It’s pronounced “loo-DOG-raff-ee”. Like discography but instead of disc (as in music) I make games (which we latinize as lud as in ludum, for some reason). It’s a terrible word. I think most people say “loo-doe-graff-ee” but I like mine better.
This page lists (almost) all the games I’ve ever made and posted. You can see my games in a nicer view, sorted best to worst, on my itch page. You might find that some of these games aren’t listed on my itch page, that’s because it’s secret NotExplosive lore just for readers of this blog. There are some games that are more secret still, unlisted from itch, unlisted here, but still exist. That’s non-canonical NotExplosive lore, (they’re pretty boring and pretty bad, I promise you’re not missing much).
I’ve written a few paragraph remarks on each. These range from technical implementation details to fun anecdotes about their development. None of them are descriptions of gameplay. If you want that, you’ll just have to play them.
The games are listed in reverse chronological order, but my remarks often reference games earlier in the timeline. If you’re planning on reading this whole page, you might have a better experience reading it from bottom to top.
Made in 48 hours for GMTK Game Jam 2023
Composed by Ryan Yoshikami and illustrated by 2 artists we met through the GMTK Team Finder app.
This game was made the day before I started this blog! I think finishing this game finally inspired me to actually put something together to collate my thoughts on my games. I have some interesting things to share about this game and I think a blog post would be a good format to share them.
So that prompted me to start writing a blog, which prompted me to fill out a “who am I” page, which prompted me to write up my ludography with some authors remarks and, an hour or so of figuring out Jekyll and GitHub Pages later, here we are!
I dedicated an entire post to retrospecting on Pest Control.
Super Pet the Cat
Made in 5ish days in February 2023 for Ludwig Game Jam
The jam was 10 days long, but I was out of town for the first 5, so I frantically put my game together in 5 days. I think it’s pretty OK for what it is, but it got eviscerated in the jam ratings.
Released in September 2022
I wanted to make “Wheel of Fortune but better.” I think Wheel of Fortune works well as a game show (with contestants playing for real money), but kinda crappy as a party game to play with friends. It seems that the mobile and console ports of the game are trying to emulate the game show’s exact format.
I wanted to make a competitive hangman game that has the spirit of Wheel of Fortune, but none of its baggage. I was inspired particularly from watching Game Grumps play Wheel of Fortune. I even made a Game Grumps-themed puzzle set for the game with the intent to send it to them. But I never did.
This game also uses the same sound effects and music as Seven Pips, with Ryan’s permission.
Made in October 2022 for Ludum Dare 51
The theme was “Every 10 Seconds” which I think is a pretty bad theme, (it’s almost good, “10 Seconds” would be a great theme!). In defiance of the theme, I implemented a mechanic that used the theme in a pretty stilted way. Then I proceeded to otherwise make a game based on a theme that almost won but didn’t: “Harvest.” Hilariously, “Harvest” did win as the theme for Ludum Dare 52.
This was the first game I made with Crashtroid, who you might recognize as the composer of Peglin. He already had a team for the jam but he said he could send me a quick track if he has any extra time. He made good on his offer, and I managed to squeeze out a “second” track out of it with an Audacity low pass filter.
Made in 48 hours in July 2022 for GMTK Jam 2022
Ryan Yoshikami and I thought we could just recreate the magic of Function Conjunction and Lay Down Your Roots. Just the two of us, no artist. I would make some procedurally generated art and we’d make something compelling and interesting and it’ll be great.
It did not turn out that way. Seven Pips is probably my least favorite game, my most embarrassing flop. Ryan and I had a great postmortem after that where we determined that we’re going to bring at least one artist onboard for GMTK going forward. We followed through on this for Pest Control and the game is much better for it.
Beep ‘n’ Zap: Barry’s Special
Made in one week in June 2022 for a personal game jam among friends
My gamedev friend group got together and created an imaginary “franchise,” a cast of characters and rough story outline. The concept was a cartoon series that never made it past the pilot phase called “Beep ‘n’ Zap,” a Robot and Wizard duo who go on adventures trying to assemble a Giant Robot.
Given this premise, we all split off for a week and each made games that were part of the “Beep ‘n’ Zap extended universe.”
This was the third jam I had done with this group. It’s not a requirement to publish the games from these jams, so not all the Beep ‘n’ Zap games made it to itch, just as my previous 2 jam submissions didn’t either.
Support Class Simulator
Made in 72 hours in April 2022 for Ludum Dare 50
A game based on being a healer in World of Warcraft. I’d been sitting on the idea for this game for a long time and the theme “Delay the inevitable” seemed like a good fit.
Made in 10 days in January 2022 for the Global Game Jam - PIGSquad Site (virtual)
This was the first game I made with my friend andrfw.
Prior to making this game he had pitched to me a game where you play as the knight from chess in a world consisting of other game board pieces (meeples, monopoly tokens, and of course other chess pieces). It was meant to be a grid-based puzzle game where you can only move in “L” shapes (aka legal knight moves). We never even got to the prototype phase with this project, but the spirit of this idea made it into Duel-ity!
We both agreed after making Duel-ity that a whole game where you play as Bennigan would not be very fun.
Also, fun fact: I pronounce it “Du-EL-it-ee” but andrfw pronounces it “DOOL-it-ee,” both pronunciations are therefore correct in my eyes.
Made in 72 hours in October 2021 for Ludum Dare
Function Conjunction’s less interesting younger brother. Similar to Function Conjunction, I had this game in my head for a while. But unlike Function Conjunction, the execution wasn’t nearly as interesting.
Maybe it’s the lack of music (or any sound, for that matter), or maybe the idea just isn’t as compelling. I would like to revisit it someday.
Made in 48 hours in June 2021 for GMTK Game Jam 2021, also submitted to MonoGameJam3
One of my personal favorites! Another game featuring Ryan Yoshikami’s sound design talent. I had been sitting on the idea for this game in my head for a long time but never actually put it together. I envisioned a square plane where you are shown discrete points (stars?), and you need to build a curve that intersects all of those stars by composing mathematical functions together.
When I actually went to build it I realized in order to place the stars I needed to build the “answer” curve anyway, so I may as well just cut out the middle man and display the whole curve.
What I really like about this game is that it’s essentially just a sorting puzzle. “You have 6 things, place 4 of them in the correct order.” At the basic level that’s not a very fun or interesting game (but it’s very accessible! which is important for a game jam game). The context around how you know you’re getting close to the correct arrangement is what makes it so compelling. You can brute force every level, but I think most players don’t.
I also think it presents mathematical concepts that you learned in school in a very fun and interesting way. To quote one of my itch.io comments: “HAH SINE GO BRRRRR”
Made in 72 hours in April 2021 for Ludum Dare 48
It’s a “fishing game” with some cool procedurally generated art. It’s rare these days that I participate in a game jam completely alone and this was one of those times.
First Unheard Message
Made in 48 hours for Global Game Jam 2021 - Seattle Indies Site (virtual)
Three in a Rogue: Classic
Made in 48 hours in July 2020 for GMTK Game Jam 2020, refined over several months after that.
I have a lot I want to say about Three in a Rogue, including that “classic” qualifier in the title. But I think that deserves its own post, so let’s put a pin in that for now.
Made in 3, 6, and 9 hours in July 2020 for Triple TriJam
My original title for this game was “Dario teaches typing.”
My first narrative focused game since Puppertrator. I’d never posted any non-comedic writing before making this game, so it was a huge step outside my comfort zone. Alpha Beta Gamer wrote a very nice article about it. It’s always surprising to see stuff like this, like not only did another human I’ve never met play my game, they then took the time to write about the game and their experience with it.
This game was made for Triple TriJam, which meant that I had 9 hours to make it, and at each 3 hour benchmark I had to post what I had. This meant that I had to sketch out the game in 3 hours, polish it for 3 hours, and then polish it again. These hours did not have to be contiguous, and I didn’t count playtesting with other people as part of the time.
In between 2 milestones Jose Pacio did a playtest for me over screen-share and gave me some feedback. He helped me figure out that I was missing a third act.
Lay Down Your Roots
Made in April 2020 for Ludum Dare 46, remade and re-released September 2020
Ryan Yoshikami and I were a 2 person team on this project. All of the art is procedural so we didn’t “need” an artist.
The game performed very well, getting third place overall for the Ludum Dare Jam! The best score I’ve ever gotten on a jam of that size.
Made in 72 hours in February 2020 for Global Game Jam - Bellevue College Site
Made by Ursagames and me! This was the last in-person game jam I did before the pandemic.
We both liked the premise of this game on paper but we didn’t really have it “working” until about 3 hours before the deadline. I remember saying multiple times to Ursagames, “I hope this game is fun.” With just a few hours to spare, we managed to borrow one person from another team to do a playtest for us and he seemed to have fun which was a huge relief.
We also won at our local site, which was pretty cool.
Gale: Second Draft
Released in January 2020
Nina Freeman liked the first Gale and encouraged me to take it further and make it a more fleshed out game. I had gotten this kind of feedback before on my games, but coming from Nina Freeman, a “real” game designer, it meant a lot to me. When I showed her Second Draft she had suggested that I should submit it to IGF and Indiecade. I did, but was rejected from both. The day I got the second rejection letter, I posted the game in its current state to itch.
In a way I’m glad it was rejected. The hardest thing with non-game jam games is actually saying “OK, this is done, time to release it.” Second Draft was playable and “finished” for weeks, if not months. But I didn’t want to release it because there’s always more I could do.
About a day after release I got feedback from my friend Elisée that the game really needed level select and/or save system because he enjoyed the game but wasn’t able to finish it in one sitting. Oops! Guess there really was more work to do.
In The Rain
Made in 72 hours in October of 2019 for Ludum Dare 45
I had enlisted an artist, Josh Squires partway through the jam. At the time I was using placeholder circles and was doing this cool interpolating trick. It looked pretty good but I figured with an actual artist we could replace it with sprites. Josh said something to the effect of “I think you’re good.” He still helped me pick out colors so I still gave him an art credit.
This game did surprisingly well in the jam, making top 100 overall. I didn’t have high expectations for it, in fact, I didn’t even spend the full 72 hours on it. I think the weird art style along with the tight level design resonated with people.
Welcome to the 10 Minute Power Hour
Made in 7 days in July 2019 for the Game Grumps Game Jam
I’ll have more to say about this in a later blog post.
Made in a week-ish in July 2019 for Tasting Room Jam and Butterscotch ShenaniJam 2019.
A pretty low effort submission, I had half an idea and a quarter the energy to make a game.
I Started 2 Hours Before The Deadline (aka: “Big Ambitions”)
Made (in 2 hours) for WWU Game Jam Spring ‘19, May 2019
I wasn’t planning on participating in this jam, but 2 hours before submission time I had a fun idea for a joke game that would only really “make sense” in the context of a school game jam.
Let me set the scene:
At the end of the jam, all participants gather in a classroom on campus and are each given 5 minutes to present their game.
I was remote, only communicating with the jam organizers through Discord. In fact, I was living 2 hours away from the school at the time, so my options were literally attend the jam presentations or submit something.
The original title of the game was “Big Ambitions,” the itch page had the title and no other details. I told the organizer that they could present my game without me, but let me know when it’s about to start so I can “setup the server.” I warned them the game would not run unless the server was setup.
So, a college auditorium of game jammers are a captive audience and on the projector they see… this game. As a “game” it’s not terribly interesting (bad, even), as a prank to play on a bunch of college kids, it was perfect. My only regret is I didn’t get anyone to film it.
Not Who They Say They Are
Made in 36 hours in February 2019 for WWU Game Jam 11
An attempt to make SpyParty a couch co-op game. I use controller vibrations to send secret information to players and I still think that was really clever. I’m not sure if anyone outside of my immediate friend group has played this game. But it’s a fun game to pull out when I have company over.
Gale: First Draft
Made in 2 days in February 2019 for LÖVE Jam 2019, then polished for 5 days and submitted to Tasting Room Jam
This game was made originally for a 7-day jam hosted by Nina Freeman. But it just so happened that the first 2 days of that jam was the LÖVE Jam, a jam for my preferred game framework at the time. So I quickly threw together a prototype for LÖVE Jam and then followed it up with a more refined version for Tasting Room.
I made Gale and Lens around the same time. Gale was initially inspired by Lens’s “bow and arrow” + “fan” mechanics. When I was making Gale I thought of it as a lesser “parody” of the genius I saw in Lens. But I think in retrospect more people remember and enjoyed the Gale series than have played Lens.
Made in 6 hours in 2018, published in 2019 as part of Meditations
I was invited to participate in Rami Ismail’s Meditations. The game was supposed to be made in about 6 hours and would be “aired” on a date of my choosing, as long as the date wasn’t already taken. Making a game in 6 hours is a really tight scope, I would want to make something really simple but still feels like a game, it made me think of Jump Rope Game Made in 20 Minutes, a game that I made solely because of its tiny scope.
So I checked itch.io to see when I made Jump Rope Game and I found out that it was released on March 3rd. I then checked the sign up sheet for Meditations and found that March 3rd was still available. It was a match made in heaven. So I spent 6 hours remaking a game that took me 20 minutes to make.
Made in November 2018 for GitHub Game Off
I sometimes imagine a sequel to this game and (in my head) it’s the best game I’ve ever made. That immense pressure makes it impossible to ever actually make it. I have attempted to make Lens 2 at least 4 times (depends on what counts as an “attempt”). I plan on making a longer blog post about this topic.
Made in 36 hours in October 2018 for WWU Game Jam Fall ‘18
Mechanically this is a spiritual successor to Speed Date Shuffle, but I think SDS is better.
Made in 7 days in July of 2018 (intermittently) for Wine Jam
I made this game during the week I graduated college. I remember putting the finishing touches (at least, finishing-enough touches) on this game at my parents house with a just barely-unpacked desktop computer, sitting on the floor.
The game still feels incomplete. It has a complex scoring system, but there’s nothing to do with it. There isn’t a lose condition, nor win condition, nor tutorial. It also has menu buttons that aren’t hooked up to anything. Watching Nina play it on stream made it apparent that this game badly needed a tutorial.
Also: I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was the last game I made in Superpowers.
Speed Date Shuffle
Made in 72 hours in December 2017 for Ludum Dare 40
A spiritual sequel to Puppertrator. Made with the same team Kristin Mays and Cadillac Loops. Where Puppertrator had pretty generic point-and-click gameplay, Speed Date Shuffle tries to do something different.
Made in 72 hours in December 2016 for Ludum Dare 37
Another game with Kristin Mays’s incredible art. This was also the first game I ever made that didn’t feature pixel art and it’s so much better for it!
When we were first brainstorming the game and the narrative, Kristin asked me “are they all humans?”
I was a little taken aback by this question, I offhandedly said “Yeah, they’re all humans.” But then doubled back, “what do you mean by that?”
Their reply, “What if they were all, like… Pugs?”
I can’t take any credit for Kristin’s brilliance, but this was a formative lesson for me to never shoot down an idea too early.
During the jam I was posting gifs to twitter showing off our game (mostly Kristin’s cool art). Cadillac Loops, who was a stranger to me at the time, commented on a tweet asking if I needed a composer. We hadn’t given any consideration to music or sound so of course I accepted. This was my first time working with a composer and I was blown away with his work.
If Bug Samurai is my first “fun” game, Puppertrator is my first “real” game. One that I could confidently share with IRL friends and say “hey, check out this game I made, you might like it.”
Made in 36 hours in May 2016 for WWU Game Jam
My first “fun” game!
On the first night of the jam I had a working prototype of the overall gameplay and even before adding sounds the game felt good on screenshake alone.
I showed this game to a friend years later and the first thing she said just looking at it was “woah, that’s fun!” I’ve never had such a genuine reaction of excitement to any game I’ve made prior to this one. That’s why I call it my first “fun” game!
This was also the game that (very indirectly) introduced me to Seattle Indies.
Jump Rope Game Made in 20 Minutes
Made in 20 minutes in March 2016
This was the first game I finished outside of a game jam. It was made to prove exactly that. I asked myself “what is the simplest possible game you could make and still call it a game. I came up with the concept for a one-button jump rope game, reused some assets from another unfinished project, and got to work. I remember it was 9:00 on a school night, close to when I should be going to bed. I told myself “that’s fine, this will only take about 20 minutes” and I held myself to that.
I recommend this exercise! I think it’s a fun thought experiment to define how small a game can be while still being a game. Can you go smaller than this? I don’t know, but if you find a game smaller than Jump Rope Game Made in 20 Minutes I’d love to see it!
If you wanna see “part 2” of this jump rope saga, check out JUMP.
Krill or Be Krilled
Made in 72 hours in 2015 for Ludum Dare 34
The first (canonical) NotExplosive game, with art by Kristin Mays.
I had made games before this for various jams, but none of them are good enough to keep visible on my website. Some of them are completely lost to time. Some of them are on itch, but marked as hidden (hidden NotExplosive lore!)
It was also a game that gave me a big revelation about video game AI: If you want AI that behaves like a player, it should have the same controls that a player would have. In the case of KoBK, movement is restricted to two inputs and you can’t steer and control your velocity at the same time. The AI controlled krill, have the same two-input controls the player does, but they have code to determine which “buttons” they should be pressing.
The twist is: the ai controlled krill is completely random. Of the two buttons they can press, they choose to press left, right, or both randomly on a cooldown. This leads to movement that feels organic and it took like 6 lines of code to write. Sometimes you’ll see a krill perfectly steer itself into a piece of food. That is by complete accident.
I used this insight for the AI in Pest Control 8 years later.