8th Dec 2010
I am very pleased to announce that we have finally shipped our new game: Cat Astro Phi. This has been a long, drawn-out development process. Not so much because of the game itself. Although I did fall foul of constant feature-creep. But because so many other things interrupted it: My most insane period at work all year, the birth of my daughter, a huge 5-game release project for the BBC, and loads of other things. All fighting for a slice of my time.
But I finally battled through and got the game into a state where I felt it was nearly complete. Then I showed it to a few friends, and the reaction was awesome. Adam Atomic told me “I LOVE THIS GAME it is like sci-fi Link’s Awakening i am like enthralled by this“. Tom Fulp emailed and said “I just played through, killed the robot and got left behind on planet 4. It was mesmerizing!“, and people I work with and respect highly were also very enthusiastic. So I knew I had something good on the boil. It’s so easy to lose sight of that when you’re deep in the game. For you, you almost hate the sight of it, and it just doesn’t excite you any longer. Know what I mean? But to have people like Adam, Tom and Chris say really positive things gave me that belief in the game back again. Enough to fight through and finish.
And finish I did The game is now up on NewGrounds (who also sponsored it) and will be front-paged today. There are 11 Medals for you to unlock, some of which are easier than others, and a host of easter eggs to find. Plus of course there is this amazing soundtrack too by Rich Vreeland! You just have to check it out, or buy the digital remix album. At $3 it’s a steal!
Right now I’m going to have a bit of a rest, and take in the feedback and comments the game receives. I may make a few tweaks based on them, but essentially I now consider this game finished. And that’s a wonderfully liberating feeling Atari 16k contest here I come!
5th Nov 2010
Cat Astro Phi is a game Ilija and I have been working on, and tinkering with, for the past month or so. I always wanted to make a Gameboy Classic game, back in the day, but was too young and never got the chance. This changed when in August my main desktop PC died. While I waited 6 weeks for a replacement all I had access to was a very basic laptop. No Flash IDE, no Photoshop, no SoundBooth. Just really basic software and not much grunt power. So I thought it’d be fun to try and create a game, in the style of a Gameboy Classic, as all I had access to were super-limited apps anyway. So I restricted myself to those limitations – a resolution of 160 x 144, only 4 colours on-screen, 3 channel chip music, 8×8 tile sprites (or similar). It was a fun experience
Well one thing lead to another, and here we are two months later and Cat Astro Phi is done! Ilija has worked his usual pixel magic on the graphics and music, and together we’ve built a 3-level action adventure game. The blurb goes something like this …
“An unfortunate accident leaves your pet cat stranded. Explore and battle your way through three hostile alien planets. Each with their own puzzles, traps and inhabitants to encounter.
Created in the style of Gameboy Classic games, Cat Astro Phi features stunning pixel artwork and authentic sounds through-out. Three planets, with interactive story sequences between them, leads the player on a journey – as they explore the levels, interact with the environment, solve puzzles, hack lazer walls, explode bombs, avoid sentry guns and blow stuff up! All while searching for their missing pet cat. “
The game is in active bidding here on FlashGameLicense. If you’re a sponsor / portal then join in Fellow FGL devs can also play the game there.
The rest of you will have to wait until it’s released into the wild I’m afraid. At which point I’ll do a proper dev write-up. Until then I’ll leave you with a couple of screen shots (click for full size).
Am glad to finally have this done It’s been too long since we released anything (6 months), but brand new babies will do that to your productivity!
26th Jun 2010
After what feels like an age, Ilija and I are pleased to announce that our game Quartet is finally released to the wild, ready for you to play!
Although development of the game was very rapid (we had the whole concept, art and core game up and running inside of 24 hours) the sponsorship process on this one was anything but. As with most of our games we listed it on FlashGameLicense.com. The process started well, and a mini bidding-war broke out between Gimme5games and MiniJeugos. In the end we selected a bid from MiniJeugos, as although Gimme5 had bid higher, they gave us the ability to run our own ads. So we happily selected them as the winning bid, sent them a friendly message and waited…
… and waited, and waited. After a week we sent them another message on FGL. Nothing. A few days later we tried again, but still they refused to get back to us. Eventually after 2.5 weeks with not so much as a peep from them, we had had enough. Every single message we sent them was civil and polite, but what was so annoying is that we knew they were logging into FGL every day, because we could see their “last logged in” dates. Which basically meant they were choosing to ignore us, which is incredibly unprofessional. We asked FGL to step-in and take action, but they failed to respond to us either.
In the end I contacted the other bidder on the game, Gimme5, explained what had happened and offered them the game instead. They replied the same day, thankfully still wanted it and we took it from there. Our dealings with Gimme5 were fast, professional and courteous. They were quite precise about certain integration features, but it was all to do with their branding placement (they weren’t cheeky enough to start asking us for gameplay changes, which an amazing amount of sponsors do!). So there was a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, but no worse than I’ve experienced with any other sponsor, and the game is live on their site today.
While we were integrating the Gimme5 API/branding, FGL did get back to us. They weren’t able to offer any explanation as to what had happened with MiniJeugos, but we were at least able to cancel our agreement and transfer it to Gimme5. To this day MiniJeugos haven’t so much as offered a single message to us, not even an apology, which is quite incredible. So there we have it… I personally know a number of devs who have dealt successfully with them, but they totally failed for us – so if you are accepting a bid from them on FGL you may want to fire them a PM first, just to check they really mean it. Otherwise it could mean weeks of delay and wasted time trying to sort it out.
12th Jun 2010
Ok so maybe we’re sleeping with the devil somewhat in releasing our game Quartet for an Apple device But it’s fun, free and TGC have done a good job converting it.
They added a nice feature where you can import a photo from your camera allowing you to use your own faces. Which actually makes the game quite fun (and harder if the faces all look similar!)
We aren’t totally happy with the way the graphics scaled, but we just didn’t have time to modify them (if you look at the Credits screen you’ll see we fixed that one, but got no further). So the lovely pixel graphics look very blurry. But, it’s free, has cool Open Feint integration and I feel is good for killing a few minutes.
The full Flash version will be out very shortly, as we’ve signed an agreement with Gimme5Games to sponsor it.
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