Stuff some cake in your mouth, Eggbox Interactive is five!*

Yes, way back in 2010 when the PlayStation was still an abacus and nobody even knew they needed an Apple Watch (er, hold on…), a younger, sexier** version of myself decided it was high time to strike out on his own to find fame, riches, and new challenges. I left Crytek UK (formerly Free Radical Design, and now Deep Silver Dambuster Studios) and set up Eggbox Interactive, opening the door to many mistaken emails from manufacturers of boxes for eggs ever since.

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And yet still nobody ever lets me do any art.

In those five years I’ve flown with snowmen (and some snowdogs), kicked and punched (all of which may or may not have been in the mind) my way across the world, stacked what can only be described as some rather self-congratulatory blocks, addressed the shocking state of dental health in monsters, and most recently finally got to work on a project that realised the enduring appeal of eggs in boxes. I’ve been lucky to work with some fantastic teams including, amongst others, the folks at Crash Lab, Lady Shotgun, Glowing Eye Games and Mediatonic – thanks to all of you for the fantastic opportunities.

In the next five years I’d like to find more time to work on my own projects, ideas for which range from that zombie musical rhythm-action RPG I’ve always pined for, to a reimagining of Burning Rangers (since it seems NOBODY ELSE IS GOING TO DO IT, hm Sega?), and a game about talking to people on the bus.  Hopefully I’ll also get the chance to work with some more lovely people, on lots of other interesting projects, and finally convince those box manufacturers that I really don’t need anything to keep my eggs in.

* – Okay, so technically the company only incorporated in September 2010. But it was roughly this time in 2010 when I left Crytek UK. So the company has two birthdays. Much like the Queen, except with fewer tiaras.

** – These things are all relative.

Crack Attack now Available for Android, Amazon Kindle Fire and Windows!

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Smashing news for Android, Kindle Fire and Windows-based crackers! Crack Attack is now available on your phones and tablets! Featuring 150 levels of tapping-and-cracking fun spread across six gorgeous chapters and with 60 unique creatures to rescue, Crack Attack is easy to pick up but provides many hours of fun. And best of all, it’s completely free to download!

Check out the game at the links below, and if you enjoy it please take a moment to rate and review it in the store as these reviews really help us to keep adding more levels and features to the game!

PS: If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can get hold of Crack Attack right here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/id900352568

Crack Attack Updated, More Eggs At Risk

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Good news, Crack Attack players – version 1.3.2 of the game went live on the iOS App Store this weekend! Amongst other things, this update adds improved tutorials and menu layouts, bug fixes and some tweaks to make some earlier levels a bit easier, based on feedback from players. You can get hold of the update by visiting the app page here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/id900352568

If you haven’t yet given Crack Attack a go, it’s a fun and absorbing puzzle game available for iPhone and iPad (other platforms coming soon!). Best of all, it’s completely free to download! You can find out more here: http://www.eggboxinteractive.com/2015/04/crack-attack-launches-on-ios-eggs-no-longer-safe/

Letting Players Do Less for More

Please note: This article includes a few minor spoilers for Axiom Verge.
Tom Happ's Axiom Verge

Playing Tom Happ’s excellent Metroid-channelling Axiom Verge recently reminded me of a gaming move I’d almost forgotten I had in my repertoire, the ‘jump/move/shoot shuffle’, also known less catchily as ‘dealing with enemies who are a pixel or two above or below the angle at which I can fire’. Axiom Verge uses a digital-style aiming system that only allows you to aim and fire in six directions (the eight compass points minus down-left and down-right), and in certain situations, the combination of the environment layout and enemy positioning conspire to mean that there’s no ‘good’ place from which to stand and shoot in order to eliminate them. Instead, the player has to jump, move and shoot all at the same time in a way that always feels slightly awkward.

On the face of it, this might seem like a minor annoyance, yet Axiom Verge is smartly designed enough to develop this limitation into a mechanic of its own. As the game progresses, the player picks up weapons with different fire modes – area-effect missiles that can be detonated at will, for instance, or a gun that can shoot a short distance through walls – which gradually expand their reach. With these weapons, seemingly awkwardly-positioned enemies become not an irritation but a satisfying challenge for the player, as taking a moment to pick out the right tool for the job makes for a much safer and less awkward fight than deploying the jump/move/shoot shuffle.

This aiming system demonstrates a useful rule of game design – that games are defined as much by what the player can’t do, as they are by the things they can. What initially appears to be a frustrating limitation becomes a mechanic ripe with possibilities, giving the player an interesting choice each time they encounter it.

Many games create engaging experiences from the limitations they put on the player. The maximum of two weapons the player is allowed to carry at any one time in Halo: Combat Evolved initially seems mean-spirited. Yet this limitation transforms scouring a battlefield post-gunfight to locate discarded weapons and ammo from a process of hoovering up everything the player can find into an agonising series of choices, as the player weighs up which two weapons they should carry forward into the next area.

In both cases the limitations are far from arbitrary – they work because the rest of the game design is not only sympathetic to them but actively works to balance them out. So the aiming in Axiom Verge avoids becoming an irritation because it is exploited only sparingly early on, and the player quickly gains access to weapons with different fire patterns to give them more choice. Similarly, in Halo: CE Bungie carefully balanced the player’s gun, grenade and melee abilities to be equally powerful, ensuring that any situation in the game is manageable with any weapon combination – albeit from different ranges.

Every game places limitations on the player at some level, but Axiom Verge and Halo: CE demonstrate what’s possible when the things the player can’t do are given as much attention and thought as the things they can.


Axiom Verge was developed by Thomas Happ Games LLC http://www.axiomverge.com

Halo: Combat Evolved was developed by Bungie, Inc and published by Microsoft https://www.halowaypoint.com/en-gb/games/halo-combat-evolved/xbox

Crack Attack Launches on iOS, eggs no longer safe

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Crack Attack is the latest game from the award-winning Crash Lab team and features, I can say with some certainty, some impeccable egg-related humour. It’s a matching/puzzle game that’s incredibly easy to pick up and is available now for free on the iOS App Store.

The game features 150 varied levels across 4 gorgeous worlds, each of which features 10 unique creatures for you to find and collect. Or, if you’d prefer your description in annotated screenshot form:

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Eggbox Interactive provided programming and design services to Crash Lab for the game, so please help us out by downloading it and, if you enjoy it, sharing it with your friends and giving the game a review on the App Store!

You can get cracking (sorry) right here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/id900352568