Welcome, I'm Iain! I design and develop games - along with my partner Amanda Lobb - at our studio Dull Dude. We have over 10 years experience developing high quality games for clients such as EA, Cartoon Network, BBC and Adult Swim. Between client projects we are also working on our own major independent game release.
3D and 2D iOS, Android and PC/Mac game development with Unity.
Flash games for Facebook and games portals.
I'm passionate about passing on my skills to other people, so I regularly write articles, give conference talks, professional training and university lectures. If you're interested in training in any of the above technologies, get in touch.
The Dumping Ground: You're The Boss (2015, Somethin' Else / BBC)
I was Technical Lead and co-designer of this BAFTA-winning mobile game, working with the excellent team at Somethin' Else and CBBC. (Programming, Game Design)
©Somethin' Else / BBC.
Zwok (2006, Bloc / Sony)
Award-winning online multiplayer artillery game for PlayStation.com. Created with Flash and Java/SmartFox Server. Over 1 million registered users and 50 million games played.(Programming, Game Design)
©Sony. Art by Mike Hill.
Pop Pirates (2006, Bloc)
Award-winning arcade shoot 'em up. Play. (Programming, Game Design)
©Bloc. Art by Liam Owen.
Stackopolis (2005, Bloc)
Webby award-winning puzzle game. Play. (Programming, Additional Game Design)
©Bloc. Art by Eelus.
Owl Spin (2011, Dull Dude)
Cute puzzle avoider game. The first game since I was a student with all my own artwork! Play. (Art, Programming, Game Design)
©Dull Dude. Art by Iain Lobb.
Meta4orce (2008, Bloc / BBC)
Bafta-nominated interactive game and TV series integrating television broadcasts with PaperVision3D Flash gameplay. Play. (Programming, Game Design)
©Bloc/BBC. Art by John Denton.
Battle Cave (2012, Dull Dude)
Fight your way through randomly generated dungeons in this fantasy platform game. Play. (Programming, Game Design)
©Dull Dude. Art by Amanda Lobb.
World Class Keep Ups (2010, Dull Dude)
Silly footie keepy-uppy game. Play.
(Programming, Game Design)
©Dull Dude. Art by Amanda Lobb.
Yoobot (2009, Bloc / BHF)
Kids' virtual world with an important public health message for the British Heart Foundation. Play.
©BHF. Art by Liam Owen, John Denton.
Protokid (2004, Bloc / Diesel)
Years before Moshi Monsters and Club Penguin (ok, not before Habbo!), we at Bloc & Diesel created a kids virtual world, packed with games and hundreds of ways to customise your character and virtual room. I personally created more than 10 games and rooms for the site, which was instrumental in honing my skills. Sadly it's no longer online, except in my heart. (Programming, Game Design)
©Diesel. Art by John Denton, Eelus, Liam Owen, Iain Lobb.
The Wrong Door
(2008, Bloc / BBC)
Off-the-wall interactive experience to go with the bonkers TV show. Built with Flash and PaperVision. Play. (Programming, Interaction Design)
©BBC. Art by Matt Allan, John Denton.
(2009, Dull Dude / Muzy)
Physics toy created with Nape 2D physics library. Play. (Programming, Interaction Design)
©Dull Dude. Art by Amanda Lobb.
Super Gun Kids (2012, Dull Dude)
Action platformer, currently on-hold while we work on our major release. (Programming, Game Design)
©Dull Dude. Art by Amanda Lobb.
Soulcalibur 3 Minisite
(2005, Bloc / Sony)
Fun interactive Flash minisite (like we made in the good old days!) to promote the game release. Sadly offline. (Programming, Interaction Design)
(2002, Specialmoves / MTV)
Like The Sims, but with television's favourite rock'n'roll family. Animating this Bafta-nominated game in Flash was one of my first commercial projects. Read case-study. (Animation)
©MTV. Art by Oscar Wright, James Norwood, Iain Lobb.
I've been lucky enough to pick up a few awards and nominations for my games and interactive media work over the years!
I am available to hire as a freelance games developer and game designer. My skills include:
- ActionScript3 game development. I have extensive experience with popular code libraries and frameworks such as TweenMax, Box2D, Nape, Starling, Away3D, Stage3D, Signals and Adobe AIR. Having worked with Flash since 2001, I have detailed knowledge of file size and performance optimization and workarounds for Flash "quirks".
- Unity3D game development. 3D and 2D development for iOS/Android and PC/Mac, including experience with Mechanim and 3rd party add-ons such as 2D Toolkit, Smooth Moves and Spine.
- Game design, including generating game ideas, writing game design documents, and "finding the fun" in game mechanics and systems. I have over ten years of real-world experience in creating fun games, as well as a deep theoretical understanding of game design principles based on extensive research.
- Custom game engines, game maths, physics and entity systems. Real-time and asynchronous multiplayer game development including Smartfox Server expertise.
- Leading, organising and training game development teams, implementing best practices including source control with GIT and SVN.
Some of the clients who have trusted me with their game development and training:
Training, Speaking & Lecturing.
I enjoy speaking at conferences too. The first conference I ever went to was the inaugural Flash on the Beach in 2006 (now known as Reasons festival). It would be an understatement to say it blew my freakin' my mind, and it also inspired me to get into speaking, training and lecturing myself. Here's a list of sessions I have given:
- Digpen V: Plymouth, 2012 - Secrets of Successful Creative Studios
- Mochi London, 2012 - Super Gun Kids, The Making Of...
- Flash Gaming Summit: San Francisco, 2012 - Two Dimensions of Awesome. Watch.
- ExPlay Plymouth, 2011 - I gave a bunch of on-the-spot talks at this awesome indie games meet-up, and also presented my favourite moments from the year's meet-ups at the annual ExPlay Festival.
- Mochi London, 2011 - Addictive Game Design
- Digpen III: Falmouth, 2011 - 10 Years, Some Lessons
- GameCamp 4: London, 2011 - 2D Game Art Beyond Pixels
- Flash on the Beach:Brighton, 2010 - Zero to Game Designer in 60 Minutes
- London Flash Developers and Designers Meetup Group, 2010 - Creating Successful Flash Games
- Flash on the Beach: Brighton, 2009 - A 3 Minute Lesson in Game Design
- FlashBrighton, 2009 - The Flash Game School of Wizardry
- FlashBrighton, 2009 - Designing and Developing Multi-User Flash Games
- London Flash Platform User Group, 2008 - Successful Flash Games
I'm proud to have worked as an Associate Lecturer for game design, Unity, Flash and HTML5 on Digital Art and Technology at Plymouth University. Over 3 years from 2011-2014 I taught over 100 students to program and design games! This experience has been invaluable in developing my skills as a trainer and gives me the confidence to deliver great professional training. I'm available as a visiting lecturer on game design and development, so get in touch if you want me to come inspire some young 'uns! I have a PTLLS Level4 teaching certificate, and I've given workshops at Truro College, Plymouth College of Art, and Brunel University as well as creating and delivering a range of modules at Plymouth University.
Writing and Blogging.
I regularly write tutorials and articles for a range of online publications. I've written professional tutorials for GameDevTuts+, articles for .net magasine and been Technical Reviewer for the Friends of Ed book The Essential Guide to Flash Games. Since 2008 I've also been writing down my thoughts and experiences on my blog: blog.iainlobb.com. Some of my more popular posts have included my open source keyboard input library Gamepad, postmortems of Meta4orce and Super Gun Kids, and my Flash performance benchmarks such as BunnyMark.
The Creative Coding Podcast is a collaboration between me and the ever-inspiring Seb Lee-Delisle. We talk about the pure joy (and frustrations) of creative coding. With more than 35 episodes so far, we've interviewed some of the biggest names in digital art, interaction design and game development. Guests have included Zach Lieberman, Stacey Mulcahy, Mr.doob, Daniel Shiffman, Keith Peters, Marius Watz, Golan Levin, Robert Hodgin, Joel Gethin Lewis and Ben Fry.
Logo and branding by Val Head.
I founded Dull Dude Limited in January 2009 for my game development freelancing, and now it has grown into a two-person games studio, with my partner in love and business Amanda Lobb as game artist. We've worked with games studios Electronic Arts and Mediatonic, as well as advertising and digital agencies such as BBH, Isobar, Doco, Mook and Chemistry. Sadly most of my work from this period is under NDA, but I assure you, it's really good!
Joining in 2004 as a junior designer, I pretty quickly rose through the ranks to become Head of Interactive, helping to create one of London's most acclaimed and successful digital creative agencies. My games and creative development work from this period, some of which is showcased above, won dozens of awards, including Cannes Lions, NMAs, BIMAs, FWAs, the Webby award for Best Game (Stackopolis), and a Bafta nomination. Bloc itself was a finalist for New Media Age "Creative Agency of the Year" in 2007, thanks to an incredible dream-team of talent, including Eeelus, Liam Owen, John Denton, Tom Jennings, Mat Groves (and me!), amongst many others. It was a crazy, roller-coaster four-and-a-half years, and I think I'm still recovering. I need a cup of tea!
After graduating university, I answered a job ad for a graduate training programme at television producer TwoFour. Somehow I got the job, and started on a pretty strange year helping to make "factual entertainment" programmes for the BBC, Channel 4, and Discovery. One of my own show ideas "The Estate We're In" was even commissioned by the BBC and ran for two seasons. Although I pretty quickly returned to my true calling as a coder, I've dabbled in video work, including directing and editing some daft online viral videos (remember those!?) while at Bloc.
Specialmoves were kind enough to give me my first job in the industry, a year-long industrial placement which included making some of my first Flash (and Shockwave!) games. I learnt a lot about programming, and a bit about myself. The stand-out was the amazing The Osbournes game, based on MTV's reality show, where my job was to turn Oscar Wright's pencil-and-paper character designs into coloured and shaded Flash animations. Definitely one of those inspiring, "let's throw everything at it" projects, brilliantly documented on the Specialmoves site.
MediaLab Arts BSc (1999-2003)
I graduated First Class with Honours from Plymouth University's outstanding MediaLab Arts BSc (now known as Digital Art and Technology), after an inspiring four years experimenting with game design, filmmaking, generative art, and interaction design. After almost a decade away, I have returned to the course as Associate Lecturer. The student has become the master?
Exit through the gift shop.
Here are some books that have literally changed my life. Buy them from Amazon and I'll be rich, rich, RICH!
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. Going way beyond just comics, this amazing book explains how visual storytelling works, in a unique graphical way. A must-read for any artist, designer, illustrator, writer or game developer.
Game Feel - Steve Swink. This little-known book is an absolute gem in exposing a vital element of gameplay design - "feel", kinaesthetics and proprioception.
Color and Light by James Gurney. A really invaluable guide for anyone creating art or working with artists. Unsurprisingly, topics include colour theory, lighting and shadows.
Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life - Bryan Lee O'Malley. Probably my favourite comic or graphic novel, this series is fun, silly, exciting, hip and sexy. If you've only seen the movie, you don't know Scott.
Analog In, Digital Out - Brendan Dawes. This very personal exploration of interaction design has many fine moments of wisdom from the very likable Brendan.
Microserfs - Douglas Coupland. It's a novel about developers! Almost all of Coupland's books are excellent, but I think this is his best. I read it at university, when everything was alive with possibilities, and it still holds the power to inspire.
Foundation ActionScript 3 Animation: Making Things Move! - Keith Peters. This is one of the definitive guides to creative coding, covering everything from physics to trigonometry and collision detection.
Number9dream - David Mitchell. This is probably my favourite book. If you enjoy "literary" novels, there's nothing quite like this dazzling Booker-prize nominated modern fantasy, from the author of Cloud Atlas. A dreamy journey through Tokyo, cyberpunk and videogame culture.
Film Directing Shot by Shot - Steve Katz. If you want to (or have to!) make a film or video, this guide is invaluable in explaining the types of shots and staging you can use, and the "visual language" of cinema.
The Undercover Economist - Tim Harford. An entertaining and eye-opening guide to the economics of everything. Better than Freakonomics! There, I said it. Brilliant ammunition for winning those arguments in the pub.
The Red Tree - Shaun Tan. Ostensibly a children's picture book, Tan's beautiful, poignant story is really a reflection on melancholy and hope for anyone that's ever woken up under a grey cloud. All of Shaun Tan's work is wonderful, but this one has me welling-up every time.