New Project: Crown of Thorns

A side project I’m bringing to the front burner to try to get done, Crown of Thorns is a darkly atmospheric fantasy adventure game.

Players assume the role of Brunhilde, a mysterious and silent knight with an unknown mission at an empty castle.  Using magical portals, she goes back and forth between two versions of the castle: one pristine, the other decrepit and ruined, but both mysteriously deserted.  A foreboding presence pervades the ruined castle, causing strange distortions in the world.

Brunhilde must overcome various obstacles to clear the distortions, break through magical seals, and eventually reach the center of the castle, and its mystery.

The primary gameplay of Crown of Thorns is exploration and puzzles, where players must use both versions of the castle to overcome obstacles, in the vein of light world / dark world or past / present type puzzles seen in Zelda games and similar works.  There is no combat in Crown of Thorns, just mystery and exploration.


There is a lot of religious iconography in Crown of Thorns (in case the name didn’t tip you off).  Throughout the world, you will find (fictional) scriptural passages.  These texts tell of a religion that worships angelic figures called Graces, who brought divine gifts and moral guidance to humankind.  To you, their words serve as a backdrop to the slowly unraveling narrative, and as riddles that tell you how to get past various obstacles in the game.

More on this project as it comes along.  Hoping to have a playable beta available in a few weeks!


Asteroidal Projection in Beta

Last winter, while stepping onto a bus, I had an idea for an Asteroids-like game that took place in the Poincaré Disk, a model of the hyperbolic plane best known for its use in M. C. Escher tessellation art.  Well, I haven’t followed through on that, because it would be hard to do.  Instead, I grabbed a much lower-hanging fruit which, to a layman observer, has a similar visual effect.

Thus was Asteroidal Projection born, an Asteroids-clone that takes place in normal Euclidean space, except with the plane compressed into a disk-shape.  Distances become increasingly distorted as you get farther from the center of the screen, with distant objects remaining visual, though warped, in the edges of the disk.  This visual distortion gives the illusion that the game is occurring on a curved, dome-like surface, but this is actually not the case.  Mathematically, the game world is topologically equivalent to the plane, and all the physics and collision detection occurs identically to how it would on a flat play area.  You can think of the game’s visuals as an alternative way of viewing flat space which keeps much more of the play area in view at once but does not preserve shape, distance, or angle.

For the topology/complex analysis nerds out there, the visuals in Asteroidal Projection are the image of the Euclidean plane through this homeomorphism:


And yes, strictly speaking, this is not a projection, just the standard homeomorphism from the plane to the disk.  What can I say?  I didn’t think “Homeomorphic Asteroids” had the same ring to it.

Anyway, you can play it online here:

This “beta” is very informal, just drop me a line if you have any feedback!  (


PS I still haven’t decided whether I’d rather use really minimalist, purely geometric visuals for this game.  What do you think?


The Blue Room in Beta

I’m pleased to announce that The Blue Room, an short adventure game about depression, anxiety, and loneliness, is now in open beta and available on

The Blue Room is a room escape game, but instead of locked doors and puzzles, the true impediment to escape is the protagonist’s own depression and agoraphobia.  The central narrative of the game is framed by the two choices your character is given when you attempt to open your door and go outside: “No,” and “Nah.”  As you explore the room and learn more about the character’s past and daily life, you unlock more excuses for not going outside–“I’m too tired,” or “I’m not ready,” or just plain “I don’t want to.”  Throughout the game, the paralyzing effects of depression and anxiety are simulated for the player by the restrictive choices presented to them.

This is a deeply personal work for me, inspired by my own experiences, and those of people close to me.  Even when it moves out of beta into it’s final release, I will never charge money for The Blue Room.  I only hope that it raises awareness about how challenging depression can be, and engenders empathy in those who play it.