Friday, December 14, 2012

Quiet Christmas

Quiet Christmas

I came up with the idea of making a Christmas episode of "Quiet, Please!" about a week ago, and I've been madly working on it ever since. It is almost finished now, and I should be submitting it to the various mobile app stores soon.

Maybe an Xbox version, too, if I can think of a good way to make a trial work.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"Quiet, Please!" Released for iOS

"Quiet, Please!" is now available as a universal app for iPhone/iPad. You can find it here in the App Store.

Unfortunately, because Apple's policies prevent me from doing a free trial of the game, only a paid version ($.99) is available. I plan to do a web-playable trial at some point to work around this limitation.

Friday, August 3, 2012

iOS Releases Coming Soon

The lack of apple dev hardware is the only thing that has been holding me back from being able to develop for iOS. I finally took the plunge last week and bought the cheapest refurbished MacBook Pro and iPod Touch 4 that I could.

Given that I was already using Unity to deploy for Android, the additional work to get it running for iOS was pretty minimal. It took me a while to get used to working on a Mac for the first time in about 20 years, though. The verdict - I'm not a big fan. Usability is very much in the eye of the beholder...

Anyway, I've got my games mostly up and running. Ironically, it took me more time to figure out how to publish to the App Store than it did to get iOS ports running in the first place. I've got that pretty much sorted out now though, so expect to see my games on an iOS device near you soon.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

"Quiet, Please!" Out Now For Android

I am happy to announce that "Quiet, Please!" is now available for Android devices.

You can get it from either the Amazon Appstore (US only) or Google Play.

Here are the marketplace links:

Amazon: Full Game or Free Trial

Google Play: Full Game or Free Trial

I also made a little trailer for the game. It is a mashup of clips from youtube videos people posted of themselves playing the Xbox version. The Android version is identical except for the addition of touch controls.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Potential New Game

So, the idea is to make an economic simulation and exploration game in the style of the Settlers or Anno games, but set in space.

I'm keeping the graphics simple - 2D with a pixelized style. I'm also focusing on a touch-friendly interface from the start, rather than adapting to it later.

It seems promising so far. We'll see...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

"Quiet, Please!" Released on Xbox Indie Games

After an annoying day at school, you just want some peace and quiet.

But everything at home is so noisy!

Explore, interact with your environment and solve puzzles. 3 kittens included with every purchase!

"Quiet, Please!" is now available on here in the Xbox Marketplace.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Android, cross-platform development and touch controls

Quiet Please on Kindle Fire

Lately I've been working on getting my 2D game engine running in Android. I had been planning on giving Android a try for a while now, so when Unity released a free version for Android and iOS it got me to finally take the plunge.

I picked up a Kindle Fire, and had things mostly working after about a day. It helped a lot that I had already ported my engine to Unity. I did this mostly to use their web browser deployment for Ludum Dare releases - people are much more likely to play a game if they can run it in a browser rather than downloading an XNA binary. It also really helped that I had already done touch controls for Windows Phone versions of my games. Aside from getting the build and deployment process set up, porting to Android didn't really add many platform-specific development challenges.

"Quiet, Please!" is now running pretty well on the Kindle Fire. I have a few more little things to do, and then I'll release it on the Amazon Marketplace and Google Play.

Ascent of Kings Touch Controls

I've also been working on a mobile version of "Ascent of Kings", a little platformer I made for Ludum Dare a while back. Good platforming touch controls are notoriously difficult to do. While I wouldn't say my controls are great, I now have a touch D-Pad that feels pretty good to use. The gameplay in "Ascent of Kings" isn't very twitch, so I think it will work well enough.

 Overall, I'm pretty happy right now with the state of my 2D game engine. With virtually no platform-specific game code, I can now deploy for Xbox, Windows Phone and Android. iOS should be an easy next step - except for the fact that I need to buy a Mac...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"Quiet, Please!" now available for Windows Phone

"Quiet, Please!" is now available in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Everything in the house is so noisy! You just want to be alone and go to bed.

Explore, interact with your environment and solve puzzles.

3 kittens included with every purchase!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Playing with Deferred Rendering in XNA

Deferred Rendering

I've been meaning to do a deferred rendering of my graphics pipeline for a while, but hadn't gotten around to it until recently.

In standard forward rendering, your geometry shaders directly output the image that the user sees. In deferred rendering, they output an intermediate buffer (called a "G-Buffer") that contains more information for each pixel - generally color, normal and depth. The advantage to this is that it allows you to do various processing (most notably lighting) on the scene as a whole after all of the geometry has been rendered.

The simplifies the shaders significantly. In Block Zombies, for example, I have three main geometry shaders - one for the terrain, one for models and one for particles. In forward rendering, each shader needs to independently handle lighting, fog and shadowing. With deferred rendering, they don't need to do any of this - it gets done once on the entire scene.

Another huge benefit is the ability to have more lights in the scene. Block Zombies only has a single, directional light source. I would have loved to have more lighting - muzzle flashes, glow from flares, flashes from explosions - but it just wasn't practical in the forward rendering model. With deferred rendering, I can have pretty much as may lights as I want.

In the screenshot above, I have a very subtle directional light, a spotlight from a flashlight and point lights for all of the windows in all of the houses.

Overall, moving to deferred rendering is a big win for me and I think I'll use it as my primary rendering model going forward.

Monday, February 20, 2012

"Quiet, Please!" Almost Finished


 I'm getting close to completion on my little adventure game, "Quiet, Please!". Above is an overview shot of the current gameplay area.

I'm aggressively trying to control the scope on this project - my goal is to keep development time under a month (time actually spent on it - not calendar time). So far, I'm in pretty good shape.

The resulting game will, as a consequence, be fairly short. Hopefully it will still be enough to convince people to part with one of their precious dollars. We'll see.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Block Zombies Review Round-up

Block Zombies has been out for a week now, and a number of reviews have popped up around the internet. The verdict? They like it!

Trendy Gamers gave it a 9/10, saying it "may just be the most outrageously fun and charming game a single dollar can buy".

Armless Octopus gave it 4/5 stars,  saying "the game’s carefree visual style and upbeat tempo makes Block Zombies! an absolute delight to play". They also awarded it their "Bloody Tentacle" of the week.

Did Not Finish says "Block Zombies is the embodiment of everything that is right with Xbox Live Independent Games".

OtakuDante's Gaming says it offers "escape from the normal zombie titles that plague the video game marketplace".

Dealspwn calls Block Zombies "a damn fine shooter".

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Block Zombies Released!

I did up a little release trailer for Block Zombies, which is now available on the Indie Games section of the Xbox marketplace.

The marketplace game page is here.

Now on to the next game... :-)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Quiet, Please! Post Compo Version


Since making "Quiet, Please!" for Ludum Dare 22, I've taken some time to improve on it and add additional content. I was really happy with what I was able to accomplish in the 48hr time period, but I had a lot of ideas that I was not able to get to.

The biggest criticism of the compo version was its length. This updated version has new areas, new and improved puzzles, an intro and a lot more sound and art assets.

The new version of "Quiet, Please!" can be played in a web browser (Unity) here:

Quiet, Please! Post Compo Version

The original, 48hr entry is here.

Here are a few screenshots from the new version of the game: