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My 2015 in review

I spent most of 2015 in the dugout working on stuff that’ll come to fruition in 2016. But a few highlights stood out and this a good time to reflect and get some perspective (mostly for the sake of my own sanity and motivation).


PocketGamer Connects in London, met a lot of awesome gamedev folks, got featured by AppSpy.


Launched icp.org with North Kingdom and the International Center of Photography in NYC.


The awesome Reboot Develop in Dubrovnik, made new gamedev friends, played football with Charles Cecil, Rami Ismail, Dan Da Rocha & co.

Exhibited Elroy, got nominated for most creative game at the conference.


Moved to my new apartment in Maribor and made lots of progress on Elroy.


Elroy got greenlit on Steam within a week.


Best summer ever.


Gave a talk at the Slovenian Games Conference.

Won “Best Indie Game” at same conference.

Mentored Slovenian startups, participated in a national grant selection process.


Joined the advisory board of CEGC (Central European Games Conference).

Elroy got his first oil painting made by Yeve and exhibited in Prague.


Gave a talk about narrative, design and indie game development at the university in Ljubljana.

Got featured in a Maribor startup culture promo video along with some famous locals.

Got my first official song lyrics credit on a music album.


Global Game Jam in January.

Working hard on Elroy and the Aliens, which will finally get its release.

Looking forward to showing and promoting the hell out of Elroy.

Got talks accepted at two conferences so far.

Continue work coding, designing and writing videogames.

Less busywork and more productivity.


Adventure Games – Design and Development Lessons Learned Talk from SGC 2015

My talk from the Slovenian Games Conference 2015 is now online. It covers lessons learned from the last 2 years of working on our adventure game Elroy and the Aliens.

Sorry for the poor audio quality – the slides are posted below and downloadable on Slideshare.

Talk description: In this talk right from the trenches, we cover several stages of adventure game development, including conceptualization, story, game and puzzle design, programming, voiceovers, music and production. Elroy and the Aliens has been in development (with lots of love) for about two years, which has produced a lot of useful tips, tricks and lessons learned. Many of the areas covered are generally applicable to all (especially narrative-based) games.

Slovenian Games Conference 2015

I’m currently working on my talk for  SGC 2015 about “The Ins and Outs of Adventure Game Development”.

The first Slovenian Games Conference will take place on September 26, 2015 at FRI in Ljubljana.


SGC organizers expect around 300 international attendants from the region.

Attendance is free of charge, but seating is limited, so anyone interested should register to get their ticket on Eventbrite.


Support Elroy on Steam Greenlight

We want to bring Elroy and the Aliens to Steam (Mac, Linux, Windows).

Elroy and the Aliens on Steam Greenlight

But first, we have to be greenlit by the community.

Seeing all the positive comments and votes over the last few days has been amazing!

More pressure to deliver, but super encouraging :).

If you are a Steam user and like point-and-click adventure games and Disney-style animation, you can support us by voting YES on the Elroy and the Aliens Greenlight Page.

Top 10 Modern Adventure Games

I grew up with classic Sierra and LucasArts adventure games.

I started playing them when I was six and we didn’t have English yet in school. As a result, much of my initial vocabulary was seeded by text-input games like Space Quest and Leisure Suit Larry 1.


Believe it or not, “use rubber” was one of my first and most remembered proper English phrases (although I would not really count Larry 1 among my favorites).

I fell in love with the creativity, writing, humor and puzzles, some of which would take me weeks to solve. Adventure games are what ultimately inspired me to become a programmer.

The genre has seen a bit of a comeback recently, and there is a growing number of amazing games coming out every year.

Here is my (growing) list of recommendations.

1. The Book of Unwritten Tales (2009 and 2011 on PC, Mac, Linux)

2. The Inner World (2013 on PC, Mac)

3. Broken Age (2014 act one on PC, Mac, Linux, iOS)

4. Blackwell Series  (2006-2014, PC, iOS)

5. Machinarium (2009 on PC, Mac, Linux, PS3, PS Vita, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry Playbook)

6. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (2013 on PC, PS3, X360)

7. The Cave (2013 on PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Ouya, X360, PS3)

8. The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 (2014 early access on PC, Mac, Linux)

9. Deponia (2012 on PC, Mac, Linux)

10. The Journey Down (2010 on PC, Mac, Linux, iOS)

If you have any comments or other amazing adventure games to add to the list, please share. I may also update the list once I have played through my backlog.

Honorable mentions:

My backlog:

More amazing games (arguably not in the same category):

Looking Forward To:

Creativity and Allowing Mistakes

Every creative project I worked on had its share of mistakes.

Fixing a mistake is usually hard on the team and expensive for the organization. This is why we as professionals have every reason to try and avoid making them.

However, trying to avoid mistakes can make us afraid of testing new ideas and making decisions that could turn out wrong.

Fear destroys creativity. And once instilled, it spreads like a virus.

Careful planning and smart decision-making are extremely valuable. But mistakes will always be a part of the creative process. We must allow ourselves to occasionally hit a wall, learn, and try something different.

Without the fear of making a mistake and without the fear of punishment.

How else can we be expected to innovate?

Virtual D-Pads suck


This pretty much sums up my thoughts about virtual d-pads on touch-screen devices.

If you have a game for a device that doesn’t have any physical controls, the touch screen itself should be an asset, not a problem.

Exporting tasks from Basecamp to Trello

After using Basecamp Classic for years, our team needed something fresh.

We had just come from an all-day test session that resulted in 200+ new tasks, and I started looking around for something visual, fast and with a good API.

We opted for Trello after some fruitful Twitter research and tests.

Getting data out of Basecamp Classic is pretty easy: under Settings:Export, they allow you to export all tasks, messages etc. in raw XML format.


Using a slick little library called Trello.NET, I then wrote a simple C# task importer that cycles through the XML file, creates lists and adds a card for every outstanding Basecamp task.

Within a few hours, the new board was ready and we were up and running!


We will keep using Basecamp for some of our projects for a while, but Trello is already proving to be must faster and more convenient, especially when working on a game.


Here’s some of the code I used (it won’t work if you copy paste it directly).
You can also see some naming conventions we used for task severity (like “nice to have”, “critical” and “polish”).

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.ComponentModel;
using System.Data;
using System.Drawing;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using System.Threading.Tasks;
using System.Windows.Forms;
using TrelloNet;
using System.Xml.Linq;
using System.Xml;

/* ... */

Board elroyProduction;

void addCard(string taskDescription, string taskResponsible, TrelloNet.Color color, 
List list, string creator, string addedOn)
    NewCard card = new NewCard(taskDescription, list);

    var resCard = trello.Cards.Add(card);

    if (taskDescription.ToLower().IndexOf("critical") != -1)
        trello.Cards.AddLabel(resCard, TrelloNet.Color.Red);
        trello.Cards.AddLabel(resCard, color);

    trello.Cards.AddMember(resCard, getMemberFromName(taskResponsible));

    trello.Cards.AddComment(resCard, creator 
    + " added to Basecamp, " + addedOn);

/* ... */

// Main method:

XmlDocument xmlDoc = new XmlDocument();


foreach (XmlNode xmlNode in xmlDoc.DocumentElement.SelectNodes("todo-list"))
    string listName = xmlNode.ChildNodes[4].InnerText;

    List list = trello.Lists.Add(listName, elroyProduction);

    int count = 0;

    foreach (XmlNode task in xmlNode.SelectNodes("todo-items/todo-item"))
        if (   task.ChildNodes[2].InnerText.IndexOf("true") != -1 
            && task.ChildNodes[2].Name.IndexOf("completed") != -1)

        TrelloNet.Color color = TrelloNet.Color.Yellow;

        if (listName.ToLower().IndexOf("bug") != -1)
            color = TrelloNet.Color.Orange;
        if (   listName.ToLower().IndexOf("nice to have") != -1 
            || listName.ToLower().IndexOf("polish") != -1)
            color = TrelloNet.Color.Green;

        addCard(getDescription(task), getResponsible(task), color, 
                list, getCreator(task), getCreatedDate(task));


Indie Games and Innovation

When Sony announced the PS4 a few days ago, we saw more of the same – more power, more polygons and higher reliance on visual verisimilitude – but this time with a share button.

As videogame researcher Ian Bogost put it shortly after the event (tldr):

A first-person shooter is a first-person shooter. A driving sim is a driving sim. FIFA is FIFA. There’s nothing revolutionary about them, no more than there’s anything revolutionary about a wacky family sitcom or an apocalyptic action flick.

We are seeing fewer and fewer examples of AAA games surprising us with something new and creative. With huge budgets and shareholder value at stake, large organizations manage risk by sticking to proven game concepts.

Indie game developers, on the other hand, don’t have to. We can experiment with new game mechanics and themes and push the limits of gameplay for the rest of the industry.

But are we really seeing that much more innovation in indie games?

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Does Clusivity Affect the Way We Think?

English, like most languages across Europe and Africa, lacks what linguists call clusivity, the distinction between inclusive and exclusive first-person pronouns.

When you say We are going to a bar later tonight” in English, the person you are talking to doesn’t know whether the we includes them or not.

At least not without additional context.

In contrast, northern dialects of Mandarin distinguish between the inclusive 咱們  (zánmen – “me, one or more other people and you”) and exclusive 我們 (wǒmen –  “me, one or more others, but not you”).

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