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Truly classic games never die. The original Jumpman game still has fans, and now, we're updating it while sticking to it's core!
Truly classic games never die. The original Jumpman game still has fans, and now, we're updating it while sticking to it's core!
Truly classic games never die. The original Jumpman game still has fans, and now, we're updating it while sticking to it's core!
236 backers pledged $20,472 to help bring this project to life.

Luna Base, a loss in the team, Humble Reminds Me...

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This is a good and bad update.  I've been off the project for a little bit (you'll see why shortly), and am back on things now.  So, let's start off with the bad part.

A Loss in the Team

Schedule always slows me down on Jumpman Forever - I'm having to keep contract gigs coming in to keep going.

Then, well, I left the project nearly entirely for a bit.  Some of it was schedule stuff still, but a big part since the end of December was that I was avoiding the game (and Crucible) entirely.

When I went after doing the Kickstarter, part of the goal was to use it as a training tool, to teach someone new skills.  Even the engine I picked was centered around an idea:  Jeff Wilson made a great story teller, an OK artist, and an amazing GM.  Basically, he had the makings of a game developer.

Jeff had gotten laid off many years ago, and started facing health problems (that I won't go into, but a number of long hospital stays were involved.)  

Jeff passed in mid-December from health complications that arose surrounding a surgery (simplifying it there), and after that point, I simply quit loading up the game to work on it.  Jeff was a close friend - we referred to each other as brothers (a big thing to me - I have no biological brothers, and it's not a word you'll hear me use very often.)  

Jeff had a wife and four kids (my god-children) that are left in the wake of this tragedy.

This may sound callous, but: Jeff never quite made it far enough to be an integral part of the team.  The loss here is emotional on my part (and the part of quite a few friends and family), and not a show stopper.  Just, for a while, every time I'd look at opening the game to work on it, I'd end up going and doing something else.

Jeff, my friend, my brother, you will be missed.

Luna Base stuff

So, to go along with this, I thought I'd post some good news, and some update information.

Luna Storage Base is one of the two new environments for Jumpman 1.2.  And you can't have storage without crates :-)

There's a graphical error in the crates, BTW - they need a quick update.
There's a graphical error in the crates, BTW - they need a quick update.

 Nope, this isn't standard "break a crate, find something in it" type FPS stuff.  This is old school.  In fact, yet again, I was having to override the standard engine physics to do things the way I wanted them:

Old school physics, instead of the usual proper collision and physics stuff in modern 2D games
Old school physics, instead of the usual proper collision and physics stuff in modern 2D games

 Jumpman can push the crates around, etc., just like you'd expect.  But, I keep the old school style of doing things - as long as there's some contact on the bottom of the crate above, it stays.  Now, I'm not revealing Luna Storage Base's environment in this picture - it's just a copy of Level 1 of Jupiter Station used as a testing spot - but showing off the physics of it.  And I'll leave the major enemy theme that occurs for Luna for another day. ;-)

(If you're wondering what the color bars above Jumpman's head is:  it's just used for testing for states and collisions.)

Big box + Jumpman's head = one less life
Big box + Jumpman's head = one less life

 Now, knowing that dropping a box on Jumpman kills him, and the way the physics work, you can get a rough idea of some of the puzzles involved in one of the levels already.  But, how it all interacts with the environment?  That's gonna drive you nuts on some levels.  Perfect. :-)

Oh, and Luna Base is one of the first not to use Alienator bullets extensively.  This has a completely new enemy, and a re-used old one, along with the puzzle aspect to keep the player moving. 

Of course, there's a host of new stuff in the upcoming update, and some fixes in there.  Bats have been tweaked again.  New intro (much nicer than the starfield, and keeps the old retro C64 feel).  New menus.  Minor tweaks to Jumpman and Red's behaviors.  Tightened up code here and there.  The new set of beginners levels.  Adjustments to Jumpman's run animation (which I said I wasn't going to touch again till 2.0.  Guess I'm wrong.)

In fact, it would be danged hard at this point for me to give you a complete change list.  There's been so much that been overhauled on this.

Humble Reminds Me...

So, going along, minding my own business, when I get an email from Humble Bundle, Inc.  I use their widget on JumpmanForever.com to sell copies (but, Jumpman Forever doesn't appear in the Humble Store, nor has it ever been featured in a bundle.  After 1.2, let's see if we can fix that... ;-)

It's a case of fire and forget:  I put it up, and forgot to check stats on it for quite a while.

Well, the email was "Hey, you'll be getting your ACH transfer from this soon..." 

Uh, what?  Oh, yeah - I made money on it.  Typically, most of my sales come from MidnightRyder.com (which is slowly getting an overhaul.  Very.  Slowly.), so I hadn't even thought about it.  And, it came at a good time.

And, while the money is nice (it's not much - I'm not setting in Tahiti right, but instead, freezing in Kansas), it served as a reminded to get back to work.  I needed to blow off the funk I've been in over it, no matter what.  The show must go on.  Not have people purchased Jumpman Forever, or bought into the Kickstarter, but people are still actively picking up the game.

Time to make the updates, and start making this really rock.

One more thing...

Just a reminder for all Kickstarter backers, in case you've forgotten:

Seriously, you all are awesome.  Thank you!
Seriously, you all are awesome. Thank you!

Back to the updates...

Well, we've been horribly quiet for a while now - sorry about that.  But, now it's time to start teasing the next release :-)

New Level Select Menu - forgive the really bad .gif compression, along with some spacing issues on the various text bits.
New Level Select Menu - forgive the really bad .gif compression, along with some spacing issues on the various text bits.

 I mentioned in a previous update that we were having to redo the entire menu system.  Problem was, it was too keyboard / mouse centric, which if funny considering the first platform it shipped on was Ouya, a Joystick centric platform.  

The biggest problems:

  • It didn't expand well.  Adding more and more level packs over time was going to make for an ugly mess.
  • It didn't do mobile well.  And, well, that's part of the additional targets for the next release.
  • Information density was bad.  I wanted just a bit more room for information about the level packs.  
  • The font.  The font that was being used was nice, but it never felt quit right, and it didn't pack enough info into a small enough space and still remain clear.  

This is the first of a dribble of updates on the stuff we're doing for the next update - we'll be releasing more on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.  Some things don't translate well to updates, of course - for instance, the code base for both Red and Jumpman is now unified, allowing us to pull of something I mentioned as a Kickstarter stretch goal (I'll not reveal what it is until we release an update to utilize it ;-).  That doesn't make for much of an update.

There's quite a bit going on with the next build, and hopefully it's all stuff everyone finds to be positive changes!  It also set up for even better levels down the road, cooler tricks, all sorts of fun stuff to be revealed over the course of the updates.  (We've got an internal roadmap that covers updates up to 2.0, and some "plot" ideas beyond that.)

Oh, and for those who notice:  Yes, "Lunar Surface" and "The Amira Prime" are the next two level sets, for Jumpman and Red respectively.  Both of them let us cover new territory, with new hazards in the environment for players to deal with :-)

So, where the hell have we been?

For the most part, "we" as the moment is actually "I" - most of the work is being done by me at the moment.  So, there's that slowdown.

But, something worse happened - with the budget on the project blown a bit, I went out and quoted some projects.  I was working half-days on Jumpman Forever for a bit, then three of them landed.  No problem, they all have separate timelines that don't overlap.  Until they got moved around, and suddenly everything was on top of each other.

I'll post an update with the first of those projects (something rather simple in most respects), just for the heck of it.

Meanwhile, now that things have calmed down considerably, it's back to building up the next Jumpman Forever version - hopefully, the last "long update period" for the next two years (since I don't plan on completely re-doing the UI again, for instance! :-)

Davis Ray Sickmon, Jr

Lead Developer

Jumpman Forever

Shots of Changes in Jumpman Forever 1.2 for PC & Mac

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Howdy all!

Just thought I'd drop you a line about progress on the 1.2 update, and drop a few pics in here to give you all an idea of the changes :-)

  • Interface and Graphical Changes
  • Bonus Timer
  • Spinning Death
  • Beginner's Workout
  • Control Tweeks
  • Expanded Team

Interface & Graphical Changes

 First, there's some interface changes going on - including "Exit Jumpman Forever" added to the pause menu.  Additionally, the scanlines effect was ditched, and just moved to a darkened background when paused - a bit easier to read.

The next change may take a moment to notice, particularly on the smaller image sizes here on Kickstarter: all characters (Jumpman, Red, and bad guys) now have a black border around them to make them pop a bit more on top of certain backgrounds.  All of the Jumpman Forever backgrounds have been quite dark, to they characters pop a bit better.  This allows us brighter backgrounds on some stages (including a couple levels that never made it past the prototype stage, like "White Out".)

It's not particularly large - one unit wide (basically, 4 pixels - each "pixel" of Jumpman and Red are actually 4 pixels wide when drawn), but it does make a difference, particularly for the Alienator Bullets and other enemies when they cross girders and such.

The Bonus Timer Returns!

See in the lower right-hand corner?  Yep, that's a bonus countdown timer :-)  It's one of the things we didn't originally plan on doing - it's a sort of throwback to the era Jumpman was from, but you don't see it much anymore.   However, we had quite a few requests for it to happen in Jumpman Forever after the 1.0 release (and, since the game it's self is a throwback, why not! :-) ) But, we wanted to do something different with it, and give it a bit more meaning :-)  We won't reveal what else it does at the moment, but for now, it does the obvious thing:  when you complete a level, you gain the amount of bonus time that was left over.  

Spinning Death

 We set up Jumpman and Red so that they bounced and flopped around the stage when they died - and at least one person wasn't happy with it :-)  They pointed out that it was a bit grim, and missed the somewhat more amusing death form of the original.  So, we redesigned it a bit, and now there's a random spin added to it.  It's also one of the few places we broke my "rules" for Jumpman Forever - we shoot for staying on a pixel grid for the entire game, and any rotations, etc. that have been done are drawn by hand.  With this, however, it's a bit more fluid, and faster to just do it as a simple rotation, rather than hand-draw all the possible positions (plus, there's another good reason for it coming down the road. :-)

Beginner's Workout

 Now there's a new option between the Tutorial Levels and the first "normal" levels - the Beginner's Workout!  We had complaints that the learning curve for the game was WAY too high.  We've tuned it back a bit over time, but it's still a problem.  So, we've created (well, are still creating) a set of levels to give new players a softer entry to the game.  Above is "Light Stretching" and "Hurdles", level 1 & 2 of the Beginner's Workout.  These have smaller jumping gaps, easier timing, and less random elements at times.  Hopefully, this addresses that issue perfectly :-)  There should be a total of 8 Beginnner's Workout levels to get the player started, but there's an added bonus here:  after playing them all through at Jumpman, they repeat again as Red, giving new players a better feel for how much the changes between the characters matter! (So, I guess that makes it 16 levels long, even though they are repeats.  Also another spot we've broken my design rules, since Jumpman and Red are both supposed to have unique levels!)

Control Tweaks

It would be impossible to show you this particular change in a screenshot.  It's now impossible to climb lower than the bottom of a ladder.  There should be much rejoicing over that, as it makes it easier for new players :-)

Expanded Team

We've added a new team member, Leah, to the group.  She's an old-school gamer (Super Mario Bros and Oregon Trail are still two of her favorites, for instance) and geek, and obviously will fit in with the rest of us game geeks quite well :-)  Part of her gig is internal game testing, graphics work, and general cleanup.  However, expect to see more out of her on Crucible than on Jumpman forever. :-)

And, of course, there's still plenty more coming for the 1.2 release :-)

Jumpman Forever Updates!

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Wow, time flies!  OK, so if you want to see part of what slowed us the heck down on Jumpman Forever, take a quick look at Crucible's most recent Kickstarter update - simply put, it ate our lives.  However, that doesn't mean we're not continuing on with Jumpman Forever, we're just moving a little more slowly than we planned on!  But, we've got some good reasons to keep going forward :-)

I'll save you the drama of re-hashing all the problems with Crucible (it's definitely been interesting, and heart-breaking at times), and focus just on Jumpman Forever.

First, we've got a huge chunk of the next level set ready.  We also found a much better way to deal with one of the greatest complaints about the game: how sticky the ladders are at the bottom of a climb.  Many people will rejoice over that one.

In the middle of selecting a new engine for Crucible, a publisher contacted us - they're interested in picking up Jumpman Forever's distribution for Android, iOS, PC, and Mac.  So, there's an even bigger stress on us fix every little nitpicky detail before the next release.  But, we're going to get really weird with things: we may change engines after this update.

Part of the goal for the games we want to do (Jumpman Forever, Crucible, P3/V3, etc.) is standardize on a single game engine.  That way, it reduces headaches considerable for stuff like art pipelines, etc.  We're having to move Crucible to a new engine.  We've done a couple of test runs of the concept:  we'd have to re-do some programming (but, not as bad as you might expect!), and some artwork (another pass at that wouldn't be a bad thing - there's still stuff I'm not happy with.  Some backgrounds, for instance), but levels can import fairly well (except the scripted stuff - we'd have to re-think some of our scripting.)

After this next update, and after Crucible, we'll be exploring it even deeper.  There's a lot of upsides, too - there's a good number of level designs that got cut due to performance issues.  With the EU4 engine, I don't think we're going to have nearly the issue with it, based on our testing.  This opens up even bigger levels as an option, a whole lot of level effects we wanted to do suddenly already exist as an option inside the engine (having full shader support is wonderful - something lacking from the previous engine.)   Oh, and we don't have to keep fixing our OUYA support when updates to the current engine break it - if we go that direction.  It's still a pretty big deal, even if we've found some great shortcuts.

This does provide one un-shipped problem:  we're not going to ship full Android and iOS releases until we decide if we're changing engines for certain or not.  

Now, what about that updates for two years thing?  That doesn't start until iOS and Android (not OUYA), then we begin the quarterly updates.

As for the level editor:  the engine change obviously would affect that greatly.  :-)  

What's our release schedule for the next update and level pack?  We're hoping for about 2 - 3 weeks.  But, don't hold us to that - we're making sure everything is as solid as possible since we're potentially going to end up with a much wider distribution base.

What's in it?  That's a surprise.  Some new specials, of course.  For the first two level packs, we concentrated on the core enemies:  gravity and the Alienator smart-bullets (and smart-bullet 2.0)  For the second set, we kept the Jumpman levels similar to the first set (though, more complex), and introduced the whole liquid nitrogen challenge for Red's levels.  With these upcoming packs, each one will end up with some extras to it - but, more often than not, it's going to center around one new game element (for instance, Red will be facing acceleration / gravity as part of the next pack's challenge) or enemy concept.  But, we're always going to be just a little tight-lipped about it.  There's no telling when something will or won't make the cut - we actually produce too many levels, then trim back based on "fun", etc.  :-)

We're also going to be adding an extra game mode, and a beginner's level pack.  We've got the tutorial pack, but we need something in between for those who aren't quite ready for the full-bore meanness that is Jumpman Forever!  (Seriously - we got requests for something just a little more toned down for people who are just starting out.)

The Build Are Complete! Jumpman Forever Windows & Mac OS X Begin Shipping!

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Jumpman Forever
Jumpman Forever

 It's almost time to start your downloads!  You'll be seeing a message soon with your download codes!  

And, we're doing something outlandishly fun!  We're not going to give you a single code - we're going to give you three of them!

The first one is your download code - that gives you a free download of Jumpman Forever for Windows or Mac.  

The second code is ANOTHER free download - give it to a friend!  

Then the third code is a contest code.  We know a lot of the people on here love the original Jumpman game, and are already geeking out about Jumpman Forever (I should know - I'm the one that answers all the emails ;-)  The third code is 20% of purchasing Jumpman Forever through Midnight Ryder Technologies's website - give that one to everyone.  The code is good from now until December 31st, 2015 - after that, it expires.  It's multi-use - in fact, we're going to be tracking how often the codes are used.  On January 2nd, 2015, we'll tally up the results of the contest code, and find out the top three people that convinced others to buy Jumpman Forever!  Tweet it, Like it, Share it, +it, /redit, everything you can think of - because the top three will end up with a really awesome Jumpman Forever poster signed by the lead developer (and hopefully the rest of the team, though one of them is now in Korea!)  That's probably not all, though - we're planning on giving away some other goodies too, but we're going to hold off on saying what just yet! 

So, there you go - you'll get your copy, you'll get a copy for a friend, and you'll get a discount to give away to friends and family (or even strangers) to see if you can win the poster and the other swag! :-)

Exciting times - we're definitely trying to keep things jumping ;-)

  • Davis Ray Sickmon, Jr
  • Lead Developer,
  • Jumpman Forever