Those of you who develop games know that there’s nothing quite as terrifying as putting your game into the hands of gamers and watching them play it for the first time. Months and sometimes years of hard work can either be validated by cheerful squeals of happy players or dashed to bits on the rocks of harsh criticism by those who don’t “get it”. Last week we took The Phantom PI Mission Apparition on the road to the 2014 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and to our relief, the response was amazing!
We estimate that 500+ people played the game over the course of the 3 day event and I’m happy to report that the reception for The Phantom PI was overwhelmingly positive! Nearly everyone who played took the time to tell us their thoughts on the experience. Most people felt that the controls were intuitive, that the puzzles where easy to understand yet challenging and that the game “looks beautiful” (blush)! We also got a good bit of criticism that will help us tune the game as we get closer to release – thankfully there were no real surprises, all of the critiques were totally things that we can fix and many were things that were already on our todo list.
Cathy and Christine having a little fun at our GDC Play booth
The GDC Play space was easily the most exciting and active area in the whole event, with a constant rumble of games and gamers hanging out, talking and playing with stuff they’d probably never heard of before the event. Compared to the South Hall which housed all of the big name companies in video games (plus the IGF nominated games) with their flashy booths and super-soft carpeting, the GDC Play space in the North Hall was noisy, casual and alive with excitement.
Cathy and Christine look over an artist’s portfolio while Adam from Asteroid Base plays The Phantom PI
We were surrounded by amazing micro developers from all around the world including a few of our friends like the awesome folks at Phantom Compass and the OMDC booth which allowed a bunch of Ontario developers to show off their games. We also made a few new friends at Schell Games, Shark Punch, Right Pedal Studios and Xibalba Studios.
The next stop for The Phantom PI before we release will be at PAX East in April so if you’re going to PAX, be sure to keep a lookout for us (we’ll have more info on our booth location in a few days)!
Excitement is building here at Rocket 5 as we inch ever so slowly towards the eventual release of The Phantom PI. As evidence that the end is indeed within sight, we released a brand spanking new trailer just in time for our big showing at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco next week. Words cannot begin to describe out excited and nervous and excited (yes again!) we are about finally getting to put the game into the hands of our hopefully-soon-to-be fans. And now, on to the trailer!
We must give credit where credit is due: Matthew Swanton cut the trailer together in After Effects and applied a generous amount of creativity to many of the shots. The music for the song “Am I Alive” is by Aaron Robertson and the lyrics are based on a poem by Cathy’s dad Raymond Feraday. Sound effects were provided by Blain Kramer and Ryan Henwood of Blue Sound & Music.
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About The Phantom P.I. Mission Apparition
Step into the shoes of Cecil Sparks, a paranormal investigator who specializes in helping ghosts who are being bullied in the afterlife.
Explore a huge haunted mansion, solve devious puzzles and avoid diabolical traps on your way to helping deceased rock-n-roll legend Marshall Staxx escape the torment of a larcenous ghoul named Baublebelly.
I’m taking a break this week from writing tutorials to show a bit of early XS Force level art. I say early because we’re still tuning the look – we’re heading for something that’s more stylized, less angular – but I thought it would be cool to show what we have at this point since it has been a while since we posted an XS Force development update.
A few days ago I started looking for a new way to build the game’s levels in Unity. I had been building levels from individual sprite tiles, each with their own collision that I made using 2D Toolkit‘s polygon collision editor. This actually works pretty well for building 2d sprite-based levels, but I wanted to be able to create more freeform/organic levels.
A quick search of the Unity Asset Store revealed a plugin called RageSpline. Turns out that RageSpline is great for quickly building vector graphics right inside Unity and also makes it easy to add face accurate collisions to the objects so you can lay down level art and collision at the same time.
That’s all for now. This blog post is part of iDevBlogADay, a collection of indie developers writing about their development experiences.