Filtering by Tag: PC

Collapsus - So, How's it Going?

Hey everybody! Sorry it's been so long since the last blog post. I'd written a draft for one last week, but decided to scrap it. On to pf that, we were going to have some guest writers come if for the blog a few times before that, but we had some scheduling problems. So. Yeah. This post today will be all about the progress of the Collapsus weekly builds so far! Let's jam!

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Lost Interview: Nintendo Love Affair - Meet Wraith Games

Much like with our post last year where we re-uploaded a lost interview we had with the blog "GamerProblems". Sometimes blogs go down and their content goes with it. The awesome people over at Nintendo Love Affair interviewed me last year about what we were working on and a bit of our history, but unfortunately, their blog is now just that... history. Luckily, they've allowed us to re-post that interview here so it can be preserved. Enjoy!

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Collapsus Weekly Builds, App of the Year Results, and More News!

Hi, this is Kristy. I’m one of the programmers here at Wraith (and Jay’s fiancee). I’m also designing the puzzles for Collapsus. This is my first blog post. I hope you all like it. As you know, we’ve been pretty busy here at Wraith trying our hardest to get Collapsus out as soon as possible. 2016 has been a really big year for us. We’ve been to 13 conventions this past year, and have had more interviews and press than I can count. We’ve had literally thousands of people pick up and play Collapsus. We even managed to get people hooked on it who claimed they didn’t like “this type of game” or seemed generally disinterested. I always tell people that Collapsus is like a Rubik’s Cube that plays Tetris. And it is. We’ve brought something brand new to the table, and we want it in every person’s hand.

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Thanks for the VOTE of Confidence! (Collapsus in the Top 50)

Late on Saturday, we got some VERY good news! Thanks to all of your awesome support, once again our game, Collapsus, made it to the Top 50 of SlideDB's "App of the Year" awards! This was a big deal for us last year and an even bigger deal for us this year! Everyone has been overwhelmingly supportive of us (and Collapsus) at events, on social media, even in the press! You guys are awesome!

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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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4 Short Updates From Wraith

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!

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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)!

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!

Nifty in the Top Fifty!

Is it Monday again already? Wow! We've had a pretty busy week, to be honest. With the holidays quickly approaching and dev ramping up in a big way (especially with the Versus mode in Collapsus), and us finally reaching 1000 Twitter followers, time really does fly! Well, on this week's blog post, we have something very special to bring up!

All throughout last week, SlideDB started off Round 1 of their big 'App of the Year' competition. We didn't think much of our odds, but we took to our social media to see if we could drum up some votes and you know what? We made their 'Top 50'! (And if you haven't voted for us in Round 2 yet, why the heck not?! Seriously, please go do that! There are only 6 days left as of writing this. Go on! *Shoo* I'll wait.)

Hot dang! It is such an honor to be in this position! We've been working very hard make Collapsus the best game we possibly can and I guess, somehow, it really showed! When we went to OGDE last month, we had very positive feedback from all of the wonderful people who played the demo, but with over 2500 other games in the running, we never thought to land in the Top 50 for 'App of the Year'! 

Really awesome people playing Collapsus at OGDE 2015

It occurs to me that with the influx of new traffic from both Twitter and SlideDB, a lot of you may not know as much about Collapsus as those who have been with us for the long haul. Last week we made a post about all of what Collapsus has to offer (it's a really long feature list and if you haven't seen it, you may want to. You can do that here). Right now, I want to take a little time to talk about the Collapsus development process, if you'll indulge me.


Back in 2006, when I had first started trying to make games and before there really was a 'Wraith Games', I had wanted to make a game for my mom, who at the time was really into puzzle games. Over the course of several months, I had whipped up a prototype that would soon become known as Collapsus. I took inspiration from many notable (and fairly disparate) sources; particularly the likes of  puzzle greats like Tetris, Bejeweled and Puzzle League (and oddly enough, the movement of a Rubik's cube). The end result was a game where you try to match 4 or more colored blocks in a line by destroying undesirable blocks. The entire game is built on a unique risk-reward centered resource management mechanic because, let's be honest, it's just more fun to break blocks than to swap them! While this prototype was still very rough, I knew I had the start of something worthwhile, but at the time had no way of bringing it to the next level, so it just sat there on my computer, collecting proverbial dust while I finished school.



Cut to many years later... After I had moved out on my own I decided to show my then girlfriend the old prototype which she immediately fell in love with. I'm pretty sure that without it, she wouldn't have agreed to my marriage proposal the very next year. She told me to stick with it and keep making improvements, so I ended up doing just that, after finding new friends who were much, much better programmers than myself (including, eventually, her as well), that is. My new team helped bring new life into that unpolished game and together, we made improvement after improvement until we were confident that we had made a fun, unique, and addicting puzzler!



Now we have actual studio space, a Kickstarter on the way and wonderful fans like all of you! We may not make it any further than the Top 50, and if not, it's sure been awesome just being here. Don't get me wrong, all of us very, very much hope we do... but just knowing that all of you brought us to this point and that the game we love working on has resonated with so many of you even before it's out makes all this worth it! Thank you!

But seriously... go vote for us





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 ;) 





Fighting Gravity

It's Monday, and you know what that means! BLOG POST! YEAH! It may just turn out to be a rather short one this week, mostly because I figured we could let the images speak for themselves. Images? What images?! Well, I'm glad you asked. We have some great new WIP images from one of our awesome projects! For once, it's not Collapsus (though we do have some updates on that front, too, with some awesome stuff that'll be posted on our social media all throughout this week). Now, at long last, this is a post about Physix!

Our work on Collapsus has been proving very popular as of late, but whenever we talk to people about our projects, Physix is what gets everyone's engines really running! Over the past year, we've been working rather quietly on porting Physix to Unity (as you may already know). The original demos we showed off to the public at places like A&G and on YouTube (which is the same build that GamePro Labs were going to publish before they folded and that Blitz 1Up was looking into before they did the same) were built in DarkBasic Pro/FPSC (which isn't really unusual for us seeing as the Collapsus prototype started in Stagecast and the "real" game was originally in Corona SDK). We had started off just porting the assets we were using in the old builds straight into Unity with code mostly by then new (and now gone) programmer Dante who you may know from his work on our earlier web game FlyGuy (which is, also oddly enough, based off a terrible old Stagecast prototype from around the same time as the original Collapsus prototype... small world, huh).




Anyway, it was going pretty well, until Dante had to depart (which isn't particularly unusual for a startup, let alone an indie game studio). I know what you're thinking. "Jay! I thought you said 'this past year'!? Wasn't the Unity port started in 2012?" Well, other than being oddly specific, it is indeed accurate. After Dante's departure, we took a bit of a break from working on Physix to focus more on getting a solid version of Collapsus out and really just picked it back up late last year.

We decided to use what we could of Dante's code and scrap the rest, with new programmer Jon (who weirdly enough has recently departed in a similar manner to Dante back in 2012) charged to create a functioning framework for all the gravity-shifting awesomeness Physix has to offer. Oh, boy he did not disappoint! You may be familiar with these cryptic pictures from our Twitter last month:



Yeah! That'd be them. Well, Jon's not much of an artist... that's why we have Steve! Here's a bit of what Steve's been working on that's gotten us so excited! Excited enough to make this post now of all times, at least:




Now keep in mind, I pretty much had to pry these away from Steve who was working very diligently on tons of new Physix art and that these are very, very early into his process. Heck, he should have even more awesomeness as the weeks go by. Really, the point of this is that we've gotten a surprising amount done in (relative) secret especially since Physix wasn't anyone's priority alpha in quite some time. With Collapsus' development winding to a close, however, we've begun starting up our engines again and we're ready to defy gravity once again!

Okay. Guess that wasn't all that short after all! Well, stay tuned both on here and on our social media as we pump out more Physix content now along with our usual Collapsus development progress!

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]

Lots and lots of Collapsus (and EVIL!)

Oy! This is just getting comical. I swear, every time I say I'm going to post more frequently, I just don't. So here's an experiment: I'm not going to post anything until I'm 70, and if that doesn't improve things, well, that's the best I could do. There's a lot of news so I'm not going to post it all here. Over the last month or so, I've been posting lots of news regarding Collapsus to our IndieDB page (including lots of videos). Here's a link to that and you can catch up on all the articles that I failed to inform our main site about. Also, if you're on Google+ and you haven't seen any news posts (and actually, to a lesser extent, Twitter too), I'm really sorry. Sometimes I just forget that other, non Facebook social networks just even exist, but that is going to change as I'm not the only one within the team who is going to have admin access to our social networking accounts. Updates will happen, I promise.

Now, as for Physix, it's still being worked on, but as I said before, it's sort of a “done when it's done” type deal. We love working on it, but obviously 3D games take a lot more time, effort and man-power than something like Collapsus or Jet Pack Hero. Speaking of Jet Pack Hero, remember how I said I'd release more information about it? I lied. I'm just going to let you guys hang there wondering what it is, with just hearing that it exists and those two very early screenshots in our gallery to tide you over. I'm evil, I know. The reason for this, though, is that two of our three programmers are heading back to college and can't devote time to three games at once, so JPH will just have to wait until Physix and Collapsus slow way down.

Other than that, all I can say is to make sure you follow our IndieDB, because that's where most of the true development logs are going to be. Hope to see you there!

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.

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!

Little Nemo's Adventures in Shaderland

You know what? Updating is hard. I mean really hard! Development is the relatively easy part. It's making awesome screenshots, videos and blog parts on a semi-regular basis that brings me to my knees. Let me explain:

We've been working hard on Physix as usual. We've got some music tracks hammered down, the menus and what little HUD pieces we're using are nearly complete as well. Right now we're once again waiting for some engine tweaks to be made and most of the effort around here is devoted to particle effects and shaders which are mostly done, but there's always something with a project like this.

Still not sure when you guys should expect a release, but we've been talking with some publishers and for anything to move further with the marketing end, we need to have a final beta out and that's what we're working on right now. Not exactly sure if we're ever going to have an open beta, but that may be something to consider if there's enough of you out there who want to give a swing at it before it's out.

Other than that, not much really. We've gotten beyond any sort of mass experimentation or major changes/fixes. It's kinda boring here in dev-land for the time being. Just more chugging away at assets and stability. We usually like to have a post here a month, but it's been kinda hard (like I said before) with nothing much notable going on. While we're adding even more environmental media to flesh out scenes and remove the dreaded “flat-wall syndrome” most of it needs to be tweaked before it matches the aesthetic of the rest of the environment to begin with, so no pictures of that and since the other changes are more for stability or logistic reasons, many people wouldn't be able to really see a difference if we posted about it ad nauseum anyway.

Don't get me wrong, when it's done it will be glorious (in our opinions at least), but for the time being there's just not much to report. We'll try to keep you all posted if something drastic happens, but for now it seems like snoozeville. Speaking of which, I'm going to go take a nap and then tweak some shaders... Catch you later!

Details... Details!

Holy!... It's been a long time since the last blog post, hasn't it? Well, I'm just sort of here to tell you guys a little bit more about our project: Physix. A few of you have played some loose-concept demos like the one at A&G Ohio and the one available on the S8G forums, but that really doesn't really give you a feel for what the game is truly about. If you've been following our Twitter (which I don't know why any of you would), you'd see that we were in the process of constructing a new demo while in Michigan recently. Unfortunately for many of our fans, the demo is sort of a while off, so that leaves me with the job of hyping you guys up.
Many of you have seen our YouTube video of the practically ancient A&G demo, and this has gotten many of you excited. Unfortunately, it has also turned many people off from the project with laggy response, poor lightmap quality, and just plain awful graphics. We assure you that this was a very early adaptation demo, and a lot has changed since 2008. Heck, just look at our screenshots on this page. All of them are in game. Not only that, but we're working with some new FX shader support to make it look even better (though that's a little hard... Man, it's pretty!). By looking at the demo, one can notice a practically linear romp from chamber to chamber completing very lack-luster challenges. This is not the case in the final build. Many people who play the demo have pretty much the same thing to say about it: "It's fun, but why is it called 'Physix'?" Here is where we blow your mind (not really, because that could get messy): throughout the progression of the game, using various level features (we say that because you don't have, like, some sort of reality-bending gun... you actually have to do it in level), you can bend the very laws of physics to your will: gravity, inertia, all that good stuff. That's sort of tricky in a first-person environment. Most of you are used to physics manipulation in the way of seesaw puzzles and gravity guns (not pointing any fingers...*cough* Half-Life *cough*...). The difference between standard first-person shooter fair and Physix is quite simple: Physix just simply isn't a shooter! Now you're thinking, "What's with the pistol?" It's more of a puzzle-solving element than a weapon... yeah, weird, I know... but it works. That's the thing. How are you going to shoot a switch all the way across the room if you can't touch it? Can someone say, "G22"? Exactly. Our approach to interesting puzzle-solving is deeply immersive; our goal is to make you think outside the box. I hope we don't disappoint.
We should have a new video relatively soon and a new demo following shortly thereafter. It's going to be a while, but bear with us. In the meantime, we are working on a little side project to keep everyone's appetite in check. Not saying anything, but let's just say a lot of our old fans will be pleased.
That's all we got for now. Check out the new website; it's at the same URL, but we've made a lot of changes, so visit it while it still has that new out-of-the-box smell. Check you guys later!
(This post was originally made on the now defunct GamePro Labs site)

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