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Fast Paced Indie Games

Grappling Hook Now Only $14.95!
After analyzing the sales of the last weekend, I decided to lower the regular price of Grappling Hook to $14.95 / 12.95 € / 11.95 GBP!

Buy Grappling Hook

New Update Soon
There will be an update this week, that will improve the guiding, add more story-elements to the game, and improve some other parts.
Feel free to send suggestions to:

Grappling Hook - 50 % Off This Weekend!

Grappling Hook is 50% off this weekend on the Grappling Hook website.
The game is available at the price of $9.99 until Monday, cut from its regular price of $19.95.
Grab the Grappling Hook and have fun!

Laura Shigihara, a game designer and the composer of the “Plants vs. Zombies”-music, asked me about the level design process and I want to share this with you.

1. The Idea
Every puzzle, situation, or experience for Grappling Hook started with a simple separate idea.

My first puzzle ideas had been straightforward. I just thought about, how the Grappling Hook could be used.

Some puzzles are inspired by other games, like Mirrors Edge, Portal, Braid, Super Mario, …
This is interesting for me, because the game mechanics are very different and it is somehow an experiment, where I want to see, if the grappling hook is powerful enough to solve these situations.
The “Compactor” level for example, was inspired by Super Mario and Star Wars.

All of my favorite ideas for puzzles were born during playing. I love to watch how other people play the game. In the first month, almost every tester played the game different. Even later some testers explored new ways, how to use the Grappling Hook.
It also happened more than a few times, that I explored a new move/trick just by chance. The strong use of air-control to jump around corners, accelerating with the hook just by clicking for half a second, or “bouncing” off walls are some of those tricks.
This was always most exiting, because the game was already able to perform these tricks, but I didn’t know it was possible. The exploration of these new possibilities and later creating quests, that required the “new” features to solve the quest, was really a lot of fun.

2. The Sketch
For most puzzles I’ve created a simple sketch.
These are some of the first sketches with level ideas I’ve made for Grappling Hook:
Everything blue is level architecture. Red marks surfaces, where you can use the hook. Green is the path of the player or how he has to use the hook. Z is the target ( German: Ziel ).
At this time no dynamic level elements were planned and I have not even thought about a concept for the level-editor.
continue reading…

The level-editor tutorial for Grappling Hook is available:
Tutorial: How to Create Levels for Grappling Hook?

It explains everything you need to know, to create levels that use all features of Grappling Hook. You can even add your level with a screenshot and challenges to the game-menu like the original ones!

Please ask questions and give feedback in the forum.

I’m a student, not rich, without a second job, and without a publisher, but I love to create games.
So my project-budget for Grappling Hook was almost zero, but fortunately, there are some great freeware and open source projects.
I will present you every tool that I have used during the development of Grappling Hook.

I already wrote an article about, how great Java is for game development and my opinion has not changed since then.
You can find the article here.

Eclipse is a great free IDE. It offers syntax-highlighting, code-completion, refactoring-tools, a debugger, Java-doc-generation, good search-tools, code-formatting, neat-project-overviews and a lot more.
I had to work with Visual Studio and I wished every day, that it would be at least half as good as Eclipse. With Visual Assist X things get a lot better, but you have to pay for it.
Good alternatives: NetBeans

The jMonkeyEngine is a general purpose engine written in Java. It is build on top of LWJGL and offers a scene-graph and many cool features, for example shaders, terrain, particles, shadows, many model formats .
Some features are missing like a good physics integration, but the community is working hard on it. The community is one of the best I have ever seen. They are active and very helpful.
Beside Grappling Hook, there are other commercial projects using the engine, like Mad Skills Motocross or Bang Howdy.
When you are looking for a free engine to develop a game, you should definitely evaluate the jMonkeyEngine.
Good alternatives: Unity, Panda3D, Ogre3D
continue reading…

The first draft of the tutorial for the level editor is available.

Level Editor

Some advanced sections are still missing.
Please don’t hesitate to ask questions about the level-editor.
I will answer them as soon as possible and update the tutorial.

Grappling Hook Version 1.06 is available, both demo and full-version.
When you are an owner of the full version, you can download the new version here.
Your savegames will be not affected by an update.

New Level

Changes Since Version 1.05:

  • Eight new levels! These levels are especially for players, who already played through the other 22 and are looking for new challenges. Some of the new levels are non-linear, so you will be free to decide, what to do next. The new levels also feature puzzles, where you have to use the Grappling Hook in entirely new ways. Of course, there are also challenges for every new level.

  • The level editor is now fully functional and included in the full version of the game. It is now possible for everyone to include levels in the game, so they are selectable in the menu. A tutorial how to create new levels and how to add them to the game will be released within this week.

  • The developer-mode can be enable in the game options. There will be also a hint in the HUD, when it is enabled.
  • The values of the challenges for every level are now visible in the level selection screen.
  • The background-size of all on-screen-messages fits now to the amount of text.
  • You can switch now between hardware or software sound, when you experience any problems with one of them on your machine.
  • You can choose now, if you want to visit the games website, when quitting the demo.
  • Fixed a bug, that prevented the game running on 64 bit machines.
  • Fixed a bug with e-mail-addresses that contained a “+”.

Grappling Hook Demo

Progress with Level-Pack
As already announced eight additional levels for Grappling Hook will be released with the next update. That means the full version will contain 30 levels.
The first version of all new levels is finished. I’ve create nine, but will drop one of them, because it doesn’t meet my quality standards.
Some of the new levels are entirely non-linear, so you will be free to decide, what to do next.
The new levels also feature puzzles, where you have to use the Grappling Hook in entirely new ways. They are also harder than the other levels.
Polishing, testing, and improving the levels will take a few more days. Stay tuned!
This is a screenshot of one of the new levels:

New Review

The developers have done a great job of throwing out new challenges, with something new coming at you at all times. [..] the game does a wonderful job with the first-person point of view and creates a surprisingly immersive environment. Pair that with smart puzzles and plenty of fast action and you’ll stay grappling for a very long time!

Jay is Games
Please vote with some mushrooms for Grappling Hook, when you are already on the site.

Windows & Mac Version Available via GamersGate
You can buy Grappling Hook now in the GamersGate store. Some of you may prefer this.
GamersGate is a great company. The staff is helpful, responds quickly, and I really like them. They are one the most indie friendly online distributors.
I’m also in touch with some other distributors and hope to release Grappling Hook on their platforms within the next weeks.

Where have you bought games online?
What is your favorite online game store?

Some Windows users reported crashes or problems that were related to the sound-system. This is fixed now. Please uninstall the demo or full-version and install the new version, when you have experienced startup-crashes or were only able to play the game without sound.
Uninstalling the game will no affect your savegames. The new version does not include any other changes, than this fix.
You can get the new Windows demo here and the new full version for Windows here.

Thanks for your help Marc, Simon, and Tony.

Grappling Hook is available on Mac!
Both demo and full-version are available on Mac.
Every owner of a Grappling Hook copy can play the game on every supported platform.
When you own Grappling Hook for Windows and want to play it on your Mac, you can download the Mac version here.

Grappling Hook Demo

Thank you Aaron, Heiko, Norman, Skye, Stephan, Tobias, and Tony for your help and advice!

Eight Free Additional Levels Soon
I’m working on a free level-pack for the full game. It will be released within the next two weeks and will include eight new, unique, and challenging levels.
Some of the new levels are entirely non-linear, so you will be free to decide, what to do next.
The new levels also feature puzzles, where you have to use the Grappling Hook in entirely new ways.

New Review
Bytejacker reviewed Grappling Hook in their latest episode:


Thank you Anthony and Jonathan!