Making a Sim Game with Gamesalad

Sim game, list of rules
One of my favorite game genres has always been simulation, starting the first time I ever played Civilization II. I’ve always wanted to make my own sim game, and I felt the time was right to start working on one now. I’m using the tool Gamesalad, which is amazing for people like me, who aren’t especially code savvy, though having some understanding of basic programming principles, can still be quite helpful.

The game, which is still untitled, lets you found and build a city, starting with a tribe of just a few individuals. You have to balance the local economy, keep your people happy, and develop advances for your settlement. Along the way, events happen and you will be forced to make decisions that will affect your people. There are quite a few factors to track, many of which depend on one another, and so building a balanced game is the greatest challenge here.

Sim game, making a choice
It is still very early days, but I wanted to share the news and a couple of screenshots, so you can see what it looks like in this extremely primitive pre-alpha version (as in: without any artwork whatsoever), as well as get a glimpse of how the game is organized into blocks of instructions, within a timer. These screenshots are all from within Gamesalad, which is the only place the game lives for now. I have yet to decide on a platform; for now it’s just about piecing the basic elements together.

I will be posting more about the progress of my first sim game. Stay tuned.

Nebula Rescue 1.1 is Live!

It’s a happy day! The first update of Nebula Rescue – my debut game for iPhone and iPod Touch – is live in the App Store today. This update is important to me personally (here’s why), but still would not have happened without the encouragement and support of people who play the game, like it, and wanted more!

The update includes 20 in-game achievements, ranging from the easily obtained to ones only the most hardcore fans will unlock, and a statistics screen. The stats part was inspired directly by requests from players who liked the old end game screen, which told you how many UFOs you’d shot down, how much space gunk you’d collected and so on. More stats were requested, so I made it keep track of averages and totals across multiple games.

Nebula Rescue 1.1 is available in the iTunes App Store for $0.99. If you enjoy it, I would very much appreciate a rating/review there. Or better yet, gift a copy to a friend.

Here’s what the achievement screen looks like, showing what I’ve managed to unlock between updating the game and writing this announcement.

Several people have asked about an Android version. One is in the works – a beta version has been compiled, but not yet tested. I am taking my time with it, partly because I don’t have much time to spare, and because I don’t have any Android devices of my own to test on, and thus I’m relying on helpful friends. For that reason, there is no official release date for Android (yet).

Show your support by liking Nebula Rescue on Facebook.

Gobbler’s Run – Thanksgiving Game Challenge

Two days ago I decided to challenge myself to make a Thanksgiving game in time for the big turkey day. I’m still not sure what possessed me to do this, but I did, and with a little help, I was able to pull it off with a decent result.

In the game, which is Mac only for the time being, you control Gobbler the Turkey (voiced by Kelly Cline), whose sole purpose in life is to not die. Not dying means it’s time to run, run, run! Also, eating lots of corn and cornucopias. Because apparently turkeys eat those. Ways to die include getting hit by arrows, hatchets and colliding with tree trunks.

You use the sideways arrow keys or A and D to steer and Space to jump.

There was supposed to be an online version via GameSalad (which is also the tool I used to make the game), but I never got it to render quite right. If enough people like playing it, I may polish it and add more platforms. There are a couple of details that I would have spent more time on, were it not for the challenge deadline, but all in all I’m very happy with the result.

[FREE] Download “Gobbler’s Run” for Mac (zip file, 17mb)


  • Mac OS X 10.7 or newer
  • Unsigned apps must be allowed (in your security preferences)

Update: Since creating the game, I have updated it with slightly lower music volume, and a bug fix.

Apart from the music – a track by Pitx called “See You Later” – everything in Gobbler’s Run was created specifically for the game, and all within the 2 days allowed. Huge thanks to Kelly, the GameSalad team (who were very encouraging on Twitter) and everyone who supported the challenge.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, and please enjoy Gobbler’s Run.