Filtering by Tag: Kongregate

A Bright Idea... Festival

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!

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Radarkanoid: Out Now!

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!

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Radarkanoid: A Development Journey

Okay. Let's talk about Radarkanoid!



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).

Anyway.

 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.

Arkanoid

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!

Radial Pong

Pong has an interesting history. Most people who are even casually interested in games know that it was the first big video game success. Many of you also know that Atari (and later Chuck E. Cheese's) founder, Nolan Bushnell created the game in 1972 after being inspired by playing 1962's Spacewar at college. He went on to clone Spacewar, with 1971's Computer Space but it had limited success. Pong would be its follow-up!

Well, Pong actually predates all that with Ralph Baer's 1968 "Brown Box" prototype home video game console, which would later become the Magnavox Odyssey in 1975. Bushnell had seen one of its prototypes at a trade show and based Pong on one of its games. Needless to say, a lawsuit followed. Oddly enough, Baer's biggest success would be with the 1978 handheld game, Simon, which was a copy of Bushnell's Touch Me arcade game. So I guess it was a fair trade-off (maybe). 

So, why am I telling you all this? Pretty much just because I find it interesting. Well, actually, it was more for context's sake. See, Ralph Baer's "table tennis" game inside of the Brown Box was inspired by another, much older video game: 1958's Tennis for Two! 

Tennis for Two

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!

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):

Jay's ShoddyCast logo submission

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!


Remodel Updates & Blogging About Blogging

Hey all! You probably know this if you follow our social media, but I've been sick the last few days with some sort of cold. I'm feeling much better now, but I still feel like crap. That's why I'm going to soft-ball it today with a nice and easy post. The topic of the day is more remodel stuff and the blog itself! Lets hit it!



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!








Bits and Bobs: Thoughts on Collapsus Versus Mode

Hey all! It's Jay, still a bit under the weather, but back again and ready to go! This week, I figured we could talk about Collapsus! Lets go!


So, we decided to take a little break from Radarkanoid (though we've still been working on it sporadically) because A. both Kristy and I are sick (and we're the only ones working on it) and B. we wanted to prevent burn out of such a small project (there are some um... "interesting" code/math problems that we're overcoming and since it was supposed to be a quick project, it was more than a bit frustrating, to say the least. We'll get it, though).

In the meantime, we're back to Collapsus (though, to be honest, we never stopped, we were working on it in tandem with Radarkanoid). Most of what we're doing right now is actually work on the Versus mode. You know, the Versus mode. Like Puzzle League, Tetris Friends, Puzzle Fighter or Puyo Pop. Those are all really, really solid games on their own, but having a Versus mode really brought them to the next level (no pun intended)!

Collapsus is already a pretty content-dense game as is, and at risk of invoking feature creep, we feel that such a mode is just too awesome not to include. Aw, who are we kidding! Feature creep has been an issue day 1 of the project back when we started it in 2006. A decade. Huh. Wow. Now I feel old. Anyway...

How we have the versus in Versus mode working is the better you do, the more "junk blocks" go over and clutter your opponents' field. Yup, note that apostrophe placement. It's not a typo. We're working with (at least) up to 6-player battles! Maybe even more, if we can. Still testing the waters on that one. So yeah... as I was saying: junk blocks are kind of a staple in the multiplayer puzzle genre and with the mechanics we use in Collapsus, it just felt right to use them.


We originally had the junk blocks be just singles, just like any other block and regardless of who sent them (or what field they were on) they'd be the same color. We figured after a while that both of those ideas were a bit dull, so we're experimenting with junk blocks that merge into one-another, complete with color coded, per-field aesthetic!


 Yeah, we know, as has been pointed out on Twitter, it kind of looks like a pair of underwear, but more patterns are made depending on how they're merged, this is just a coincidence :P

On top of that, we may finally have a layout for two player!


We think it's pretty sleek. The version of the screen with even more players will have a bit of a different layout (and multiplayer is only available on devices with screens that can comfortably support it, as well), but this is a good guideline of how it'll probably look.

On top of that, in our design room (and over Twitter) we've been discussing how we may do a chat feature. Seems that emotes may be a fun way to do it. We should have some of those early ideas up on Twitter soon.

It's all pretty cool stuff, if you ask us! We're trying to keep these matches pretty frenetic and interesting without altering much of the core gameplay that those who have played it have grown to love. Like, why would we make it too drastically different and still call it Collapsus!? That'd be crazy! So, for the most part, other than the addition of junk blocks and new power-ups (which we'll get to in a later article) we've tweaked some of the original power-ups to do things to your opponents as well in addition to their normal, single-player effects. We're keeping the transition simple. Collapsus is best when it's simple!

We can't wait to get something playable out to you (probably in the form of our free, online weekly builds) but we'll probably have a new trailer before that. After the weekly builds start, hopefully (again, hopefully) we can get that Kickstarter campaign out the door and then working on the mode specific trailers after that. So exciting!

We hope that you can't wait to see (and play) it as much as we can't wait to give it to you! Next week: Something completely different (probably)!

Radarkanoid: Some Game We're Working On

Hey all! Well, for this week I wanted to discuss a (very) little project we're currently working on called Radarkanoid. It's a block-breaker style game similar to the likes of Breakout or... well... Arkanoid, but instead of a standard (and a little boring as of 2016) rectangular play field, it's a circular one where you can move up the walls (similar to Andrzej Kapolka's Radial Pong, that you may have played on Albino Blacksheep back in the early-2000's). It actually has several inspirations both mechanically and aesthetically other than just those, but since we're planning on putting out a postmortem blog post after it's done, we'll save that for later.

Believe it or not, it's a game that I've been wanting to get done for quite some time(before Physix, in fact) but never got around to doing because other, larger projects ended up taking not only my time, but the rest of the studio's as well. It was conceived as one of a few smaller, free games that were just sort of neat experiments that I felt had to be made, even if they weren't earth-shattering by any means.




We put these up on Twitter last week mostly because I was trucking away on the art before Kristy got to working on the programming. That's right, this time there are only two of us on this unlike Colalpsus and Physix. Just me and Kristy. Told you it was a small project! We really don't want to waste to many people working on such a small, few game. How else would our big titles get done!?


I eventually got to something looking like this. Pretty neat, huh? Well, like with the gameplay inspirations, the graphics have a lot of hidden inspiration, so you'll just have to wait until the postmortem to hear about them. Ain't I just a tease?


After that, we started working on some powerups. Currently we've got one that gives you an extra paddle, a paddle extender, multi-ball, a burning ball and, of course, an extra life! The game's all here! We may add, change, and/or omit some of these, just for now, these seem pretty solid!


We even have a special version of the logo! Sharp, right?

But yeah, it's not the biggest game but we've really had a lot of fun with it in-house both designing AND making it. The plan is to release it for free on Kongregate, Newgrounds and maybe some other free places on the web and we're also shooting for a mobile release. Let us know if you'd like to see it anywhere else! 


A Little Collapsus in All the *Weird* Places

Hey all! It's Monday again and you know what that means... It's blog time! This past week (heck, even the past 3 weeks for that matter) have been a bit slow with Christmas and New Years. New Years is actually a pretty big deal for us around here because unlike most people who get hammered and count down the ball drop, several members of Team Wraith (and a few other friends) get together for our annual Dungeons and Dragons party! It really caps off the weekly sessions with a bang! Yeah, that's right, we do it weekly (and we've been doing it since 2005, to boot!) So that's always fun!

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!

Where Collapsus Goes from Here

(This post came out a few days ago over on SlideDB. The 'App of the Year' competition is over as of now, so don't worry about voting. Now we just have to wait until we see the results!) 

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 releasedThis time around, I want to write an article about our development process and where we go up through release. Sound good? Lets get started!



I just can't get enough of this GIF!

Like I said before, we started in 2006 with a rough prototype and just this past year really started ramping up production (mostly due to the fact that we became an actual company with an LLC, actual studio space and whatnot). While the prototype used the awful Javascript engine, Stagecast, when the project was picked back up again we started with CoronaSDK but very quickly moved to Unity. Shortly after that, we needed to port from Unity 4 to 5!


Unity 5 on the left and 4 on the right

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!



The power-up "Dock"

If I had to guess, I'd say those are about 75% done or so. The next step is working on the Special modes. The entire point of the Special modes are to change the game perpetrators in some way that dramatically alter the gameplay you came to know in the Standard modes. Our favorite example is 'Gravity' mode, where by tilting your phone, you change the gravity of the screen which, of course, changes how the blocks fall. It's all pretty good stuff. We're probably about 85% with those.

Lots of new power-ups and block types, many of which are Special mode specific!

As for the Puzzle mode, Daily puzzle and puzzle editor/sharing tool, they're a bit less developed. As a whole, they're about 45% done. Don't worry, though, that's mostly because the individual puzzles have yet to be generated (we have an algorithm that builds, tests and assigns them a difficulty) and all that crazy server stuff. Speaking of server stuff...

The Puzzle editor

Sigh. Versus mode. It's about 10% done. There's so much going into Versus mode, we're still nt sure if it won't just be free DLC. So many new power-ups, new mechanics, an entire new screen layout and all that networking! It's so much work, but it's what we're mainly focusing on right now as far as design is concerned. The programmers are still doing everything else, but us designers... this is where all our time goes. We want it to be perfect... we hope it won't disappoint!

A "Junk" block from Versus mode

Well, what's after development? Glad you asked! We're still working on the Kickstarter video which means that the studio remodel had to be finished all the way. We're filming half of it here and the other half at Arcade Legacy so we can have real people try it out and talk about it. Right before the launch, we're releasing our press kit and we already know of a few places who asked us to let them know when we're launching so they could do articles on it. Around that time, we'll be releasing online weekly builds, playable in your browser, on Kongregate and Newgrounds... that way you can get a feel for the game before you go support it.

After that, though we're putting it up on Greenlight and shipping it off to the App Store, Google Play, Amazon and Microsoft Marketplaces. Funnily enough, while writing this article right now, Nintendo just called approving us as authorized developers. Like, seriously... while I was writing this. That's just awesome!

We're also then going to be putting the Android build up on Piratebay for free and hopefully we can get onto GOG as well as some smaller marketplaces as well. After that, though we're going to try to approach the Humble Bundle (and various other bundles) as well as submit to IGF, IndieCade and IndieMEGABOOTH! There's a whole lot going on for us in the next few months and that's not even considering the other games we're already working on!
Now, as for even smaller releases like on the dedicated Collapsus arcade cabinet going to Arcade Legacy, the version going onto the Winnitron network and the release for the Pebble smartwatch, we'll have to see. They shouldn't be a problem still, but they may be delayed until after the release proper!

There's so much left to do, but so much done already! We can't wait to keep showing you guys what we got!

Collapsus: Exposition Dump Edition


Hey all! Sorry to say that not much really went on this past week with Thanksgiving and me being sick. Most of our development time was spent working on the Collapsus Versus mode. Getting power-ups, junk blocks and working out the lobby and matchmaking system. As such, I figured that I could give you all a refresher on what's actually going to be in the game when things are all said and done as it stands right now (featuring various old screenshots to accompany said features). This also gives me the opportunity to post the OGDE trailer we did here as well (since I haven't yet)! Ready?



Collapsus will feature 3 Standard difficulty modes (Easy, Medium, and Hard) with 2 unlockable harder difficulties (Expert and Diabolical). These modes can be played either with a timer or without. 


There are also 20 Special modes (formerly called "Challenge" modes) that add all sorts of new content into the game. There are time trials, score challenges, a mode where the screen's gravity is based on how you rotate your device, a mode with half n' half "split" blocks, one where you shake your device and it shuffles things around... tons of new ways to play the game! Once you beat those, there is a new "Plus" version of each Special mode that adds new twists to the new twists! We call this "Special+".

There are also two "special" Special modes as well: Daily mode throws the same scenario at you every day and maps your improvement and Custom mode lets you add parameters from other Special modes you've unlocked so you can create your own crazy Special modes!

There's also a Puzzle mode with 200 built-in puzzles for you to enjoy, as well as a puzzle Editor that lets you make and share your puzzles online! In addition, there are free Daily puzzles that come to your device for free every day! Heck, any and all DLC for Collapsus will be provided for free and the game as a whole has no ads or micro-transactions either... Just pay the $.99 and have fun! 


If that wasn't enough, like we mentioned at the beginning of the post (and ad nauseum over social media), we're working on a Versus mode with up to 8 players battling against each other to see who can send more Junk blocks over to their opponents. This mode features all new competitive power-ups not featured anywhere else in the game! 



Collapsus also features tons of built-in Medals that create tons of replay value as well as a bunch of cool accessibility options for players with colorblindness (which we recently found out isn't the norm, which is weird because to us it was just kind of common sense)!

Collapsus will be released on iOS, Android, Fire Tablet, Windows Phone, PC, Mac, Linux (hopefully via Steam if our Greenlight goes through) and 3DS (we're still going through the Nintendo approval process, but so far, so good). We're also trying for some more, let's say, "unusual" platforms as well, such as its own custom arcade machine as well as the Winnitron Arcade Network, Pebble smart watch and TI-83 calculator (though these are not our main priority at the moment, mostly as they'd be playable for free). If we could find someone to help us put it on Gameboy, Dreamcast or any other retro consoles, we'd love to do that, too! 

Wooh! That's a lot of stuff (most of which you've already heard before, but hey). Hopefully we'll have the Kickstarter (and a new, new trailer) out soon here. Heck, maybe next week we'll actually have some real news as well ;) 





A Blog Post That's Actually About Game Design!

Hey guys! Well, like the title suggests, it's been far too long since we've had a blog post about actual game design! Things have been crazy with the rebrand, studio redesign, Collapsus Kickstarter prep, and OGDE... but this time, it's all about that sweet, sweet dev!

We got a lot of wonderful feedback from OGDE, so many of you loved the Collapsus demo we provided and some of the ideas mentioned for improvements will more than likely be implemented into the actual game in one form or another. For instance, a few of you asked if Collapsus would feature multitouch on tablets, and while we had previously played around with it in the normal game mode, it really made it too easy. Ultimately, though, we feel that while it's probably not appropriate for Standard Mode, with a bit of a difficulty boost, a multitouch Special Mode would be really wonderful! 

Oddly enough, though, some of what we're currently implementing (as of this week) is stuff we came up with in brief conversations amongst ourselves while manning the booth, some of which include: A board wipe powerup called "Nova", a rewind powerup called, well, "Rewind" (which allows you to take back a few moves), a powerup that flips a screen on the X axis, called "Flip" (inspired by our really well received "Gravity" Special Mode), and a Special Mode that features special "Axis" blocks that rotate blocks around them like a cog. That's just some of the new ideas (conveniently enough the ones that just so happen to feature as a part of this new screenshot of my workspace):


It's not all rainbows and lollipops, though. While we knew some parts of the demo were missing or broken, we didn't really know how much until it hit the showroom floor. Now, that doesn't really mean much for the final release, mostly because literally all of the problems in the demo could have been fixed easily; we just didn't have proper time to test it all the way first. Luckily, most of you didn't notice anything was wrong, so there's that!

Here's a brief list of the problems we didn't notice until it was too late (mostly because I find it really funny): The "Freeplay" option just didn't work sometimes, the game would restart your progress after you backed out of the Options menu, nothing in the Stats screen was accurate to what had just been played, and saddest of them all... the Chameleon block animation (shown below) didn't play! We really liked that animation! 


Luckily, we're taking this post-OGDE time to fix these problems as well as getting more done. We're even updating animations like this one as well as the particle effects used for the Powered Blocks. We're also in the process of diving deep into the Versus mode as well! We're even implementing smaller changes/fixes such as removing the "Freeplay" checkbox (which disabled Timed mode) and replacing it with a "Timer" checkbox so instead of having to turn off the timer, you have to turn it on. It's the little things, you know?


There's just so much cool stuff we get to do before the weekly public builds start and with the Kickstarter right around the corner especially, you can bet your butts you'll be seeing all of it as it comes along!

More News on the Slow Development Process of Collapsus!

Hello, all! Collapsus development always seems to be slow moving doesn't it? Well hold on to your hats, because I have a big content bomb for all of you! As many of you may know, there was a lot of restructuring going on at Wraith with many of our team transitioning from college into the "real world". This is all fine and dandy, but where does Wraith "fit" into this "real world"? Quite nicely, if you ask me. We've gotten an office in this time, most of our team has started actually being able to put considerable time into said office and we've even picked up some new staff members, including an honest to goodness student intern! Things are moving fast! Below are a couple of pictures of us in our new office:



Anyway, what does that mean for Collapsus? Lots! We've been working pretty hard on getting it all wrapped up and we think it's going pretty well. So well in fact, we're pretty sure we can have a live demo on Kongregate and a Kickstarter up and going by some time in August! We're pretty much done with the core game (bar some bug fixes); so that only leaves implementing the various modes which is as simple as tweaking some values. The art department is also working on utilizing Unity 5's particle effects to their fullest and the music and sounds are still in the works as well. Nothing all too bad, if you ask me. You know us and dates, though. So until you hear an official date, don't quote me on anything.

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:

You can also see a few more graphical changes that really bring a new level of polish to the experience. In addition, there is a new slot-machine-like power-up that cycles through all of the new power-ups and allows you to break it and gain whatever you land on! Shown here:


Pretty neat stuff! We're still shooting for our normal play mode, 20 "Challenge" modes, 200 built-in puzzles, the puzzle creation/sharing tool, "Custom Mode" (which allows you to set what types of blocks spawn and what win conditions you use) and the free Daily puzzles accessed online. We have a few new surprises in store as well, but since I'm supposed to be pretty hush-hush about that, let's take a look at Kyle's work on the puzzle creation/sharing tool:
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!

[NOTE: This post was first featured on our SlideDB page here: http://www.slidedb.com/news/more-news-on-the-slow-development-process-of-collapsus]

New Project + A Look Into How Wraith Works

This isn't much of an update post really, other than to say that yet another game that we've been working on for a while finally coming into the light (just not quite yet). It's called Jet Pack Hero! It seems kinda weird announcing yet another project without even finishing up a first, but rest assured, that will change soon. For those who don't know, Wraith is an eclectic hodgepodge of indie developers and all of us have day jobs (of sorts). We only have two programmers at the moment, one of which is in college. Add to that our primary game writer who a single father and a few volunteers doing other odds and ends and don't ever get paid other than the occasional pizza night and you can see where things get weird. Then there’s me...

I'm a full-time stay-at-home freelancer designer (both graphic and web) and I spend most of my free-time either sleeping or working on one aspect of Wraith or another. I'm the primary game/sound/level and web designer, only artist, secondary writer and I also handle everything on the business end as well. Wraith has been my passion ever since I started it in 2005 when I was still in school. Being a freelancer, my normal workload is erratic to say the least, but when I'm not pulling my hair out from long stints of tight deadlines, I'm left with empty voids in my schedule that if you could shout into them, I'm sure you'd hear a might impressive echo.

This being said, I can often make several “bundles” of assets for projects on our huge list “dream games” and still have nothing to do with my self allocated “Wraith Time” waiting for a convenient opening in a programmer's schedule but pick up assets from another game and work on them, while other times, I'm so swamped, I get programmers pounding at my door for assets for projects while trying to balance my less fun, primary job.

I guess you then may be wondering why I never get around to posting anything, that's where it gets project specific: Physix has been going on for years, but we had to switch to Unity because our old one was incapable or holding the awesomeness that is Physix, while at the same time, not having an on-staff modeler means that we frequently need to wait for freelancers. Right now everyone is not only learning Unity still, but we're patiently awaiting some brand new models from a German freelancer who appears to have no idea when his non-exclusive media will “hit the shelves”

As for Collapsus, the programmer working on that one just got out of collage for the summer and is frantically trying to push the game into Beta before he returns. Fly Guy's been pushed onto the back burner due to no one really seeing it on Kongregate and with no feedback, making an iOS version is out, but we'll more than likely just take our iOS assets and make a new web version and call that one case closed. Which leaves us with Jet Pack Hero and I'll save that for a later post :P

Updates, Crunch and Sleep

Well, okay. I guess this was inevitable, but I still felt weird about posting it. The old engine for Physix wasn't moving anywhere so we (after much discussion) have switched to Unity 3D. I guess the biggest thing that needs to be said is that we made this decision back in November. The major problem with doing a massive engine switch on this scale is that we basically needed to start from square one. If what you're thinking is “Yikes!” you're on the same page as us. Luckily for us, 100% of all our media is salvageable (and we already did) and we still have all of our level designs and neat little puzzle ideas stashed away. I guess it's just more of a “mechanical” square one, as we have to code all of our mechanics from scratch again. It's no big deal, and honestly the game will be better for it.


We started the conversion at the beginning of March, and if all things go well, we'll be making the IndieCade deadline of May 1st with sort of an “Alpha-demo” (or is that a “Demo-alpha”?). It's a long push, but both of our programmers are working diligently and even if we don't make this one, we should be poised to submit to the IGF deadline in October. Throughout this month, I will hopefully be posting things more frequently, showing off the new things being implemented so no one's in the dark. One of the amazing things about Unity is that it is simultaneously more robust and ultimately easier to get the desired effects we want than our old engine, meaning the content pipeline is much much faster.

As for our other projects, Collapsus and Fly Guy, Collapsus is nearly finished, but it's on hold while we work on Physix (we are just a few guys, after all) and Fly Guy is undergoing some serious design changes as our prototype that hit Kongregate wasn't exactly “explosive”. Though to be honest, we knew it wouldn't be. That's why we put the prototype out there: so we could make the real game better. The only problem is that we didn't get much feedback, though from what little Kongregate feedback we have, as well as a multitude of personal and professional feedback, the final mobile game will be spectacular.

We've also started working on a few other smaller projects, many of which will never see the light of day; but for those that do, we're going to try this new little idea. It's called “Wraith Minis”. Whenever we have a little tiny game that some of our team members made in their free time, or just all-around team efforts made just for the fun of it, we're going to release some. Most of them will be for free on iOS, Android and web (ad-driven, of course), and they should theoretically come out more often than our other “major” projects. Of course this doesn't mean that we're going to be whipping out little project after little project, as these are just things that we've done in our free time; and it wouldn't be fair to our team to make these on a regular basis, it wouldn't be fair to expect you to play an entire library of our pet projects and it wouldn't be fair to our big projects, which would be neglected and start to cry.
In all honesty, that's pretty much it. There's not as much comedy in this as I usually try to do, but we're technically in “crunch” and I haven't gotten much sleep. Hope you all like the changes.

FlyGuy (Lite) is out NOW... For FREE!

Hey! Hope you all had a wonderful whatever you celebrated. Here's just a quick update for all of you (and my first post here for those of you who are reading this on IndieDB). We're still hammering away on Physix and Collapsus, but managed to get the Lite version of FlyGuy on Kongregate. It was supposed to take about a week or two from start to publish, but one of our programmers and one of our artists moved which put a kink in the schedule, but they got finished soon enough to have a pre-Christmas release. As you may know, Unity is updating to export into flash and with it, so is the web version of FlyGuy. If we get enough people playing and rating, we're going to finish up our iOS/Android, “Full” version in CoronaSDK, which will be free to play and will contain a multitude of new modes, challenges and OpenFeint support. Just think of the Kongregate version as a prototype to test the waters. We should have new media posted (both on DB and our site) soon for not only this, but Physix and Collapsus as well. Just remember, if no one shows their interest, the big mobile release may never happen. Tell us what you think!

BOOM! Updates Ahoy!

Hi everybody! Just a few quick things to update since I haven’t posted anything in a while. Firstly, as you can tell, there's a new site theme we're trying out. I think it looks spiffy. So that you can tell us what you think about the remodel (or anything else for that matter), not only do we still have a Facebook and Twitter, but we now have a Google + as well! On top of that, we've acquired WRAITHGAMES.COM and WRAITHGAMES.NET so you can get to here from there as well as our .ORG

Thirdly, but surely not least of all, we're officially announcing 2 new games:

The first is Collapsus, an Android/iOS puzzle game that long-time followers may remember the taste of and the second is Fly Guy, a free-to-play web game. You can visit our gallery for some early screenshots uploaded with this post.

I know what you all might be thinking, and no, Physix WILL be keeping on-keeping on and on top of that we hope to have new screens, videos and a playable demo soon... we've just had more work on to do to make it awesome enough for the “final beta” mentioned a few months back and we'd rather post something huge rather than smaller things here and there.

Collapsus and Fly Guy are just some side projects that “turned real” faster than anticipated, that we hope will be out soon. As always, we're taking the “it's done when it's done” approach with Physix and these new games are the same way, but we think they’ll be out considerably faster than Physix.

Again, let us know what you think by visiting our social network pages and keep on PLAYING HARDER!

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