Game Development Blog:
Op 10 en 11 oktober staan wij met Caromble! op Firstlook in de Jaarbeurs, Utrecht. Als je er heen gaat, kom dan even langs, probeer Caromble! en ervaar brick breaking in de 21e eeuw!
Heb je nog geen kaarten, maar wil je wel graag naar Firstlook dan kun je ze bij ons winnen! Wat moet je doen? De slogan van Caromble! is “This is Caromble!“, maar jullie kunnen ongetwijfeld iets beters verzinnen. Tweet jouw slogan naar @Caromble, zet het op onze Facebook of nog mooier; maak een video waarin jij jouw slogan voor Caromble! aan ons voordraagt. Om het goede voorbeeld te geven hebben wij alvast een video gemaakt waarin we onze slogan op zeer muzikale wijze met jullie delen:
De winnaar wint twee kaarten voor de Firstlook beurs in Jaarbeurs Utrecht op 10 en 11 oktober. De beste 5 slogans krijgen bovendien een Caromble! Steam key en een gesigneerde poster. Ook getekend door de artist:). Wat houdt je nog tegen sloganeer als een malle!
Als je wat meer inspiratie wilt hebben of nog niet helemaal weet wat een Caromble! precies is, dan is hier onze Early Access trailer:
Om meer over het team te weten te komen en te horen en waarom we voor Early Access gekozen hebben, kijk dan hiernaar:
We zijn benieuwd naar jullie slogans en hopelijk tot op Firstlook!
In our first Early Access release there are two skill levels to unlock. The first is Sharphooter, for which three medals are needed. Have you unlocked it yet? Can you beat Peter’s highscore:
Once you have defeated the Chapter 1 boss, Two teaser levels for Chapter 2 and 3 are unlocked as well. Chapter 3 introduces multipaddles and we hope you are excited for them. What do you think of our crazy-pazy work-in-progress shader effect:
We are currently working hard on finishing Chapter 2. Check the pinned discussion on Steam to keep track of our progress. We are aiming to release Chapter 2 before the end of October, but yeah… part-time indies 😛
For the Dutch fans, or any happy travelers; in 2.5 weeks, from 9-11 October, we will be attending FirstLook in Jaarbeurs Utrecht. Here you can play Caromble! and have a sneak peek at our Chapter 2 levels! Hopefully we see you there!
The post-release buzz has died down a bit, and the pre-next-update release crunch has begun. We’re currently working very hard on every Friday to finish the next Early Access update as soon as possible.
The big feature is a large overhaul of the input system, so we can have smoother gameplay at low framerates. This has a lot of impact throughout the game, so we’ll have to do some extra thorough testing.
Chapter two will be also be part of the next update, effectively doubling the amount of content in Caromble!.
Controller support is another big item on the list.
And last but not least there will be tons of bug fixes and tiny improvements.
To end this post, please look at this gif from a scene that will not be part of the upcoming release 😉
And the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Steam Early Access Video goes to…
What a week! Thanks for all the feedback on our Steam Early Access release! Caromble! only got positive reactions! Which is a great stimulus to work even harder towards the full release
Also, we we’re a little surprised on the reception of our Early Access Explanation Video. You people really liked it! It’s good to see our message about releasing on Early Access has been received well and gets great support. Haven’t watched the video yet? Please do.
“This was the best explanation and implementation of Early Access I’ve ever heard. Seriously.”
“This is a brilliant Early Access video. Using humour and truth to break the news to people will win them a lot of leeway and respect.”
“Really great take on the early access system; honestly wish more people would take the route they have.”
Also, great to see Thomas – the artist – being admired for his acting skills! “And the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Steam Early Access Video goes to…”
Besides creating the game itself, it is also a lot of work for our small indie team to create additional content like our videos. It’s reassuring that the result of those midnight hours is being appreciated!
This Caromble! Friday
After this milestone it’s time to look forward again. This Caromble! Friday we’ll discuss all the responses and decide what will be in the next bigger Early Access update. In between the content updates we’ll possibly push some hotfix updates.
We’re glad that the number of issues didn’t grow that much, so we can already focus on introducing new features.
You want control? We are working on our controller support. The logic is already present but the controller needs more tweaking to make you – ehm.. – feel in control. Naturally, we also want to add the next chapter levels. So those will probably be in the coming update.
Until next time, happy gaming!
Finally we can proudly announce that after six years of work we’re releasing Caromble! to the public on Early Access!
It has been six years one-day-a-week effort to create this on this for us. That’s 312 Fridays! And we’re still not quite done, since this is a version we’ll improve until the final release in a couple of months. If you want to support us, and maybe give us feedback – head over to the Caromble’s Steam page:
We have released a fresh trailer with the release also:
And an explanation of what Early Access means for us (and you):
Since the morning we sold a few copies, and one of the first reactions we got was “That game is fun… ALOT of fun”. We even scored a neat Caromble! review already. And the graphics style and physics often get compliments. Good start.
Early Access means though that it’s not the full version. It’s for us to ask for help with finding bugs, optimizing the engine and content. It contains the first levels… but every buyer will get the rest step by step as we’re finishing it.
Marketing will be one of our next challenges, since we have zero budget. And we notice that it takes a lot of time. But since people really like our explanation videos, it seems we’re learning.
So please check it out – and any feedback and share will help us a lot.
Remember my happy dance in the last blog post? Well, the time has finally arrived. We know you have been patient. We know you sometimes wondered whether Caromble! would ever see the light. But after more than 6 years of development, coming Friday on the 28 of August (yes… 2015 you clowns), Caromble! will be available on Steam Early Access.
As Friday is our one-day-a-week-indie-game-development-day, it only makes sense to do the Early Access release on a Friday. Otherwise, who would take us seriously right? Get in the mood already by checking out our new fresh trailer:
Also, if you are considering to participate in Caromble!’s Early Access, make sure you check out our Early Access Explanation Video, to find out whether Early Access is something for you:
We are thrilled to finally release Caromble! and we hope you are too!
Taking in the feedback from the team, I worked on new versions of the Cover artwork (of which I posted the first steps last week).
The crew liked the general idea of the zig-zag pattern. But the idea of tumbling objects got a bit lost in the latest sketch. So here I’ve made it central, and removed the enemy – so that the composition stays simple.
Good progress – but I wasn’t quite quite happy. And the team wanted to keep the alien, as it hints at an interesting story. So here is another version… though the composition is narrowing down.
This drawing is cleaner, so I can use it as base for working digitally on it.
Next I made a blockout, so I have a better feeling for the brightness-values that the image will use.
And finally I added some colors. Some things I just keep in mind for now – for example that the explosions will blend better with the background in the final version. But it gives a good preview. The detailing can begin.
This will be an important part of our Greenlight launch, so I have to get this right. Here are some first sketches I did for the cover art – of which I will use elements for the various images in the Steam store.
Quite a lot of elements to get in there. I have the paddle shooting the ball straight at some objects. Lots of explosions of course. And the nemesis wailing about.
In a second sketch I tried to highlight the specific game elements more: The ball bounces around, and aims finally at the enemy as central figure. The scale comes across a bit better – and I think it’s overall nicer to look at.
More work is to be done on these concepts – I’ll update next week with the progress.
Fun! That’s what most games are meant for. Some people argue it’s the meaning of life. Like in the book Homo Ludens (‘Playing Man’) by Johan Huizing. At least, that’s my over-generalized conclusion of a book that I have yet to read.. It discusses the “importance of the play element of culture and society”. Hence, the importance of playing Caromble!.
Our goal with Caromble! is to create a fun game. One of the aspects of creating a fun game is that it feels immersive. This requires a fine balance between boredom and frustration; or as we like to call it: the ‘Fun Flow’. The zone where you forget about time and yourself while having fun. One of the major slowdowns when creating Caromble! is to debug something and get side-tracked by playing the game. Yes, we as developers think to know the game is fun! Unfortunately, we aren’t important.
We are humble game developers serving the people’s need to have fun. You, the people, are easily bored and/or frustrated. I don’t mean to offend, but that’s the conclusion of many game design books. So, we want to avoid boredom and frustration by doing our very best in balancing the game. One way to balance a game is to collect game metrics, identify unbalanced areas of a game, and… fix them!
How do we identify these unbalanced areas? By asking the right question. However, we are still arguing about what data to collect. But it will certainly contain data like:
- How much time does it take to finish a level?
- How many balls are lost?
- How many times is screen X shown.
How do we collect these metrics? Unfortunately, it seems that the Steam SDK is not designed for this. So, we searched for another, easy way of tracking data and found Craig Timpany’s article from 2009 on how to collect game statics using Google Analytics. (As a sidenote he happens to have been involved with another brick-breaker – Shatter – as stated on his so-called ludography).
Another article by Wolfgang Graebner (2014) says this about using Google Analytics:
“It’s reliable, easy to set up, tracks common metrics such as views & hosts, supports custom metrics, and the data can be shared with others. That’s basically everything [you] need from an analytics service.”. It shows a nice example of collected data:
Bingo! That’s what we need. Let’s collect some data and add more fun!