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Announcing Crashlands, our next major title

January 30, 2014


When I got my cancer diagnosis in November I was completely blindsided. I went in on a Friday afternoon to get a lumpy piece of my chest checked out and the doc, calm as a hurricane eye, stepped back from the table and crossed his hands.

"You're...how old?"

"I'm 23."

"This is going to... sound strange. I'm nearly certain that this is cancer. You'll need to get it cut out as soon as possible."

I went out to my car and had an earthshattering bawlfest that lasted a brief 4 minutes. Then I called my brother Seth, the programming half of our studio.

We are a two-man team, doing everything from inception to launch on the games we make. In telling him about the diagnosis I admitted I was terrified that this cancer would take our fledgling indie studio and throw it under the ground, as it may throw me. Seth reassured me and became my chauffeur for the next week as we went up to Iowa from St. Louis to do surgery, get the diagnosis complete, and figure out treatment.

It was Stage 4 lymphoma. It was on my spleen, my liver, my pelvis, my entire lymph system. The docs at the time said it might even be in my spinal fluid. A PET scan showed that my insides, rather than consisting of nice fleshy pinkness, were a coating of tumor. Despite how aggressive the cancer was, I was given a 65%-ish cure rate. Chemo was to begin the next week before I decided to up and die from tumor load. 

The two weeks between diagnosis and treatment was a true whirlwind of activity and emotion. It wasn't until after I received my first chemo infusion that my anxiety settled and Seth and I sat down to begin again on our project at the time, Extreme Slothcycling.

As we began to plan a wry feeling started bubbling up from my chest. Something about this was wrong. Hysterically wrong. I interrupted Seth as he was in mid marker-swing across the whiteboard.

"Seth. I don't want Extreme Slothcycling to be the last game I make before I die."

He looked at me for a brief moment and then we both began laughing. Creating yet another action-runner for the mobile marketplace is not something either of us would define as a meaningful deathbed activity.

I wanted to make a game that meant something and that lasted. I wanted to make something big, some place I could go to escape when I was in the hospital or nauseous beyond description. Through the last four rounds of chemo and two hospitalizations Seth and I have worked to turn that desire into a reality, and we're finally ready to announce our next game:


Crashlands blends survival, crafting, creature management, strategic combat, and player expression into an endless world.

My treatments are wrapping up in March - by the time we hit Alpha I should be in remission. We will be releasing more information about the game's systems on the schedule below:
  • February 13th - The World and Exploration
  • February 27th -  Crafting
  • March 6th - Closed Alpha
  • March 20th - Creatures and Taming
  • April 3rd - Housing
  • April 10th - Closed Beta
  • June - Launch - Android

To discuss this post and see some assets from the game, check out the community subreddit


15 comments:

  1. Yeah, now I can't wait to have more info :D And everything should better go fine for you because even once it's released I'll be waiting for updates! You have all my support!!

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  2. CRASHLANDS. LANDS OF CRASH. CRASHING ON LANDS. My excitement knows no bounds. Good thing this game doesn't have any.

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    1. Yes, it's JUST BIG enough to contain your boundless excitement!

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  3. I demand a "Crushlands Saga" mod that turns the main character into a metaphor for our broken patenting system.

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  4. Hoping for a full recovery this game looks amazing, and hopefully this won't be a big way to go out. But an exciting way to start the next chapter of your life.

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  6. It'll be one of numerous amazing and lasting games that you'll make! Quadropus and towelfight are still my two favorite android games. :)

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  7. Eeeeeeeee!! I'm so glad to be going from "I know nothing about the next BScotch game" to "I know very little about the next BScotch game." It's infinitely more information than I had before!

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  8. Quadropus is absolutely amazing.thanks for all the hard work.all my wishes for a speedy recovery so you get back to making kickass games!

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  9. Please, please, please do not have numerous IAPs. One to unlock a full game is fine but don't ruin what sounds like a good game with a money grab. One price for a full game, this is what real gamers want.

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    1. Sorry Thermoplastics, but we are forced to make it a free to play game with IAPs. We went the pay -up-front route with our first game and had over a 97% piracy rate and lost thousands of dollars. It nearly put our studio underground. We learned from that experience that very few people actually will pay up front, so we have no choice but to swim with the currents of the market.

      In fact, last year, 93% of all app-store revenue came from in-app purchases (across all games). As much as we'd like to make a pay-up-front game, it's just not something we are allowed to do by the market.

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    2. Hey, for what it's worth, I often hold Quadropus up in conversation as a great example of an ethically sound AND feel-good monetization model. I played without any IAPs down to 500 metres, having a blast all the way, and when I did decide to finally throw some dollars at the game, I felt great about it, and I thought the hammer of gratitude was a really sweet touch. Can't wait to play Crashlands! <3

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    3. Thanks, fractalplay, I was wondering what this hammer is)

      To developers: have an interersting time with this project. Hope the health issues will be resolved.

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  10. Gonna be super hit as usual!
    Love all your games :)

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  11. I wish you the best of luck in your recovery. I have played Towelfight 2 and Quadropus Rampage, and they are both excellent games that you have made. It is unfortunate that this had to happen to you, and I look forward to your next game.
    I don't know why, but I feel like I was a bit too formal in that comment. For this reason, to alleviate this concern, I will now tell you that potatoes are delicious.

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