A year ago I publicly announced Archmage Rises as a new kind of RPG.  I’m happy to report Archmage Rises is now playable.

Sort of.  :-)

I was invited to be in demo showcase in Portland, OR last week.  In the two and a half weeks leading up to the conference I scrambled/crunched to take all the disparate systems and jam it into something playable.  In the wee hours the night before I flew out, I got it working!

The 50ish people watching the demo were spellbound.  :-)

(The power went out in the middle of the demo, but they didn’t leave, so that is a good sign, right?!?)

This experience convinced me I have enough of the game working to show a demo to all of you.


Just a slice of the work in progress on combat.  I’ll talk more in depth about it later.

Snapshot of work on the combat. Pre-alpha graphics.





It’s been a while since I’ve done an update and I just returned from GDC, so this is a good time.

First, in my silence I’m programming a lot, sometimes 12hrs a day, and the game is really coming together.  As an artist I spend so much time trying to make the work of my hands be as good as the vision in my head.  Aspects of Archmage Rises are beyond what I imagined a year ago when I started this project.  It is very exciting!

It was my first GDC and I didn’t know what to expect from it.  (more…)


I was on the 35th floor in the north conference room.  Through the window, I could see the gray, rainy Toronto skyline.   I was here to learn about government funding programs for Digital Media.  At my table was a television/documentary producer, a toy manufacturer, and two suits who looked so dull and cliché that I didn’t even introduce myself.   The panel consisted of several government agency workers, a consultant, and a game developer.  The information shared over two hours was good, but I enjoyed the spicy chicken wrap from the buffet a lot more.

As a wrap up, the organizer asked the panel what final words they would like to share with the roughly 40 people in attendance.


Jan. 23, 2015.  This is my goal. My deadline. And I’m going to miss it.

Let me explain.  As I write this article, I am also making soup.  Trust me, it all comes together at the end.

Part I: Software Estimation 101

I’ve been working on Archmage Rises full time for three months and part time about 5 months before that.  In round numbers, I’m about 1,000 hours in.

You see, I have been working without a specific deadline because of a little thing I know from business software called the “Cone of Uncertainty”:


While I download and install Unity 4.6.21 beta, I think this is a good time to share all the work that is going into the music side of Archmage Rises.

Music sets mood, tone, and feel.  Perhaps I should rephrase that: Music reinforces mood, tone, and feel.  Music bypasses the (rational) mind and speaks to the imagination.

A quick demonstration of music’s true power is to watch a movie trailer (say, Inception) with just video.  Not quite the same without the music, is it? :-)

I’m relatively new to art appreciation.  A big turning point for me was a few years back when I read John Milton’s Paradise Lost.  Since then, my appreciation for art and the artists behind the work has continued to grow.  I even have some Peter Max limited edition prints hanging on my walls.

I’m a huge fan of fantasy art and pretty much any game art coming out of TSR in the 1980s.  There is something about the oil on canvas, seeing the stroke of the brush—which for me sort of elevates the work.  I’m not complaining about the perfection found in digital painting—just that I like the “handmade” quality brush strokes bring.

Archmage Rises is a love letter to tabletop role-playing games.  The art style is ’80s TSR for the modern area.

Seriously awesome! (more…)

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.” – Pablo Picasso

Sid Meier’s Pirates! is arguably the most important game ever made . . . and it also ruined my week.  You see, I’m working on Archmage Risesand part of my elevator pitch is, “It’s like Pirates! but with mages and permadeath.”

“Live the Life” is exactly what this Pirate simulator delivers! (more…)

I have some very exciting news to share!  Not being able to talk about it has been killing me for the last four weeks—but now the contract is signed, and I can (finally) scream from the top of my lungs. Are you ready?

In my first dev blog, I shared my personal journey and why I was moving from mobile to PC game development. It kind of took off. The article was #1 on Gamasutra for 3 days straight and soon blew past 100 comments. (It now sits at a little over 200.)

Yeah, I still can’t believe I beat out that Blizzard article.  And I LIKED their article.