The Furnace of Anger has finally arrived, just in time for the new year!
It feels like a great deal longer than a year ago that we passed through the Kickstarter trenches, yet the feels are still so vivid. Yes, we didn't hit our target, but I'm absolutely glad we attempted to. We learnt a huge amount and the whole thing was really an experience like no other.
So, one year later. What has changed? Where are we now? How is little FranknJohn doing? Post-Kickstarter we decided to really knuckle down and finish off the core systems. We had spent much of the prior year getting the game expo-ready (Rezzed, EGX), meaning a lot of band-aid was used and we were constantly having to clean our wounds. By Christmas, all of the hacky work was removed and the game finally made it to Alpha. We were getting closer to our goal - releasing it on Steam Early Access.
Early in the new year, we were given the opportunity to travel to Boston in March to show FranknJohn at PAX East. Wow! Our incredibly generous friends Chris and Hollie asked us to come over and share some space with themselves and some other indie devs. This was an opportunity not to be missed, for sure. But a few things stood in our way. 1. We could afford it, but only at the expense of other important stuff. 2. The game needed to be out on Early Access for it to warrant the trip. The decision ran to the wire but it happened in the end. I got to fly over alone, but I was far from it when I got there. The group were super nice and made the whole thing just so pleasant. PAX was an amazing experience and a real highlight for me in my career. If there's one thing American's exude, it's positivity. I felt so good coming home. Oh, and we had chosen to launch Early Access on the first day of PAX. Yup, that happened.
The game has been live on Steam for 4 months now and the whole experience has been eye opening. I have some tips for you if you want them, some of which we ourselves could do with listening to more often.
1. Simply launching a game on Steam does not = $$$
2. Don't expect press to write about your game
3. You need to give a reason for people to care about your game
4. If your game is rad enough, talk to an established publisher
5. Prepare for being overworked, know that it will happen, know when to take breaks
6. Listen to feedback, listen to feedback, listen to feedback
7. Target hundreds of small Twitch/ YT streamers over 10 big ones
8. Keep your community engaged - a simple tweet every day, a blog, a vlog, a devlog, any kind of log
Progress hasn't been as quick as we'd have liked. Making games is really, really hard. I'm sure you've heard this a million times, but unless you love it enough to do it for free (if you're going the indie route), I would suggest rethinking things. We've been doing it part-time for a number of years now and it's a real tough gig. Most of the team teach in various colleges in order to get by and fund ourselves and when you are the type to put 110% into everything, it can becoming a real strain. Having to jump from one train of thought to another, often times in the same day, is really quite sapping. Contrary to that, I won't deny that we are in the nice position of being able to teach the same subjects we work in, we are very fortunate.
That brings us up to today. We are half-way through the summer and development is continuing nicely. We are working on some super-fun stuff like FranknBall (which went down a treat at dubLudo) and of course progress on the Furnace of Anger, the next area, continues. We recently launched the co-op update for the game which our players really seem to dig. It's something we've wanted to put in from the start and we're so happy to see the positive reaction to it.
If you haven't checked out FranknJohn on Steam yet, check it out! You can read back over our past updates to see how the game has developed since going live, including big changes to the combat system, based on feedback provided by our early access players.
Lastly, I'd like to mention Imirt, (Irish abbreviation for the Irish Game Makers Association), a new initiative set up by Brenda Romero and a host of our best talent with the aim to creating a unified, one-stop shop for everything Irish game creator related. Similar in structure to the IGDA, creates can join for a yearly membership of a measily €20, which can be paid to any of the steering committee members (or online soon I'm sure). Any member will be able to run for election, so if you have an agenda you would like to push, this could be your chance. Check it out!
Until next time,
Paul and the team
As you know, we've been hard at work on local co-op play. Well, the time has just about come for us to release it into your grabby hands! Not stopping there, we have also revisited the core mechanic and changed how Skullcaps work in response to your valuable feedback.
Today, I want to dig into how the co-op works. On Wednesday, I'll talk about what we've done to make the core mechanics more EXCITING!
From the very beginning, we saw ourselves playing FranknJohn with a buddy. We all grew up wasting away summer holidays in front of a SNES with our friends, squirting water guns at zombies, hurling red shells and Shoryuken'ing each other in the face. It was a magic time. A time, that time itself has seemed to forgotten. We want to bring a bit of that magic back.
We've been very conscious about avoiding a 'tacked on' feel, where perhaps one player has more authority or power than the other. In FNJ, both players are equal. With the change to Skullcaps (more on this in Wednesdays post), you can adopt play styles that compliment each other. You could play it safe and use range, get up close and personal, or a mixture of the two. You must really work together to overcome the games challenges.
Here is a list of the current co-op mechanics and rule sets:
- A second player can drop into the game at any time by pressing start
- Enemy health is scaled up (this may extend to damage/enemy count)
- Enemy aggro is distance based (may change to dmg based)
- If a player dies, the living player can cast Blood Sacrifice to resurrect them - at the cost of a 50% health transfer
- Marbles are shared
- Upgrades are shared
- Game camera follows the average position of both players, no split-screen
- You can use a combination of two controllers, or one controller & keyboard/mouse.
What we plan to add in the future:
- Character selection screen - at the moment if you want to swap characters, you must swap controllers
- Co-op Skullcaps - heal/buff partner by headbutting them? Yes please!
- Mini-games - FranknFootie, FranknSumo, lot's of fun possibilities!
I hope that has given you a taste of what local co-op is like in FranknJohn. I'll be back on Wednesday to break down the combat changes with you. Things are also progressing nicely with The Furnace of Anger, the next big update after this one. We'll be sharing our work-in-progress with you over the coming weeks!
Oh! One last thing. We also took the time to upgrade to Unity 5, so you should notice some nice performance gains.
Have fun and thanks for playing,
Paul and team
How about a listen to some new music fresh off the Ben Prunty press?
The Furnace of Anger (the second of four floors) is where Dr. Harmin's creations work tirelessly to generate power for his house of horrors. It is a firey, harsh place full of giant churning cogs, bursting vents and sharp moving saws of death, inhabited by a range of angry enemies, who will stop at nothing to cut you up and burn your flesh. Enemies also have a playful feel to them, think Carnival horror, and the soundtrack really reflects that.
If you want to check out more of Ben's work, head over to www.benprunty.com or stalk him on twitter @benprunty. Here is a picture of his face.
This may just be our favourite track yet, but we'd love to hear what you think.
Remember, you can now preorder the game! Your custom will help to send us to PAX2015, where we can expose the game to a large rabid audience.
We've been super busy building the final systems for FranknJohn before it moves into alpha, so over the next few weeks we'll take a look into the design process behind them and how they fit into the game to make it better.
This week: The Hub!
When I was thinking about the level structure and character upgrade progression for the game, certain questions kept popping up. Would you be able to upgrade during gameplay? How about an upgrade interface that only appeared after completing a level? The latter seemed like the better option. After all, I didn't want the reoccurring scenario where players would collect marbles (in-game currency, no microtransactions, I promise), pause, and open the upgrade menu to spend them. This would slow down gameplay dramatically and result in an entirely different experience. It would also remove some risk/reward decision making from the player.
There wasn't just the upgrade system to consider. The Headotron, a machine where players equip new Skullcaps was also removed from the levels so that we could facilitate more Skullcap drops per level. I also wanted to implement a shortcut system to levels you had already completed. At this point it made sense to create a physical space for these systems to live. Hence the hub was born.
The hub just so happens to be hidden beneath FranknJohn's grave. Nobody will think of looking down there, right? It's broken into three wings. The first, is where you can interact with the Headotron to purchase previously discovered Skullcaps and the Surgical Table, to access the upgrade trees. The second wing, contains the access tunnels to the various floors in the game. This wing must be unlocked and each access tunnel require items to open them. Access tunnels are styled around the theme of their respective floor.
The hub doesn't just serve as a glorified menu. The hub is your safe place. A place for you to rest and muck about between levels without any threat. The last of the three wings is FranknJohn's bedroom. Here you can play around with your toys (physics objects ahoy!), admire your trophy cabinet (trinkets from fallen bosses) or simply hang out with your pet dog, Roxy.
Other playable characters will also hang out here. We are also toying with the idea of having unlockable items for the hub and there may even be some secrets to discover ;) This will be a very physical space with lot's of stuff to interact with. It's all about adding a little flavour and personality to the experience.
With all of this documented, I began work on the whitebox for the hub. Being able to visualize it is one thing. Translating it into a physical space is another.
There are so many considerations. Is the space too big or too small? Where should I place the Headotron in relation to the Surgical Table? What area will players spend most of their time in? Of course, I can't answer most of these questions without testing and feedback. So that is where it's at now. I've created a general structure and layout for everything and hopefully it will now evolve organically. I'll gradually replace the whitebox with proper geometry, art and lighting.
That's it for now, next week we'll take a look into the upgrade trees that Robby and Ralph are busy implementing.
Reminder! We have opened preorders (www.franknjohn.com) to help get us to PAX2015 next March. We need 220 sales for the trip to be feasible and so far we have sold 69! That's great going, but we need to pick up pace as we will soon have to decide on whether or not we want to secure a booth at PAX. Thanks a million to those who preordered and to those who have shared the word.
Until next week,
Hey there FranknPeeps!
You may have noticed that we've been awfully quiet around these parts lately. When our Kickstarter campaign ended all the way back in July, we all boarded a ship reminiscent of the kestral, took a trip through a worm-hole and ended up on some tiny planet that is about to be consumed by it's own dying red giant. Good thing then, that we didn't like it there anyway and are now back in the Milky Way, safe and sound on our little rotating rock.
Yep, I'm way too excited for Interstellar.
In a ways the journey we've gone through has felt a little bit like space travel. We can look through a lens and see what is in the distance, but until you actually take the journey, you have no idea what you're up against. Another day, I will open up on my experiences with Kickstarter. I think it was wise to take some distance from it and analyse it through sense rather than emotion. Today's blog is about a much happier subject!
YES! Of course we are still working on FranknJohn. You didn't think he'd stay 10 feet under forever, did you? He has questions that need answering and a burning desire to smash uglies in the face... with his face. We have been hard at work on developing the remaining game systems, which we will detail in the coming weeks (Surgical table for body modifications, upgradeable hub to name a few) and best of all, we now have a really clear vision for the game and will work tirelessly to deliver the best experience we can.
Today's blog brings with it a Quest. An epic Quest that I am issuing to you. Recently, we were invited to attend PAX15 (Penny Arcade Expo) in Boston next March. This is a HUGE opportunity for us to expose the game stateside. Of course, this costs a lot of money. Money that we would love to have. With that, we have opened pre-orders for the game!
This will grant you a Steam key for the game as soon as it launches on Early Access (early 2015) and also our eternal gratitude. You will also avail of a spiffing discount (full retail price $20/€15).
The quest is to reach 220 sales. If we hit that, one of us can go to PAX. There will be a counter updated daily on the pre-order page (www.franknjohn.com) so you can see how we're doing! You can help us greatly by simply spreading the word. We can do this together.
Until next time,
Paul and the team
We're gonna be at the world-famous Eurogamer Expo on the 25th-28th of September - That's Thursday till Sunday folks! Look for us in the Indie Chillout Zone, right next to 'Volume' by Mike Bithell and Tom Francis' new game.
We'll be showing off our swanky new level generation and new ways to pick up skullcaps!
So do come by and give us a holler! We're the guys wearing FranknJohn T-shirts (or if those don't arrive in time, FranknJohn badges :P) Seeya there!
Hey you! We have put together a handy guide for all things Kickstarter. We would greatly appreciate your support, whether it is a pledge, or simply spreading the word.
What is Kickstarter?
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform for all sorts of creative projects. In return for a pledge, you get cool rewards. It is also gives us the opportunity to build a community.
What are we looking for?
We are looking for £30,000 / $50,000 / €37,000. We are also looking to build our community to help us create the best game we can make.
How to support us?
Hop on over to our Kickstarter page, hit the big green 'Pledge' button on the right-side of the page and select the tier that tickles your fancy, or enter a custom amount. When you proceed to the payment step, either login with Facebook or create a new account.
When does Kickstarter charge my card?
You do NOT pay anything up front. The money is only taken from your card IF the campaign is successful. On the payment screen, you will see the date at which the payment will be taken, if we are successful.
Hello you! We have a favour to ask, you see, we want to make sure that we are making things just right for you. You know, exactly how you like it, Goldilocks style.
To make sure we do this, we are going to be turning to the communty to help us make important decisions and we are starting right now. Very soon, we will be launching a Kickstarter for FranknJohn, and we need your help picking the most glorious of rewards, the backer exclusive T-Shirt.
Bellow is a series of rough concepts. Jump in to our forums and let us know your favourite. In 24 hours, the most popular one will be developed by Grand Art Magus Bas in to a wonderful piece of cotton beauty.
These are rough concepts, indicative of the final design, which will probably not be pink.
Oh indie games, how we love you. Little parcels of love and art and bytes and bits. We want to play you. We want to be near you! We want you to be IN us!
Wait, that sounded wrong, let me back up.
Right now we a hard at work on FranknJohn, our own little indie cake. It’s a game with HUNDREDS of power-ups that we call Skullcaps. These Skullcaps change the game in all sorts of ways, some simple (a demons head that shoots fireballs), some strange (a space ship that warps you to a random point in the level) and some insane (a sentient bomb, that if disturbed, will destroy the universe). Designing and building them is the most fun part of making the game, but we want more.
We want you!
It doesn’t matter how weird and different your game is. It doesn’t matter that you are making a twine text adventure, we want to make it in to a Scull Cap!
Send us a Tweet and we’ll take it from there!
Let’s make something weird together!
We're still here! Things have been quiet here in blogland, take it as a sign that we have been busy! Not just a sign, we have been busy! So lets fill you all in on the latest.
Just in case you weren't able to attend State of Play last Friday, we announced who would be making the music for FranknJohn, and it is... drumroll please ...
Ben Prunty! Yes, he of FTL fame!
— Ben Prunty (@benprunty) November 29, 2013
We are super excited to hear what he comes up with, and we'll share anything we can as soon as possible!
We've submitted FranknJohn to the IGF. Wish us luck! We also were picked as one of Indie Statik's 50 Very Cool IGF 2014 Entries That We’ve Never Heard Of BatCat's Honourbound got a mention too!
At the end of September the team packed up our bags and headed over to the immense Earls Court to show off FranknJohn as part of the EuroGamerExpo. We were right beside the Chaos Engine (my 12 year old self doesn't believe me!):
It was fantastic to have so many people come and play the game, definitely the most exposure we've had to date!
So at the moment we are putting the finishing touches to the second area of FranknJohn, the Garden of Denial, and preparing ourselves for a Kickstarter campaign, starting in February! Head over to FranknJohn.com and add your email to the mailing list to be notified of the campaign.
So Ku is still hanging about on Greenlight, but we have now (thanks to your help, as well as Valve speeding things up a bit!) broken into the top 100! Thanks for your support - if you haven't voted yet, then do so immediately! Ku on Greenlight
That's all the news for now, here's Morrigan with the weather
June is an action-packed month for the bitSmithers, with three!! fun filled events taking place across the month. Starting off with ETOO, which took place in London during the 10th - 13th, this event was pegged as the 'indie gaming alternative' to the all consuming E3. We we're lucky enough to be selected alongside the likes of Gunpoint, Tengami and more awesome indie games, to show off FranknJohn. Basil and Ralph enjoyed it very much. They even got to discuss the game on livestream which we'll post it if it's made available. This event is one to watch for the future! Oh, we also had our first hands-on write up - http://indiehaven.com/etoo-previews-franknjohn/
Next up, this coming Saturday and Sunday, we will be demoing FranknJohn at REZZED, a 'PC and Indie Game Show' ran by the lovely folks at Eurogamer and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. The whole team will be making the trip and we're so very excited to be exposing the game to such a large audience, not to mention getting some hands on time with some of our most anticipated games.
Courtesy of the fine folk at Gambitious, we will be at REZZED under the same banner as some seriously high profile games ;)
Tickets are still available - http://www.rezzed.com/tickets, so if you're in the area and can make it, we'd love to see you there. We also have a fun competition we'll be running across the 2 days.
Last but not least, to round out the crazy month, is Q-CON in Belfast, taking place between 28-30 of June. It's Irelands largest Annual Gaming & Anime Convention, where our bearded hero Owen will be taking to the stage to talk about some things along with a public demo of FranknJohn. Get your tickets here - http://www.q-con.org.uk/registration. Come and say hi :)
Hope to see you guys at either REZZED or Q-CON!
Over and out,
Hey there guys. I want to let you know about something I am very passionate about. Play. I love playing and playing games. I love our little dev scene here in Ireland and it's wonderful to see it grow each year, every event I go to I am wowed by a new team or an idea. But something has been missing from our smorgasbord of gatherings and meetings and that has been play.
If I want to find a job, or get investment, or meet new team mates, or get better at coding, or find a course, there are events for me. But until now there has been nothing to address the fun and play in our creations. I am trying to change that with dubLUDO.
dubLUDO is a semi-organised event where people bring their early stage prototypes and works in progress and get other designers and developers to play them. You play other games and give (hopefully) helpful feedback. You get people to play your game and get to hear all the worst things about it. That is scary, but great and completely necessary. Its wonderful that we have been so supportive and kind to each other these last few years, but we are getting older and stronger now, and we need this to get better.
The other big danger in our community is stagnation. There is very little game design experience in Ireland and while we have been making rapid advancements we could well plateau this year. Without senior experienced artisans to turn to for advice we must embrace and be open to each other. We must lay bare our process, thoughts and methods, so that we might all learn and benefit. dubLUDO can be a forum for such discussion.
We must also look next door, to out highly experienced neighbors The UK, Scandinavia and mainland Europe is bristling with talent and experience and many of them would love an excuse to come to Dublin and meet some nice smart folks. We must engage with them, they are so close and have so much to teach us.
Finally, we must broden the discussion. Right now there are people making amazing games in Ireland that we know nothing about. Weird, crazy, mad things. I want to play them. I want to learn from them. I want to find these hidden folk and bring them into the discussion and community. We need them.
So if you are making something please bring it along. Don't be scared that is is rough and broken. That's the point! And if you know one of those mad tinkerers please point them our way.
Hello all! While we all wait with bated breath for Apple to accept Ku: Shroud of the Morrigan, instead of boring all your (ex) friends about voting for Ku on Greenlight, why not spend your time (and money) on a wholly more worthy cause. MINCE PIES!
Oh and yes, the ISCPCA will be the beneficiary of the first annual Charity Gamecraft! You can watch us all slack off via a live stream, and can donate all day for this worthy cause.
Here's the full line-up of Devs taking part:
- BatCat Games
- BitSmith Games
- Bright Head Games Studio
- Elaine Reynolds
- John Kelly
- Giant Oak Studios
- Pump Station Studios
- Super Quest
See you all tomorrow through the webcam!
We recently had some transition year students here in bitSmith Towers (namely Noah Donnelly and Tom Harris ), and while they were here they decided to put us all to shame by creating and releasing a whole game. In a week. Retires. That game, 'bitSmith Adventurez' has now been uploaded to Static Void games for you to play. It would seem nudity and burritos are a good mix, as it is also the featured game over there at the moment.
You can play it here
Hey Game Bloggers!
We are coming up to launch, so close we're sick of saying so close, but we are. So with that in mind, if you write for a games company, or keep your own blog, we would love to hear from you - we will answer most questions - just get in contact with us. We have multiple lines of communication open, including via our website, Facebook, Twitter, skywriting. We'd also love to know what you would like in your ideal press pack, telling you about the game. We probably can't do what Diablo III did but still, some cool collectables are definitely possible.
For all you non-game bloggers, are you ever interested in finding out more stuff? I was not aware of some of the sites that existed out there - some are really insightful. Here are a few we love:
GameLife on Wired.com
There are likely loads more that we aren't aware of, but these are a great start.
We are preparing our giveaway. Can't say much as yet, but it's amazing. It's an object from the game, one that is very close to Kú himself. Can you guess it? You can if you want but that's not how you're going to win it. We'll announce everything on our Facebook, both for bitSmith Games and Kú.
We still need those likes and attention! If you or any of your friends are on Steam, give us an old like. Let us join the ranks of Black Mesa, Project Zomboid, and others. Incidentally, good job, guys. That's quite awesome.
Baz will be throwing up an in-depth analysis of the Greenlight process and evolution (it's quite exciting being in it from its beginnings).
Here's one of the cut scenes from the game - pretty cool stuff!
It's not just Rooster Teeth who can do podcasts. Tonight it's all stars night: us, BatCat Games, Paddy Murphy from 2PaperDolls, Lee Cullen from theplayer.ie, and maybe some mystery guests. Who knows? We're kooky that way. Either way, more details will be up on our social networking sites, so watch this space.
Coming in November - start getting your teams together! Even though you are meant to start it there, and come up with the ideas on your own, and you do, it's a good idea to find a team in advance, know what each are like - where their strengths are and where the idea will go with them on board. Even knowing a bit of code that can do basic things (most themes are fairly inclusive, so knowing how to construct a hitting or running mechanic, for example, in advance, probably wouldn't hurt). It's more like training for it, if you don't create games that often.
Some of the comments we get are like abstract anarchist poetry. Oh (spam)bots. We do love you. We love how you are always thinking of things we may like, such as designer shoes, and presenting it in such a creative way. Your little messages brighten up our day, and the sad truth is, because your comments are so special to us, we simply are too selfish to publish them and thus share them with the world. We hope you understand. Hopefully you will find less stupid hosts at some point. Who knows, maybe they will buy your EXCITING(*)PRODUCTS. End transmission.
At bitSmith Games we like to think of Kú as having a bit of a unique visual style. We've worked really hard on this to try and make something people will like to look at and appreciate! This gives us a unique problem. As the artist on Kú, I need to try to be as consistent and on top of the art quality as much as possible. However, being a relatively new artist, I'm constantly learning more and more and trying to get better each day. This means assets built a long time ago, especially before our trip to GDC (which taught us so much) sometimes do not make the cut for the current visual standard of the game - I've had to remake many of the assets, and many many more have been cut entirely as not being up to scratch!
For example, take a look at these before and after shots. This is the same room, but we think the newer version is much more suited to the overall look of the game!
The improvements are all a mix of improved level design, improved assets and a lighting pass that I'll expand on. The less cluttered look of the second screen not only increases the visual impact of the centre-piece of the room, it also has the practical function of allowing more space for combat manoeuvres.
One of the massive visual changes we think has made a huge difference is our special, one-of-a-kind, patented, super-high-tech lighting engine :D . Our lighting engine is extremely simple. Its essentially an overlay of dark areas that do not cover the areas that should have light shining or glowing in/on them. Its like painting using shadows! Below is an early concept testing out the idea.
With a smooth gradient, this trick does a surprisingly convincing job of simulating lighting. Its not foolproof - we have to remember to limit the contrast between areas, or we'd get bits where Kú's hair is in shadow but his feet are brightly lit, which just looks weird..
However, it adds a surprising amount of atmosphere to an area. When painting or drawing, one of the things the experts always emphasise is lighting. If you get the lighting right, it can be one of the strongest visual effects in a piece. Below is a picture of an area without a lighting pass.
It's not too bad, the assets look alright next to each other and the scene is coherent. However, it feels a little bit flat. The lighting levels are too similar. But when we add a lighting pass, the scene takes on a little more life, as seen below.
We think there is a vast improvement in the second scene! We can even add in "light" - when Kú passes under the lightshaft seen in the picture, he seems to brighten up - again, its just a simple overlay! Light overlaying is a bit more difficult, however, as it can draw a lot of contrast away from a scene, so we try to limit its use.
So we're currently in the process of updating all our scenes to include lighting and assets, while adding in a few things here and there - stay tuned for more, and for any questions regarding this or any other topic, yell at us on our Facebook page or on Twitter, where all of us check in regularly!
This past week has been a bit more lively in terms of letting collective hair down. At the moment, it's a pretty exciting time for games in Ireland. Indie dev meetups are springing up all over the place, Scratch has really taken off in schools all over Ireland, Coder Dojo...it's all happening. This week, however, was the launch of the Digit Game Studios, a new warehouse studio in Dublin, off Pearse Street. Not only is it built of sturdy enough stone to ward off any potential zombie/raptor invasion, it has whiteboard arches. (This might be just me being easily impressed and wanting to be allowed write on walls.)
The founders, CEO Richard Barnwell, CMO Martin Frain, Art Director Fergus Duggan, and David McGovern have all worked previously in places such as Jolt, Atari, EA, Popcap, Swordfish Studios, Monumental Games, and others.
It was a most excellent event, beginning in the studios where we could move from room to room and admire all (including the metal sculpture of Alien in the lift). From there, we moved on to Ely wine bar for more of feeling trendy and like Ireland is about to become an indie games hub.
That wasn't the only event this week, though. The Lombard Bar on Pearse Street was hosting an informal get-together of game developers and interested parties on Friday. A good place to meet people in a very low-pressure setting, and to meet the people from forums (hopefully to the good). If you would like to get further involved in the scene, this is one of the less-pressure ways. Best idea is to keep an eye on the Game Developers Calendar and hit up the forums while you're at it.
All in all, a busy week, but all managed to get some serious work done at the same time. Our team can party AND code. Winning formula. This week...
We've been showcasing our levels design so far but here's a gorgeous image of our bull. Part puzzle, part scene, all amazing, and you'll find out more when you play it.
We're also working on making all the elements that we have been perfecting individually flow together, it's really getting there. Attacks and arenas, navigation, creatures, they're all coming, just watch this space. Also keep an eye on our tumblr blog for other cool stuff. We're thinking of other giveaways to put up on the blog, random based competitions. Is there anything you'd really like to win, that we haven't thought of before? Let us know!
We're working on putting together a trailer at the moment. It's really exciting, a wholly different kind of design in many ways. There are some great videos on GDC Vault about how to make a successful games trailer - it has to be different from a game, from an interview, from a normal trailer. The iPad game trailer is a genre unto itself in many ways. One amazing one is Swords and Sworcery. So many decisions to be made for such a seemingly short one. There are some fairly exciting possibilities regarding the music. Watch this space!
bitSmith Games had our own contribution to the colourful weekend that was Pride Dublin. Pride! Hope anybody who was at it had a blast.
Tune in next week for more shenanigans, and see some more cool stuff!
We're mostly focusing on combat mechanics at the moment at bitSmith Games, it's really shaping up! Each member works on a different move of Kú - spins, rolls, what weapons or attacks he gets, learns and uses. It's really exciting stuff, and you learn each move as you go along. The more you explore, the more you learn! They're really shaping up visually, too, the feedback you can get from certain attacks is top-notch.
At the moment we're working on dialogue - what characters speak, when they do, and whether that tells you anything. You can be sure that they certainly won't tell you everything - even throughout the game. If everything is explained, it's no fun.
It's definitely going to be interesting - the fact that the game is based on the legend of Cú Chulainn means that hints from the story, design aesthetic and even old texts could be explored. There's so much scope for development! (Which can mean that sometimes the decisions made exclude some really cool stuff. Of course, that stuff isn't cut out forever, it could be in the next episode.) We had the talented John Conway in and talked through a load of possibilities, it's going to be very exciting.
Last week we showed you one of our settings - the cave. This week, the lake!
Some of the animations may feature next week. Keep an eye out for our arena - that's our next challenge. Arenas tend to feature attacks in waves - different kinds of enemies that escalate in number and ferocity as time goes on. Kú mainly explores places so an arena is going to be a shift from the explore-puzzle-boss game-play that mainly features.
We've mentioned it before, but definitely keep an eye on our tumblr. Any articles, artwork, competitions, things like that, will feature on it, as well as here. Edge magazine has some really interesting work on games genres, for example, and it's a great place to find out who we like, as well as inspiration, other amazing game devs, all that.
Hey guys. A huge amount has happened over the last few weeks. We have been deep in the final stage of production and building out the last few areas of Kú. I am having computer problems today, so what better time to write a blog post and fill you in on what has been going on and where we are at.
I managed to fulfill a life goal and attend GDC in San Francisco. In fact we all did. The full bitSmith Games crew headed over and dove in to GDC. It was absolutely amazing! I got to meet many of my personal heroes, other indie developers and industry experts of every flavor.
Perhaps the most important is that we got a lot of people to play the game. The feed-back there was hugely helpful and encouraging, and we have since incorporated some key nuggets in to the game.
Earlier this year we embarked in the epic form filling quest of CSF application. In case you don't know, the CSF or Competitive Start Fund, is an amazing initiative from Enterprise Ireland, that provides promising start-ups with funding and mentoring to accelerate their growth.
We were one of the lucky 15 to be picked this round. The money is going to make a huge difference to our development and launch, we are investigating the possibility of bringing Kú to the PC and Mac and we will have a marketing budget in place for launch.
Going on Fund It was fantastic, we have written about it here before. What is exciting is that all the rewards have either arrived or are on their way. Once every thing is in we will be holding a thank you event and sending it all out. Woo woo!
Kú is almost done! Well almost almost. We will be hitting Alpha at the end of next week. From there we will be spending the next few weeks, testing, balancing and polishing. We'll also be producing a trailer that we are all super excited to share with the world.
We are growing. Paul, our level designer extraordinaire, has joined us full time, forsaking his XtraVision overlords! Whats more, Robby Becker of Free Wheel Games has joined us part time to pitch in on the code. This has had a HUGE impact on productivity. We are actually ahead of schedule. Its amazing and we are lucky to be able to work with such talented people.