Neo Chess

Well, this is it. I am officially declaring that I am never going to finish Neo Chess. I spent a long time getting the game to where it is now, but I don't have the motivation to finish it off, because there are just so many other interesting things to tinker with.


Here is a basic recap about the game:

About a two years ago I decided I wanted to make my own game and was sifting through all my ideas when I thought of an idea me and a friend had come up with one night. It seemed small enough to be accomplishable by a single person, but was complex enough to keep my interest. As pretty much everyone who’s started their first game will tell you, it’s a lot more work than you imagine. I’ve worked as a programmer at Transmission Games, working on big budget titles, but in full swing I think there was around 80 – 90 people working on that. The little things that were constantly being done by different people at Transmission were taken for granted, and it dawns on you that every single problem in the game is now your responsibility.

For the first few months making the game was my life as I threw everything into it. I was in one of three states, working on my game, at my job thinking about my game, or dreaming about my game. Nothing else. Despite being mentally willing to devote so much time to the game, staying up until all hours for months took its toll and I eventually needed a break. So for the last 18 months or so, I’ve been off and on with it, adding a couple of features, then taking another break. I have no plans to come out of break mode again for it.

Enough with the boring history lesson, what about the game?

The idea is this…

Each player starts of with a limited amount of cash, and a full set of normal chess pieces. Currently it’s limited to two players on a normal board, but I had an idea to allow for up to four players (Two teams) on a modified board. Each turn the player has one of three choices…

  • Move a piece
  • Upgrade a piece
  • Use an ability

Moving a piece is pretty self-explanatory…I hope, so lets move on.

The original VB6 monstrosity,  Hey, I was young!

One of the modifications to the original chess will be to upgrade a piece. The regular backline pieces (i.e. Rook, Knight etc.) start on level 1, and have the ability to be upgraded to a level 3 for a certain amount of cash. Upgrades will allow your piece to move further or in other directions, or have other particular abilities such as being able to jump pieces, move other directions and give new attacks.

Pawns can also be upgraded into a host of brand new piece types, which can also be levelled up. I’ll leave the details to another post.

Abilities are another addition to Neo Chess. They can be used on differing things, depending on their class, all requiring cash to use. The three classes of ability are…

  • Player Ability
    • Spend some cash to either give yourself some benefits, or make life harder on your opponent(s)
  • Piece Ability
    • These allow you to either give one or more of your pieces a temporary boost, for example make you piece move further for the next 3 turns, or you can use them on enemy pieces, and for example freeze one of their pieces for the next few turns.
  • Tile Ability
    • These abilities are more player agnostic, and will affect players equally. Some of the abilities are drop tiles, where some of the tiles are temporarily removed from the board, so only certain pieces can jump over them, or they could allow a piece to be safe from harm while standing on that tile.

Ability icons:

FortifyFreezeInvincibleAbility LockDouble costSlowwalkthroughTile dropTile freeze Tile slowTile walkthrough


This was a prototype of the walking animation. It was tough to get something to look like it is walking when it doesn't have legs, but I was pretty happy with how it turned out.

Level 3 pawn

This is what a fully upgraded pawn would have looked like
Level 3 pawn

Chris Dempsey