Glitch desert

On Tuesday, Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield and three partners, as well as a small staff of full-time employees and contract illustrators and writers, are publicly announcing the online social game, Glitch, that they've been developing since last March. Their start-up, Tiny Speck, has been largely under the radar since its founding last March.

Since May, CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman has been visiting with the team for a behind-the-scenes story about the project.

This gallery contains a series of concept images from the game's development, as well as screen shots from the latest versions of Glitch, which is scheduled to go into private alpha testing starting Tuesday.

The game takes place inside the memories of 11 giants, far in the past, and players must try to grow a bright future through a series of puzzles, quests and social interactions.

A very important element of the game is its many aesthetic styles, each of which was created by a different illustrator.

This image, like several others in this collection, is one of several illustrations compositions in development that Tiny Speck is considering or is in the process of building out as location styles in the game.
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Photo by: Tiny Speck / Caption by:

Glitch logo

The logo for Glitch, at least as it appeared when the game was announced and put into alpha on Tuesday.
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Photo by: Tiny Speck / Caption by:

Level design and decoration editor

A screenshot of the location decorator or "locodeco" application, an internal tool used for level design and decoration.
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Photo by: Tiny Speck / Caption by:

Egg plant

A screen grab of the finished egg plant, as it appears in game. This specimen is almost fully mature and in near-perfect health. Egg plants only grow underground. Their eggs can be eaten or used in recipes, and they are also the source of all animals in the game: by seasoning an egg with particular combinations of other ingredients and taking it to a chicken for incubation, a player can create any of the animals in the game.
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Photo by: Tiny Speck / Caption by:

Tree concept sketches

A scan of a notebook page showing early sketches from various plants
and trees in the game, including the egg plant, spice plant, bubble tree and gas plant.
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Photo by: Tiny Speck / Caption by:

Enchanted

This image is one of a series of illustration comps in development that Tiny Speck is considering or is in the process of building out as location styles in Glitch.
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Photo by: Tiny Speck / Caption by:

Wall of Post-its

The Tiny Speck team was geographically dispersed, with the founders living and working in home offices in Vancouver, British Columbia, San Francisco, and New York.

On a regular basis, the team--the founders and employees--would gather for off-site meetings. This photo, taken at a San Francisco off-site in January, reflects the ideas of four days of intense work by the team.
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Photo by: Tiny Speck / Caption by:

Stewart Butterfield

Flickr and Tiny Speck co-founder Stewart Butterfield.
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Photo by: kris krug / Caption by:

Tiny Speck home page

Tiny Speck's home page, which until Glitch's formal unveiling, has revealed almost nothing about the company. The page allowed anyone interested in finding out what the company was working on to sign up to join the alpha or beta testing.
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Photo by: Tiny Speck / Caption by:

Clues

For those who took the time to indicate that they want to be part of the testing group for Tiny Speck's project, the company provided a small list of links that offered veiled clues as to what the project was all about.
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Photo by: Tiny Speck / Caption by:

Glitch still yay

Tiny Speck bought Glitch.com in January for a low-five figures sum. Once the company took possession of the domain, it had nothing on it but the word "yay!" This screen shot was taken on February 2, a week before the official launch of Glitch.com and the beginning of alpha testing for the game.
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Photo by: Tiny Speck / Caption by:

Tiny Speck testing survey

To Tiny Speck, it is important that those participating in the alpha test be the kind of people that are likely to provide the most valuable feedback. As a result, the company asks anyone interested in being part of the alpha to fill out a survey that reveals their interests and their potential to help the team make Glitch as strong as possible.
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Photo by: Tiny Speck / Caption by:

Ix Style

This image is one of two pre-alpha screen shots in this gallery that shows parts of the Glitch game client. In this one, an avatar is simply standing around inside the game.

The screen shot shows a placeholder avatar, not the kinds of characters that players will actually be able to create in the game.
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Photo by: Tiny Speck / Caption by:

Making example

This image is one of two pre-alpha screen shots in this gallery that shows parts of the Glitch game client. In this one, an avatar is about to start making something.

The screen shot shows a placeholder avatar, not the kinds of characters that players will actually be able to create in the game.
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Photo by: Tiny Speck / Caption by:

Nightly illustration composition

This image is one of a series of illustration compositions in development that Tiny Speck is considering or is in the process of building out as location styles in Glitch.
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Photo by: Tiny Speck / Caption by:

Psyche Ruins style

This image is one of a series of illustration compositions in development that Tiny Speck is considering or is in the process of building out as location styles in Glitch.
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Photo by: Tiny Speck / Caption by:

Skill tree

An early version of the skill tree (cropped to fit on the screen), showing relationships between skills and their prerequisites. Players choose a new skill to unlock each time they level up.
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Photo by: Tiny Speck / Caption by:

Stewart and tin

A copy of Stewart Butterfield's unusual resignation letter to Yahoo. It shows his unique brand of humor and he said it was meant merely to give Yahoo's human resources team something to talk about.
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Photo by: Tiny Speck / Caption by:

Substrata

This image is one of a series of illustration compositions in development that Tiny Speck is considering or is in the process of building out as location styles in Glitch.
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Photo by: Tiny Speck / Caption by:

Game Neverending home page

As Flickr historians will recall, the photo-sharing service emerged from the online social game, The Game Neverending. Though the team behind that project set it aside to work on Flickr, they never let go of their desire to build such a game.

This is a screen shot of Game Neverending's home page.
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Photo by: Tiny Speck / Caption by:

Game Neverending paper

"Paper was the main [(Game Neverending] currency," wrote Cal Henderson on his Game Neverending Museum site, "and could be transformed a lot. The above is a transformation matrix which i *think* is complete.

"Sheets, quires and even reams of paper grew on paper trees throughout the world.

"Red paper grew in the firefields. Yellow paper grew in the desert. Blue paper grew in City Undersea. Green paper grew in the swamplands. Brown paper grew in treehouses. Purple paper did not grow anywhere, but could be sold for 5,000,000 shekels per sheet."
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Photo by: Tiny Speck / Caption by:

GNE Interface

The Game Neverending interface.
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Photo by: Tiny Speck / Caption by:
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