Super Adventure Pals 2 progress and Rocket Pet Rip!
Epic Time Pirates
Epic Time Pirates is FINISHED! Yes, it is finished and its looking great. The game will be released exclusively on the awesome NotDopler.com within a few weeks.
Its been an absolute joy to create from the very beginning to the end. I think I love that game. Yes, I think I love it very much.
Have any questions about the game? How it works? How it was coded? Let me know! Leave a comment on this post. I’m keen to discuss any and all parts of the development.
Super Adventure Pals 2
Last week I finished he last level set in the first area of Super Adventure Pals 2. Its very exciting!
What a lot of people may or may not realise is that this will be the second time I’ve completed the levels for Super Adventure Pals 2! In fact, you might argue that the game we are working on now is more Super Adventure Pals ‘3’ then ‘2’! About a year ago we got very, very far in to completing the game. However, I’ll admit it; it was rushed. I used the Jack Lantern game engine and added features and then moved on without fully testing them or thinking about how they could be implemented. Julian was also very busy with University. When we got about 75% finished there was something seriously eating at me. The game wasn’t great – and on top of that it ran terribly. I hadn’t got to grips with Garbage collecting and memory management. This accounts for the lag you experience in Bearbarians – something I have only come to realise recently.
So my AS3 games were running poorly and SAP2 was probably the worst. I knew at the back of my mind that it wasn’t right. Then I started work on a new level editor – so that I could use it for Epic Time Pirates. I had become very aware of garbage collection and so coded Epic Time Pirates from the ground up to account for this. The results really amazed me. The amount of particle effects and bullets and people running around was not something I’d been able to come close to before! I created Zombinsanity and found that you could have many, many zombies on screen without performance issues. This convinced me to start SAP2 again.
Yes thats right, start again.
Financially suicidal yes, but… uh… I guess I just felt it ‘had’ to be done.
I think it came down to both Julian and my desire to strive for as high quality as we can manage and I don’t think there really was another option but to begin again. I fooled myself in to thinking that I’d be able to reuse most of the code and that it would be quick. I wasn’t and it wasn’t.
But thats OK, because what we have now doesn’t compare to the original version of SAP2. I’ll just say that its looking fantastic and its playing great. Plus, with my new editor I have a system of ‘linkages’ a bit like wiring in StarBound or GunPoint – which lets me hook different game elements together which has been great for the level design.
There is still a lot of work to do, but with the first ‘area’ completed and a laundry list of bug fixes complete we can now turn to creating the first town!
How it looks in the editor!
In an effort to promote Super Adventure Pals 2 we are trying to get the original game on more ‘indie’ channels. So we have posted the game on itch.io and GameJolt.com. Its been received really well! We got featured on Game Jolt:
Had some awesome feedback:
And shot to the top of the ratings! (The fact that we have slipped back down now that we are off the front page is neither here nor there *ahem*!)
We also made this list: http://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/best-flash-games/2/
So do these screen shots look familiar?
Thats right, some one (without permission) has ripped Rocket Pets and turned the characters in to Marvel super heroes. The interesting thing about this is that its not a ‘clone’ – it literally uses the code I’ve written and the art that Jimp created. I am not sure what emotion this provokes in me. I think it would have been nice had the person asked or got in contact in some way. You’d think that that would be the decent thing to do considering you are taking someones hard work and then putting it out there under your name as if you’d done it. However, the good thing is that they haven’t charged anyone for this- then there would be a problem. In fact in some ways this is actually kind of flattering. If this person was charging then it would be damaging our mobile Rocket Pets game – and thus impacting our ability to make a living from what we do. I know that my good friend ChrisJeff has had this issue. When someone steals from you that sucks, but when what they have stolen damages your own sales then it threatens your ability to survive as a developer.
Now you could point to Jet Pack Joy Ride and go ‘Hey! This Rocket Pets game is kinda similar to that’ – and you’d be right. Jet Pack Joy Ride was the main inspiration for our game. However, there are some important differences. Firstly – and most importantly – we iterated on the design. We added platforming (which was a pretty big change) and the team building aspect to the game. Secondly – we didn’t whole sale rip off a game file and pass it off as our own. What this game has done is the equivalent of taking Jet Pack Joy Ride, decompiling it, and drawing a moustache on the main character’s face.
On the other hand they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Epic Time Pirates pre-mortem
Epic Time Pirates is now just a few days away from completion and so with that in mind I thought I should explain a bit more about what the game is.
Its essentially a lot like Combat Hero Adventures but with a few improvements. Aside from some new cool weapons you can now buy pets to help you in battle! Each pet gives you a unique buff that gives you an edge over your opponents – be it poison damage, increased life or a leadership buff which increases the health and accuracy of nearby team mates.
While the story isn’t quite as deep as in Combat Hero, the game play, artwork and over all polish is far more accomplished. Its a bit like I’ve taken everything I’ve learned over the last two years and used it to create a far superior version of the game – as well as hopefully, taking it to the next level in many ways.
For example, the AI is a lot smarter in the game. So in Capture The Flag mode, prepare to be chased down by nearby enemies – or for nearby crew members to guard you on your way back to your flag! It also makes holding a control point pretty much impossible! Enemies will chase down the closest enemy control point and capture it for themselves blowing you away in the process- I hope you are ready!
I’ve also created a ‘hub’ or interactive menu in the form of your time ship. So in between missions or battles you are free to hang out on your ship. From there you can customise your crew members, buy new weapons from the armory, take control of the helm to create a custom match or go over to the bird cage to pick a new pet. While admittedly, its not a particularly deep feature, it does add a level of immersion that I am really pleased with.
These games can be quite complicated in terms of their menus so I’ve done everything I can to streamline the game – there should be as few button clicks as possible while allowing for a large level of user customisation. This isn’t an easy thing to do and is often something that takes up far more time then you expect it to! Things could definitely be much more complicated, but I decided to keep as much stuff under the hood as possible – as well as removing some options that aren’t really necessary (like selecting what power ups will be available in a given game, for example).
I’m really excited to get this game out and in front of people.
Until then though, take some time to have a look at this time lapse video of Greg Bartlett (Zeedox) creating the Pirate Ship background for the game. Its mind blowing!
Epic Time Pirates gameplay trailer
For some reason the quality is awful – I’m sorry!
Zombinsanity is now of the front page of Newgrounds – amazing, thanks so much NG! Please support it and vote 5! Play it here.
Its also front page on Kongregate – play it here
As well as Not Doppler! Play it here!
Happy New Year!
A new year, a new start. I spent my Festive break in Rome this year. I saw buildings from Ancient Rome and works of art from the renaissance period. I went to ruins and I went to palaces. After an incredibly busy year that has seen me move to a new town, get an office, meet loads of developers + sponsors who have changed from being some of my hero’s to some of my friends, learning new development platforms, starting a podcast and even winning an award in San Francisco at 2012’s Flash Gaming Summit – I took a break. I didn’t have wifi and I didn’t check my phone. I didn’t go on twitter and I wasn’t able to look at my emails.
This was strange for me, usually if I’m not looking at emails or working on a game, I’m thinking about the next game I can make. I’m actually a little obsessed! My time away has certainly given me some perspective as well as good breath of fresh air but I hope that its allowed me to think much more clearly about the year that lies ahead as there is no two ways about it; we are in a period of transition. Flash is no longer (and has not been for a long time) the only game in town and if a guy like me wants to survive he’s going to have to be very smart about how he proceeds.
So heres the plan: I’m making an AWESOME arena shooter at the moment called Epic Time Pirates for the guys at Not Doppler. Its turned out brilliantly and Im just putting the finishing touches on it.
I mentioned before that I made a cool editor for this. Here is a picture of the cowboy level in the editor.
And here is the same level with its art work. The amazingly talented Zeedox (of Elvidian Entertainment) has lent his seemingly limitless pools of talent to the project and created some AMAZING backgrounds for us to do battle in.
I’m looking to create a quick gameplay video this week so I’ll post it here as soon as I’ve done that.
More good news: Bearbarians won Arcade game of the year on Armor Games! Congratulations to everyone involved in this – and if you voted then a HUGE thank you to you too Bearbarians is one of my favourite games that I have made and I would love to do a second one. If you haven’t played it – check it out here! One of the difficulties is the demand for mobile games and the limitations of a virtual d-pad, but never say never and if I can make it work, then I definitely will!
Zombinsanity wants your brains!!
Here’s another teaser shot for Zombinsanity. The game has turned out to be pretty darn fun to say the least!
In all honesty, its completely unrelated to the original Zombinsanity – and to Combat Hero Adventures and the previous version that I started working on 2 years ago, sunk 4 months into and then lost all heart to carry on with. Well, my good friend and resident art hero Jimp has swooped in and come to the rescue! We’ve redesigned the game from the ground up. New look, new characters, new gameplay. In this game you must battle your way through an enormous, randomly generated space hulk against a huge number of different zombies.
Which is your favourite?
We started off with the usual, stay in one room and defend it until you die – which seems to be the standard format for zombie games. But then Jimp had the idea of being able to unlock different sections of the map as you earned money. We ended up with this one gigantic map which was really cool, but you ended up having zombies wandering around the map miles from where you were – and it got really annoying having to run round a huge level trying to find the one zombie who had gotten lost. On top of that flash became very unhappy with having such big bitmaps pushed to memory. Although we didnt get any slow down, the memory usage was peaking at 600mb – which we knew would be a huge problem for some users with older machines. So we came up with this elegant solution; what if we had lots of smaller rooms – and to connect them, what if we used a random dungeon style format – like games such as Rogue legacy or the Binding of Isaac – to keep up the variation, and keep things interesting each time you inevitably died and had to restart. This turned out to be an amazing decision, as not only did it mean the action in the rooms was much more concentrated and therefore intense, but it also meant that it massively reduced the ‘grind factor’. Each time you play feels different and its a real pleasure exploring these vast space hulks – vastly adding to a feeling of progression that can often be missing from these type of games.
The only thing we are waiting on now is the music. We’ve got Ed Budden composing us custom tracks and they are shaping up nicely. Dark, scary and intense – exactly what you want for a zombie shooter! Ed Budden has actually done the music for almost all my recent games and I am really excited to have him on board again.
Fire away with any questions you might have about the game and I’ll do my best to answer them Aside from that, I’ll have more news as the game is completed and we look to getting a release date!
Like a zombie itself, this game has clawed itself out of the grave and emerged with completely new mechanics, art and an insatiable appetite for brains!!
More information will follow shortly..!
Super Indie pals Episode 6 – Mochi London
In this episode we talk about Mochi London, A UK indie games community event, and review the talks on the day from Danny Parker (Ninjakiwi), Matt Roszak (Kupo707), Tony Lavelle (the-exp), Reece Millidge (Dampgnat) and US!
We also talk about how good Chris is at throwing sandwiches! Pot shot!
Mochi London 2013
I was at Mochi London 2013 last weekend and it was fantastic. Here is a picture of me (right) with the other Super Indie Pals ChrisJeff (left) and Jimp (centre). We hosted a panel that seemed to generate a lot of discussion. In the end we ran over and had to end it despite having only gotten through half the questions we had prepared! It seems quite clear that things have changed for flash developers, and what seemed at the horizon is upon us. What that means for you o’faithful reader is to expect not just flash games from me, but mobile + tablet games as well. Its something I’ve been moving in to since our trip to San Francisco in March. The problem is there are so many options, I’ve gotten the hang of Starling (see here) but nothing beats native, so I’ve been investigating Haxe as well. Does anyone have any thoughts on the best way for a flash guy to move in to mobile? I’ve spoken to a lot of people about it and the interesting thing is that everyone says different things!
The following day there was a game jam! I’ve wanted to do a game jam ever since I heard about them and it really was a lot of fun. Its quite amazing seeing what talented people can do in a short time. I teamed up with ChrissJeff and Jimp to create a game we titled ‘Jellyfish lover’. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination!
I’m not safely moved in to my new house and have started at my new office. What I hope this means is that I can finally get on with what I really want to be doing – making games, lots of awesome games Stay tuned!