Introducing: Splodey Vaders

I’m back! After an almost 6 month hiatus from game development after the birth of my daughter, I’m now slaving away over a laptop to try and scramble a game together.

 

Splodey Vaders Logo

 

gameplay_v007

But wait, what happened to Subtraddition and Gravity Box?

Those games are on hold at the moment. I decided that as my time to develop games is limited, I’d rather produce short polished experiences than longer ones that I never complete. Who knows, maybe in a few months time, I’ll announce another new game, while Splodey Vaders remains unfinished, but for now I think the experience is small enough for me to manage it’s production. Which brings me on to what Splodey Vaders is about.

What is Splodey Vaders about?

Splodey Vaders is kind of a mix between Space Invaders and Asteroids. I teach game design to college learners and one day I was teaching the fundamentals of scripting in Game Maker. As the students were building on the basic Space Invader forumla they had learnt, I was doing the same thing. I started by making the Invaders explode when hit by a bullet and I thought “maybe you should have to avoid the debris from the explosion” and the basic premise for Splodey Vaders was born.

Splodey Vaders is an Arcade Shooter. Shoot the Vaders that appear from the top of the screen, but also avoid the chunks of blown-up Vader that appear after they explode upon death.

Key Information

This game will be released on PC and Android at some point this year.

The game will be free for android, but will contain banner adverts.

After Subtraddition and Procedrill, I’ve grown fond of the gameboy style four colour-palette, so I’ve adopted the same idea for Splodey Vaders.

Where is it at

Here’s a look back on what I’ve done so far:

This is how the game looked in very early prototype stages

Here’s another Vine of my baby daughter playing the game. Spoiler: she did better than me!

Later revisions saw improvements to the artwork, basic particle systems, score multipliers, menu’s, etc:

You can actually see the games current To-Do list on Trello, if you were wondering about that sort of thing. https://trello.com/b/jTalmHfR/splodey-vaders 

What’s Next?

I’m hoping to show the game off at a local game dev event in April, so between now and then I want to polish the game to a stage where it looks professional to the public eye. So, which me luck!

Baby News

You may recall a couple of months ago when I posted this which hinted at the fact that me and my wife were having a baby. Well, our daughter, Lottie, was born on Sunday 20th September.

Lottie

What does this mean for Scared Square Games? Well, it probably means that you won’t be seeing a lot from me in the near future. I’ll be far too busy changing nappies and not sleeping to make games. So don’t expect to see anything here for a while, no need to watch this space. Thank you for playing my games and reading my articles, it’s nice to know I have a small following and I hope you’ll excuse me for choosing to spend time with my wife and daughter than developing any more games. For now, at least.

New “game” announcement

GrandTheftExpectingLarge

I’m pleased to announce that me and my wife are working on a new game due to release in September 2015. We’ve been working collaboratively on the new title and it will have been in development for approximately 9 months upon release. It’s a co-op survival horror game in which you have to endure sleepless nights and constant nappy changes. It’s a 3 player game and we’re eagerly awaiting player 3 to join us  🙂

RPG-ish

RPG-ish_Logo_GameJolt

Over the weekend I took part in a Game Jam called Twiny Jam, where you had to submit a Twine game using less than 300 words. This was my first time using Twine and the first time I successfully finished a game for a Game Jam. Although the end result is pretty basic, I’m happy with it considering the limitations and time constraints.

RPG-ish is a Micro Text RPG which takes inspiration from the Final Fantasy series. Try to be at least Level 5 before fighting The Dark Lord and stock up on plenty of potions.

Or play it over on Game Jolt!

I’ll probably right something about the development of the game soon, but for now give it a try!

Happy New Year from Scared Square Games

2014

In 2014 Scared Square Games re-released Entrapment which went pretty good. Entrapment Managed to get 5720 plays on Game Jolt, 1441 on scaredsquare.com, but only 87 on itch.io. Giving it a total of  7000+ downloads. Compared to Time Stone’s 2500 total downloads, Entrapment was downloaded by more than double the amount. This will always be strange to me, as I feel that Time Stone is the better game. Better story, better puzzles, better characters, better graphics, better everything and yet Entrapment has more downloads? I did find a Let’s Play of Entrapment by Cinnamon ToastKen which received over 150,00 views which may have helped, but I just wish I knew the true reason for this.

After Entrapment was released, the only other thing I did last year was start work on Gravity Box. I’m happy with the direction that Gravity Box is going in and I hope that it really turns out to be a good game for people to play.

Other  than that I’ve been going through a lot of stuff personally. We moved into a new house at the start of 2014, which we’ve been redecorating and that’s been taking up big chunks of time.  I’ve also started a new job where I was promoted to a position with additional responsibilities, which requires a lot of hours spent on stuff from home and takes up a lot of brain space. In addition to this there have been some other things which I’d rather not talk about on here, but suffice it to say, 2014 has been a busy year. This explains why I’ve been so quite lately towards the back end of the year, but don’t worry, I haven’t gone anywhere and am still slowly working on things, they just may take a little longer.

2015

I thought that the start of this new year would be a good time to look at the  goals I laid out for Scared Square Games in the first ever post and see if I’ve managed to achieve them:

RELEASE TIME STONE [CHECK] Time Stone was released in late 2013.

RELEASE OTHER ADVENTURE GAME THAT WE’RE WORKING ON [NOPE] I felt this game, although it had some good puzzles, ultimately had a boring story and so I’ve decided to drop this for now.

RE-RELEASE SOME OLDER STUFF [CHECK] Maze Defender and Entrapment were both re-released

MAKE A COMMERCIAL GAME [NOPE] Well, at least, not yet. I am looking to turn Gravity Box into a commercial game, even if it’s only for a few quid, so I’m still working on this one.

TOUCHSCREENS! [NOPE] Not even close to this one. That being said, Gravity Box was designed to work with touch devices, so maybe eventually?

Not as bad as I thought…

But I’ve still got a lot of work to do, so here’s my New Years Resolutions for Scared Square Games in 2015:

RELEASE GRAVITY BOX

Not sure when this will happen, but I’d like to release Gravity Box this year, so this means I need to pull my finger out and get cracking on with it!

RELEASE AT LEAST ONE SMALL GAME FOR FREE

I’d like to continue to release smaller freeware games as I enjoy making them and I have a few in mind that I’d like to develop over the next year.

TAKE PART IN A GAME JAM

As you may  recall, I failed miserably at Ludum Dare in 2014, so this year I’d like to take part in and submit a game for a game jam.

 

That’s it, and that last one is really more of a bonus resolution. I don’t want to give myself too much to try and do if the hectic busyness of the last few months is anything to go by. Maybe I’ll find myself in a quiet period and I’ll be able to post more regularly, but until then, have a great 2015!

Introducing: Gravity Box

So this is what I’ve been working on since the release of Entrapment. It’s an idea that I’ve had for a little while now and something totally different from my previous releases. For starters it’s not an adventure game, it’s a physics puzzle game. Secondly it’s not being made with Adventure Game Studio, it’s being made with Game Maker: Studio.

GravBox

Why I’m making it

At one of my previous jobs I used to work in sales and I hated every minute of it. Every day was the same mixture of repetitive, monotonous phone calls and tedious boring paper work. My only solace was an hour-long dinner break that I had, in which I would sit and play games on my iPhone.

The type of games that I like to play on iPhone or any touch screen device are games that I think suit touch screen the best: Puzzle Games. I’m not saying that a Platformer, RPG or Action game can’t be done well on a touch screen (there are many games), I’m saying that these types of games aren’t best-suited for a touch screen platform. If someone were to say to me, you can play Sonic using a game pad or a touch screen, I would opt for a game pad every time. The genre that I feel suits a touch screen really well are puzzle games. I think Adventure Games do pretty well on that type of device, but I would still rather play it with a mouse. Also tower defence is pretty good on there. Anyway…

So on my lunch times I would sit and play games such as Where’s My Water and Cut the Rope and it was around this time that I started thinking of a game design that would work really well on a touch device and this led me to start thinking about Gravity Box.

What it’s about

Gravity Box is a game where the only thing the player can do is to change the direction in which gravity is pulling. For example, if the player swipes upwards on the touch screen, then all of the physics enable objects in the level will be pulled upwards. If the player swipes to the right, then gravity will pull all of the objects to the right.

This is the only thing that the player is able to do to affect what is going on in the level, much like how in the early stages of Where’s My Water, the player can only move away dirt. That’s it. The aim of each level is to alter the gravity in order to guide a box through the level to the exit, but it won’t always be simple.

GravBox2

Key features

Here are some important things about the game:

Focus on Level Design

The key focus of the design behind gravity box is going to be making sure that each level is unique, fun, challenging and engaging.

Lots of Levels

The current goal is 100 with around 20 already designed. I’ll perhaps maybe add even more into the game if I come up with additional mechanics that warrant more levels.

Sci-fi storyline

Although Gravity Box isn’t an adventure game and is essentially just about flining a box around various rooms, I’ve still managed to come up with an idea for a story. I don’t want to give too much away just yet, but some things that inspired the story are the movie Event Horizon and the adventure game 7 Days a Skeptic.

Quick level restart

I’m currently working on a prototype for the game. If the player dies, the level resents itself straight away in a similar way to Super Meat Boy or Flappy Bird. I think that this is a key thing to take forward with the design.

Puzzle Mechanics & Progression

With early testing I can already see that the game is currently WAY TOO HARD! One thing I want to do well with Gravity Box is to ensure that new puzzles mechanics are introduced in a way that the player can easily understand them before progressing them onto levels where the same mechanic is used in a more difficult way.

Its current state

I recently finished a build which has 20 levels in it. This is a prototype version, but it has many of the core puzzle elements which I want to include in the final game. Next thing I want to look at is maybe the art style. I’ve already got a few ideas around this and want to try them out before committing to one. I’d also like to implement some form of Interface.

Why I’m talking about it now

Tom Francis is the developer behind Gunpoint and who is now working on Heat Signature. As soon as he started developing Gunpoint, he started to talk about it and this helped him with promotion, feedback and keeping motivated. I’m hoping that writing about it will do the same for Gravity Box and I hope to release GIFs, Videos and developer diaries along the way. So if you’re interested, make sure your following Scared Square Games in some way. You can do this using one of the methods shown underneath the ‘Get Social’ heading near the top of the site.

Want to help?

I’m looking for people to play the aforementioned prototype and offer some feedback. The game is currently Windows only, but if you’re interested then get in touch!

Stuart.lilford@scaredsquare.com

We’re Back!

Hello! We’re back after our brief hiatus which included (but not limited to) camping trips, travelling across the country, changing jobs, spraining an ankle, flash floods, anniversaries and swinging around through the tree tops at a large forest (that last one is actually real!)

So what have been up to since our return? Well there’s a few things to announce.

New Version of Time Stone

Yes Time Stone Version 1.1 has now been released and you can download it via the game’s page, Game Jolt or Itch.io. The new version has fixes to some bugs that were pointed out to us during shortly after the games release in November, but we’ve only just got round to it now. Better late than never I suppose! The changes include fixed typos, fixed audio issues and fixed graphical problems.

 

Donations Upgrade

We’ve updated our Help Us Page in order to incorporate the option to donate by “buying” our games via itch.io. Essentially our games such as Time Stone and Entrapment are free, but you can buy them from Itch.io on a pay-what-you-want basis. Meaning that you can spend anything from $0.00 up to whatever you see fit to donate. Any help you wish to give us would be GREATLY appreciated.

Donate to Scared Square

Tumblr

We’ve found that we often want to post things that may not necessarily be related to the development of games. They may be a bit of artwork here or a photograph there or maybe even an article or two that wouldn’t fit on the Scared Square Games site. Now Stu’s got his very own Tumblr! He’s even imported his old blog so that you can see his old short stories and game design competition entries. Please follow us there for a behind the scenes look at development and other shenanigans.

http://stuartlilford.tumblr.com/

That’s all the news for now. Next we’re going to be busy working on our next project which we will hopefully be unveiling shortly!

Bye for now!

Short Hiatus

Hi Scared Square Fans!

This is just a brief post to let you guys know that Scared Square will be taking a short break during the summer. After the recent release of Entrapment, I’ve been playing around with a few new ideas in the form of playable prototypes and game designs and I’ve now got what is currently the next project underway. It’s something a little different and I’m looking forward to working on it, but as I say we’ll be taking a short break for a few weeks. We’ll be diving right back into things in August-September, so look out for details on our next project then.

Enjoy the Summer!

P.S. Thank you to everyone who has downloaded, played, Let’s Played, reviewed, written about or commented on any of our games in the last few months. You guys are amazing and I can’t wait to make something new for you 😀

Time Stone & Entrapment now available on Itch.io

 

I just realised that it’s been over a year since I started working on Time Stone. Since then I’ve also re-released Entrapment and in that time my games have won awards and been featured on a number of sites. It’s been a crazy year and I’ll have to write up something about the year to come. But that’s not what this post is for.

Time Stone and Entrapment are now available on Itch.io. Why is this newsworthy? Well, Itch.io allows players to easily make donations to the games’ developers. Time Stone and Entrapment have both been on there for a couple of weeks and already someone has donated $5 to Time Stone. I found this amazing to say that I never even announced that they were on there! Someone must have found the game, played it and liked it enough to give a little something back to the developer that made it and I just found it heart-warming. It’s also hugely inspiring and even though it’s a small amount, has increased my motivation for making games.

So, If you have played either Time Stone or Entrapment and enjoyed them and feel as though you want to contribute something towards the future developments of Scared Square Games, then head on over to Itch.io and help us out by donating.

Scared Square Itch.io Page

Thanks to all the fans of Time Stone and/or Entrapment