Writing with Portraits

I’ve been working on the final dungeon this week, getting puzzles designed and placed in after some time of hesitation on my part. It’s really awesome to finally be getting stuff done! That’s not what I’m posting about today though.

As I planned out puzzles, I found it really helpful, if not necessary, to keep with me a sketchbook and sharpie to put down rough designs and compositions on paper before implementing them into the game. What I didn’t expect, but should have, is that my habit of compulsively doodling would end up making this task a lot more time consuming than it needed to be. But some interesting thoughts came to mind as a result.

See if you can spot which part was supposed to be a puzzle rough draft. I dare you.

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Hey, I have a new game for y’all to play! It’s on the web, and it’s here!!

In keeping with my recent but proud tradition of long game titles that nobody can apparently spell or pronounce, the game is called Chiaroscuro. Unlike Phantasmaburbia, Chiaroscuro is a real word.


The reason why I see fit to post about the new game on this site is because the central mechanic is actually based/taken directly from puzzles in Phantasmaburbia, translated into 3D. You can think of it as a very loose sort of preview for Phanta. I’m purposefully being a bit vague here because I feel part of the challenge is learning the goal of the game and beating it with as little starting knowledge as possible. The entire game is fairly short, but all is communicated through level design and visual stuff–no text or sound in sight.

There’s quite a bit I could say as to the design of this game and how it relates to Phanta, but for now I think I’d like to give everyone an opportunity to first play it. To be continued!

Let’s Youtube Us A Thing!

Hey there, all you lovable rascals! Rockythechao (A.K.A. Mack151, A.K.A. the game’s portrait artist, etc. etc.) here to bring you a little thing I whipped up this weekend. Allow me to humbly present to you the very first installment of Let’s Play Phantasmaburbia!


…No, really, it is, just give it a moment. No, that is not Minecraft, your eyes and ears and livers must be decieving you.

…okay, fine, skip to 01:12 if you want to jump straight into things. BUT MARK MY WORDS YOU WILL TOTALLY MISS OUT ON SOME EPIC MINECRAFT TITLE SCREEN ACTION. EPIC I TELL YOU, EPIIIIIIC.

Regardless, we hope you enjoy this semi-official magical romp through our favorite ghost-infested neighborhood! I’ll try and update on weekends if I can, though fair warning, I’m not known for being perfectly punctual!

Until next time, everyone: Ciao for now!

EDIT: Aaargh, WordPress! Why can’t we just be friends!? Embedded video totally fixed now.

Post Frequency

Hiya! I got back safe and sound from GDC last weekend. it was an amazing experience!

Coming back, I’d like to make a vow to post updates to this site more frequently. I think getting content up here more regularly will be better to those hungry for updates, but also to myself, since I’ll be motivated to have stuff done! I’ll also be pushing for Rocky and Jason to post content as well, since their contributions are all worthy of some personal examination.

I had just a liiiiiiiiittle time to work while I was there, but not much. Since coming back, I’ve been immersing myself in classwork, which has produced some other projects of interest, including a small new game whose central mechanic is based on some of the puzzles in Phanta–more on that later. Progress on Phanta itself has been slow for almost two weeks now as a result, but I’ll be phasing it back into my routine in the coming days.

Right now I’m taking steps into doing the final dungeon. I spent some time finishing off the side content, so all that’s left is the game’s final areas and ending. I set up most of the assets for the puzzles and backgrounds, but I’ve been feeling hesitant about actually doing the puzzles. It feels pretty intimidating! In the meantime, there’s a great deal of enemies to do for this area (what enemies appear is dependent on the player’s path through the game), so I’ve spent some time animating and pixelling enemies. I don’t have any images to share at the moment, sorry!

Okay, so that’s the skinny on what’s going on now! I’ll be back to share more in the coming weeks.


I’m taking a few days to go to the Game Developers Conference in San
Francisco. Wooooooooooo! Work will likely pause until my return.

If anybody’s gonna be out there, let me know!