Monthly Archives: August 2012

Devlog #11

Hello again for another friday update.

So on the weekend we had our appointment with the Freeplay judges to show them our game. Freeplay is an independent game festival a little like iFest and we decided to enter our game in the hopes that it gets selected to be shown during the event. Lunch on Sunday at the State Library was where we needed to meet the Freeplay guys to show our game. We sat in a room with the lappy and phone setup to show them Puzzle Puppets, excited to see what they would think of it. Two other developers came into a room for a chat, finding out that they had been kicked out of their room as the judges wanted to play the game without them anywhere near them. This was not great for us, we weren’t exactly expecting for them to have free reign of the game without any of our guidance. We had heaps of debug stuff still left in the game because it takes time to rip them out and we had only been using them the previous day and needed them for work on the Monday. So after a slight stressing out session we decided we would be fine as we could tell them to avoid these parts of the game as they arent intended for anyone but the developers. So as they came into the room to kick us out we quickly explain for them to only play the Ogre Wedding and Gladiator plays. “Ahhhhh” we felt relieved that it was all sorted. While we waited for them to play our game we chatted to the guy that organises Freeplay, he has a love for the theatre and so enjoyed the idea of our game.

It was probably 20-30 minutes before the judges came back to us to tell us they were done. The whole process was interesting, because they had so many entries this year they needed to get through them as fast as possible and so they couldn’t chat or give us any feedback on our game. We thanked them for their time and were looking forward to hearing from them about whether we made it in the finalists (10th of Sep it seems). So while not the demo we had in mind it wasn’t the end of the world… then we checked the phone and laptop and saw their saved progress… They played all the debug dev stuff 🙁 They played the test play which has a whole bunch of yellow puppets that take 1 hit to kill and it looked like they did the smallest amount of customising of the puppet. We are really hoping this hasn’t made their experience of our game a terrible one and hasn’t hurt our chances of hopefully getting into Freeplay.

But we move forward, we still have our debug stuff in there but we are getting very close to what we will send of to Microsoft to start selling our game. This week we have been working on final things and starting to polish everything. In the picture below you can see what my placeholder art was to the version I made yesterday on the right, a little nicer and more consistent to the art style I’ve settled on. I’d like to still add more details to the map like small little jokes or interesting bits but time is running out and we can always patch things in later if we really need.

The other thing I spent some time on was making an actual tutorial level. Tutorials are always a funny thing with games, they can cause much rage to some players and then others cannot function without something telling them what they need to do. I personally like to experiment with a game and enjoy learning the game as I play so tutorials that are mandatory and cant be skipped annoy me. The one we have in our game is made the same as all our other plays, its the first play in view when they start the game but can easily be skipped over. The tutorial is a couple of small battles with a cutscene before each one pointing out an aspect of the gameplay and giving them a dummy puppet to practise on.

The last thing I’ll chat about is the most exciting, Azza has been coding away at implementing leaderboards to our game hurray! We are using a service called Mogade to bring online highscores to Puzzle Puppets. I asked him if theres anything he wants me to talk about in regards Mogade and all he said is “It’s and awesome free service”. So if you’re thinking of adding online leaderboards to your game you should check them out MOGADE. There seem to be a fair few Windows Phone games using it already and apparently an Android version is in the mix as well. So yes leaderboards are coming and you can check out the concept art that Azza is adding into the game as we speak. He seems to be getting all the information correctly handled and has some of it displaying already in game.

Leaderboards are a big part of any score based game and ours is no different. Mogade allows us to set leaderboards for all the plays and acts in each play so you can compare yourself against the world. It also lets you see your rank in the Daily, Weekly and Overall flavours.

Well I think that’s all the waffling on I have for you this week. We are sort of at the crunch end of the dev cycle and have heaps of things left we need, want and would like to do but also need to get this game out to the public. We have no idea how the process will be once we send it off to Microsoft for review but we are aiming for that to happen very soon. Once its been sent off we will be focusing on making more content, providing updates and looking at the best way to port the game over to Android and iPhone. Also during the certification process I’ll probably throw together an awesome release trailer to get people excited about the game.

Oooh one final note before we head off into the glorious weekend, I really hope its going to be sunny and nice. Our fantastic mate Kirky has given us some more music he has been working on to help make Puzzle Puppets a great game to play and listen to. So we should have all the major pieces to round out the game and only need to add extra sound effects to small things. So a massive thank you goes to him for having musical talent and being awesome enough to spend his free time making tunes for us. His latest song is very catchy and so we are thinking of putting that as the fighting/gameplay music and putting his other more colourful/circus piece to be the menu to give the dressing room more personality.


Ok I’m stopping now so you can all go and enjoy the weekend. A happy fathers day to everyone, and as always we look forward to seeing you next week.

Devlog #10

Hello, after a bunch of retakes because they were rubbish or had interruptions in them, here is the video!

Well at least now you can see the game in the flesh, video updates in the future will probably just be cut and voiced over to show the new stuff.

Tomorrow however we will be going back to the city to show off our game to some judges from Freeplay. So fingers crossed we will be accepted and get our game at that exhibition.

Good News Everyone!

A video devlog is happening tomorrow!

Devlog #9

Hello again! It’s Friday so it’s time for a beer and another of our famous devlogs.

In this weeks episode Byte Sized Wombat does business things, Puzzle Puppets returns from the grave and Matt gets confused over the question “So what have you been doing this week?”!

Business Bear So this week we have been doing some things to further Byte Sized Wombat as a whole. This was somewhat prompted by an email from our accountant informing us that we have been refunded a fairly trivial amount of money and they needed our business bank account details in order to pay us. Up until this point we had not actually needed a business bank account; Puzzle Puppets is still weeks from certification so we were not expecting to need a joint account to be paid into for some time so we have just been making any business related transactions through our individual accounts. Given that this account will essentially sit dormant until the game releases we ended up dedicating a day to finding a bank that would provide an account with no maintenance fees or fees associated with online banking. Matt is currently in the process of filling out a whole bunch of boring paperwork to sign us up with an account that will give us just that as well as a debit card that we can use for online transaction.

The other business related thing we have done this week has been to attend a monthly meeting of the IGDA in Melbourne where we got to meet a bunch of other indie developers from Victoria. While we were there we also got to catch up with a few of the guys we met at iFest a couple of months back, including members of Electric Mammoth Studios and Dime Studios who are both planning to release their own games in the near future.

Zombie PhoneOn the actual development side of things I’ve been getting “tombstoning” functionality working in the game. Without going into too much of a technical explanation, the gist of what I’ve done is make Puzzle Puppets restore itself to approximately the state it was in when if the user has been playing the game and then been pulled out of it somehow (via phone call, pressing the search button, etc) and then had the game dumped from memory. The slightly frustrating thing is that even when the user is pulled out of the game, the game may not actually tombstone and will instead resume from the exact moment the user was last playing; So it’s possible that many people may never actually have the game tombstone so it feels like I’ve added a feature that many people will never see. To make myself feel better about it I doubled up some of the functionality from tombstoning to allow the game’s progress to be saved, even mid battle, so now it’s possible for people to play smaller sessions of Puzzle Puppets without having to worry about not getting the highest possible score because they didn’t have the time to be able to chain all the battles together.

When I asked Matt what he’d been up to this week he was neck deep in legal mumbo jumbo associated with signing up for a bank account and making sure we had all the required documentation (including an official looking partnership agreement that he just made up and made me sign) so he was making very little sense. After a moment to gather his thoughts and some beer to bring him back to his senses he told me he’s been hard at work filling in the price list for the in-game costume shop, doing more work on the cut-scenes and finalising more of the new menu look.


EDIT : Fixed link to Electric Mammoth Studios and appologies for not even getting the studio name right :/ . Let’s just blame that one on Friday afternoon autopilot brain.

Devlog #8

Hi everyone,

I’ll be giving Matt a break from writing the devlog this week in the hopes that we can both start our weekend by a reasonable time.

This week we have been busy trying to deal with various government organisations trying to obtain some funding for our work. If you have tried dealing with these kinds of services before then you’ll understand why when I say that this week has been an exercise in frustration. For the uninitiated, lets just say you know you are going to have a bad time when the two organisations that you should be able to get information out of each tell you to contact the other organisation because they can’t help you.

Long story short, we have given up on government funding for now; after having spent several days going to meetings, interviews and information sessions that ultimately informed us that if we participated we would be completely occupied doing things to qualify for the grant for the next three or so months with no guarantee that we would actually get any funding at the end of it.


Dance My Puppets!During the time we haven’t been running around like idiots Matt has been working hard at trying to get a cut-scene up and looking nice using the basic XML scripting system I wrote for him to use. Progress appears to be slow but steady. This was always to be expected due to the way we have chosen to build cut-scenes; purely using XML with no visual aides means that there is a fair degree of trial and error involved in getting scenes looking and performing just the way we want them to.

If we had more time and I was less busy working on other areas of the game we would considder building some tools to help to streamline the process.




Meanwhile I’ve been cursing both the unnamed government agencies and Microsoft. One of the most useful places on the web to find solutions to programming problems can be forums and discussion boards where people have already solved a similar problem to the one you are having. Unfortunately for me Microsoft is in the process of upgrading some of it’s developer websites, including the forums, and so a number of pages I had bookmarked and hoped to use this week were unavailable. Here’s hoping it’s back up soon.

Aside from muttering and grumbling to myself  about this I’ve actually gotten some work done too. Yay! The game will now actually save your progress if you are part of the way through a play-through of an act! Next week I’m planning on tackling “tomb-stoning” which is the term MS uses for when an App is deactivated unexpectedly, due to an incoming phone call, search button press or other event that would usually cause the game to lose focus, and then manually attempting to restore the app to the state it was in if the user happens to come back to it; so all kinds of fun there :/

Anyway, lets hope we are more productive next week and I didn’t come across as someone who just whinges all the time. Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Devlog #7

Good Evening, a short sweet and to the point update.

Started throwing together a video so you could see some gameplay but without a direction of what I wanted to show you the video was just ending up way too long. Nobody wants to watch me play puzzle puppets for 8 mins, however the game did look awesome sped up 400%. So alas no video update this week but with some preparation perhaps next week will be a video dev diary instead.

So the update. The shop works great! You dont earn any money but when you do you can goto the shop and buy all sorts of things to make your puppet look even cooler.

Well thats basically it. We are excited to show you gameplay so I suppose the first video will be rather long but you will have my lovely voice to keep you entertained.

Enjoy the weekend, it seems winter is slowly getting kicked out for nicer weather and I can’t wait.


This is how the shop looks right now. All the functionality is there and its just waiting now for me to come in and jazz it up a little.


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