Matt Hughson

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Welcome to the Portfolio and Blog of Matt Hughson

A Game Programmer with 10 years of Industry Experience across all Major Platorms


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Power Swipe Released

Posted on Aug 5 by

Earlier this year I released my 2nd substantial indie game, Power Swipe; almost one year to the day after the first line of code for the game was written! Like most projects, it was intended to be a relatively short development, but quickly grew into something much larger. The game is available exclusively on the Google Play Store completely free. No ads or in-app purchases. 100% free. I decided to take this approach after spending a good chunk of time implementing IAP in previous projects, only to see very few people actually buying the game. I figure this time around I will add some sort of monetization after the fact, if the game suddenly becomes popular. All signs point to that not happening. Power Swipe is a 2-player turn based strategy game inspired by the hits “Threes!” and “2048”. Each player attempts to capture the other player’s game pieces, as they work towards reaching the final tier: The Crown! Like my previous game, Swipe Tap Smash, Power Swipe was written in C# using the MonoGame SDK. When I wrote Swipe Tap...


XNA to MonoGame.Android – Porting Primer

Posted on Apr 20 by

In June 2013 I released version 1.0 of Swipe Tap Smash, a Windows Phone game written in C# using XNA. By December of that year I was releasing version 1.2, and with it had implemented most of the major features I had wanted to add to the game. For the next version, the goal wasn’t to add any new features, but instead to port to a whole new platform: Android! I decided to take the approach that many other developers out there have taken or are thinking about taking: using MonoGame to bring my XNA game to Android. Although it seemed like many developers out there were taking this path, the road was not as smooth as I expected, and there was a lot of trial and error that I can hopefully reduce for others. When I first started looking at the port to Android, it seemed really simple. And then it quickly got really, really confusing. There are a lot of new terms and workflows, and they all seem to meld together, muddying the problems I ran into....


Swipe Tap Smash Released

Posted on Jun 22 by

Motivated by a free phone offer, I spent last week or so crunching on a really small game project: Swipe Tap Smash for Windows Phone. I describe it as: Super Spike V’Ball meets Paper Toss! Volleyball with nothing but smashes! Flick your player into the air, and when the timing is right, tap the screen to send the ball flying! The goal is simple: just get as many consecutive spikes in a row as possible. It’s really quite a simple game, and was a lot of fun to make. The game is written in C# using XNA. It was my first time writting a game for Windows Phone (WP), but since I’ve been working on another PC/360 game with XNA for the last while, I was able to use that engine as a starting point and get things running very quickly. All I had to do was convert the Visual Studio Projects to Windows Phone (which is made very easy by the XNA tools), and then make some minor adjustments to the engine for the new platform. The biggest...



Posted on Apr 7 by

If you haven’t already, you should read part 1 of this blog first. To quickly recap the previous blog: My game uses standard A* for path finding, but would run into performance issues when trying to find paths around concave shapes. The problem is that once you go passed the destination, A* thinks you are going down a bad path and so it exhausts all other alternate paths first. The solution I found to this problem is an extension to A*, known as “Near Optimal Hierarchical Path-Finding”; often referred to as HPA*. All my work has been based on this white paper: This analogy summarizes the abstract theory of HPA* quite well: Consider the problem of traveling by car from Los Angeles, California, to Toronto, Ontario. Specically, what is the minimum distance to travel by car from 1234 Santa Monica Blvd in Los Angles to 4321 Yonge Street in Toronto? Given a detailed roadmap of North America, showing all roads annotated with driving distances, an A* implementation can compute the optimal (minimum distance) travel route. This might be an expensive computation, given the sheer size of the roadmap.   Of course, a...


Game in a Week – Day 8…

Posted on Mar 16 by

See Part 1 of Game in a Week blog. As you might guess from the title of this blog, we’ve given ourselves a slight extension to the 1 week game project. We were considering doing this anyway since we weren’t really on track to have the game in a shippable state by the end of last night (the original deadline).  Then last night Elsa (my fiance) ended up breaking her finger playing volleyball and we spent all night in the ER, instead of making games. She’s so selfish. 😉 Combine that with the fact the Erik (the artist I am working with) has family stuff to take care of, it seems that the only option is to give us a couple extra days to pull everything together. Right now we are aiming for EOD Sunday, but even that is going to be a bit of stretch to be honest. I’m kind of just thinking of it as an Alpha more than a finished product, but we’ll see. I don’t have any time to upload a new build or a...


Game in a Week – Half Way Point

Posted on Mar 12 by

All artwork done by Erik Larsson. Can I put together a fun iOS/Android game in a week? Probably not, but I’ll know for sure in a couple days! I’ve decided to take a week off my current hobby game project to start something new with a friend of mine. He proposed we put together a really simple game, and not spend more than a week on it. Get it out on the marketplace and see if it sticks at all. I’m hesitant to take any of my spare time away from my personal project, but the chance to work with such a talented guy again is something I can’t pass up! And its only a week, so no big loss. That was about 4 days ago, so we are just over the half way point already! So far things are gong really well. The complete game design isn’t really flushed out, but its some sort of Contra style game (side-scrolling run and gun, lots of explosions, lots of bullets, etc) but set in a horror/sci-fi universe.  At this point...