Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Cat in the Hat: Invention Engine

We released a new game today! It's a little game called Cat in the Hat: Invention Engine. The game is all about building Rube Goldberg-esque machines to help Cat prepare for Fish's birthday party. If you've played The Incredible Machine or Amazing Alex, then you have some idea of what you're getting into.

An example of the free play mode.
The game has 25 levels that we designed and a free play mode that allows you to make your own puzzles. You can unlock more than 20 objects to play with in free mode. So, there's plenty of toys to play with.

We worked with the wonderful folks at Random House Kids and PBS KIDS to put this game together, and we're really happy how it turned out, so check it out! 

Monday, May 04, 2015

We Met Some Future Game Designers

We had the opportunity this past Monday to present at the Maiden Middle School Video Game Club. It was a ton of fun, and they were a great audience! We started with a really informative presentation, sharing a bit about ourselves, what we do, and how we do it.
VERY informative... ...leave it to game developers to turn it into a game...
After our presentation and Q&A (where they stumped us with hard questions), we had the club participate in game design with our latest alpha. We gave them about 10 minutes to play it, and then we talked about what they thought, what worked well, and what could be improved. They had some fantastic and insightful feedback that should make the game better as we continue to develop it.

Oh, and we always enjoyed these while in school, so we threw in a pop quiz... ...let us know how you do!  (Sorry, we probably won't hire you.)

Friday, May 01, 2015

Dev Log #4: Cannonball Z

If you played through the alpha then you probably already saw the cannon, but I figure I'd ramble about it anyway since it's a fun object.

The cannon idea came from wanting a new moving object to manipulate with our transforms. Cannons seemed like a good idea because cannonballs have a simple movement pattern (in a straight line until they hit something) that is predictable when transformed.

So, we can do things like this.

(Yes, the smoke trail is buggy, grr!)

The cannons themselves can also be transformed so that we can shoot in different directions.

We've made it so the cannonballs interact with other objects. They can be used to knock down walls.

They can press triggers.

And they can interact with the sheep. Though the sheep doesn't seem to enjoy it. :'(

Since cannons can hit triggers, they can even shoot other cannons. :)

Right now all the cannons are trigger-based, but we thought about having a version that auto-fires so that every puzzle that has a cannon doesn't require a sub-puzzle revolving around pressing the trigger.

Once again, we still have some things we're debating about with regard to the cannons. The main question being whether they should be cannons at all. Since the game is supposed to be in a magical forest (which is not well established by our current art) cannons don't make a lot of sense, but, everyone understands how cannons work, so it's easy to use that as a crutch. The question is, can we find something to replace them that fits in the world thematically while still being easy to grok. It's easy to think of a Mario Piranha plant-like cannon, but that feels like we're stretching, but grasping the next most generic thing. If you have any ideas on what we could replace our cannons with, we're open to ideas.

Hmm...maybe I went a little heavy on the cannon gifs...