Circuit Scramble

CSDisplayCircuit Scramble is a 2D mobile puzzler that throws you in to the world of circuit-based logic that drives real computers. Dive in to Classic Mode, which takes you through 100 custom-made levels full of ANDs, ORs, and XORs(that one will make sense later, I promise). After that, give Endless Mode a try, with a – you guessed it – endless amount of procedurally generated levels, so the wild, circuit-based fun never needs to stop.

 

Release Date: April 8th, 2016

Price: Free!

Available For: Android

Indie Sustainability

There is a common story that we hear all to often in the indie development community. The indie developer who risked big and won. The harrowing tale of a year or two flirting heavily with doubt and ruin, eating nothing but ramen, but ultimately triumphing over adversity and releasing their game to critical acclaim, success and financial security. Now, let me get this straight, these stories are awesome. I love listening to this journey, and some of my favourite devs to hear speak have gone through some variant of this – Rami Ismail and JW from Vlambeer, as well as Tommy Refenes and Edmund McMillen of Team Meat are two that spring immediately to mind. These stories provide inspiration, and show us aspiring devs that it can be done.

But the problem being, these stories can be seductive. They can convince us that the only proper way to go indie is to risk it all. And most dangerously of all, convince us that these risks are bound to pay off.

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The Time Dilemma

Attempting to produce creative work with limited free time is always a challenge – this is a fact known to anyone attempting to break in to a creative industry while also maintaining a job in what I will sarcastically call the “real world”. Without the hours to put in, you will find yourself at a disadvantage next to those who are able to do this as their full time job.

Since my quest for indie sustainability does not involve me throwing caution to the wind, eating ramen for a year and taking a substantial risk to my personal life, I have always needed to find a way to fit my game design ambitions around a regular software development job in order to pay the bills.

Here’s the trouble: even if something is your passion, it can often by hard to find the time, energy and motivation to do even more when you’ve just been dragging yourself around the office all day. Many people in similar positions struggle with this, but like so many things, it can be worked around. And also like so many things, it is bloody hard.

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The Response to Circuit Scramble

It has been over a year since I released Circuit Scramble. When I released, I was safe in the assumption that – though I was hugely proud of what I had accomplished – in all likelyhood only my friends and family would see the results of my efforts. I was okay with this, for me this process was about the journey and not so much about recognition at the end. My goals were to take a game to complete, and learn about the process along the way – and that much I certainly accomplished.

But it seems that Circuit Scramble has been better received than I ever could have hoped for.

At the time of writing, downloads are still extremely strong. I’m earnestly a little baffled as to where this came from – no great efforts went in to marketing, or pushing for additional downloads. It appears to have been discovered very organically, and grown because it fills a niche in the puzzle game world that I do believe is going a little unfulfilled. But I couldn’t be more thankful to the many users who have given Circuit Scramble a shot, and have found something they enjoy.

The game is not without bugs and issues – I knew that at launch. There is never enough time to fix everything, and often perfection is an achievable ideas. There has been complaints about the game – most of which are entirely valid, and I accept in my path of learning more and more about this industry. However, it is gratifying to see that the complaint are often outweighed by many, many people who have simply enjoyed the experience, and hopefully learned a little along the way.

Most gratifying of all to me personally has been the emails I’ve received personally with stories about how Circuit Scramble has been used in an educational setting. I’ve heard stories about high school teachers using it as a supplement in their computer engineering courses and parents teaching their children about basic circuits. I’ve even heard it being suggested in University courses as a fun way to practice the basic of logic gates. These were always my highest ambition for the game itself, and it is intensely satisfying to see it used in such a context.

The idea that so many people are playing, and enjoying, something I have created is humbling. It makes me want to keep creating, to keep trying to provide experiences for people – though time can often be the enemy to such plans. But when life calms down, and I find myself with more time to work on my own, you had better believe that my passion for creating games is strong than ever.

So for all of that, I want to thank the players of Circuit Scramble. This has been the most rewarding experience of my life, and I only hope to continue from here.