Making Toxic Sea


The initial prototype went right back to first principles, playing with coloured bricks, and it grew quite organically from there.


The results were really promising and I was having so much fun that it took on a life of its own.


Early tests:

At this point, let's remember two important things.

  1. I'm just one person, doing all the work here.
  2. I'm a versatile game designer, not a specialist in other disciplines.

Although I have many varied skills, I'm not a dedicated programmer/artist/sculptor/musician/writer/level-maker/whatever. I'm just throwing some crude blocks onto the screen and then poking them to see where the fun bits are. It seems like a perfectly valid approach to game development.




SEA MODE: Started as underwater cubes.



LAND MODE: Turning 2D pixel images into 3D cubes. Then using it to make maps.


Adding mobile NPCs with working "vision".



Polishing the game "engine". It's simple but functional. (Written in BASIC.)



Development kit:

This project took shape inside AppGameKit. The development software was a gift from Rick at TheGameCreators, via Steam. It's running natively in Ubuntu Linux, on an Alienware gaming laptop. There's an Xbox controller connected.

(The equipment has since passed away. Thank you for your service!)

I chose this software because:

a) This version of BASIC is the only programming language that I can actually relate to.

b) It runs on Linux and lets me deploy one code to multiple platforms.
    (Linux, Android, iOS, Mac and Windows).

c) AGK is simple and great for making prototypes!

AppGameKit is not open-source and it usually costs to purchase
but I have no suitable FLOSS alternative.



Development laptop.



Next steps:

As the basic concept grew, I tried out various ideas, to find interesting game elements and to combine them in fun ways. It takes time and experimentation to develop a game, over many iterations. It's a fluid and ongoing process.


2016)   Project started as Toxic Sea

2017)   Evolved into Subversives

2018)   Became Subverse




The germ of the submarine idea was inspired by Dive Alert, for the Neo Geo Pocket Color, a 2D handheld console, launched in 1999. The game was a brilliant concept with slightly dull execution, on a very limited device. But the idea... That's still crying out to be reimagined and reinvented!

I can't condone just copying an idea but I have taken a deep breath of inspiration and evolved it in my own way.

Hence the Unflocked sub games will always have an island of "Sacnoth", named after the developers of Dive Alert. (They, in turn, named themselves after a fantasy short story. The studio has long since closed but their legacy continues.)


This guy totally nailed the video review!