I’m excited to announce my next game, Mr. Sun’s Hatbox! It’s a roguelite slapstick stealth platformer with base building elements and unconventional headgear. It’s my most ambitious project yet, I’ve been working on it since 2019. I’ll be partnering with Raw Fury to release it, my first time working with a publisher.
Here’s a trailer! Created by Marcus Herbertsson (Trailer Producer from Raw Fury) and featuring voice talent by Nick Huber. I’m really happy with how it turned out!
Here are the key art and logo. I commissioned them from the incredibly talented Carles Dalmau, who did an amazing job and was nice enough to take time out of his super busy schedule to work on it.
For reference, here’s the mockup I sent him with my initial idea for the art:
I initially came up with the idea for the game in 2015 after playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. I really enjoyed the Fulton recovery system so I stole it for personal gain. I actually started to prototype it in 2016, but quickly abandoned it after realizing how huge of a project it’d be given my limited free time (I had a full-time job back then). I picked up the idea again on my birthday in 2019, as a treat to myself, and I’ve been working on it on-and-off since then.
I decided to look for a publisher around the end of 2021, for a few reasons. At that point I’d been working on this game for over 2 years and was expecting at least an additional year to finish it. I’m pretty good at making games but pretty bad at selling them. Given my huge time investment, I wanted to protect myself against a worst case scenario. So, I sought funding to finish development along with marketing support and help with all the other things that go into releasing a game (QA, localization, porting, etc.). After a few months of searching I got a few offers and ultimately decided to go with Raw Fury. They’ve been great, I’m very happy with my decision.
I’m excited to share more about it as we get closer to release!
I updated my website and added a Blog section! The plan is to post announcements and detailed breakdowns of stuff I work on. We’ll see if I’ll stick to it, maybe not.
I just released a new game called Tender: Creature Comforts! It’s a dating sim based on the real-life experiences of the writer, Gideon Lazarus (my roommate), featuring the art of Jie En Lee (@frogfungus). It’s a narrative-driven game that plays out in real time and emulates a lot of the (mostly bad) experience of being on a dating app. We’ve been working on this game on and off for over two years, and I’m excited to share it with you.
We’re also planning a Steam release this summer, which will have a few mechanical changes to make the experience work better on desktop. Wishlist it now here.
In November of 2018, while I was attending an NYU Game Center event, my friend Jenny introduced me to this artist, taking us aside say that we should try working together on a game. It was a little awkward but I saved their number. At the same time my roommates were helping me message people on dating apps — we’d cast my phone screen to the TV and try to come up with good opening messages. It was fun and took a lot of the stress out of the experience (dating apps suck).
I mentioned potentially working with Jie En to them and we all brainstormed game ideas that would work well with their art. Eventually we landed on the idea that would become Tender – a base building idle game where you’d have to use a dating app-like interface to chat with and recruit people to work on your profile to make it more attractive, therefore attracting more workers. Except the people would be little Pokemon-like creatures because we liked Jie En’s creature art. I don’t have much confidence as a writer, so one of my roommates Gabe suggested that I hire my other roommate Gideon to write it. Gideon was unemployed at the time and had been using Tinder habitually for the past few years, having chatted with hundreds of people and gone on dozens of dates. So we figured his experience would be valuable for the game, even though he’d never done much writing like this and hadn’t worked on a video game before.
As we worked on the game, it became clear that the idle-game side of Tender didn’t really make sense and wasn’t really working mechanically. So we scrapped it and pivoted to focus on the narrative. And here we are over two years later. There’s a bit more to the story but I don’t feel like writing more.
Anyway, hope you all enjoy the game!