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Dynamite Jack: The second prototype, post-post mortem

So about six months after I created “Escape from Anathema Mines” during the Ludum Dare game jam, I created a game called Dynamite in the PyWeek game jam.


So the theme of PyWeek #1 was “Power” .. I worked with my brother-in-law Tim on this game, and we spent a fair amount of time working with the idea of using a “mind control power” over the characters in game. So I wrote some A* code to navigate things around and whatnot. This was boring. So I made it so you could blow something up. This was exciting. We decided “the power of dynamite” was what the game was about, since the dictionary definition of dynamite said something about “a powerful explosive.” Not my best “theme compliance” for a game jam, I’ll admit.


The best way to see the gameplay is to PLAY THE GAME if you have Windows 🙂 (Download the post-compo version, it’s a little shinier.) But short of that, watch me play through one of the levels. There’s a ton of interesting differences between this and Dynamite Jack. The most significant one is that in Dynamite you can “fail” really easily. You can block yourself into a corner by destroying the floor, and you can run out of bombs. Those are both design decisions I changed for Dynamite Jack.

Fun facts

Tim created all the music for this game, one of the tracks is based on a fiddle tune as well. You may be able to tell that the character art in this game is the same character art I ended up using in Dynamite Jack. It’s all from Reiner’s Tilesets. It definitely helped a ton to have that art work. It ends up looking really sharp in Dynamite Jack because I scale things down so small.

I also brought the “dynamite drop” sound effect from this game into Dynamite Jack. It just sounds so cool.


I think one of the big gameplay mechanics I like in that game is that when you sneak along the walls you are invisible to the guards. It kinda leaves the “lighting effects” to your imagination. But one of the problems with that is that it’s not very obvious. I used the different colored cursor to help the player be able to know where the safe zones were.

This game introduced the fun of having guards running to check out whatever you just exploded. I did the voice acting in this prototype of the game.

The idea of this game really stuck with me for a long time, so for the next several years I always talked about going back and re-making it.


(Dynamite Jack is coming to PC / Mac in mid-May. Check out the trailer to see the difference from the original shown here.)

3 Responses to “Dynamite Jack: The second prototype, post-post mortem”

  1. Deckers Tycho (galcon username: Tycho2) Says:

    I loved the idea of a 3D AM, but 2D is always better ;D

  2. Phil Hassey » Blog Archive » Dynamite Jack: The “Stealth Target” post-post mortem Says:

    […] with my dream of making a commercial game out of Dynamite, this seemed like a perfect opportunity. With a single month time frame it was perfect for seeing […]

  3. Phil Hassey » Blog Archive » Dynamite Jack: Final Prototype post-post-mortem Says:

    […] If you remember back to Dynamite the core game mechanic was exploding the load bearing pilars in the game so that the building would […]