Great Dane Games

Great Dane Games

Great Dane Games - all things gamerelated

This weblog is the digital playground for Anders Højsted. I'm a philosopher, indie gamedeveloper, writer & all-round renaissance man.

aMAZEd Gameplay Aperitif

Game DesignPosted by Anders Højsted Tue, September 02, 2014 12:11
Hi all,

I've uploaded a small aMAZEd "gameplay aperitif" - it's a small level to show one of the different gameplays in the game.

Gameplay isn't about how you play the game, but how the game plays you.

It is meant to whet your appetites and maybe leave you wanting for more.

You can get it here:

The picture is interactive :)

It is unfortunaly an EXE-file so your computer needs to be able to run those.

Bon Appétit :)


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Ruminations about life

PersonalPosted by Anders Højsted Tue, August 05, 2014 17:45

Things have become interesting lately.

I've been working the last 1½ year as game writer and community manager on Cloud Chamber at Investigate North. Combined with issues in my personal life – my mother's cancer and subsequent death – things have been very quite @ Great Dane Games & @ Tryhart.

Cloud Chamber is launching on STEAM on the 7/8 and I can highly recommend it if you are into astrophysics and mysteries.

However, I was let go from Investigate North at the end of may and I've been spending the time since to get over my mother's death, to have a vacation and to figure out what I'm going to do with the rest of my life. I've been very deep down the existential Rabbit-hole, a short stroll around the french existentialists and I am only just returning to the surface.

I still very much want to work with games and with media.

But I've realised is that I'll probably never have a permanent position in my life. I have a multitude of skills, but the ones that I want to exercise are mostly oriented at work as a consultant or as in fixed-term positions on a contractual basis. I could probably find permanent work as a community manager or as a project manager, but that is not what I want to do and experience have taught me that if I'm not motivated for a job, I mostly likely won't do it very well.

So right now I'm looking for projects & fixed-term positions as a game writer, game designer or interaction designer. This is the life of an artist and I don't mind that - as long as I can make a decent living of it.

Call me if you have a project and could use some solid input to it on those fields.

While I do this, I'll also work on my own projects.

First of: I want to finish aMAZEd (fomerly known as Amazing)

It's been dormant for a long time, but I've picked it up again and it still makes sense (and is fun to play). I've had some design challenges with it – mostly balancing and progression – but have fixed them, so I can now finish it. You can try the demo to the right – the core gameplay in the final game is going to be almost the same, but with a few twists.

I have ideas for other games to follow it, but that can't hardly come as a surprise.

From now on Great Dane Games is going to be my outlet for my own personal projects – the ones that I do on my own. It's not going to be corporate and it is not going to represent anybody else but me.

Second: I want to make a demo of Baby The Knife. You can read more about it here.

See you around :)


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Depression: Unlocked

Nordic Game JamPosted by Anders Højsted Tue, August 05, 2014 17:26

Another Nordic Game Jam has come and passed and what do you know? I made a game.

In fact: WE made a game.

It was based on my idea to make a fun'n'upbeat game about depression.

Fun'n'upbeat and depression are off course contradictions, but if we made a game that reflected the actual mental state of depression it would be ...well ...depressing.

And nobody wants to play a depressing game. So think of the "fun'n'upbeat" as sugar on the spoon: we wanted people to play the game, so they could learn about depression.

The game tries to exemplify the simple fact that depressed people can have a very hard time doing very simple everyday things, so the challenge in the game is to get up in the morning, go through the morning routine and get out the door.

It is in no way an attempt to belittle depression. It is an attempt to exemplify it.

I don't know if we succeded but we did have a lot of fun making it. And it made it even more relevant that many of us have been affected by depression - either personally or through loved ones.

I'll leave it up to you to judge how we fared: Depression: Unlocked (<- download link).


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Monster Mash

Nordic Game JamPosted by Anders Højsted Sat, January 25, 2014 22:07
Hi all,

it seems like this blog only gets updated during the gamejams.

I had a great Nordic Game Jam last year and our group ended up doing Monster Mash.

I was on team with Linda from the indiedeveloper House On Fire. We used the engine from their awesome game Neon Zone for the game.

(Check out their game The Silent Age for a new take on timetravelling adventure games - it's awesome)

Basically you are the torso of one of Frankenstein's monster and must roll around picking up bodyparts to create a full body.

It was great fun and I plan to go again - here in 2014.

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Nordic Game Jam - again

Nordic Game JamPosted by Anders Højsted Sat, January 19, 2013 10:19
I'm back at Nordic Game Jam again: Nordic Game Jam 2013

But this time - for the first ever - I'm not an organiser. I'm here as a regular paying customer, so I don't have to worry about making coffee or people having internet or... or... or...

We spent all of time friday evening brainstorming a concept but only managed to come up with an idea that is a bit to complicated to make in 24 hours.

So we're re-brainstorming. Something about bodyparts.


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Nordic Game JamPosted by Anders Højsted Fri, February 03, 2012 16:23

Nordic Game Jam went well and was a blast.

We had around 325 people participating (payed participants + volunteers) and they made around 60+ games. You can see the games here: Nordic Game Jam '12 Games

I was volunteering at the event and was responsible for the minister of culture Uffe Elbæk's visit; it went really well. The minister used to be an creative entrepreneur himself and was very impressed with the event.

I didn't have much time to do gamedevelopment during the NGJ and didn't sign up for the competition, but I managed to squeeze in a few hours.

I decided to take my time to come up with a good idea, so I spent friday evening and most of saturday just observing people and events for inspiration. I had a volunteer-shift in the kiosk from saturday midnight to 4 am, so I figured I could make my game there (Oh Hybris, why do you love me such!)

And a new concept evolved: Battery Time Prototyping.

I was working on my laptop and was too tired to be bothered with finding a powersocket, so I decided that my prototype for the game had to be done before my batteries ran out. I'm have an old Fujitsu-Siemens Esprimo Mobile with an ancient battery in it, so that gave me around an hour to do it.

I managed it and did a bit more development during my shift, but had to acknowledge that I was too tired to think straight, let alone script.

My original idea was a shooter game titled StraightShooter, but the controls were so bad that I couldn't justify the title. So I changed the title to StrayShooter and voila! A bug had become a feature.

Here is a gameplay-shoot; riveting, isn't it:

You can download the demo here: StrayShooter

You have to move the crosshairs to hit the pink dots. Press Space to reload the level.

There is no scoring mechanism and no level-progression. It is just a prototype.

Sunday I even managed to squeeze in an interview with the danish boardgame website Papskubber (literal translation: cardboard-pusher; it's slang for boardgamefans). Be warned: it is in danish.

You can see the interview here: Nordic Game Jam - Anders Højsted Interview

So all in all: a good gamejam.



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Nordic Game Jam - again

Nordic Game JamPosted by Anders Højsted Thu, January 26, 2012 18:30
Hi all,

Sometimes quitting isn't easy.

Like I said earlier, I wanted to stop doing volunteer work in the IGDA & with Nordic Game Jam. Not because I have any issues with either of them - in fact I think they are awesome and important - but I don't really have the time to be a volunteer.

But then life happened (Life is what happens while you are making plans - John Lennon).

We had an goverment election in Denmark in september and the goverment changed. I'm politically active in of the parties that took over goverment and happens to know the new minister of culture.

All of the goverment support for games in Denmark is cultural support, so I thought it would be an obvious idea to invite him to open the Nordic Game Jam.

So I invited him ...and he accepted.

So I got back into Nordic Game Jam. It's going to be hectic, crazy and fun as usual (LEGO donated 59 kilos of LEGO-bricks) and I'll see if I can manage to blog about it in here. Maybe also set up a webcam so you can see me make games - live.

It is going to be awesome.


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Tryhart & Baby The Knife

Game DevelopmentPosted by Anders Højsted Sat, April 30, 2011 12:22


I've been very inactive in here for a variety of reasons.

We did the Nordic Game Jam in the end of January and it was a blast. We had 300 participants and it ran smoother then ever. Greg Costikyan held the keynote and we had a board game track sponsored by LEGO & the biggest board games distributor in Denmark, so they had a ton of cool game bits to design with. All in all, it was awesome and we got a lot of great feedback from the participants as well.

Part of the succes is because we expanded the organizers team to double size and distributed a lot of responsibility, so each individual organizer had less & better defined responsiblity then previously. IGDA Denmark Chairman David Mariner & Vicechairman Dajana Dimovska was point on the whole event and managed to herd the organisers in the right direction for a great event.

However, I am leaving the Nordic Game Jam. I've been organizing it for 5 years (and assisted the Global Game Jam a bit) and I don't have the passion for it anymore. The event is pretty much defined now and there's not that much room for radical innovation in it anymore. Much of the work is just fine-tuning and a lot of negotiations with the various partners and I don't really have the passion for this kind of work. Plus I didn't really feel invigorated at the event; it was more a "same, same"-feeling.

I'm also leaving the IGDA Denmark board/organisation. I have a massive network in the danish games industry, but haven't been able to get a job in it. I don't feel that I need more network and the work in IGDA doesn't really help my resumee with regards to gamedevelopment (although it has gotten me a kick-ass eventmaking resumee). I need to go a different way now.

However, this doesn't mean that I won't be at the IGDA events in Denmark anymore. I'll just be participating instead of organising. As Gorm Lai, co-founder of Nordic Game Jam & Global Game Jam said: "I've created the event that I wanted to participate in, but I can't participate because I'm organising". I kindda feel the same way.

The new way is my our company Tryhart (website under construction) and our gameproject Baby The Knife. Baby The Knife was a project that came to me in a very intuitive way. I'll post about it on the project website.

At the Nordic Game Jam, I ran into Conceptartist Rositsa Dineva. I told the idea about a small girl with a giant knife and the whole philosophical & gameplay background for the project. She was hooked immidiately. Since then we have expanded the team and are now 5 people. My role is CEO/Creative Director/Busines Developer; I wear a lot of hats these days.

Most of my time will be spent on Baby The Knife and I've decided to use the Great Dane Games-name as a platform for my own hobby-projects, like TryFail and Amazing. Most of my updates will be in and, so this blog will be even less frequently updated then usually.

I hope to see you in there instead :)

BTW: I've submitted TryFail to the Extra Credits Innovation Awards. Lets see what happens there.



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