus | December 5, 2015 | No Comments

With Shocktopus now in Version 0.8,  safely on his way to a full-release at Version 1.0… it’s time to start rolling out the red carpet for the game!

So, for starters, here is the new trailer:



Whaaa?  That’s right.  Shocking.

Even more Ink-redible…

Browser Version

The Electric Shocktopus now exists not only as a downloadable game for your Mac/PC/Linux device, but now can be played for free in your browser.  Play through the first 15 levels, encounter point charges and magnetic fields, and make and share your own levels with the Level Editor.




The browser version of the game is brand-spanking new, so go push it through its paces.  If you manage to break it, tell me!  If you make a rad level with it, tell me that, too!



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