Joey Jones Announcement Thread - Moondrop Isle + Urban Exploration article

I’ve got a big game and some rereleases in the pipeline, so I thought I’d make one thread for all of them.

Lies Under Ice

Lies Under Ice will be coming out soon. It’s an interactive novel about building a base on one of Jupiter’s ice moons, and dealing with sabotage, intrigue, aliens, political factions, exile and (possibly) too many cats.

The beta is open if anyone would like an early peek and give their feedback (I do understand a lot of you are currently solidly in IFComp mode though!), and I’ve put up a thread with some of my design thoughts on their forum. Check it out if you’d like to know how I achieved twice average play-length as my earlier game Trials of the Thief-Taker, without writing twice the content, all while giving the player more impactful choice.

Sub Rosa

In case you missed the announcement, Sub Rosa (co-authored with Melvin Rangasamy) has recently had a long awaited post-postcomp rerelease, fixing a few small issues. Sub Rosa is a ‘new weird’ fantasy mystery puzzle parser game in which you must break into the home of your rival, discover his seven secrets, and then put things back the way you found them (using various magic artefacts and a library of 101 books to help). It won the 2015 XYZZY-Award for Best Puzzles, came 6/53 in the IFComp that year and so we wanted to make sure the edition was the best it could be as people continue to play it.

Coming soon… a much delayed postcomp release of The Chinese Room, and hopefully next year one or two games that have been on hold while I’ve worked on Lies Under Ice: one in Twine and one in Gruescript!


Lies Under Ice is coming out imminently, and the first three chapters are available to demo!


Could it have illustrations?


There’s no technical reason why not. It’s just expensive!

Another update: My interview about the game is live!


Lies Under Ice is now out. It’s a huge interactive sci-fi novel published by Choice of Games. Think Red Mars via the Santaroga Barrier. More details here:


Hmm, looks nice! When I played through all the choicescript games, it was pretty easy to tell early on if a game would be fun or not based on its stats screen and the first few choices. Sometimes they’d surprise me later on, but usually if it started bad it stayed bad.

This one looks good! The choices look easy to differentiate and seem like they’d have understandable consequences, while having the possibility of surprises:

The stats seem fairly easy to differentiate:

especially since one of the choices specifically showed you as lying or not. So based entirely on first impressions, this looks great!


Thanks, I appreciate your first impressions. I had tried to incorporate your reflections on stat disease. Because some of them from their name could be a little ambiguous (Control, say) or abstract (Application/Theory) I went a little bit extra and included a concise guide.


The latest game I’ve worked on, Moondrop Isle, has launched. It’s a game where you explore an abandoned theme park on an island, and discover the secrets therein. It’s made with an amazing group of authors. It’s the brainchild of Ryan Veeder (who talks about some of the inspiration for the game’s collaborative interlinking structure here), and we worked alongside Nils Fagerburg, Zach Hodgens, Jason Love, Mark Marino, Carl Muckenhoupt, Sarah Willson, and Caleb Wilson.

Although it’s a multi-author game like the IF Whispers games or Cragne Manor, it has a lot more cohesiveness to the experience. It all adds up together, with secrets that are uncovered and puzzle chains that span across its many parts. Still, each of the zones has its own distinct personality, from Carl’s expansive shore (including some positively Gostakian puzzles), to Zach’s twisty 90s mall.

I’ve just written a blog post just now about urban exploration in adventure games, inspired somewhat by my experience working on the game, and my own history of going where I’m not meant to be.