Monday, April 21, 2014

NYC Games Forum

We are looking forward to our next playtest NYC Games Forum event with Microsoft. The last event showing off "The Elf Who Killed Christmas" was very successful, and we got to meet many new fans, and show our game to many people.

I think that the best thing that comes from these sorts of events is getting eyeballs on our game. Last time our game wasn't quite finished, but this time the game is complete, and we can't wait to show it off!

Besides having the game on two computers for people to play, we will be constantly showing a looping trailer on another screen for the crowds that have to wait to play. We've also got a ton of postcards to hand out. (I'm also really excited to hear the responses to the postcards because while Crystal's poster design is on one side of the card, the other side will have my design, which is just a riff off the Santa Big Boss.) I think it will also be fun to see the new Microsoft offices on 42nd Street. Lots of photos will be snapped to let everyone know what it is like.

Today we're trying to get a few last minute things together, but we'll be sure to have a great time, and hope to get new fans!


The Nutcracker boss was a feature that survived from the earliest stages of development for The Elf Who Killed Christmas.

Although the design for this character was straightforward, we still wanted Crystal to lend some originality to the character. I feel she really did this in the face.

The other problem to solve was how the Nutcracker would attack. Given the nature of his character, it seemed clear that he would attack with some nuts. However, what would his other attacks be? It seemed that much more challenging to solve since his limbs didn't have any joints at the elbows it knees. Well, where did he have joints?

One way to solve this problem was to realize that he was a toy. As a toy, he could therefore do things that other characters could not do, such as spin his arms, legs, head, and torso. I just went crazy with those ideas, and so we have the animations and attacks for the Nutcracker.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


The Yeti was the choice for a boss at the end of the mountain level of The Elf Who Killed Christmas. This is despite the notion that the Yeti has no real connection to Christmas. (That not withstanding, I do recall one of those classic Christmas animations that featured some kind of abominable snowman.)

Just like that old stop-motion classic, we wanted our Yeti to have a certain goofiness to him, with the idea that he isn't really evil; its just that he doesn't know any better and does what he's told.

Crystal did a fabulous job with this character. One thing that was a challenge regarding her design, however, is that how these large offs of fur would work around his shoulders and pelvis. I had to do what I could, and really just let the software do the work. Its probably not the most beautiful solution, but it works. Knowing what I do now, I might do things a bit differently if I could change it.

Being a big mountain monster, it seems obvious that his attacks should be big muscled attacks, like throwing things and swiping his arms. However, somewhere early in the game's development, we decided that we wanted all the villains, including Santa Claus himself, to be robots/ cyborgs. This decision did not last through to the final version I the game, but certain elements of that theme did survive. For instance, the Yeti shoots lazers out of his eyes. This really only makes sense if he is a robot/ cyborg. I'm not sure what he ultimately is, but he still shoots lazers out of his eyes.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


The robot theme has remained in the Elf Who Killed Christmas from the beginning of development. We had originally planned for a sort of twist ending whereby Santa and every other enemy in the game turns out to be a robot. Elements of this theme are most obviously found in the character of the RoboSanta. (Other places this theme survives are in the Yeti boss; where do his lazer eyes come from?)

Unlike the Nutcracker boss where there is really only one dominant design to follow, there seem to be a million different places Crystal could have gone for a robotized version of Santa Claus. We were quite happy with the final character design that Crystal delivered for the RoboSanta. It follows a similar theme as the logo for Give Up Games.

But even after the character is designed, we still had to decide how the villain would attack. We decided early on that the bosses for the game should have at least three different kinds of attacks. It wasn't obvious at all how this giant robot should attack. We went a little cheap and recycled the blazer eyes from the Yeti. However I think we went over the top by making him breathe fire, and changing Crystal's design to switch out one of his arms for a cannon.