Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Journey Begins

Hello everyone! My name is Vince Livings. I am an artist and one of the co-founders of Glowstick Games. The other co-founder is, Mark Henderson, an amazing coder that just did an AMA on Reddit yesterday. We formed Glowstick Games on Oct. 1, 2013. Basically, we had both spent a few years at large game companies, like EA and Zynga, and had become tired of working on games that prioritized monetization over fun game design. There is definitely a need for balance between the two, but lately things had been skewing too heavily towards forced mechanics aimed at monetization. Games have played a large role in both of our lives. Mark is a PC gamer at heart and I grew up with consoles. We both want to make games that people will genuinely enjoy and want to share with their friends. Thus, we are attempting to follow Frank Sinatra's advice and "do it our way".

One thing that we both agreed very early on was that we wanted to involve the gaming community in the development of our first game. To us, that means being completely transparent and showing you all as much of the development process as possible. I've always felt the one mistake that a lot of new developers make is that they are too insular and don't listen to their audience.We are making this game for you, not ourselves. Your feedback will be essential in helping us deliver the awesome game that you deserve! Now on to the game....

Dark Deception(TM)  is a new horror game being designed for multiple platforms. Initially, we are bringing it to Steam, Wii U, and tablets. We are also looking into making it compatible with Oculus Rift.

So why did we choose to go with a horror game? I will admit that I pushed for it. I am a huge horror fan and it seemed like a fun thing to do. Being scared is fun and I love games like Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Fatal Frame, Amnesia, Outlast, and  Dead Space.  However, we are just a 2 man team and we don't have the manpower to make a game of that scale. Mark and I sat down and asked ourselves, what can we realistically make? We don't have a ton of funding and we can't really spend 1-2 years working on one title. We also wanted to avoid having to make a mobile game that catered to popular trends right away. In this case, we looked for inspiration from the classics -the games we grew up with. We chatted about fun NES and Atari games that we might be able to revamp/modernize and could also be made quickly. One of the first games to be brought up was Pac-Man. I always loved Pac-Man growing up. It was probably the only video game that I could get my parents to acknowledge and play. Pac-Man has always seemed a bit like a horror game to begin with. You're a big head with a huge mouth running around a dark maze eating pellets and devouring helpless ghosts. After some back and forth, Mark found this image online and showed it to me. 

 I'm not sure who the artist is, but the image really sold me on the idea of a horror version of Pac-Man. We decided we would take a Pac-Man style game to the next level. We planned to accomplish this by developing a game with themed horror environments/mazes, first person perspective, interesting enemies, and a film quality horror story with an awesome antagonist, written by Mike Lee ( Our game is kind of like Pac-Man meets Portal & Haunting Ground mixed with Tales from the Crypt :).

Dark Deception(TM) began development in Unreal 3. After a couple weeks the build was looking decent, but neither one of us had enough experience with Unreal to solve some of the obstacles we were running into.  Learning their scripting language and figuring out the engine at the same time was taking its toll.

It was becoming apparent that continuing to work in Unreal would, more than likely, significantly delay our development process. Even light mapping was more difficult than expected. This made it necessary to switch to Unity in order to keep the dev cycle shorter. Unity vs Unreal is like night and day. Unity is probably the easiest game engine that I have ever worked with. It's not quite as powerful, but it can produce some nice results as well. There are great dev communities behind both Unity and Unreal, which makes it easy to find answers to most of your questions.

Here's the first peek at one of our stages in Unity - the hotel. Every level in our game will different. This level is still being developed and several assets have not yet been added. At this point, the UI is almost non-existent and what is there is very rough. Enemies and items are also not populated throughout the level yet. When designing the levels, I looked at classic Pac-Man maze designs and analyzed what made them fun and which areas could be improved. Pac-Man levels are typically symmetrical and smaller in size. For me, the thrill of Pac-Man is the balance between all of the sharp corners/tight turns and the long, straight lanes. I wanted our environments to reflect that as well, only on a much larger scale. In Pac-Man, you have four ghosts chasing you. As you progress through our game, we up the ante on that a little bit ;).

We are also very fortunate to have obtained the audio services of Chris Pinkston through a friend. Chris has been involved in a ton of AAA games that I am sure you are all familiar with. Just check out his awesome credit list on IMDB ( He has been cranking out some awesome tracks for the game so far.

Lastly, here is a glimpse at the enemy for the this stage - an evil little bellhop toy monkey. This is simply a viewport capture from Maya. He's quite friendly and, just like the ghosts from Pac-Man, he will pursue you - out of love ;). All joking aside, our AI is a bit better than the ghosts in Pac-Man. We are striving for intelligent reactions, movement, and unique attack patterns for enemies in each level. So far, so good...

 Mark and I will try to post at least once a week. Stay tuned for more! You can also check us out on FB and Twitter (!


  1. If you have any questions/suggestions about the game, feel free to post them here. Don't be shy :)!

  2. Wow, glad your supporting the wii u with this release, and I must say... that monkey is really quite disturbing! Perfect fit for a horror game.

    Will look forward to how the art style for this game turns out... =]

    1. Thanks! The Wii U has a very positive fan base! Glad to be contributing to the mushroom kingdome :). I think you will like some of the other creature designs we have in the works.