It's been a while since we've posted anything because real life has temporarily taken the front seat; such is the life of one developing 2 games at once. My employer, Tripwire Interactive, is currently wrapping things up on our next title Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad. As such, my spare time to work on Break Blocks has been limited recently, as we are working crazy overtime polishing the game up. It's okay, though, because we knew this was going to happen and it's already been worked into Break Blocks' plan of releasing in a few months. In lieu of releasing a new version of the game, we are releasing another song straight from the game, this time it's the Zombie's theme song:
As many of you are aware, we have been making even more drastic changes to the game due to feedback we've gotten through the Early Adopters Program. We have streamlined the whole game interface to make it easier to understand, as well as dropping the purchasable Dance Moves system all together. You have been talking and we have been listening. So, try out the new build and continue giving us feedback.
We've implemented some of the changes that we've been discussing with you guys. We've removed Dance Moves, the old Crowd Bar, and the old Combo counter. We now have the "Crowd Bar" incorporated into the gameplay area, around the outer edge using arrows. We have also incorporated the Combo counter into the center of the screen, just outside of the build area. Enough words, just watch the video and you'll see =)
If you guys have been interacting with us on our forums, you already know that some big changes are coming again. They're not quite as big as the last big changes, but the whole game space is getting a needed overhaul to stream line the gameplay experience, so this is pretty big. Let us celebrate, as we often do, by listening to another of Stephen White's amazing tracks:
Since we've released new versions of the game, we've been getting tons of feedback from every direction. The 2 things we heard the most were "I don't understand how I'm supposed to win" and "I couldn't tell if I was winning". If you're one of our veterans that kicked this game's butt, then I'm sure these sound like crazy people talking. Interestingly enough, though, even the people that said these things still claimed the game was fun and addictive. From this, we could have just stuck to our guns and hoped for the best when we release the game later this year, but that's just not our style. We take every piece of feedback into consideration and check to see if there's something we could do better. In these cases, we believe we can.
First we contemplated "what are these dance moves here for?" with the obvious answer being "to give the game more depth". But are they really needed? They were intended to give players a way to strategize, but we considered the possibility that they are simply unnecessary. So we tried playing without them for a bit. Ta-da! They are a pointless addition to the game that detracts from the core gameplay, which is to simply hit the right color to the beat of the music and clear areas of similarly colored blocks. 1 problem down, 1 to go...
Why can't people tell if they're winning? Isn't that bar on the top very obvious? Why, yes it is; in fact, it's perfectly clear to even those people that made that statement, but they asked "when am I supposed to look at the top of the screen? in the middle of building? that's not a good idea". You know what? They were right! All of the action takes place in the center of the game board...so why do we have a crowd bar at the top of the screen? Could we possibly get rid of the crowd bar all together? Yes we can! And yes we did!
Last but not least, we opted to make the gameplay space a bit smaller, as well. There used to be 8 rings to place the blocks, but now it's down to 6. What do ya think? Looks pretty sleek and streamlined now, doesn't it?
Alright, so maybe we missed out Saturday by Midnight EST deadline...but only by like 5 minutes. That's pretty good considering we had to make a new video for you guys today. Check it out and then check out the Early Adopters Program under the Games section! We've got a demo of the game for you guys to play...finally! And if you like it, you should join the Early Adopters to help guide the direction of the game, not to mention get the game for a much lower price.
Also, of note...we now have forums! They are last minute and very temporary, but that was due to some unforeseen circumstances outside of our control. Please bear with us while we struggle to get things sorted out.
That's right, 1 more week until the launch of Break Blocks' Early Adopters Program! We have nailed it down; confirmed we'll get it all done and polished up by the end of the day(EST) next Saturday. Are you excited? Ready to Break Dance like there's no tomorrow?!? Enjoy this Ninja soundtrack whilst you wait:
Alright, so maybe that doesn't quite replace the game, but it's an awesome Ninja Break Dance song, isn't it? Anyways, we've plugged in almost every vital piece of content and now we're doing everything we can to make the game more accessible, visually interesting, and polished. Our testing has continued, using mostly friends and family, and we have gotten continually positive feedback about the game.
A number of people have made comments about the game not seeming like something they'd want to play. So, I decided to challenge a few of them to just give the game a try. Every single one of them got hooked on the game, noting how exciting, simplistically complex, and addictive the game truly is. We are really starting to believe in the potential for our game to be as successful as we've been hoping and for our company to reach our goal of donating at least $100,000 to charity.
This will only be possible with your support, so come back to us in a week, check out the Early Adopters Demo and purchase the game if you enjoy it!
No, Break Blocks isn't going Free-To-Play. Break Blocks is still on schedule for an Early Adopters launch in about 2 weeks. I've been testing, tweaking, testing, and then tweaking some more. Obviously we won't be launching some perfected final version of the game, but it will certainly be a relatively balanced and hopefully user-friendly demo. I'll be spending every minute I can improving it until the content's all ready and we press the Launch button! In the mean time, I want to discuss an interesting game-related topic with you, if you'll indulge me.
I've read a good deal of articles discussing the free-to-play phenomena that's engulfed the Asian market over the past decade or so, as it's become a much more common thing in the rest of the world now, as well. I'm not sure if the idea started with the good intentions of giving customers more for less and getting more people to experience your game or if it's always had the intentions that I've been reading about recently; namely profit, profit, and more profit. We've got some ideas already flowing around for our next game(not that we are even sure there will be another game at this point) and our favorite idea could lend itself to this idea pretty easily.
This profit focus dominating the free-to-play market scares us, as we don't want to be seen as anything but what we are. We are gamers first and a business only second to that. If we made games just to make profit, chances are the games would be unoriginal and probably suck, as the creative process we put into the games would be cut short by the need to "maximize profit". We just can't operate that way. We do, however, love the idea of getting more players into our games; as our main driving passion is getting people to play and enjoy our games. If we can give it away for free and still manage to continue making games, it sounds like a win for everyone, right?
So I want to hear from you guys. What do you think of free-to-play? If we executed it with gamers in mind rather than "maximizing profits", would you approve of our next game being free-to-play?
When we started this venture, developing Break Blocks that is, we simply wanted to create great games for the sake of creating great games. This focus has not changed, in fact, it has been turned into an obvious focus for anyone who visits Greater Good Games and fully comprehends the point of its philosophies. We landed on this concept by remembering that we just want to make awesome games, thus we do not need money beyond that which is necessary to continue making games. So, with such a company focus, we realized that our customers, too, would benefit from such a setup, as they would be improving the world by doing what they love to do: play games.
Simply put, this is our passion, and we will only be able to do this for a living with your help and contributions. We are forever grateful for your support and we look forward to doing everything in our power to ensure that you all enjoy every game we produce. Beyond that, though, we are all in this for a better tomorrow; hoping to improve the world through our passion for making great games and your passion for playing them.
So, thank you for following us, for supporting us, and for joining us in our quest to improve this world through games!
The launching of the Early Adopters Program is upon us, my friends. We are so very close to wrapping it all up and putting a nice little bow on it for you. To celebrate, we're releasing another song straight from the game, this time it's the Vampire's theme:
What have we been doing for the past 2 weeks? Well, we have continued plugging in some more sounds, models, and Dance Moves; as well as hooking up the ability to configure your keys. We also did some initial testing of the game with a very small group of people, just to see how close we are to launch. Good news! Things went smashingly well in those tests!
From here, we need to squash a few more bugs, balance some of the levels, and finish plugging in the rest of the content. Unfortunately, I don't have an exact release date, but I can say that we're on schedule to launch in mid-June at the latest. That means you're less than 1 month away from being able to test out your virtual break dancing skills before slapping down a few bucks for a game that's already being touted as an incredibly addictive action puzzle game!
Wow, it's been almost 3 weeks since we've released anything! That is horrible! Shame on us! But you'll be happy to know that it's because we've been so damn busy. Let me fill you in on where things stand, but first, a new song! The Theme song, in fact! (And the crowd goes wild! ... this is the part where you cheer with excitement ...)
So, back to the details, we are now wrapping things up on the Early Adopters Program launch. We are now an entirely official legal entity with a bank account and even a Google Checkout account that's all ready to hand out CD-Keys to each of you. We have a limited download system based off CD-Key plus an auto-updater built into the game, waiting to let you know every time we've released some new changes.
We are currently finalizing the details of the exciting new gameplay style you've all seen videos of by now, plus we're getting the rest of enemy characters ready for battle, hooking up some new dance moves for your character, and finalizing the tutorials and levels for the new gameplay. After we get all of that wrapped up, we'll be adding some more options, getting the Mac version good to go, and testing the game rigorously for a week or two making sure you guys are getting something worthy of the Greater Good Games name.
Rough time estimate to launch? Let's say 6 weeks from now at the latest, but it could be as few as 3 weeks. We'll just have to see how much time our day jobs and our wives will allow us to pack in these next few weeks. We can promise you, though, that the wait is almost over and you will not be disappointed(because even if you are initially, you'll get to give us some feedback until we get things right...gotta love being an Early Adopter!)