Excerpt from the Third Voyage of Captain Catt


Goodbye Twitter


I’ve been on Twitter for years and for the most part I’ve really enjoyed the experience. It’s been a great place to keep up on what’s new and some of the jokes have been great. I’ve connected with some brilliant people. But for the last year or so I’ve felt that Twitter has become a place of noise and shouting with fewer and fewer real interactions occurring, at least in my timeline. I also need fewer distractions in my work and family life. So after almost 13K tweets, most of them just silly little drawings and bad jokes I’m sailing away in search of a bit more peace and quiet. I don’t for a second think this is significant for anyone other than myself, but that’s fine by me. If you’re reading this and would like an uninterrupted feed of drawings of birds in hats, connect with me on Instagram:


Or don’t! Maybe go for a walk and leave your ‘phone at home (yeah, right).

Fowl Intentions

It’s the Easter break and I have been distracted by eggs and JavaScript. I’m too busy on other projects to make any serious steps towards it but I would like to make another platform game similar to ‘Foxtrot!’ (check it on the App Store or Google Play). This time the game would benefit from lessons learned regarding touch controls on mobile devices (no virtual buttons, ever again. Ever) and I’d work harder on balancing the difficulty level. Platform games on mobile have come on leaps and bounds since Rayman and Super Mario Run have (almost) perfected the form. I don’t suppose the world needs another one, but it does need more games with chickens (and foxes) in them.

So, if I do find some time and resources to make this chicken-based platformer, what tools do I plan to use? ‘Foxtrot!’ was built by myself and Owen Bennett using Stencyl. ‘Pixelgrams’ was made by myself, Graham Spence and Ste Curran with Unity3D. So I could use Stencil or Unity. But I don’t really want to. Stencyl is a great game making tool that has a Scratch-like drag and snap interface. Unity3D is an incredibly powerful suite of tools and is always going to be a compelling choice. If I get more time to make games then I may well return to these technologies, but in the meantime I’m going down a different path.

One of the few itches I’ve wanted to scratch over the last few years is to learn some proper coding skills. Of course, I could achieve this with Stencyl (which is based on Haxe and OpenFL) and Unity (C# or JavaScript). But I’d like to try something that uses a more code based environment, rather than a visual IDE. Something that is built particularly for 2D and for mobile. Something based on open source technologies would be even better. There are a few tools available, but I’m going to go with either JavaScript, using the Phaser framework and Phonegap or Corona SDK. After brushing up on some of my long forgotten JavaScript knowledge and doing a Phaser tutorial  this weekend, I think I’m going to plump for that. It’s an incredibly full featured JavaScript framework written specifically for making games, primarily for mobile web browsers. If you want to convert your HTML5 game into a native app for iPhone or Android then you’ll need to follow a route that something like Phonegap offers. There’s a lively community of Phaser and HTML5 developers on HTML5 Game Devs.

So watch this space, but no breath holding. I’m still committed to Pixelgrams and another (secret, for now) personal project. I also have my day job to consider. So progress will be slow and most of my time at these early stages will be spent on planning.

I may even write a game design document 🙂