Posts Tagged ‘Alan Hazelden’

Assessing frustration in Cosmic Express playtests

Cosmic Express

While out at GDC I spent a bit of time chatting to Alan Hazelden about Cosmic Express [official site], his train-themed logic puzzler. I was playing the preview build of the game at the time and was curious to know a bit more about how you go about sorting the levels for a difficulty curve and how you interpret good and bad kinds of frustration when playtesting a puzzle game.

It was an interesting chat, punctuated by the arrival of a little dog partway through, so I’m going to just pull out a few of the observations which inform the difficulty curve discussion. It’s nice to have it as an accompaniment to yesterday’s the review. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Cosmic Express

Cosmic Express

Here it is! The space game review you’ve all been waiting for on this, Monday the twentieth of March, 2017: Cosmic Express!

Cosmic Express [official site] is an adorable-but-also-rock-solid puzzle game from Alan Hazelden. He’s working with Ben Davis who was his collaborator on RPS favourite, A Good Snowman…, and with Tyu of the Klondike collective. The result is a really satisfying puzzle game where you lay the track for a train in order to transport little alien blobs to their destinations. Read the rest of this entry »

Spacetrain puzzler Cosmic Express chug chuggas out

The intergalactic planetary puzzling of Cosmic Express [official site] has pulled into the station. It’s a cute little puzzler about laying train tracks inside spacedomes to bring passengers to their destinations. It looks lovely and sounds simple but I’d expect fiendish puzzling as it’s made by folks from such fine head-scratchers as A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build and Sokobond. Have a gander at this trailer: Read the rest of this entry »

Cosmic Express: adorable train puzzler coming March

Cosmic Express

Oh yay! There’s a new game coming soon from the A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build folk and Tyu – an artist from the Klondike collective. It looks like they’re going all in on the adorable puzzler genre with Cosmic Express [official site]; a really lovely train route planning game set in the bubble of a space colony. Read the rest of this entry »

Skipping Stones To Lonely Homes Is Smarter Than Us

Skipping Stones to Lonely Homes is a new game from indie designer Alan Hazelden. It’s a puzzlescript puzzler, developed by Hazelden in the open-source engine, and it tells the story of a sailor – that’s you – whose ship is damaged and must be repaired using items found on nearby islands. It also ranks in the top five games that use lilypads as a comprehensive game mechanic.

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Have You Played… Sokobond?

Vinegar! (Acetic acid: CH3CO2H)

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Here’s a lovely game about building molecules correctly.

Sokobond is by Alan Hazelden (A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build) and Harry Lee (Stickets) and it is very much My Kind Of Thing.

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A Good Puzzle Game Is Hard To Build

Making a puzzle game is certainly no piece of cake! Ha! Ha! Ha! *cuts wrists*

I love puzzle games. But it’s not beating them that’s the exciting part: it’s understanding them.

Whether mulling over a cryptic crossword or somersaulting through Portal’s portals, there’s a moment of epiphany which, for me, pretty much transcends all other moments in gaming. But how do you design a puzzle to best provoke that eureka moment? What gives a puzzle its aesthetic, its pace and texture? Why does one puzzle feel thrilling while another feels like a flat mental grind?

I’ve asked three of my favourite puzzle game designers to demystify their dark magicks: Jonathan Blow, best known for the puzzle-platformer Braid and currently hard at work on firstperson perplexathon, The Witness; Alan “Draknek” Hazelden, creator of Sokoban-inspired sequential-logic games, including Sokobond, Mirror Isles and the forthcoming A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build; and Jonathan Whiting, a programmer on Sportsfriends and collaborator with Hazelden on Traal, whose own games are a regular Ludum Dare highlight.

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