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This is a test animation I made for Anti/Hero. It’s not high end art, but it’ll fit the bill for now.

- Jason

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The Jam Begins!

The survey is complete and we’ve got our winners: Anti/Hero and Exodus! We are starting on our prototypes and look forward to showing you the games as they progress forward!

As a reminder, here’s a description for each of the two winning games:

Anti/Hero

Anti/Hero is a 2D platformer about a vigilante who might be the city’s hero or it’s greatest foe. This game isn’t just about stopping crime, but also *how* she does it. Does the vigilante stop a smuggling ring with minimal violence? Do innocent bystanders get caught in the crossfire? What if this would-be hero accidentally hurts a cop in the process? Perhaps the vigilante’s funding comes from taking a cut of the money these criminals unlawfully earn. The game takes place across a metroidvania sprawl of the city, allowing for large expanses to explore and stop crime. Actions taken throughout the game will determine how both the criminals and the law-abiding citizens will react to you. Are you out for justice or merely seeking vengeance? Find out when you’re the Anti/Hero.

Exodus 

In Exodus, players represent a god trying to guide and safeguard their followers on a journey away from a great evil. The player will drop tetrominoes to form pathways for their followers to walk on as they run. The followers can be guided to pick up power ups and additional followers that will grant the player additional powers.

Can’t wait to show you guys our progress!

Jason

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Tell Us What You Want To Play!

Hey, gumshoes!

We’re looking at starting our first public project within the next couple of months. While discussing what to do next, we had a few good ideas but couldn’t really decide which one sounded best. After debating on the merits of each idea, discussion shifted to how much we have wanted to do a game jam over the last couple of years similar to Double Fine’s Amnesia Fortnight.

For those of you who don’t know, Double Fine runs an annual(ish) internal game jam called Amnesia Fortnight where everyone in the company can pitch game ideas for the jam. For the last 2 iterations, these pitches were then voted on by the public and the winners were then developed over the 2 week game jam and these prototypes are then shown to the public.

This sounded like a great idea and so we’ve decided to do the same thing! Starting next week, we’ll be doing our own Amnesia Fortnight. Since ours will be a month long, that name doesn’t really fit though. For now, we’ll just call it the Jumpstart Game Jam and we’re kicking it off with this post!

Starting now, we have 6 game premises that we’re looking into for this game jam. They’re listed below, along with a link to vote on which ones you like the most. The top 2 picks will be chosen for our game jam, which starts at 11am PDT on Saturday, May 10th. From there, our 2 devs will each be working on making two winning premises into prototypes. Each dev will have 4 weeks to complete their prototypes. On Saturday, June 7th (11am PDT again), we’ll show the prototypes by having the other dev try them out.

And now, the premises!

Anti/Hero

Anti/Hero is a 2D platformer about a vigilante who might be the city’s hero or it’s greatest foe. This game isn’t just about stopping crime, but also *how* she does it. Does the vigilante stop a smuggling ring with minimal violence? Do innocent bystanders get caught in the crossfire? What if this would-be hero accidentally hurts a cop in the process? Perhaps the vigilante’s funding comes from taking a cut of the money these criminals unlawfully earn. The game takes place across a metroidvania sprawl of the city, allowing for large expanses to explore and stop crime. Actions taken throughout the game will determine how both the criminals and the law-abiding citizens will react to you. Are you out for justice or merely seeking vengeance? Find out when you’re the Anti/Hero.

Constellation

Constellation is a puzzle game where a young father who was killed in a tragic accident. Upon his death, he discovers that he is descended from the gods and has a chance to return to his family in the mortal realm if he finds his place among the pantheons as a constellation.

The other gods, long since declined in worship, are greedy and do not wish to cede any of the sky to this young god. The father must fight the gods with godly powers that he learns along his path of ascension, using them to force his way into the pantheon of the skies and return to his family.

Crystallus

Crystallus is a strategy game based on rival mining corporations fighting over resources on asteroids that are in a decaying orbit around a black hole. Player represent a mining team from one of the corporations and battle with other players in quick skirmishes to mine the resources from the asteroid before it is torn apart in the black hole. Players will call in drops miners, mercenaries, engineers, and equipment as they gather and send resources off the asteroid to their main ships. Players can win by gathering more resources than other teams and escaping or by wiping out the other players.

Exodus

In Exodus, players represent a god trying to guide and safeguard their followers on a journey away from a great evil. The player will drop tetrominoes to form pathways for their followers to walk on as they run. The followers can be guided to pick up power ups and additional followers that will grant the player additional powers.

Showrunner

Showrunner is a career simulation game that puts you at the keyboard of a television writer. Starting a freelance writer, you will make your way through the TV industry looking for some freelance scripts until you make your way as a staff writer and, eventually, as a showrunner for your own TV series!

Experience the thrills of your show hitting it big or the sudden betrayal of a fickle audience or network as your show quickly becomes yesterday’s news. Shepherd your series from an idea into the show that everyone talks about the next day at the watercooler!

Super Hero Squad

In Super Hero Squad, players control a super hero that has to defend multiple cities from monsters and other baddies. The game will play as a rogue-like and will have a series of cities that the super hero squad needs to travel through a protect. The super hero will be randomly generated on each play through, but can have its core abilities upgraded after each play through by spending experience gained in that playthrough. The game can be played in single player or co-op. Each city will elevate the difficulty and have a boss encounter at the end. Each level will also have terrain and building destruction from the enemy as well as the heroes. How well the players do depends on how much damage is done.

That’s all of them! Click here to submit your vote

Tags: news game jam
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Introducing NewsBoy, an Auto Updating Software Package for Unity3D

Introducing NewsBoy: the automated self-updating component for Unity3D games! NewsBoy was built from the ground up to make it easy for your customers to have the most current version of your games!

NewsBoy is broken up into two parts: the editor component and the game component. The editor component consists of two simple editor panels that walk you through describing where your updates are on the internet and how to create an update package. The game component is a single component that is placed in the game.

NewsBoy is customizable, allowing you to create your own UI for the update system. A sample UI component is included to see an example of how to implement the UI system, but you can easily create a new one from scratch or modify the one that comes with!

In addition to ease of use, NewsBoy is robust:

  • Did the latest release of your game have a bug that forces you to rollback to an older version? No problem. Update your metadata file to point to the older version and NewsBoy will automatically revert a user to the previous version.
  • Did a customer only download half the update before shutting the game down? No problem. NewsBoy will verify the updated files are valid and continue downloading where the customer left off.

NewsBoy is also developer-friendly:

  • In-game status and functionality is completely available via API. Customize your updater look and feel based on responses, allowing for tighter UI integration.
  • Do you have an authentication layer required before updating? Integrate your authentication layer via programmable variables in NewsBoy and appended query strings.
  • Do you have an automated release system for your games? NewsBoy is available via command line to automate the generation of your update package. (Unity3D Pro only)

Currently, NewsBoy is only available for Windows standalone games, but the Mac OS X standalone will be releasing soon! More platforms will be added as we hear demand for them.

Take advantage of the 50% beta discount on the product while we hammer out the kinks and add more features!

Purchase NewsBoy at the Unity Asset Store!

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NOIR NEEDS PLAYTESTERS!

Noir Game Studios is committed to creating great games and your opinion can help us craft the best possible experience. To make sure we achieve that goal, we need playtesters.

What does a playtester do?
A playtester provides his or her opinion on various questions related to the development of future Noir titles. You will join a database of others interested in providing opinions on Noir Game Studios titles. Over time, we select names from the playtester database and schedule testing.

What kind of testing?
There are two forms of testing we typically conduct. You may be selected for either.

The first is testing of playable Noir Game Studios products. The majority of our playtesting is conducted in our offices in the Woodinville, WA area of the United States. For that reason, if you live within driving distance of the Seattle area, your chances of being selected for playtesting are higher. However, we do occasionally conduct playtesting via the internet. We will simply keep your information on file until an appropriate playtest in your area is scheduled.

If you are selected for playtesting, you will have the opportunity to play our games and provide feedback on your experience.

The second form of testing is web based. If your name is selected, we will typically email you a link to a secure site to visit. On this site you will be shown video and/or screen shots, concept art, text, or other items on which you will be asked to provide your opinion.

Can I talk about my experiences with others or online?
No. If you participate in our testing process, you will be accessing highly confidential insider information. You will be required to sign a Non-disclosure Agreement. Noir Game Studios take confidentiality very seriously.

Do I receive anything for my help?
If you are selected to playtest one of our products or to participate in online research you may receive a gift item of some kind. You would be notified of any possible gift at the time you actually participate in either playtesting or online research.

Can I sign up my kids?
If you have a child under the age of 18, you can also use this form to sign them up for playtesting. Noir Game Studios will contact the adult when a playtest opportunity comes up to see if their child is interested. Children will only playtest games appropriate for their age level. Children must be accompanied by adults when they playtest and both individuals will sign a non-disclosure agreement. If you are signing up for both yourself and a child, you will need to apply once for yourself and then separately for the child.

To sign-up and become a playtester, please click here.

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RECOMMENDED: STEAM DEV DAYS VIDEOS

RECOMMENDED: STEAM DEV DAYS VIDEOS

Valve held a small developer’s conference in January 2014. Only a small subset of the developer community were invited and it was primarily focused on Steam’s introduction of the Steam Machine and other ancillary talks (such as Linux game dev, steam controllers, and the Steamworks API). Mixed in amongst these specifically targeted talks, there were some excellent talks on design and production concepts.

Thankfully, Steam released the videos of the talks in February. I spent a week watching them and found them to be some of the best talks I’ve seen/heard. Also, unlike GDC, the videos are all free to the public! Below is a list of the talks that I found the most fascinating and why. If you’re a process and design monkey like myself, you’ll love them!

In-Game Economies in Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2

This talk was great for anyone looking to have any sort of online economy to their game. The biggest thing I took away from the talk was the concept of Positive and Negative Externalities. Negative Externalities is described as when “your experience was worsened… because [someone else] spent money”. The goal of Positive Externalities is to make everyone happy when people spend money in the game. Not just the person spending, but everyone. It’s an interesting concept: spending money improves *everyone’s* experience, not just the spender. I definitely recommend this talk.

Embracing User Generated Content

This was a brilliant talk advocating the concept of allowing user generated content (UGC). It squishes a lot of the myths about the dangers of allowing UGC (if you’re not going to allow it, you lose a chance to engage your fanbase and your most passionate players will find a way to do it anyway), whether it’s just a financial drain (there are multiple methods to monetize the UGC process, both for you and the creators), and when to do it (don’t wait until your tools are refined and end-user-friendly; they are willing to overlook small refinements for the ability to start creating right away and you also get the benefit of free feedback on your toolset). It demonstrates how UGC is a great way to extend the long-tail of your game and engage your most passionate fans. All in all, it made me look at UGC in another light!

Marketing Your Game

This roundtable conversation was very interesting and a great discussion about the trials and tribulations of marketing a small indie game. Without those giant marketing teams, it can feel impossible to get people to pay attention to your latest release. These mini-post mortems can definitely help you plan out your release strategies.

Community and Communication in Games-As-Services

Though ironic that Valve is hosting a talk on community communication (HL3, anyone? ;) ), this talk was informative. It discusses techniques to connect your community presence and planning to your game and increase game value through small community campaigns, narrative value, and a few other helpful approaches. This talk was a must watch for those who really want to tie their game into their community.

"…and more!"

There are quite a few other talks, in addition to the ones I mentioned. If you found any of these talks useful, I recommend taking a look at the whole list:

http://steamdevdays.com/

I hope Valve continues this conference and, maybe next year, admission won’t be so exclusive. ;)

- Jason

Tags: blog