#LD30 ‘Going Postal’ Post-Mortem

You can play ‘Going Postal’ on your PC or on an android phone or tablet for free if you go to our Ludum Dare entry page! (I’d recommend the android version as it feels really nice to spin the planet with your finger!)

After a long week of making sure that Alex gets on with her final year coursework, building Minecraft server transport networks and making new enemies for Hashtag Dungeon; I thought it’d be nice to take part in Ludum Dare 30 with a few friends.

For those who don’t know, Ludum Dare is a big, weekend long game jam where loads of people from around the world come together and make games and then show them to one another in order to be judged. It’s pretty awesome and this is the second time I’ve managed to find time to do one.

I called up my friends Mark Boyde-Shaw and Amelia George to see if they wanted to join me in making a game, they accepted and joined me at my house for a weekend of excellent game development work!

After waiting up till 2am on Saturday for the theme to be revealed (the theme was ‘Connected Worlds’) the three of us spent a good hour or so discussing possible ideas. These ranged from a horror game where you slowly bring more ghosts into a house by destroying wards, to a crazy planet destroying simulator. Eventually we all agreed on an interesting idea and swiftly moved to our respective beds to sleep.

Morning came and the three of us reconvened in the living room to start work. Mark had been very busy overnight working on a possible storyline for our game, the elevator pitch for the game (entitled ‘Going Postal’) is as follows:

You are a mailman on a small planet with a few houses on it. You deliver mail to houses in order to connect the people who live there together. You can however, choose to deliver mail to the wrong house in order to cause absolute chaos within the small community.

Amelia got to work immediately on making art assets for the game. I went to work on programming the main part of the game with the little help of some placeholder programmer artwork (yes, I do the art for #Dungeon and no, I don’t care that this art is terrible in comparison):


I went into the game jam feeling pretty lazy and I wasn’t really looking to have very pretty code… so in the end I may or may not have put almost all the code into one giant script attached to the planet. This caused a few major problems later on in the evening but for the most part everything worked out fine so I am not too bothered about it. Game jam code is always disgusting.

Over the course of the day, Mark wrote out all the possible letters we wanted to have in the game and the outcomes of each of them. He then printed them off and cut them out in order to arrange them into a cohesive story. PHYSICAL PROTOTYPING FTW!


Once we had an order of letters that we all agreed upon, I set about adding them into the game. It was a very time consuming part of the jam which went on for several hours. Each letter had several recipients who each had different writing styles, letter artwork and house locations around the planet – some of them also had special events tied to them.

It was around this time we also started replacing my horrific excuse for placeholder art with Amelia’s glorious artwork – the tiny microplanet town of Dreamsdale was born:


Mark and I worked on giving each of the characters a believable and unique personality. There were a total of eight characters living on the planet in the end:

  • King Harold IV – The pompous king who is loud, bold and brash. He lives in the palace.
  • Queen Anne III – The wife of Harold who we based around Mrs. Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances. She also lives in the palace.
  • Daisy ‘Sugarplum’ Dumpling – The baker who has the personality of a particularly annoying american teenage girl. She lives in the cute gingerbread house.
  • Sergeant R Murphy – A war veteran who has seen his share of horrors in a ‘Great War’ – he is a no-nonsense soldier who doesn’t like to express his feelings. He lives in the fortified bunker.
  • Mr Frank Fisher – The town fisherman who lives on a small boat in the only lake on the planet. He is a kind natured man who likes poetry and the outdoors.
  • Mr Boris Bletchley – The manager of Dreamsdale’s waste disposal and energy plant. He is a perverted old man who smells horrible – but he’s trying to turn over a new leaf.
  • Dr Eugene Egbert – The geeky scientist who moved to the planet in order to study the local area. He doesn’t really get other people. His letters are all typed in the same manner as Terezi Pyrope from Homestuck (A, I, and E replaced by 4, 1, and 3, respectively). He lives in a hi-tech tree house.
  • Sister Jane Jazzpunk – A nun who is also a talented musician. She is always looking for more people to donate to the church and spread the word of her god. She lives in the church.

Of course we didn’t manage to get everything we wanted to into the game. We wanted it so that if you sent letter to the wrong houses then the world would change slightly in appearance. We also didn’t manage to add all the ending cutscenes we wanted. The options on the letters were also not particularly clear to players, and could have used some work.

Luckily we also managed to get in touch with our friend Will Bryce, who frequently writes music for our games. He managed to come up with a cute little tune to play in the background of the game. Adding music and sound really brought the game to another level of juiciness.


All in all the game jam went well, we took it easy and had plenty of rest breaks. We didn’t want to burn ourselves out doing a full 24 hours straight and I think it really was beneficial because the end result was far less buggy than I’d expected. The feedback we’ve had on the Ludum Dare website has been incredibly encouraging. I look forward to seeing our final scores!

You can play ‘Going Postal’ on your PC or on an android phone or tablet for free if you go to our Ludum Dare entry page! (I’d recommend the android version as it feels really nice to spin the planet with your finger!)

A Novel Update!

I’ve hit chapter thirty-six of my epicus novelus and things are getting hectic! I’ve not had much time to work on it with #1GAM and my dissertation getting in the way, but the odd few paragraphs here and there do eventually build up into something cool. I’ve also been working with Alex on getting the front cover of the book made – I had a look into creating a coat-of-arms for the Dulot family, I’ll post up a picture of it eventually when its drawn.

In order to tantalise your tastebuds for reading the complete thing… here is Chapter 2 of my novel:


Reginald and Tippy looked down at the man wandering across the lawn.

“Must be a drunkard from the village.” scoffed Reginald, taking a drink from a newly poured glass of wine.

“Should we do something about him?” asked Tippy.

“Let him alone for the moment, as long as he doesn’t vomit on the patio it’ll be fine.”

Almost instantly, the man fell over and threw up across the grass; Reginald scowled. “Bloody typical.”

The two aristocrats watched in a stunned silence as the man got back up and staggered off into the woods.

“That’s it,” Reginald yelled “I’m getting a fence built as soon as possible.”

Tippy watched as Reginald stormed out of the room, he followed behind as quickly as he could.

Reginald stormed down a luxurious staircase into the main atrium of the manor house. He walked over to an old rotary phone installed in the wall and started dialling for the local masonry company.

Tippy gingerly tiptoed down the stairs, he never liked it when Reginald was in a bad mood.

The phone clicked and whirred as numbers were dialled in frantically. Reginald’s moustache twitched in mild irritation as he waited for his call to be answered.

There was no answer – just a lifeless dial-tone.

“And people wonder why they’re unemployed” grumbled Reginald under his breath.

Tippy walked up to his friend and placed his hand on his shoulder, “Don’t worry Reginald! I’m sure things will be okay!”

Reginald let out an exasperated grunt.

As if from out of nowhere, Butler appeared and let out a petite cough to get the attention of his two masters, “Sirs, there is someone at the door for you.”

The three walked down a long passage towards the east foyer, lining the walls were several paintings of Reginald’s ancestors, each looking more pompous than the last. Tippy looked up at each one and waved with child-like glee, only to pull a face when his greeting was snubbed by the inanimate images.

A loud thud echoed through the foyer, followed by another and another. Butler raised an eyebrow and walked up to the door. Whoever was knocking didn’t seem to understand traditional etiquette.

Reginald tilted his head slightly, “Well then Butler, let them in. I’d rather not have to pay for a new door.”

Butler nodded and opened the solid oak door. What was behind it made Reginald let out a stunned gasp.

Boris McArthur was one of tax-collectors that Reginald had to deal with on a regular occasion. He was a short, corpulent man with stubby little fingers. Reginald had spent the last few years dodging and avoiding his visits with great success.

It had been Boris’s plan to force that idiot Reginald to sell off the land around his manor to a big theme-park owner. The profits he could skim from such a deal would be phenomenal. He’d spent the last four years trying to track down Reginald to get him to sell-up, but he always seemed to be away at the most convenient times.

Today, Boris’s plan was to surprise him by turning up uninvited. He had spent the morning driving his expensive Porsche from his office in London all the way to Smedlington. Of course Reginald always left the gates to the manor closed, so he had to walk up the driveway.

Whilst walking up the stupidly long path, Boris encountered a strange man stumbling out of the woods who appeared to be extraordinarily drunk and aggressive. It was this encounter that would leave Boris with an entirely new outlook on life, or rather the lack of it.

Reginald looked at Boris who was standing at the door. He was looking tired and ill, perhaps he would be able to outwit him once again.

“Boris! It’s so… good to see you!” said Reginald, grimacing.

Boris turned his head slowly to Reginald and let out a strange groaning noise.

Reginald continued to wince, beckoning a hand to Boris, “Come this way. Butler was just making tea for us, weren’t you Butler?”

Butler looked puzzled, seeing a small amount of blood on Boris’s collar. “Yes Sir.”

“Tea! Lovely!”  sang Tippy, as he skipped down the hall to the dining room.

Boris slowly shuffled into the room, the door shutting gradually behind him on its own weight. Reginald kept pace with him and twisted his moustache slightly to try and calm himself.

Boris looked blankly at Reginald, his flabby, pallid face was emotionless. He followed Reginald down the hallway slowly, his arms flopped indolently beside his rotund stomach. A small trickle of drool dripped from his agape mouth.

Playing hardball today are we Boris? Thought Reginald.

“So I believe you are here to discuss me selling some of the land on my estate?”

No answer, merely a muffled gurgle.

“Very well – we shall discuss after tea and luncheon.”

(Link To Chapter 1)

Good News Everyone!

Today I received my initial mark and feedback for the first Advanced Games Studies assignment, I got 79% which is a reasonably safe 1st. It also means I don’t have to work on sprint 2 to improve my grade, which gives me extra time on my dissertation, and I like extra time for everything!

I’ve also implemented some more stuff in my PhysX Games Engine assignment, there are now blocks that the ball destroys when it hits them, I’m pretty happy with it (The video below doesn’t show the ball reacting to the blocks, but it does now… trust me.) This coming week I hope to finish implementing some extra PhysX features like joints and convex objects in order to get a higher grade!

I’ve also hit 20,000 words in my novel, I should hopefully have a complete first draft by the end of December. I’ve had a look into getting it printed, 100 copies should cost around £300… which is steep but I can reclaim the costs if I sell the books for £5.00 each. Where I’m going to get the initial funds from I do not know, but hopefully I’ll have a job come summer to pay for it! I’ve also looked into releasing it for the Kindle, which could be a cool idea.

To quote my old history teacher Dr. Perry: “Happy days chums!”

Now for a well deserved drink in the nearby student pub!

I’m writing a novel…

I’m currently working on my first novel! I’ve never really done anything like this before, so its definitely an interesting little hobby to work on. The novel is based on an idea myself and my friends came up with a few years ago. I started on Saturday night and I’ve already reached 15,000 words so things are going well. I’m giving you all the first chapter to read here as a taster, I hope you like it!


Never was there more a quaint and idyllic village than that of Smedlington. Each cobbled road was a picture of rural Britain, dry-stone walls and perfectly trimmed hedges bordered beautifully crafted oak and white brick houses. It was the kind of village where everyone read the Telegraph, didn’t like foreigners and avoided moving more than a few miles from their homes.

The faint smells of brewing hops daintily drifted down the road from the often frequented public house: The Cockerel In Cider. Across from this magnificent pub, a fish and chip shop proudly displayed its signage. As per usual, the town was silent during the early afternoon, the stillness only broken by the occasional bird or squirrel.

In the centre of the village a church dominated the skyline, surrounded by trees and attractive flower-beds. The graveyard was carefully maintained, not a stone out of place. Community had always been an important part of the village – tombola and fairs were common in the day-to-day lives of the inhabitants.

From the top of the church you could see a wonderful view of the surrounding countryside – the thick and ominous forests and huge sprawling fields; filled with all types of useful crops and animals. On the horizon, standing before the hills and peaks of middle-England stood a great mansion, a home so grand it’s huge driveway sliced across the forest directly towards the village it was situated by.

Smedlington Manor was a monument to a more opulent age. Sprawling gardens stretched out like tremendous fingers pushing back the woodland around them. The manor was in a state of disrepair: the roof work was in a poor condition, some of the masonry had either collapsed or worn away and several windows were cracked in places. Some bad investments coupled with a double-dip recession had meant cut-backs to the manor’s upkeep budget.

The current owner of the mansion was one Reginald Percival Persimmon Dulot III. Reginald was a tall, pale man in his early forties. His thick, brown hair was almost in a constant curly mess – slightly greying in areas around the ears and the back. His ice-blue eyes were framed with wrinkles and slightly dark bags from a lack of sleep. His nose was unmistakably large like those of his predecessors, underneath this protruding snout was a large and carefully trimmed moustache.

Reginald sat down on a large leather sofa in the mansions second study, he looked out of the huge window across the gardens towards one of the man-made lakes that dotted the area. He reached over to a nearby oak desk and filled up a glass from a scotch decanter, each movement of Reginald’s hands were well placed and deliberate, as if it had been done a thousand times before… which it had. He lifted the glass to his lips and took a drink from medicinal-tasting whisky, swallowed and then let out a long drawn out sigh.

From behind, another man silently walked across the room, lifting the needle on a large gramophone and setting a record into place. This man was wearing a tuxedo jacket and appeared to be older than Reginald, his straight greying hair and wrinkles betraying years of long service and stress. Dutifully, the man placed the play needle into position, the sounds of Chopin filled the air, Reginald continued to stare out of the window.

Reginald looked across at the scotch decanter, it was almost completely drained. He frowned with a look of desperation in his eyes.
“Butler, we’re running out of scotch.”

The other man turned to look at Reginald whilst cleaning a dusty shelf with a cloth. He looked across at the decanter and then across at the alcohol cabinet, which was practically full to the brim with gins, whiskeys and wines. He rolled his eyes and then continued to dust the shelves.

“I’ll order some tomorrow, sir.” said the man, his voice aching with a drab and dreary monotone.

Reginald went back to sipping from the glass, occasionally swilling the glass and watching the potent liquid slosh around. This had become the norm over the last five years: wake-up, drink then sleep. It had actually become irritating to leave the house for those boring village fairs, it was merely a formality now anyway, Reginald didn’t care much for the village folk, they were beneath him. He closed his eyes and recounted the time he had to spend several hours trapped inside the public house with the locals, the thought of eating ‘Fish and Chips’ again made him gag slightly. Butler walked up behind him calmly and leaned down to his eye level.

“Sir, Master Tippy has awoken, he is on his way to see you.” droned Butler.

“Ah, thank you Butler.” replied Reginald, who placed his glass on the desk and stood up.

“I shall now go to prepare your afternoon tea.” Butler stated, turning to leave the room.

Reginald nodded and feigned a small smile. From off in the distance a gunshot echoed from the forest, Reginald looked out the window and saw a flock of birds escaping into the sky. Reginald squinted and looked concerned.

“Is there a hunt scheduled for today Butler?” asked Reginald.

“Not that I know of Sir, but I do believe that the nearby farm has been having some fox trouble.”

“I see,” murmured Reginald, “Very well! Can you please remind me to send them a letter reminding them that the forest is not their farm.”

“Yes Sir,” Butler stated, as he slipped out of the room.

Reginald turned his back to the window, watching the door patiently. From down the corridor he could hear the soft patter of hurried footsteps on bulky, crimson carpet. Reginald lifted his scotch glass from the desk and downed the rest of its contents.

The door burst open, knocking over several small ornaments on the shelves. A confused looking gentleman
in silk pyjamas blundered into the room, looked around and then fell backwards into an armchair.

“Morning Reginald!” the man yelled, his face saturated with a beaming grin.

“Morning Tippy, how are you this fine afternoon.” asked Reginald.

“Lovely!” replied Tippy, who proceeded to rock back and forth with child-like glee. Tippy was a few years younger than Reginald, although if you didn’t know you would swear they were twins. His hair was dark-blonde and just as scruffy. His chestnut coloured eyes glinted with a spark of slight insanity.

Reginald smiled, Tippy was his best friend after all. The two had been living together for almost five years ever since Tippingdale Manor was burnt down in a freak accident. Tippy had lost a great deal of his money from his addiction to certain… uncouth substances and a spout of unlucky gambling on horse races. The lack of funds made it impossible for him to afford to have Tippingdale rebuilt, but he could still live comfortably. Reginald was perfectly happy with having Tippy stay at his mansion, after all: he would have probably died of boredom without him there.

Tippy rocked back and forth on the spot, letting out adorable squeaks from the leather seating. “So what are we doing today Reginald?” he asked in a high-pitched voice, the silver spoon in his mouth singing out loudly.

Reginald furrowed his brow and closed his eyes, “I’m not entirely sure Tippy, we’re not scheduled for a hunt until tomorrow, I do believe today is a lazy day.”

“A lazy day you say?” replied Tippy in a somewhat disappointed voice.

Reginald thought for a moment about things to do, Tippy stared at him waiting for a response – his expression similar to that of a dog waiting for its master to throw a bone.

Tippy’s attention slowly drifted away from Reginald’s pacing, he followed several dust particles as they drifted across the room into the bright outside light of the grand window. He narrowed his eyes as they became used to the light – then he saw something.

“Reginald?” asked Tippy quietly.

“Not now Tippy, I’m trying to think of something to do.” answered Reginald briskly.

“Reginald… are the gardeners meant to be on today?” Tippy replied, his voice sounded concerned.

“Of course not Tippy, we won’t need the gardeners in for a good week and a half.” said Reginald, who was now leafing quickly through a dusty book entitled “Things to do in Smedlington Volume 1”.

Tippy stood up and walked towards the window – peering out down onto the sprawling lawn. “Then why is someone out there on the west green?”

“What?” asked Reginald, turning around and tentatively walking towards the window.

Tippy was right, there was a man standing on the lawn.

It looks like things are about to get interesting for Reginald and Tippy! If you liked reading this, drop me a tweet, comment or email!