Malhar Teli

Dollars and Dungeons: Final Pitch/Iteration

Idea: You are the financial accountant of a mythical kingdom of magic and monsters. The country is slowly rebuilding its economy after a massive civil war, and the new king has, wisely, taken a loan from the Dragon beneath the capital. The dragon is quite open-minded, of course- all it wants in return is peace and, of course, a return on its investments. Your job is to report the kingdom’s financials to the dragon, lest it grow impatient with the King.

Your job:
You receive requests for funds from all sorts of government employees. These requests require…
– the correct insignias
– the proper signatures
– a specific format
If the request has all these elements, you must determine the TYPE of expenditure that is requested. It could be…
– a lump sum
– a loan
– an investment
You must then organize these sums on a balance sheet.

Sounds like fun, right?

Each object will have a timer during which the request is “Relevant.” The player must organize these expenses in Assets (Current and Non-current), and Liabilities/Equity.
These two must balance- in order to do so, the player can also create finance block as well.

I’m currently trying to build this in Unity with a system of movable blocks.

Tools and Resources

Hi guys,

This is a blog post to create a conversation on the tools and resources we can take advantage of for our final projects.

Text Adventure Engines:

Twine (
An HTML, browser-based Interactive Fiction engine. Supports image usage, and knowing a bit of CSS can make your piece even more interesting

A text-based Advnture game engine that allows a substantial amount of customization. No programming necessary.

2D Art Tools:
Aseprite (
This program is amazing if you want to look into pixel art. There’s a free version that doesn’t look as fancy and has the worst layer management, but its pretty great. Perpixel editing, and one of the most robust per frame animation suites I have ever used.
GIMP is a free Photoshop. Its a thing. It works. You can edit photos. Its really useful.

I really don’t have much more to say about this.

3D Art Tools
Blender (
Have you ever wondered what would happen if someone tried to combine Maya, ZBrush and 3DSMax into one program? Meet Blender. Its a free tool that you can use to model and manipulate objects. These models can then be used to make crazy things happen. I do not have many examples of this program in games, but here’s one game that I actually KNOW uses Blender for modeling: Gorogoa (

2D Engines:
Construct 2 by Scirra (
GameMaker by YoYo games (
Solarus (
This one can be used to make top down action-adventures if you’re into LUA
RPG Maker VX/VXAce (
A Japanese product that is widely used by hobbyists and has a substantial amount of fan-created materials.The base engine is built around a JRPG battle framework, but since the engine is built in Ruby, modders have managed to alter and change the engine in wild and crazy ways.

3D Engines:
Unity (
Despite the website, the Unity game engine can also be used to make 2D games. Its free, and 5 has really neat audio options that are work toying with. Requires knowledge in Javascript or C#.
Unreal Engine (
Despite the name, Unreal is quite real. Notable in the fact that you can visually code games with the Blueprint system. Optionally, you could code in C#.
Blender (
I’m not kidding. This is a thing. Blender has a Game Engine. Good luck finding the documentation for it though.
Irrlicht (
C++. Unless you commit to this engine, I do not recommend touching it with a six-foot pole.


Its tik-tac-toe with insults! A brand new form of gamer-shaming! A game that goes to show that even with all these years of cultural evolution, we’re still a race that loves to abuse.

Jokes aside, this game trivializes and opens the door for a list of discussions regarding the cultural impact of certain actions and words. The game is centered about two players that are insulting each other with their own cultural insults. The first insult, represented by the glove, is based upon a medieval challenge, usually based in France. While the common turn of the phrase is “throw down the gauntlet,” knights would often challenge each other by tossing down silk gloves.

Gloves were considered a shield for higher nobles- a shield against dirt and perverted degenerates that was everyone else. Tossing down gloves was considered a great insult to the challenged.

The second insult is represented by shoes. In this case, we have Indian chappals. The form of this insult does no matter, as long as it is represented by a shoe. The shoe in Islamic culture is considered much like the glove in old French culture- it is a shield against dirt. Except, in this case, the dirt is actual dirt. Because shoes are used to move around, it is considered a grave insulting to meet someone’s face with the base of a shoe.

For example: before the US invasion of Iraq, an important hotel had a mosiac of President Bush sr. set into the floor of its lobby.

When the US army invaded, this floor was blown apart and then replaced with a mosaic of Saddam Hussein.

The game forces the player to insult through their actions, but makes these actions seem benign until their meaning is fully explained.

Faux Veg


The plan for this game was to get a group of friends together and give each player a pack of post-it notes. Each player would get their own color, and be told to explore a traditional Supermarket and seek out items that would seem vegetarian to them. They would then check the ingredients of the product to see whether or not their instinct was correct. If the product they selected has meat in it, like a Twinkie, then they would need to write the meat product on their top post-it and place it on the product before moving on. Once a player has placed five post-it notes, they report to the game master, a third party with no real stake in the outcome of the game. If someone were seeking to make this into a competitive game, these times would be the competing factor determining who winner and losers were.

The goal of this was to make people that are unfamiliar with vegetarian dining see how difficult it is to deal with being vegetarian in America.

Additionally, the idea was to also leave big post-its with an explicit statement about the meat contained in each of these products, most of which are bought without much thought. This adds an extra element to the intervention, one that persists after the intervention takes place.


The unfortunate thing about being Vegetarian is that most of your friends are aware of your limits, and are therefore more educated about what to look for in a vegetarian product. This foreknowledge ended up ruining the “raw experience” I originally intended to create. That said, it did result in a few surprises.

For instance- chewy chocolate chip cookies are often back with Egg involved. Like cake, these cookies need a pliable bonding agent, which made this image all the more entertaining:

2015-03-19 15.26.14


Chips ahoy Chewy Cookies do not actually have egg in them. Does this make the product an healthier? HIGHLY doubt it. But this does make them conducive to a vegetarian diet.

Another issue with this idea was that having too large a group would attract too much attention. Our third playtest had five players, and that got management involved, claiming that we were marking up products in a manner that the management approved. This may have also been instigated by one of the previous playtests, during which I tried to use Sharpies on the products themselves.

2015-03-20 00.07.38i was forced to buy cookies.


Our second playthrough, we tried using Sharpies on Post-it notes. We stuck with the post-it notes ideas, but ditched the Sharpies because the markers kept bleeding through the Sticky Notes we purchased.

Finding volunteers for this intervention was also a major factor. Scheduling kept on messing up our plans to test out the game. Additionally, after the first playthrough elicited a negative response, most of my friends got a bit camera shy.

Most of them did not want to play again anyways, as these playtests were performed during times when the Grocery store we used was extremely busy. The crowd became a much bigger factor in the intervention than I had expected, as the human traffic often ground the gameplay to a halt. Most of the players often ended up shopping on the side as well, but that was because most of them actually had shopping to do.  This made the times difficult to gauge.

Another huge factor involved with the success of this project is the fact that people have different ideas of what is vegetarian. Vegans, Ovavegetarians, those Vegetarians-to-whom-fish-isn’t-meat- there are a lot of different definitions of what is really ok for Vegetarians to eat. Unfortunately, the group I managed to assemble seemed to share similar views on vegetarianism, even though I made it a point not to define the term in any way before starting each game.


The game I ended up properly recording was a smaller game, with three players  around lunch time, when the store was reasonably empty. The players all went ahead and went about tagging faux-veg items.

2015-03-19 15.19.43 2015-03-19 15.17.05 2015-03-19 15.09.142015-03-19 15.04.50



My proposal would involve entering a grocery store, and finding all the products that claim to “Vegetarian,” but are really not. The players travel in a group, with one player holding a pack of post-it notes. When players find an edible product that claims to be vegetarian, but is not, the player that finds it writes the non-vegetarian ingredients of the food on a post it note and pastes it beneath the item’s shelf tag.

This would create a lot of interesting dialogue between the players, as there are numerous facets to vegetarianism, and any different forms. I think it would be interesting to see how this would work in a setting where people are constantly moving.

Shoveling all Night- IGF Tell and Show

You want to know what my favorite chore is? Shoveling. I just love shoveling. The heft of a heavy blade swinging into the earth, sinking even deeper in as I press it down. The rewarding thrust of loosening dirt as I twist it into a fulcrum made out of my muscles. The relief I feel as a clod of dirt launches into the air, a gaggle of gems spreading out in its path.

I am, of course, referring to one of the key mechanics of the game Shovel Knight by Yacht Club Games.

Shovel Knight is retro-inspired game that takes place in a bizarre and lively world, complete with apple-fish deities and witches that are literally trees. It uses a rather traditional control scheme with two face buttons and a directional pad serving as the player’s main method of interaction. Each level is a side-scrolling expansive map filled with secrets, lore and the occasional treasure seller. Each level ends with a boss fight, and, upon winning, the player will be able to choose the next level through a world map. In an indie scene dedicated to both innovative concepts and old-school nostalgia, Shovel Knight falls firmly in the latter. It lifts the elements that worked for many NES properties and finds familiar but surprising ways to iterate upon them.

The key to Shovel Knight’s freshness is the player character’s shovel. The character’s gameplay revolves about this shovel, acting as the hero’s main method of attack, propulsion and, you guessed it, shoveling. The Hero of this story deals with a host of Knights with similar commitments, each one having a defining weapon or characteristics that defines the manner in which they act. This gives the game great variety and makes each level more enjoyable, as there is usually an artifact that allows the player full access to the level.

These artifacts are varied and unique, most draining from the player’s mana with each use. Each one changes the manner in which the character moves, be they helicopter boots or a jet-propelled gauntlet that launches its wielder ahead, consequences be damned. They add an extra layer of depth to the game’s large dungeons, unlocking new regions for Shovel Knight to dig into. The real key to the level design, however, is that the player does not need to rely upon the artifacts to beat the levels.

Shovel Knight also has a story. It is not strikingly original, but where it does succeed is in its theme. The hero suffered a lost before the start of the game, one that continues to haunt him. This element of the story is rarely, if ever, discussed. It instead allows the player to act through the fall of his comrade multiple times through dream sequences. When the character does speak, he normally does so to take a pacifist approach or beseech to his enemy’s better nature, normally resolving by the end that things always end in violence. The gameplay is centered around a very mundane object, a shovel, but it accomplishes a lot of depth through the handling of its world. Additionally, the game takes a different approach to character death. When the player falls in combat, or more likely drops down a misplaced pit, a portion of their earnings is depleted from their counter and is left where the character died in a flying pouch, awaiting the player’s return. This removes the frustration of a game over, but the amount of value those gems have is remarkably important. This adds further emphasis upon the controller to guide their avatar through the game.

It is here that we come to the most crucial aspect of metroid-vania sidescrolling adventure title- the controls. Shovel Knight is a very tightly knit package. The character’s weight, their attacks and their stops feel very fluid and interlinked. The physics are readily perceptible and easy to work within. The levels require very precise controls, and thankfully the gameplay feels matches the necessary requirements.

Shovel Knight is available on PC, Wii U, 3DS, Linux, Mac OSX, and, come April, the current family of Sony Playstation products. It was backed through Kickstarter, and was produced by Yacht Club games. It was finalist in the Excellence in Audio category at the IGF awards, and was an Honorable mention for the Seumas McNally Grand prize.

I highly recommend it if you enjoyed Duck Tales. You can use your Shovel as a pogostick.

Its quite entertaining.

Revised Needle Score! Now with 10% more documentation! Sick Edition



Thread a line

Poke a vein

Bind some cloth

Sew down twice

Save a life





2015-02-05 23.46.31

Tada! Its a sewing needle!


Thread a line

2015-02-05 23.47.34

This is the sewing needle after I threaded a line through it.


Poke a vein

2015-02-05 23.52.37

I crumbled a water bottle to create a visual emulation of a vein. Then I poked one of said veins.


Bind some cloth

2015-02-05 23.49.51

With the threaded needle, I went on to sew back together a winter sock I had destroyed for science.


Sew down twice

2015-02-05 23.51.00

I then made sure to sew it twice over, so that I could never destroy it again. (This may not be completely accurate)


Save a life.

2015-02-05 23.53.38

Finally, in order to save my plant from dehydration, I used the poked bottle as a mechanism to provide the plant with some water.