Just in time for the holidays: The shirts are in! I’ve been working with Campus Customs to get the shirts printed, and they launched the web store for the shirts today. Take a peek. Or buy a bunch. Whatever.
Here’s some feedback from some totally real customers:
“I love this band!” - Jim Zudkee
“This is the best shirt that I own! And the second best pair of pants.” -Frank McFrankerson
“I walk into a room and people fall silent. I think it’s the shirt” -Man with Over-Sized Hat
“I will CRUSH the Electric Shocktopus” -Magnetic Yeti
Wow! Those are some ringing endorsements! And now, while supplies last, you can get your tentacles on a shirt for just $18.
Get one for yourself. Get ‘em for friends. Guaranteed to make you the coolest squid on the block.
-AndyPost a Comment
These past couple weeks, I’ve been learning how to do some (simple) animations. Up to this point, I’d always just had discrete pictures – like you’re looking at panels of comics, say. Or I’ve just hand-drawn (erm, computer-drawn) the frames of a run animation. But for Shocktopus, I’ve wanted to do a bit more.
I found a great program called Spine, which is a fairly universal way to animate characters. You draw some bones, add some images onto those bones, set the key frames of the animation, and then you can export the animation to a bunch of different platforms. For me, of course, I mainly care that it plays well with Flash, which it does.
I used Spine to make the animations of the RoboYeti, who I showed off last time. But I’ve also used it for things like the intro video. So now it goes something like this:
It’s been fun pulling together some animations — and they are surprisingly easy to do (once you get over the learning curve of using new software). Just plug in the eight frames of a looping walk cycle, and the program does the rest for you.
And with that, the game suddenly feels a whole lot more polished. Like (gasp) a real game. Crazy!
-AndyPost a Comment
The Robo Yeti
Thanks to everyone who let me know they wanted T-Shirts. I’ve placed the order for them, and I should have a page on the site soon where you can grab ‘em. They make great stocking stuffers. (And if you sew up the sleeves, I suppose they could make great stockings, too!)
I’ve been hard at work the past few weeks — apparently so hard that I’ve neglected to post updates. But *now*, yes *now* we are in the final stretch of The Electric Shocktopus. Art, sound, levels, animations — all the pieces are coming together.
So for the next few weeks, I’m going to be posting here about something RAD in the game. This week?
Yes: Robo. Yeti.
That’s right. A robotic yeti. The Electric Shocktopus now has all 45 levels, including a Boss Battle at the end. You’ll have to use all the skills you’ve gained in the game (like, say, not dying) to beat this mechanical contraption. He’s got spikes. He’s got guns. And he’s got some extra mechanical surprises in store for our invertebrate hero.
So there’s your reward for making it through 44 difficult levels. A dastardly boss at the end.
Thank you to all the playtesters who have been giving me feedback on the game. For those of you who are already playtesters, there’s a new version of the game up on FGL. Let me know if you have login issues – I can always send you new codes. And if you aren’t a playtester yet but want to be, feel free to get in touch.
-AndyPost a Comment
Pre-order your Shocktopus T-Shirts
At Boston FIG — one piece of Shocktopus swag stood out above all others. People asked “hey, can I get one?” They took pictures. It drew them into the game.
I’m talking of course about the crocheted Shocktopus. And no, you can’t get one. (My Mom made it, and it’s all mine!) BUT — I am printing off some more Shocktopus T-Shirts. Nice, soft black T-Shirts with your favorite charged Cephalopod plastered right on front.
This shirt is an international sensation. Literally. I’ve had strangers chuckle at it, a family in Germany stop me on the street about it, and have even been invited backstage at a Led Zeppelin concert because of it. (Erm, not that last one.) And now is your chance to get your very own piece of history.
On a more down-to-earth note — I’m going to be printing up a couple dozen of these shirts. Some for family (shh, don’t tell them), and some for anyone who’d like one. Before I go an print the shirts, it’d be helpful to know what sizes we’d need. So if you’d like one, shoot me an email with the size you’d like to ‘pre-order’ it (standard unisex t-shirt sizes apply). Just to make sure I don’t print two dozen larges when everyone wants smalls. Once they’re printed, they’ll be available online.
I’m still working out the details with the printer to get a handle on what they’ll cost — but I’ll be keeping them pretty cheap. Between 16 and 18 bucks. They are comfy, stylish, appropriately nerdy, and make great gifts for the holidays!
-AndyPost a Comment
See-All Seal — Part 2!
I missed the past week’s blog post — I’m glad that’s finally the exception, not the rule! — since I’ve been traveling around Germany. Visiting friends, family, going to a wedding, and eating a bunch of great food. I’ve got my laptop along, and I’ve been doing some work here and there, but it’s been much slower than normal.
But I *did* take another crack at exfret’s See-All Seal levels — and I’ve posted it on YouTube for your further viewing pleasure. So go take a peek!
How did I do? Well, I’ll let history be the judge of that.
-AndyPost a Comment
Looking back at my blog posts, I see it’s been a while since I devoted a post to Shocktopus developments. What with festivals, slide rules, and velocity raptor levels, there’s been a lot going on! Let’s take a look at where things are in the game…
Where it’s at:
The game is hovering somewhere around ‘Beta’ at this point, whatever that means. There are going to be 45 levels in the game — and for the Boston FIG festival, I was showing off the first 30. I’ve been rearranging the game and adding levels these past few weeks, and now we’re just about at 45. In fact, yesterday I was working on the final level, which is a boss battle. I realized that with this high-octane game needed to end with a bang and not a fizzle. So it’ll be you against the Magnetic Yeti to end the game.
I’m also nearly done adding in the ‘extras’ to the game, like instructions screens, pop-up hints, the about page, etc.
So at this point, it’s really coming down to polishing. Making sure there aren’t any bugs, the game flows smoothly, and things look great.
Speaking of how things look, it’s been a while since I released any screenshots of the game. Here’s a few to tease your palate:
So when will it be done?
I ask myself that question every day! My plan is to have the game finalized by the end of the month… and after that find a sponsor for it. So, I’m afraid there’s no official release date yet, but it’s coming along.
Post a Comment
I’ve been testing out the waters with Unity lately, figuring out whether it’s something I’d like to use for future projects.
Long story short, Unity is a way to make games that you can play on the web, download as apps on iOS or Android, play right on your PC or Mac, the whole nine yards. Could be a great help in future games — and in updates to older games. I’m excited to use it to build the next generation Gravity Simulator, for instance.
This past week, I got my feet a bit wetter with the programming language and all around *how* to build something in Unity. The mission? Rebuild the Slide Rule. It was one of my first apps, and really just a way for me to explore how to build an app. After all, it doesn’t come much simpler than an interface with two moving pieces. (Disclaimer: it’s become much more than that… and it is more complex than I remembered!)
So I threw together the slide rule app, building it from the ground up in Unity. I built it to run on my iPhone, which it did, fine. (Not all the features mind you, pretty bare bones) And then — here’s the cool part — I changed the settings slightly, and now it works on the web! You can check out the (still rough) result here.
You’ll need to download the Unity Player if you haven’t already, which you should be automatically prompted to do. It’s just like the Flash Player you need to use any of my flash games… only different. A quick one-time download, then you’ll never need to do it again. Not too tough, right?
The verdict on Unity? It has a learning curve, like anything else. But, overall, it seems robust and easy to build in. And sending a game to multiple platforms is amazing. Who knows, maybe the slide rule will pop up on Android devices soon.
My next Unity project? Improving the Gravity Sim. I’m really excited to see that one on *all* my devices.Post a Comment
Boston FIG Recap
So… FIG happened. And it was crazy. It took a few days, but I’m finally coming out of my post-FIG coma. Long story short, it was a great day.
Short story long, here’s some highlights from the day:
There were over seven thousand attendees at the event, nearly three times more than last year. There was a constant flow of people stopping by to watch other people play The Electric Shocktopus. As for the players themselves… well… while my laptops were all being used, there was a bit less of a constant flow. You see, my game was addictive. The players did not want to relinquish their seats — they were determined to beat more levels/the next level/level 30. Some were at my booth for a half hour. Some for an hour. And I was not about to stop them, It was fantastic seeing frustration turn into dedication.
One part of the day I didn’t expect were the special guests. Unbeknownst to me, there were people at the event who already *knew* about TestTubeGames. Some had come out specifically because a friend posted about Shocktopus on Facebook, and told them they had to come play it. Others planned out coming to the day in advance. I was blown away by this, and felt really honored that people cared enough about the games to do that.
I put out a couple hundred business cards. I returned with five. Whoa. Good news: I can start designing TTG business card 2.0
No good day is complete without a little chaos. Or a lot of chaos. The Electric Shocktopus *refused* to stay in my laptops — he insisted in coming out into the real world. No, I’m not talking about the Shocktoplush (which was a big hit), but rather about my laptop’s power cord *exploding*.
Yikes! There were some bad power issues in that room, what with all the devices plugged in. So at some point, about halfway through the day, things on our end of the room started flickering. And then I heard a nice, loud zapping sound and caught the whiff of fried electronics. I feverishly unplugged everything, and thankfully, the power cord was the only casualty.
I wasn’t about to plug back into that power source (other people tried, and lost more equipment), so I ran of laptop batteries the rest of the day. Not ideal — sadly I couldn’t show off the game on the huge monitor. But it worked.
First Gravity Look
As a benefit to the loss of power, when one of my laptops ran out of juice, I got to try out the current prototype of the Gravity Simulator I had on my iPad. Just as I hoped, the artistic spirals and loops drew people in — and they got a kick out of flinging planets to see what happens. It was just the most basic of versions, too, so I’m excited for how people will react to the full thing.
All in all, a full, amazing, and exhausting day. I learned a bunch by watching people play with The Electric Shocktopus, and hopefully players learned a thing or two, too! And though I’m gonna need some time to decompress before it rolls around again, I’m already looking forward to Boston FIG 3.0
-AndyPost a Comment
Preparing for the Festival
Just a quick post this week – for obvious reasons. This Saturday (just a couple days away) is the Boston Festival of Indie Games, in which I’m taking part. I’ll be there with the Electric Shocktopus – showing the latest build off to a few thousand people.
And before then I’ve got to:
- Make the game super-fun
- Get the game *working*
- Stock up on granola bars
- Make sure the game works
- Oh god, why isn’t the game working
Yes, the joy of trying to make massive changes on the eve of a big event (hey, I wonder if I can increase the resolution by 50%…) — all while still needing a game that doesn’t break. Whew, it’s busy over here.
So here’s just a couple pictures of some of the awesome decorations:
That’s right — a plush Shocktopus and Yeti! Custom made by my Mom (thanks, Mom!). Swing by the booth to check them out and give ‘em a squeeze.
And of course a shirt to help me show off the game.
Ah, Electric Shocktopus, awesome band name. So there you have it — some decor for the big day. Now it’s back to working on the *digital* version of the Shocktopus.
-AndyPost a Comment
The See-all Seal
Something a little fun and different this week — if you’ve been watching in the forums, you may have come across a set of levels that exfret made for Velocity Raptor. It’s a prequel to the game — with a few dozen challenging levels, and a plot to go along with it, to boot!
Well, I figured I’d try my hand at the levels, recording them as I did. Man vs. Machine. Creator vs. Creations. Raptor vs. Shocktopus. Wait, not that last one.
I posted my attempt for the first handful of levels on YouTube — so you can watch what happens. So far, I have to say, the levels are fun to play. They’re also challenging in the extreme, so I encourage you to give them a try yourself.
A big thanks to exfret for making the levels. If this is something people enjoy — I’ll bring it back soon with Part 2… where I head into the Volcano!
-AndyPost a Comment