Die Rache der Titanen!

Revenge of the Titans ab morgen im Handel erhältlich!

Yep, Revenge of the Titans available in stores starting tomorrow! says Google translate.

Am 25. November, veröffentlicht Iceberg Interactive „Revenge of the Titans – Die Rache der Titanen”. Das im Retro-Look gehaltene PC-Spiel ist eine Mischung aus Echtzeit-Strategie und Tower-Defense. Die Spieler müssen erneut die Erde retten, die ein weiteres Mal von den Titanen überrannt werden soll. Die furchterregenden Bodentruppen der Titanen bedrohen die Erde mit ihren grauenvollen Monstern. Ist die Erde diesmal dem Untergang geweiht?

Die Spieler von „Revenge of the Titans“ müssen ihre Verteidigung schnell aufbauen und immer weiter upgraden, während sie die notwendigen Ressourcen aus den nahegelegen Mienen schöpfen. Neue Technologien und Gebäude müssen erforscht werden um die Erde und das Sonnensystem zu verteidigen. All das, während die Titanen unaufhaltsam heranrücken.

Features:

50 Level auf der Erde, Mond, Mars, Saturn und dem Titan
Unzählige Technologien und Gebäude zum Erforschen
Spielmodi: Entspannter Endlos-Spielmodus und aufregender Survival-Modus mit Online-Highscore-Listen

„Revenge of the Titans – Die Rache der Titanen“ ist zum empfohlenen Verkaufspreis von 19,99 Euro im Handel erhältlich.

Weitere Informationen unter http://www.iceberg-interactive.com/

Show me the Sales!

Erstwhile indie entrepreneur, caustic media darling and Ferengi executive Cliffski has put together an awesome site of like-minded indie games developers where we flog our humble wares called Show Me The Games. The site is a dedicated not-for-profit co-operative between a few of us indie developers to bring in direct sales to benefit each other, the lifeblood of expansion in our industry.

This morning we are proud to announce a sale on Show Me The Games called… Show Me The Sales!

If you’re a customer of ours (either directly, via affiliates, through Steam or the Humble Indie Bundle), please stroll on over and check out some incredibly cheap and nifty titles from our fellow indie peers, many of which would make great Christmas gifts for friends and family (especially, hem hem, on account of their extreme cheapness for the next 14 days). Of course, you could spend Christmas day playing Monopoly instead. No? I thought not. Go now!

If you’re in any doubt about any of the titles available on Show Me The Sales don’t forget they all have demos and all have refund policies.

New trailer for Titan Attacks v2, glitchy bits fixed, Revenge 1.80.13

To accompany the recent v2.00 release of Titan Attacks is this new trailer wot I have done…

Cas has also done a few fixes – so if you had any problems with Linux freezing, have a go and see if it’s got better.

Linux Ultrabundle Fixed

I’ve just uploaded a hacky fix to make the Ultrabundle games work properly on Linux. If anyone could let me know why Frame.isActive() always returns false on Linux I’d be grateful. Grr.

Revenge of the Titans Updated to v1.80.13

Humble Bundlers – download the update from your Humble Bundle page, not Puppygames!

Revenge of the Titans also got an update which actually changes a few things, some of which will make whiners whine, but as that’s what whiners do, we shall leave them to it. Amongst the changes is that the resolution of the game has now been fixed regardless of your screen’s aspect ratio. It was supposed to be like this before but because of a bit of a logic error it never really worked as intended. Now it does. You should find the game now resizes to any size you like when running in a window (press “P” to pause and ungrab the mouse).

Balance & gameplay changes in the game are as follows:

  • The overall difficulty level of the game has been slackened off a tiny bit. You will be able to hoard a little more money before things get really tough. But hoarding money is not the way to win this game anyway. Spend it on defenses! Or as we like to call them here in Blighty, defences.
  • Battledroids and repair drones have been nerfed, and are now produced in slightly fewer numbers.
  • The repairs that repair drones do now actually cost you money. The repair cost is 10% of the basic value of the building per hitpoint restored. The base, having no cost as such, costs $750 per hitpoint.
  • It’s now running under Java 7 on Windows, and should see about a 20% boost in performance, which you won’t notice really unless your machine is marginal in the CPU area.
  • Fixed a few typos here and there
  • Fixed a bug where you the difficulty was not being attenuated when you were being kicked in by the Titans. This has been in for ages! I did think it was a little odd that people were complaining quite so much about difficulty – turns out the little tweak that was in there to allow players to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat was broken!
  • Nerfed boss hitpoints a little
  • Any of you running on Steam will be delighted to know that we have added Steam achievements and Steam cloud support!

That little lot is bound to upset loads of people but, well, you know, they needed fixing. You’re unlikely to really notice unless you were heavily into repair drones, or you were finding the game too hard – in which case, give it another spin, you’ll probably get a lot further before you hit the Easier Level button.

Ultrabundle Updated

After a bunch of false starts, bodged uploads, and some really annoying library wrangling between LWJGL versions, we have finally unleashed the updated Ultrabundle games, Droid Assault, Titan Attacks, and Ultratron. Existing customers can download nice brand new ones from the usual Puppygames locations (keep your old versions hanging around in case, eh?).

AZERTY keyboard users: sorry, but Ultratron is currently going to be pretty tricky to play as it uses WASD – we’ll upload a fix to this in an update probably next week.

What’s Changed

Titan Attacks has received a giant graphical overhaul and grown up into what we now call version 2.00. Now not only does it look timeless it also looks sharp and modern. A nice trick if you can do it 🙂 Three cheers to Chaz for making it look so much more… nice.

Now in widescreen, sort of…

Before and after…

There have also been a few small gameplay tweaks. Firstly, it’s now basically mouse controlled, because that’s how everyone normal plays it, although you can still use the keys if you’re desperate or stuck on a laptop. The mouse however allows you to move the ship at whatever speed you like. This means the ship speed shop item has been replaced with a different upgrade – “Addon recharge” – which governs the speed at which all your addons reload and fire. You’ll probably want to be upgrading it last. Finally, the ship only starts with one bullet, which is a bit more traditional, and gives you an early thing to aim for in the upgrades.

You’ll also notice now that the window is fully resizeable to any size you so desire, and we’ve added a much-asked-for world select screen!

Droid Assault recently already underwent the big graphical overhaul in the previous 1.90 release, so now with 1.90.1, we’ve done a few refinements to it. The maximum zoom of some of the droids was causing some performance issues and sometimes looked a little crazy so it’s been capped. The laser beams and flamethrower and flames have had their effects thoroughly revised. The game has become slightly easier too, with the droid you are controlling given 50% more hitpoints than before. So, a bunch of little tweaklets which should make for a very slightly nicer experience. Still haven’t put fast droid switching back in yet though – sorry.

Ultratron, being the oldest and simplest title, has simply received the ability to resize the window and a little bit of a title screen overhaul. A few tiny weeny tweaks have been made to the powerups – the spidroid powerups will now remain onscreen indefinitely for you to pick them up. Shooting the freeze powerup pauses the enemy robots momentarily, and shooting the three-way powerup causes your shots to split into three! This can give you an incredible amount of bullets flying around on screen but of course you are fairly hampered in your movement and aiming by the need to shoot it. That’s about it for Ultratron.

Unfortunately we’ve sort of lost the ability to redefine the keys along the way which might be a bit of an arse for those of you with AZERTY keyboards or other abominations. We’ll probably have to come up with a fix for that before the forthcoming Steam release.

Droid Assault – tweaked!

And it is a proper tweaking. Firstly and without further ado, go and download it and while you’re waiting read about what we’ve changed.

Why we’ve tweaked it

Before I tell you the exact nitty gritty of what’s changed you might want to know why we went monkeying with the secret sauce with one of the greatest videogames ever made, eh? Well, it all stems from the fact that Droid Assault is going to wind up on Steam in the not-too-distant future, and your average Steam punter is perhaps a little more discerning (or shall we say, “scathingly critical”), en masse, than you delightful and forgiving Puppygames fans are.

Droid Assault suffered a few arbitrary and unnecessary limitations in various areas. Firstly it was designed around a rather crappy 320×320 display area (along with our other two minigames, Titan Attacks and Ultratron). The window was fixed, square shaped, and decidedly a bit weird. In this modern day and age it seemed a little incongruous.

Also, the game did rather suffer from being somewhat mindless. It started off reasonably sensible but by the time you got to, say, two thirds of the way through the game, it became an almost random frenzy of blaster fire; 90% of the droids were blown up, including often most of your own droids, in the first 10 seconds of the level, leading to a couple of minutes of relative tedium. Again, this probably wasn’t going to satisfy the relatively eclectic tastes of the Steam demographic, many of whom clearly prefer deeper, more involved games, as our runaway success Revenge of the Titans has shown us.

So, I wanted to make the game a little deeper and more tactical than it used to be, and the following raft of changes is chiefly aimed at getting depth and tactics into this game to replace the random destruction.

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Some Things Are Broken

All software is subject to the strange force of entropy that causes stuff that previously used to work fine to suddenly not work any more. This is an embuggerance which programmers live with on a daily basis, as it appears to occupy about 80% of our miserable time just keeping on top of it.

And so it would seem that some of our stuff has been broken by the Great Rug of Entropy deftly yanked from beneath its wobbly feet. Allow me to describe the symptoms, causes, and possible cures.

Linux

The Debian Packages Won’t Install On Ubuntu 11

Indeed they won’t, because Canonical in their infinite wisdom added some more checking into their .deb unpackager which disagrees with the sadly out-of-date Debian package maker we use. You can actually force it to accept the .deb files we provide (there’s some fancy commandline thing that works – please enlighten me in the comments and I’ll update this post with the solution). If you don’t fancy doing that then the good old .tar.gz files still work as normal.

Java 7 Breaks All Our Games On Linux

Oracle have just released the shiny new Java 7. Hurrah! It’s considerably faster than Java 6. Unfortunately it breaks all our games, and also, it has some serious crashy bugs in it at the moment so generally I’d advise not upgrading to Java 7 for a few months just yet. Unfortunately some Linux distros – notably it would seem Arch Linux – have automatically upgraded Java, and now the games don’t work. The solution is to roll back to Java 6. I advise you to use OpenJDK rather than the Oracle one, as it seems to work better.

Mac OS X

Problems with Lion

There may be some problems with Lion not working, but so far nobody’s come up with a concrete set of problems and/or solutions. We do know that Java is not installed by default in Lion, and so what should happen, on a brand new machine, is that the first time you run one of our games, it’s supposed to go and download Java. This is of course a crappy solution and it’s entirely Apple’s fault. They will be releasing a deployable solution soon which we’ll take advantage of just as soon as we can. If you have any troubles, comment below and tell me and I’ll update this post.

Windows

Surprisingly there appear to be no problems with Windows except possibly with that Razr mouse thing which appears to misbehave. And some of you still can’t figure out how to install new graphics drivers. It really is criminal that Windows still ships on OEM machines with drivers that simply won’t play 50% of the available games out there.

Other News

We’re just putting the final touches to the new version of Droid Assault which has many incremental improvements. We could easily massively expand it into a really quite big and deep sort of game but we’re unsure of the potential market for games like Droid Assault any more so we’re holding off further development on it. But right now the plan is to release it as we have it, which is basically the same but much more polished and improved in various subtle ways, and then think about what to do next. Well, what to do other than give the same treatment to Titan Attacks and Ultratron, which also near completion. All three titles will be making an appearance on Steam soonish, but as with Revenge of the Titans, you will be able to get free Steam keys for all of them if you buy them direct from Puppygames.

In Shops Now!

So we can cross another cheevo off the list: Revenge of the Titans is now available in actual physical form, in boxes lovingly drawn by Chaz, in actual shops! If that isn’t cool enough, said boxes also come with a double-sided hi-res poster inside and also the full-length music EP and also a free Steam key and also the Mac version is included as well!

How cool is that eh? I’ve got 3 of them here at home, still wrapped in their cellophane.

Many thanks to Iceberg Interactive for publishing the game phyically for us. We’re hoping that they make a bunch of money on it, because we’d like a nice simple retail partner we can turn to when we need them, and if this works out, it will be them.

Follow Up : For A Buck

A very interesting selection of responses to our previous bit of bloggage about selling games for a buck. Just to cure any wild speculation about things, I should say there’s no way we can sell games for a buck – it costs us $1.50 to process a single sale as it is*, so we’d actually be paying you money to, er, take digital goods “away”. This would lead to brain meltdown and financial apocalypse.

Even assuming we could process the fee for nothing, we don’t actually get enough visitors a day to sell enough copies even at the (very unlikely) conversion rate of 100% to make minimum wage. Obviously minimum wage might be ok if you are 21 and live with your parents but unfortunately I’ve got an entire family to look after in good old Blighty and it’s not getting any cheaper to live here!

Still, it was interesting to see the number of people who would impulse buy a game based on the strength of a video and / or a review of the game from some trusted source somewhere on teh internets. There were a few people who won’t even throw a dollar at anything – presumably not even a bag of crisps – unless it’s a dead cert, but I suspect that though vocal these people are absolutely a minority and I’ve got the figures to back it up! Revenge has been selling on Steam for 3 months now without a demo just fine. And just ask Apple how their pricing policies and refund policies have worked out for everyone. So, sorry guys, but if you won’t even throw a dollar at something to try it out for yourself, your options are becoming increasingly limited and at the end of the day you’re probably just cutting your nose off to spite your face. Well done! You saved a dollar! You can watch TV tonight all night again as a reward.

* We’ve just been informed that BMTMicro, our payment processor, are going to be able to reduce their fee from about $1.50 to 70c on games priced under $5 – so we’ve updated the price of the Ultrabundle and the games within to $4.97 to see what happens!

Paypal, Amazon Payments and Google Checkout

If you’re reading this then chances are you’re a fan and already bought something from us anyway, but BMTMicro have now added the ability to buy our games really easily using Paypal, Amazon and Google Checkout! Unfortunately right now Amazon are still insisting on getting address details but BMT I think are working on convincing them they don’t need that info for a registration.

What We’re Doing Now

So: Chaz is moving house, so he’s going to be incommunicado and otherwise busy for a month or so. While he’s doing that, I’m tarting up the Ultrabundle games, making them finally display in fully freely resizable windows (about time eh!). Droid Assault has gotten a much more thorough working over, with varying levels of zoom depending on droid scanner ranges, and tweaks to gameplay, weaponry, droids, and difficulty. I’ll be releasing the new Droid Assault update soon.

I think it’s ok to tell you that the Ultrabundle games will be available on Steam at some point in the not-too-distant-future, and like Revenge of the Titans, you will be able to get free Steam keys for them as soon as they’re released. So don’t let that get in the way of buying the Ultrabundle now 😉

After I’ve gotten the Ultrabundle games sorted for Steam, we’re going to start work on a new game. This isn’t the game we were originally planning to do next – we think that game is going to take about 2 years to get to releasable state and we’ve only got money for a year left. Instead we’re going to resurrect Treasure Tomb and attempt to do it justice with new hi-res graphics and other clever things. In particular we’re keen on making an integrated level editor that ordinary players can use, to, er, make all the levels for us with. Heheh.

Somewhere amongst all this I’m going to slowly chip away at Steam SDK stuff and get the achievements into Revenge of the Titans. And probably the Ultrabundle games as well. Busy busy busy!

Attention, Graduate iOS Programmers!

Puppy Games is looking for a new MINION to join our tiny boutique studio. Briefly the perks comprise of:

  1. Working from home.
  2. Working your own hours.
  3. Writing games for iOS.
  4. Working for an award winning, renowned studio.
  5. Generous holidays.
  6. Being surrounded by beautiful women.

Only one of those statements is possibly untrue.

The conditions, disadvantanges and small print of your employment are thus:

  1. Miserly pay. We don’t have lots of cash but we’ve got enough to pay you a frugal living.
  2. You’ve got to be a UK taxpayer. Where you actually are we don’t care.
  3. Your first job will be to port all our games to iOS, which is not as exciting as it sounds.
  4. Only later will you get to do interesting stuff.

To this end we seek solicitations from UNIVERSITY GRADUATES with a PORTFOLIO OF GAMES PROGRAMMING EXPERIENCE on iOS who is able to attend an interview in Taunton within the next 3 months. You might not necessarily be a graduate, but then you’ll have a really great portfolio consisting of at least one FINISHED GAME. It would be extraordinarily beneficial if you are proficient in Java, OpenGL, and maybe C++ or C as well.

Please email your CV, either a URL, .doc, or .pdf, to cprince@puppygames.net with the subject “MINION”. Please include hyperlinks to any stuff we can check out online such as demos or video, and also include a covering letter saying what your salary expections might be so we can have a good chortle.

I’m afraid we CAN’T AFFORD AGENCY FEES so if you’re a pimp, I’m afraid you won’t get lucky this time around.

If after all the UNUSUAL JOB ADVERT HONESTY you still aren’t put off then this might be the job for you!

More Pies! More Ale! More Droids!

Over the weekend you lucky game playing types may have noticed that Revenge of the Titans got a bit of a bump up to version 1.80.12. A seemingly minor version number update – but no! This one contains the secret new buildings! Pretty much that’s all we did for this release – maybe fixed a few really minor things but I can’t remember what they were.

As usual the procedure for updating the game is simply download the latest version from where you originally got it, reinstall, and you’re done. Steam will update the game automatically, but we’re still waiting for them to make it live I think.

New building info…

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Revenge of the Source Code

Finally as promised, you can take a look at the source code to Revenge of the Titans here. Inside that zip file you will find:

  • A src folder containing all the Java and XML source code. Yes, the package name is “worm”. It’s a long story. The whole project was codenamed Ultraworm.
  • A docs folder containing some licenses and a readme.
  • A libs folder containing the Java dependencies for the project.

License

Now read this carefully: you can do what you want with the contents of that zip, provided you leave the license header alone that’s at the top of each file and respect its meaning (and the licenses of the various libraries). Make your own RTS or Tower Defence game, pinch any bits of code you like from within (in which case the license header is probably in a grey area but… I don’t care much), or maybe make some mods for Revenge of the Titans itself.

What you absolutely may not do is redistribute our assets – that’s the graphics and sounds and music – without our express permission, which if I don’t know you quite well, you are unlikely to get. Although some of the sound in the game comes from the incredibly awesome Freesound.org project, the oggs and jars are still ours; if you want the original .wav files which are licensed under the creative commons license, we’ve included links to every one of them in the docs.

You may also absolutely not use the name “Revenge of the Titans”, “Puppygames”, or “Shaven Puppy Ltd” when redistributing any derivative works without our express permission, as that’d again be stepping on our trademarks.

Some bright spark might cunningly put the lot up on github or sourceforge or whatever – go ahead. Said bright spark might also produce an Ant build.xml file.

Support

This is very important: I have almost no time to actually support this source code and your many complicated questions about how it works. If you’re asking me much about how it works in the first place I suspect you shouldn’t be bothering to look at the source anyway.

Anyone who emails the support email address about the source code will be ignored, after being hung by the foreskin until sorry.

Other than that: I now apologise in advance for the extremely crappy code and terrible inaccurate or nonexistent commenting! It just grew that way. In fact it’s all been growing for 10 years and the subject of constant bodging, retrofitting, and general breaking and poor design. I have it on good authority from Markus that it’s not quite as horrible as the Minecraft code but I suspect it’s not far off.

Making Mods

The one area where I will help out is making mods for the game. However, it’s quite an advanced sort of subject, and I shall expound upon exactly how to do this in a forthcoming blog post.

Other News

I got another 2000 keys from Steam, just as we were about to run out. And finally the Steam version has been patched to v1.80.11. The Mac version is imminent.

Steam keys! Eurogamer review! Megatitan attack, Ann Arbor, Michigan!

First of all, the Steam key generator wotsit is now up and running here … and hopefully it works too. Go try it blog squadron, then we’ll fix it when we find out it doesn’t work, and then we’ll send out a newsletter.

Secondly, we got a very nice review on Eurogamer.net – 8/10 aint bad and it’s full of nice quotes too …

Hundreds of Titans will die, but still they come. As levels creep towards their end, the apparently endless spew of chomping 2D horrors finally peters out, the frown will lift from your face, the sweat will be wiped from your brow, and you will feel good.

…and…

Titans has been continually honed during approximately 38 million years in beta, and it shows.

…for example 🙂

And thirdy, worthy of it’s own post if it weren’t for the overdue Steam keys thing, we bring you breaking news…

I have photographic evidence of a Megatitan attack during a street parade in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan yesterday. An entire album of evidence!

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/BcTEOtk6-vZAfCGd_TpbQQ?feat=directlink

Pity these hapless souls who you see carried in the wake of its destructive power! I was an eyewitness, and I count myself fortunate that I lived to tell the tale! Crowds gathered on the sidewalk, amazed at its mighty roar– an echoing bellow of fury as loud as a megaphone!

The creature defeated Mario. It defeated Wallace and Grommit. It even defeated a camel and an octopus. Nothing could stand before its might!

Who, then, saved the planet earth? The alien invaders had failed to account for one thing. On this planet, H20 falls from the very sky itself. This element was the only thing that could penetrate a carapace of pure cardboardium!

I urge you to spread news of this invasion! More photographic and video evidence will be forthcoming!

your faithful correspondent,
Matt Arnold

We will indeed bring you any further updates as soon as we get them – who knows where the Titans will strike next!

News update!

Just as we we’re going to press, as they say, we’ve received further footage of the days events…

Bigger than the one we bagged in Trafalgar Square! Had that one stuffed, we did. Jolly good, eh what!

Indeed!

 

Patch time again

Ahoy there! I can put this off no longer, as a couple of showstopper bugs have been fixed. There’s a new build of Revenge of the Titans available, v1.80.11. Once again, Humble Bundlers should be downloading from their original Humble Bundle links when Jeffrey tweets that is is there (give it 24-48 hours or so), not from Puppygames (or you’ll just end up with an unregistered demo!) Have a look at what happened in this build and then I’ll explain the consequences:

Bugs Fixed

  • Fixed: if Smartbomb is selected, then another option on the build menu is selected, you lose the smartbomb
  • Fixed: having an active smartbomb when you die leave the game in “smartbomb mode” so you got a free smartbomb upon restarting the level
  • Fixed: divide by zero error at seriously high difficulties in Endless mode level generator
  • Fixed: endless level 51 and above became suddenly insanely difficult
  • Fixed: level generator never ends if it generates a duff level
  • Fixed: clicking generate new easier level on wasn’t having any effect
  • Fixed: spider droids and ticks unable to squeeze through some gaps, so they refused to move and the level never ended

Balance

  • More mines!
  • More barricades!
  • Difficulty eased on later levels
  • Brought crystals a little closer to the base
  • Disruptors buffed to 32pts damage
  • Lasers nerfed to 1-8pts damage / tick
  • Crystal scavenging nerfed to 10%, which should encourage use of refineries a little more eh?
  • Reduced agitation caused by use of droids and heavy weapons by a factor of 2 (and also, the effect of decoys)

New Features and Enhancements

  • Mod support using the mods= commandline parameter! Separate jar file paths with system path separators.
  • Using mods segrates you on the survival hiscore table
  • Crystal scavenge rate boosted to 15% then 20% if you choose one or both refinery permabuffs (in any order)
  • You can hover over a crystal now to get the amount of money left in it (reprocessors etc. notwithstanding)

Internal

  • Game now uses Java 6 and is no longer Moleboxed. No more virus warnings! But we’ll have lost a tiny bit of performance and startup will be a bit slower.
  • Increased memory parameters to -Xms64m -Xmx375m for 64-bit VMs
  • Removed AdaptiveSizePolicy VM parameter
  • Split up sound and graphics jars each into 3 smaller jars
  • Games now look for a patch.jar in the game directory which is used in preference to the contents of the rest of the jars
  • One nice big MSVC solution to build all the launchers executable using the same code
  • Dug up some license documentation
  • Did the code for the Scarecrow and Cloaking Device
  • Moved loads of static final constants into XML so they can be modded
  • Multiple mods loaded in order on the commandline
  • Gidrahs that fail to find a route five consecutive times are killed (cause of death: grid bug)
  • Diagonally moving gidrahs were allowed to plot horizontal and vertical routes but then prevented from actually executing them
  • Increased hint duration from 7 to 10 seconds

Analysis

Mostly what you’ll notice about this version is that it’s somewhat easier than before. You’ve got more mines and barricades, the heavy weapons and special buildings don’t make the gidrahs quite so angry, the crystals are a little closer to the base, and the overally difficulty has been tuned down a fair amount, especially as you get past Mars. It’ll still get hard if you’re doing really well, but with any luck, more people should have more fun more of the time in this version.

A subtle (and, honestly, not particularly relevant) change to crystal scavenging sees the amount of crystal recovered nerfed from 20% to 10%. That’s only a few hundred bucks in reality, but you can buff it again by researching the two refinery permabuffs (5% each). The idea of this subtle change was to encourage refining, just a bit more.

Under the hood, the game is now being deployed using JDK6 server VM (which is what all the Mac and Linux folks have been using all along anyway, so no change there). Also on Windows we’re no longer using the Moleboxed solution, for two reasons: firstly, because various virus checkers keep on finding false positives, grrr; and secondly, because the game now has mod support, albeit in a fairly hardcore manner. To create mods you’ll need to be proficient with XML editing, making JAR files, and tweaking your commandline. Suffice to say that this is a little bit involved and will require a whole blog post explaining it all, which I’ll get around to next week, and this will also coincide with me officially releasing the source code, which you will of course need to make any sense of the modding process.

In Other News…

I haven’t been able to update the Steam depot to v1.80.11 yet because our Valve rep is either away or busy or otherwise indisposed in some way. This also means we haven’t yet got the Mac port onto Steam either. Sorry folks, there’s nothing I can do about this yet. Also: if you want to see the Ultrabundle on Steam, ask Valve 🙂 As with Revenge of the Titans, we will be able to provide Steam keys for existing customers.

I am trying to sort out the Steam keys thing! I’ve just been waylaid for the last week and unable to get on with serious work. I’ll notify the world with a blog post when it’s ready as there are so many of you want Steam keys. <edit> We originally stipulated that the Steam key would be a one-way conversion but this is not the case – your Steam key is totally free of strings attached.

Some people have asked, and here it is: I tweet as @princec1234 though I don’t say much.

We are in the process of talking about an iPad version of Revenge of the Titans, but we’re not sure exactly how far we can get with it just yet. We’ll keep you posted if the project gets the go-ahead.

And finally we’ve been doing lots of thinking about our next game. Or at least, some bits of it. We really want to get on and start writing it as we’ve got precious little cash spare to spend on fiddling with Revenge of the Titans forever. As of right now we’ve got about 16 months’ money to develop the next game with, less if we do the iPad port and it tanks, which it very well might if Apple decide not to feature it. So game design caps are on! Brains are boiling! Pencils are being chewed at an increased rate!

Now on Steam!

What's Steam?

So it would seem… we are on Steam now! Humble Bundlers: Valve are working on getting the game into your libraries. Be patient, it’ll just pop up automatically when it’s ready. Puppygames customers: we’ll sort out keys for anyone who wants to use the Steam version – I’m working on a page you can use to grab a Steam key automatically as there are too many requests for me to do manually now!

I’ve got another patch waiting in the wings, v1.80.11, but I’ll release that next weekend when things are quiet. Amongst other things it increases the amount of barricades and mines you get, brings crystals a bit closer, reduces difficulty somewhat in later levels, and has modding support in it!

Quick note – we’ll be adding Steam achievements and hopefully Steam Cloud support over the next month or so. And getting ahold of Steam keys is going to take a day or two maybe. Hang in there.

We Can Haz A Forumz!111!1!

The Joy of Valve! They have given us a forum! See you there.

1920 x 1080 Revenge of the Titans wallpaper

Here’s the first wallpaper, which is a modified version of the image that will be gracing the Steam store soon, touch wood…

Click on the image for compressed .jpg version, or you can grab an uncompressed .jpg or .png (which Windows will convert to a .jpg anyway if you set it as the desktop background, I think.

Will be putting up other sizes, and getting special versions done for those that helped with the Mac icon, soon! … though that’s a special Puppygames soon 🙂

ペイントツールSAI ftw!

There’s another wallpaper image to come as well, along similar lines, at a later date. Here’s how it looked at an early stage in PaintTool SAI, which really is the dog’s ‘nads if you’ve got a tablet, and can’t draw for toffee*, like me…

Tune in tmrw to see the finished thing!… Steam permitting.

* It doesn’t really make you any better at drawing in general, as you can probably tell by my efforts, it just makes it easier to draw smooth lines with a tablet with it’s cunning adjustable stabilizer wotsit.

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.

Mac users – help needed!

Cas has a Mac. It is broken. I’ve done a .icns with a 512px square image for the Mac dock thing or whateveritscalled – but no way to test. As far as I’m aware the 512px image in the .icns is only used in the dock thing and should look something like…

… so Mac users, your challenge is – can you get to preview a .icns file in your dock wotsit, is this the only place a 512px icon is used, and does it look any good, or does it look a bit poo? You can download the .icns here. Winner gets a brand spanking new yet-to-be-seen signed wallpaper with your name scribbled on it! Or something.

oh and ‘Arm of the Lord’… just the first image i grabbed from google 🙂

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!!

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