Unity Experiments

Posted in: Slide Rule, Wednesday Update | September 26, 2013 | No Comments

I’ve been testing out the waters with Unity lately, figuring out whether it’s something I’d like to use for future projects.

Long story short, Unity is a way to make games that you can play on the web, download as apps on iOS or Android, play right on your PC or Mac, the whole nine yards.  Could be a great help in future games — and in updates to older games.  I’m excited to use it to build the next generation Gravity Simulator, for instance.

This past week, I got my feet a bit wetter with the programming language and all around *how* to build something in Unity.  The mission?  Rebuild the Slide Rule.  It was one of my first apps, and really just a way for me to explore how to build an app.  After all, it doesn’t come much simpler than an interface with two moving pieces.  (Disclaimer: it’s become much more than that… and it is more complex than I remembered!)

So I threw together the slide rule app, building it from the ground up in Unity.  I built it to run on my iPhone, which it did, fine.  (Not all the features mind you, pretty bare bones)  And then — here’s the cool part — I changed the settings slightly, and now it works on the web!  You can check out the (still rough) result here.

So go play around with TTG’s new internet slide rule!

You’ll need to download the Unity Player if you haven’t already, which you should be automatically prompted to do.  It’s just like the Flash Player you need to use any of my flash games… only different.  A quick one-time download, then you’ll never need to do it again.  Not too tough, right?

The verdict on Unity?  It has a learning curve, like anything else.  But, overall, it seems robust and easy to build in.  And sending a game to multiple platforms is amazing.  Who knows, maybe the slide rule will pop up on Android devices soon.

My next Unity project?  Improving the Gravity Sim.  I’m really excited to see that one on *all* my devices.

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Boston FIG Recap

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus, Gravity Simulator, Wednesday Update | September 18, 2013 | No Comments

So… FIG happened.  And it was crazy.  It took a few days, but I’m finally coming out of my post-FIG coma.  Long story short, it was a great day.

Short story long, here’s some highlights from the day:


There were over seven thousand attendees at the event, nearly three times more than last year.  There was a constant flow of people stopping by to watch other people play The Electric Shocktopus.  As for the players themselves… well… while my laptops were all being used, there was a bit less of a constant flow.  You see, my game was addictive.  The players did not want to relinquish their seats — they were determined to beat more levels/the next level/level 30.  Some were at my booth for a half hour.  Some for an hour.  And I was not about to stop them, It was fantastic seeing frustration turn into dedication.

Special Guests

One part of the day I didn’t expect were the special guests.  Unbeknownst to me, there were people at the event who already *knew* about TestTubeGames.  Some had come out specifically because a friend posted about Shocktopus on Facebook, and told them they had to come play it.  Others planned out coming to the day in advance.  I was blown away by this, and felt really honored that people cared enough about the games to do that.

Business Cards

I put out a couple hundred business cards.  I returned with five.  Whoa.  Good news: I can start designing TTG business card 2.0

Zappy Zappy

No good day is complete without a little chaos.  Or a lot of chaos.  The Electric Shocktopus *refused* to stay in my laptops — he insisted in coming out into the real world.  No, I’m not talking about the Shocktoplush (which was a big hit), but rather about my laptop’s power cord *exploding*.


The Magic Black Smoke came out

The Magic Black Smoke came out


Yikes!  There were some bad power issues in that room, what with all the devices plugged in.  So at some point, about halfway through the day, things on our end of the room started flickering.  And then I heard a nice, loud zapping sound and caught the whiff of fried electronics.  I feverishly unplugged everything, and thankfully, the power cord was the only casualty.

I wasn’t about to plug back into that power source (other people tried, and lost more equipment), so I ran of laptop batteries the rest of the day.  Not ideal — sadly I couldn’t show off the game on the huge monitor.  But it worked.

First Gravity Look

As a benefit to the loss of power, when one of my laptops ran out of juice, I got to try out the current prototype of the Gravity Simulator I had on my iPad.  Just as I hoped, the artistic spirals and loops drew people in — and they got a kick out of flinging planets to see what happens.  It was just the most basic of versions, too, so I’m excited for how people will react to the full thing.

All in all, a full, amazing, and exhausting day.  I learned a bunch by watching people play with The Electric Shocktopus, and hopefully players learned a thing or two, too!  And though I’m gonna need some time to decompress before it rolls around again, I’m already looking forward to Boston FIG 3.0


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Preparing for the Festival

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus, Wednesday Update | September 12, 2013 | 2 Comments

Just a quick post this week – for obvious reasons.  This Saturday (just a couple days away) is the Boston Festival of Indie Games, in which I’m taking part.  I’ll be there with the Electric Shocktopus – showing the latest build off to a few thousand people.

And before then I’ve got to:

  1. Make the game super-fun
  2. Get the game *working*
  3. Stock up on granola bars
  4. Make sure the game works
  5. Decorations!!
  6. Oh god, why isn’t the game working

Yes, the joy of trying to make massive changes on the eve of a big event (hey, I wonder if I can increase the resolution by 50%…) — all while still needing a game that doesn’t break.  Whew, it’s busy over here.

So here’s just a couple pictures of some of the awesome decorations:


A Shocktoplush!

A Shocktoplush!


That’s right — a plush Shocktopus and Yeti!  Custom made by my Mom (thanks, Mom!).  Swing by the booth to check them out and give ’em a squeeze.

And of course a shirt to help me show off the game.


Formal-ware for Saturday

Formal-ware for Saturday


Ah, Electric Shocktopus, awesome band name.  So there you have it — some decor for the big day.  Now it’s back to working on the *digital* version of the Shocktopus.


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The See-all Seal

Posted in: Velocity Raptor, Wednesday Update | September 4, 2013 | No Comments

Something a little fun and different this week — if you’ve been watching in the forums, you may have come across a set of levels that exfret made for Velocity Raptor.  It’s a prequel to the game — with a few dozen challenging levels, and a plot to go along with it, to boot!

Well, I figured I’d try my hand at the levels, recording them as I did.  Man vs. Machine.  Creator vs. Creations.  Raptor vs. Shocktopus.  Wait, not that last one.

I posted my attempt for the first handful of levels on YouTube — so you can watch what happens.  So far, I have to say, the levels are fun to play.  They’re also challenging in the extreme, so I encourage you to give them a try yourself.



A big thanks to exfret for making the levels.  If this is something people enjoy — I’ll bring it back soon with Part 2… where I head into the Volcano!


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