Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Don't press that button! Publishing my first Android game...

So 'Eek! It's a Bomb!' is ready for Android publishing. I upload the game, graphics, description, age rating etc to the Google Play Store.

A button appears; 'Publish'. What's going to happen when I click on it, I wonder?

Funnily enough, the game gets published, that's it. No waiting for approval, no committees, panels, quality control or questioning of self-worth.

It can't be that simple, can it?

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Is this some kind of a joke?

What sort of indie developer totally trashes his website with an HTML5 joke? I guess that'll be me then...

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Personal web page

Rabid-eyed visitors to will notice a new, streamlined web design with an autosizing background.

Who knows what browsers it will run on, 'not I' said the fly. 'You do', said Voodoo.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Happy birthday to me, have an iPad game for freeeeeee...

Hmm... things seem to be going strangely to plan.

From Sunday - 30th September (my birthday) 'Eek! It's a Bomb!' will be available for the iPad in the app store, for free. And yes, it's a proper new game filled with loads of fiendish levels, fabulous graphics and a soundtrack by Ace Muso Josh Woodward. In fact, if you don't like it I'll give you your money back. (See what I did there? It's free, hahaha. Sorry, I'm a little excited).

I'll soon find out if it was a good idea to give it away as a birthday present to the world (that's you) from me. Since you're reading this, however, why not download it from Sunday, leave a review, tweet about it, tell your friends, etc etc.

All you have to do is search for 'Potassium Frog' or 'Eek! It's a Bomb!' in the app store, and have some fun.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Sturgeon's Law

When there's so much to look back on - the temptation is to rehash/refine. That's partly why 90% of everything is rubbish, and is not where it is at.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012


… isn’t what it used to be.

A long-running list of things I’ve seen in my lifetime now includes:
microwave ovens/personal computers/mobile phones/color televisions/drive-by shootings/brainwave entrainment/digital entertainment format wars/infinite possibilities/reality tv/laminate flooring conventions/blogs/the birth of disco/the death of disco/satellite tv/.coms/talentless television talent contests/recycling attendants/flat-screen televisions/5-blade razors/boredom-on-demand

Last days of Data Wars

There's something quite liberating in moving your website from a dangerous self-hosted site to a fluffy cotton-covered fireside of joy. No more updates, widgets, or database wars for me. Until the next time, that is.

Now, later or even later still should be populated with all my tweets, blogs and other rantings and a huge background drawing.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Almost Certainly the Best Ever Podcast Today

A couple of weeks ago Andy Godoy from the world-famous Retro Asylum skyped by for some virtual coffee and cakes. We talked about many things, some of which will almost certainly interest you passionately, including some, none or other of the following:
Why did I write Rock Star Ate My Hamster?
Why was the game banned?
Who was the character in Slightly Magic based on?
Why is Clockwork the Mouse such a fabulous game and why does it cost so little?
Would I rather have a bottle in front of me or a frontal lobotomy?
The new Retro Asylum Podcast – Colin Jones Ate My Hamster – click here now for the gory ‘truth’, or rummage about in iTunes.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012


Recording a podcast with the UKs #1 Retro Gaming Podcast tomorrow.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

My Program is Scattered to the Stars

A few people have asked me what ‘s different about the games industry these days. That could take a book to answer, but one of the big differences I’ve noticed is the basic structure of programs.
When I wrote an 8-bit or 16-bit game the program followed a nice sequence, running like a flowchart from top to bottom. These days there are little bits of code all over the shop (maybe even on different machines in different continents) that get called when certain conditions are met. Which means you have to be careful about changing any data, in case another bit of code is doing the same thing in another universe.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Dazzling Graphics of a Future Age

Clockwork the Mouse, an already stunning cartoon adventure for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch now supports retina graphics on all devices (where available). A free iPad update is now live in the app store if you've purchased already. The extra detail on the already beautiful screens now looks amazing. Really.

'a beautiful hand-drawn adventure'
Retro Gamer Magazine

Available now for iPhone and iPod Touch:
Clockwork the Mouse - Potassium Frog Ltd
Available now on iPad:
Clockwork the Mouse for iPad - Potassium Frog Ltd

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Those glorious days of boring games

I don’t suppose my first game had a loading screen.

I think it had a single screen of gameplay. You might wonder why I don't go on YouTube to check it out. Because it was rubbish is the answer.

'I"m In Shock' got snapped up by the first software house I sent it to, Artic Computing. That tells you something about the games industry at the time. They sent me royalties too.

I'm certainly not ashamed of the game, it did have a nice piece of gameplay. I guess it had a good few hours of entertainment.

Still, "I'm In Shock' was a great title, and I still love the sleeve notes I wrote,

'The moon was the colour of wide frozen shrieks of laughter, the frost line ran down the window,
I’m in shock...'


Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Fascinating Videogames Fact number 201

I found that writing computer games wasn’t really all that difficult. You just had to be persistent. And deranged. Because if you weren’t deranged at the start of a game, you’d sure be by the end of it.

You thought of an idea for a game, then worked out a flowchart. That’s what I did anyhow.

For my first game I seem to remember typing hexadecimal numbers into the Sinclair Spectrum. I’d written the program and translated the assembly language instructions into hex. One thing I remember is leaving blank commands in case extra code was needed. I don’t think I could add lines, only type over them. Things soon changed, but that’s how I remember writing my first game.

You needed graphics too. Get a sheet of graph paper and fill in 8x8 grids in black and white. Take those grids and make a binary number for each line, putting a 1 for black and a 0 for white. Or vice versa. Then type those into the program. No sweat.

The Sinclair Spectrum had the added feature of a color map, where each 8x8 group of pixels could have one ink and one paper color. Woohoo.

Fascinating Videogames Fact number 201:

Spectrum resolution: 256x192 pixels
iPad3 resolution: 2058x1536
That’s exactly 8 times in both directions.
So you could fit 64 spectrum games onto one iPad screen all at one time.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Space Invaders Stole My Attention Span!

It was a time long ago. Before mobile phones and satellite television. Before daytime TV and phising attacks. Before celebrity makeover golf-opera competition phone ins. Before social networking viral antidotes.

Before pretty much everything you care about today, in fact.

A winter’s afternoon in south Wales, a Space Invaders clone played on a Texas Instruments games console in a friend’s house. “Like a go, Col?” my friend asked.
I picked up the joystick, moved it. A graphic moved on screen. Something inside my head shifted forever. I moved the joystick again, the graphic moved the other way. There was a rough explosion sound and I lost a life. That didn’t matter. Something very small had moved. My world had changed, in an instant.

I realised that cartoons on a screen could be controlled by a player. But more than that, I saw that a game, a story, a comic, a song, could be changed by the person experiencing it.

I knew what I had to do.

Next scheduled post: Tuesday 13th

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Retina Display Ate my Brain - Trade Secrets of Game Graphics Part 1

Since the news is out that the new iPad is going to have the best display ever on any thing which ever existed, it might be a good time to talk a little about graphics. I'll do a 'then and now' post at a later date, but here's how I've been preparing my graphics for my next app.

I've been using the most advanced drawing tools known to mankind - pencil and paper! No really, I've leapfrogged the whole image resolution problem so that I always have access to a near-infinite resolution original, only limited by scanner technology. Future-proofed for a hidden reality.

The artwork is scanned at 600 dots per inch and colored in Photoshop. That gives me a pretty generous size for most purposes, even for print work.

Once the coloring is finished, I prepare 3 extra copies of the screens for the final app, as well as the non-compressed original.

The three extra copies are saved as jpegs, each half the size of the previous, the biggest being 2048x1536. That leaves me with one graphic for pretty much every type of display, including the new iPad Retina.

I tend to save the jpegs at a high quality setting, and use png's if I need transparency. I need the three resolutions for every image; sprites, backgrounds, buttons, whatever. My fonts are always scaleable.

Next Scheduled post is still Friday.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Don't watch that...

Watch this!

I'm pretty much concentrating on Potassium Frog Ltd full time at the moment, in case you're wondering why there are no new posts here.

However, there's a whole bunch of interesting stuff on creativity, the games industry (past and present), and more at my 'My History of Computer Games in the 20th Century' blog...

Mouse your pointer to The Potassium Frog Blog for the latest. Once or twice a week. Cartoons too.

My History of Computer Games in the 20th Century

I always had a problem when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up;  I never could find an answer.

I would have said astronaut, but I knew that the food was awful

I eventually started saying ‘architect’ which led to a university course and a good grounding in many design skills, but my heart was never really in it.

What I didn’t know then, and I didn’t realise until recently, was that the very thing I wanted to do to make a living didn’t even exist at the time.

It might not even exist now.

Next scheduled post: Fri 9 March.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Retro Gamer Article

Massive thanks to Stuart Hunt and Retro Gamer Magazine for a news article on Clockwork the mouse.

'a beautiful hand-drawn adventure'

sums it up nicely.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Clockwork the Mouse

That's better. Promo made yesterday. Welsh language promo on the way.

Available now for iPhone and iPod Touch:
Clockwork the Mouse - Potassium Frog Ltd
Available now on iPad:
Clockwork the Mouse for iPad - Potassium Frog Ltd