Spellcaster Studios

Make it happen…

PAX South

So last week I was at PAX South…

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I was there to show Strikers Edge to the American audience for the first time, and it was very cool… People seem to enjoy it and we never had a moment’s rest!

I also took the opportunity (and since we could spare the space in our booth) to show Gateway as well, and get some more feedback on the game.

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Gateway was also nicely received… Got really nice feedback, especially from couples that wanted something they both could play in couch mode!

It was all a bit hectic, since there was only two of us to greet, talk to the visitors and explain stuff, and two games, but overall it went very well!

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So now I’m back in Portugal, coding away on Strikers Edge… The last 10% of a game are really the hardest part! Smile

And the winner is…

…not Gateway! Smile

Yesterday was the the prize cerimoney for the Playstation Talents 2016, and Gateway was one of the 10 finalists, along with some others (links in the bottom).

It was a nice ceremony, with improv comedy and a lot of awards… Unfortunately, Gateway didn’t win “Best Game”, but it did win “Best Use of the Playstation Platform”:

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I got it from the hands of last year’s winner, the Strikers Edge team (which is super-cool, since I’m working with them!)…
Besides that, it was nominated for most categories, which is very cool!

The winner was VRock, a VR Band Hero from Game Studio 78. As a big Guitar Hero/Band Hero fan, I’m looking forward to see where that goes from here on!

The other winners were:

Best Child’s Game: An Aztec Tale (Cake Collective)
Press Award: Shutix (Indot Game Studio)
Best Art: Hell Keeper (Badaguedes)
Innovation: VRock (Game Studio 78)

All in all, it was a great day, and it was quite cool talking with all the finalists and taking another step into the gamedev adventure in Portugal!

Big thanks to everybody that supported us, to Sony PlayStation Iberia and Portugal, the press, and all the other finalists!

Next week, I’ll be at PAX South, showing Strikers Edge, and hopefully I’ll have some time to show Gateway to the public and publishers, so wish me luck! Smile

Below you can see the trailers of the other finalists, in case you’re interested… I’m missing a couple of them (VRock and Krazy Train) because I couldn’t find a YouTube trailer for them…

Voxel models

Work has almost stalled to a halt after ComicCon, due to the beta of Strikers Edge and Christmas…

We’ve been experimenting with voxel modelling tools, and the idea of switching the characters from billboards to voxel models instead:

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This is still experimental, but the idea was to gives more “volume” to the characters, and the ability of easily customize our characters (and maybe even change weapons, etc). The results are neat so far, but we’ll have to see it in game to really reach some conclusions…

Anyway, here’s the really cool Fun Punch Christmas card:

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So Merry Christmas and a great New Year from both Fun Punch Games and Spellcaster Studios! For us, we’re sure it’s going to be awesome!

So ComicCon 2016 is done!

It was very tiring, but very cool!

The fixes we’ve done on Gateway from the feedback we got at the Lisboa Games Week really paid off, we had almost none negative feedback, which feels great!

This was our display space:

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Our master of public communication:

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A lot of people, specially on Saturday:

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And a group photo with all the portuguese devs that were showing off their games, in front of our small but awesome booth!

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A big thank goes out to the organization for making this a reality, Nerd Monkeys for sponsoring the event, all the devs for the support and great conversations all around, and all the visitors that spent some time checking our games out!

We come back really energized to continue work on Gateway, full of new and great ideas, so stay tuned for more updates!

ComicCon Portugal

So tomorrow we’re on our way to ComicCon Portugal!

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We’re going to show Gateway again, in the indie games area, hopefully get more feedback.

This new version includes a few things people suggested at the Lisboa Games Week, and has some more features and balancing on it, so even if you checked it out on LGW, come take a look at this version to see how we’re progressing!

We’ll be there from Thursday until Sunday, from 10am to 10pm!

Loads of work!

So today I took the day off so I could work on Gateway…

Most of the work was small tweaks based on feedback I got at the Lisboa Games Week, to prepare an even better demo for the last round of Playstation Talents and for ComicCon Portugal next week.

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I noticed in the demo that most people didn’t catch any of the alloy and health packs that dropped from the enemies that you killed… There’s two possible reasons: one, they don’t see the use (that fits with the alloy, but not much with the health packs), and two, they don’t see them at all because of the noise in the scenery. In case the problem is this last one, I added some code for the items to bob up and down, and for them to have a glowing outline (with a neat shader). They are way more visible now, and on ComicCon I’ll be able to test my theory on this…

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I also changed the stun mechanics on the game… It was a bit too overpowered, in my opinion… Now, when you hit an enemy with a weapon that can stun, it will increase a stun-meter, and when that meter reaches the top, it will trigger the actual stun, that will last for a few seconds (with a visible effect so you know it is in effect), and then has a cooldown so you can’t keep stunning indefinitely. I think this works better, looks cleaner and it gives rise to a few more potential mechanics in the future (for example, if two players are blasting the same enemy with a stun gun, it will stun faster). The implementation of this wasn’t as good as I’d like, but for the immediate purpose is good enough.

I’ve also tweaked the bosses a lot… Because of the birth of the game as a single-player game, the bosses were to be “designed” and not procedurally generated… Now they are procedurally generated, even if currently it’s just a glimpse of what we will do in the actual game. They can have different payloads, shields, and mechanics as splitting into more enemies when they are destroyed… When I showed the game at Lisboa Games Week, people would breeze through the boss as if it was just another enemy, you only felt that he was a boss because he was bigger than the rest, had a bit more health and was standing in the middle of a temple… Not anymore! Smile

Tomorrow I’ll also be working on this, mostly just polishing, adding a score system (I think that might work in a demo environment, so people have a feeling of having an objective), and a game timer so that sessions have a fixed time.

Lisboa Games Week is done!

And it was great!

I got a lot of useful feedback, a lot of people came to try the game (and thanks everybody that voted for me!), and most people seem to have genuine fun with the demo!

Some photos of the event:

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The event itself was very nice, with the usual problems on these sort of things… the section where we had our game for show was really hidden behind the other exhibitors, so we had to go and fetch people to play the game… On Sunday, we could clear some space around the display and we didn’t stop all the day, with constant visitors… According to my math, we showed the game to almost 100 people total!

Special note to the Indie Dome, the indie-only part of the event, which was great, a lot of awesome work on display there, and the part reserved for retro gaming was also pretty nice!

So, what’s next for Gateway?

Well, we’ll have to wait for the results of the Playstation Talents awards, but in the meantime we’re pitching the game to potential publishers, doing small fixes based on the received feedback, and preparing to show the game at GameCon Portugal (from 8th to 11th December)!

We’ll keep you guys updated!

Lisboa Games Week

From tomorrow until Sunday, we’ll be at the Lisboa Games Week, at the Playstation Talents booth demonstrating Gateway for whoever wants to check it out, play it and chat a bit about the game!

Lisboa Games Week will be an event in (you guessed it) Lisboa. Everything game related will be there, like E-Sports, new console and PC releases, VR, retro gaming, YouTubers, cosplay, indies, lectures, etc, so be sure to hop on by!

The other game I’m working on (Strikers Edge) will also be featured there, and there will even be a tournament with prizes!

Co-op proof of concept

Following some of the feedback we’ve got at some of the trade fairs we’ve been showing Gateway at, I’ve decided to try and mock-up the multiplayer aspect of the game.

For the proof of concept, it’s a local only co-op multiplayer, but it works fully, and it’s a lot of fun to play!

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To be honest, I haven’t had this much fun playing the game for some time!

If I get the budget for the development, this aspect of the game will be online only, but it will probably the main focus of the game: co-op exploration with crafting elements, gear-based roles and procedurally generated big monsters for players to take on together, since that sounds like a whole lot of fun!

Here’s a video of me and a friend playing a bit on this mode:

 

I’ve also updated the Gateway website with the new multiplayer features, since it seems to be something people are really into! Smile

Stay tuned for more news soon!

Loads of news

I’m a terrible communicator… I should have done this post more than a week ago, but with crunch going on for Strikers Edge, time has been at a premium!

Anyway, on to the news…

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First, Strikers Edge has gone into beta! It’s going alright… Most bugs found so far have the same root (which we’re working on), and the multiplayer has been more or less behaving (still need a lot of work in some of the latency hiding). Hopefully the next couple of weeks the game will be way more stable and reliable.

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We’ve submitted Gateway to the Playstation Talents Awards, which is a competition that helps getting games being published on the PS4, helping with small development costs, dev kits and other stuff like that. Strikers Edge was actually the winner last year.

We got selected for the second phase (so the 10 best games), and we’ll be at Lisboa Games Week in November showing the game to the public and press.

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Next week, Strikers Edge will be shown at the Paris Games Week, and Gateway will also be there being shopped to potential publishers (if I have enough time to finish the demo build!).

So a lot is happening, even if there’s not lots of updates on the site!