Hey all! Wow, this has been a huge year for events! We've got 13 under our belt after wrapping up Pandoracon, and boy, we put way more effort into Pandoracon than the others. Now, that's not to say that the others weren't work, of course they were, but we really put in the extra mile on this one...Read More
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Hey all! Wow, we're exhausted! On October 22nd we went up to Dayton for The Ohio Gaming Brigade's "Dayton Designed: Game Night at Star City Brewing Company" (wow that's a lot to type; certainly not Twitter friendly!) then on the 28th, we headed down to Lexington for LexPlay and on the 29th, we went up to Columbus for GDEX! Yup, with both LexPlay and GDEX being two day affairs, we actually split up the team and took them both on! Then on November 3rd, we hit up our own hometown Hamilton for Alive After 5: Game Night! Here's how it went...Read More
Hey guys! Wow! It's been a pretty crazy week for us! Not only did Kristy, Natalie, and I spend all Wednesday night (and Thursday morning) setting up for the Artspace Hamilton Grand Opening (Kristy and I live there and I'm the chairman of the resident committee) but then, after spending all day Thursday actually at that event, I took a Greyhound at 3am to Louisville, KY for IdeaFestival!Read More
So, as you may know, our Radarkanoid arcade cabinet was at the Fitton Center for the Creative Arts (a local art museum here in Hamilton) for their Hindsight exhibit until the end of next month. In fact, the whole reason we made this particular cabinet was for the exhibit in the first place. Well, to celebrate not only this exhibit, but the big launch of this new event season for them, they threw a big party! They had people counting at the door, and well over 1000 people came (which I believe is their biggest season launch yet). It was pretty darned cool. That also meant that a lot of people got to play Radarkanoid at this event alone.Read More
Oh boy, oh boy, OH BOY! Radarkanoid is finally out! It's finally here. It's finally... well... done! We'd made Radarkanoid as part of the Kentucky Fried Pixels game jam last month (it was a month-long jam). The finished games that were part of the jam also made it on to a bundle, where 50% of the profits go to help Louisville Makes Games, a 501c(3) charity that helps Kentucky game developers live the dream!Read More
Hey all! Things have been going really well around here as of late, though, if I'm being honest, today's blog post will probably be pretty short. See, most of you already know roughly what we have to report on anyway, so none of the news is really "huge" or anything. With that being said, here are "4 Short Updates From Wraith" (and yes, that is supposed to be a Simpsons reference hidden behind several layers of incomprehensible). Let's rock!Read More
Bam! No intro! Getting right into it! Buckle in, because you're in for a long one! So, believe it or not, we're almost done with Radarkanoid. Up until recently, there was one big bug. Yup, just the one. Since Radarkanoid was intended to be a small, free game for you all to enjoy (and a bit of a passion project of mine personally, though I'll get into that in a bit), we figured that spending a couple weeks trying to fix said bug was just too long. This was especially true since it was being done to not only get Kristy into the swing of things (she is still a student after all) in a similar manner to what we did with Dante and FlyGuy (though that's a story for another time), but she had also just taken over on Collapsus and reach a fairly large bug in that as well. A break was needed. Of course, having a side project become as stressful as a main project just won't do. So, she took a break from Radarkanoid and jumped back into Collapsus. Well, since her schedule got a bit more hectic these past few days, she decided to pick Radarknoid back up rather than putting in half measures on Collapsus. This seemed to do the trick and it should be fully done here very soon!
Anyway, I wanted to take this time to get into the history and inspiration behind Radarkanoid. Oh yes, even Radarkanoid has "history" and "inspiration" like everything else around here. Remember me talking about "the Phonebook" here on the blog or in interviews? Well, if not, here's the skinny: throughout the 11 years Wraith has been operating, we've not worked on all that many games (mostly due to the fact that we became a full-time business only last year). Well, that's not entirely true I guess. See, in the first two or three years we worked on a metric boat-load of smaller prototypes (Collapsus and FlyGuy prototypes among them), that we released online for free, but they don't count because A) they were never meant to be "real" games B) they sucked and C) hey, we were still just high school students then (not that high schoolers can't make amazing games... we just couldn't).
In this time, as lead designer, I've come up with countless ideas, big and small, and put them into a "book" (really just a text document) that the team lovingly refers to as "The Phonebook", due to how thick it would be if published (well, slight exaggeration... probably). So there are a lot (and I mean a lot) of games that I want to see done at some point. This isn't even including all of the projects that other team members want to do! We have enough projects to last us a lifetime... and growing!
As you can probably guess, Radarkanoid is one of these projects. No one ever said they had to be "big" games on the list, did they? In fact, on several occasions it has been suggested that we have some sort of imprint (for lack of a better word) within Wraith just to handle smaller, cheaper (or downright free) games. In 2007 we thought about calling it "Wraith Arcade" and in 2012 "Wraith Minis". Heck, we even announced Minis in 2012 as an actual thing that we never did anything with (oddly enough, including a revived FlyGuy that we actually released, and the concept for Radarkanoid and Cave Worm, all the way back then). That idea seems doomed, to be honest. The imprint, not the smaller games. Just putting a label on them kind of deprioritizes them or something. So why not just make them and not need to label it? Sounds good to us!
Knowing that Radarkanoid is an old idea finally taking form isn't unusual knowing us, so lets get into the nitty gritty of "why Radarkanoid?" As in: "what's so special about this particular game that made it a 'must do' at some point"? Well, to be honest, it was kind of the perfect storm of ideas for me. As you may know, the name is a portmanteau of "radial" and "Arkanoid". Radial because the paddle goes around in a circle and Arkanoid, Taito's popular 1986 spiritual successor to Atari's 1976 staple, Breakout. It's a "block breaker" game in a circle. Pretty self-explanatory, no? Well, it's not even that simple.
The "radial" part also has its inspiration. That would be Andrzej Kapolka's classic, Radial Pong. What? You haven't heard of Radial Pong? Well, you must have not been frequenting the popular old school website Albino Blacksheep in 2002, then! Yup, I was inspired directly by an old web game that most people probably don't even remember. Yeah, I know I'm weird. It's a pretty cool little game, though. It's Pong (obviously), but in a circle (*gasp*). Yeah, I know, I know. But yeah, it was a pretty neat idea. Since Breakout started out as a way to capitalize on Pong, but in a single player format, it seemed only right to take Radial Pong and do the same. That's pretty much it for the gameplay, but why dos it look like a piece of old machinery, you may ask? Well, that's the next part of the story!
All this, for Tennis for Two. It's certainly a weird game. It was made by physicist William Higinbotham using an oscilloscope. A freakin' oscilloscope. For those who don't know, an oscilloscope is a voltage tester kind of like a more complicated multimeter (also called a "DMM"). I'm simplifying, but yeah. Think about that a physicist makes a video game in 1958... 14 years before Pong. Freaking PONG!!! That was 58 years ago! That's hardcore! Sorry about that, I get excitable sometimes. Well, as you can see, it has a very distinct look to it. That's because of how it displays images. It's not really like pixels or polygons today. Seeing it in motion is really cool: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2E9iSQfGdg
As you can see, the look of not only Tennis for Two, but the hardware it's played on had a huge influence on how Radarkanoid looks. In addition to that, another inspiration was actual radar equipment.With the fact that an oscilloscope already looks a bit like a radar screen and that it is named "Radar"kanoid, I looked at a lot of radar images for reference, as well.
"Okay, okay", I can hear you say. That's the end of it, right? Well, no, sorry to say. There are a couple other places of inspiration on this one. As you can probably tell, Radarkanoid's gameplay graphics don't really line up with Arkanoid, Radial Pong, or Tennis for Two. Well that's because they're more closely inspired by the vector graphics for some old arcade games, and more specifically, 1982's home console oddity, the Vectrex!
The Vectrex is, in my opinion, one seriously strange and awesome piece of gaming hardware (of course, I think the same about the Virtual Boy, of which I own one, so I may just be strange myself).
It was a home console with a built-in vector monitor. Vector graphics are different from what you may be used to because they're generally only one color and are very crisp, glowing, geometric shapes. Oscilloscopes are actually vector monitors, but unfortunately Tennis for Two didn't look anything like (or anywhere near as good as, in my opinion) the good ol' Vectrex!
So that's it? Nope. But we are getting very close. I would be remiss if I didn't mention another piece of inspiration, the Fallout series' trusty Pip-Boy! More accurately, even though I did take some inspiration from the Pip-Boy directly (obviously) most of where they got their inspiration from is where I drew my inspiration from directly as well, rather than me just looking at a Pip-Boy and doing that. No, this was more indirect. Last year, leading up to Fallout 4's release the ShoddyCast had a contest to Fallout-ify their logo. This was my submission (I do still occasionally do freelance graphic design, after all):
Sadly, I didn't win... but I did have a blast making it! When it came time to work on Radarkanoid, instead of going with a pixelart aesthetic like I had originally planned on doing years ago, I actually thought about the historic context of my influences and used the same texturing techniques I did for this logo. I am a huge gaming history nerd, after all ("Nah, we never would have guessed"). Here's what it looks like now... we're pretty sure this is how it will look on final release here soon (or at least, very, very close):
What do you think? It was a real journey; quite a fun one, too! It really goes to show you what goes into even a really simple project! Heck, don't get me started on the pop art influences in Collapsus! Anyway, I've rambled for quite some time now and development does still need to get done. Later days!
Last week we had artist extraordinaire Lance T. Miller and The One True Eric (Eric Baxter) of Nerdyish Things (yes, our part-time blog writer, Eric) in to kick this mural's butt! It seems to be coming along really well, if I do say so myself! It's really cool to look at the wall and see all of the cool stuff from games you've worked on (or plan to work on for some of them) sprawled out in front of you. It's just so awesome! Like, in the literal sense: it just fills you with awe! Okay, well it does for me anyway. Take a look:
Pretty nice, huh? It's really coming along. Only a little more sketching to do (probably another day's work worth) and then we're outlining the sketch with Sharpie. After that's the paint! Really no clue how long it'll take in total, but it hopefully won't be too long now.
That's pretty much all the news on the mural side of things. Now on to the blog news.
It's been about half a year since we started doing weekly blogs. It seems to have been a huge success! Before, blog posts were random and there was little incentive to even do them at all most of the time. This weekly format really makes us think about what we're posting and get something of value out of it. So, we're pretty sure we're going to continue this format for the foreseeable future. If it ain't broke and whatnot. Well, if we're just going to keep doing what we've been doing, what's this part about? Well I wanted to talk briefly about some things we want to be doing with the blog in the near future. A teaser, of sorts.
As you probably know, we've started up two ongoing series about the industry recently: "Where Do I Get Started" and "11 Things We've Learned from 11 Years in Game Development". We should have some new posts in both of those series here soon. The cool thing about those is that it (hopefully) won't just be me and/or Eric. We're trying to get not only the rest of the team doing little snippets on them, but also maybe some guest spots from other developers we know as well. Wouldn't that be cool?!
Other than that, we have a few other posts planned. We want to do a postmortem on both the mural & the studio remodel as a whole, a few more random development posts (for Collapsus, Physix, and Radarkanoid), a Radarkanoid launch post, a Radarkanoid postmortem, a couple posts about the status of the Collapsus weekly builds (when they're going on), at least one post leading up to the Collapsus Kickstarter, a Collapsus Kickstarter postmortem, a Collapsus Greenlight post, and maybe a few more Collapsus posts as well (like for the console releases, Arcade Edition, "weird ports", DLC, promotions, and the like). Then we shift into more Physix, JPH, and Cave Worm posts, but those are a while off.
Now, setting aside the 50 million development posts I just mentioned, you can also expect a post on the shirt making process, a post on the interviews we've been in recently, a post about making our old (crappy) game; FlyGuy, a post about our old (crappier) pre-FlyGuy games, a few posts about events we're either going to be at or breakdowns after we come back from them, a few posts about the game jam we're trying to organize, and hopefully a lot more (we are doing 52 blog posts a year, after all! That's a lot of air time to fill). There's even a few secret posts we have planned that we can't quite talk about, but we're sure you'll love!
There's just so many cool ideas we have ready to spring on you... so just stay tuned!
Anyway, on with the show! As you probably know, we're trying to get Collapsus ported to pretty much anywhere that'll have it: PC (hopefully Steam, GOG and the Humble Store especially!) Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Windows phone, Fire tablet, web browser (mainly Kongregate and Newgrounds), 3DS, and Wii U just to name a few! Today, though, I wanted to talk about some of the, um, "weirder" aspects of Collapsus distribution.
Firstly, I'd like to talk about the Arcade versions, since we've mentioned them at various points before. Progress on the dedicated cabinet that's going to Arcade Legacy is going smoothly but slowly. I have a bit of experience with arcade cabinets not only with me being a collector of vintage cabinets, but also having also built my own MAME machine. That's one of the big reasons we're shooting for an arcade release. I (all of us, really) LOVE classic arcade machines! To be honest, it's all pretty simple stuff, but it's a pretty big investment of both time and money. It'll be done when it's done, I guess.
We're also trying to make a build for the Winnitron Arcade Network. It's mostly going to be a port of Versus mode with more of a focus on local multiplayer, as per Winnitron's specifications. It'll join other multiplayer variants of awesome indie games like Super Crate Box and Canabalt.
As for smart watches, we're trying to get a Pebble build out, especially with the new "Time" and "Round" featuring color displays... but we're also doing a greyscale version for the "Classic" and "Steel", of course. This desire comes from the fact that the Pebble version of Tetris is surprisingly awesome and I love playing it to kill time. So why not Collapsus, too? Hopefully we can get it on other smart watches as well, but since we don't have access to them (as of right now) we'll just have to wait and see.
Then there's the Ti-83 calculator! Oh my, the Ti-83. You remember the old Ti-83, right? It was simply the best graphing calculator for so long and it's still used today! Heck, one of the coolest things about them were the games and programs! There were tons of awesome games on a calculator of all things. It was crazy! Anyway, it'd just be pretty awesome, no? One of the biggest reasons we want to do this is because we have a friend how actually made a pretty awesome Rubik's Cube solver for it back when we were in school. Part of me is just hoping we can convince him to be the one to make it so I get a chance to work on it with him.
Well, what could be next after that? Why retro consoles, of course! I have a pretty big retro collection myself, but two of the neatest retro consoles to still sport indie games are the Dreamcast and Game Boy. Heck, the Dreamcast actually gets a couple games every year to this day! It's pretty sweet. As for the Game Boy, how cool would it be to play Collapsus on the old grey brick! If possible, we'd love to do ports on the NES, SNES, Genesis... anything that we can do, really! Yes, even the Virtual Boy (we actually own one if we wanted to do tests :P )
Last, but not least, I guess, is the original kindle. Seriously. Not the Fire (though we are making a release for that... it's even what we demo'd it on at OGDE) but the original Kindle eReader! When we found out that Settlers of Catan has a version running on the original Kindle (I'm not kidding, take a look: http://www.catan.com/game/catan-for-amazon-kindle) we realized we had to try! No other reason than because it would be neat.
So... that's a bit of a write up on some of the unusual places we want to release Collapsus. Some of them we're actually making 100% sure we're doing and other's may just be flights of fancy that may not come to fruition. Either way, none of these non-standard releases are taking time away from the development of the core game. One thing's for sure, though: no matter where Collapsus shows up, you can bet it'll be a fun time!
Hey guys! I know it's kind of unusual to see a blog post from us that's not on a Monday, but I figured that since we're competing for App of the Year, it would be best to get this out while all eyes are on us. Over the past couple weeks I introduced the uninitiated to the history of Collapsus and an exploration of what'll be in the game when it's released. This time around, I want to write an article about our development process and where we go up through release. Sound good? Lets get started!
Unity's been pretty reliable for us and as such, we've been getting quite a lot done, having the core gameplay (bar a few bugs) entirely playable at this point (as those of you who played it at OGDE can attest). After that, we started working on getting the new power-ups working. This involved working on a new system called the power-up "Dock" and making some really cool (and useful) effects!
First I want to welcome a couple new team members: Steve and Chad. Steve's a very talented 3D Artist, as well as a Graphic Artist... and I hear he's decent with music too, but I've yet to hear anything he's done yet (Get on that, Steve... I'm waiting). Chad, on the other hand, is just starting his career in design and development is an intern that has been working with us when we've not had him busy with tutorials (gotta make him useful... the cheeky git). Both are awesome people to simply even know and we're excited to have them with with us.
Now, I know some of you have been curious about our up-coming mobile title, Collapsus. Rest assured that it has been coming along nicely. Even I have been enjoying the time I've spent playing it, and I'm not much of a “mobile puzzler” type of gamer. Look for some more frequent updates about it coming up soon, as we're starting a Kickstarter to help with the finishing touches. At least, that's what Jay told me after talking to Kyle and Geoff more in-depth about it.
Busy, busy, busy... so-- re-cap. Collapsus is coming along well enough that we're going to have a Kickstarter campaign started here soon. After that, we'll turn more attention to Physix and AAAAH!!! A Giant Freakin' Cave Worm, Run!!! before resuming steady development on Jet Pack Hero.
For all of you that have been patient and read my ramblings, I have a treat! We have some pictures of the office! Complete with a a husk of an arcade cabinet that will be converted to a Collapsus cabinet to be put at Arcade Legacy. We're talking large pictures you can actually see, unlike the pictures in Jay's SlideDB post!
As for additions, we've added a new way to interact with certain power-ups. Things like the Switch, Shuffle, Splash, Time-Up and Time Freeze blocks are now added to an "inventory" of sorts when broken that can be clicked on and used at a later time. Shown below next to the "Level Banner" and the Score:
Pretty nice! In addition to all that, as well as all of the consoles we're releasing on, we're in the process of working on a physical arcade cabinet that should be going up at Cincinnati's own "Arcade Legacy" shortly after launch! We also hope to get that version out on the Winnitron Arcade Network, so non-Ohioans can enjoy it as well! You can go read more about that side of development over on our website, if you're interested.
Well, that's all we have for now, I hope to post more often, but whenever I say that it takes about a year for it to actually happen for some reason, so I'll just say that I'll try my hardest. Here's hoping that you all get to play this labor of love of ours soon! After that, who knows, maybe we may actually get some work done on Physix or Jet Pack Hero?... Nah!
We're currently working to get it up and running along side the other releases of the game, and if all goes well it will be playable at Cincinnati's own Arcade Legacy. You're probably saying to yourself, "Jay! What if I don't live in/near Cinci?" That's a good question: one we may have some semblance of an answer for... The Winnitron Arcade Network is a network of free-to-play, indie game arcade machines hosted around the world. We're hoping (though nothing is concrete yet) to port the very same Arcade Edition that will be running on our dedicated machine to the Winnitron Network.
Anyway, my intent here wasn't just to inform all of you lovely people that the arcade version will exist; I also wanted to show you all how it will exist in a new series of blog posts following our saga of getting it ready. So here we go!
A few months back, I bought an old NeoGeo MVS 1 slot conversion with Samurai Showdown off of eBay. It didn't run, but the boards were salvageable (at least enough where I'm going to consolize the internals for myself) and the monitor had some nasty screen burn. I'm no stranger to arcade cabinets, I actually have a small collection (5, if you count this one) 3 of which I restored/am in the process of restoring and the last (or first, chronologically) that I MAME-ified, so I figured I could either repair it, or do something awesome with it. I chose the latter and got 2 projects for the price of one! Maker culture runs deep here at Wraith!
Here's the cabinet sitting in the office after I started taking most of the controls off and started ripping off the control panel's screen printing.