Release Update

An update about the release date. Things have progressed very well. All the stuff we really wanted to fix and improve upon is at a stage where we are happy enough to send it off to the public. However some music we originally were going to use is something we leagally cant so we have chatted with our resident musician man to see if he can muster something together at such short notice. He has been fantastic with everything hes done so far so we are in great hands.

So in the mean time Azza will start to look at the process to be able to port it to other devices and I’ll work on the first content pack and get together the other various marketing stuff that needs to be done. Once we grab the track we will send it off and continue working on getting Puzzle Puppets to as many people as possible.

It is coming soon and we totally aren’t pretending to have a game and stringing you along at all. We will keep you posted on anything exciting that happens, until then, enjoy the weekend!

iFest interview

Here’s an interview that was done at iFest, got shown it last night. It seems I cant help but smile like a moron while on camera, enjoy!

The Byte Sized Wombat starts at 8:19s, or you can click this LINK

Devlog #13 – The devs ramble for a bit.

Bert and Ernie

Just a couple of mates.

Matt – So this week we couldn’t decide who to do the devblog.
Aaron – So Matt will write a line, then I will.
M – Because thats just how we roll, anyways to start off, we went to the IGDA meeting on Tuesday night.
A – We have also nailed down a list of tweaks, adjustments and other final touches that we need to make before submitting the game to MS.
M – Yeah we are submitting it next Friday so we have all the stuff we want to fix and add before it goes off.
A – That was in informative sentence that added a lot to the discussion.
M – Well you went off the topic of the IGDA so I was sad, perhaps you should elaborate on that.
A – I was summarising the week, we could have gone back to elaborate; think of it as an executive summary.
M – Righto, well lets continue the summarising.
A – Fatigue and insanity run rife through the BSW offices.
M – Its been mainly affecting the dogs but has slowly infected our brains too :(
A – I’m pretty sure the dogs are contagious.
M – Oh now I remember the last peice we were going to talk about, our other game dev mates who have released their game..
A – piece*
M – ……. ahem… Tasty Fish it is, it’s a fantastic game where you save fish from certain doom.
A – It’s on iOS and it’s FREE! (That’s my favorite price for things because I’m poor)
M – I have free hugs!
A – Back off, I have a stapler and I’m not afraid to use it! (note: I don’t actually have a stapler)
M – Seems like an office thing to have though, perhaps when we make it big with Puzzle Puppets?
A – We run a largely paper free office.
M – Well going back to the IGDA, that was very enjoyable. We got to speak to some of the guys that took their games over to PAX in the USA.
A – Those guys are cool. I wanna go to PAX.
M – Here here. Well perhaps that may come true, it seems its coming to Australia!
A – We also learned that there may be some things announced by the government relating to games and the film/multimedia industry that could potentially be of use to us in the future (Android release of PP)
M – Indeed, the rest of the night was spent catching up with mates and being sad ‘cause there wasn’t any burgers left to order.
A – And THEN we couldn’t find anywhere that would sell us Chinese food :(
M – But all was well, we had Indian food near the Hawthorn so we didn’t die of starvation.
M – Azza’s doing something so I’m having another turn, HA!
A – I didn’t realise you had finished, my bad I guess.
M – You are forgiven, also bad news everyone, we didn’t get accepted into the Freeplay to show off Puzzle Puppets.
A – As for as Puzzle Puppets goes, all that is really left for us to do is tweak some minor things and add lots of cute and funny sound effects that don’t annoy people after they have heard them 10000 times.
M – Yep that extra 20% that seems to take 80% of the time :\ But we should wrap things up as we have a very busy week ahead of us.
A – We also plan on releasing a trial version of the game on the Windows Phone since there is no easy way to have in app purchases that we are aware of and we have to charge money for Puzzle Puppets (which will totally be worth it btw)
M – It will be something we look into when we have more content that you can spend your hard earned monies on.
A – It’s also possible that the Android version will be free to play with in app purchases, but this hasn’t been finalised.
M – Is it weird that this feels like the most we have talked even though our chairs are metres away?
A – Quiet you, the sound of your voice is like nails on the chalkboard of my soul!
M – Some would find that alluring, but lets sign off so people can enjoy the Friday night.
A – Some would be sadists….  also : let’s*
M – Well hope you all enjoy this insight to our weird little world, and are looking forward to the release of Puzzle Puppets at the end of the week!
A – We also hope you find this format of post half as entertaining as we have!
M – Haha yeah, we wanted to rock off to do it but thought… Ok I just saw your correct annnnd I will deal with you off chat. Cya Wombats!
A – Have a great weekend everyone!
M – Bye!
A – Last word!
M – DAMN!
A – C ya! (hehehe)

Devlog #12

Yep its polishing time, everything is in so we just have to make it sparkle and fix all the dents. Our last feature the leaderboards is all working and it’s fantastic, we have already started competing highscores against each other.

On the business side of things, our bank account is set up which is nice, we are still waiting for the paperwork to come through so we can access it online however its an important step to sending our game off to Microsoft.

So whats next on the horizon? We will still be polishing things next week, more cut-scenes need to be added. We will be making some extra sounds as some things are reasonably dead. Then we will send the final build off to Microsoft and wait for it to get certified. While that’s going on, hopefully we would of been selected for the Freeplay event and can show off our game there. We will be putting together a launch trailer and press kits to help get some hype around the game and then once its live in the Marketplace we will see how things go from there.

Well its the weekend, enjoy it. We are going to play some Awesomenauts while we settle into the Friday evening shenanigans.

 

 

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.

 

Nooooooooo

Noooooooooo!

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.

Shop

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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