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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Break Blocks Touch! - 08/10/12

Hello All,

Break Blocks is back, and even better! We've just released Break Blocks Touch! on the Apple App Store. To be perfectly honest, this game is really meant to be played on a touch device. It's extremely satisfying to sit there and tap out a rhythm on the phone, and I encourage all of you with Apple devices to give it a try (a demo version is available). The game will be 50% off for the next two weeks, so go grab a copy for $0.99!

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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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Break Blocks has Gone Gold - 02/29/12

It's complete! Over! Done! Gone Gold! After years of working, iterating, and rewriting, we've finally gotten the game out the door! Haven't played Break Blocks? Download the Demo. Been waiting for the release to buy it? Pay What You Want! Already bought it? Download the Final Release.


Watch it and Share it on YouTube

Gameplay Trailer

Watch it and Share it on YouTube

Thank you all for your support throughout this project! It's been a blast!

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January Break Blocks Update: - 01/19/12

So, we just updated the early adopters download and the demo build to include a bunch of the changes we've been working on this month: Voice acting in the tutorial, a bunch of new sounds and character voices, some new enemies and new player animations, new U.I. to show you how powerful your move is/when the enemy will be launching a move, a simplified control layout, and fancy new menus, buttons, and popups. At this point here's what we have left to do: Finish implementing multiplayer, finish Boss #2, get the last 2 songs in place, finish up a little of the voice acting, and then sell thousands of copies!!! Should be a piece of cake, right?

Anyway, give it a download and let us know what you think on the forum!

If you're an early adopter, click this link for the latest full version.

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New Version of Break Blocks Available! - 12/14/11

Hello, All!

Today we are releasing our latest beta for download, and we've made many changes over the previous versions. The most obvious the changes to the board size (number of blocks that can be on the board), the new hit timer, and the new beat tracks that have been tailored to each song. Additionally, we've continued to extend content by adding new characters, tours and songs, we've managed to fix up a few of bugs on our list, and we've added a new team member, Wes Valentijn!

We've released a new video discussing the latest changes on YouTube:

If you're an early adopter, click this link for the latest full version.

Also, as a sample of some of Stephen White's latest tracks for Break Blocks, we're posting both the Vampire's and the Zombie's second tracks.

VampireSong2 by greatergoodgames
ZombieSong2 by greatergoodgames

We're still on track to finish February, but stay tuned because we'll have more news between now and then.

Thanks to all of you for your interest and your support!

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What are we thankful for? - 11/15/11

A new beat marker! One of the most fundamental elements to gameplay in Break Blocks is the Beat Marker. We've made some changes that we believe will make it easier for you to time your hits. I discuss this change as well as some others (such as the addition of voice acting by the very talented Jarrod Lipshy) in the following dev blog update on YouTube. Check it out, and stay tuned as we will soon be updating the executable available for download.


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Indie Games Festival Build Complete - 10/19/11

We've done it! We've entered Break Blocks into the IGF...not that it's necessarily going to win, but there's a chance we might at least be a finalist. We've been so excited about getting this done and so focused on the subset of the game that they're going to play that we've hardly taken a moment to talk about the changes. First, you'll notice that we've added a sleek little Versus screen as our loading screen. It's nothing too fancy, but it goes a long way toward making the game feel polished and complete. The next big thing you'll see is the new Sensei Popup, where he tells you important gameplay changes(instead of the old method of having the enemy tell you...which didn't really make any sense).

Those changes are all good, but the interesting changes are in the gameplay. We've finally perfected a method of getting beat patterns into the game quickly and concisely so that the beat marker follows the complex beats! This makes the game a lot more interesting at the later stages, just like the other major gameplay change: Secondary Colors can only be cleared by touching their 2 Primary Colors. That's right, now you have to really think about where you're placing your primary and secondary colors in order to be able to clear them. This makes the game a lot more challenging, as well as interesting(and a little more IGF worthy).
So, without further ado, play the IGF build now!

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Where'd We Go? - 09/24/11

We're still alive, kicking, and continuing to progress on Break Blocks. As I mentioned, I've been slammed with working on Red Orchestra 2, and while it's not entirely back to "normal hours", I've been making time here and there to keep things rolling around here. In my absence, Noah has been kicking some butt and had plenty of new things for me to plug in. Our Musician, Stephen White, also took a little over a month off to work on a paid gig for another project! Congrats to him! But now we're all back together, focusing on getting the game ready to enter in the Indie Games Festival! Our first step was to implement a clearly awesome idea, which was to get rid of the unsightly and unnecessary "Color Ring" that existed solely to remind players which color corresponds to which keys. "Why not just put the arrows into the blocks?" someone asked. And BAM! here it is:

Break Blocks Arrows
Looks pretty sweet, don't it? Well, it at least makes the game a lot easier and allows players to keep up with the frantic pace that's needed to win dance battles later in the game. And since that's not the only change that we have planned to get in before the IGF build, I better get back to work. Just wanted to make sure you all knew that we're still working hard to bring you the game of your dreams ;)

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