Assuming nothing terrible happens Alpha 4 drops next week.
I will be updating the Preview branch with an Alpha 4 RC hopefully tonight (Sunday the 12th of March) so those of you who enjoy finding crash bugs can go to town on it and do all the things I never thought to try.
Alpha 4 changes around game balance quite a bit so there will be a Leaderboard wipe to accompany it’s release.
If you regularly follow my blog you will have noticed that I’ve been pretty much absent from the internet for the last 6 weeks or so. I’m very sorry about this, I’m sure you want to know what’s going on with Arena Tactics and the silence on the matter has been disheartening.
This was all caused by my internet connection becoming almost completely unusable during this time. REIN (Repetitive Electrical Impulse Noise) in my local area was causing my broadband signal to cut out sometimes a hundred times a day, this meant that the local exchange ended up throttling me down to early 1990’s speeds with massive packet loss as well as the disconnections. BT have been trying to find the source of the noise (I live in the town centre so it could have been any of a large number of shops, businesses or homes causing it) and say that they’ve resolved the issue. Here’s hoping it stays resolved so I can get back to important things like streaming development, uploading videos and generally keeping you all up to date.
After the previous Week long sale I secretly dropped the price of Waves from $10 to $5. I did this secretly because I wanted to see what effect a change in price would have without any of the effects of coverage that might result. Well after 2 months the game has been pulling in over 3 times as many sales at the lower price than it was managing before thus proving something.
In practice this means that Waves is now pulling in enough money each month to support my (tiny) salary where before it was a constant cycle of building up reserves from big sales only to slowly deplete them over 6 months. Hopefully this should let me get ahead of the game and free up some money to pay contractors for Arena Tactics.
Arena Tactics Progress
Waves: Arena Tactics is coming along nicely. I’m working on a vertical slice demo to coincide with the relaunch of the Kickstarter campaign later this year so you can all have a play and see what you’re funding.
The demo will give you the ability to attack a corporate server in Dive mode up to 3 levels deep. There will be boss fights, loot, a new inventory system, local co-op for up to 3 players (since online multiplayer would require Steam) and hopefully some new art work and music. I’m currently at the stage of tuning and balancing the demo (the internet being down gave me a lot of time to get programming done so the demo is pretty much feature complete) to ensure that it’s as fun as possible.
Keep your eyes fixed on Twitter and the Facebook page for any announcements of upcoming live streams as the demo gets closer to completion.
First thanks to everybody who turned up to our Livestream last night. We all had loads of fun showing the game off and everybody was really nice so we’ll definitely be doing this again and trying to make it a semi-regular occurrence even after the Kickstarter.
Characters In W:AT
One of the problems I’ve always had with Waves was the lack of character for people to relate to. Believe it or not being an abstract sphere with a gun is not enough for a lot of people. During the Stream I suggested the idea of being able to unlock Characters (which I think I will start calling Runners because I’m a hopeless Cyberpunk junky). Each Character has a different set of baseline stats and bonuses to certain playstyles in a similar way to Character cards in a Living Card Game like Android: Netrunner.
I Want Your Voice!
With the introduction of Runners it makes sense that each Runner gets a personality. The original Waves had a pair of Robotic announcers that told you about things like pickups and how little energy you had. These voices will return in the new game (indeed they are already implemented) but I’d like to add more voices with different accents and phrases for each Runner as well as localized versions different languages.
If you have a unique accent (or can affect one) and you would be interested in having your voice plastered all over the game then I want you to get in touch! Drop me a message on email and I’ll add you to the list. It won’t be hard stuff mostly things like “Quad Damage” and “Shields Full” not lengthy diatribes on the nature of transhumanism.
Anybody who gets their voice in the game will be credited as a voice actor and this invitation is open to everybody in all tiers.
We Need Guns. Lots of Guns.
There are ten main weapons in the game right now and five “Super” weapons but I’d like to expand both of these lists. A big part of W:AT is customising your experience with different equipment loadouts. During the Stream last night we showed off lots of different builds that can be achieved and I plan on putting up some videos on the YouTube channel showing off different ways to play the same mode.
If you can think of any weapons or equipment you’d like to see in the game then you can send me your ideas over twitter or facebook or via email if you’re shy. I’m looking for things that will be tactically different from the existing weapons rather than just a re-skin or more powerful version.
For reference here are the weapons that are already implemented:
It’s been a hard Kickstarter and I’ve learnt much about running a campaign like this. Backers may be looking at the funded percentage right now and thinking the project isn’t going to make it.
The final week of the Kickstarter is going to be the most important. I feel like I’ve been marketing this game on the wrong features. The fact is that the biggest feature of this game is the Co-Op and procedural “Rogue-like” elements. This is why I’m releasing the following video…
Above you can watch some unedited gameplay footage of the “Dive” mode. “Dive” is a Co-Operative mode for up to 3 players (either online or offline) where the objective is to explore the levels and dive deeper into the world. Depth will be recorded on the leaderboards rather than points and frankly it could keep going forever!
On the 22nd of Feb (a Saturday) at 10PM GMT (5PM EST) I will be hosting a Live Stream event on the Squid In A Box Twitch.tv channel alongside The Pudding Earl. We’ll be playing the game “Dive” game mode in local co-op for about an hour with our friend Dan (assuming he can make it).
During the Stream I will be answering questions from the chat about the game and it’s development so if you want to get to know me then stop by!
If you’re backing this project then don’t think that you’ve done everything you can to help. YOU CAN DO MORE! The last week is the most important but if nobody is talking about the Kickstarter then nobody else will back it and we will fail. All you need to do is share the link on twitter, facebook, reddit or any other social network. Shout about it in the streets and accost passers by. Whatever you do to spread the word it will help.
The Kickstarter will run until the 28th of Feb so please tell your friends!
As part of this announcement I am pleased to announce that Robert Stjärnström of Machinae Supremacy will be composing an original soundtrack for Waves: Arena Tactics! This is however dependent on the project being funded so check out the rewards and pledge what you can!
To celebrate why not throw a couple of quid at the just released Waves Soundtrack available here!
The soundtrack includes 4 of the 5 songs that makes up the music for Waves. Two of the tracks I’m not allowed to sell but they are freely available to download from these links: MICROCOSMIC, Disco Just Won’t Cut It This Time.
If you can help spread the news on your social network of choice then that would be awesomes.
2012 was a good year for Squid In A Box, while I didn’t release a new game I have made a lot of progress on “The New Game” and Waves sold it’s 40,000th copy. There was an IndieRoyale bundle and Waves went up for sale over at Desura all of which has meant that I am not currently homeless or starving.
2013 will be an even better year as it is the year in which I plan to release “The New Game” however that will be much closer to the end of the year than the beginning as there is still lots of work to do. There may be a Kickstarter required to finish “The New Game” as it involves much more art than Waves did and as such I will need to pay an artist and probably a composer in order to do everything justice.
Keep an eye out for a blog post about “The New Game” in the next week as I’m going to shift to a more open development process now that I’ve got most of the really boring stuff done (like replication, save games and UI) and can switch over to the more interesting bits (like guns, baddies, puzzles and explosions).
You may have heard of Because We May by now but if not I shall explain what’s going on…
For the last week of May a whole bunch of independent game devs are celebrating the fact that we can do whatever the hell we want when it comes to pricing our games rather than having retail partners or big portals forcing us to charge certain prices and potentially screwing us over as a result. This means there are a whole bunch of awesome games on sale at reduced (and in a few case inflated) prices just because.
As mentioned before I’m working on a content update for Waves which will add a new game mode and a big bag of achievements for Steam. So here is a preview video of the new game mode: CHASE
Chase is simple:
10: Touch a Red Pad and get 5 seconds on the clock. A new pad will appear somewhere on screen;
20: Touch the new pad within 5 seconds or lose a life;
30: Goto 10;
That’s it. I’ve nicknamed it “The Speed Metal of Shooters” because your first game will probably be very short lived. So far the beta testers have been very positive about it and this mode may need to carry a health warning for those with a weak heart.
There are also just under 30 new achievements coming most of which have been suggested by the community and some of which are my own devious creations.
Hopefully the update will be done before the 22nd. If it isn’t then it won’t appear until the second week of January as I’ll be away for the holidays.