It hadn’t really occurred to us to get all excited about Game of the Year stuff, but as it turns out we’ve been nominated for Australian-made Game of the Year on both Kotaku and IGN.
Colour (note spelling) us pretty blown away to be on the list, considering how many great games came out of Australia and New Zealand this year!
PS: That new river level we keep teasing is just around the corner! We promise!
If there’s one thing it’s easy to do when you’re in the creative phase of game development, it’s bite off more than you can chew. Coming up with brilliant ideas isn’t the hard part – it’s being able to follow through and actually create them.
So as Rohan and I were working through creating the latest update for TownCraft, we started with it being something which was going to fix a bunch of small problems which had been bugging us for a while.
Well, that small list of problems got larger and larger as we became increasingly fastidious, wanting to tidy up anything and everything we didn’t like or that had been bothering us for a few updates now.
So here’s why there hasn’t been an update to TownCraft in a month or so.
In the next update, you’ll be getting more tiny changes and fixes than you can imagine, a new format for hints and a new loading screen, several new resources to craft, a new type of natural resource to harvest from, a new level with its own new mechanic and something like 20 new quests.
Bottom line is we’ve still got lots we want to do with TownCraft and as long as it’s still selling and people are still playing it, we’ll keep the updates rolling.
PS: Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word on our first ever sale. We took the game down to $1 over the weekend for the Black Friday sale and saw heaps new people jump onboard! Keep that feedback coming in, people! We rely on it for all our updates!
Well, not that spooky, really, but we did want to make it Halloween themed in honour of, erm, Halloween.
But I’m not going to honour it enough to change the spelling of honour to honor. American holiday or not, I’m from Sydney, gosh-darn-it!
So anyway, we’ve spent quite a while on this update. It adds quite a bit.
The most obvious new thing is pumpkins! They can be added to the usual array of soups, pies and more, but we’ve also added pizza recipes! Not gonna tell you how it’s done of course, but it shouldn’t be too tough a thing to figure out, so have at it!
Meanwhile, you can also craft the pumpkins into Jack-O-Lanterns, which actually work as a light source for your town (and can be chucked on a stick because we thought that was kinda cool.
Let’s see, what else? There’s also a new structure – a sand quarry, which can be placed on any sand tile and is then used to generate unlimited sand, which is basically an alternative to using a bucket on one of the little sand dunes in the game.
Then there’s the new map itself – ‘A Dark Dark Wood’, which is a nod to some old nursery rhyme or scary story or something that I remember listening to a lot as a kid.
The map will mess with you. It’s full of impassable brambles, and has none of the following: iron, coal, water, sand. Tough gig, you might say? Well, yes, to put it bluntly.
So far I’m the only one on the team here who has managed to get a Gold Star on it! If anyone out there can do it, be the first to send me a screenshot and I’ll shoot you a free download code to give to a friend. Umm… and give you a shoutout on Twitter or Facebook or something as well!
Have fun, folks, and keep that feedback coming in! We’re focused on keeping these updates coming while we plug away at the iPhone/iPod version (which is coming along nicely).
Well, this is amazing news, but Screen Australia has just confirmed that it’ll be helping out the Australian game development community with $2.6 million worth of investment.
The investment is being split (not evenly) amongst 21 Australian developers. One of which is us!
The help will be used to fund development of that all-important iPhone version, get us started on other future platforms and help us get the game translated into multiple languages!
This couldn’t have happened if all our fans hadn’t demonstrated that there’s an audience for the game out there, so a huge thank you to everyone who has bought the game so far or who has just given us words of support.
Thank you thank you thank you!
Now stop what you’re doing and go check out the other awesome games which have received government support this year.
The lovely folks at iFest have invited us back to speak this weekend, looking back over our first game and discussing the highs and lows, the ins and outs of the whole process. From concept, to production, to marketing, to the very necessary bottle of whiskey we allowed ourselves at the end of it all.
Would you care to come along and join us? We’ll stick around and are happy to chat and say hi, so if you’ve any burning questions about TownCraft (yes, including ‘How do I make X’ questions), register to come along.
It takes place at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment in Sydney (in Ultimo, a walk from Central station).
There’ll be heaps of indie developers there. It’s a great place to meet people in the local industry!
You can register for iFest here.
Oh, and it’s totally FREE!
After months of gruelling gruel-eating, staving off our boundless riches from across the seas, we are finally releasing our baby to the rest of the world.
So, all you non-Australian and non-New Zealand folk: if you’ve been following our development for a while… sorry we took so long.
We’re only flesh and blood!
And probably some other stuff. Does cartilage count as a kind of bone?
Anyway! Buy our game! You can get it here. And tell your friends! Share it around!
“Kill the bugs!”, or, “How to do QA without a QA team.”
I am, of course, lying. It’s not like my brother and I were the only people who ever played TownCraft before it was out. We had some incredibly diligent testers along the way, including one who gave up his time for a pittance, for a days at a stretch if we needed him.
But it’s still not a QA department. When you’re an indie developer, it may not be too difficult to find a few friends & family members to play your game – especially once you hit that magical point where it starts being fun – but that’s not what QA is, really.
Seriously, good QA means repeating the same thing over and over to find obscure bugs. It means not just playing the game while munching popcorn, but getting people who are not only good at testing every little facet of your user interface and game, but also good at writing technical descriptions of the problem – and how to re-create it. They have to stress testing your AI and scenarios for all manner of discrepancies and woes. In the case of an action game with a linear path, it may mean repeatedly doing the same section until you’re so tired of it you just want to jump in front of the nearest Shambler while crying for mummy.
So, without a team of paid, professional game-breakers at your disposal, how the heck do you get your game to a playably stable state? Well, after much thought and putting together all the things I think we did right and wrong on TownCraft, here’s my list of things I would do again for our next game.
Some of you have been asking, so our character artist Justine has just finished the first design for a TownCraft tee shirt.
Or perhaps more accurately, you can now get this design as a tee shirt, kids’ wear, hoodie or as a sticker! YAY!
We’ve made it available through Red Bubble. It’s a tad expensive because they print each shirt on demand rather than printing hundreds of them and storing them in a warehouse, but since we’re starving little indies without any money we can’t really do it any other way!
We hope you like him (I think he’s adorable), and we’ll be rolling out the ability to also grab iPhone cases and more very soon!
Thanks again for all your support, everyone, and for the love thus far!
We couldn’t be happier with the response the game is getting!
A new update has just gone live for TownCraft which fixes a myriad of the problems you have all been reporting (and we thank you heartily for your patience and communication), as well as adding a new map.
The new map is the first in a series of ‘challenge maps’, which task the player with a different unique task in each one. There will be new maps rolled out over the next few weeks – the first is called Swamp Thing, and asks you to create a town with the highest possible town rating, with only 12 days to do it.
The map is mostly water! You’ll need to use space wisely and learn how to use bridges if you want to be able to make a thriving town in this water-logged marsh.
Enjoy, everyone, and do keep the feedback and any bugs coming back! We’re working hard to get on top of everything you send in!