Monday, 1 October 2012


A wee while ago I ran a Twitter-based competition to find a name for the star of FIST OF AWESOME. You'll probably remember being dragged along with the drama of it all, it was like a heavily pixelated X Factor.

The lucky winners were announced as:

@cartoonsbyRic - Tim Baaaa
@tghGaz - Tim Barr
@igrowbeards - Chet Beardly
@gshowitt - Beef Hardcastle
@tamoose - Woody Harasserson

The final name of Tim Burr was chosen by my good (non-twittering) friend Jon Mitchell. I totally forgot about Jon's contribution in the original announcement so to make up for it here's what he looks like in the FIST OF AWESOME universe:


I asked the other winners for portraits of themselves so I could put them in the game too. It was impressive to see how seriously they took this undertaking. Possibly too seriously in one particular case, the quote "My eyes! The goggles do nothing!" has never been more appropriate.

Converting such a manly set of photos into 8-and-a-bit style graphics was clearly going to be an undertaking. 100's of man-hours and liberal usage of eye beach later, this macho troop of characters was staring back at me:

Beautiful. Like a cool version of the A-Team.

The next step was to find somewhere to slot them into FIST OF AWESOME. I've been purposefully quiet about the plot for the game, but the following shot incorporating our heroes hints at the terrifying repercussions of the story's time-travel element.

And so ends another exciting voyage behind the scenes of FIST OF AWESOME!

Lots of love,

Nicoll x

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Evolution of an Icon

First impressions are important, especially for iOS games. For a lot of people the first impression of your game will be the name and the icon. FIST OF AWESOME clearly has the name aspect in the bag, but until yesterday the icon did little to back that up.

Over the course of the afternoon I made a number of new icons, almost all terrible, but slowly they evolved into what is probably the single greatest icon of all time.

Let's follow that transformation in pictographic format:

First go: Tim, bear and fire. Simple, powerful. Needs "more".

Added Earth to the background. The game takes place on Earth so that kind of makes sense. Hmm, still needs "more".

Oooh, it looks all arty if I put a big version of Tim in the background. At this point I realised my "more is more" theory was backfiring badly.

Got rid of fire and Earth. Tried different sprites. Getting better, but should probably feature more FIST.

Switched in the deer instead of the bear to leave more room for FIST in the image. Feels a bit less impressive without the bear though.

Brightened up the backdrop and created a new action pose, leaving room for both FIST and bear. Feels a lot better but doesn't look like FIST made contact.


Then I went to bed and had the best sleep ever.

Nicoll x

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Free Stuff!

Hello Internet!

Because I love you here's a little present I've knocked up JUST FOR YOU!

I've lovingly crafted some I Fight Bears wallpaper for you to use as the lock & home screens of your shiny iPhone thing!

Lock Screen - Download

Home Screen - Download

I hope you like them.

Lots of love,

Nicoll x

P.S. Here's what the home screen one looks like in place, along with some of my favouritest games!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Competition Result Time!

It's been a long time coming but finally, and after much careful consideration, I've made a decision for the name of the protagonist of FIST OF AWESOME.

As you may remember the main character was originally going to be called Jack Lumber, but the upcoming game Jack Lumber from the lovely guys at Owlchemy Lab got there first. I turned to Twitter to have someone else do the work for me crowd-source a new name. What followed was a frankly terrifying amount of great suggestions.

Clearly a work as epoch-defining as FIST OF AWESOME needs a hero name that will stand the test of time. A name that describes both the essence of the character and his everyman status.

The deluge of so many quality entries that made this decision all the harder. But decide I did.

So, without further ado, the name of the bearded lumberjack protagonist of FIST OF AWESOME will be....


Which technically is a name that nobody chose.


Here is how Tim Burr came to be:

@cartoonsbyRic came up with the quite lovely TIM BAAAA

@tghGaz then iterated on that with TIM BARR.

And I completed the cycle with TIM BURR.

The following entries comprise the top 5. All will receive a spot in the beta AND will be forever immortalised in pixel form as background characters in the game!

Tim Baaaa - @cartoonsbyRic
Tim Barr - @tghGaz
Chet Beardly - @igrowbeards
Beef Hardcastle - @gshowitt
‏Woody Harasserson - @tamoose

Hope you enjoyed the drama,

Lots of love,

Nicoll x

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The FIST OF AWESOME Screenshot Revolution!

Hello Internet,

Get ready for a SEXY REVOLUTION in the heady world of screenshots! For too long screenshots have been static, frozen in time, trapped in their own single frame existence. As a champion of indie gaming you probably have to look at mountains of them on a daily basis. I feel your pain and, quite honestly, you deserve better.


Behold the new ANIMATED screenshots from FIST OF AWESOME! These screenshots come from the Prehistoric-era section of the eagerly awaited time-travelling-lumberjack-em-up.

It's just like being there! I can feel the sweet lava as it burns my eyebrows!

Ah, the serene beauty of a waterfall. So calm and relaxing you can scarcely hear the savage battle cries.

There you have it. All screenshots of every game ever have been made redundant in one fell swoop. This is the beginning of a new era, an ANIMATED era. This must be how Walt Disney felt. Welcome to the future.

Take a few minutes to catch your breath, this sort of revolution doesn't happen everyday. Go make yourself a cup of tea, or pour a nice Scotch. You've earned it.

Lots of love,

Nicoll x

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Introducing I FIGHT BEARS!

The world has a new company, and the name of that company is I FIGHT BEARS! It's the first "real" company I've ever started, and it's all a bit exciting.

The logo is a bit placeholder, but you get the idea.

Since I'm taking the games stuff pretty seriously now, I thought it would be cool to have my own company to publish the games. There are no better names than I FIGHT BEARS, so I went with that.

Look forward to future terror-filled blog and Twitter posts as I realise I know nothing about running a company.

Work on FIST OF AWESOME continues at breakneck speed, although I've still not decided a winner for the lumberdude competition. I'd say I'm building tension but I'm just really bad at making decisions.

N x

Monday, 28 May 2012

FIST OF AWESOME - Naming The Lumberdude

When I found out that the lovely chaps over at Owlchemy Labs are making a game called Jack Lumber, I was simultaneously happy and sad. Happy that the game looked ace and a lot of fun, but sad that it meant I had to change the name for the main character of FIST OF AWESOME, who I'd proudly been telling everyone would be called Jack Lumber.

Thus was born a Twitter competition to come up with a new name, the winner getting entry to the uber-elite beta team. It was a bit popular. Here are the entries so far:

John Forest
Ax McMahon
Dave Forrester
Jim Splinter
John Flannel
Bear Woods

Tom Braider

Woody Harasserson

Quentin McHipster

Captain Wood
Woody L.N
Sam'n Maxe
Edge Cutting

Max Woodman
Chopper McChop
Choppy Choperson

Hugh Jass
Norma Stitz
Hugh G. Rection
Biggus Dikkus

Battle-axe Nelson
Billie the Bow
Bill the Dangler
Bill the Moocher
Black Dan
Blueberry Bob
Bug-house   Lynch
Bull-cook Ole
Caribou Bill
Car-stake Smith
Charley the Logger
Clothespin Ole
Cordwood Johnson
Crosshaul Paddy
Dead-Eye Dick
Dick the Dancer
Dirty Bill
Dirty Dan
Double-breasted Corrigan
Dutch Bill
Eight-day Bill
Farmer Dan
Gin-Pole Smith
Gypo Jack
Ham-bone Smith
Hungry Dan Shea
Jack the Ripper
Jessie James
Jimmie on the Trail
Larry the Kicker
Lousy Dan
Moonlight Bob
Moonlight Pike
Moonshine Jimmie
Old Hickory
Old Rampike
Pancake Billie
Pastime Petey
Poker Peter
Protestant Jack
Prune-Juice Doyle
Rattlesnake Pete
Runaway Shea
Smutty John
Squeaky George
Stuttering Ed
The Cleaver
The Hemlock Bull
The Pope
Three-fingered Ole
Tin-Can Murphy
Walking Daily
Whispering Bill
Wicked Dan
Winnipeg Blackie
(all from here)

Geoff Punch
Edward "Dead" Wood
Axe McAllister
Beef Hardcastle
Slab O'Man
Crack Thunderhand
Biff Hardcheese

Keith. He's obviously called Keith.

Charles Norse
Paul Sansouci
Henri Bunyan
Chainsaw Joe
Carl Stomper.



Chet Beardly
Woody Chipper
Reggie Flannel
Nathaniel Light
Crazy ol' Jim Hatchet
Emmerson Axeworth III

Bobby Valdez

Nuck Chorris III

Clint Thompson

Sawyer Redwood
Bjorn Flanders

My mate Daniel <not on Twitter>
Hank Plank
Chip Cutter
Jim Redwood III

So yeah, quite a few entries. I've been promising for ages now to decide on a winner, but as you can see the standard is unrelentingly high and my brain keeps flip flopping around the list like some kind of dying fish. I promise I'll decide soon.

I've decided to make a top 3 as a way of building the tension, and as an excuse to give away more free stuff. Because I love you all so frikkin much.


GaME 12 @ Imperial College - Work, Sweat, Achieve

I was lucky enough to be asked to speak at the GaME 12 conference this year, alongside the likes of David Braben, Peter Molyneux and Demis Hassabis. I guess they asked me because they needed a big name to draw in the crowds.

I decided to call my talk "Work, Sweat, Achieve" after I ran out of time to think of a name and just picked the first motivational quote I saw on Pintrest. The talk itself is largely about how to get good at something if you're not blessed with infinite prodigious talent (which almost no one is, it's all about hard work and practice).

Here's the talk in all its glory, unedited, save for bumping up the sound levels and adding a laughter track.

Monday, 14 May 2012


So, I decided today would be the day I'd announce FIST OF AWESOME to the world. Here's the executive summary:

FIST OF AWESOME (always displayed IN CAPS) is an iOS title which updates the mechanics of scrolling beat em ups such as Double Dragon, Streets of Rage and Final Fight for a modern audience, along with a healthy dose of humour, retro sensibilities and grandiose ambition.

It's a game that I've wanted to make for a long time, so long I'd actually completely forgotten about it. After the success of my little Valentines Day game though I was inspired to make something a bit "punchy" and FIST OF AWESOME came flying to the front of my mind.

I've been working on it since then, so what you see in these screenshots and the trailer is roughly 3 months work. There's more stuff that's not been released of course, stuff like storyline, level settings, and the stupidly catchy theme song my girlfriend has written, but you've got to hold something back right?

I knew I had to get a build ready for the 14th May because that's the deadline for the Indie Showcase at Develop 2012 in Brighton, so decided that would also be the date I'd announce it.

Thanks to that genius decision the last few weeks have been pretty frantic, especially when I realised the huge amount of bits and pieces I'd been putting off. Stuff like animation, sound effects, music playback, level layout, any kind of UI at all. Y'know the "filler" stuff. Or "absolutely essential" stuff as other people tend to refer to it.

It was all a bit hairy, but this morning I sent off a build then repurposed it in the afternoon to make the teaser trailer:

The feedback so far has been pretty phenomenal. I've always had a huge amount of faith in the project but it's such an amazing feeling when you see people complimenting something you've created.

There's also been nothing but unanimous praise for Brendan Ratliff (aka Syphus aka @echolevel)'s music in the trailer. I heard his work on a little iPhone game called Gun Runner and instantly knew this was the man to soundtrack FIST. He's an absolute star and the endless praise for his work is well deserved.

So after a reasonably rubbish start to the year from a game dev point of view, I feel absolutely renewed and reinvigorated. I've set a tentative release data for FIST OF AWESOME of "Winter 2012" and I've no idea if it'll even be done by then, like I say it's a bit ambitious. It's going to be a hell of a lot of fun trying though!

N x

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Open Letter to Spilt Milk Studios

Hi Spilt Milk Studios!

It seems a lot of people want to see the Hard Lines situation resolved amicably and fairly. I'm one of those people. I think an agreeable set of next steps would be:

* Remove Hard Lines from the App Store, albiet temporarily
* Pay the money owed to me
* From there we can negotiate a deal for the future of the game

I trust this is an acceptable course of events, and can lead to a good natured conclusion. I would appreciate a response within 7 days.

Best regards,

Nicoll Hunt

Monday, 27 February 2012

Sharing the love

You'll probably remember that I made a game for my girlfriend on Valentines Day. By my own admission it wasn't the finest game ever made, but it was written in 4 hours and after all, it's the thought that counts.

Since I love you as well I'm giving the game to you, source and all. It's built using XCode and runs on every iOS device I've managed to get my hands on.

You'll need to get hold of a couple of 3rd party libraries to compile it though:
  • cocos2d-x
    • The really quite lovely open source C++ game library coordinated by the superbly named Walzer Wang
  • Signals
    • A splendid little library to help decoupling of classes by the conventionally named Patrick Hogan.
This source is provided under the MIT License, and I don't really mind what you do with it.

I've packaged it all up for you HERE

Drop the unzipped "cocos2x" and "Signals" folders in the "nickylovescat/libs/" folder.

It doesn't do much, but it does a few things well. Since it's based on an evolving version of my game framework it handles the resolution differences between iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPad quite well. Or well enough for me at least. Take a look at the UI_POINT and GAME_POINT macros in PlatformDefines.h for a peek behind the scenes.

I render everything based on a virtual 320x480 screen, and add a extra few pixels border on iPad to handle the different aspect ratio. Scaled up source assets take advantage of the extra pixels on iPhone 4 and iPads. This game isn't the best example of high res assets though.

I hope you like my little present, it was built with a lot of love.

N x

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

It's not all bad

I've received a huge amount of support over the past few days, and it means an incredible amount to me. Having complete strangers stand up and argue against the abuse of your rights is one of those things you can't fully appreciate until you've experienced it.

Time will tell if making my cause public was the right thing to do, but right now I feel grateful to know that I am not alone in thinking exploitation of my skills and work is completely unacceptable.

I make games, it's one of the very few things I'm quite good at. Nothing will stop me making more, and this whole experience has only encouraged me to reach higher with my work. Hard Lines was, and still is, one of the finest games I've ever been involved with. I can do much better though.

To everyone who has sent me a message of support, posted a comment on an article, or even just followed me on Twitter : thank you. You are the reason I love being a part of this industry, and I'm making my next game just for you. You lovely lovely people.

N x

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Valentines Day Fighting

I made my girlfriend a computer game for Valentines Day.

It's about fighting for the one you love.

"Hey! Why are all these awesomely drawn bears inbetween me and my girl?"

"Take that Jerk!"


It's like a more awesome version of Kung Fu Master, or a much worse version of Double Dragon.

It's waiting for review on the App Store now, so you too will soon be able to experience all 10 seconds of amazing gameplay.

N x

Sunday, 29 January 2012

My Working Week

One of the trickiest things in indie game development is finding enough time to do everything. This is especially true when you have a full time job.

When I wrote Hard Lines I was working 40 hours a week for Filmlight, and squeezing all my dev time into evenings and weekends. It's safe to say that it was one of the hardest projects I've ever worked on (especially after release, but more on that soon). Racing home from work, eating microwave meals, cutting out all TV, staying up too late and getting up too early became a way of life for me. Unfortunately I'm not blessed with limitless energy and I realised that if I wanted to do more games development, and ever see my girlfriend, then something had to give.

Other, braver, people in this position would quit their full time job, live on super noodles and cheap cider and make games with no regard to their personal circumstances. I'm not like that, I like shiny things, I like going out for meals, seeing bands, going to the cinema, and generally not worrying about paying the rent. Basically I'm totally spoiled and the idea of that changing terrified me.

Fortunately I happen to work for a bunch of lovely, lovely, people who understood that making silly games was, for some unfathomable reason, really important to me. My boss has let me cut my hours at work to 4 days a week, and so far at least, it's one of the greatest things I've ever done.

I now work for myself on Mondays. It's brilliant. Properly brilliant. Having one day set aside exclusively for games dev every week focusses me to make progress but doesn't take over my life. Right now it feels like a brilliant balance between "real" work and "fun" work, and fingers crossed will lead to me producing some great games without completely killing myself in the process.

Good times.

N x