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17 June 2019

Mammoth Proportions - '18/'19 update



It's been a while (again) since we posted on our blog here. Believe me, it's been busy. Luckily things are calming down now.


There's so much to catch you up on that we're not sure chronologically will display it best, so yep, it's categorised: game releases, jams, wee updates, client projects. Let's get started!


Game Releases:

  • Deep Heat (Web)
  • Toast Time: Smash Up! (Nintendo Switch)
  • Neon Caves (Nintendo Switch)


  • Global Game Jam '18 - Pollen Patrol
  • Ludum Dare 43 - Aetherspirit
  • Global Game Jam '19 - Stairs!
  • Ludum Dare 44 - Lifeblaster

Wee Updates

  • Sinking Feeling returns to the App Store
  • 'makenines' updated on the App Store

Client Bits

  • CBeebies Go Explore
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05 October 2017

Autumn Equinox

Hi everyone,


It's been a busy spring/summer here at Force Of Habit (hence the delay in blogging, sorry!). Lots of events, showcases, and behind the doors, lots of work-for-hire happening too. Now the days are getting shorter, and the nights longer, I thought I'd write a post to round everything up.



  • Reboot Develop
  • Jamchester
  • ReVersed Festival
  • Develop Game Jam
  • Ludum Dare
  • EGX Leftfield Collection

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21 February 2017

makenines - a visual design process



For the eager eyed on Force Of Habit's social media feeds, you will have seen that our most recent release is an Android & iOS game called 'makenines' (pronounced 'make nines'!) - an ambient logic-puzzle game where you have to clear grid of numbers by making nines.


It looks a bit like this, and is completely free! Try it.

This is a post showing screenshots from preproduction and development.

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15 January 2016

Parting Ways To Make Us Better

Hello everybody,


So this is a strange thing to write, but as of very soon I shall no longer be one half of Force of Habit. I have decided to leave the company in the capable hands of Ashley and will be embarking on my own, curious, solo adventure.


Our first, 'non-proper' desk...


08 June 2015

Friendship Club - Early Access Early Retrospective

I first wrote this blog post over six weeks ago. Since then a good many things have changed. So, rather than telling you what we're going to do I'm going to tell you what we've done (and then a bit of what we're going to do). I apologise in advance for messing-up my tenses...


As most of you know, Friendship Club hit Early Access a few months ago now, March 24th to be precise, and since then sales haven't been setting any records*. Given that we are making a local-multiplayer game that's still early in development we set ourselves very low expectations. and it would seem those low expectations have just about been met! So, if things are going as we expected what's the point in writing all this? Well, I wanted to pull back the curtain a bit and give a glimpse of what life project managing a game like Friendship Club can be like.


A look into the past, the present and the future. Notice there aren't many dev tickets at the moment...

24 April 2015

Booth Buddies: Knee Deep - A Swamp Noir in Three Acts

One of the most interesting and rewarding aspects of doing shows is seeing what else is in the works from studios around the world and having the chance to chat with the respective developers. At Rezzed, Friendship Club had one stand in a row of four, with the other three being taken-up by a grand back-board, three computers, two kindly Americans and one game: Knee Deep.


Act One: Opening
The stage is set.


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19 March 2015

On the Death of Companies and the Immortality of Brandnames

You've all seen this, right?

As some of you know, I contributed one of the music tracks to the OST of TxK. My association with Llamasoft games stretches back into my childhood of big heavy 386's and sleek, exceptional Amigas. Sorry Atari. Minter has long been a hero of mine, so much so that irrespective of what my career might or might not bring, having some of my music in one of his games will forever remain a personal highlight.



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11 February 2015

The Manifesto of Value

Also known as: "Why Sinking Feeling Isn't Free"

(I originally wrote this as an article, but it became so preachy and self-absorbed that I decided to go the whole hog and turn it into a manifesto. It's in part a response to the position we find ourselves in when we are asked about (or criticised for) our work not being free. The majority of gamers and colleagues have been very supportive and understand our approach and that of many other indie studios. Shout-outs to the people on the TouchArcade forums for being really supportive during the Toast Time and Sinking Feeling releases - it's meant a lot to us.)


This is an in-house philosophy, a formalisation of how we approach what we do. We're sharing it because it's been on our minds a lot lately, mostly due to the following...


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09 January 2015


Continuing my very occasional series of write-ups on some of my favourite games I thought I'd cover Force Of Habit and Clockwork Cuckoo office sweetheart Mashed!


Released in 2004 by Supersonic Software, Mashed is a weaponised driving game with a 3rd person camera. It's buggy, broken, seemingly unfinished and we are obsessed with it. I'll pick apart its faults, charming and otherwise, but first I'll cover the basics.


Everything looks to be in order.

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02 November 2014

GameCity - Lumino City

In the ground floor of the main GameCity space, on Carlton Street, Nottingham, is an exhibition dedicated to the production of the sumptuous puzzle adventure game Lumino City by State of Play. Over three years in production, the game is a beguiling blend of realworld model sets and 2D character animation.



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01 November 2014

GameCity - Bang Bang Bang! I'm Dead. Again.

The Monday night of GameCity included LadyCade, a free-for-all exhibition of some of the best games around by female developers.


Sadly, I have to admit that I didn't get to try a lot of them, firstly due to getting there late (I was having dinner with my sister), and secondly thanks to getting momentarily obsessed with Sophie Houlden's game Bang Bang Bang.


This is about to go badly for someone...


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30 October 2014

GameCity - The Sound of Nuclear Throne

For those of you who don't know, GameCity is a wonderful, week-long festival, dotted here and there throughout the historic drinking city of Nottingham. I had the pleasure of spending a couple of days up there and thought I would report back some findings. I had actually intended this report to cover a range of topics and games, but being the audio freak that I am I've ended-up writing way too much about one talk in particular, so I guess I'll be splitting this out into a few separate articles covering things that have caught my eye/ear/assorted-face-holes.


Nuclear Throne


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08 August 2014

Neon Caves is coming to Ouya!

Around this time last year we were approached by Indie Statik to create a game for their Kickstarter Game Pack. A game that would be exclusively for the backers. We like making games, and we like Indie Statik, so we said yes!


It would be exclusive, so it wouldn't have a wide audience. The idea was to create something quickly, jam something out like we do all the time, so that's exactly what we did.


We produced Neon Caves, an experimental offshoot of Toast Time that was designed specifically for controller input. If you haven't played Toast Time, the interesting part of it is that movement and shooting are intrinsically linked -- one cannot be performed without the other. We wanted to explore that further.


Health Zone

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08 May 2014

Play Blackpool: The Games

Along with stalwart colleagues, Clockwork Cuckoo, we braved the bank-holiday traffic to drag our sweet behinds up to Play Blackpool to show the latest Friendship Club build.


Rather than give you a blow-by-blow account of our whole weekend (not that exciting), I'll instead talk about some of the games I got to play whilst I was there (more exciting). I'll also tell you about a little game we invented for the motorway that kept us engaged for about eight hours worth of driving (overwhelmingly exciting).


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11 December 2013

Simulating the ZX Spectrum look using OpenGL

Not a guide to binary-complete emulation. Jeez!

A few weeks back - right after the TIGA Game Hack we attended - was the very first Sinclair ZX Spectrum oriented game jam, or very simply, the Speccy Jam. I was too busy (and knackered) to even look at entering at the time, so had to give it a miss. However, I recently had a completely free weekend...


Spurred on a little by Hayden Scott-Baron's recent and wonderful screenshot saturday posts, I decided to make an attempt at achieving the iconic "attribute clash" effect seen on the Speccy - using our internal tools, of course. That's C++ and OpenGL (a lot of wrapper classes), but I'll try to keep it abstract so it's of wider use.


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20 November 2013

TIGA Game Hack: The Making of Timmy Bibble's Friendship Club

We attended the TIGA Game Hack last weekend with our friends and artist teammates Clockwork Cuckoo. As always with game jams, this one was a blast! It was by far the largest game jam we've ever attended, and given it's size, perhaps the most well organised too. So many fantastic looking games produced! We're elated to have won, so we thought to share our brain-thoughts with you.


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05 July 2013

TENNNES, Anyone?

I am a white square. A hugely athletic white square, playing tennis. I'm 40-30 up and for the sake of this article it's match point. My opponent is hesitating. His first serve went wide and he knows that if this doesn't go in it's all over. He's weary of my return game so I take a few steps closer to the net to further intimidate him. Force his hand a bit. Out of the corner of my eye I see him quietly depress the A button. I think he's going down the line. I take a step back. Release. The ball fires over the net at speed and looks to be headed right down the middle of the court. I slide out to the right and instantly begin cranking my winding-up counter. The ball glances the line and at full stretch and tiptoes I swing, catching the ball at the end of my racquet and turning it back across my body into the open court. An intake of breath. Silence. And then an awful lot of swearing, not my own. It’s a winner! Get right in.


I'm playing TENNNES.


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25 June 2013

Rezzed: The Making of The Agent


"… The 80's!" announced the organiser and the game jam began.


The 80's. Great. OK. Nine hours to make a game about the 80's. What's the first thing that comes to mind? The blossoming career of Keith Chegwin. That's not going to cut it. Chris Tarrant? No! What else?... Arcade machines. OK, there's something we can explore. We need one more thing? Big hair?... Too obvious. Shoulderpads? Ditto. Thatcherism?... close but dull... The Cold War? Yes. Let's begin...

Arcade Machines and the Cold War

With those two things in mind we (by which I mean ourselves and the inimitable Clockwork Cuckoo) set about figuring out the aesthetics and mechanics of the game. It became apparent that it'd be an interesting experiement to imagine the game as if it were a real artefact of the 80s. A machine from a parallel gaming history. Someone else's memories of childhood. Perhaps something that ran on esoteric Russian technology, similar to systems we are more familiar with such as the Vectrex or the old Atari vector arcade games.

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11 April 2013

LAUNCH: Meet the Games Press

Early Tuesday morning saw a number of Bristol-based game developers congregate outside the Games Hub in Stokes Croft. Force Of Habit, Auroch Digital, Large Visible Machine, Demon Apathy, Toxic Games, Geek Beach, Rice Digital, Infinite Playground, Red Panda Audio -- quite a crew.

We all attended LAUNCH: Meet the Games Press held at Birmingham Science Park Aston, and had a hell of a day. Opening the event was Jaspal Sohal from Creative England - who revealed their latest initiative called Games Lab - as well Jo Twist from UKIE, who thanked us all for coming and casually brought up doritosgate. Speakers included Will Freeman, Rich Eddy and Alex Wiltshire. Panelists included Rich Eddy, Natalie Griffith, Chris Theophilus-Bevis, Mike Bithell, Keith Stuart, Keith Andrew, Ed Wilson and Matt Kamen. Whew, did I miss anyone?

"How to talk to Games Press"
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06 April 2013

A Series of Quite Fortunate Events

Hello world. We’re soft launching our blog today with this post. A number of people have asked how we came together and what we’ve been up to since we set up camp several months ago, so here’s a bit of a timeline overview.

October 2011 -- way before Force Of Habit

Nick and I (Ashley) met during the first Bristol games "Anti-Social" and Extended Play Game Jam event. We were paired randomly together with Tom Parry (Mobile Pie) and Tomas Rawlings (Red Wasp & Auroch Digital) and together from the theme of "mirrors", we created "Mirrornaut". Mirrornaut is an infinite-runner where the player has to avoid obstacles, not only by jumping, but also by flipping over a horizontal mirror-line in the centre of the screen. This game – although simple and created in around 16 hours – was awarded 2nd place at the main Extended Play Festival event in Plymouth.


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