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September 18, 2021
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James Hicks's Blog


James wrote his first text adventure in the 80's, aged ten. It was awful, but popular around the house. Building on this success he wrote am ANSI BBS door game called Mania in the mid 90's. Mania was a text adventure comedy dungeon hack and slash where you could have up to 255 gory wounds at any given time (a spoof on the industry standard hitpoints - you could have 17 broken arms and festering gashes on your neck - any unhealed wound could become graphically infected) and your daily turns were limited by sanity which ticked down while in the dungeon.

Building on this game's complete lack of commercial success, he turned his hand to business IT, working as a "make things work" consultant for the rest of the 90's before founding an ISP in 1999. Building on this ISP's lack of success he continued with several more businesses based on software projects - sharing internet in hotels, document management and expert systems, before moving to corporate and government Systems Administration, Database Administration, Security and Disaster Recovery before finally moving into team leadership and eventually IT Management.

In Febuary 2013, fed up with being well paid, supported and appreciated in the corporate world, he quit his management role, said goodbye to eighteen staff and began working on the ineptly titled Ascent: The Space Game. He has described this move as "by far the stupidest thing I've ever done, but it's way too much fun not to do it"

A-TSG is quite possibly the first MMO to be released to the public within a year of full time development commencing, the first MMO to be developed (both client and server) by a single developer, and based on virtual space alone by far the largest computer game ever built. Despite these idiotic goals, players are surprisingly enjoying themselves in the game and it has gathered a cult following as a web game, before finally being released for PC on

You can check out James' latest moronic bugs and annoy him on the forums at


Member Blogs

Posted by James Hicks on Mon, 24 Nov 2014 03:52:00 EST in Business/Marketing, Console/PC, Indie, Social/Online
Like most Indie games, we didn’t get Big Press coverage, so what we saw is probably a good example of what most can expect, what we did is most likely what you need to do to to succeed, and you can probably learn from our mistakes.

Posted by James Hicks on Mon, 29 Sep 2014 01:08:00 EDT in Design, Programming, Console/PC, Indie
James explains how Ascent: The Space Game's new colony engine can handle giant cities without skipping a beat.

Posted by James Hicks on Mon, 05 May 2014 12:33:00 EDT in Design, Programming, Console/PC, Social/Online
Almost every game published to date, from AAA titles to the smallest Indy bash-together is limited in performance in some way by CPU power. But what we mean by that is that they're all single threaded. This is a huge waste of CPU power - and potential.

Posted by James Hicks on Thu, 10 Apr 2014 10:19:00 EDT in Design, Programming, Console/PC, Indie, Social/Online
James talks technical but plain english on how one person can develop 270,000,000,000 game zones in a month without storing a single byte until a player visits one.

James Hicks's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 11/24/2014 - 03:52]

It 's possible but you ...

It 's possible but you need to pick your team pretty carefully - there are a bunch of skillsets required that don 't normally come together in one or two people. r n r nIn terms of technology though, it 's now quite possible to build and operate one with ...

Comment In: [Blog - 09/29/2014 - 01:08]

I 'll answer in order ...

I 'll answer in order : r n r n1. One reason there are five super buildings was the vertex limit. When the first one is out of vertex space, the process moves onto the second etc. r n2. The cost is almost exclusively borne by the processing thread, so ...

Comment In: [Blog - 05/04/2014 - 07:31]

I think you 're definitely ...

I think you 're definitely onto something there, but don 't beat yourself up too hard - the visitors you 're getting now might be mostly from articles etc about your game or your own sites, who go to the page with the specific intention of voting for you. r ...

Comment In: [Blog - 05/05/2014 - 12:33]

That 's exactly the kind ...

That 's exactly the kind of fresh, wacky idea this enables