Where'd We Go?! - 09/24/13

First, I, Dayle, must apologize for our little news feed blackout as of late. Life has taken a drastic turn for both of us due to my landing an amazing job at Metamoki, creators of Mob Wars. Those of you that have been following us closely know that I have been working at various companies throughout the life of Greater Good Games, so what makes this job any different? Well, Metamoki had this minor stipulation on the job: no side work allowed! When I first heard this, my immediate reaction was "No frickin way! Not interested!" But, rather than immediately saying "no", I decided to discuss it with Noah, who would be all but out of a job if I took the job. Despite this, Noah was adamant about me taking the job, which was just astounding to me. So, with a heavy heart, I decided to take it.

What does this mean It Hungers and Swipe Attack? Well, Noah has decided that he wants to get those 2 games out there, both for his portfolio and because they have potential to be frickin awesome. So, he is continuing development on those 2 titles with some programmer friends of his. It's slow-going, however, as Noah has had to return to having a full-time job and working on Greater Good Games' projects on the side.

What does this mean for the future of Greater Good Games? Perhaps, this could be the end of the road for Greater Good Games as a not-for-profit entity raising money for good causes through our passion for games. BUT, Metamoki does allow side projects that advance the skill sets of their employees, so I have been cooking up a little free, open-source project. Stay tuned folks, things might have dramatically changed, but Greater Good Games will not die!

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A shift in focus - 10/22/12

Dayle and I recently attended SEIGE in Atlanta. During our trip, we met some really cool people, and attended some really cool talks. Overall, it was a great time and it was really fun to be in a room with so many other developers.

One particular discussion panel stood out to me. We attended a talk about making your second game (appropriate enough for us!) where the panelists discussed common pitfalls in making your second game, namely what I'll call the magnum opus syndrome. Carlos Quinones from The Secret Library mentioned a very cool project they'd come up with that, upon reflection, seemed to be beyond the scope of their team. So, rather than pouring excessive man-hours down the proverbial drain, they just backed away from it (even though it was a cool idea!). Their current goal is to create a new game every few months, namely to build their brand and contacts (I believe he actually said a new game each month...wow).

"Brilliant!," I thought. The idea of creating some short form games using an existing engine (Unity, I think) that would be small in scope, low in asset count, and high in fun really resonated with me. So, that's what we're going to be doing over the next few months! "Project SLUP" is still our ultimate goal, and Dayle is still working hard on Paper Engine 2, but meanwhile we'll have some really fun stuff that we've created and put out in the world.

I set a few criteria for design (namely keeping it simple, stupid), and came up with four possible ideas. After we discussed it, we're moving forward with a one button game tentatively titled, "It Hungers..." I'll be posting an update on that shortly!

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Codename: Slash `em Up - 06/27/12

Howdy Folks,

It’s time to let the secret out of the bag: we’re making another game! The experts said it couldn’t be done, but we’re here to prove them wrong... As the development of Break Blocks for the Apple Store comes to a close, we want to start sharing tidbits about what’s coming next. Over the entirety of our development cycle, we’re going to post updates here to keep you informed about our progress and to ask for your thoughts. So, you’re probably thinking, “Noah, what the hell are you waiting for? Spill the beans!” Fair enough! But first, the set-up..

Dayle and I both wanted to work on a game that was starkly different from Break Blocks. As both of us are long time gamers, we knew we wanted to make something that we would have enjoyed playing as kids. Jarrod, voice talent from Break Blocks and friend, came to us with an idea about a game that was all about a ninja running as fast as he possibly could. Inspired by oldschool ninja games such as Ninja Gaiden, and side scrolling shooters such as Life Force, his idea was to mash the two together to form an amalgamation we’re referring to as a “Slash `em Up,” or “SLUP” for short. We kept going back to older games as a point of reference for the project, and this is where we landed:

The Gameplay:

The driving design element in our game will be speed. The game will be a forced-scroll action, platformer. You’ll be able to change position within the boundries of the camera, but the camera will move at a pace dictated by your overall speed. Through comboing enemies, and avoiding being hit, you’ll be able to increase your speed allowing you to clear level with a faster time.

The Story:

After years of rejection and mockery, nefarious game designer, Albert Abigail Fannypatter, has gone rogue and decided to put the games of his successful contemporaries to the ultimate test... a deadly game of his own making! You play as one of three video game characters that have been plucked from their own world and made to run this hellish gauntlet of Albert’s making. Albert tries his hand at several “new ideas,” which turn out to be rehashes of games ranging from the Golden Age of arcades to modern day games for your handheld device. All the while, you must guide your character through each new twist, not falling prey to any exotic mechanics Albert might introduce.

The Characters:

The Warrior’s philosophy has always been to smash first and ask questions later. A heavy character; clunky, but strong. As Boris the Blade says “The weight is a sign of reliability”. He builds momentum slower than the other characters, but makes up for this with a higher defense that absorbs more damage. It’s hard to stop a moving train. He also has a shield which deflects projectiles and weaker attacks when he is not attacking or jumping. He can plow through weaker walls and supports to discover hidden areas or collapse structures.

The hermit is agile and precise, striking like a viper. He has less power behind his blows, but also has less delay meaning he can unleash a flurry of blows. He has a faster move speed within the frame than other characters and can use his speed to run across water and up walls. He builds momentum fast but tires out quicker, especially when hit. He can parry projectiles and weaker attacks with his staff.

The lusty lass of the lagoons, despite being a lady captain, possesses the true evidence of manhood: a sword and a giant gun. Using her cannon and sheer guile, the pirate storms through levels with reckless abandon, exploding everything in her path. This character is for players that liked to solve shaped-peg puzzles with a sledgehammer and a little gusto. Not as clunky as the warrior, nor as zippy as the hermit, the pirate plods through levels at a steady pace and can hoist herself around with the best of the able-bodied lads. She can use her wide area-of-attack to quickly gain momentum, but has little defenses against a direct blow, (although her vigor places her above the ninja in terms of damage absorption). The pirate can also use her cannon and charge attack to rocket around the level, reaching distant ledges to avoid getting left behind.

There’s much more, of course, and we’ll be sharing it with you soon, so stay tuned!


Have a look at the playable characters and Albert. Click the thumbnails for a larger image.

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Where'd We Go? - 05/06/12

Thank you to everyone who has supported Greater Good Games thus far, especially those of you who have purchased Break Blocks for Windows/Mac. I know it's been a while since we've posted...again...and we apologize for the delay...again, but at least we have a better excuse this time =)

We've been brewing up a few awesome things in our absence and we didn't want to talk about them before we had enough details to make them interesting. See? I told you it was a better excuse!

First announcement is that Break Blocks is coming to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. W00T! Now, why the heck couldn't we have announced that earlier? Well, unfortunately porting from one system to another isn't always a quick operation, even for highly experienced developers. And while we aren't newbs, we definitely aren't highly experienced iOS developers...so before we went off shouting out the awesome news, we had to make sure it was feasible in a relatively short amount of time. And though it's been a rocky road, we've had some Great Success over the past couple months that make the outcome inevitable. Break Blocks will be on iOS sometime in the next few months.

Next up is that we've decided to make a brand new Indie Friendly 2D Engine for our next project. We hammered out the basic details of what we wanted to do next, but we were unable to find an engine that seemed like a really solid candidate for our needs. The closest possibility was Torque2D, but it costs extra to get iTorque2D if we want to bring our games to iOS, and what programmer would ever choose to work with TorqueScript? Consequently, we're making our own and using our experience with other engines to put together what we consider to be the ultimate 2D Engine for Indie devs. Obviously that's a big claim, but I think we've got the skills, knowledge, and drive to back it up.

Last, but certainly not least, is that we've got another game in the works! We're still in the design phase, so details are going to have to remain vague and limited for now, but the game will be a Melee Platformer where speed is critical. You'll be running, jumping, and slashing you way to save the world(well, your digital world anyway) from an unsuspected foe! Along the way you'll gather new weapons and abilities which will help you overcome the dastardly deeds of said foe! If it sounds exciting, that's because it will be...and if it doesn't excite you, just wait for the details to start pouring out in about 3-6 months and you'll see why you should have been excited all along!

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