Category Archives: News

The Calm before the Steam

Another mid-week patch of Revenge of the Titans, to v1.80.10, with a special nerfing just to annoy Sylen, who posts on this blog from time to time. Several annoying bugs fixed, including a couple of fundamental ones; and some further tweaks to balance involving heavy weapons, which were still way too powerful most of the time.

The stockpile limit’s been slashed to 5 units, which is easily enough, if you’re honest with yourself, provided you’re careful about not getting them blown up. And merely placing them makes the gidrahs… upset. Which should spice things up a little. This gave me the opportunity to put in a nice little side-effect for decoys, which now actually make the gidrahs less angry. This rather makes them a very, very important building, now.

Steam

This version is currently wrangling its way into Steam. We sort of missed our launch window so we’re just waiting for Valve to basically switch it on – it’s uploaded, it works, it’s all ready to rock n roll. Puppygames customers will be able to request a Steam key to get the Steam version of the game (which is actually of course almost identical to the Puppygames one). Likewise Humble Bundlers. I don’t actually know how this process works yet mind so bear with me whilst we work out how.

Bugs Fixed

  • Fixed: got rid of that annoying “missing sellMode.buffer” message in the error log
  • Fixed: [0] available in mini-build panel for buildings that aren’t limited
  • Fixed: droids accidentally were targeting big gidrahs preferably to gidlets
  • Fixed: gidlet could get paralysed by being in same map tile as a building without actually colliding with it causing level to never end
  • Fixed: online hiscores going a bit screwy (serverside fix)
  • Fixed: fullscreen scrolling using the mouse when using custom viewport

Balance

  • Use of heavy weapons, droids and shield generators makes the gidrahs cross
  • Decoys now calm the gidrahs down
  • Heavy weapons stockpiles now limited to 5

New Features and Enhancements

  • New icons!
  • Droids less likely to target big gidrahs or bosses deliberately if there are easier targets around
  • Wraiths no longer harmed by stray bullets unless you’ve got xray tech
  • Tactical gidrahs now more agitated by heavy weapons

Internal

  • Droids now only scan for opportunity targets every second
  • Changed Windows memory parameters slightly (64m initial heap, 256m max)
  • Removed an unintentional recursion in gidrah movement AI
  • Gidlets now whizz about randomly when they reach their target tile to help them hit things
  • Gidrahs now removed automatically after 5 seconds of reaching their target tile without any action

Sandbox Mode

I’d quite like to put this in at some point down the line. Any suggestions for how you’d like it to work? Maybe we can collectively design a few new game modes instead of just the one. I’m quite keen on exploring the idea of a mode which allows you to upload hand-crafted ASCII maps and a set of available buildings, for other people to play against and either try to survive a set number of aliens, or play against the clock like Survival mode for hiscores. Quite complicated though and unlikely to earn any money… or maybe… horrors! … we should issue it as the dreaded DLC and sell it for a couple of bucks? That’d help fund it.

Oooh ooh ooh! Nearly ready for Steam!

Here’s the last patch before the Steam release (promise!)… I was going to leave it where it was but a couple of things were bothering me, which were the ease with which levels were unbalanced by having infinite numbers of very powerful buildings, and also a performance problem specifically when the droid factory was used too much. One thing led to another, and I ended up changing rather a lot of things in small but significant ways, in the v1.80.8 patch of Revenge of the Titans. No, I haven’t quite got around to the Webstart version which is still broken (why the hell is anyone still using it? Webstart is rubbish!)

Humble Bundlers will have to wait a bit, as per usual, for the Tweet of Rosen.

The following things have been done:

Bugs Fixed

  • Fixed: item descriptions in HUD a bit wrong
  • Fixed: central spawners appearing too close to base
  • Fixed: survival mode picked up research from the wrong level

Balance

  • Buffed droid factories now cost $1500
  • Droid factory now produces max of 6 droids, plus 1 per reactor (before, they would just churn out a max of 10 x number of factories)
  • Sergeant droids produced slightly less frequently when factories buffed by reactors (eg. 1 in 10 droids is a sergeant on a 4-reactor factory)
  • More gidlets spawned when player is using droids!
  • Decoys only produced at a rate of 1 per level
  • Shield generators only available at a rate of 1 per level also; price now fixed at $2500
  • Droid factory and heavy weapons now available only in limited quantities (1 per level), balanced by hoarding
  • Less mines and barricades and tangleweb available per level – balanced by hoarding
  • The various limited-production buildings now have various limited maximums

New Features and Enhancements

  • Tangled gidrahs warn other gidrahs when they’re killed
  • Unused buildings/barricades/mines etc. are hoarded for the next level, up to various limited maximums
  • “Reinforcements” (extra buildings) arrive in Survival mode when bosses are spawned

Internal

  • Default sleep=true on single core systems
  • Reduced sound streaming thread delay to 1ms from 8ms and increased priority; increased streaming buffer count

Analysis

The main thing you will notice is that cool things are suddenly a bit scarce. All those lovely heavy weapons, and the droid factory, shield generator and decoys, they’re all now only created at a rate of 1 per level. And barricades and mines are suddenly, literally, a lot more thin on the ground.

Balancing this out, anything you don’t use is hoarded for the next level. As in, not used at all; not recycled. So you can, if possible, not use your laser capabilities for 3 levels, then have a level with 3 laser cannon on it. Similar with droid factories – hoard ’em up if you don’t really need them. Maybe you don’t need mines one level? Great – save them for a fireworks extravaganza!

It remains to be seen how this affects the general balance of play, but it’s added a crafty little dimension of thoughtful resource management to the game, which I quite like, and it’s more or less independent of difficulty. It also means those buildings are pretty precious now even if you’ve got tons of cash, because you can’t just plonk down a replacement if it gets eaten by ravening monsters.

No Prizes

Bah, once again we didn’t win anything or get noticed by the cognoscenti. What we need is an army of rabid fans to hound judges of such competitions. I thought we did rather well with Revenge, especially in the, you know, gameplay, graphics, sound and music stakes, and put years of effort into making it perfect… grumble, moan, etc.

Right, that’s enough whining. I can’t wait to see the back of it! We’ve got a new game to write.

Sprog Number 2

So, my big news is the birth of daughter number 2, Saffron Natalie Asia Prince (continuing the tradition of strange and unusual names in our family). Born at 815am on Saturday morning and weighing a colossal 10lbs 4oz after an extremely gruelling 26 hours of what looked like a pretty nasty labour! But all’s well that ends well and baby and mum are hale, hearty and healthy, and we were all home in time for mid-afternoon tea.

Another mouth to feed! Bugger. As I have alluded to my geeky friends though, I shall know my life’s work is done when my daughters one day ask me, “Daddy, how come the Dude is also in Tron?”

This is all, of course, not spectacularly interesting to Puppygames blog readers 🙂

What might be more interesting are the following items on the agenda:

Revenge of the Titans 1.80.7

I’ve uploaded another patch, early. We need to get it as trouble-free as possible for our release on Steam next week, so I’ve just stuck to trying to fix the last few important niggles. To this end it’s there right now to download, so you can test out the couple of fixes I’ve done. Here’s the changelog:

Bugs Fixed

  • Fixed: super slow gidrahs

Balance

  • Reduced Saturn boss armour to 4, so now damageable by more weapons; increased hitpoints by 40%

Internal

  • Added a Thread.yield() in the tick() loop to see if we can reduce sound stuttering
  • Added a commandline switch sleep=true to force sleeping instead of yielding for machines with persistent sound stuttering troubles
  • Game now recovers gracefully from a failed Restore, no more ghostly sprites left on the game screen!

Musings on Pricing

You might have noticed that the price of Revenge of the Titans has shot up to an apparently ball-bustingly massive $27.72 – egads! That’s like, nearly as much as a takeaway curry, which will give you, like, days and days of enjoyment! (If you leave it out all night and reheat it and eat it, anyway).

This has caused much nerdrage amongst the Glorious Entitled Of The Internet, who believe that everything should be free or nearly free (and if not free, then DRM free and available from the Pirate Bay). How dare Puppygames suddenly charge full price for their shitty 8-bit retro Flash same-as-all-the-others Tower Defense game? Why would I, Angry Righteous Gamer, pay my week’s pocket money out for this piece of utter shit?

Of course, gamers know everything there is to know about economics and pricing models, because they all make and sell games for a living, and do so more successfully than Puppygames do. We are of course famously broke and never made much of a bean with our games, but it was never anything to do with the price of them. We’ve sold games from everything between $4 and $28, and if you want to know the actual truth of it, it makes no difference to our bottom line whatever price we charge. My esteemed peer Cliff Harris aka Cliffski has rather a lot of knowledge of economics and has a few things to say on the subject which you might find interesting, and which I won’t bother repeating here (hurrah for hyperlinks!).

So I’m going to let you in on a few secrets and explanations as to the method behind my madness, mostly because if you’re reading this you’re a) very likely to already be a fan of our games and supporting us already and b) it really won’t make any difference if world+dog knows our secret world dominiation plans.

Firstly: we have always said the game would be $27.72 when it was finished, and we lured your wallets open with a 50% off pre-order beta offer which we rounded down to the considerably more l33t number $13.37. Obviously our UK and European customers got some crazy price in our funny national / continental currency that was around halfish too, except we all have to pay VAT. Bah.

Secondly: if we failed to officially increase the price of the game, that would have made us bullshitters about our pre-order offer. Technically.

Thirdly, there’s a 50% off coupon in the game, which is the first thing you see (if you don’t know yet it’s ROTTROCKS – put this in the BMT order form). So in reality it’s still 50% off, just like it always was, give or take a few cents. This is a special offer; we can change that whenever we want. We can offer 25% off, or 75% off, or 90% off. What this does is firstly make the game as cheap as it always was, and secondly make it look like a right bargain compared to its RRP of $27. It also means we can do legitimate sales with apparently astounding savings one day in the future but still make enough money to make it worth doing. At 90% off we still make a profit of about $1 on a registration of the game and 90% off sounds bloody appealing.

Fourthly, we needed to ensure there was pricing parity with the Steam version, which will be released next week at $14.95. The special offer 50% coupon means we’re effectively charging the same price as Steam is for the game. Well, a little bit less, but then Steam comes with the real advantages which you’ll all know if you love Steam. I love Steam. Don’t be ashamed.

So you see, having a high RRP on our site might be newsworthy fail for a few angry Reddit nerds, but the reality is, the game is still obtainable for the same price everywhere, and we can tweak the offer on a whimsy and make it newsworthy when we do so at the same time as making it look like a bargain.

And that’s the method to our madness. We have no idea if we’re right, but you’re sure as shit not going to tell us we’re wrong. We’ve got the numbers to do that for us.

Out of Beta

I’m just preparing this post during a lull in the contractions and so on while we have baby #2 (don’t know if it’s a boy or another girl yet, we like surprises!). I had v1.80.6 of Revenge of the Titans ready yesterday by good fortune, so I’ve built it and uploaded and everyone should be able to download this final version by the time you can read this.

Wait… did I say final version? Well, yes, I did, because we’re no longer in beta! This is the version we’re going to put on Steam, and so we’re “finished”, except for a forthcoming (free) expansion in a few months time adding a few more buildings, just for fun. We really ought to get on with making a new game as soon as possible, because we’re still surviving on minimum wage and that’s not going to keep us in business for long. The Humble Bundle money will run out by Christmas which doesn’t leave a very long time to get another game selling. In fact it doesn’t leave anywhere near enough time – Revenge has taken 3 long years to make. Panic!

Anyway… we’re going to increase the price to $27.72 now seeing as nobody’s buying it anyway, and hope Steam can give us another 6 months’ money with which to get something approaching playable together and released into the wild. But for now, my next couple of weeks is going to be taken up with Steam panic and new baby panic. And getting around to the huge 3 week backlog of support emails I’ve been neglecting.

Humble Bundlers: download your update from your original Humble Bundle links, not Puppygames!!

Continue reading

Iterating towards an acceptable solution

That was a phrase a customer of ours once used to describe our software development ethos (back when I was developing performance management software for local government). He wasn’t being especially kind in this turn of phrase but the irony is, this is exactly what software development is all about.

So with that subtly distracting anecdote out of the way, I bring you another raft of massive changes, in the form of Revenge of the Titans v1.80.5. Update: it’s up now for both Puppygames and Humblebundlers. Humblebundlers please download from your original download location, not Puppygames!

Bugs Fixed

  • Fixed: refineries description showed the wrong rate (should have been $10 every 3 seconds, not $10 every 15 seconds!)
  • Fixed: collecting barricades in Survival mode didn’t update the HUD counters
  • Fixed: gidlets were supposed to not get hit by blaster rounds; now they aren’t
  • Fixed: capacitor light beam was at the wrong angle
  • Fixed: liquid sodium accidentally buffed reload rate (should have been precision engineering)
  • Fixed: window size parameters behaving oddly
  • Fixed: smartbombs (and rocket explosions!) weren’t working properly at all (and never have!)
  • Fixed: Mars stories about capacitor, which only has Particle Physics as its prerequisite now

Balance

  • Reduced building connection range by 1 tile
  • All turret upgrades now half price, but also only (roughly) half as effective
  • Buffed sergeant droids cause a wee bit of stun and have armour piercing rounds
  • Big increase in available crystals in later levels
  • Buff Titan gids
  • Dropped pickups now last rather less time onscreen
  • A slight nerfing to the reload time of spreader and assault cannon
  • No more $100 or $250 pickups from angry gidrahs. Well, a lot less anyway.
  • Nerfed blast mines down to 16pts damage

New Features and Enhancements

  • You can now specify graphics scaling on the commmandline with scale=1.0 etc.
  • Online hiscores in Survival mode!
  • Saturn and Titan now have variations on Perlin noise for more interesting terrain generation
  • Wraiths now take much more damage from armour piercing rounds and blasters buffed with Reactors
  • Free to sell buildings when level not started
  • Gidrahs now speed up as they approach the base!
  • Gidrahs with weapons will now shoot at your base
  • Lasers now switch sweep direction for alternate firing
  • Blasters now stop firing at gidrahs they are not causing any damage to

Internal

  • Hint to clear level of crystals for a bonus not shown till level 5, when it’s actually possible
  • Quadtree collision manager replaced by much faster and simpler cell-based collision manager
  • Gidrahs now all have consistent model for getting more difficult

Analysis

Well, as far as fundamental changes to gameplay go, this is possibly more significant even than the last big change from 1.7x to 1.8x. The bulk of the tuning and tweaking and enhancement has gone on to make so that a single central base defence of super-buffed-up turrets is now going to be much harder to achieve. Your upgrades now only cost half as much – but they are now only half as effective. And as before they seem to get more significant the more you add of a particular type… this is going to leave you with some tough choices as to how to buff your turrets. With limited space for upgrades now, and them only being half as effective, you’re going to have to buff certain turrets in certain ways to get the best out of them.

The multiblaster has never really gotten much love from people. I suggest you give it another go: it’s far better value for money than three ordinary blasters when it’s been upgraded a bit with a companion or two. And I’ve finally implemented a tiny bit of useful turret AI: if a blaster detects that its shots are simply being deflected from the target, it will stop firing and choose another target! This was the multiblaster’s biggest downfall – emptying a whole clip into an armoured gidrah, doing very little useful.

A final important change is that the gidrahs will speed up when they get close to your base – which means waiting for them to get all the way to the base means they’re going to come at you fast. You might still manage Earth and Moon and most of Mars without changing tactics too much but by Saturn I don’t think you’ll be able to hold them off with a single fat cluster of turrets. You’ll need to pick them off en route. With any luck the new balance should require you to build two or three powerful clusters of turrets.

Other things of note: people who’d like to see loads more of the map might want to try using a custom window size (width & height) on the commandline, followed by a new parameter, scale=xxx, where it normally uses 2.0. You can try 1.0 to get 1:1 pixel scaling, which makes the map very hi-res, but you might need a fairly powerful machine to cope.

Hiscores

Yes, real online hiscores! I want to see those times creeping up. Monkey! Knife! Fight!

Crash fixed!

Just a quick update to say I’ve patched Revenge of the Titans to v1.80.4, mainly to fix that crash bug you all noticed – I will get around to the huge pile of email the last couple of releases are generated tomorrow, honest – and tweak the balance slightly. This week I’m mostly going to be working on recording all your lovely Survival mode hiscores, Steam achievement integration, and possibly putting Sandbox mode in if there’s time.

Someone clever has noticed that it’s a total waste of time actually planting more than a single refinery before level 5 (just to actually start the aliens coming). In fact it’s probably not even worth bothering to research them until level 5 though the game does sort of hint at it being important. Hm. But then you can get a bit of a headstart with the efficiency research. Decisions, decisions! You know, I have no idea myself what the best path through this game actually is. Survival mode hiscores will reveal all.

Bugs Fixed

  • Fixed: crash researching lasers and disruptors
  • Fixed: powerup counters appearing when collecting a powerup when the HUD is flipped down

Balance

  • Collectors now $500
  • Cooling towers now $500
  • Difficulty now slighty biased in favour of cash in the bank (ie. the more you hoard instead of use, the harder it gets)

Internal

  • Halved streaming audio buffer size as it doesn’t seem to have had any effect

Off to bed…

… but just before I go, the Revenge of the Titans Windows and Mac v1.80.4 patches are there now, and the Linux ones are in the queue uploading very slowly. The crash bugs are fixed (phew). Humble Bundle versions will probably take about another 12 hours to appear. Full scoop and proper update announcement around then.

More Updates on Revenge of the Titans

More tweaking – and it turns out a few fairly serious bugs! I’m proud to announce the v1.80.3 patch of Revenge of the Titans. Get your new versions as per usual from the same place you got your original copy. Yes, Humble Bundlers, I mean you. Especially the ones that keep installing the Puppygames version and then expecting it to be registered. Grr.

Humble Bundlers: please wait until it’s officially announced by Humble Bundle Inc. – Jeffrey’s still uploading things at the moment

Bugs Fixed

  • Fixed: strange vertical streaks when barricades blown up
  • Fixed: advice to use powerups that you had even when you didn’t have any
  • Fixed: ever escalating difficulty when collecting powerups – whooops!
  • Fixed: danger around turrets was miscalculated when adding/removing ghosted buildings
  • Fixed: danger around turrets was miscalculated when adding/removing scanners
  • Fixed: tooltips had a hover active
  • Fixed: exotic powerups no longer appearing since 1.80.2!
  • Fixed: failing to start audio on Windows
  • Fixed: X-ray scanners not picking up wraiths very well

Balance

  • Adjust boss hitpoints based on initial distance to base
  • Disruptor nerfed back down to 32pts damage
  • Laser nerfed back down to 12pts damage
  • Survival mode tweaked more
  • Increased relative turret danger amounts
  • Nerf bosses in survival mode
  • General reduction in boss hitpoints
  • Angry gidrahs a tiny bit more wary of turrets
  • Some Saturnian and Titanian gidrahs got bigger brains
  • Heavy blaster and blast cannon now have armour piercing rounds, but do a bit less damage
  • All weaponry now costs less
  • Reprocessor now $750
  • Reactors don’t decrease fire rate any more
  • Multiblaster now tiny bit more powerful
  • More crystals on later levels

New Features and Enhancements

  • Show bullet stun duration in stats screens
  • Disruptors now dangerous to own buildings! (Unless you research disruptor shielding) Barricades are unaffected
  • Stop plinky beeps after a few seconds
  • Increase gidrah speed with danger except on tangleweb
  • Gidlets no longer hit by large weapons fire
  • Survival mode to only enable those items that are researched at the point the world is completed
  • Blasters once again cause a bit of stun now

Internal

  • Danger radius of turrets increased by 1 tile radius
  • Discovered reason for audio not working – wasn’t MSCVR90.dll after all, was a broken OpenAL32 dll
  • Found deeply buried bug in emitters causing the red streaks in barricade explosions
  • Flush prefs on options screen closing
  • Doubled streaming audio buffer size

Analysis

Quite a lot of balance changes in this version, which are quite subtle, and possibly experimental. If you all mostly like it, they’ll stick,

The most obvious and immediate change you will notice is that turrets are quite a bit cheaper. Revenge is a game about blowing things up with lots of turrets and it’s a bit of a shame if you can’t afford lots of them, so they are now generally a fair bit cheaper than they were. Hopefully this will encourage a little more use of the big guns.

The damage dealt by the heavy blaster and blast cannon is now reduced, and compensated for partly by their being much cheaper than before, but also because they now fire armour piercing rounds. The aim of this change is to make it generally the case that deploying bigger blasters to take out smaller gidrahs with lots of hitpoints is not really the strategy we want you to employ. The big blasters are for armoured targets. To take out targets with lots of hitpoints, you want to be using the multiblaster, which now does a teeny smidgen more damage, or the heavy weapons.

A lot of people noticed that by about Saturn the generally successful survival technique was to make a cluster of maxed out big guns near the base (where all the aliens eventually have to come). This may no longer be the case, as the gidrahs in Saturn had their brains increased a bit and will now generally all go for your refineries first, choking your money supplies. Along with the nerfing of the blast cannon, waiting to see the whites of their malevolent glowing eyes may not be a viable tactic any more. The gidrahs are also a bit smarter about avoiding bigger guns. Obviously, if they have no choice, then they have no choice.

I’ve made a tweak to Survival mode which you may or may not like (apart from further heavy difficulty tweaking): you now play survival mode using only the technology you unlocked on the last level of each world. This makes for some interesting decisions about your research path if you’re attempting to get Survival hiscores. I will possibly be looking into a Sandbox Mode in the future which is basically like Survival but with all technology unlocked.

I’m not massively sure about all the various balance changes, so I’ll just throw it out there to you all and see what you think. Your campaign is compatible still with 1.80.x but you might want to start an experimental new slot to see how it goes.

I haven’t yet had time to sort out the online hiscores stuff (which also requires Chaz to do a bit of GUI work and he’s busy on Steam stuff and the like) – maybe next version. I bet that’ll be next weekend when you all find tons of bugs. But be warned! I’m due baby #2 on the 28th February and all bets are off if it turns up early 🙂

A Patch Draws Near

A] FLEE

B] ATTACK

C] DOWNLOAD

Yes, hot on the heels of v1.80.1 we already have Revenge of the Titans v1.80.2, which is really just a little bit of a tweak to address a couple of really annoying things that slipped past my bleary code-worn eyes. Well worth the download. Not least because if you don’t it’ll nag you to download forever.

Bugs Fixed

  • Fixed: shipped 32bit MSVCR90.dll this time – whoops
  • Fixed: powerups counters would show zeros when HUD hidden and shown
  • Fixed: mines / barricades counters would shown 10 when should have shown 0 when HUD hidden and shown

Balance

  • Made game easier overall – too many people getting stuck!
  • Survival a little bit harder

New Features and Enhancements

  • Batteries no longer slow down reloading rate

Internal

  • Gidrahs recalculate their paths a little less enthusiastically
  • Slight adjustment to spawn delays in Survival

With any luck, I’ve finally got to the bottom of the sound not working on a few of those Windows machines out there. Turns out I accidentally shipped a 64-bit dll in the last patch instead of the magic 32-bit one that would have fixed everything. Hm. I could in fact make a completely separate 64-bit version for Windows I suppose. Maybe that’ll confuse the great unwashed.

I Can Haz Done A Playthrough

Behold, a playthrough of levels 1-10 (15 minutes long). As you can see, I got my arse handed back to me on a plate, and not very gently either, on level 10, because I got a bit too cocky. But at least it shows the fighting spirit so lacking in today’s impetuous and lazy youth with their short attention spans and lack of investment in their own entertainment eh? Get off my lawn, Earth Boss!

I shall be uploading my Moon playthrough in a bit, which took me a fair amount longer to do, though I managed it all in one go without getting kicked in by the Titans

Full Steam Ahead!

I’ve only got a few things on my to-do list now for Revenge of the Titans, like a little graphical glitch when barricades get attacked and online hiscores integration… which is good, because it means I’m now working on the Steam client integration, which will see the unique medals in the game used as Steam achievements, and I’ll be storing the hiscores in Survival mode hopefully on Steam too. Not sure yet if the Steam cloud integration is going to work out properly for us or not yet – possibly in a patch.

More polish, Igor!

Thanks to all you lovely beta testing user types, we’ve recorded and squished no less than 13 bugs in Revenge of the Titans, and tweaked the balance just a teeny bit. The freshly-baked result is v1.80.1, available at the usual locations – install over the top of the old one. As usual Jeffrey will be taking care of the Humble Bundle versions, however, it takes 2 hours for the files to upload to his server, so there will be a little wait for you. I’ll update the server notification message when Jeffrey confirms it’s all uploaded (that’s the thing that tells you there’s a new version available on the title screen)

Unfortunately due to a bit of an oversight, er, once again it’s possible that you might lose your progress, but only if you’re on Windows. But wait! There is a remedy. You know how there’s this revenge_of_the_titans_1.80 directory in your user home folder, in which lies all your saved games and prefs and such? Well, just rename that folder, prepending its name with a single period “.” character. Then all will be well.

Here’s what’s fixed, new and notable:

Bugs Fixed

  • Fixed: survival crash when only completed Earth missions after 40 minutes
  • Fixed: functions keys keyboard shortcuts now work
  • Fixed: crash when > 9 powerups
  • Fixed: Linux shellscript saved logs in two slightly different locations
  • Fixed: powerup numbers sometimes out of sync with button enabledness
  • Fixed: multibarrel technology description
  • Fixed: tangleweb shouldn’t slow down flying gidrahs, gidlets, or wraiths
  • Fixed: gidlet spawned on tangleweb got stuck and couldn’t move
  • Fixed: hover effects not being removed when right-clicking to pick up build mode
  • Fixed: building effects now hidden when can’t build because hovering over other UI elements
  • Fixed: couldn’t click when hovering over top HUD element
  • Fixed: missing dot in settings folder name on Windows
  • Fixed: exploding gidrahs not going off

New Features and Enhancements

  • Option to not degrade difficulty when level restarted (for hardcore perfectionists only!)
  • Lasers either target ground or air targets but not both at the same time
  • Lasers targeting air targets only hit air targets but can fire over mountains etc.
  • Battle postmortem in mission failed screen tries to offer a few hints

Balance

  • Slightly easier Earth levels, slightly harder later levels
  • Survival mode slightly harder
  • Special offer on Decoys! Now only $1500!
  • Your inventory of powerups now contributes to the overall difficulty of a level. Hoard them at your peril!

Internal

  • Refactored powerups cycling code so it’s saved in metastate
  • Included MSVCR90.dll in Windows build; seems that OpenAL-Soft requires it and it isn’t present on some systems
  • New internal version number invalidates all slots (and hence, progress)
  • Replaced StringBuffers with StringBuilders

Sorry these blog posts are so boring these days! Hopefully I won’t have to do any more emergency fixy things in the near future and I’ll be able to do a bunch of more enlightened and interesting bits of wisdom, like a postmortem, musings on the Humble Indie Bundle, how much money we earn, and what the next game’s going to be. You’d all like that, yes?

Igor! Throw the Switch!

Well, this has turned out to be an unexpectedly massive release. Massively changing the game at this stage is, some would say, the work of a man two sandwiches short of a picnic. Well, we’re like that. And, I’ve eaten all the rest of the sandwiches, too. And here it is: Revenge of the Titans 1.80. (1.80? Eh? Something to do with Linux package version numbers. Grrr)

Puppygames customers, get the download here. Our new CDN seems rather better than the old one so there shouldn’t be any cache troubles.

Humble Bundlers will be able to download from their original download links – there may be a tiny delay whilst Humble Bundle Inc. upload the new builds from our servers but by the time you read this announcement I hope this will have been done.

Continue reading

Penguin Love

Happy new year, blog following types! We have been hard at work doing all sorts of magical things, and the first fruits of our labour are now ready. Behold, proper Linux distributions for Ultratron, Titan Attacks and Droid Assault! You should be able to simply double-click to install .deb files on Debian based systems, and for other Linux systems, you’ll have to unzip the .tar.gzs and figure it out yourself. I can’t manage RPMs yet I’m afraid. Webstart still works, but it’s crap, so stop using it 🙂

I shan’t link them all directly here because there are many files involved. Instead, just head on over to the relevant downloads pages (linked above).

There are a couple of small internal changes:

  • The location the games save their savedgame files and so on is now all lowercased, and spaces have been replaced with underscores, which makes it a little easier to deal with from commandline shells. Unfortunately this also means your existing prefs and savegames, er, won’t be where they’re supposed to be. Ah well. It’s an excuse to play them from scratch, no?
  • On Windows I’ve finally gotten sick of the Creative OpenAL drivers breaking all our games, so I’ve renamed our OpenAL dll, and now there won’t be any confusion as to what it’s supposed to be using. Please note we haven’t done this yet for Revenge, that’s coming out in a week or so
  • And finally I’ve fixed an accidental breakage in our “DRM” which was causing the games to not failsafe properly in the event Puppygames is hit by some form of low-orbit ion cannon.

We’ve also added a couple of nifty features which got lifted out of Revenge of the Titans, which work on both Windows and Linux:

Specifying Viewport Coordinates in Fullscreen Mode

Adding the following voodoo to your commandline:

vx=<integer> vy=<integer> vh=<integer> vw=<integer>

will put your game into a fullscreen mode where the viewport (the bit that shows the graphics) is specified by the coordinates you give. This is useful for multimonitor setups which fool our games into thinking you’ve got one giant monitor. You can screw things up completely like this, so just be aware you can hold down ESC for a couple of seconds to quit any of our games.

Specifying Alternative Save Game Paths

This is particularly useful as it works across all operating systems – which means you can point all your games at Dropbox and they’ll sync across all your machines automatically. For example, add this to your Windows shortcut commandline paying careful attention to the quotes and slashes:

"home=\"c:\My Dropbox\""

and similar voodoo for the Linux commandline.

The whole commandline needs to be enclosed in those outer quotes, by the way; hence the internal quotes being escaped with backslashes.

What Else Have We Been Up To?

We have also been extremely hard at work making Revenge of the Titans a better game for everyone. This includes shooting a few sacred cows and generally radical alteration to the entire game, which we have fearlessly done, even though some of you will no doubt spit flames over it.

The main things that are changed are:

  • Research is now free
  • There are another 20 research items, and another (small) building, “tangleweb”
  • You no longer have to collect money from refineries, nor reload turrets. It’s all automated.
  • More balance changes than you can shake a stick at to accommodate these fairly radical changes

Although you won’t be able to see it for another week or so, I’m entirely confident the new game is far more awesome than it ever was. At first I worried that removing all the manual clickery was just going to lead to a dull game… it turns out no, it doesn’t change the game at all, it just makes your mouse finger hurt less. It’s still completely mental, but now the difficulty levels are very finely tuned to your actual abilities and how you want to play the game, rather than you always being broke and at risk of sinking ever deeper into the spiral of fail.

In short, you’re gonna love it. Patience!

Last new version of the year

A slightly botched upload later, we can now reveal Revenge of the Titans 1.72.1 is now ready for download. Slightly botched, as in I rolled a natural 1 for nearly every single upload and uploaded truncated duffers as I slumbered last night, and spent the morning panicking uploading new ones. If you got a broken one, you’d probably best download again!

This will be the last patch this year – Chaz and I are going to take some time off for Christmas starting tomorrow, so support and blog approvals may be intermittent.

Humble Bundlers: your download links from www.humblebundle.com will now download the new 1.72.1 version! Please grab as soon as you can!

Continue reading

New Version! Bugs Vanquished!

Having been awake for about 60 of the last 72 hours I thought I would idly fix a few bugs and tweak the game in all sorts of unimaginably silly ways. Unfortunately coding till 530am does not make for great design decisions so it is quite possibly the case that I have gone and broken it all. Rather than trust my own shrivelled tired old tiny brain instead I find it easier to unleash the results, Revenge of the Titans 1.72, on you, our unsuspecting audience.

PANIC! Thanks to 100,000 Bundlers I now have literally 200 support emails to get through in my inbox. I will try to answer each one but it’s going to take some time!

UPDATE Bundlers: your download links from www.humblebundle.com will now download the new 1.72 version! Please grab as soon as you can!

Continue reading

Surprise!

Revenge of the Titans is Released…

… on …

…on The Humble Indie Bundle #2! “What!” you cry. “I just paid three shekels and a camel for your miserable beta programme to try and blag a tidy deal! I feel extra cross, and entitled to a lifetime’s supply of creamy grapes fed to me by attractive Mediterranean virgins!”

But wait! There’s more to it than that!

The Humble Indie Bundle #2 has got no less than five awesome games in it: Braid, Cortex Command, Machinarium, Osmos, and a special deluxe edition of Revenge of the Titans! And another trick or two up its sleeve, as you will discover…

Deluxe Edition

The Deluxe Edition includes all of the full length mp3 tracks from Dave Sunerton-Burl! He’s spent four months making the album, and he’s just as unemployed and broke as Chaz and I are! So please consider supporting Dave and making a contribution to the bundle even if you’ve already bought the game direct from Puppygames. In the couple of weeks or so we’ll also try selling the album from our site for some nominally tiny sum, and all the money will go towards keeping a roof over Dave’s unemployed ass. And his family. He is truly a star and really deserves it.

More good news!

What’s more, you can choose what you think all of this amazing l3wt is worth – so if you feel like it, go buy that bundle, and deduct what you think Revenge of the Titans is worth if you’ve already bought it direct from Puppygames. But also consider – this is your chance to do a super good deed this year and donate a bit of money to Child’s Play Charity and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)!

The Humble Indie Bundle #2 is also specially set up to be bought as a gift – and what greater Christmas gift can there be than these five fine examples? Search no longer for that elusive present for your housemates or geeky spouse. You have reached your goal.

Love and peace to all from Cas, Chaz, Dave, Mike, Steve and Brian. Go forth and donate!

btw… I’ve been trying to post this for the last 7 hours – HIB2 got tweeted 10 minutes before we were expecting – and then the database fell over with the massive traffic spike – apologies for those who have had trouble getting here 🙂

Linux problems!

… we’re having some problems with the linux builds. If you’re getting errors such as…

unable to create `/opt/revengeofthetitans/full_length_music/einleitung.mp3.dpkg-new’ (while processing `/opt/revengeofthetitans/full_length_music/einleitung.mp3′): No such file or directory

…we’ll be uploading new versions in the morning that will fix the problem (touch wood).

In the meantime you could try sudo mkdir -p /opt/revengeofthetitans/full_length_music and then try the installing again.

The End of the Road

Well, folks, this is it – the lastest ever beta version of Revenge of the Titans, now at the heady heights of version 1.71. This is our “release candidate” – provided no bishops in hell turn up and fart in the trifles of our lives, this will then become the finished game. Well, I say finished – we’re probably likely to tweak it some more in the new year once the dust has settled.

First things first – here’s the direct links:

Windows
Mac OS X
32-bit Debian package
64-bit Debian package
32-bit generic Linux
64-bit generic Linux
Java Webstart (all OSes)

Now, on to business. What’s changed? If you haven’t already, go and have a quick read about 1.7 first, to better know thine enemy.

The short summary is: 1.7 didn’t work out very well, so I’ve reverted a few of the design decisions. It’s been such a panic getting this penultimate build together though I haven’t had time to write the usual changelog, so I’ll go through the major changes.

Changes in 1.71

  • The Titans stop coming when the timer runs out again – phew! In hindsight this was a mental idea. So it’s back to its original behaviour. To compensate for the level being rather dull once the aliens aren’t arriving any more, it will finish as before when the last one is slain…
  • …and you’ll scavenge the remaining crystals. Unfortunately it pays to dig them up the proper way – scavenged crystals make no use of silos (more on these below) and you only get 40% of the remaining value, a bit like building recycling. You also get a $500 bonus for digging them all up before the timer expires, so well worth it.
  • Refineries now take 15 seconds to fill up with money (it was 10 before). Reactors make approximately a 2.5 second difference to this time – so with the maximum useful complement of four reactors on a refinery, you’re looking at a collection every 5 seconds.
  • You might be interested to know that a small crystal holds $2000, a medium one $4000, and a large one $6000.
  • Silos have changed – they’re now called reprocessors, and their function is basically the same as it was before – they increase the efficiency of your refineries – but they no longer affect the capacity, which remains at $250. You might also be interested to know the efficiency gains are 17%, 25%, 33% and 50% for one to four silos respectively. So you could be eking $9000 out of a large crystal. Four reprocessors will cost you $2500 in outlay and you’ll get $1000 back in recycling – so you’re making $2000 profit on the venture. Place them cunningly to mine two or more big crystals and you’re looking at big money!
  • I fixed a massive bug with reactors that caused them to make crystals spew out tons and tons of money. Strange that no-one noticed. Maybe nobody ever used them to speed up refining.
  • The Titan brains have been given one last tweak to make them behave slightly cleverer than they were before, and they now swarm in quite a believable way.
  • Decoys are back to being really expensive again at $2500 a pop when I realised just how awesome they actually are. Although Titans aren’t quite so easily fooled any more, and will randomly select from the available decoys and the base (before, they always went for the nearest one, which made a single decoy effectively like the Pied Piper of Hamlyn). So now you can place, say, 3 decoys, and 75% of the rank-and-file will head for them, and the rest will pick the base.
  • All sorts of annoying beeps have been added to the flashing warning lights. Sorry. But they do appear to help.
  • The amount of crystals generated on a level has been tweaked, but I’m not sure if I’ve got it dead right yet. Time will tell.
  • Endless level 51 no longer crashes. Yes, someone actually played that far.
  • Certain sound effects ignored the game volume settings
  • Fixed a whole load of emitter bugs that caused far too many particles to get emitted.
  • In game help has been moved to the interwebs. At the time of writing this blog post it’s nowhere near finished but Chaz is beavering away at it like a beavery thing, and soon it will be all shiny and sparkle.
  • We’ve got a bunch of nice new sound effects for the bezerk, freeze, and shield powerups, and various incidental noises. If you listen closely you’ll be able to hear the Mars boss gnashing his maw. Yeeech!

Please give it a great big test. Especially interested in your thoughts on difficulty, survival mode, and endless mode.

Stuff I’m Considering for the New Year

  • Possibly making research free, meaning you simply get to choose one upgrade per level. To accommodate that we’ll have to dream up a bunch more intermediate research to get it to stretch better across the 50-level campaign. I can think of at least 10 more things, some of which will actually be useful in their own right, so that shouldn’t be too hard, but poor old Chaz will have to redesign the research screen. Again.
  • An online hiscore table for Survival Mode

The game will officially be released on 14th December 2010. Whereupon you will also discover the surprise we mentioned. Please consider buying our games as a Christmas gift for a friend when it comes out 🙂

Everything’s Changed

Oh noes!1!1! We’ve only gone and completely changed everything in the latest beta of Revenge of the Titans v1.7. And I really do mean changed. Pay very close attention, because the way you’ve played the game until now won’t work any more! By way of easing you into what is undoubtedly a horribly traumatic shift of tectonic proportions (and indeed, speed, judging by our tardiness), I shall first briefly explain how the previous versions played out, roughly.

What The Old Game Did

The timer starts when you place your first refinery, and the Titans start spawning. Crystals are dotted all over the shop, and so you spam your super-cheap refineries everywhere, guaranteed to make a reasonable profit from them. The timer eventually stops, and the remaining Titans start getting faster. Then when the last Titan is slain, the level ends, and any unmined crystal is lost forever. And slightly inexplicably. The better you do, the less crystals are generated for the next level, by way of curbing your brilliance a little if you’re doing exceptionally well… Continue reading

Revenge of the Titans 1.64 released

… this is just an intermediary release which we weren’t really planning to do, but in true Puppygames style we missed our deadline and haven’t quite finished Titan yet. So instead I thought I’d just wrap up the various tweaks and bugfixes that are otherwise ongoing whilst Titan bakes in the oven.

Here are the direct uncached links for you blog-following sorts:

Windows
Mac OS X
Debian Linux (32 bit)
Debian Linux (64 bit)
Generic Linux (32 bit)
Generic Linux (64 bit)
Webstart (all OSes)

The Debian packages should hopefully install with a doubleclick, and put a shortcut in your applications menu under Games. If in doubt about whether to use Debian or not… well, you probably shouldn’t be using Linux 🙂 But just grab the generic Linux packages instead, and there’s a revenge.sh in there you can just double-click on to make it work. Provided you have either Sun Java or OpenJDK installed. The Debian packages will automatically install OpenJDK for you – I’ll figure out how to get it to use Sun Java if it’s already installed in the next release.

We haven’t yet tweaked the ordinary download page to include the Linux variants on it yet, so the Great Unwashed won’t know about them until Chaz does some twiddling.

Here’s what’s otherwise changed. Sorry about the blaster noises and character speech – we’re still working on them, and the sounds in there are just placeholders.

Bugs Fixed

  • Fixed: factory-not-restarting bug again
  • Fixed: flickering status message when factories autocollected and turrets autoloaded
  • Fixed: saturn flying gidrahs not appearing!
  • Fixed: awesome medal awarded multiple times in a level
  • Fixed: gidlets getting stuck on crystals

New Features and Enhancements

  • Survival and Endless modes are now available to demo players too!
  • Factories that shutdown with less than $10 to collect should go straight to shutdown
  • Extra mines / barricades powerups no longer appear in campaign/endless mode
  • Custom window sizes: pass width=xxx height=xxx on the commandline to use a custom window size (not compatible with fullscreen mode yet – sorry)
  • New blaster noises! – sorry, but the old ones were of unknown provenance – still working on new ones using steel slinkies and tuning forks
  • Some new ambient background sound for Saturn levels
  • Linux .deb installers
  • Linux .tar.gz installers

Balance

  • Buffed disruptor very slightly from 16 to 24 pts damage
  • Droids fire a tiny bit more frequently
  • Make saturn boss a bit weedier
  • Gidrah slaughter attenuation now only in effect after level ends from the state at level end
  • Gidrah rush ramp-up duration now gets longer as levels progress, rather than shorter!
  • Crystals a little more far-flung, and a few less crystals on Titan

Internal

  • Titan colours
  • Fiddled with sound attenuation parameters
  • Quieter bashing sounds & building collapses now based on building size
  • Fixed problem where game assumed all flying gidrahs drop bombs
  • Tweaked minimum level size to ensure that (barring desktop display mode changes) levels always fit properly into a monitor
  • Some new ambient background sound for Titan levels
  • Fixed: Exploding gidrah bullets totally destroyed buildings in one hit!

You might be interested to know what’s on the ToDo list at the moment. Now’s your (last!) chance to add things to it!

To Do

  • Fix turret targeting to use better heuristics
  • Speech
  • Blaster noises
  • Blast mine pips
  • Show total medal bonus on intermission screen
  • Wraith (gid 5) for Titan
  • Titan gids 4, 5, and gidlets sound effects
  • Titan Levels
  • Titan Stories
  • Don’t do building destruction noise on sale
  • Get custom resolutions working with commandline parameters
  • Research screen says “all researched” at the top even if not everything’s researched. (fixed this: And it’s white, too. And in the wrong place.)
  • Online hiscores?
  • Turret beam angle wrong?
  • Linux .rpm installers?

Linuxy types! We need your help!

Please test these experimental Linux builds of Revenge of the Titans 1.64! The Debian packages should install with a simple double-click and on a normalish installation you’ll get a shortcut in your apps menu under Games. They should be compatible with your existing Webstarted profile, too.

64-bit tar.gz
32-bit tar.gz
64-bit Debian package (for Ubuntu and similar)
32-bit Debian package (for Ubuntu and similar)

I’m afraid I haven’t got RPMs to work yet. There seems to be some buggery going on inside the Redline RPM creator I’m using from within Ant that causes the architecture to get wrongly specified.