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Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Languages: English
Sep 19, 2015 @ 2:05pm
Nov 13, 2017 @ 6:10am

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Christmas 2016 Update!
60 Fps

I suppose that one of the most significant changes I've made to Skein has been to up the Fps from 30 to 60. This happened mainly because of the game Hyper Light Drifter (another amazing GameMaker game - if you've been under a rock this last year, then go check it out now). It was originally at 30Fps and a lot of people complained, which prompted the developers to "fix" the game to run at 60Fps. This garnered universal approval and made me see that for a game like Skein, 60Fps would also be considered essential to players. I've seen little or no loss in performance from the change and on top of that the game feels better! Gameplay seems a bit more "agile" and controls are more responsive, making this time consuming change well worth it.


A major new addition to the game has been the inclusion of traps. These will appear as you progress through the levels, getting deadlier and more common as you progress. At the moment there are four major trap types (flame, spikes, poison and... buzzsaws!), but I'll be adding more in later...

Boss Battles

Another big addition has been to add boss battles at various points throughout the game. I've been wanting bosses in the game for a while now, so this summer I bit the bullet and got into creating them! At the moment there are three "big" boss fights in the game, but I'm planning more to come, with each boss getting bigger and badder than the last.

Secret Areas

What dungeon game would be complete without hidden areas to explore? No this one so I've also coded in a way to generate "hidden" rooms within any of the procedural mazes. These are quite well hidden, but if you know what to look for you'll find them easily... and they're worth your while too, as they're always stacked with loot!

More Magic!

Magic in Skein is designed to be used as soon as possible, not hoarded for later. There are loads of ancient scrolls just lying around the dungeons, and most of them will be useful in almost any situation, which means that for things to stay fun after a few games, the spells have to interesting, varied and plentiful. To that end I've also been busy adding in lots of new spells for players to use, many of them unique to each class as well as designed to help and/or augment co-op battles.

Death Animations

Previous builds of Skein have had enemies transition from attacking and moving to debris particles instantly, which (to me) was just "not right". The transition from "alive" to "dead" was too abrupt and just didn't feel right. To resolve this I've been busy this last month creating unique death animations for ALL enemies in Skein. For example, consider the acolyte shown here as he used to die:

As you can see, it's just "boom!" Dead. Robes on the floor... However now look at what happens:

Now they collapse and release a "spirit" into the ether... This is much more satisfying when playing and I love some of the animations I've come up with for each enemy (like this one):

Thank You All

That's the main things I've been working on these last months, and I'm sorry it's been so long between updates! My day job took priority for a couple of months there so Skein did have to take a back burner... but I'm all caught up now and back working on it every second of my free time. So, thank you all for your support and encouragement and I'm getting very close to finishing things! I can't set an exact date, but provisionally I'm hoping for everything to be ready for Easter.

Until then, I hope you all have a great holiday season, and a very happy new year!

Progress Update Feb 2016
Integrating Steam and Porting To Linux

So, the big news from me is that I have 99% completed the integration of the Steam API into Skein. It was a hell of a lot easier than I thought it would be and I've got all the current crop f achievements in and working, as well as the ability to take and upload screenshots. There are are also leaderboards, although that functionality is currently hidden from the user as I try to work out how best to add it into the game UI...

The other big news is that (as you can see from the screen above) not only have I got Steam support up and working, but I've also managed to port the game to linux! Although Linux users are a very small minority on Steam, I know they are a passionate one and I wanted to ensure that I supported them with Skein. Next up will be the MacOS port (which I suspect won't go quite so smoothly...).

Redesigned HUD

After getting some very valuable feedback on all aspects of the game from a friend of me (John Bell to be precise) I modified and update the HUD. It's still essentially the same, but it's got a bit more colour and the spell layout makes it easier to associate spells with gamepad buttons.

I'm pretty sure that this is now the defnitive UI, so I hope you all like it!

New Sprites For Spawners

I've always disliked the sprites I've been using for the "spawners". they were all very drab and boring and a bit too small, when what I've always wanted was something that would stand out and make the player notice them - something important since you'll probably want to take them out before mopping up the mobs they've spawned.

So I started drafting out some new ideas and eventually came up with this:

That's a big improvement (imho), but I still felt they should be more colourful, especially since the game is pretty colourful in general... so I experimented a bit more until I finally came up with the following set of spawners for each of the current four enemy classes:

I'm pretty pleased with these - although I suspect I'll be revisiting them and changing a few details - and I hope everyone else likes them too!

Currently Working On...?

And what am I working on at the moment? SOUND! Yes, Skein has almost zero sound effects, and it's very, very noticeable when you play without music... so I'm currently working on resolving that and getting some kick-ass effects in there.

My main problem is that I've left it a bit late and now have to revise everything I've done so far and assess what sounds it needs and add them. Normally I'd add sound as I go along, so that if I add a new spell - for example - then I'd add a sound effect for it at the same time. However I've been so caught up in the programming side of things that I've neglected this area and it'll only get worse if I don't get back into the habit of adding sounds as I go along. This in turn means that there is a bigger risk that the final game will ship with missing or low quality effects... and that's something I don't want! So... sound is my priority right now.

Thanks for reading this, and thank you again for your continued support. The game is progressing nicely and I'm still loving working on it, so hopefully I'll be able to get it finished so y'all can play it!

Mark Alexander

Release date: 2017
What Is Skein?

Taking a leaf from the Gauntlet school of games, Skein is a fast paced one or two player (co-op) arcade game where you battle through hordes of monsters on a quest to save the soul of a talking sheep. The game features hundreds of enemies, a huge number of spells, 6 different playable characters and procedural dungeons with secret rooms, traps and all!

  • Procedural Dungeons - All dungeons are procedurally generated in the game meaning that you never get the same challenge twice.

  • 3 Classes, 6 Characters - Mage, melee or ranged? Choose your class, then choose your character... then give them a unique name so you can love them forever!

  • Dozens Of Magic Spells - 25 spells per class, plus 25 more general spells that stack and combine to give you 100+ awesome powers.

  • Hundreds of Enemies - The Skein is a dangerous place and you will face literally thousands of enemies, including Death himself...

  • 1 or 2 Player Co-Op - In true arcade style, Skein can be played by one or two players in Co-Op mode, and players can drop in/out at any time.

  • And Much, Much More! - Champions, arenas, caves, traps, boss battles, treasure rooms... Skein is packed with too much to mention here!

The Story (Yes, it has one!)

The Skein... A strange place that no adventurer dares to enter. A changing place full of terrors unknown... Until now!

Once upon a time, a group of "adventurers" made camp at the base of a mysterious mountain, and - feeling peckish - decided to kill a passing sheep for dinner. Little did they realise that the sheep was actually a cursed prince from a faraway land who was going to haunt them for all eternity if they didn't manage to get his soul back from the Skein.

This marks the start of a fantastic action adventure as you and a friend take control of our cowardly group and try to retrieve the sheep's soul... and loot. Lots of loot.


Skein is, at its heart, an attempt to recreate the feel of the old arcade machines like Gauntlet, where players can drop in and out at any time. As such it plays best with a controller, but can be played entirely with the keyboard (and you can redefine the keys as you wish), and you can use the mouse to navigate menus. The controls themselves are 8-way movement and shooting, with 4 spell slots accessed by hotkeys/pad buttons, and one special critical attack button which does a special move and uses mana.

What's Still To Be Done?

The core game engine for Skein is 100% completed, as are all the user interface items and controls... So what's missing? Currently it's missing content, as only 20 spells have been added and only about a dozen types of enemies. So, between running this Greenlight and the final game release, you can expect the game to get loads more content - including boss levels, traps and different enemy classes!


Juanbjuan Illustration[] - Promocional Artwork

Oryx Design Studio - For licensing the base sprites that I have used to design everything in the game.

Kubbi - For permitting me to use some of his music in the trailer video

YoYoGames - For creating GameMaker and supporting me

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Slimebeast Jul 7, 2016 @ 10:09am 
If Gauntlet used a 16x16 grid and 24x24p sprites, then what resolution does Skein use? :dwarven:
sitebender Apr 19, 2016 @ 2:42am 
Is the trailer just a black screen with music playing for anyone else?
vdweller Feb 6, 2016 @ 11:13am 
Steam could use less walking simulators and more Games Like This.
MonkeyMaw Dec 20, 2015 @ 8:47am 
I missed the greenlight campaign, came to vote yes! Anyways, kudos to you Mark, the game looks sweet, I'll be purchasing it for sure! Good luck buddy!
Nocturne Games  [author] Oct 17, 2015 @ 1:36pm 
@Rinth: The original Gauntlet (in which I openly admit to being inspired by) used a 16x16 grid with 24x24px sprites and the enemies were snapped to that grid... and I'd say that it was 100% an arcade game. Scroll down a bit here and you can see it's discussed: Gauntlet Post-Mortem []. As for the pixel sizes, Sorry, but nowadays pixel art is a style not a technical obligation, and within that style my art is consistent. The HUD is always the same pixel scale, while the game room scales and pans to show more action without actually losing definition. Why should it when nowadays the hardware can easily scale up and down?... I don't see the issue and (no offense) I find such comments about inconsistent pixel sizes to be slightly snobbish. :)
GARRI✖STEN Oct 17, 2015 @ 12:28pm 
EvgehaGames Oct 10, 2015 @ 9:00am 
ST Oct 6, 2015 @ 1:04pm 
Gratz Nocturne. Very well deserved for your hard work!
mataii Oct 4, 2015 @ 6:03pm 
Looking good! Congrats for being greenlight! :)
xot Oct 1, 2015 @ 2:40pm 
Way to go, Mark! I knew this would get Greenlit in no time. Game looks beauteous.