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!


New Project: Dreamquill

I’m pleased to announce my latest project, Dreamquill.  Made in RPGMaker is my take on the classic turn-based RPG genre.  Key features include:

  • A touching story of self-discovery centered around magic-wielding teens, including romance options and a variety of endings.
  • Determine the exact properties you want your spells to have in the midst of battle with an innovative spell-crafting system.
  • Beautiful dreamscapes to explore.
  • And, of course, plenty of monsters to beat, puzzles to solve, and treasures to find!


Players assume the role of Skylar Chaudhri, age 17, one of the top students at Armistead Academy, a prestigious boarding school for aspiring runemages.  Along with two of her classmates, Skylar is assigned to investigate reports of strange goings-on in nearby Chantelune Forest, a place with a reputation for being mystical at best and downright haunted at worst.  Once inside, Skylar and company are attacked by monsters and separated.

Undaunted–well, okay, pretty daunted, but unwilling to give up, Skylar sets off on a quest to find her classmates and escape the forest.  She finds herself trekking through a strange world where past and present, truth and falsehood, reality and illusion seem to interweave seamlessly, and she is pitted against deadly monsters, obfuscating puzzles, and sometimes her companions or even herself.

What’s the cause of all this strangeness?  Can Skylar find her classmates?  And even if she does, will they survive to greet the dawn?

My recommendation is to combine Ice and Empower to cast Crystalize on that Fire Imp.

Battle System

Dreamquill features a turn-based combat system similar to classics like Final Fantasy.  However, instead of each character having a fixed list of spells or skill, in Dreamquill you form spells on the fly by combining runes.

Each character equips up to five runes, and runes are put together to form spells.  For example, the FireArrow, and All runes can be used to form the spell Hail of Fire Arrows, a powerful attack which damages all enemies.  The Poison and Shield runes can be used to cast the spell Poison Ward, which protects a character from the poison status ailment.  When you cast a spell, the runes used to do so will be on cooldown and unavailable next turn.

This system has a number gameplay benefits:

  • Rune combination adds depth in combat by allowing you to choose the exact spell effects for any situation, such as whether to target one or all enemies, what element to use, and how powerful the spell should be.
  • Each character can form a wide variety of spells based on the runes they equip, giving you a healthy amount of choice in battle.
  • You can freely rearrange runes between battle to find combinations that best suit the enemies you face.
  • Rune cooldown acts as a natural limitation on your spellcasting ability, removing the need for cumbersome resource bars such as MP.

Glittering thing. Stop ignoring the glittering thing.

Development Schedule

Dreamquill already has a playable prototype, and a good chunk of the art done or in the pipeline.  I hope to launch a Kickstarter campaign soon to raising enough money to commission the rest of the art assets.  From there, it will be approximately 3 months to a playable beta, then hopefully 3 more months to final release.

How so fast?  Well, the core game is already made.  From here on out it’s integrating art, fine-tuning gameplay, fixing bugs, and implementing changes based on eventual beta-user feedback.  In a relatively small-scale game, I hope this can happen quickly.  This promise may blow up in my face, but we can hope not.


Blog Opening!

I’m happy to announce the grand opening of the new Tangled Web Games development blog!

Nothing to see here at the moment, but this is where I’ll post updates on the development of projects, as well as sneak-peaks at new art or features in the pipeline.  Enjoy!