Hello again, Thunderbeam backers. It's been way too long since we have posted an update, but it's been a pretty gray slog of a winter for the project. Work continues though, and here's a peek at what's currently going on with the game.
Paul put in a lot of work to get us to our current state, but the game isn't really beta testable until we have what I'd consider a "vertical slice" of the gameplay- something that includes psychic power usage, container objects, item trading with NPC's, death and unconsciousness, and our randomly generated characters actually appearing within the game. Each one of these game aspects is what we'd call an epic task, they each involve new low-level code in the engine, additional UI, and a lot of new scripting hooks so lowly mortals like myself can use each new element in level design. Once we do have those features though, we will be able to seek additional funding if needed, and maybe even approach partners for help with localizing for other languages, testing, and porting the game to other platforms. Not to mention finally getting user testing feedback from those of you who don't mind having the final game spoiled a little by playing early versions.
Another thing that's happening is that a "Thunderbeam" trademark we applied for back at the beginning of the project needs to show some usage soon or we will lose it. It's not totally vital to have a trademark on your name as a game, but if you have any measure of success there are intellectual property trolls who will come crawling out to sue you for using your own name. So, I'd very much like to hang on to the trademark if possible. The plan is to take a part of the game that's mostly done- the random cadet generator- and add it to the app store as a free download. The idea is that you could generate cadets, save them to iCloud and then recruit them into the game once it's released. Saints Row IV basically did the same thing with their free initiation station, and it was fairly fun to play with.
I've hinted at it for a long time, but once we finally release the game, there are plans to do a simultaneous release of the Soundtrack by The Octopus Project, coinciding with a show/release party. The Octopus Project have been keeping extremely busy lately, and are about to release their soundtrack to David and Nathan Zellner's new film Kumiko The Treasure Hunter. Both the movie and the soundtrack are excellent and I recommend them both highly.
I'm also doing another Hexadecagon-style audio video performance with the band in April in Austin at The Museum of Human Achievement. More info about that will be posted soon at http://shapesandothershap.es
Finally, I'd like to give a warm welcome to Eliott Lash, who has been doing some programming on the game over the last few weeks while Paul and James take sabbaticals. Eliott has already kind of revolutionized the way I work on Thunderbeam levels by creating a room-connection mapping tool. James and Paul should be back to work on tasks shortly, but I'm really excited to see what else Eliott can do for the project, since he has a lot of experience working on iOS games, as well as experience with the specific technology stack that we are utilizing on this game.
Oh, one last thing! James made another little game a while back called Frankenfoods which has been languishing for a bit while life seems to keep intruding into game development time. Well, the game is finished and we plan on releasing it soon. Stay tuned to this page and the Karakasa Games blog and we'll make sure you are all the first to get it. We'd love your feedback. You can also follow us on Twitter for news & tidbits as we keep punching our tiny path towards glory.
Take care and stay warm, everybody-
Hello again everyone, here's a quick peek at what's new in Thunderbeam.
We've started working on some planet-side landscapes, so there's quite a bit of new artwork. Also, you can see that some of the interactions have matured a bit. You can now see a text description of the implicit verb you are about to use when you touch the screen, so you know exactly what you are about to do before you do it.
We've also started working on the system of attributes that gives each character their personality and skills. This is a kind of old-school RPG concept that we're trying to present in a new way, but it still needs a lot of additional polish.
There's quite a bit more being added in this week, and we'll be allowing some playtesting of the basic mechanics soon. Thank you again for your support and patience.
Hey gang, It's been a while since there's been an update. Guess what? Here's a big update!
Instead of crossing your eyes over a big chunk of text full of technical details, I am going to blow your mind with this really long video of me poking around on an iPad!
(I've had kind of bad allergies and it was 2 in the morning when I recorded this, btw)
It's hard to get across just what a difficult adventure making a game is, especially one this ambitious. We're definitely finding it as we create it. I can say that it's definitely the most difficult project I've been involved in, and also the most rewarding. Hopefully showing the process a little at this still primitive stage won't spoil any of the magic of the finished product.
I still won't make any predictions as to release date yet, but things are definitely speeding up... and as we get closer to the final shape the game will take, it's looking like we are going to try for a wider target than iOS only. I talk a little about that in the video :)
Also, as things take shape there's going to gradually be more public facing information about the game, so you might bookmark some of these places-
THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING US TO MAKE THIS CRAZINESS!
Hey gang, just when you were thinking, "Whatever happened to that Thunderbeam game," here we are, cranking away. September was an incredibly busy month with the Fantastic Arcade event that I (Wiley) help run- but it's a chance every year to hang out with other indie game developers who we love, and get all kinds of good advice and inspiration.
We've got two new artists on board and one permanent-ish new member of the coding team! Illustrator Paulina Ganucheau approached us a few months ago, and she's demonstrated a fabulous feel for the characters and become an indispensable member of the team. Dan Beaulieu has signed on as well to work on environment art and game items, and together we've been in a huddle the last couple of months, dreaming up new parts of the world. Paul Slocum, who I've mentioned in past posts, has gone on to work on just about every system in the game- from the level editor that Chevy Johnston started, to the save system, to the scripting language that orchestrates so many events in the game and pushes the story forward.
The story of the game is one of my primary occupations, and it's important to me that story not be window dressing for a game that is filled with unrelated interactions. The story should be created by the game-play, and the mechanics of the play should be as relevant to the themes of the game as the art or the narrative.
One of the core ideas of the game is that it's placed in an anachronistic future. 70's technology sits alongside impossible Sci-fi creations. The reason for this weird environment is that scientific progress was replaced in leaps and bounds by the practice of 'hermeticism'. Psychic individuals retrieve technology from the future while in trances, these items are then manufactured and reverse-engineered by a technological priesthood (some are never fully understood).
This narrative nugget will actually be a playable part of the game- items are envisioned by your characters while in the meditation chamber of your ship. Once they are manufactured they must be combined in different configurations to create valuable (or dangerous) new pieces of tech that can only be understood by being used. Since your experienced characters can die permanently, it's important to enhance the abilities of new recruits with future tech, retrieved via psychic gnosis.
Of course, this kind of creates something like a tautological paradox- how is technology being retrieved from the future if it never gets invented in the first place? The course the game takes may or may not have some light to shed on that subject.
Thanks again for everything you did for the game! Showing off video of it is still a little like letting someone into our messy bedroom, but we will have some new stuff to show in the next few weeks- Primarily all the new character and alien animations, which we will be ready to throw in a room for your delight soon.