Thoughts about Walkthroughs

Given the (slightly infamous) difficulty of my puzzle games, I’m often asked whether I can provide walkthroughs, either video or simply text-based. I know how frustrated I can get at other people’s puzzles, so I understand the appeal, but I feel there are a few downsides to having an official walkthrough alongside a puzzle game:

  1. The temptation to look at it too early is overwhelming. If a walkthrough is available from the very beginning, it can be tempting to look at it for some early puzzle – and once you’ve looked at it once, it’s easier and easier to keep looking at it for future puzzles, before you’ve really thought hard about them. In the end you may look up answers to puzzles you would have been able to solve if you’d given them more time, and miss out on a lot of the fun. (I know this happens to me!)
  2. It discourages others from helping each other/creating their own walkthroughs. Although I gain some satisfaction from people struggling with one of my tricky puzzles, it may surprise you to learn that I get more satisfaction from seeing people solve them! It’s great to see a community develop, and fan-created walkthroughs are the icing on that cake! And they also lead into one last point…
  3. Without walkthroughs, people may discover unexpected solutions to puzzles. It’s inevitable that in a complex puzzle game, people may find tricks I missed. This is great! Even when they completely break my levels, its fun to know people have outsmarted me – but when a dev-made walkthrough exists, it implies there is one ‘correct’ solution to each puzzle. I’d much rather see what people come up with on their own.

Of course this is just my opinion! I don’t disapprove of walkthroughs in general, nor of looking up solutions when you’re really stumped. If you’re currently stuck on one of my puzzles and there’s no solution out there, you could always try asking me directly. If you’re playing on another site, you can message me on Kongregate or Newgrounds, or you can email me: david@wigdev.com

I cannot promise a quick reply, and sometimes I miss messages completely, but if you’re really tearing your hair out over a puzzle and are willing to be patient, I do know the intended solutions. (…If I haven’t forgotten them…)

I’ll take this opportunity to ask that if you are enjoying one of my games enough to bug me about solutions, you consider supporting me. I’m just one guy with limited time, so any donation is appreciated. Thanks!

As always, I wish you all the best of luck in your puzzling!

Unstable Engineer Update (v1.02)

Another update for Unstable Engineer! Features:

  • Step-by-step advance: When paused, press the Speed Up button (Or SHIFT) to advance all blueprints by one step. This will allow you to time your blueprint upgrades as precisely as you like, without needing to spam the play/pause button! Now you have no excuse for getting your timing wrong…
  • Tweaks to a couple of tests to remove unintended (and boring) solutions. Now they’re much harder! Yay! (Specifically: Blueprint Tests/Aquatic Zone/Hard 1, and Blueprint Tests/Unstable Zone/Hard 2).
  • For balance, Spark Tests/Primary Zone/Hard 2 has been switched with a completely different level. The original test will be included in the upcoming expanded version of the game for mobile platforms.
  • Fixes to a number of frame-precise upgrade glitches, especially on elevators. (Thanks to John & Robert for identifying most of these.)
  • A basic landing screen to deal with browser focus compatibility.
  • A few minor training dialogue updates.
  • A few minor graphical updates.

Thanks to those who sent me bug reports! It’s only slightly embarrassing to realise my challenging puzzles have a blatantly obvious solution I’d somehow never noticed…

Have fun!

Minor Update for Unstable Engineer

I’ve updated Unstable Engineer with a few minor tweaks:
– Fixed the glitch where sound might not resume following speeding up in tests.
– Corrected the majority of the sound corruption.
– Fixed the ‘floating body part’ glitch in the Office. (Despite how funny it was.)
– General stability and lag reduction.

I’ve also added one new feature: Now, when you pause during a test, small markers will appear to show the spaces each blueprint is moving into. This should help with precise upgrades, and particularly when judging discard timing during Spark Tests.

That’s all for now!

Unstable Engineer (Complete Game)

You’re an engineer hired by QTech, a secret facility developing machines called ‘blueprints’, powered by mysterious entities called ‘sparks’. As you test out their devices and earn your co-workers’ trust, perhaps you’ll uncover what exactly is going on in this strange place…

This is a puzzle game, and a prequel to Unstable, but with all new gameplay. Later puzzles are quite challenging (This is a WigDev game after all!), but hints are available in each level if necessary.

This is a limited (but still extensive!) version of the game. An extended version will be arriving to mobile platforms in the near future, full of extra challenges, mysteries, and one truly appalling pun, so keep an eye out!

This game was made using Unity, and all the graphics, sounds and game design was done myself, with the help of tools such as Chiptone, Fruity Loops and Inkscape. Have fun – and good luck!

Adventures in Data Compression

Ahh, that glorious time in a project where you have to go back and tweak everything you’ve done up until that point, because it’s all getting too big. (A known issue with Unity and WebGL, to be fair…)

So while I modify my images to make them viable for RGBA DXT5 Compression… with or without Mip Maps… whatever the target platform… (This is what you get for not planning ahead, folks…)

…Here are some more screenshots in the meantime:

Christmas Update

Just thought I’d sneak a quick update in before the end of the year, like the ninja I am.

I’ve made significant progress with Unstable Engineer, my next game – which takes place some time before the events of Unstable. You are an engineer hired by a mysterious company called QTech, and your job is to test out their various ‘Blueprints’ and ‘Sparks’. I don’t have a new demo for you, but here’s some screenshots of the different game modes to whet your appetite:

I’ve also overhauled the UI since my last update (i.e. there now actually is a UI).

As you progress in the game you can get to know your coworkers, and earn their trust. Perhaps then you’ll uncover what exactly is going on in this secretive facility…

…Or maybe you’ll just learn some of the worst jokes I could think of. And if that doesn’t get you excited to play this game, I don’t know what will.

Have a good Christmas!

Blueprint Animations

I recently overhauled the blueprint sprites for my Unstable prequel, to allow for better resizing and give them more character. Here’s a direct comparison:

So long, pixel art! …Although I have kept the familiar blocky look, by aligning the design to a faux pixel grid. What can I say? I clearly love the simplistic feel.

The new art was done entirely with Inkscape, a long popular vector graphic tool. The great thing about software like that (other than the fact that it’s free) is how easily you can tweak your existing designs to create variants:

But even more useful is how easy you can do simple animations. By setting up pivot points for your different elements (arms, feet, etc.), you can add much more personality to your animations. Here’s another comparison:

With more wiggling of the body and flailing about of the arms, this allows for a lot more fun when animating. And all done with a simple (and free, did I say that yet?) tool like Inkscape. Sure there are great – and far newer – animation tools out there, but sticking with an old classic means you’re guaranteed to find the support if you need it.

This is just a sneak peek for now though! You’ll have to wait for the next demo update to see how much I can get these simple looking blueprints to flail about!

Demo Update! (Unstable Engineer)

As promised, I’ve updated the demo for my upcoming puzzle game. You’re an engineer hired by QTech, a secret facility developing machines called ‘blueprints’, powered by mysterious entities called ‘sparks’. Test out their devices, while getting to know the other researchers, and trying to uncover why exactly the facility is so secretive.

This demo features the early stages of the game, with the actual gameplay, although with many placeholder graphics. My next task is to design the blueprints themselves, so they aren’t just simple palette-swaps. I may go overboard, so you can expect much more interesting animations than in the original Unstable!

…But until then, you can wait patiently by playing this demo over and over and over…

A Candle

It was exactly one year ago that I put my first game (Unstable) up on this site. Happy anniversary to WigDev!

Thanks to everyone who has played my games since then, especially those of you who have struggled with the really tricky ones (i.e all of them). It’s not that I get immense satisfaction from knowing people are grappling with the fiendish puzzles I’ve created, but… well, maybe I do.

I’m excited about the next game that’s currently in the works – still untitled as yet – and which I’m aiming to release for mobile devices as well as online. I do still have an early demo up, but it’s very out of date now. I’ll aim to update that in the near future.

Thanks for all the kind messages – as always, you can contact me at david@wigdev.com – and a particular thanks to those who have supported the site. I really appreciate it, and I look forward creating more games for you in the future!

And now I’m going to blow that candle out.

JeTT

I recently stumbled upon a simple action flash game I made back when I was first learning how to program in flash. It’s clunky (as you might expect) but nevertheless I find it surprisingly addictive, and so before Flash dies its final death, I figured I’d present it to you here in all its glory!

Use your jetpack to collect the gold(?) and avoid the turrets! Try to figure out the tricky controls! See if you can survive long enough to break the game (entirely possible)! Have fun!