While the purpose of a key in the structure of a game is to slow you down, there’s a joy in acquiring each one. Here’s a collection of keys from my favorite video games in one joyful illustration.

Video game key fanart zelda mario kingdom hearts

And here’s a numbered key (no pun intended) if you’re truly bored and want to match each key to the correct game.

video game key silhouettes

New Game – Trouble on the Tracks

I’m excited to announce my completion of a brand new game, Trouble on the Tracks! Made in 48 hours for the 31st Ludum Dare competition, it’s a runner/platformer game themed around an old movie theater. Play it on my website! (It’s Flash, sorry iOS people).

Old Movie Marquee by Ruthie Edwards

Over the last few months, I’ve been slowly learning HaxeFlixel, a fascinating open-source toolkit based on Haxe. At first having no visual interface was extremely cumbersome, as I’m used to very visual IDEs like Unity or Flash Professional. But with the help of Will, cofounder of RVA Game Jams, and countless internet references, I got used to placing each object by code rather than by hand. Now that I understand the language, I like it a lot more because it’s always accurate and there are lots of cool features built into the engine (gravity, acceleration, camera shakes, easing controls, etc).


Trouble on the Tracks Game

The graphics were done in a little Mac app called Pixen that I picked up this summer for $10. It’s great not only for creating pixellated artwork like the backgrounds, but for animating sprites too! It’s got everything you need in a pixel-editing app and nothing superfluous, which is why I enjoyed it so much.


Trouble on the Tracks Game

Again thanks to Will, I picked up a new sound-editing tool this summer: MilkyTracker. Inspired by old-school audio trackers, its interface is gaudy if not totally esoteric. However, it’s great for creating songs based on short samples– with a sample editor and an instrument editor where you can create your own waveforms, you can make video-game-esque music quickly and easily (once you figure the interface out). I based my NES-inspired soundtrack on “The Easy Winners” written by Scott Joplin.


Trouble on the Tracks Game

Overall, Trouble on the Tracks has been my most technical game yet, crafted entirely in code. I learned a new programming statement, a for loop. Basically instead of counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and so on, you can just say for (i in 1…55) and it does the work for you. Programming isn’t so complicated when you learn some shortcuts. I’m thrilled with the way this project turned out and can’t wait to work in HaxeFlixel again!

Dash – A New Game

The guys at Unnamed Studio invited me to collaborate on a new game: Dash. It’s a beat-based game with easy controls and a gorgeous landscape. I’m working on animating elements in the background and pieces of the interface (i.e. the “game over” animation). Giuseppe is the game’s paramount programmer, and Joey is the lead designer behind the concept and the artwork. It’s been a lot of fun taking their brilliant work and elaborating/collaborating on it.

Here are a couple of “doodads” (our official term for background/foreground objects) and the “game over” screen I’ve been animating:

Snake Lake - Dash Game Dash Game by Unnamed Studio - Smoke Mountain

Dash Game by Unnamed Studio - Game Over Animation


Ludum Dare: Teddy & His Cat

It’s been quite a weekend. I’m proud to say I’ve made my very first solo game!

Teddy and his Cat - A Game by Ruthie Edwards made for Ludum Dare 29

With the help and support of everyone at RVA Game Jams, I submitted my first game to the 29th Ludum Dare Competition! The goal is to make a game, creating every asset (including graphics, code, and sound) all by yourself in 48 hours. I had a blast hanging out with other game developers at 804RVA, and I picked up a lot of knowledge and resources along the way. Galan showed me an awesome site called that I used to generate the music in the game. Momin attempted to explain to me how he was using trigonometry in his game, which went in one ear and out the other but that’s OK. Everyone else was supportive and helpful too! You can see other games RVA game jammers made for Ludum Dare at

I made the game in Flash since it’s the only thing I know how to “program” in. I use the word program VERY lightly, since I was only using the default code snippets to create “buttons” in Flash. The most challenging thing was designing the levels and getting all the art done in time. I did have to learn one new piece of code, the all important if().

Teddy and his Cat Flash Programming - A Game by Ruthie Edwards made for Ludum Dare 29

if is probably the first piece of code any programmer learns so I suppose I’m off to a good start. Hopefully I’ll learn how to do some other things, like else() one day. Until then, enjoy my dumb little game!

Click here to play Teddy & His Cat online. (Requires Flash Player)
Ludum Dare 29 page for Teddy & His Cat

Global Game Jam 2014: Menagerie

This January, I spent 48 long hours at 804RVA working on my very first video game– Menagerie. You begin life as a small creature, unknown to you what it is because of the forced 1-person perspective. Using WASD controls,  you soon discover a giraffe. You click or press the E key to “shoot,” and discover you’ve warped to the perspective of the giraffe! Looking down, you see that your old self was a turtle. You can inhabit several different animals in the game to gain new perspectives and unlock new areas of the zoo. I won’t spoil any more, but the “bonus” level in the parking lot is an absolute thrill.

Menagerie - Global Game Jam 2014

Of course, none of Menagerie would be possible without our wonderful programmer, David (his indie game Another Castle is AMAZING, check it out!). He did all the magic that lets you zoom from one creature to another. I was so excited to meet him & all the other developers there! My friend Tyler Rhodes did the incredible models & walk cycle animations for the giraffe, lion, and elephant as well as the terrain. Having Bethesda Games QA Cory on our team was really helpful too; he helped me a lot with Maya and provided insight on the gaming industry (as well as finding the obnoxious accordion music and the title). Dani and Shariq helped with the level design, and I did the environmental objects and the rest of the animal models.

The Menagerie Team - Global Game Jam 2014

We went for a low-poly look because it was quick and easy, so we could generate a lot of animals and objects in just 48 hours. I was a bit rusty at Maya, so doing animation and textures was challenging for me. The game is super funky and bizarre, and I love that I could support my team with creating all sorts of odd objects like hot dog stands, a swarm of Trabants, and a giant gorilla.

Giraffe in Menagerie - Global Game Jam 2014

The theme was “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” I’m proud to say I came up with the concept for Menagerie, but really it’s the entire team that wrote the game. We took my idea and pared it down to the essential idea (seeing things from different perspectives) and spent the next 48 hours coding and churning out 3D models.

Here’s a picture of me and Tyler demo’ing the game at Global Game Jam x Richmond, hosted by RVA Game Jams at 804RVA:

Click here to play Menagerie (web browser, Mac, or Windows).
See our Global Game Jam 2014 page for Menagerie.