DEV UPDATES

Who am I? A GAME DEV!

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We all know about scheduling & cost challenges involved with travelling to industry events. Coming from regional WA means we have to be super selective on the events we can attend.

Fortunately there are programs out there that might be able to offer assistance!

Let’s Make Games

GCAP Assist Program

Working through the process of an assist package, Jez (our programmer) was asked a question.  ONE question…  And he exploded.  So we thought we would share it with you.

 

“Who are you?”

 

Now let’s not get TOO philosophical but… To understand who I am (as a gamedev), you must know where I come from! LOL

Hi! I’m Jez, half of the full time indie studio Outback Pixels from Kalgoorlie (https://goo.gl/maps/MQD5NqPemXC2), Western Australia. Programmer, Unity enthusiast, game designer & every other hat that needs to be worn! Includes husband to my excellent wife Kim & owner of two awesome border collies!

Yesterday was history!

Prior to Outback Pixels conception I spent 10 years working and building a successful business in a totally unrelated industry to games, not because I loved it but because there was a space to be filled & I was finding my way. In 2014 I had enough of working in my self proclaimed loveless job & wanted to live a life doing something I enjoy. With the support of my wife & the experience of how difficult it is to establish a business let alone a passion as a business , I sold the lot to become a full time game dev. Wait… what? I got rid of my secure… established business… to become a full time game dev… knowing I have limited programming skills & ZERO industry experience. MADNESS!

Positivity in discovery!

Up to that point I had spent a bit of time chasing programming skills through online programs but found that, in my opinion, that the resources at hand where sub par & more frustrating than helpful.

Turn the negative into a positive!

This reminded me of when I created other business, JUST DO IT! Thanks Nike.
Outback Pixels was established mid way through 2015 backed up with my only real qualifications into the industry of games. These being ownership of a couple of Commodore 64s, a Sega Master System 2, a SNES, a Vectrex, a couple of PC’s, original Donkey Kong & other random hand held flip games & most other popular consoles, along with the enthusiasm & wonderment for games from 25+ years of playing.

Let the fun begin.

I attended PAXAUS in 2014 for the first time and was overwhelmed with the gaming community that was out there which I had never experienced coming from regional WA. I ran from panel to panel, dragging my artist wife along, ducking into the exhibition area when I had a chance & managing to attend 12-15 panels across the 3 days. I absorbed every bit of information I could and felt I had levelled up! Filled with passion we returned to the red sand of the outback to continue building skills.

There were (& still are) frustrations at every turn, but gritting our teeth & telling ourselves this is normal when you step into anything without an official Google “how to” we knew we would find our way. Development engines were decided. Development engines were undecided. We developed our own game engines. We undeveloped our own game engines. Directions and paths were decided… and undecided. Passions were re-evaluated. On some occasions, these things would happen all at the same time & sometimes all on the same day!

Jumping forward to PAXAUS 2015 saw me not take advantage of Unite & GCAP opportunities. It was a product of not being organised enough or being too absorbed with other priorities like personal learning time line assumptions, freaking-out, creating stuff, freaking-out, making games, freaking out, playing games and even more freaking out within the world of creativity. Attending Pax again I hit every panel that sounded remotely relevant to my self proclaimed learning experience & even some that weren’t (always try new things). I found that the 3 day panel haul was not as informative / rewarding as I found last year, this alone was fantastic! I left PAXAUS 2015 with a clear goal.

“Proof of concept. Finish something. Publish something.”

So I picked an idea from a 72 hour self inflicted Jez/Kim game jam & went to work. Our first game, Roid Rage, was published to iOS (exclusive to iPad) in February 2016. Our second game, a game born from selfish passion & inspired by games like Minestorm (Vectrex) & Bubble Bobble (Commodore 64+more), Thwart GEO was published for all android & iOS devices in May 2016.

Today is a gift!

Leaping forward to today. I’m positively stressed and excited to be showing Thwart GEO at the Perth Games Festival (600kms away in the big city!!) in 2 days time. I’m overwhelmed with the documentation & emails to be organizing our exhibition at PAXAUS 2016 and even if we’ll be accepted by the gaming & development community & I’m super excited to participate in Unite & GCAP 2016!

I learn something new every week if not every day surrounding myself with creativity,chaos & logic to grow, develop & enjoy the journey that is my life.

I hope this has given you but a small preview to who I am today!

Tomorrow is a mystery!

MiniLudumDare#68: 72hrs of a GameDev fairy tale

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What do gamedevs do when they need a break from promoting their game? They just make another one! Within 72hrs we’ve created a  game for the current Mini Ludum Dare #68 with the theme “childhood memories” .  Oh what fun we had!

MiniLD #68

 

We’ve combined the classic child book/fairy tale story with an endless runner mechanic and placed it into a paper craft-inspired world. Little Red Running Hood was born! This endless runner has a very cool twist. Or shall we say: Switch.

You can play it right here:

http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/676953

Well, it’s time for us to catch up on some well deserved shut-eye, but feel free to play “Little Red Running Hood” and tell us how far you’ve come!

 

The power of POWER-UPS!

Understanding power-ups will help get that win!

PRO TIP #47: Keep an eye out for power-ups that appear close together on screen.  It may sometimes be more advantageous to leave a power-up for a few seconds to see where the next will appear.  Combining power-ups can cause even more destruction!

Shields

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If you see one of these pop up, don’t miss the chance to grab it.  Think of it as an extra life.  This bad boy will allow you to take an extra hit during the level when you happen to be sitting on top of a enemy spawn dot when you make that direct shot!

Faster Shots

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Pew pew more than ever. Get this and hold those thumbs down, especially good for taking out armed enemies & their projectiles when shooting armed enemies!  Shoot twice as fast!

Turret

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Stopping you dead and auto shooting will help to line up that shot but remember to warp out of the way if enemies or projectiles are on a collision course!

Vortex
vortex_picAside from looking awesome the vortex will capture anything that comes within its range.  Using one of these at the right time can capture large groups of anything chasing you!  Rack up those those multipliers!!

Four way shot

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MORE fire power.  These little bad boys will arc around their activation point causing destruction wherever they go!

Timewarp

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Let’s do the timewarp (I bet you sang that part… or are now!) & slow down current enemies on screen.  Think of it like that really cool scene in that movie we all know & love. You know.. the one with the really cool trench coats & people named Neo & Trinity.

 

If you enjoy Thwart GEO &/or even this post please feel free to share/tweet/post or do whatever it is you do to spread word of the game that makes you hurt while also making you jump, shout and cheer when you defeat a level!

Click here to tweet this

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THWART GEO UPDATE: Get thwarted in a new skin

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Wowza, it’s been almost a month since we’ve launched THWART GEO on Android and iOS and we’re very happy with the feedback so far. We’ve been thinking about how we can make THWART GEO even more fun for you… and decided to give it a new outfit! THWART NEON is here!

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This retrolicious and colour-bursting skin is exclusively available to Badge Supporters. In the upcoming update you just need to shake your device in the main menu to switch from THWART GEO to NEON – and vice versa. The new skin is a homage to the 80’s and reflects THWART GEO’s retro gaming roots more than before. If you want to immerse yourself fully into the retro-arcade-era, this is the perfect skin for you! The new backgrounds and 80’s inspired effects ensure an intense THWART GEO gaming experience.

This is our way to thank you for your support! We’re currently working on optimizations to make THWART GEO the best it can be for you and this update will be available shortly!
Keep an eye on THWART GEO on your mobile device for this update!

Gaming without borders: Working on Localisation

Games truly speak a universal language, so it’s nice to see when a  game idea easily translates across languages. And continents!  We were so happy to find this on Twitter  the other day:

Thwart GEO: neuer Arcade-Shooter kann komplett kostenlos gespielt werden

http://www.iplayapps.de/thwart-geo-kostenloser-arcade-shooter-fuer-ios-28604/

That was a lovely reminder of the importance of localisation, something we’re currently working on. Thwart will be available in multiple languages soon, that’s gaming with no language barriers!

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THWART GEO NOW AVAILABLE FOR iOS and Android

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What a Manic Monday. Finally, the day is here and the wait is over! THWART GEO is now available on the App Store and on Google Play. Get it on your device of choice right now and immerse yourself in this addictive celebration of nostalgia. We hope that you are as excited as we are!

Please remember to also support us & your Aussie game developers by sharing news of Thwart GEOs release & if we can twist your arm… leaving a review on the App Store or Google Play!

Happy Gaming,

Kim and Jez

 

 

 

Pixel Sift got us talking!

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We had a chance to chat with Gianni from Pixel Sift about being indie game devs in rural WA and about our games Roid Rage and Thwart Geo.

Check out the podcast of episode 31 right here!

Pixel Sift is a weekly video games podcast covering the latest issues in the gaming industry and chatting to people who love making games.  Make sure you check in to catch up on the latest news with Pixel Sift’s very own WA-based podcast.

 

Website: http://pixelsift.com.au/

twitter: https://twitter.com/PixelSift

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PixelSift

twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/pixelsift

Playup Perth Recap 29/04/2016

IMG_1431We’re back in Kalgoorlie and extremely happy with the outcome of the Interstate Arcade edition of PlayUp Perth. A big Thank you to SK Games, FTI, Letsmakegames.org and all the wonderful people behind this wonderful event, we had a blast and got so valuable feedback out of this experience. Another big thanks goes out to all those lovely peeps playing our game, we really appreciate your feedback. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing other people playing (and enjoying) our game, a rare sight for us living in the Golden Outback!IMG_1423

Playup Perth not only gave us the opportunity to playtest other awesome Australian-made games and games from overseas , but we also had the chance to get to know our “local” game dev scene better and to put some faces to names. The personal exchange and the in-depth conversations with other game developers and game-enthusiasts was such an invigorating and inspiring experience, as the indie game dev scene gets a little more limited the further we head out of the cities.IMG_1430
We also had the opportunity to snoop around WA’s first ever games industry co-working space Level One, run by FTI and SK, a creative environment for collaborating, networking and showcasing. We are impressed that there is such valuable space for indie devs available in WA and we’ll do what we can to make it a habit to come down more often to share the creative energy and inspiration and to keep in touch with fellow game devs. After this warm welcome, we’re proud to be part of this thriving and vibrant WA indie game scene.

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With all the feedback in our heads, we’re now entering the final polishing stages for THWART Geo which we aim to release by the end of this week.

ROID RAGE and THWART at Playup Perth Interstate Arcade

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We’re super excited to announce that we’re going to be at the Playup Perth Interstate Arcade on April 29th 2016!  An awesome opportunity to explore cool new games and to play ROID RAGE and THWART. Make sure you pop past and say Hi! For more info check out : http://playupperth.org/next-playup-event/

 

 

Thwart GEO Sneak Peak

While exploring the realms of mobile gaming, we were reminded of the good old days, when you’re face was stuck against a Vectrex screen or your thumbs got cramps from playing Bubble Bobble on sticky controllers.

The simplicity of the graphics, the seemingly easy but frustrating game play and the ultimate feeling when you finally mastered all levels…. *sigh*  Well, we’ve been busy creating exactly THAT kind of game. Easy to play, but hard to master. Let us introduce you to THWART.

Per definition, THWART  <ˈthwȯrt> means:

1    a :  to run counter to so as to effectively oppose or baffle:

     b :  to oppose successfully; defeat the hopes or aspirations of

2:  to pass through or across

And that is exactly, what’s happening in the game. But have a look yourself and get excited:

We’re planning to release to iOs and Android around mid April 2016 so stay tuned! You can read more about THWART right here.