The Painter’s Playground

Wow. It’s been months since I’ve posted here (again!), but there’s a good reason:

A friend and I started a new game development company: Next Zen Mechanics. My business partner Ryan is a scientist, a top Steam reviewer, and now an indie game developer.

Our first title, The Painter’s Playground, just hit public beta!


It’s been described as “MS Paint: the Idle Clicker / RPG Hybrid” and “An exercise in artistic expression and community collection”. And it is probably the least rogue-like thing I’ve ever done! I know a lot of my readers are here for the RL talk, but hey, this is great for relaxing, if you guys ever do that 🙂

Brandan 2

And that’s what the main part of the game looks like. Yes, someone really did that in our game. I watched him work in real life at our pre-launch party a few weeks ago.

The object of the game is to become a better artist, both in game terms, and in real life. You earn “Renown” as you paint, idle-clicker style (it goes up as long as you’re active). Then you can level up your artist skills and choose new tools, paint colors, canvas sizes, and more.

But possibly the best thing about this game is the online community. You can put your art up for sale and other players can buy it. You receive “Bits” (the in-game currency), and they get something nice to hang on their wall, which earns them Renown when other players like it.


Ryan is a master of aesthetics (something I can barely recognize on my own, let alone pull off). He hired an artist to create oil paintings for all the background scenes, and put together wonderful music and ambience to make our little seaside town of Painter’s Port come alive:


That’s what I’ve been up to. If this sounds like fun, or crazy, or impossible, well, come see for yourself!




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