Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

About Cliff

Cliff Harris is a 52 year old Game Designer and programmer from the UK. In previous lives, he worked as a Boat-Builder (yes really), a guitar teacher and on stock market trading floors, where he got shouted at by city traders as he did IT support. He also worked as a game programmer for Elixir Studios, and then as an AI programmer at Lionhead where he worked on ‘The Movies’. For the last dozen or so years, he has worked from home for his own one man company – Positech Games, making quirky and original strategy and simulation games.

In 2021 Cliff started a new company called Positech Energy, with the aim of building small solar farms in the UK. The first positech energy solar farm should be built in Q2 2022.

Cliff has two cats, and collects sci-fi weapons, and one day aims to be able to play part of ‘the trilogy suite’ by Yngwie Malmsteen. He rants a lot about various game related topics, renewable energy and electric cars. Cliff lives in a very old house in rural England, mostly surrounded by fields.

29 thoughts on About Cliff

  1. Hi Cliff … Your name is similar to Cliff Burton, a man of Metallica .. peace man ..
    When I look to your web site, I think “oh.. a game designer, oneman, like me..”. Cliff. I am a graphic game designer. When I bought my Amiga 500 computer and see “Shadow of the Beast” game on that, (That was the first Freak), I start graphic design/programming. After Amiga , on PC, I focused on graphic. Lots of softwares and lots of games. So I want to working with you in graphic design and ask help to guide me how can I start programming for game. I know python but, because I am a January born person (!), I need a Master to guide me. Here is my web site: and if you type `Emperor Katax` on any search engine, you find lots of profiles from me. Also I have many ideas about game story and game genres. My favorite style is Strategy and Artistic First Person (F.E.A.R, XIII, Ghost Recon and Unreal 2).
    Cliff for many years we work alone and have a wealth of experiences. Did you remember Soldier of Fortune 1 .. Did you remember Lemmings? … Did you play Dune or Dune based story ? ..
    Cliff I`m so interested to work in this case and I believe we can do a miracle .. Please send me a massage.
    Cool .

  2. Why dont everyone just sell their games on the net, and save all the Management/shipping cost and so on, I`ll bet that 50% of the earnings goes to other than the game devlopers. so make a Webshop directly from the makers of the game (with long great demos of the game) and in stead of 60$ it could be 30$ (and the makers will still earn the same.) Mutch greater prize, and i wil go from pirate to legal buying games.

  3. Cliff,
    Just a brief note… You have gotten a LOT of publicity lately for your Interview with the Vampires. Great that you did this, and made me want to buy your games… but I had to look kinda hard to find what games you do/did so that I could try/buy them. Next time you do something like this, make sure you get the name of your company or at least a website in there somewhere.

    Anyway, gonna try your space trader game. Thanks!

  4. Congrats on your stance and involvement in figuring out the piracy issues. Could I suggest a paypal link for donations? I looked at your games and they are not my cup of tea. I would however like to offer a donation for your hard work. You can contact me directly to set this up. Keep up the good work. BTW, I pirate for demo purposes. If it is something I’ll play, I buy it.

  5. hey I read your article about piracy[it’s a great read I loved it], I’m here to add my 2 cents.

    A reason that stood out for me that you didn’t mention was the rarity of some games. If people tried practically every place they can think of and still not find it, there’s a good chance that torrent sites have the game. It really helps bring around popularity to a game. Take Capcom’s ‘Sweet Home’ for example, no one knew the game existed until a few people decided to translate it and host it on the internet. Now, just walk up to any resident evil fan and ask them what ‘Sweet Home’ is, you’ll be surprised by the answer.

  6. Please make a stock market simulation game, the games market is in dire need for one. Please :D

  7. hi cliff, first of all :good luck with kudos 2. Hope you sell lots of copies of it!
    have written about it briefly on my website, including links to demo and screenshots.

    I really enjoy reading your articles ( your latest one on how it feels to be an indie developer on release day is spot on) and I want permission to put them on my website (with links and credits of course) : i was thinking of a sort of “guest columnist” type of section.

    I have asked you previously about using your articles ( ie your article on recruiting graduates) which you approved of.

    best regards

    roger (editor, )

  8. I just clicked onto your site regarding piracy – are you still interested in knowing why people illegally download? I have done some research into it and am happy to share a few findings that you may find useful. I can’t see your email addy anywhere though, even though you asked to be emailed info!


    p.s. im not trying to sell you anything!!

  9. I have my considerations on your rampage to understand pirates. It was a bit out of focus if you really wanted honest opinions, but at least you made some noises.

    I took a glimpse at your games, and really im not the best guy to speak, because I prefer action titles.


    Who told that strategy must be boring? What really keeps me away from strat games is that they ARE VERY BORING.

    When you play a title such as Age of Empires, you plan the whole strategy, then the rest is merely a bonus, or in other words, just the execution of your plan. The strategy itself is the phase 1, the rest is merely watch the show.

    Try to get my point here. I mean that wont make such a difference if players could set a long path and just hit EXECUTE button…

    You ask… Why on age of empires you have your time to destroy, OR better sayin, ASK your “little cloned ants” (mean, the soldiers) to spend 2 minutes just BLAM BLAM BLAM till they destroy a facility that wont be used anymore by the enemy?

    Maybe cuz if strategy games focused EXACTLY on the view point of the GENERAL, the soldiers actions of destroying already broken facilities would be useless to be under the player´s controls.

    Then the result of that is:

    1) Use your brain, plan a nice strategy (round starts here)

    2) (round already finished, were just waiting for the end) Watch the destruction rampage as your soldiers do whatever you planned on phase 1

    I just describe that as one word: BORING.

    Im 33, and studying to be a game designer, just as you are now. Im playing since before Atari 2600, so I guess I have some background to support me.

    Why dont you add a bit of “action world” stuff? Strategy games can hold arcade portions… why not?

    World of goo is a great example of that, when it combines the need for thinking + need for acting on controls.

    The result is a game where action and mind puzzles blend each other all the time. In the contrary, we have the old starcraft, warcraft, age of empires BORING model.

    Remember above when i cited “cloned ants”, thats a weak point of that strategy model. EVERYONE LOOKS THE SAME, and you dont have any reason to care or remember anyone else.

    Goo balls? “OOOWEEE”, “YAY”, “WEEEEEM”… they are all black at 1st, but they are funny, make you remember something from your childhood, and you remember that funny quotes they say.

    NOW…. Remember COMMANDOS? To EVERY EVERY single click…. “AYE SIR”, “rOight sir”, “by yer command Sir”… I HATED THAT.

    Why dont you drive your ideas to add the action element on all the times, like goo? Why make games so impersonal (darwinia that say it)?

    And about that “fantastic experience” of making a FROG eat the fly on that IPHONE game, sincerely, if you got amazed just cuz of that, I AM sorry to say but you got a problem. Instead, why didnt you think about using the accelerometer to influence the controls, to make the frog crawl through the leaf, use your mind to go throuh the best solid ways, not getting picked by predators, finding secret spots on the trees, or jumping from leaf to leaf?

    Combine that with funny sounds, a good timing to push players to go fast and dont waste much time, and even then, using the brain to solve the puzzles?

    A straight response to that title is Donkey Kong: King of Swing for GBA. Take a look!!!! It lacks of good strategy elements, being based much more on actions. But it has that grabbing poles, just like the FROG game.

    If you could add more strategic stuff on DK´s King of swing, would be an excellent combination between action + puzzle, just like Goo is.

    Maybe the way youre driving yourself, your visions or your mood isnt placing you on a good route to make a appealing game.

    Please dont get me wrong. I just had to say it.

    Well i wrote a lot here, and surely better than that KIDS that wrote you, so if you could dedicate some minutes to write back here, id appreciate, as long as im really taking my 1st studies very seriously.

  10. There are a guy SELLING your explosion generator, among other things (that I suppose that he do not asked first to anyone…)

    Not only that, he is making your explosion generator (and the other things) stupid, offering the thing for 45Cr$ (note: Cr$ does not exist since 1994… And 45Cr$ is less than 1 cent…)

  11. Dear Sir,

    My website isn´t selling your explosion generator and other things! I put your app on CD for free. In your readme.txt: “Feel free to use this little program to make explosion texture ‘pages’ for 2D or 3D games. No royalties required, but if you use them in your game I’d love a free copy! This program is supplied as is, I make no claims that it will not harm your computer etc etc, use at your own risk, no tech support is provided. This program may not be resold, it may be redistributed free of charge on websites and by e-mail.”

    I’m selling only my library, blitzc. All other things are freeware, shareware or opensource.

    So, if you want, i can remove it from cd.

    Thanks in advance.

    My best regards,


  12. Hey there, my name is Gabriel May and I am a student at Lincoln University who is studying MA Journalism. For my final project, I have to do six articles. I have chosen to do them based on video games.
    One of the topics I want to cover is developing. Getting developers from companies like Capcom, Konami, Atlus, etc would be near impossible for me, so I’ve decided to focus on the smaller scale – independent developers.
    I’m hoping you will take your time and answer my questions. Feel free to go into as much detail as you want to.

    Anyway, here are the questions:
    1. What inspired you to start developing games?
    2. How did you get to where you are today (university course? Trial and error? Etc)
    3. What qualities – apart from decent gaming designing – and factors should you have and consider when deciding to make a game (from an independent point of view)
    4. What’s the most frustrating thing when designing a game?
    5. What’s the most satisfying thing when you’ve finished designing a game (or even during)?
    6. Where do you tend to get your ideas from?
    7. Are there times when your finished version of a game is different to what you initially planned? Is this necessarily a bad thing?
    8. Do you tend to change your ideas based on reaction from people or do you stick to what you had in mind?
    9. What factors help in making an independent game a success and stand out?
    10. Have you ever had any projects that you cancelled? If so, why?
    11. Have you had your projects altered in anyway due to circumstances (e.g. financial troubles)
    12. What genre of games (or styles like demakes for example) would you like to see being developed more?
    13. Do you think the independent community scene is thriving, diminishing or at the same level as it has been for years?
    14. Do you think projects like the XNA Creators Club Online is a good way to boost awareness to the independent scene?
    15. Do you have any other comments?

    Ignore some questions if the information is on your website ^_^

    Cheers and thanks for your patience

  13. Hi Cliff.
    I’m the editor of I wanted to share the news that your blog is a huge hit with our readers. If you haven’t checked out GamerBlips, you’ll see we’re dedicated to highlighting the best videogame content on the web every day.

    I particularly liked your link to the comic on Crispy Gamer. A funny comic and it’s nice to see you have a sense of humor about GSB!

    We’re currently contacting our most popular featured bloggers on these sites and asking them to claim their blogs. By doing so, you’re making it easier for thousands of new fans to quickly find your blog and read all your great posts.

    To claim your blog on GamerBlips you can click here:

    Once you’ve claimed your blog, you and your fans can then vote on each of your posts to ensure they’re featured the front pages of these sites. And just so you know, every post that’s featured on our front page gets moved up in the rankings on all the big search engines like Google, Yahoo, etc.

    If you have any questions about the claim process or GamerBlips email me any time. Thanks and keep up the great work!
    -Robyn Lass

  14. Hey just a quick thanks for your explosion generator program. Very cool stuff. I am using it a lot :)

    Have you messed with XNA at all? I was doing freeware PC games and managed to sell one to a publisher, but this is infinitely more gratifying making games on the Xbox 360. I just made a simple Arkanoid-type game as a first project to get my feet wet and sold over 100 copies in about a week. Not a lot by industry standards but pretty freaking awesome by my own :D

    The community could use more talented guys, so give it a shot if you haven’t already!

  15. Hi Cliff

    Many thanks for the explosion sprites. I am working on a Iphone/Ipod game and these saved me loads of time and effort.

    kind regards


  16. Cliff!

    This is probably one of the best games for it’s price that I have ever seen. I’ve already spent Many hours watching my Fleets crush and be obliterated by my opposition and I’d love to see further expansion of this and Happily send you money for them. I’d love to get in contact with you if you have the extra time.

    Oh and my UN For the Online Portion is TenYaiba, Bring on your best! My fleets aren’t too shabby :3

  17. Cliff,

    I’ve been hungrily awaiting the release of the mac port for GSB. But more than that, I wanted to say that it’s been really awesome watching you pull your way up through the mire of awful that can be the gaming market. Reading all about indie game developers has made me feel sorta sick to my stomach when I have to go back to the ‘triple-A’ studios and the big corporations. I’d love to have an all-indie library and I’m tired of dealing with the numerous errors built into the Microsoft console I had the misfortune of buying.

    But that’s a rant for another day. You’re across the ocean, but I’d like you to know that your work is both significant and appreciated- good games are in such short supply and I know my brother and I will love GSB when we can get it to function on our Mac. We’ll buy it when we have the money and it’s out, and that’ll be that. Thank you very much for your time and your work in making these great games. Please don’t stop making them unless it becomes absolutely necessary or you grow bored with it. The only thing more important than these games would be your continuing success and happiness in what you do, so I’d totally understand.

    (Please make a GSB Mac port before you leave off game-making. <3)

    Luck and happiness in all you do and dream,

  18. I recently bought GSB on Steam (for the spectacular price of 6.24 for game+all DLC’s) and I am utterly impressed. The gameplay is unique, the battles are epically gratuitous and full of LASER-DEATH, and I love fine-tuning my ships to bring lasery judgement upon all of my cowering, useless, un-skilled foes. Keep up the good work, and I look forward to any new content added.

  19. HELP! I just bought the game online and in my hurry misspelled my email as

    I bought this for my husband and can’t figure out how to contact Cliff to resolve this!!!!


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