Friday, 1 January 2016

Looking Back And Preparing For Awesome

    Time to look back on what went last year and what plans are ahead in 2016. 

    It may not have been a year where I finished any projects but it was certainly a year where I revealed things to come and also decided to cut down all those wonderful ideas I had to just two projects, one an ongoing books series and the other a digital card game.

    So come with me now as I reflect on what went and what is to come, along with a peek behind the curtain of my mind.

Last Mask Gets Revealing

      My Last Mask novels are still awaiting the sequel to the first book but back in February I showed some new concept art for characters appearing in the series. All female and all individually strong characters that I am sure will add greatly to the series.

  I said the show would continue in 2015 and it did, but not in the form of a finished book yet. The world and the stories constantly develop in my head. I work on the structure now and then, adding to the flowchart of chapters, putting in new ideas and refining others. I also write in scenes when I get a strong idea for then and you should see some of them, the second book is going to be epic and it will be published along with the third, so I will have the finished trilogy before I put another book out. And there are also a couple of extra bits to add into the first book.
    So the trilogy will be finished as a whole before I release anything more into the wilds, and then it will just be the matter of the next part in the story.

Dawn’s Early Light

    Moving on to the later part of the year I then revealed the game I have been working on for the last couple of years, Siberian Dawn. This is a big project and this year I got to grips with the art of the game producing a large amount of art for the characters in the game, which I then started to show on Facebook. I had kept the project quiet for a while as I didn’t want to start showing things until I felt I had enough, but it was at a point that I felt it was time to share. It was featured in the news of ImagineFX magazine and a couple of game site, but as usual with little feedback from social media.

    There is now a game video up for the project and I decided to push the game completion back until 2016 as there were still a few additions I wanted to make to bring the game to what I envisioned it can be. There will no doubt be a lot more I have to do to promote it ahead of release but I am sure I can make a game the will be one of the best single player deckbuilders out there.

Grindle Goes Underground

  Amazon started their Kindle Underground scheme this year where games are free and the developer gets paid by Amazon for the time people play the game, so I submitted my puzzle game Grindle Oni A to it and now seem to be getting a regular payment of a couple of pennies each month from them. It will never make me rich but if you want to play the puzzle game for free head over there and give it a go.

Discovered Treasures

  Moving away from my projects I just wanted to cover some TV discoveries I have enjoyed this year, recommendations if you are of a similar taste. Looking back at the TV I watched this year I think there were two series that were new to me that stood out from the crowd.

    I finished watching Sons of Anarchy last year and looking for another series that had that dark tone mixed with comedy and character decided to get around to watching Black Sails. It hooked me from the first episode and I quickly made my way through both series and now eagerly wait for series 3 this year. It is one of those series with that edge of uncertainty, where you are never certain if your favourite characters are going to make it to the next, and I like pirates so that helps.

    The other series that stood out this year was Z Nation but this was one that grew as I watched it. The first episode was very Zombie budget movie compared to the introspective Walking Dead but as you watched it the humour was obvious and there have been some crazy moments in the two series so far which have made it fun to watch. Every series doesn’t have to make you depressed about life.


    So with cutting my projects down to two, I will just keep any extra projects a secret, I aim to complete them this year and make them the most awesome projects they can be. The Last Mask has some strong characters coming up and what I hope are really memorable moments. Siberian Dawn is coming together and I believe it has the potential to be a really exciting project that adds a number of new ideas to the deckbuilding genre.

    I hope you continue to watch their development and that your 2016 is also an awesome year.


Links to the projects

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Siberian Dawn - A Development Update

   Facebook tells me it has been been a while since I posted about Siberian Dawn, in fact the last thing I mentioned was being in ImagineFX, and I have had the next issue since then. Where does the time go when you are not paying attention?

   So as the end of the year approaches and it has been mentioned in a couple of places that Siberian Dawn is coming out this year I thought maybe a development update might be due.

It's December, I still can't see that game yet...

   First thing to say is that Siberian Dawn will not be out this year, and this is for a few reasons.

   I have decided to expand some areas of the game, including additional missions in the first expansion pack, and with extra bits in the game this means extra artwork. Now you may or may not be aware that Siberian Dawn is a one man project so when I come up with a great new unit to include in the game I have to program and draw that new unit for the game. Adding more time to the project will allow me to get this extra art done and also make sure the game matches the goals that I want for it, to be the best single player deck building experience possible.

   With the art I am also unhappy about some of the characters and again want to spend a bit more time getting them right for the world. The more art I can put in the project hopefully the greater the experience for the player. This also relates to the story, and I want to flesh out some of the background a bit more so the path forward in the game is rewarding experience.

   I have had a lot of likes on Facebook but not really much in the way of comments so from my side I don’t see much of a demand for the game this year, so again pushing it back a few months is not going to leave many upset. And releasing a game in December might actually be a bad idea as people are focusing on the holiday season.

   So Siberian Dawn will be out in 2016.

2016 or I will hunt him down...

   The current state of the game is fully playable on PC and Android, but with some missions to add and additional information presentation.
   The plan at the moment is to have the base game free with the Training Run mission, a simple mission, with two units, that will let you see how the game plays. There will then be an expansion pack that gives you the rest of the Union and Guild units along with the first chapter of the game, five missions and a bonus mission.
   Future chapter expansions will then alternate between small packs that give you additional missions, and big ones that add new units and missions to go with them. The release of these chapters will of course count on there being demand for extra material for the game.

   So you may not have heard anything from the project recently but rest assured I am busy working on it and making sure it will be the best game it can be, because I don’t see the point in rushing out something that will be substandard.

No Siberian Dawn for Christmas...


   To make things interesting and follow those Kickstarters with their stretch goals I want to set a little target ourselves. If I get over 50 likes on Facebook I will put up a video of the game so far, a sample from a mission, and maybe more.

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- Winterflood -

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Siberian Dawn – Hub Overview

In Siberian Dawn the interface between the Overseer and the world is called the Hub, so today we delve into the components of the Hub and take prospective Overseers through how it all goes together to present them with all the information they need in the missions ahead.

- Select For Larger Image -

The example Hub shown on this page is for the Resource phase, where the Overseer can buy additional resources, deploy units, and use the abilities of other resources they currently have available.

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1 – Resources

These are the resources the Overseer has drawn this phase, with the number drawn based on their current Rank. Any not used at the end of the Resource phase are discarded.

2- Active Resource

This is the active resource selected, a Guild Scribe. Active resources and actions will be highlighted by a glowing border.

3 – Action Pods

These 6 pods will give the Overseer contextual actions that are available with the resource they have currently selected, providing a quick and simple interface to control the Resources and elements of the Hub.

4 – Resolve Button

This button will show the current action waiting to be resolved and is the final confirmation to perform that action. Overseers have to always be alert with what they are doing as there is no undo in the heat of battle.

5 – Data Display

This displays the data for the currently selected resources, giving more information on the item, their status, and any costs an action with this resource might be. The Data Display will also show events and Strategic data during those phases.

6 – Current Command

This is the current Command points an Overseer has. They are normally gained from Logistics cards, and any unused are lost at the end of the Strategic Phase.

7 – Current Union Credit

This is the current Union Credit points an Overseer has. They are normally gained from Investment cards and any unused are lost at the end of the Strategic Phase.

8 – Overseer Rank

This is the Overseer’s Rank. The Rank starts at level 5 and is increased by unlocking Strategic sites. Rank determines how many resources are drawn in the Resource phase and also the Rank of units the Overseer can command.

9 – Overseer Glory

This is the Overseer’s Glory. It can be increased by defeating hostiles and performing other actions. Glory can be moved to the Overseer’s Command points and some resources can also move command points to Glory. Glory can be lost with Hostile actions and if it drops to 0 the Overseer will lose a rank and a Strategic site will lock.

10 – Area Vitae

This is the Vitae for the area the mission is taking place in, and is a measure of the energy present. If Vitae is reduced to 0 the Overseer has failed their mission. Hostile actions will drain Vitae.

11 – Bank

The Bank is the Overseer’s Credit reserve. Normally one Investment resource can be banked per turn, and Credit in the Bank can be transferred to the Overseer’s Current Union Credit pool.

12 – Resource Pool and Discard

This is the pool that the Resources are drawn from at the start of each Resource phase. Resources dropped or gained are added to the Resource discards. When the Resource pool is empty the discards become the new Resource pool.

13 – Tactical Pool

This is the pool that the Tactics are drawn from at the start of the Strategic phase. Any Tactical cards discarded or gained are added to the Tactical pool as there are no separate discards.

14 – Current Objective

This shows the current Objective in the mission and also shows how much of the Objective the Overseer has completed if it has an amount, otherwise it would just be a 0 for incomplete or 1 for completed.

15 – Bond

A Bond is a link the Overseer can pick before the mission starts that gives them a connection to one of the groups in the game. A Bond can be improved during the game and the Mentor unit has their abilities linked to this Bond. Each Bond also gives a unique bonus to start that game.

16 – Locked Union Strategic Site

This strategic site is locked. The Overseer can pay command equal to their Rank plus 1 to unlock this site, allowing them to then deploy a unit here and also increase the Overseer’s Rank by 1. Attacks on this site are undefended.

17 – Deployed Unit Strategic Site

This strategic site has a Grunt unit deployed here. During the Tactical phase the Grunt might be able to attack the Hostile in the opposite site. The Grunt also defends against any attacks of the Hostile opposite.

18 – Empty Strategic Site

This strategic site is empty, but can have a unit deployed here if the Overseer pays Command equal to the units Rank. Attacks on this site are undefended.

19 – Unknown Hostile Site

This Hostile is unknown. They will be revealed if the Overseer places a unit in the strategic site opposite, or they will be revealed in the Hostile phase if they become active.

20 – Inactive Hostile Site

This Hostile is known as there is a Union unit opposite, but the Hostile will not be acting in the Hostile phase this turn.

21 – Active Hostile Site

This Hostile will be taking an action in the Hostile phase unless they are removed or deactivated first.

22 – Threat Level

This shows the current level of Threat. For each level of Threat an extra Hostile will be activated this turn, and if it is above level 4, Hostiles might get an action bonus.

23 – Influence Flanks

There are two displays that show the Influence for the right and left flanks. As units occupy sites and take actions they add to the Influence for their side. As Influence increases, units on that flank get a bonus to actions.


And there you have the details of the Hub and what each of the elements do in the interface, a tight integrated system that allows the Overseer to do what they do. But some keen eyed observers might point out that there were two pods at the bottom that weren’t explained… well you always have to make sure you have some spare buttons, don’t you?

In future blogs I would like to cover some of the elements introduced above like rank and also take a look at the Fate Helix, the innovative way the game works out the resolution of actions, but let us know in the comments what you would like to see about the game here or on Facebook and we shall see what I can do.

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- Winterflood -

Friday, 2 October 2015

Siberian Dawn - Three Questions

Listening to other game designers you will hear some of the top ones say that when pitching a game to a company you shouldn’t start by talking about what type of game it is, like a deckbuilding game, but instead you should answer three questions. Who you are? What you do? How do you win?

You then go and watch a video by one of these top designers about their new game and the first thing they tell you is what type of game it is, but never mind them not taking their own advice I would like today to answer those three important questions they mentioned, in this blog, in relation to my game Siberian Dawn.

Who Are You?

In Siberian Dawn you play the part of an Overseer, one of the tactical experts of the Union who are responsible for quickly dealing with troubles as they arise using a limited resource pool, controlled squad level force, and possible support from the Guilds.

The game starts as hostility has been growing for the last few weeks in Industrial Habit IH-54 of the Eastern Zones. Outcasts are rumoured to have been stirring up this dissent and it is believed they are connected to a cult called the Dawn, Overseers have been assigned to deal with this unrest and you are one of them.

What You Do?

You start the game with a basic set of resources that include Investment cards and Logistics cards. You will then use these resources to buy Union units that can be deployed to strategic sites, gain Guild units that will support you, or buy higher value resource cards. During the tactical phase deployed units can then fight hostiles using the tactical cards you have in your tactical hand, which can also be improved.

Increasing your rank is another important thing you must do in the game, as this increases you hand of cards and allows you to command more powerful units.

How Do You Win?

In the game you will play various missions that will give the Overseer a series of objectives to complete which have variety and offer the Overseer different challenges during the mission. Each objective has a different goal that might be such things as occupying a number of sites, reaching a certain rank, or defeating a number of hostiles.

Once an objective is complete the next objective is given to you and when you complete them all you are victorious in the mission as long as you don’t let the Vitae, the life level of the mission area, reach zero.


And there you have the three questions answered and hopefully I have given you a better understanding of what Siberian Dawn is all about. Next time we will take a look at the Hub, the interface that the Overseer uses to communicate with the world, or as some might call it, the game screen. What are all those numbers, cards and strange pods doing on the screen, and how does it all come together to give you the tense game that is Siberian Dawn?

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- Winterflood -

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Before the Dawn

Looking at the front page of my website and the news section I saw that the last post I made was two years ago, have I been doing nothing newsworthy for the last two years? 

In this apparently silent time I have been working on a project I didn’t want to talk about much until it was at a stage where I felt it would best show the work done. I now feel it is time to start showing some of this project as you may have seen recently if you are a viewer of my Facebook page.

But before I talk about the current project I should probably talk about another project that is currently on that big development shelf where projects sit until that day they finally get completed or get buried in the dust of forgotten memories.

Towards the end of 2012 I started developing a digital Victorian horror deckbuilding game. A deckbuilding game, for those who don’t know, is a card game where you start with a deck of cards that are initially weak and during the game you buy additional more powerful cards to make your deck stronger. You then draw a hand of cards each turn and use these to gain more cards or defeat various hazards. 

After a few months I had a good portion of the Victorian game working and a lot of the card art done, but the theme looked like it might be a bit dark for a wide audience.

I then decided to do a game with a less dark theme and made VludKin Clanz, a lighter card game, although that theme didn’t seem to appeal to a wide audience either, but I still had this deckbuilding engine from the Victorian game I wanted to develop. After finishing VludKin Clanz I decided I would try and do a new deckbuilding game that was a bit simpler than the Victorian game, and also hopefully with a more appealing theme.

Developing the Victorian game I came up with a number of ideas and mechanics that formed the foundation for what I now call the Lore Deckbuilding Engine, a card game system designed for the single player, which I could hopefully use for several games using these core mechanics.

I decided on a future military idea for the new game as that seems a popular setting and quickly started developing the game that would become Siberian Dawn, although it has turned out to be a much more intricate and strategic game than first planned.

Now, two years later, the game is nearing completion. Siberian Dawn is working, the art is being completed, and all the elements are coming together. So now after explaining what I have been up to the last few years I want to start sharing details about the game and talk about what makes it an evolution of deckbuilding ahead of its release on Android and Pc. 

In future blogs I hope to cover the world of Siberian Dawn and also some of the elements of the Lore Deckbuilding Engine so please keep an eye here and on Facebook and Twitter for more news and updates as I reveal the secrets of Siberian Dawn.

- Winterflood -

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Grindle Development Diary 1 – Evolution of a Grin

Grindle Oni A is a game which has been developed over time, through a number of separate periods that have produced four distinct versions. Events during this time have meant these previous versions have not gone further than fully working games to show possible publishers, but now Grindle Oni A is being released on Android devices, and in this first developer diary I want to share where it all started and how it got to where it is today.

Grindle Initial Concept - 2010 

Development of the Grindle game began way back in the early part of 2010, with the initial idea to make a simple memory game for mobile devices involving four different coloured grins. The initial concept screen was quickly produced the next day and a working version of the game was done within a couple of weeks. At this point Grindle only featured four games. The graphics were very basic, but the program was designed to just get the idea into a physical form that could be played and developed.

Grindle Extreme - 2010

Towards the end of 2010 the second version of the Grindle game took shape. The graphics became more refined, starting to incorporate tribal tattoo ideas into the style. The grins developed and a simple menu was built for the four games and the four difficulties that they could be played at. This version was called Grindle Extreme. The graphics started to take shape but they were still too dark and the tribal theme could do with pushing to a greater level.

Grindle Oni - 2011

A year passed and then towards the end of 2011 the third version of the game, Grindle Oni, was developed. This version added another eight games to the previous four, adding many new ideas to the Grindle mechanic. Now players had to move the Grins around the grid, watch sequences of lights, and match pairs. The vibrancy of the graphics was increased and the tribal theme was pushed more with the incorporation of Japanese elements. Four Grindle characters were introduced in this version, and the twelve games were split between them, giving the program more of a distinct structure. Achievements and Challenges for each game were also added at this point to expand the Grindle experience. The whole game was now taking on a unified look and the Grindle environment was coming together, but there were still a few more things to come.

Grindle Oni A - 2013

Again time passed with no development, and then as 2013 dawned work began on the Android version of Grindle, Grindle Oni A. With the decision to bring the game out on Android tablets the game needed upgrading and all the art was redrawn for the HD screens, this increase in screen size also meant the program code needed to be redone, and it was fully reprogrammed for this version. During this process refinements were made to all areas of the game. Some of the features in the previous version of the game were not adding anything to it and were probably confusing the experience, while other features just needed a slight alteration. The challenges were now all split into their separate games, with ten for each one. A star award system was also introduced to the challenges, offering a greater reward to the player for completion, while giving them greater targets to aim for.

Grins Over Development - 2010 - 2013

And so now we have Grindle Oni A, developed and refined since its initial concept in 2010 to be a challenging but enjoyable test for all players on Android devices. I hope you have enjoyed this look back at the development of the game and how it has progressed from the initial idea, and keep watching for more development diaries as I take a look at how the different elements of this final version of the game took shape.


Official Grindle Oni Facebook page - Link

Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 - Where Did It Go?

As 2012 comes to a close I guess I can have a look back on the year and if it was any good in the end?

The year started with a lot of potential. I had just published the Last Mask - Tradition on Kindle, excited about the potential of the novel. A publisher was interested in my Grindle game, and to see it develop more. And I was writing a short film script for a new director who wanted something similar to my Last Mask novel, learning how to squeeze a story into 10 minutes. So the year looked promising at that point, maybe things were going to improve this year.

Moving on a month later and things had quickly changed. The publisher was no longer interested in the game after I spent a month expanding and improving it. Apparently it now had too much in it, which was interesting. The director decided to not use my script in the end, after I did several edits, but I will just think of that as an experience at writing a film script, and maybe something will happen in films with other people in the future. And despite getting some great reviews, from people I didn't know, my novel hadn't done much on Kindle

A couple of months into the year and the potential of 2012 had seemed to return to the usual situation of nothing. The Last Mask failed to get past the first stage of the Amazon Breakout awards despite me believing it was better than a previous entry of mine that had advanced. I released my YA pirate novel on Kindle a few months later but sales of that were worse than the Last Mask, and even after giving 300 copies away it still has no reviews. 

So what do you do? There really didn't seem to be much point of committing another year to a novel if hardly anyone was interested in reading it. I continued plugging away at the art, but also with little interest from the people who might actually pay me to do it, and social media seemed to be getting less sociable. But enough about all this negative fun, was there anything positive to the year?

I did manage to win a competition this year, for a fan art version of a Summoner War's card, which will be out next year maybe. I also decided to start this Blog and build a new website to put all my work together, and show the world of Winterflood. I believe the website turned out well, and I don't know if anyone is visiting it but feel it is a quality display of the various things I can do. The purchase of an iPad also got me back into playing board games, and opened my eyes to all the different types of games available, and gave me a few ideas of my own.

As the year draws to a close I have now got back into game programming, currently working on a big project for 2013. So as the new year approaches maybe there is potential again, and maybe that potential may quickly vanish. Hopefully I will also self-publish the Last Mask in paperback, and there is still a chance that I will return to it next year and finish the other books. I remain positive  for what I am doing, and optimistic that this can be big, if I avoid people who just want to waste my time, as that is a commodity in short supply .

I also discovered while watching the Olymipic opening ceremony, as it shared a lot of my vision, that I am not weird but just British. So here is to more Britishness from me next year.

And on that note I end this short review of my year wishing that 2013 will be a bit more lucky than the previous ones, and that you all have a great one also.