Filtering by Tag: Video

Thank You For Galatune-ing In!

Hey everyone! As some of you may know, for a little while now, we've been working on the official companion app for the Galatune card game. Well, what you may NOT know, is that it's finally out, just in time for the Kickstarter for Galatune's new expansion: Duality! So, what's Galatune? Why are we working on this? What's it been like to do so? Find out next time on Drago... now, find out now. Like, down below. Go on...

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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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All the News That's Fit to Air

So, we've been getting quite a lot of press lately (as you may already know very well from our previous two posts. It's always really great to be getting some more eyes on the studio and our projects. Heck, being featured in the JournalNews was huge for us. We thought it may be the biggest press we'd be getting for a while. Boy, were we wrong!

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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!


Premiere-ing a New Video

Oh, puns. How I love you! So... It's week three of this whole weekly blog thing and it seems like it's going pretty smoothly! We're all pretty excited about that (mostly because our blog posts prior to the re-brand were sparse at best). Anyway, on with the actual post:

As I'm typing this it's early Monday morning (just past midnight, to be precise, so when I say it's early... yeah!) Later today we have the filming for the first half of the big Collapsus Kickstarter video, which should hopefully be finished right before we launch our new weekly builds on Kongregate (stay tuned for that in the near future). That's not what I'm really here to talk about however. I mean, how am I going to fill an entire blog post with stuff for a video that hasn't even been filmed as of the writing of this post (I'll save that for a week or two from now)? No. This post is all about another video that we've been working on the past few weeks!

We've been working on an all new trailer for Collapsus to coincide with our next convention appearance! While I can't really talk about that yet (don't worry there will be a post about it when the cat's officially out of the bag) I can say that the event staff requested a media pack, complete with an all new trailer for the event!


This is it being edited in Adobe Premiere. Get it? "Premiere-ing"? Like "Premiere"? Adobe Premiere? In the title of the... oh never mind! 

We're going with a pretty straightforward "gameplay with blurrier gameplay in the background while text flies by explaining why you need to play this" route. Classic. Right now we're about 95% done with it and we should be ready to show it off when we make our announcement for our next big appearance!  


Here's another one... this time with text!

We've been putting a lot of work into this video to make sure it's awesome and we hope the new Kickstarter video is just as good! With the re-brand, Kickstarter, weekly builds and this upcoming con appearance, we've been pretty busy, but it looks like it's all coming together! Thanks for being along for the ride with us!

Timed Play, Options Menu and Pause Screen

I actually meant to post this last week, so as far as development news is concerned internally for us, this is a bit of old news, as we've moved on to the various special modes and puzzles for the Puzzle Mode. In the next couple weeks, though, two of our three programmers (the two actually working on Collapsus) are heading back to college, but fortunately with light enough class loads, they'll still be able to work on the game. This is what they finished up last week...
Firstly, the Timed Modes, in this case Timed Classic:

Well, as I believe was stated before, the basic play modes consist of four sub-modes: Timed Standard, Timed Classic, Freeplay Standard and Freeplay Classic. The difference between Standard and Classic is that Standard has powerups/special blocks and Classic (which is based off of my earlier prototype) only has the standard chromatic blocks. The difference between Timed and Freeplay is that in Timed, the progress bar goes up when matches are made and goes down when the player is idle; whereas in Freeplay, it just moves up in a linear fashion. We're really trying to take these core modes into fairly different directions from one another while at the same time they're recognizable as derivatives of one another. They sort of mirror each other while still being very different in terms of player strategy and the feeling the player gets while playing the game. Take Freeplay Classic, for instance: it's really calm and while there's still a chance for failure, it's nowhere near as stressful, so a player can just sort of veg and become immersed in the block-matching at a leisurely pace; whereas its polar opposite, Timed Standard is really manic and failure seems to be right around the corner. Now obviously, at lower levels of Timed Standard, there isn't a total looming sense of doom as there is a difficulty curve, but when you get into it, it becomes "click this, match that... faster, faster... oh no, I'm about to die!" It's really a more arcade experience, which is why we originally called this mode "Arcade". It's just more visceral. To be honest, though, my favorite mode would have to be Freeplay Standard because it feels like the most strategic permutation of the core modes, and that's really how I see them: as one mode wearing very different hats. Now it should be noted that like the block-spawning algorithm, the timer speed and the leveling parameters will be tweaked in playtesting because the block-spawning makes things way too easy and the timer moves way too fast.
The second video we have is just showing off what we've been working with the Options Menu and the Pause screen, which is far from done:

There's really not much to say other than where I got the idea for the Pause menu, because how the game is paused is one thing a lot of people notice when they first play the game. The slider for the Pause menu is really out of necessity as we didn't really have much room for a button, and the slider just somehow felt right. There will be many changes to the actual Options Menu itself, as there aren't going to be Themes anymore in this version, but we are planning to make a much larger game if this version is received well, that will not only have Themes but a lot more content as well. Not that this version isn't cram-packed with content, having four core gameplay modes, twenty-ish special modes and 200 puzzles, but we felt that having any more in this first iteration would not only be overwhelming for players, but would be a waste of time if people hate the game or even worse, never even see it (as often happens with not only mobile games from small developers, but just indie games in general, not to mention that this is our first “big” project of sorts).
[NOTE: This post was first featured on our IndieDB page here: 

Working with powerups

The last couple weeks, we've been working on implementing new powerups as well as the pause screen. Quite obviously, the pause screen isn't very interesting, so I'm going to talk about powerups. The word powerup is a bit of a misnomer as what we developing the game call "powerups" are really just blocks with specialized abilities. The reason this distinction needs to be made is because some blocks are special because of their behavior rather than being actual "powerups", per se. One such block is the Chameleon block, which many of you may have seen in our first video; which is a block that changes color in a cycle every time the player makes a move, which can cause for either the "Aw, man" moments when the player is unable to use it in a combination or carefully thought-out stratagem by using it as a time bomb of sorts.
With that out of the way, let's actually hit on what these powerups are. We have the Rainbow block, which is a standard wild; the aforementioned Chameleon block; Burst blocks (represented by sparkles), which will destroy blocks in a 3x3 AOE pattern when used in a line; Super blocks (on fire), which destroy blocks in a plus pattern all the way to the borders of the screen vertically and horizontally when used in a line; and Power blocks (which are black holes), which when used in a line suck up all blocks that are the same color as the Power block destroyed from the entire screen. These are the blocks we have been perfecting for Standard mode, but there are a few that we will reveal for other special modes.
Here is a video of some of the powerup tests:


One of the things that we've been trying to do is make sure that all of these new blocks don't throw off the balance we've worked so hard to achieve with our spawning algorithm, though at this point difficulty needs to be tweaked. When we had started out with the project, the gameplay was far more difficult than we had hoped, but now it's far too easy, nothing a little playtesting shouldn't be able to fix. That's all for now. We hope to have more news posted soon.

[NOTE: This post was first featured on our IndieDB page here: 

At Last... Actual Progress!

A&G was amazing (as it always is). Thanks to all of our fans who stopped by and the new fans we picked up over the weekend as well as NerdFit and Brentalfloss for being awesome! We have some pics from the con up in our Convention Gallery and some shiny brand spanking new Physix WIP screenshots in our WIP Gallery. We think they look good, we hope you do too. We also have a new video up on YouTube... oh yeah, and below as well:


Hope you enjoy. We're nearly done on the graphical department unless something catastrophic happens between now and then. Stay tuned for some more updates!

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