The Scrungeon Sun Set

Well it’s about that time again… Another blog post as we close in on another release.

The Scrungeon Depths has been great fun and hard work this past year. I’ve lost sleep figuring out RNG based bugs, dreaming up new concepts for enemies, new mechanics, new loot… Just so many things I can’t even count. I felt like it would never end.

Just like the game itself, there doesn’t seem to be an ending. An ever growing dungeon full of traps and things waiting to kill you around every corner. Like a deck of cards, the odds can be stacked in your favor… or the complete opposite. As I’ve spent the last few months polishing and testing the game proper, there have been some runs where I dominate easily… Until a floor where a Screamer blows up a bomb right next to me, obliterating my health to a mere sliver just to be shot by a Snakehead. Boom. All lost. Every bit of progress down the drain.

I leaned back in my chair, took a deep breath and exhaled. Was this too much? Have I taken it too far? Will anyone enjoy this? After the enormous feedback I had received from the beta, one thing I never heard was “it’s not fair” or “why is it so damn hard?” So I tabled those thoughts. But as we near release, these fears rear their ugly head again… Have I gone too far? Is The Scrungeon Depths too extreme? 

Quietly, calmly, I meditated on the concern for a bit and then threw on one of my favorite albums, Xenocide, by Aversion’s Crown. Blistering blast beats pummeled my eardrums. Screams from the depths of hell and across planes of existence sent chills down my spine. Break downs that could crush the very crust of the Earth on which we stand made my bones shake. But was that too much? Did Aversion’s Crown ever sit back and think to themselves “Hey mate, did we take it too far? Is this shit too heavy?”

I knew the answer to the question.

We all know the answer.

“FUCK NO. RELEASE IT.”

So here we are.

See you November 9th.

A New Quest Begins.

It's been far too long since Flamboygen's release to not post something! I've taken some time off while collectively putting time into the next project. A lot has been learned about releasing via mobile and keeping up to date with feedback on a newly launched game. 

Whew. 

It's exhausting! But worth it to see your child go out into the world and frustrate the hell out of people. I mean, I hope those who play it enjoy it, but Flamboygen isn't easy and it isn't a casual mobile game.

And neither is this next project I've been toiling away at.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen some peculiar images over the past 4 or 5 months, randomly with Gwarmbee standing in a room of mangled baddies.

Well, I'm not ready to show it just yet, but rest assured... A trailer and formal announcement is on the way.

In the meantime, take a breather. Sometimes we need that.

Flamboygen is now available on iOS!

You read it here first, folks. Actually, you probably read it on one of the other social media sites that I obsessively frequent and slam with posts! But regardless, it is available and ready to be demolished by the hardest of badass'. The most brutal of iOS gamers.

It's gonna be awesome.

Follow the button to buy Flamboygen! It's only $2.99. No in app purchases. No extra fluff. Updates are of course free. 

Have fun everyone! 

-C

Another day, another dev...day...? What?

I've spent the entire day programming UI functions and working on some other various whatever things related to the next secret project. It won't be secret for long... But just a bit more time needs to be spent on minor spit shine before we make any 'official' announcements.

Sometimes it's best to have multiple projects at once. I find myself stuck on a various issue or creative block and jump to another game entirely, leaving my brain to refresh doing something else. Sounds overwhelming to some I bet, but it's perfect especially when you've got games in completely different stages of development... FOR EXAMPLE:

Flamboygen's programming and scripting whatever is all done. There's just level design and play testing. That's fun and all, but after a while you burn out on art assets and placing objects and replaying the exact same level over and over to make sure it's a tangible difficulty.

Then Gwarmbee is a finished game, though bugs crop up and small ideas can leak into an update here or there. 

THEN there's this other project that is in its infancy and that is where magic happens. I love prototyping and testing new stuff out, and the beginning of development is the best and most productive time for that. I spent all day making like... four different UI panels for displaying player information. Finding and playing with the least performance impacting way of storing a colossal amount of variables at runtime etc etc.

This is probably all super boring. And now that I read over it again... IT IS! Ha! 

Well... See you next time.

-C

Gwarmbee 1.1 update!

Incoming... A slightly large update is coming to Gwarmbee based on much needed player feedback!

In this update you'll find the following:

  • Graphical updates to some of the UI elements.
  • A MINIMAP! Much needed, I might add. Thank you for the input, Paul Blair! Helps find your way in the maze of bullets!
  • The game will start after a short countdown. This will help those sticky situations where baddies pop up all around! Adi Juhasz, you are thanked profusely, from the bottom of every Gwarmbee players' hearts.
  • Silky smooth 60FPS! Necessary? Probably not. But it's smoother now! 
  • EVERYPLAY integration! Unity's wonderfully simple to use, share and upload system for gameplay! When you die (and you will), tap the new "SHARE" button to be prompted to edit, voice over / add facial reactions using your camera... etc etc... and upload it to Facebook, Everyplay... whatever! Youtube? Sure!

Now, hop back in and give those baddies hell! Show them what you're made of with your handy map and time before each dungeon floor to catch your breath. Beat the high score... if you can... Alex Glidewell set a horrifyingly high score ;).

Post Release Days.

Well it's been a few short days since the release of Gwarmbee and the feedback has been amazing! Lots of ideas thrown in the hat and high scores I previously didn't think would be attainable have been absolutely SMASHED! Wow! It's awesome to see people enjoying the game as much as they are.

Some feedback that was sent my way involved different tile sets, more enemy variation, a mini map / radar and difficulty ramping.

To address a couple of the common ones:

Tile sets are very much in the works! More variation in the environments... possibly some obstacles and maybe different geometric shapes for the tiles to create some crazier and unpredictable bullet bouncing. 

Enemy variation has been spinning around in my mind already, possibly some different bullet patterns or sizes...!!!

Mini map or radar would be massively helpful. Though the proper way of implementing it may be tricky... Definitely in the prototyping phase. This is for you, Paul!

Difficulty ramping may or may not be introduced, but as of right now some players have said that the completely randomization of enemy placement makes each dungeon floor feel like a real gamble and love fighting their way out of it. Maybe a timer before the level starts would help... Good idea, Adi!

Oh and an Android version. I'm thinking I'll have to get to work on an Android release, for sure. I don't want anyone missing out! Lots of stuff on the plate.

These are some of the things I'm looking forward to adding in updates to come! As of right now, Gwarmbee is working on his next adventure into random madness as well... He's a busy little guy. Oh and Flamboygen is nearing completion as well. Good lord, When's Lunch is getting busy.

Again, thank you everyone for all the support! I hope Gwarmbee continues to eat away at some free time as you spelunk further into the depths. 

Take care!

-C

Gwarmbee has landed on iOS!

 https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gwarmbee/id1158628400?mt=8

Goodness! Didn't see this coming, honestly. It was more of a small game to test random level generation as well as enemy placement. It began as a web game and evolved into a mobile game.  

The best part is that it is completely FREE. No ads. No in app purchases. No pay walls. No energy. No timers. Nothing. 

This is something I hold very close to my design ethics and I stand by them. When's Lunch? Games has never been about 'fees to play' or 'free with ads' and it never will be. As a designer, I see the benefit for developers. Business' make products to make money. That's what they exist to do. And make super fun and engrossing games, in this industry, at least. 

When's Lunch? Games is a business, albeit small. We operate on passion, curiosity and insanity. As a small business, I'd like it to grow into something more sustainable. Something that, frankly, could generate money to make game development a full time job rather than a hobby after hours (or on lunch break).

Gamers of all shapes and sizes know what something is worth. When there's a game on the App Store for free, generally that means with IAP abound. Pay walls. Escalation in difficulty to the point where you MUST pay to progress. 

That isn't fun. It never was. It never will be.  

Some games choose free with ads. Most of the good ones have an IAP one time that removes ads, and it never asks for another cent, basically making the free initial download a demo of sorts. You're not entirely locked out of a game's content... but you have to deal with pop up ads.  

Some people don't mind it. Others hate it. as long as there's a way to remove ads, that's cool. 

As long as I run When's Lunch? Games, let this be known: our games will not have ads. Free games will be free. If there's in app purchases, it will be entirely optional goofy extra shit that doesn't change the balance of the game at all (if this is to happen in the future. No plans as of right now. But if there are IAP, this will probably be the exception if there has to be one). 

Gamers will pay once for the game, and receive updates accordingly. This is a philosophy I hold extremely close and am very serious about. Mobile gaming doesn't have to be looked at as a cash grab. It can be viewed as a market for games that players can trust, enjoy and share. 

This turned into quite the rant.  

Either way: Gwarmbee is here for free. Flamboygen will be finished soon (and cost a couple bucks).

And more stuff is being prototyped weekly. 

 -C

The Lord of Cold lives.

As we inch closer to release, I figured I should provide more updates throughout the process... Giving a sneak peak of what's to come!

Between the first boss and the second boss, our little blue bot faces many challenges including new elemental tricks to stop his baddies. But the poor little dude has to overcome those same elemental weakness'! And this second boss truly encompasses those weakness' tenfold! 

 

Wonder what's going on here? Well... You'll see in time.

Wonder what's going on here? Well... You'll see in time.

His arsenal of weapons range from controlling the winds as well as the minds of his comrades, summoning more to "play" with. It's a different battle entirely compared to the first boss battle and I think players will really enjoy it. It's a nice change of pace to the regular "run and gun" gameplay... Is it run and gun when you're constantly throwing random shit? I dunno...

 

Do you fight the minions or let them do the fighting for you? ;)

Do you fight the minions or let them do the fighting for you? ;)

All and all, it's been such an awesome experience working on Flamboygen! Lots of things I've learned on the go and a ton of it will help further the games I release next. I cannot wait for you guys to get your hands on it! 

Also, here's whats on the playlist for today.

Sometimes you need a different jam to get your head in a difference place.

Sometimes you need a different jam to get your head in a difference place.

That's all for today, folks! Stay tuned for more development extravaganza here at When's Lunch? Games! We've got some big surprises coming up.

-C

The Violent Sleep of Reason-able game development.

Sometimes I like to think back on things that we've accomplished... or not accomplished. Like half baked ideas that are left in the prototyping stages. Or ideas that are pulled through prototype stages kicking and screaming, regardless of their quality because I'm convinced it HAS to be made.

Like Ouroboros. The first project I started while in school. Classic scope creep with a side of unrealistic goals unattainable with my previous skill level. I think that's changed... I think once Flamboygen is finished and Gwarmbee is out there farting about doing whatever it is that it does. Depending on the success of those two... Who knows what's next.

It's the gift and the curse of working on games, especially as a part time hobby. A day job infiltrates the mind and puts to rest one's greatest ideas. I have notes scribbled in my desk... Typed haphazardly in my notepad on my phone or tablet... Though it's cloud connected so differentiating them seems to be moot nowadays. REGARDLESS... This has turned into a somewhat pointless rant.

Look here's the skinny: I've been contemplating the next game for a while now. Probably why Flamboygen is taking forever to get finished. It's hard to focus, dammit! But the truth is... the next game is up in the air... many ideas floating about and Ouroboros keeps coming back like the cyclical serpent it is so appropriately named after. A few friends and those close to the project have asked about it... wondered why I'd walk away from such a "beautiful looking game." Looking being the operative word there. The game played like shit. I want to build it from the ground up.

And that's what I plan to do.

Now, for the real reason for this post...

Back to listening to The Violent Sleep of Reason by Meshuggah on repeat. It's incredible.

DEVELOPMENT UPDATES

Long time no post, fellow game enthusiast!

It's been a long arduous process towards completion... Much slower than expected. Especially considering the plan for Flamboygen was to initially be a couple month long journey from start to finish... We're going on over almost 2 years! ACK! However, to be fair, the game has changed significantly from the small concept it once was. Customization... bosses... writing and recording the music... the amount of levels... etc etc... Everything was taken to 11! But we're closing the gap to the finish line steadily. 

IT'S OFFICIAL: 85% of the game is complete. We are levels / events / songs away from release. I couldn't be more proud.

There's the Flamboygen update!

On to other matters: I'm at a point with an iOS port of our web game, Gwarmbee, to comfortably slap it on the App Store with no charge associated with it. Though due to complications, I have to wait a little bit before I can send it in for review. Whatever, maybe I can pop some extra neat things in there in the meantime.

Either way, lots of stuff going on, and it doesn't stop here!! Many ideas swirl the heads of designers and programmers and artists... When those swirls begin to culminate into something tangible and worth exploring... Magic happens.

There's always magic happening over here.

The good news / bad news blues

We'll start the blog post with a little good news and bad news.

Bad news: We didn't make it into the PAX East Indie Showcase this year. Boo! But that's okay. Because....

GOOD NEWS: That leaves us with more uninterrupted development time to make the game as amazing as we possibly can before the final launch. Along with that good news, I figure I should let you all in on the current state of things.

First and foremost, we've gotten a ton of feedback on the state of the game in its current form. A lot of people have fun playing and that's mission number one. Number two, some have wondered if there would be... customization... options? Initially, it wasn't planned for the game because I wanted to make the game a 3 or 4 month project. But, since it's about a year in production now, why the hell not? Whats a couple extra weeks of art and implementation.

So, along with working on achievements for the game, we've tied those achievements to rewards that the player will unlock to customize their little blue bot! Now, he can be.. not so blue! He can be green! or polka dot! Or whatever. We are still working on new color schemes and patterns.

The replay system has been such a great tool for us to see some replays from various players, and it got us wondering: How great would it be to have special hats / skins along with the replays!? That's cool. Some people could watch a replay and wonder how they got that certain hat or whatever. Strikes up conversation. Strikes up a challenge. Strikes up more game play. And game playing is good, that's why we make games.

Play. Have fun.

More to come.

-Chase

Beta Updates Abound! (B.U.A)

Jeez! It has been a busy weekend with Flamboygen. Players have been signing up for beta left and right and testing out the game on various devices, all giving supremely useful bug discoveries and feedback! We've learned more in the past 72 hours than we have probably in the last 10 months of development. NO JOKE. Super exciting stuff.

We haven't been counted out of the PAX East Indie Showcase yet, so that's cool, too.

As for the beta progress, things are getting tighter and tighter. Some players found it tough to know which item was in which hand and which was ready to throw in middle of heated combat. Good question! So we responded with some updated UI features that show a simplified image of the object type in which hand, and an indicator for which item is ready to throw. Super convenient! Thanks, all!

Next, we found some levels to have boundary issues, which we went through meticulously by hand and put up some new bounding boxes. Exciting? Nah. But enlightening! 

Some players found ways to circumvent entire level designs and that showed us a lot of verticality in the design that we were ignoring before. You bet we are going to add more exploratory environments!! Again, thank you! 

On a bummer note, we don't have a tutorial in place, so many of these 'level design bugs' were found because players didn't understand some of the mechanics. A definite no-no on my part, so that will be fixed in an upcoming patch. We will have some sort of "Learn to Play" thing in place... I know, I know... tutorials are pretty lame. But, this game is weird. So... we have to teach it somehow!

Anyways, if you haven't signed up for the beta, now is the time! We have two competitions going on: Highest score and Best replay! So get out there, kill some bots, and make it look cool!

-Chase

OPEN BETA!!!

Holy crap never thought this day would come!

Today we are super proud to announce the open beta for Flamboygen. As of right now, since TestFlight is integrated simply into the App Store and all that, it is an iOS only beta. But regardless, the gameplay and feedback will help when starting on the Android build in the future.

The game has been a blast to work on and I'm so proud to finally share it in it's current form with all the mobile gamers out there looking for something a liiiittle different.

Take care! Check out the trailer!! It's all over this website.

 

-Chase

PAX Submission Complete.

Goodness, this last week was a demon hell ride!

We crunched, smashed and blasted our way through development walls to bring a playable beta to PAX East's Indie Showcase 2016 and made it just in time. Now we get to sit idly by and wait to see if we are selected.

JUST KIDDING.

We can't stop there! All the blood, sweat and tears would be for nothing if we didn't keep up this momentum. In the coming weeks, we have some very exciting announcements to make. Whether we are going to PAX or not is completely irrelevant to the burning passion that resides within this project as a whole.

New enemy types.

New environments.

New challenges.

We push ever forward to bringing you all the greatest damn mobile experience around.

Keep your looking balls on the picture radio... Broadcast incoming.

-Chase