Tidying the house up!

2015 was quite an interesting year! We met new people and completed lots of game-related contract jobs, which is our main goal as freelancer game developers. We certainly grew up professionally, finally embracing Trello to organize projects and Toggl to track time. We are quite happy with our workflow now!

Unfortunately, we had not much time left for our own titles. We will try to set some working hours for our own games from now on.

Updating both Slider and Oddy Smog’s Misadventure on iOS and Android has been the first step towards a tidier house. iOS versions were lagging behind, never updated to 64b, which was required by Apply a while ago. This week the update process was completed!

Oddy Smog’s Misadventure now includes a new cog and some minor bug fixes. Choose your flavor! Here are the free versions for Android and iOS.

Slider has been revamped with a new Advanced Mode for seasoned players. When reaching 25.000 points this new mode allows them to play directly in the hardest difficulty, skipping early levels. Plus, it includes two new enemies that will make things more interesting. Get it here!

We also updated some backend code to improve how leaderboards are shown and created some tools for self cross-promotion.

And sure, we should publish Rejuice! on iOS and a remake of Sound Juggler at some point, but not now.

The house is tidy enough, let’s move forward!

Rain, Sand, Stars now available for PC (Win/Mac) at Indievania

This week we released the PC version of Rain, Sand, Stars for Windows and Mac OS. We opted for Indievania, by Alientrap, due to its simplicity – creating an account and setting up a store for your game is as easy as it gets, and it even looks good! Plus, our game will be in good company with plenty of superb indie games.

There are many other options to sell your game, of course. You could simply set up a PayPal account and sell it yourself in your own site. Or you could opt  for e-commerce solutions like FastSpring, BMT Micro or eSellerate. Either way, you should choose a solution that makes it easy for potential customers to buy your game.

Indievania allows you to create a nice landing page and falls back on PayPal to complete purchases. If buyers have a PayPal account, buying a game is quick. Otherwise a guest account may be used, but they will have to enter some billing information: country, name, address, phone number… It’s not that much, but the less the better! Don’t let customers change their mind in the process!

There are rumors of a new solution, The Humble Store – already in use by the Some Big Guys (Wolfire GamesTerry CavanaghStephen LavelleJonathan Blow,LexaloffleFrozenbyte…). We’ll keep an eye on that one, too!

Meanwhile Indivania is quicker, easier, more seductive. Not good if you’re called Luke!

Try it! Get Rain, Sand, Stars here! 😀

UPDATE: Uops, not anymore. Indievania is closed 🙁

Beatfense – Alpha 2

Three main features have been added this week:

– A targeting reticle: as Beatfense will be played mainly on touch devices, it’s important to be able to seamlessly choose the Cell where you want to place an Item. So in a way similar to how Plants vs. Zombies does it, we show a cross-like reticle across the Grid. We may consider adding diagonals too…

– We have an abstract ‘Item’ object now. That is, something you are given (like Tetris pieces) and that you may place on a Cell of the Grid. For testing purposes, we have also created a random Repeater (Items that retransmit Pulse when activated) generator.

– We also decided to use a Singleton that handles and registers user interaction. This is specially useful to reduce messages between objects. Cells, for example, tell this User Interface object they are being clicked, so it stores their row and column. That way, cells will simply read this two values from the User Interface Singleton  while the mouse is being pressed. If their own row or column coincides with those stored in the User Interface Singleton, they will turn blue, shaping the targeting reticle.

Better watch it! You’ll see the reticle at the beginning, in Cyan. The ‘Next Item’ is shown on the top of the screen.  After a few Repeaters have been placed, the whole thing looks both chaotic and hypnotic! You may also notice that Repeaters can’t shoot twice during the same cycle. They have to wait for the next Pulse to be created, in order to avoid infinite loops.

We will reduce Repeater’s transmit directions to a predefined set. Choosing directions randomly increases gameplay and decision complexity: there are way too many combinations! Players must be able to learn the set of available Repeaters. That way they can create structures that require a certain Repeater, as we used to do in Tetris while waiting for the long piece.

We are also considering different layouts for the Grid: vertical? horizontal?  We’ll see!

Beatfense: a videogame for an undergraduate thesis project

One of our members, Aitor, is about to earn his Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Engineering, for which an undergraduate thesis project is required. As I hold a PhD degree in Computer Science, I will be one his project tutors. And Medusa will publish a new game before Summer! Win-win(-win)!

The project will consist on creating a video game from scratch from an idea we had a few months ago. It’s complex enough to be interesting for an undergraduate thesis project (software engineering vs agile software development, modularity, user interface design, client-server programming for  its own highscore tables…)

But it’s also a reasonably tractable project, as it will be developed by an one-man army. I’ll just guide and advise him a bit so the game is finished by April, published in May and the project properly defended by June-July.