Tag Archive: arkanoid


Follow and read our updates on Steam!

Dearest Caromblers!

As you probaby already know, Caromble! is available on Steam Early Access! Instead of updating 2 blogs, we have decided to post all of our development updates on the Steam announcements. We hope to see you there!

We would like end to this blog site with an interview that Thomas D. and Raymond gave in London at PC Gamer Weekender. You can find us again in London next week at EGX Rezzed.

Enjoy this video and enjoy Caromble! 🙂

 

Yesterday we had our 350th Caromble! Friday. Wow! Luckily it’s not just a special day because of this number, but also because we have completed the creation of the skill level: Race!. A level where the goal is to reach the portal as fast as possible, whilst manoeuvring your ball around and over obstacles as it were a platform game. Lose your ball and you can say bye bye to your highscore.

Race has been an idea of Peter for a very long time. He believed it would be the coolest skill level you can imagine. We were skeptical. It took incredibly long before he started developing it and even in development it just seemed like, meh…

Yesterday Raymond and I (Pascal) have wrapped up the final things in the skill level and when I realized that I was screaming and bouncing on my chair whilst trying to get a highscore.. or no… just to try and reach the end of the level, we realized that Peter’s dream has become reality.

Race is my favourite skill level for the moment and I’m quite proud of my highscore of 1:17. Here is a video of one of my runs where I reached the end. The part with the charge ball in the end gave me a stress level I hadn’t experienced ever before.

Hi fans, friends and random people who stumble upon this website accidentally,

This week we have finally released Chapter 2 onto Steam. Chapter 2 introduces Caromble!‘s first Arkatron with the special power: Focus! We are very proud of this milestone and hope you like the 4 new story levels and 2 skill levels as much as we do. We sent around a press release to announce this milestone and you can find that one below. We are currently working hard on finshing Chapter 3 and hope to release it soon! Let’s get ready to Caromble!

Greetings from the Crimson Owl Studios team

Caromble! Chapter 2 is now available on Steam Early Access!
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Caromble!

Caromble!

The Brick Breaker over 6 years in development

 

Watch the Video
 ♫ This is Caromble!: A fresh new take on the brick break game! 

 



This is Caromble!

This is not just another brick breaker game. This is Caromble!: a fresh new take on the brick break game. Fight evil with physics-based destruction, puzzles, explosions, unlockable skill-levels, power-ups, mayhem, boss fights, more explosions, further puzzles, speedruns, superscore medals and much more… Visit us on Steam

Our story: One day. Every week. For over 6 years.

Our story is: high productivity, slow progress and being very persisting. Why we still work on it? Because we love it! We love to transform this retro genre into something exciting and new, hopefully you will love it too!

We are Crimson Owl Studios, a team of 5 one-day-a-week indie game developers – with regular jobs as software developers and a professional artist – working every Friday for over 6 years on Caromble!.

The Road to Gold

Last year we brought our development version of Caromble! to Steam Early Access. Chapter 2 is our first major update. The full release will contain six chapters; which will be released somewhere in 2016. However, our planning skills are not top-notch… If you want to know more about the reasoning for this Early Access adventure, please check out this absurd team video!



We hope to get as much feedback as possible in Early Access to create the brick breaker you’ve always dreamed of! Visit us on Steam

Thanks and best wishes,



Crimson Owl Studios
Caromble! Arkatron
Chapter 2 introduces Arkatron #1: Focus
Copyright © 2016 Crimson Owl Studios, All rights reserved.


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Indievelopment 2014

Yesterday (April the 7th) was Indievelopment in the Netherlands. A small conference in Utrecht with speakers like Paul Weir, Clemens Scott and Jonathan Blow. Apart from the great talks many dutch indie-games were showcased. You could play games like Metrico, Reus, Symmetrain and -of course- Caromble!
This wasn’t our first showcase, but it was the first time we had to build our own booth. This was our setup:
20140407_173753
It was great to hear all positive feedback and see people really enjoy our game. We would like to thank Indievelopment and all people involved for a great day!

High Dynamic Range Rendering

Now that we are getting closer and closer to an actual release of Caromble!, we have to put a lock on new graphics effects and big engine changes. Since we’d got motion blur up and running, there was one major annoyance left in how we rendered the images to screen: It was very hard (near impossible) to configure how bright or dark the final image would become. We had a basic bloom render effect in place but we had very little control over how it behaved. It basically turned our ball into an huge supernova like inferno from time to time, which made the rest of the image look really dark in contrast.

One of our main issues with rendering was that the ball was often too bright

One of our main issues with rendering was that the ball was often too bright

Enter high dynamic range (HDR) rendering. Photo enthusiasts create HDR images by combining multiple pictures (in LDR, low dynamic range) of the same scene taken under different exposures. This creates surreal images were nothing is too bright while everything remains visible. In game programming it works just the other way around. You create HDR images which allows you to regenerate the LDR images under different exposures.
Previously, all our light values in an image where clamped between 0 and 1, causing us to lose all lighting details around places where the image became brighter. With HDR, we no longer clamp the image values, giving us the full (high dynamic) range.

An old screenshot showing problems with over-exposure

An old screenshot illustrating problems with over-exposure

Once we got a HDR rendered image, we still have a few little problems. Of course, we do not want our game to look as surreal as the previous photos. Neither do lcd displays used nowadays have the capacity to produce lumen as bright as we got in our freshly rendered HDR image.
The first problem is solved by mapping the HDR image to a LDR image (low dynamic range). Basically, we  recreate those LDR images a camera would make but under the exact exposure we chose. We do this by defining a mapping function that maps 0-Infinity back to the LDR 0-1 range of our choosing such that we can display it on a monitor.
Anything below our LDR range becomes pure black. Anything above the LDR range should become incredibly bright.
So how do we produce these bright colors if monitors wont help us. We simply simulate it by enabling bloom for those values, letting the bright areas spread in their neighborhood. This finally gives us fine control over the brightness of our rendered image!

hdr

An HDR image mapped to LDR images with different exposures.

Steam in the Livingroom

machines_livingroom

We always planned to release Caromble! on PC, Mac and Linux. But right now it might just be that we’ll be able to launch on a console as well.

While Microsoft and Sony are preparing for the next-gen console war, this week Valve showed it too has some tricks up its sleeve. The people behind Half-Life and Steam made three announcements that might one day completely blur the lines between consoles and desktop computers.
Gabe Newell, the owner of Valve, already made clear he wanted Steam to be an open platform, accessible to everyone. The first move in this direction was the launch of Greenlight, opening up the Steam store for Indie Developers. In the light of an open platform, launching a closed console like Microsoft and Sony are doing seemed an unlikely choice for Valve.

The first announcement was Steam OS: a Linux-based operating system to play steam games and stream media. A few days later it became clear that the rumors about a SteamBox we’ve been hearing for a while were true. But instead of the SteamBox being a closed console, Valve is working with multiple partners to bring a variety of console like machines (running Steam OS) to the market in 2014. Heck, it’ll even be pretty easy to build your own SteamBox.SteamController

The main problem with using a desktop computer in the living room is that you have no place to put your mouse and keyboard, so it’s no surprise at all what Valve announced last: a controller. But instead of playing it safe and going for a Playstation/Xbox-like controller, they are making a controller with multiple trackpads. This has the advantage that the Steam controller will be able to simulate mouse movements and is therefore compatible with all Steam games at launch.
Of course, a trackpad never gives you the kind of feedback an actual button would. Therefore, Valve has equipped the controller with “super-precise haptic feedback” to give you information about speed, boundaries, and thresholds.
We already added Leap Motion to support to Caromble! a while back. It worked very well and even allowed us to play Caromble! on the floor at Gamescom. With that in mind, I think Caromble! would work very well with Valve’s new toy.

It seems unlikely that Valve will spend the same amount of money on marketing the SteamBox as Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony, but since the SteamBox will likely evolve over the years (just like Steam did), times might just become very interesting…

As we wrote before, we already support Linux for Caromble! (with Mac support underway). With the announcement of the SteamBox, supporting Linux just got even more attractive. If we could just get our hands on one of those controllers… Exciting times!

Long Lost Code

A while back we hinted about it: Boss Fights. Originally, the idea was that the virus shards were items you would collect to progress through the game. But after a long discussion we felt that this was typical behavior seen in so many other brick-breaker games. We didn’t want the virus to be stationary, we wanted it to take the fight to you!

So about that fight, well, I really do not want to spoil everything before you get a chance to play the game… Previously we got inspired by games like Pinball, this time though, we looked at SCHMUPS (Raptor!) and even games like Pong. While Arkanoid will always have the most evillest boss out there (DOH!), after a few days of programming, our (still nameless) boss is shaping up to be a pretty good challenge.

When we started building our game engine, many, many years ago. We were trying to build it as generic as possible (trying to be able to support fps/race/etc -basically all games). For some part, this was a waste of time; When we started working on Caromble! we quickly gained a lot more focus and improved the engine on areas needed for Caromble! -finally making some serious progress.
But not all was lost, because for the boss behavior we could reuse code from years back that still proved to work just fine. For programmers like us, that feels awesome!

But enough with the sentiment, we finally got our Etoo London interview online, check it out!

And again, if you’re going to Gamescom and want a go at Caromble!, just let us know!

Juicing it Up – Paddle Movement

As you may know, we’re working very hard to dot the i’s and cross the t’s -see our Ripple post of a few weeks back for example. With all this juiciness going on throughout the game, we simply cannot ignore the paddle. While it still has placeholder graphics, we can at least tweak it’s movement.
 
Previously, the paddle simply followed the mouse (or keyboard/gamepad/leapmotion) and moved backwards slightly when it got hit by the ball. To improve upon this, we now use physics for it’s movement. The paddle is now hold in place by four springs that allow the paddle to accurately bounce back when hitting the ball and allow it to tilt when moving very fast.
The effect is pretty subtle to the eye, but it makes all the difference when playing.

 

 

Crunch Time!

 

Thomas

Normally, we only work on Caromble! every Friday. This week though, for the first time ever, we will work on Caromble! full-time. We all took a few days off and the coming week + weekend we will be crunching our way through the last few levels.

After that, we can finally start to polish things up and add juiciness everywhere (although we will still be adding challenge levels).

Expect more updates during this week! Follow us on twitter: @Caromble