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Friday
Jun242016

Weekly Blog Update: Indy PopCon & Coloring Book Mode

We're back from Indy PopCon!

We were named a Semi-Finalist in the Reboot Indie Game Awards, which was really cool! 3rd place went to TumbleSeed, 2nd went to Manifold Garden, and Hive Jump won first place!

Tons of people played our game and it was fun! I think our demo is finally in a good place in terms of polish. The only outstanding feedback items are that it's hard to jump out of the water in one of the later puzzles, and people still get confused when they're learning that ivy can use any color. For right now though, I'm really happy to move on to later parts of the game. :) 

 

 

 

 

And here are some pictures from around the convention!

 

 

 

   

This week I've been working on the Coloring Book Mode! It was important to me that the player would be able to color all of the objects - even in places that aren't normally reachable in the game - so I connected some pieces up and I think the result is more fun to play with! 

  

 

 

Also our MomoCon award arrived in the mail yesterday! Look how cool it is!

Next up is RTX in Austin the weekend after next! If you're going to be there, make sure you drop by! We're smushing our booth together with some other Austin indies at the show: Super Duper Game Company,Newmark Software and Taco Illuminati!

 

And here's a picture of Producer Miles busting me for watching Gilmore Girls instead of working!

 

Friday
Jun172016

Weekly Blog Update: Pre-Orders & Indy PopCon

We're showing at Indy PopCon in Indianapolis today through Sunday, so this will be a short post - but I have an exciting announcement:

PC PRE-ORDERS ARE LIVE!!!!

Go to ColorThiefGame.com to pre-order the game! This week when you pre-order, we will also send you the Indy PopCon build - which is an early-access section of the Chameleon Temple!! We'll email the build to everyone that pre-orders by Friday the 24th!

If you're in Indianapolis, come and see us! 

Here's Miles helping me pack:

Friday
Jun102016

Weekly Blog Update: Preparing for Indy PopCon

This has been a busy week, full of a lot of different stuff! 

First off, I forgot to post last week that Color Thief won one of five award spots in the MomoCon 2016 Indie Awards Showcase!! They haven't updated the website with winners yet, but we're really happy to have placed along with Dimension Drive, Ellipsis, Epistory: Typing Chronicles, and Inversus! We unfortunately weren't there to collect the award, but we'll get a cool trophy in the mail. :D

Next weekend we'll be in Indianapolis for Indy PopCon 2016, so most of this week has been spent preparing. 

We're going to be showing the Coloring Book Mode on one of the stations. Right now there are 2 rooms, but I've been working on adding one more from the Octopus Temple: 

I'm going to lower the side walls around the pavillion so you can reach more places to color. 

Issam has been working on a screenshot system so that you have something shareable when you finish coloring a room. I think for the convention we'll get people to enter either Twitter handles or email addresses so we can send them their pictures. :) Here are some camera angles for the Meditation Room: 

 

 

Right now the chameleon isn't in there, but we'll add him in. 

We've also been working a lot on updating the website with new info and screenshots (updates aren't live yet). 

We're planning on adding pre-orders to the website! We'd like to offer 3 options:

  • Pre-order the game at a discount
  • Pre-order the game at full price and receive the early access demo (first half of Chameleon Temple)
  • Pay more for 2 pre-orders + early access demo + a version of the Coloring Book Mode

The Coloring Book will be part of the full game, but the 3rd option just lets you play with it sooner. 

Issam also spent some time last weekend playing with motion blur, ambient occlusion and depth of field. Unfortunately for him, I ended up rejecting all 3 for game-feel reasons. Sorry, Issam!

Here are some motion blur tests that make me dizzy:

And ambient occlusion tests that look really cool:

Things have been a little hectic

 

Friday
Jun032016

Weekly Blog Update: New Frog Puzzles

This week I've been working on the Frog Temple!!

These are 3 new puzzle rooms, although right now they're hard to tell apart. Right now the water isn't receiving shadows - which looks very cool, but is puzzle breaking, so expect that to change. :)

Small bug ;)

Issam made the importer for my wall lights, and has been working on a Mac build of the game. We also submitted to another thing on Monday, which took some time. He's also been starting to move us to the latest version of Unity.

I also took a short break from work yesterday to go apartment hunting. Here's a picture of a Very Important Meeting:

And Miles and I have been enjoying the occasional breaks in the rain. Team-building exercise:

Friday
May272016

Weekly Blog Update: New Trailer & Gameplay Summary Video

This week we made a new trailer!!

We also submitted to IndieCade (today!), plus a few other competitions, and made a gamplay explanation video for a different submission. 

Issam set up a music logic system for me to place triggers to layer the music tracks as you progress through the level and it's really cool! We also changed the way the bird acts in the intro (he sticks around to lead you towards the temple), and Issam fixed various bugs and worked on the shadows for our build. We also updated the PressKit with our new trailer. 

I've gotten back to working on the Frog Temple this week, which is exciting! 

Here are some puzzle design scribbles:

Here's something Issam scribbled??

Here's Miles helping me record the audio for the Gameplay Summary video:

Friday
May202016

Weekly Blog Update: Story, Trailer & Polish

We're finishing up the 2nd half of the Chameleon Temple to submit the game to IndieCade (and a bunch of other festivals) this week. 

I added some narrative stuff to the 2nd half of the temple: 

I also did another pass on the last puzzle in this level. I think it works better now:

And the last 2 days I've been working on a new trailer for the game! It's mostly done, I'm just making some little tweaks, then I will post it! :)

Also I was a little busy today working on a presentation about game development I'm giving to some middle schoolers tomorrow. Here's my Network Engineering slide:

Issam has been working on the camera and climbing systems. He also made the butterflies fade in and out instead of just appearing, and worked on some bugs related to sounds playing at the wrong times. 

Also earlier in the week Miles and Issam fixed my desktop again. :)

Friday
May132016

Weekly Blog Update: Sound & Music

Lots to show this week!!

We got our first batch of sound effects from Jocelyn Reyes implemented, and just this morning we got our first test music from Yan Rodriguez!!

The music is meant to be layered (see below), but we haven't made a system yet, so I took a capture with all of the layers together with the sound effects: 

I think we're going to want to layer the music based on color/how 'alive' an area is - but just to see what it would look like, I did a test layering the tracks by zones. In the first section it's just one layer, then one gets added when you're outside, another is added when you open the first big door, and the final is added when you reach the Buddha room. Just fun to test!: (I may have had the sound effects up too high!)

Issam put in basic menus for the start of the game - to let you enter the Coloring Book Mode and switch between those levels: 

He also updated the tutorial text:

(right now it's hard to see the L & R, but we'll fix it!)

Other than that, I'm still working on polishing up the art to finish out the Chameleon Temple. Right now I'm working on this room: 

I finally started adding trees to the 2nd outdoor area. I want to put some more stuff out here to interact with:

And here are just some screenshots I liked ;)

This is what Miles has been up to: 

Friday
May062016

Weekly Blog Update: Finishing Up Chameleon Temple

This week I've been continuing to work on the last part of the Chameleon temple. It's not done yet, but it's getting closer!!! These screenshots are all from the map room: 

 

Issam got the push pots working, so we can finally test the last puzzle of the temple again - and after seeing him play it, I think I'm going to make some changes. :) Here's a pretty good bug:

Yesterday we sat down and made a list of all of the little things we need to fix to finish up the Chameleon Temple, so we're focusing in on those things to get our IndieCade submission ready: 

We've also got our friend Jocelyn working on some sound effects for us! Maybe when those are farther along I can make a video to share!

Today is Miles' third birthday! Happy Birthday, Miles!!

Friday
Apr292016

Weekly Blog Update: HavenCon Feedback

We got a ton of great feedback from watching people try the game at HavenCon last weekend! I posted a photo album on our company Facebook Page if you want to check them out!

Most of this week was spent making those changes. Here are some of them!:

Before: The way trees work, when you color the trunks, the leaves grow and change color depending on what color you put on the trunk. Unfortunately, one of the colors you can 'make' is purple (which is the color you need to put on a door in this particular section). Since one of the trees is close to this overhang, players naturally assumed that they could take this color to solve the puzzle -- but you can't take color from leaves (and that's also not what I want the player to learn in this section).

After: I simply moved the tree farther away so that players will hopefully now see that there is no way to reach the leaves. In the future, we may consider allowing you to take the leaf color as well (just not in this particular section).

Before: To pass through a sentinel, you need to be the same color as it. At the very first sentinel, a few players were 'accidentally' solving this, by trying to take the purple with them to the purple door on the other side of the sentinel (a long time ago, I thought that having players accidentally solve it would help them learn how they worked -- but this is definitely not the case).

After: To solve this issue, I changed the color of that door, and also added a repeat of the sentinel hint (you originally see it to the left of the purple sentinel). This way, just in case they proceed to the blue sentinel and still don't know how to use them, they get another chance to absorb the hint (since if you don't understand sentinels, you cannot go back to see the hint again). I think the current placement is a little odd, so it might move in the future. 

Before: I thought this was a super blatant hint... but I was wrong! In this area I want players to learn that you can put any color on plants to bring them to life (this is just in case they didn't play around in the first outdoor section). I thought a 'blue ivy' hint would make them try it, but a lot of players still go all of the way back to the first section and try to bring green past the sentinels.

After: I'm going to see if this works a little better. It's like "look - they're all different colors!!"

Before: This one is super weird, since it's been like this for a long time and wasn't an issue until last weekend! You need yellow for this door, but the adjacent puzzles contain tan - a TON of players thought these were the same color (which is totally understandable - I just don't know why it didn't come up before now). 

After: I changed the tan to orange (and blue in the other puzzle). I actually think this might help make this fountain puzzle a little easier, since the spiral sticks out more? We'll see!

This is really subtle so I'm curious to see if it makes a difference. I just extended the wall a little bit (top picture is the before, bottom is after) so maybe now when players place the color on the wall, they're more likely to see that is extends to the other side of the sentinel.

Before: It's really easy to fall off of stairs throughout the temple - particularly when you're struggling with the camera and controls.

After: Initially I planned to add railings everywhere in response to this - but it takes a long time, and since we need to work on the camera anyway, I'd like to see how much that helps first. I added them in the very first section though, which I think is ok, since players would be getting used to the controls in this section anyway. 

You're not supposed to be able to make the jump from here to the ladder, but a couple of players managed it... so I moved it a litter farther away. :)

I replaced the ivy that was here with a broken ladder, to help with the later broken ladder puzzle. (This way, players have seen it before.)

No one ever notices the flowers, so I hid one that already has some color on it. :)

There was a weird collision thing here where you had to jump to get off of the stairs. It's very satisfying to see this working correcly now. 

Most of the other polish items were things for Issam to work on. The highest priority issue at the moment is doing another pass on the automatic camera. Right now if you don't use the manual camera, the game is really hard to play. It's always particularly hard for little kids, which is a problem, since kids want to play the game!

Issam is still stuck working on the push pots!

I made this cake today to celebrate our company's 4 year anniversary!! (Technically on April 15th!)

It's coffee cake with caramel frosting - and coffee & caramel macarons on top (the recipe is here!) It might be the richest cake I've ever made, and I'm planning on taking a nap when I finish this update... 

Miles is finally feeling better, although I did manage to capture a sneeze face on camera, which is pretty adorable: 

Moving forward, I'm hoping to FINALLY finish up the last room of the Chameleon Temple this week so we can start polishing it and digging into the Frog Temple. We also have someone working on a test for music, and another person working on a test for sound effects!! I'm really excited!!! :D

Friday
Apr222016

Weekly Blog Update: HavenCon

Short update this week since we're showing our game at HavenCon in Austin today through Sunday! 

We'll be at the arcade! Technically it's open until 2am Fri & Sat... but I don't think we're going to stay that late. Our plan is 6pm, but it depends on how busy it is!

Friday: 12pm - 6pm

Saturday: 10am - 6pm

Sunday: 12pm - 5pm

I've still been working on the end of the temple. I went down a few paths that didn't quite work out (like this one:)

It's cool looking, but it didn't quite fit, so I simplified a little!  

Also I've got the first section mostly sorted out,  but I need to do another pass on the textures since everything sort of blends together visually. 

Issam has still been working on the push pots. He also spent some time looking into travel to figure out if we could attend MomoCon in Atlanta this year (we're Indie Award Showcase Finalists!) but in the end, we decided that it was a little too much time out of our schedule. We want to try to go next year though after the game is released! 

Miles is sick this week!! :( The vet thinks it's allergies. Here he is in the vet's office.