Games. And what they mean to me.

Prototype Version 0.1

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Although I keep telling myself that I shouldn’t release a playable version of The Mole until it looks and feels halfway decent, I’ve been advised by several more experienced than I that anything playable is better than a thousand pictures and videos. So here you have it, The Mole’s prototype v. 0.1. As you play please remember that the visuals are far from final and even the gameplay is quite a ways from what the finished game will feel like. With that said, please enjoy! Let me know what you like, what you get stuck on, what your time was, any glitches you find, really just any feedback that you can offer would be tremendously helpful. Comment here, post on Facebook, tweet at me, or email me directly at

Click the respective link to download the prototype, and have fun!




And as always check out my Kickstarter and Greenlight pages for more info on the game and consider donating (on Kickstarter) or Up-Voting (on Greenlight) if you want to see it made. Thanks for stopping by!


The Mole Can Pick Locks!

The Mole is on the loose, better lock your doors. Not that it’ll matter ’cause a super suave agent like the mole can obviously pick locks. Every good stealth game has a lock picking mini-game, so why shouldn’t The Mole (not that I’m all about following the crowd). In Animalia, the locks look a little different than what we’re used to. Try out your skill at lock picking, mole-style (no plug-ins needed this time if you were disappointed by the last prototype that I posted). This prototype is based on a project I did while in school at Full Sail, and closely represents what the actual mini-game in The Mole will play like. Slide the red block first for the tutorial, then move on the blue block.

Play the Thing!

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The Mole’s Kickstarter Goes Live!!!


So this is it! The Kickstarter for The Mole, a swift, orderly return to classic platforming, goes live tonight at midnight (Eastern Time, of course). And it just so happens that The Mole’s Greenlight campaign goes live over at Steam at the same time. What a coincidence? Hang tight, I’ll post the links as soon as everything is live, and an enormo-thank you to all those out there supporting me. This should be an amazing month regardless of the outcome!

EDIT: As promised here are the links to the Kickstarter as well as Greenlight, where you can vote to get The Mole on Steam!

Meet the Mole


Without further ado, I present a video that should give a little better idea of how the game will be played. Also I want to give a special thank you to all who have been following my blog and each new update on the development of The Mole. If you have any suggestions or comments please leave them below or send them to me at

Also, I’m still shooting to launch my Kickstarter campaign on April 1st, so if you think that The Mole looks interesting or if you know someone who might want to support the development, please spread the word and help me reach my goal. Some of the Kickstarter incentives will include a copy of the game, obviously, an awesome poster for the Animalia series, and even a cool graphic t-shirt for the extra generous folks out there. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the video.


The Mole: Tech Demo 2 – Vision

A proper post will be coming soon, with a proper introduction for the mole, but for now I’ve been a little behind schedule, so here is a little something to play with that demonstrates a little how the vision will work for the AI in the game. (Woah, what a run-on.) You can play around with the demo for yourself here. Check back soon to finally learn about this shady mole guy who, until I can find a proper artist, will be represented by this rendering of mine that just so happens to look like one of the Blues Brothers! P.S. I hope you like the new theme. The last one just made everything too… skinny.

The Mole: Tech Demo 2 - Vision

The Mole: Tech Demo – AI

Here it is, the first tech demo for The Mole. Let me know what you think in the comments, if it looks boring, or if you think I could improve it in some way. If you’re looking to make something like this for your own project, get in touch with me and maybe I can help. I had to go back and brush up on my high school algebra for this one. I did a lot of research on parabolas, trajectories, and that sort of thing, so if you’re trying to figure out where a grenade is going to land or how much force a rocket needs to barely clear a house, just shoot me an email at and I’ll see if I can help.

Secondly, if you are at all interested in game design pertaining to UI check out this post by Anthony Stonehouse over on Gamasutra. I think my first encounter with diegetic UI design was playing Heavy Rain. I thought it definitely helped to keep the player immersed in the game world since there were no 2D HUD elements to flatten out the game space, but a more relevant UI category to talk about is spacial. As I stated in my last post, The Mole will borrow some ideas from Dishonored when it comes to spacial UI design. I intend on developing some sort of system, temporarily deemed “Mole Sense” for lack of a better term thus far, that will allow the secret agent-esqe mole to do things like see through walls, see where his grappling hook will land ahead of time, see sound waves, and other things. Once again, designing this system for a 2D space will take some heavy altering, but I want the UI elements involved with Mole Sense to be as closely integrated into the game world as I can make them. Thanks again to all my followers and any new viewers for checking out my blog.

In my next post I’ll try to…

  1. Reveal some mechanics for the main character, The Mole
  2. Have a playable demo featuring the AI for you guys to play around with
  3. Let you know what else I’m currently playing to study up for the development of Animalia.

To Kickstart or not to Kickstart…

That indeed is the question that I’ve been asking myself over the last couple weeks. I’ve been thinking a lot about different game companies that I could possibly work for and considering different articles that I’ve read on working for large game developers. Through this I’ve determined that I would probably enjoy much more being an indie developer for several reasons.Image

  1. I get to work from home, in my…. uhhh… ‘PJs’.
  2. I get to both design and program, both of which I love.
  3. I have complete creative control over the final product.
  4. Last and most importantly, I will have a smaller budget and smaller audience which means that I will be able to examine more closely the feedback of my followers and players and factor this into my current or future development cycles.

But enough on that for now, the point is, I’ve decided to Kickstart my first full scale game! The game will be provisionally named “Animalia: The Mole”, and will release on Steam for PCs, Macs, and possibly Linux, with a future possibility of porting to game consoles. Over the next few weeks I will be releasing more info, screenshots, and videos about the conceptual prototype that I’m currently developing, but for now, how about some bullet points for a brief overview.

  • This mole guy, unnamed thus far, is a super suave, spy type of fellow
  • His main skills include being quite handy with a grappling hook and burrowing underground
  • Platformer built with Unity’s new 2D tools
  • A blend of classic platforming and modern stealth-based gameplay


Next up, I won’t be reporting on any industry news today to try to keep things short, so I’ll move right on to some comments I have on a game that I’ve been playing. In order to study up on the state of modern stealth games, I’ve been playing Dishonored, and I’ll start by saying that the game definitely nailed a lot of things, but in other areas came up short. Firstly, the AI is very well done, and I have to say that I’ll be borrowing some ideas for The Mole, although converting them into a 2D plane. Next, the game does very well at not giving the player a strict path, but only goals. How the player achieves these goals is wide open, and I feel that this is definitely a fresh breath from the rut of holding the player’s hand that the industry seems to have been stuck in lately. Finally, I’ll conclude with one of the ways that the game disappointed me most. With the recent popularity of open world games, I think that quite a few games have gone open world just for the sake of being open world, and it’s not always for the best. But, I think that Dishonored is definitely the kind of game that would be very well suited for open world, and yet it isn’t. With the openness of choosing how to accomplish goals, I think the openness of roaming Dunwall would have been very well received, but that is just one man’s opinion.


Let me know what you guys think in the comments. What do you like/dislike about stealth games? What do you think of the recent explosion of open world games (even Lego!)? Or just whatever else you may have thought of while reading. I can’t wait to hear from you.

A journey of a thousand miles…

…begins with a single step. Not to say that creating a blog is a thousand mile journey, but the principle applies. This will mark my first post for Games by Design as well as my first blog post ever. First just a bit about me, then I’ll get to the games. I’ve lived my whole life in Southern Indiana, and therefore I’ve never met a game designer in person. I’ve never met anyone who works in the game industry at all, and yet my passion for video games, board games, card games, yard games, and just games of all sorts, has lead me to pursue a career in the video game industry. I think that games have the potential to entertain us, teach us, tear us down, build us up, and in general just move us in ways that no other medium can. Games have entertained and taught me for most of my entire life, and I think that it’s about time that I start making games to teach, inspire, and move others.

So enough about me. Moving on to the games and what this blog is for. I intend for this blog to serve as a sort of public journal to document my “journey of a thousand miles” through finding a job in the gaming industry, designing games, playing games, hating on, bashing on, learning about, and just loving on games. With each of my blog posts I will try to 1) provide a brief update on at least one of my many, current personal or professional game projects, 2) comment on a recent happening within the gaming industry that I may find particularly interesting or absurd, and 3) detail an experience that I have had recently while playing a game that has altered in some way how I view this game in particular or games/gaming in general.

I promise to try to make this blog as interesting as possible while keeping each post within a reasonable length. I know that when reading, I want information delivered to me as concisely as possible, so that is how I will attempt to present it as well. I hope that my posts might be insightful, inspiring, and worth the time it takes to read them. Just like a good game, I will try to entertain, inform, and inspire.


Evan Barmes, game designer (forever) in training