The Challenge Has Ended!

As of tonight,

is officially over! I received three full levels which, after cleaning up and compiling together, I will eventually release as the first Ruckingenur Community Edition, probably with a level or two by me added to the set. More information as I get around to doing that.


I went to the mall a few weeks ago and wandered into a game and calendar store. While I don’t know what games and calendars have in common, I did discover two interesting looking games that I’d never seen before: Jakbo and Pictionary Man. From the back of the Jakbo box:

Starting from opposite sides of the board, players try to out-maneuver their opponent to cross the board and score points before all the pieces are played. Points are scored by playing your pieces in your opponent’s end. The player with the most points when the pieces run out wins! Play up, down over and around to block, defend and attack. Use the range of JAKBO pieces to discover a depth of strategy that will captivate beginners and experts alike!

Thoroughly intrigued, I set about making my own game using the contiguous block-placing mechanic. The finished product: Kudzu!

The rules of Kudzu! are simple: players alternate placing their pieces on the board until all pieces have been played. The first piece placed must touch your starting square, while the rest of your pieces must touch a piece that you previously played. A piece may only be played in a “stable” position and may not rest on, but may hover over, blue “water” squares. At the end of the game, the player with the most “flowers” facing up and not covered by another block wins. As there are only seven pieces per player, games generally take under 5 minutes, making this the only board game I’ve ever made that can be played in under four hours.

In the above picture, dark green beat light green 5 to 3.

Surprisingly, it’s not a bad game. It only took me a few hours to build the above prototype; all you need to build your own is a sheet of wood for the board and 64 cubes to glue together to create the pieces, and perhaps some paint to make it look nice.

Ruckingenur Challenge Update

There are only SIX DAYS LEFT in the

I’ve received two submissions so far and, although it’s unlikely I’ll receive 30 or more and thus award the PIC prize package, there WILL be a prize for whoever creates the best level. So, finish up your levels and send them in! If there’s anything I can do to help you finish your level, please let me know – Ruckingenur fans world wide are counting on us to make the Community Edition awesome!

I’m working on a small board game at the moment; when I’ve created some more details for it, I will post them here!

World War Awesome! – Tank Battles

Before I consolidated my ideas into Bureau of Steam Engineering, there was World War Awesome! – Tank Battles. In it, players would construct tanks in a manner very similar to the way mechs are built in BSE, with the exception of a looser “pulse” system instead of the more complicated “steam” system. Bouncing pulses into ports on the side would activate treads, allowing the tank to turn in either direction or move forward. Bouncing pulses into weapons would cause them to activate and fire. Unlike in BSE, external devices (like weapons) could explode when hit, requiring players to implement fallback circuitry by using components like fuses.

The idea never progressed further than the mockups below, but there’s a good chance a game like it may see the light of day at some point in the future. In the meantime, enjoy!

Random Status Update

I’m fairly brain dead after cranking out Bureau of Steam Engineering (which you should definitely play if you haven’t already) so I don’t have much to cover here.

So far, I’ve only received one submission for the second and final phase of the Ruckingenur Challenge. With only two weeks left, we’re getting down to the grind, especially if you need artwork created for your puzzle. If anyone is working on a puzzle but has not yet submitted it, you should say something in the comments. Feel free to advertise for the Challenge if you know people who would be interested! Remember – PIC programmer!

I’m going to be working on some new games in the next few weeks, and will post details here as I make progress. In the meantime, though, we need filler content! What would you like to see here?

Bureau of Steam Engineering

Over the past few weeks (namely, since finishing the Ruckingenur Editor for the Ruckingenur Challenge), I’ve been working on a totally new game. A game that I have just now finished. I present to you, Bureau of Steam Engineering.

Launch Bureau of Steam Engineering (1024×768)

Launch Bureau of Steam Engineering (512×384)

Unlike any of my previous games, BSE is entirely Flash based, meaning that (almost) everyone should be able to play with no technical problems!

In Bureau of Steam Engineering, you play as an American steam engineer at the beginning of an alternate civil war who must design and duel steam powered mechs to defend the Union!

A few notes:

  • After completing a level, your progress is saved so long as your Flash “cookies” aren’t deleted. However, your designs are never saved when leaving the workshop to return to the mission select screen.
  • It’s easy to find yourself in a situation where your steam design isn’t working as you’d like. It’s good practice to use gauges to ensure that pressures are building as you expect; things that potentially vent to the outside, such as weapons and control mechanisms. If you’re really stuck, you can always post to the comments with your question.
  • All the music is from, a really great creative commons music site. The song at the title screen is “En retard!” by Evan, while the rest of the music is by Celestial Aeon Project.
  • For the curious: the pressure algorithm works by iterating over all paired connectors, each with a volume estimate and a pressure, and exchanging a “steam amount” (representing n in the equation PV = nRT) to neutralize the pressure between the two components. This is repeated until the pressures between each pair of connectors are neutralized to an acceptable degree (I believe I used a value of around 0.15 PSI). After neutralizing the entire pressure circuit, we advance the simulation by the time delta to flush “steam” from things that “leak”, trigger pressure dependent valves, and advance other time-dependent components.

Yay Prizes!

Sorry about the posting void – I’m working on a new game that I want to have done before Phase Two of the Ruckingenur Challenge ends. I’ll be posting more information about it in the coming days.

Additionally, I’m upping the ante for the Ruckingenur Challenge! If I receive thirty (30) or more complete submissions, I will be awarding a special Microchip PIC prize kit to the creator of the best level, containing the following:

  • 3x PIC18F886 microcontrollers

While you’re free to create submissions as groups, only one prize package will be awarded. Pictures of the prize package coming soon, in addition to formal updating of the Ruckingenur Challenge Phase Two page to include this information.

Get to it!

Ruckingenur Challenge, Phase Two

Holy crap! It’s time for Phase Two of the Ruckingenur Challenge!

If you somehow missed, it the Ruckingenur Challenge is a contest where YOU create a level for the not-yet-but-perhaps-one-day-award-winning Ruckingenur II. Here are the conditions for Phase Two:

  • Create a level using the Ruckingenur Editor.
  • You don’t have to create any artwork, but you can if you want to.
    • If you’re not making artwork, create your level fully using stand-in graphics. Then submit your level before the deadline and tell me what you want. Provided you’re not being ridiculous in your request, you will get your artwork!
    • If you are making your own artwork, be sure to model it after the graphics in Ruckingenur II. All of my artwork was created with minimalist color palettes and doubled in size to enhance the pixel-ness.
  • After collecting all the finished levels, I will sort them by difficulty and release a special Community Edition of Ruckingenur. Everyone who created a level will be gratuitously credited.
  • The author of the best puzzle (as decided by me? or maybe by a poll?) will win some sort of small prize, most likely a shirt. If I receive thirty or more complete submissions, however, I will award a PIC Microcontroller Prize Package to the winner, containing a PICkit 2 PIC Programmer, three PIC18F887 microcontrollers, and three PIC18F886 microcontrollers.

The deadline for entries is December 1st, 2008. If you need artwork, it’d be wise to submit your otherwise fully completed level to me at least two weeks before that date.

As always, I’ll be happy to field any questions you have – just post them to the comments!

Ruckingenur Editor

When I released Ruckingenur II three months ago, the reaction was pretty epic. One of the most common comments was that there was no level editor; today, I deliver!

Everything that applied to Ruckingenur II applies to the Ruckingenur Editor; you’ll need .NET 2.0 (maybe 3.5?), it’ll probably crash if you’re running a 64-bit version of windows or don’t have a sound card installed, and should be easy to get running under Mono or Parallels.

Download Ruckingenur Editor (12 MB)

The Ruckingenur Editor conforms to fairly standard editor mechanics, so it should be pretty easy to use your first time. Here are some tips:

  • The only “hidden” feature is that you can hold down shift while dragging a circuit board, project box, or chip to drag everything that is on top of it along with it.
  • While widgets are placed with default DisplayLevel values, you may sometimes have to tweak them to get things to stack the way you want – widgets with higher DisplayLevel values are placed above those with lower DisplayLevel values.
  • When two widgets with the same DisplayLevel overlap, they will flicker.
  • When running a .ruck level, the Ruckingenur Player searches for a file called “script.lua” in the same directory and uses that as the script. The file “ruckapi.htm” in the zip file provides documentation for scripting Ruckingenur levels.
  • Sounds and images that you add should be added to the same directory as the .ruck file.
  • Check out the level1-remake folder for a full remake of level 1 from Ruckingenur II built in the Ruckingenur Editor.
  • From what I can tell, it’s fairly stable, but if any more bug reports come in I’ll be rolling out new versions and uploading them here.

If you have questions or find bugs, please email me at! Good luck!

And we have a winner!

After much deliberation, a winner has been picked for Phase One of the Ruckingenur Challenge. Congratulations to Fredrik of Sweden! You can view Fredrik’s submission at the end of this post.

It was tough picking a winner; while I only received 9 submissions, they were all very diverse and generally well thought out. While some seemed to be a little obscure for obscurity’s sake, it seems like most everyone who submitted has a pretty good grasp on what goes into making an interesting and complete level.

In other news, Phase Two of the Ruckingenur Challenge begins tomorrow! I will be posting rules and information then, so stay tuned!

And now, the Wee-CD!

Follow the fold for the rest of this submission!

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