Beyond Reality

A failed scientist dies in an accident, only to awaken in a mysterious, alien world.  

Where is he? How did he get here? And why do the fundamental laws of reality appear broken?

Life. Afterlife. Real. Virtual. Dream. Nightmare. It's a thin line.

It's Axiom Verge.

Spriting: Director's Cut

Here's the profile view of a creature that I ended up drawing from the frontal view in the final game.  I might still use it, but, it would be difficult to make it fit in from this perspective ... I'm sure you'll understand when you see it in game.  However, it seemed sad for this animation never to be seen by anyone, so, here you go!

Within the Magic Lantern

I finally got this screen up and running, and the first code working as well.

A whole lot of news has transpired in the last week - I was on Sup Holmes, had a few E3 interviews show up online, new articles, etc.  So much that I don't quite have the time to address all of it.  HOWEVER, I usually post these as updates as they happen over on the Facebook page.  So if you haven't been there, please check out, and click on the like button to keep up to date!

Axiom Verge and E3 2014


Like most gamers, I've been following this event online for many years now, never thinking I'd attend, let alone exhibit - that's for EPs and VPs and top brass.  So I was expecting it to be overwhelming and probably exhausting. But it turned out to grow exponentially more insane as it progressed.

Warning:  Name drops inbound.

Believe it or not, Axiom Verge is mentioned somewhere in here.

Believe it or not, Axiom Verge is mentioned somewhere in here.

Before anything started, there was a day of press conferences, with Sony's being the main one for me.  No Man's Sky was featured prominently, and a bunch of other indies were shown on this screen (everyone was tweeting this back and forth and playing "Where's Waldo" with each other's logos).  Bonus Trivia:  The devotion logo was designed by Nick Suttner's girlfriend.  My favorite AAA part?  The Batman trailer.

Hard to miss Axiom Verge in the Sony booth.

Hard to miss Axiom Verge in the Sony booth.

For future reference:  150 business cards was not enough.  I'd do at least 300 next time.

For future reference:  150 business cards was not enough.  I'd do at least 300 next time.

In contrast to the press conference presentation, the Axiom Verge kiosk happened to be at the very front and center of Sony's booth, so everyone saw it, plus a lot of traffic was passing by just to get to the high-profile brands behind it.  It also didn't hurt to have Nidhogg on one side attracting a constant crowd, and Velocity on the other, looking beautiful.

Behind me (and wrapping 270 degrees around the whole booth) was a giant screen blasting the squishing sounds of AAA monsters dismembering each other.  But often it would also play indie trailers.

Basically I spent the entire three days hovering over my two kiosks, demoing AV and talking to journalists and devs, and trying my best to keep hydrated.

This display was ginormous (scientific term) and loud.

This display was ginormous (scientific term) and loud.

James and Trang,  Thanks for the delicious pastries!!!

James and Trang,  Thanks for the delicious pastries!!!

I think the best part was probably the people I met there.  James Petruzzi of Chasm fame was there with his wife Trang, and they brought with them a lot of much-needed down-to-earth-ness to counter the mayhem.  Chasm and Axiom Verge have a lot of similarities, not just in gameplay but also sharing the underlying technology (XNA and/or Monogame) and also development (regular people making games that remind them of their youth).  I just wish Baltimore and Las Vegas were closer together.

We traded stickers, too.

We traded stickers, too.

Rami Ismail (maker of Nuclear Throne, LuftrausersRidiculous Fishing, and other popular titles) stopped by and gave me a hug, which was nice.  And I mean, how often do you get a hug from a respected indie celebrity?  He also found a bug in my room transitions and gave some pointers on general game development stuff.

We traded stickers, too.  Flame bears!  What happens when they meet up with water bears?


Here's Ian Stocker, who recently hooked up with Tim Schaefer for a publishing agreement for Escape Goat 2.  I'd been twittering back and forth with him since the Escape Goat 1 days.  Did you know he originally envisioned it as a Metroidvania, but decided to focus more on the puzzle aspect?  It was really good to finally meet him.  

Alex Preston, designer of Hyper Light Drifter, also stopped by!  I'll say that HLD is probably my most anticipated indie game.  It was actually playable on Vita just behind me, but as a sole developer, I didn't have a way to leave my kiosks and play other games (at any rate I probably want to wait for the full version so as not to spoil the experience.)  Alex himself was stationed at Microsoft's booth to helm the XBox One version of the game, which is releasing on every platform ever made*.

*Possibly not entirely factual or correct.

For some reason I didn't take any pictures of it, but there was a fancy dinner for Sony developers at Soho House (I found this image in a Hollywood Reporter article).  I sat at the same table with Jonathan Blow - probably the most famous indie developer ever - though it took me a while to recognize him because he'd let his hair grow in.  This scene from Wayne's World explains succinctly how that felt.  There were also a lot of older "suits" types.  I was really tired from a full day at the show so I mostly tried my best to stay awake and not to be completely incoherent talking about garbage collection and IMGUI with the people seated beside me.

Around day 3, James and I met MAN (all caps), from the popular twitch show, Man Vs. Game. Also, James told me MAN's secret identity, which may never be revealed because the internet is full of crazies who would love to stalk him.  Luckily I forgot it and I like the name MAN just as well, anyway.

Also on Day 3, GameSpot and IGN dropped these placards off at my kiosk.  If getting to meet industry celebrities gave me a shock, this was like some new level of absurdity altogether.  The two biggest gaming sites think I could be best of show?  I'm just a guy with a laptop.  What's going on?  Gamespot actually gave me a bag full of "best of E3" buttons for my "team".  There were about 15 buttons in there.  I used them to make a scale mail shirt.

I was too surprised to think of taking a photo.  So, here's some random internet pic.

I was too surprised to think of taking a photo.  So, here's some random internet pic.

I guess word must have gotten around because shortly thereafter, Reggie Fils-Aime showed up.  I was at a loss for words at that point; I think I said something like, "Is that...?" (the ellipses which were practically audible).  Reggie looked at my kiosks and said, "oh yeah, that does look like Metroid," to which a nearby journalist quipped, "Hey, somebody  needs to make a Metroid, it might as well be him!"

Things you don't expect to happen to you, ever:  Reggie shook my hand and congratulated me.

Then he was off.

Later, while riding the elevator up to my hotel room, I saw a woman with the same "Best of E3" pin that GameSpot gave out, and while pointing to my own, I said something like, "Hey, we have something in common!  What game do you make?"  Honestly, I was thinking she was probably another indie, until she replied, "Dragon Age."

It wasn't until when GameSpot's posted the E3 2014 winners list that I found out that I was one of only 15.  Not even Destiny - the most expensive game ever made - made that list.

So, was E3 overbearing, overwhelming, and insane?  Yes, absolutely.

But am I glad I went?

Hell yeah.




Axiom Verge wins GameSpot's Best of E3!

... As well as being nominated for Best Action Game and Best PS4 game by IGN.

Here's the respective links:



Also of note:  I'll be on Sup Holmes tomorrow at 1 PM PST for a video interview:

I intend to write a longer post tomorrow going over the events of E3.  It was, at the very least, insane beyond my wildest expectations.


Axiom Verge on Venice Beach

Here's Axiom Verge being played at a press event at a swank Venice Beach apartment.  Capybara Games and Midnight City sponsored the whole thing, and Sony was able to get me a spot.  From what I understand, this will mark the first year that indie games have been able to take part in "judges week" for the Game Critics Awards.  The Darkest Dungeon, The Long Dark, Below, Hyper Light Drifter, Action Henk, Costume Quest 2, and Grey Goo were also there.  It was awesome!!