I’m MAKING Joe Danger for iOS : Two hearts believing in just one mind. [ Phil Collins 1988 ] *

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I was going to do the “Year One” post, to celebrate exactly one year of being indie ( woooo! ) but I ended up caught in something far more exciting at the last minute i.e the First showing of Joe Danger ( iOS ) at PaxEast in Boston. ( more on that later )

So, As you may have read recently ( or not ), my latest game project is a joyous collaboration between myself and the fine folks at HelloGames. You might be wondering how such a magical union came to be? ( skip to the end for videos if not )

Well, late last year I met up with the Guildford posse from Hello Games for a bit of friendly banter ( it was good to get out of the house for once! ). We mused in the winter sun about our dreams and aspirations for the future, how we wanted do things our own way like loveable rogues. Turns out we shared many philosophies about what is exciting and fun about games and the ideas we wanted to explore. Sean ( one of the founding fathers of hello games ) had already been experimenting with making games on iOS from a technical standpoint, but things stayed mostly as hobby projects at that point.

Then, along comes this carefree, checkered shirt wearing, scruffy looking, go with the flow, day dreaming fool (thats me in this story ) who was ( and still is ) super into the playing and exploring the near endless possibilities of modern touch gaming devices. That scarf wearing hippy ( still me ) couldn’t see why people felt the need to make a distinction between a console game and an iOS game. “A great game is a great game regardless of platform” he said,  ”and the best games are always built for the platform. right?”.

Before that winters day had ended a pact was made between those fearless ( crazy ) adventurers. The big question they wanted to answer was this;

“What if in a parallel universe Joe Danger had only ever existed on the iPhone? What would that game look and play like? Would it be funnest game on the funnest iPod ever?”

Without hesitation this newly united group ( HelloGames + Me ) embarked on a wonderful collaboration of ideas, hearts and game design. And so, from that moment to the present day I have been secretly working away on a brand spanking new Joe Danger for “touchy feely” devices.

When talking to other people, I think Sean has described the whole process so far as “Bohemian Development”, I think he’s right. We’ve taken each day and week as it comes and continually broken down and rebuilt different ideas in search of that core delight. From the very start and to this day, the most important thing has always been that if we were to make this game together, “It has to be great”, rather than “It has to come out next month”. I can’t begin to tell you how refreshing that concept is.

More specifically about the game ( in case you were wondering ) here’s some facts I feel like its good for you to know.

  • This is NOT a port of any other Joe Danger game, it’s a completely rewritten brand new take on the game with its own levels, modes and content but with the spirit of the series running through its blood.
  • I repeat, its totally built FOR the device not against it : We’re talking pure sexy touch and gesture controls, no virtual dPad. EVER.
  • Again. Joe Danger For iOS , not Joe danger ON iOS.
  • Even though it controls differently it totally looks and “feels” like a Joe Danger game, giving you that same sense of joy and charm at every breakneck stunt.
  • Fluid, fast ,arcade action, running as smooth as silk. ( 60fps on 3GS and up )
  • Its super early days and we’re not done yet.
  • We’re going to do a beta, but haven’t worked out the logistics of that yet.
  • No launch date other than “When it’s ready”, but I think it would be nice if we could get it in your hands soooon.

If you’ve read this far hopefully you’re thinking to yourself;

“Hold on a second, Joe Danger uses every button on the controller to create its unique blend of chaotic joy, How the heck does that work with one finger on a touch screen!??”.

I’m glad you asked. We don’t have anything official to show yet, but here is some videos other people recorded from Pax East 2012. I Think they start to give you a good idea of how things are looking and playing at the moment and how we’re tackling the different aspect of the game. (as well as adding new touch only features)





What they don’t show you of course, is how natural it feels to play the game, and all the secret mechanics we’re not showing off yet.

So, If you had a chance to play the game at Pax and have feedback, or if you didn’t but have any more questions I’d love to hear from you at steven@trialbyfun.com

Speak Soon and thanks for reading.





I’ll do another post about the amazing PaxEast experience i.e “how to mentally survive showing your new game for the first time to thousands of super clued up gamers, and letting them hands on with it as you watch on in paralysing fear.”

Writer’s note *I used to think the lyrics were “Two hearts beating in just one time”, which for me makes more sense. Then i googled it. How wrong was i? The general sentiment is the same though.


My declaration of Independence. Also known as “That guy who designed LostWinds has gone Indie!”


I've just gone indie!

Hold on to your hats, because the day has arrived and I’ve finally, officially, taken the giant leap into the big wild world of being an independent developer. This decision has literally been years in the making but it’s now become a reality.

I have lots of things I want to talk to you about, but first It’s probably best if i give you a little history about myself.

My name is Steven Burgess and I’m a Games designer. I’ve been a designer  for a little over 9 years with my entire career so far at the prestigious UK based developer  Frontier Developments. I’ve worked on a number of original IP and licenses for a variety of publishers but there is one game in particular that i’m most proud of.

During my time at Frontier, I wrote the game design for an adventure called LostWinds. LostWinds was the story of a young boy who finds Enril, the Spirit of the Wind contained within a magical stone, and from there the journey would take them to fantastical lands with charming characters all in search of a way to free Enril from her Stoney Prison.

A key component to LostWinds was that it featured a unique control system that was fully designed to take advantage of its intended platform. A design philosophy I want to apply to all of my future projects.

In 2008 and with a small team of extremely talented individuals I was given the opportunity to turn this idea into a reality by becoming Lead Designer on the project development. 4 months later and thanks to countless miracles, LostWinds became a launch title for Nintendo’s WiiWare service.

LostWinds received an amazing critical response including winning a number of Awards. Another 18 months later (development was only 6 of that ), It’s sequel, LostWinds: Winter of the Melodias, received even higher accolades and a Metacritic score of 86, the highest so far in my career.

Before talking about the future I’d like to thank the people of Frontier for all the love and support they have given me over the years. I literally grew up within the company both as a designer and as a person, so the decision to leave genuinely felt like leaving home.

Now the umbilical has been cut! I’m out there naked in the free world kicking and screaming at the new dawn!

Starting anew is extremely daunting and it feels like I have so much to learn, yet i’m filled with the kind of optimism and enthusiasm about the future that I haven’t felt in years!

In case you were wondering, my focus for the immediate future is on iPhone, iPad and Browser based games. I want to create games focused on those beautifully simple mechanics that can really make the platform sing, or just bring a massive smile to your face. Most of all, it just has to be FUN!

I’ll be talking a little bit more on this blog about those projects and other things development related over the coming weeks. In the meantime if you like what I do, or want to talk to me a bit more about future project ideas (or maybe you simply want a friendly chit-chat), send me over an email to steven@trialbyfun.com, or you can even follow me on Twitter @trialbyfun

Thank you for reading this far. I believe it’s going to be an amazing, wonderful, unrelenting and dangerous journey ahead, but I would be honoured if you decided to join me on the adventure.

Steven Burgess
Independent developer lvl 0.1.