Thursday, 26 November 2009

Final Fight: Double Impact


Proper Games
' second game has been announced - Final Fight: Double Impact is our current baby-in-development, and we're so honoured to be working with Capcom on such a classic game.

But wait, there's more!

There's a second game here - that's right, it's a double-pack, with Magic Sword joining in the fun.

Check out screens here, and go buy it when it comes out early next year, on XBLA and PSN!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


Yeah it was inevitable I post about this...

I won (well, Flock! won...) a BAFTA for BEST GAME :)

Here is the full ceremony (the game award is at 56:00 ish)

Suffice to say - wahey!

I'm quite chuffed to say the least, maybe there are more on the horizon? Whatever happens, it has given me a big boost.

Friday, 6 November 2009

God Of War III

I'm not sure if I'm turning lame, but this new demo trailer for GOWIII turns me right off.

The amount of gore really is verging on the uncomfortable, and it's not just that - I thoroughly enjoyed ripping my way through Dead Space, for example - it's the way the camera glamourises and fetishises (is that a word?) the extreme violence.

Watch till the end to see my point - it just makes me feel a bit queasy to be honest.

Oh well, GOWII was an inferior game to the original, and this 3rd in the trilogy seems to have gotten even worse (Not to mention the music. Sheesh!).

On a side note, I wonder if this level of violence is rammed down players' throats when they die or fail. It'll be interesting to see. The creators of the game are clearly in love with Kratos, and blatantly revel in the havoc he wreaks on all those legendary creatures and Gods... I wonder if they've the stomach to put the object of their (dubious) affections through the same.

My guess is that they don't, and the worst you'll see is a ragdoll version of Kratos falling to the ground.

Time will tell.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Perfect Dark - the drink

And another one - this time based on the very awesome follow up to GoldenEye on the N64.

Here's to you, Rare! Remembering past days of glory...

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

New drink added!

In the Food and Drink section, I've added the first cocktail recipe. Game themed of course, today it is the Shadow Complex, created a few weeks back in celebration of a mate's birthday and another mate's stag do!

Make! Drink! Enjoy?

Monday, 17 August 2009

Designer Questionnaire

Found on Gamasutra this morning:

Turn-based or Real Time?

Real Time

Rounds or Respawn Timers?

Respawn Timers

Cutscenes or Scripted Events?

Scripted Events

Sliding Floor Tiles or Sliding Blocks?

Sliding Blocks

Free To Play or Subscription Based?

Free to Play

Crosshairs or Iron Sights?

Iron Sights

Skill Trees or Dialogue Trees?

Skill Trees

Console or PC?


Coop or Multiplayer?


Block or Dodge?


Open World or On Rails?

On Rails

What is the most beautiful feature or mechanic in games?


What is the most disappointing game you have ever played?


What is your favorite game judging solely by user-interface?

Wii Sports Resort

What famous designer do you wish you were?

Shigeru Miyamoto... or maybe Tetsuya Mizuguchi

What game's world is most interesting to you?

Halflife series'

What game would you most like to turn into a franchise with 13 sequels?


Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Food and Drink

So I've added a Food and Drink section to my blog now, and the first recipe is up - a really nice summer salad.

Check it out!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

I've removed many games from my Now Playing list, due to the dreaded Red Ring of Death. Aye, it has struck.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Start Squirting!

I've updated the Games page with Squirt!

I'm kinda extra-chuffed on this one as it is the second game out there entirely my own design (the first was the wonderful Lineboy)!

It's part of Proper Games Labs initiative, where we upload prototypes that we're not moving forward into production with.


Friday, 19 June 2009

Game Character Names

Spotted this very long article detailing theories for the names of videogame characters.

Well worth a read when you have the time. Seriously, it's looooong.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Braben - respect!

So I caught this article on what David Braben of Frontier (a studio located not far from where I grew up in Essex) thinks is wrong with the perception of casual videogames - highlighting those in particular on the Wii - as the debate rages on about core games on the Wii and their sales.

Anyway, the man makes a very good point - one which I've been thinking on myself recently - basically that the core games press does not know how to review a casual orientated game, or even just those that are not targeted directly at the core gamer.

Having had some interesting and revealing insight into the whole 'problem' watching the launch of Flock! (a very casual game released on a bunch of very hardcore platforms, through hardcore channels - does anyone who is reading this think their mum knows how to download a game and play it on their PC? No, didn't think so!) it's nice to see some very considered and thoughtful discourse coming to the surface.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Proper Games Labs

We're launching a new section of the Proper Games site soon, called Labs.

Here'we'll be letting people play, see videos of and maybe even download our prototype game ideas that never make it to market.

The first one to appear will be Squirt, a match-3 puzzler with a twist - a game concept entirely designed by myself, which makes it the second game to come out that is completely and utterly my design with nobody else's input (the first was of course the experimental game Lineboy!)

I've also added Squirt into my list of Non-Commercial Games over here...

Wednesday, 10 June 2009


I've been playing a lot of Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 recently (my 360 has decided it doesn't like connecting to the net, so all my multiplayer games are out of the question currently) and as such have been keeping an eye on Gundam in general. The fiction appeals to me, as does the very Japanese-style storylines and characters.

Anyway, I spotted this a while back - a life-size Gundam being built in a park in Tokyo. Seriously, they know how to celebrate stuff!

I'd love to see this in real life, I just hope they keep it up longer than planned.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Mini Mod

A blast from the past, this one!

In 2nd year of Uni at Abertay, me and my flatmates from 1st year created a small (ouch, forgive the pun) mod for Half Life called Mini Mod. Essentially a Deathmatch game given a Toy Story twist, it was the first time I'd made anything and actually released it to the public.

I kinda wanna go back to it and see what I've learned since, maybe re-do a level for HL2... we shall see what happens!

I've added it to the Games section of my blog, or just click here.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Every Game... Ever!?

Fun review site with every Snes game reviewed? Quite the repository.

Also a funny read.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

UK Resistance

I've had a soft spot for UK Resistance for a long time now - it's their mix of parody, harsh words and flat-out fanboy-baiting content combined with the best of caustic British humour that makes me giggle almost every morning when I check it out.

Last thing I expected to see was Flock! on there!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Blast from the Past

I've had a few blogs over the years, and while I'm a bit too busy to keep this one regularly updated with new ruminations, I thought I'd share some choice cuts from the golden days... this particular one is about Gears of War 1...

"Why do I dislike this game so much?

Firstly, the game's visuals - generally stunning, but marred by technical deficiencies.

I'm all for the detail, the framerate and the sheer scale of some of the visuals this game presents, but when after every cutscene the textures take a few seconds to load in, it stinks of rushed coding and is particularly noticeable when the rest of the game is so polished. Why, with such an 'important' game, would you let it out to the public with such obvious visual problems? It was the same with Halo 2 and its goddamn flickering normal maps. Hideous, and detracts from the game as a whole.

Secondly, gameplay - solid, entertaining, but nothing new.

The cover system works fine but was seen in kill.Switch, the reloading mini-game is nice but ultimately pretty shallow, and several things niggle at me. The inability to accurately see where your grenades are going to land over larger distances, despite being presented with a handy arc. The stubborn refusal of some seemingly valid bits of scenery to allow the player to shoulder into cover. Overly simplified close combat - with only one option available to these hulking men in armour, they seem crippled by fear whenever a Locust gets near.

The incredible decision to make the vast majority of the enemy characters share a very similar height, shape and therefore silhouette. The abysmal AI, for both enemy and - more frustratingly - ally, which makes a mockery both of the elite unit you are supposed to be fighting with and the fearsome enemy you are supposed to be fighting against. The weaponry sets being shared by aliens and humans alike - eh?

The final boss is unexciting and unthreatening (simply pummel him with bullets until he falls over), and so are the majority of his cronies. Why in this day and age do enemies not react to being hit by goddamn bullets!? It makes no sense to me, as GoldenEye on the N64 managed it, but these morons simply carry on walking/shooting/running into walls despite you filling their ugly faces with hot lead.

Thirdly - inspiration and source material.

Nearly everything 'cool' in this game is ripped directly from another source. Now I've had arguments about the difference between 'ripping off' and 'being inspired by', but I honestly believe that GoW is guilty of the former more than the latter. First of all, the chainsaw-on-the-end-of-the-gun is straight outta Warhammer 40,000. Secondly, the only section where they try to make some interesting twists on the core gameplay is ripped wholesale out of Pitch Black. And I mean wholesale.

Staying in the light is one thing. Doing so because of the threat of hordes of hideous monsters in the dark would be fine too. But when the hordes of monsters are exactly the same as the ones found in Pitch Black, it becomes a crime punishable by me slapping you with my shit-covered hand (and I'm not talking about the main beasties in Pitch Black, I'm talking about the bat-like ones that tear up the poor woman from Farscape early in the film - yeah, those ones).

Fourthly - storyline and characters.

Well, anyone who has played it must know that the characters are all shadows of a cliche (Cole Train being entertaining as he actually has some personality), and the storyline is as vague and thin as the hair on Charlize Theron's navel. Without spoiling anything the manner in which the storyline is conveyed is lazy and sporadic, poorly timed and nonsensical.

Right, so all of that seems quite vitriolic, yes?

Indeed it does. And I'll tell you why - we were promised so much more. Even in the little booklet you get with the special edition Cliffy B goes on and on about how this was the future of gaming and how he had an epiphany playing paintball or somesuch... mate, wake up. This is not the next generation of videogames in any sense except visually, and even there it falls down with technical hurdles."

...and having read this again now, I'm of the same opinion - if a little more chilled out about it now :)

PS: You may also notice some similarities and lines of thought that eventually got properly aired in my Edge-Online piece.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Flock! so far.

Well, we've got enough reviews for Metacritic to have an average - we blame Eurogamer's fairly harshly worded review for the yellow-tinted 74 we're on currently.

Also, the AVGamer review has gone to the PC version of Flock! on the site - admittedly as 100% which is ace - but it doesn't help the 360 scores! Why Metacritic insist on keeping the platforms separate I'll never know - it's identical across all 3!

Anyway, here is the list of reviews we've had so far...


Team Xbox


Modern Gamer



Monday, 6 April 2009

Flock! reviews continued...

Well, an even better score today!

The lovely Samantha Nelson over at AV Gamer has given Flock! a very generously worded review, and we're all fairly pleased with ourselves at the moment here at PGHQ.

According to their rankings (on the right side of the review) Flock! is better than Resident evil 5, Streetfighter 4 and Killzone 2 - not bad for a debut game ;)

So far that's 80% and an A... c'mon, we need some more reviews to get a Metacritic average! :)

Friday, 3 April 2009

FLOCK! Launch Party...

From Proper Games:

On the 7th, 8th and 9th of April, Proper Games’ first game is released on PC, XBLA and PSN!

We’d love it if you'd come and help us celebrate on the 1st floor of the Abertay Union on Wednesday the 8th April 2009. Doors are open from 8:30 and it will no doubt carry on into the wee hours.

We’ll be generally having a riotous time, with a competition on the night for everyone to enter, and of course playable builds of the game. We’ll even be saving any levels created on the night and uploading the best picks onto our map server!

RSVP to jenni at proper-games dot com as soon as possible so we can put your name, and those of any of your guests (or at least rough numbers) on the guest list... though if you are a student or affiliated with Abertay you should be fine getting in without being on the list.

Look forward to seeing you all then!

Full details:

Date: Weds 8th April 2009
Time: 8:30pm – late
Place: 1st Floor, Abertay Union, Bell Street, Dundee, DD1 1HP, Scotland

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Blog pages updated

Well, I've finally gotten around to updating all the pages to the same format as this main one, so they're all a little less drab than before.

Also, I've embedded two videos of Blue Moon Rising on the BMR page, along with links to a scanned preview a friend sent me. Check them out - BMR is like an old flame for me, I can never get over it 100%...

Also, I dunno if anyone noticed but Lineboy was broken - it's all good though because Jon has helped me fix the embed code. Cheers bruv!

FLOCK! reviews

Well, it's another landmark for me - FLOCK! has had its first review, in the May issue of the US OXM. As such, we now have a Metacritic page and with just the one review in, I'm going to keep a watchful eye as more appear.

Fingers crossed they're all as nice as OXM's!

"...a terrifically enjoyable, lusciously good-looking, and admirably original Arcade game."

...colour me chuffed :)

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

FLOCK! Demo is out

Well then...

The days are ticking by till release, and I'm pleased as punch to let everyone know that the FLOCK! demo is now available on Steam!

Go and get it, play it, go to our website and post on our forums about it... just generally enjoy our little baby.


Monday, 9 March 2009

Best thing on YouTube?

Definitely one of the best things ever to come out of YouTube, thanks to Andy Grier for the link...

Gotta have sound.

Friday, 6 March 2009

FLOCK! Release dates


We've got release dates for FLOCK! and they're official...

PC - April 7th
Xbox Live - April 8th
PlayStation Network - TBD :(

This project is definitely the most important one to me so far, both in terms of career and personally. I've learned so much and been able to input and affect so many facets of the product, I really feel proud of it.

Start saving those pennies!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

CV Page Updated

I've updated a few bits and bobs in my CV page.

I've added a post detailing some of the wonderful (even if I do say so myself!) recommendations I've had from people I've worked with. I've also posted a blog entry 'overview' of my career experience and areas of responsibility/experience.

All the things that make me a qualified Game Designer, with any luck...

Wednesday, 18 February 2009


I recently wrote a short 'keynote' for Edge Online, and today it went live. I've added the link in 'Me on the Web', but click here if you're as lazy as me...

Thursday, 12 February 2009


Well, today at 2pm I gave my third annual lecture to the GDP students at Abertay University. We got to give them a sneak peek at FLOCK!, which went down great.

For some reason, Abertay seem to think I'm a good example of a games professional - I studied there to get my BA in Computer Arts, and have moved on into gainful employment so I suppose they may be right. They must also think I can talk, because this is the third year I've been invited in and allowed to ramble.

The first year I did it by my lonesome, the next year I took Geoff Gunning our project manager for a hand to hold, and then this year there was one more person - John Pile Jr. He actually cornered us at the lecture last year, and now he's working with us while he finishes his Masters... just goes to show!

Anyway, we talked about how we got FLOCK! signed with the legendary Capcom (something I have first hand experience of), the processes we go through to prototype, and how we develop ideas, execute on them and then see them through to completion. Having just finished an internal post mortem on FLOCK!, we were in a good position to offer some realistic advice.

Maybe we'll get to put a post mortem article onto Gamasutra - I think it'd be good to share our experiences, I may ask my boss about that in the morning...

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

I just read this article on what it is to be a Game Designer. Very long, very detailed and very right. A small quote:

"You hold the vision, you protect it, you change it, alter it according to the demands made on you. You select the input from the team and add to and take away from the vision.

You hold it and take care of it but it is not yours."

Check it out.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Terry Pratchett

It's funny how these things crop up. I was chatting to a friend of mine recently, and they mentioned watching a documentary about Terry Pratchett's Alzheimer's troubles. It reminded me that I love his writing and have read nearly all of his published works... but also that I have met the man.

It was at a Discworld convention of sorts, a good few years back now, probably 2002 or 2003. Anyway, I was queuing to get a book signed (The Colour of Magic) and when my turn came I asked him if he had any advice for a wannabe writer.

He thought for barely a second (hopefully a sign of this being a natural truth) before saying this:

"Pick a genre, and then don't read a single thing written in it."

...or at least words to that effect.

It doesn't take a genius to recognise what he was saying, and to this day I make an effort not to be influenced by other works that may share themes or other such similarities - and this applies to my efforts in games as well as writing.

Cheers Terry, I wish you all the comfort in the world.

Hello World

Hi all, just starting to use this as a portfolio/blog - hopefully this'll be easier than maintaining my own dedicated website.