Welcome back to Basingstoke. In fact you never left. There is no escape from Basingstoke.
Here’s the latest video, showcasing new features…
Welcome back to Basingstoke. In fact you never left. There is no escape from Basingstoke.
Here’s the latest video, showcasing new features…
Hello all you silent eyes, you quiet followers of our sporadically updated blog! Gather round our digital Yuletide fire and listen, my little ones.
Today we have put all our games, including Sandbox Mode for Revenge of the Titans, and our two soundtracks, and even all our source code, for sale through the Humble Puppy Bundle. This glorious sale lasts from 19th December through till 26th of December, and you may name whatever price you wish for everything, as is traditional.
You will also notice that Droid Assault and Ultratron have both been updated with two-player local co-op mode. Just grab your 360 controllers and join in. Yay! Expect bugs.
And you’ll also see that Revenge of the Titans has a Christmas Mode which appears only for the festive season (from 19th December to early January or thereabouts). And Droid Assault has a special new Christmas Mission too! Which is all very silly and hopefully a bit of fun.
Otherwise known as, “How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Deadlines and Fail Gracefully”.
Ok, that’s a little melodramatic.
We were doing quite well on the sprints but then Real Life decided to place a series of embuggerances in our way. I notice that the spelling checker in WordPress doesn’t understand “embuggerance” but I assure you, it is a word.
The plan for this sprint was:
Well, in the end, all we’ve kinda managed to do is:
Well, mostly, this is all my fault, because Mrs. Prince is terribly ill and I’ve basically had to take almost the entire sprint off work to look after her and the kids, whom I can assure you are a pair of devils sent to torture my mortal soul. Right now she is in hospital and everyone is very upset though the prognosis is good. I don’t know particularly how any sprint survives contact with a quarter of the team suddenly stopping working in a completely random manner, but there we go.
The next thing is that Chaz’s Windows installation has somehow managed to blow up this morning and he’s going to have to reinstall his OS, which means at least two days down the drain for him too.
Finally Riven’s mouse has died. Not his squeaky one, but his old faithful electronic one, the one he uses to point at things on screens with. This makes Windows extremely difficult to operate, it would transpire.
Well, I don’t think it’s really worth releasing Battledroid this sprint because we’ve barely got anything done on it – I think it really needs another week of work on it when we’re all firing on all cylinders so to speak – so we’ll leave it. Which brings me to the exciting news of what’s happening next week, which is that we will all be exhibiting at EuroGamer Expo 2013 in Earl’s Court, London, between September 26-29! Once again we’ll be giving away two brand new Nexus 7 (2013 models) as prizes for the best hiscore we have recorded in Ultratron and Droid Assault come Sunday evening. I’ve got a new Nexus 7. It is awesome. You need to come and play.
As we’re basically all away all next week and then a couple of days to recover, I wouldn’t expect much visible progress till Friday 4th October.
So, here we have the latest Battledroid alpha release, the second so-called “sprint”. You will notice it is lamentably already 4 days late – way to go guys! We’ve clearly not quite got the hang of this agile development malarkey.
Firstly, anyone who does not yet have the client already can get it here:
If you’ve already got the Battledroid client, you don’t have to redownload it – it should update automatically with the latest release like the rest of our games.
Expect to encounter…
In this sprint we wanted people to be able to register a guest account, change their email address, change their passwords, reset password if they forgot it, and log out again. We wanted the titlescreen UI to behave fully correctly, (less library bugs that is) and its design to be more or less finalised.
Well, we did all that, but we’ve also implemented the Options panel as well, which wasn’t supposed to be in till next Friday. Graphics options are a little more expanded upon from previous games, and check out the cunning GUI scale feature. The GUI will also automatically scale if you go below 4:3, meaning the game is perfectly playable on a monitor set up in portrait mode.
Anyway – if you could, we’d like you to test out the registration and login processes, and the account management functions. You will notice a scary security certificate warning if you click on any links we send you from the Battledroid mailer, but that’s because we’ve not got proper SSL certificates in place yet.
Also, if you would care to click on the second tab icon at the top – world map – you’ll get an early test of our new sprite engine. Though not completely optimized yet, we’re currently testing with 60,000 dynamic sprites on a background of 1 million static sprites. Middle mouse wheel will zoom, hold RMB to scroll, LMB to paint more sprites!
And… first cut of a theme tune – work in progess – open options and slide music volume to 11
Ladies and gentlemen, may I proudly present to you… the Battledroid Alpha! Available for all OSes (not currently on Steam but we’ll see about that).
Don’t get all excited now! What you see before you once it’s installed and run is just the title screen. We’ve got a seriously hectic schedule coming over the next 4 months, during which time we will release a new build every other Friday, and the development diary. Our ultimate goal is to get into beta with a minimum viable product by 22nd November 2013, at which point we will be seriously running out of money and unleash our Kickstarter project upon you all, to get the game finished and full of content.
The title screen may not look that exciting to start with but this is how we make our games: we get all the really boring stuff done first, because it has to be done, and once it’s all out of the way while we’re all fresh and full of energy, the only stuff left to do is the fun stuff, with lasers, robots, explosions, and stuff getting blown to bits! (Years ago I realised that leaving titles and menus and options till last is a recipe for misery, demotivation, and failure to complete a game).
As it currently stands, the title screen automatically creates a guest account to play Battledroid on our server, and that’s pretty much all it does right now. Most importantly however is whether you are experiencing anything out of the ordinary, like rendering glitches or connectivity issues. We’d like to hear your feedback, even as this early stage, allowing us to take it into account as we’re working on the next alpha.
In two weeks’ time, at the end of Sprint 2, expect to see the next round of functionality being added to Battledroid, which is account registration and management functions like the ability to change your email address, set a name for yourself, reset your password, etc. – more dull stuff. But important dull stuff.
It’s not often we get custom made fan art turning up in the mailbox but once in a while something fantastic appears. Just lately we received some photos from one of our younger fans. Simon enjoys Lego (don’t we all!) and in his spare time he defends the Earth from alien invaders in Revenge Of The Titans. So, being a creative fellow, he decided to put the two together and make some Lego models of Titans and buildings from the game. And here’s Simon and his creations:
Check out that Titan’s big red, glowing eye! A big thanks from the Puppygames team to Simon (and Chris) for letting us show off the models.
Soooo… we all had a great time at Rezzed last weekend – thanks to all those who stopped by our booth! All in all the show seemed a success, with a friendly atmosphere and eclectic mix of games, with indie games generally seeming a bigger pull than the AAAs that were there
Unfortunately we didn’t have a huge amount of time to play other games on show, but a few new to us that impressed were Trash TV, Montague’s Mount (both of which are on Steam Greenlight – here and here) and Revenge of the Sunfish 2 which really needs to be seen in motion to appreciate how completely bats it is.
We were giving away a brand spanking new Nexus 7 tablet to each player with the highest score for Ultratron, Droid Assault and Titan Attacks, and it was a great success with a nail-biting finale. As we approached the end of the show the highest scores seemed unbeatable, but as the returning hiscore holders of both Droid Assault and Ultratron watched on, their records were beaten!…
Many years ago, when we first started making games, the perceived wisdom of the age was to follow an apparently successful formula, and strike it rich. Or at least, make a living. Games sold for an average of $20 or so. This is in the dim, dark depths of history, in 2003.
This formula was: offer a demo, and convert demo players into customers by having amazing demos (and, as a secondary, offer a money back guarantee just in case a customer mysteriously wasn’t satisfied). All you need is a large enough influx of traffic downloading a large enough number of demos and a large enough conversion rate. Simple! And this we have done, for the last 10 years.
To cut a long story short, it doesn’t work for us.
Today, none of our games have a demo, and they probably never will have again, either. The Demo is dead.
Why have we done this? How can we possibly gain from no longer hosting demos? Well, the times have changed. I have come to realise that I’ve not bought a single game from playing a demo in the last 5 years, maybe longer. Why am I buying games? Or rather, why am I buying the games I am buying as opposed to other games?
Mostly because they’re recommended to me by friends, and sometimes reviews. That generally isn’t enough though; I also want to look at the game before I buy one. And this is where video comes in! Just about every game I’ve bought for the last 5 years has been on the basis of watching a video of the game – either a review along the lines of Total Biscuit, or a trailer in Steam, or on the developers’ websites, or shared on Facebook or Twitter. Usually I don’t even need a recommendation from a friend if I watch a trailer for a game that I think looks interesting.
But there is another thing at play.
Almost none of the games I’ve bought have even had demos. They’re full versions only, accessible only via Steam, and/or usually… rather cheap. And with a bit of investigation we’ve noticed that 99.9% of all the games we’ve sold on Steam have been bought “blind”, without anyone ever sampling a demo.
This got me to wondering why we are bothering with demos any more.
I’ll tell you: it has three primary functions:
Video manages to sidestep 2 and 3 nicely. Video still gives the customer a demonstration of the game, albeit non-interactive; but it does have the potential to cram all the interesting bits into a very short space of time – rather like a movie trailer does. But, barring a total disdain for the style or genre of game, it doesn’t give the customer any reasons not to buy the game. Not a single one. You have to actually pay to form an opinion on how it plays.
The first function is trickier. Why do people buy something if they don’t know if it’ll even run or not? It turns out it’s required a little bit of technical wizardy to solve, which we’ll be releasing the source to in due course as it’s GPL, but basically – take a look at Revenge of the Titans now, if you’re unregistered, and you’ll see that the title screen has in fact been replaced by the video trailer which is now rendered inside the game. So we know at this point that the game is going to run fine on your machine, and more importantly, so do you. We’re slowly converting the other three games into video title screens as well.
Of course, once a potential customer has installed the game, fired it up, and been presented with the trailer video instead of an ordinary title screen, that’s not quite the whole story. Customer clicks “PLAY”… and is transported straight to an in-app purchase screen which you can use to unlock the game there and then. Unfortunately this IAP screen can only take credit and debit cards (no PayPal or other dubious payment systems). However… it is working, and working nicely.
Now all our games have a built-in IAP system (and a cunningly built-in one-click buy mechanism too), we’ll be able to collect some stats on how things look without demos, and I’ll be following up in a few months about the end result.
… and this one’s got a few more goodies in it.
Firstly and most obviously, it’s now got fancypants shader effects in it, which I’ll be expanding on a little in another patch. You can turn these off in the Options menu.
Secondly, we’ve added Easy Mode. This is a campaign mode like normal campaign mode but the difficulty is capped at a much lower level for more casual play.
Thirdly, we’ve enhanced Sandbox Mode for those of you that have it. The editor now allows you to specify a lot more detail about spawn points, and also specify exact amounts of each resource available. Check out the new editor options at www.RevengeOfTheTitans.com
Fourthly, we’ve added Research Respec – you can now completely redo your entire research tree, at any time, without penalty.
You will notice a little screen flickering going on at the start, which we will soon remove. It’s gathering some logging information for us so we can get to the bottom of a driver crash. Sorry for the annoyance.
We gathered in our millions around the Consoles of our cities to hear the announcement. Whole families turned out and stood out in the plazas waiting for the rumblings from inside the machine to herald its latest edict for the good of humanity. We stood in silence, until a deep red light flicked on from a scanner situated near the top of every Console, and a laser scanned over the suspended crowd, surveying. Counting. And then the Console spoke the words of Central Nexus.
All humans are to report in an orderly fashion to their nearest RecycloMat Facility. Transportation will be provided free of charge by Central Nexus – your friendly system overlord. There is no need for alarm and recycling is painless. Central Nexus wishes at this time to thank you for your peaceful co-operation in this hazardous waste recycling operation and wishes you continued happiness and contentment for the remaining duration of your current form.
So… work is underway on our new game. I’ve called it “Battledroid” for now (ahem), a name which may or may not stay. I quite like it. So by way of warning, there now follows a wall of text explaining everything.
Battledroid is a massively multiplayer asynchronous online war fought over the blasted and war-torn landscapes of Earth in the not entirely distant future a few centuries from now. At war are various ultracorporations (whom we shall call “factions”), who vie for control of territory in order to boost their own manufacturing capabilities. Everybody who is sensible has left for more peaceful pastures in the rest of the Solar System, leaving the wars to be fought by giant armies of autonomous battledroids.
It’s St. Valentine’s day! Apart from delivering coffee and jam on toast to Mrs. Prince, I’ve been beavering away losing hair and sanity making our games work nicely on Linux through Steam. I now have about two handfuls less hair, but also for your perusal, delectation and delight, all of our Steam games working on Linux!
It also happens to be the case that Valve are celebrating the official release of Steam for Linux starting today, and so we’re doing a special sale of all our games on Steam at 50% off! Now there’s a reasonable chance you’ve already bought one of our games if you’re reading this blog, so if you fancy spreading the love a bit, why not buy the gift of a game for that special friend that you forgot to buy flowers for this morning? A copy of Titan Attacks for the object of your affections will surely go a long way to getting you past first base. You might even find out what first base is! I never got to find out myself, I just looked at Mrs. Prince funnily one day and bam! Pregnant. But that’s another story.
Don’t forget that all our games are also “Buy Once, Play Anywhere” – your games will run on any operating system even if you buy the Linux version. And all you existing Puppygames customers – you can still go here to get your FREE Steam keys (note that you have to register your game first though).
It’s here! Including all the recent pre-Xmas updates such as the new line-of-sight effect, wibbly wobbly shader effects, friendly droid targeting HUD display, and of course most importantly, pot plants, but now with added Steam gubbins – there’s 30+ achievements to er… achieve, and you can compete for hiscores with your Steam Friends!
… and it’s 20% off for the first week! Steam page here.
We proudly present…
The latest update for Droid Assault not only includes
but also features a completely new mission, just for Christmas, introducing…
Here’s a few screenshots of the new features…
Now you can listen to the music of Dave Sunerton-Burl whilst beavering away with the Revenge of the Titans level and campaign editor, and then play and share your creations in the new Sandbox mode, and compete for hiscores!
Confused? What is this Sandbox mode you speak of? Here’s what it is in a nice easy to read list format:
Here’s one I made earlier… Continue reading
Thanks to those that send us feedback on the RotT online editor beta. … and now the new Revenge of the Titans Sandbox mode gets it’s turn to do the beta thing.
With the Sandbox mode you’ll be able to play all the user published levels and campaigns, and compete for hiscores. You don’t need to have signed up to the online editor, but if you have done you can login using your online editor account details and you’ll be able to play your own unpublished levels and campaigns as well.
… if you’re part of the beta testing group that is
If you want to take part send us your name and email address using this contact form, and we’ll sign you up and send you a reply email as soon as we can. In the meantime download and install the latest build of Revenge of the Titans from this site.
Once again any feedback is greatly appreciated – please use this contact form.
And again a general disclaimer – it’s a beta so there may be bugs! And they’ll be some limit on the number of people we’ll sign up for free, so first come first served etc.
We’ve got a beta test version of the online editor for Revenge of the Titans up now at www.revengeofthetitans.com/editor. But before you click anything please read the whole post, as there are a few things you should know first.
Edit: the Sandbox mode beta is now live, so some of the below has changed…
This is a beta test version. This means it’s not quite finished, so there may be bugs! Also, this is just the web-end – the actual bit where you can play the levels
isn’t quite done yet is now in beta, but we thought we’d release the editor in the meantime. So, please bear in mind…
Please let us know of any bugs you find, or any suggestions you have, but don’t use the blog comments for bugs, please use this contact form so we know what browser you’re using etc. There’s a link to the form in the editor as well.
So to wrap up, here’s the link again – www.revengeofthetitans.com/editor, and remember…
The LWJGL project, which provides the low-level graphics, sound and input bindings required for Java to make great games such as Revenge of the Titans, Titan Attacks, Spiral Knights, Tribal Trouble, Starfarer, Blocks That Matter, and yes, the ubiquitous Minecraft, needs your help. Well, that is, if you’re a reliable, seasoned Mac OS X developer with a fairly deep understanding of the Obj-C display APIs. Continue reading
Ever wondered exactly what the Titans wanted revenge for? Not long ago, our esteemed friends from Titan attacked our peaceful planet, a battle which played out in our seminal shooter Titan Attacks – winner of Gametunnel.com’s Action Game of the Year!
Well obviously you must have soundly thrashed them. Why not relive history and show us how it was done – and in case you missed the news – now you can do it in recently updated crispy HD graphics!
Getting to the point … Titan Attacks is now available on Steam for both Windows and Mac OS with over 40 new Steam achievements and online hiscore table!
… and to celebrate the launch, for one week only, it’s on special offer!
Alternatively, if you’d like to support us by buying direct, you can then activate a FREE Steam version, which means more pies and ale for us, and if you’ve already bought Titan Attacks no worries – we’ll give you a Steam key too.
A new trailer for the new year, with a spanking new tune by Allicorn, who is also our new programmery person!
Previously Allicorn did half of the droid sound effects and music for Droid Assault – his first task as full-time new programmery person is to make the Sandbox Mode add-on content for Revenge of the Titans, and hopefully he’ll have that ready for Easter or thereabouts. Over to Cas…
Allicorn and I have played pen-and-paper RPGs together once a week for the last five years. He is frighteningly clever but humble and helpful. When he’s not doing RPG gaming with me and our mutual friends, or coding for Puppygames, he’s also one of the administrators of Yog-Sothoth. I’d like to think there was some overlap in our clientele already.