Schlumpf, the cute little blob.
This little critter will be coming to the iPhone shortly, be warned. He is addictive. The artwork is courtesy of Kristian Fosh, the artistic lead on the newly formed Rampant Fever team, more on that in future posts.
Schlumpf is being made using Adobe's flash packager for the iPhone, which is helping to drastically reduce our development time by allowing us to quickly prototype ideas in a familiar environment.
This will be our very first iPhone game and we are putting in extra effort to make it as user friendly and fun to play as possible. We have very high hopes for this game and so far we have loved making it.
Over the last few weeks we have been asking people to test out Aaargh to get their views and opinions on it. We have made a basic skeleton for the actual game-play along with designed and planned out a series of levels, we've also looked into alternative ways of producing it as well (For instance, we are developing a spin-off which will be made completely in 2D using the XNA engine for XBLA and Windows machines) .
When we get a spare moment to work on Aaargh we will be pushing out the requested changes along with accelerating development on our various projects.
An exciting start to the year
Over the last few weeks we've had a whirlwind of experiences, we've went from completely unknown to having an article on us in a few short months. We are very excited to start producing our games and generating interest behind what we do.
We would just like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported us in our struggle to make this work, we will keep working to better ourselves and produce some quality games.
A shout out to the "World of Indie"
We was recently contacted by Simon over at "The World Of Indie" about doing a small piece on their site. From what I've seen they are doing very well. Along with promising a lot of good features they area great bunch to chat with.
The help support the great cause of The Children's Play Charity where the game development industry helps to donate to children in need.
I would just like to say Thank's to Greenwich University for this chance, I'll make sure to post up some footage of in-development games!
Currently in development, we are taking advantage of the Flash packager which allows the use of ActionScript to create native iPhone applications.
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
After a quite intense week of developing, contacting various people and prototyping another game. We have decided that in the following weeks we shall be working on our smaller projects to lessen the work load and, with some luck, bring in some interest behind what we do.
First on the agenda
We have really let things slip recently, we have spent way too much time working to pay the bills and neglecting our ever growing list of things to do, but we do have a plan to change that! In the following weeks we should finish a contract (here's to hoping that happens!). Once that is done I can spend my time working solely on our projects instead of spending countless hours in the evening working until sleep catches up.
With that done, we will be able to turn around our schedule and bring along all of the changes we've been planning and create the new demo for Aaarghmageddon.
What to take from this?
Don't start too much at once, it's a bad idea and just leads to frustration, lost sleep and many hours a night trying to catch up!
Make sure you check out Aaarghmageddon if you haven't already, we are trying to get as much feedback as possible on it so we can make a decision on a few changes we are planning for it.
It's been a while since I've done this...
I'm beginning to think that I have some kind of problem with work, I seem to get way to involved in what I do. I mean right now I should be sleeping? Or working on coursework? But I've found that working on these little projects actually keeps my mind more focused on getting somewhere with things.
Its sad to say but I really have lost any interest in my degree, its by no fault of the University I just feel that in terms of the academic way and the real world way, I much prefer working the real world way because at the end of the day, you finish a degree and can find yourself stuck out in a world with a piece of paper and no experience in the workplace.
This works for most people but it just seems backwards to me, I prefer working with things hand's on. Sure I've got a lot to learn in terms of design and careful planning, but you learn a lot more doing it than learning theory in a lecture. Anyway I'm going off on a tangent, back to the work at hand!
I think its honestly been about 5 months since I spent the night staring at lines and lines of code, but so far its been worth it. We have the framework for our first iPhone game, I think i've done as much as I can before Kris comes in and gut's my amazing programmer artwork but once he's done this will look great.
Onto other things!
Instead of sleeping, I've opted to spend the night looking over my "half-done" projects and deciding what can and cannot be saved, judging from what I made last year things seem to have improved. Part of me wants to dig up Lazarus and boot into UDK again, but I know that once I open that can of worms I wont get off it for a few months. Which is a shame because I really think Lazarus has potential, shame we never got it funded!
I've recently been speaking to a couple of other game developers that went the crowd funding route and found that its not rare that funding falls through, I tend to find that a working prototype can actually motivate people towards helping out an indie studio, but that may just be on IndieGoGo? Any suggestions anyone?
I'm funding this for myself for the time being anyway, staying well away from crowd funding until I think that a project that i'm working on has any sort of commercial value, and then and only then will I start poking around for funding. I mean if I can't make this off of my own back then how can I expect someone else to put there hard earned cash behind it.
We hope you've had a great 2010, we are really looking forward to 2011.
Some new projects to announce along with a look at the changes we've made to Aaarghmageddon.
Anyway, We hope you've had a good year and wish you all the best for the 2011, you'll be hearing a lot more from us!
How things can quickly get out of hand…
Talking to Kris after both of our funding projects fell through on a crowd funding site (IndieGoGo.com), we decided to meet up and talk about making a game together. Originally we had planned to make a game called iSpy, a puzzler game where you have to race across the level in a certain time to stay alive, we even had a prototype working within a week of starting it.
We decided to meet up after a week of development in a pub in London, after talking for a while about iSpy we joked about creating a zombie game, I mentioned a couple of ideas that I had and Kris did the same, the next day we had decided that the zombie game might have more appeal so we started to create “Aaarghmageddon”.
Things at the moment
Things at the moment pretty much took a back-seat while I studied for my degree along with work to pay the rent, however next year I'm free from all of that so I will be working full-time on a few projects for Rampant Studios. The most "Complete" game which we are currently testing out is Aaarghmageddon, however we plan on changing the whole style of it after trying out numerous play-styles for it.
We felt the best course of action was to start over and create a 2D version with better graphics, a more stable system and a huge improvement in game-play.
Rampant Studios is now working with DreamFever, which is ran by ex-Jagex artist Kris Fosh, to create our current games.
After an attempt to fund Lazarus fell through, things slowly ground to a halt as stuff like paying the rent caught up with me. However in the new year I plan to restart the development of the project
without any funding bids until there is something more concrete for people to get behind. I plan on doing this by working on several small games which can be quickly developed and releasing a couple of current games on the mobile markets.
That's pretty much everything that I've been doing recently, other than working frantically to get coursework on track and completing design documents. I'm really looking forward to getting started in the new year and really getting into the projects. This year has been amazing so far with the set-up of my own business and meeting some fascinating people along the way. I look forward to seeing you all in the new year!
Where have we been?
Well in the past couple of months, I have been trying to drum up sources of income for the studio. As you may remember we tried out the crowd-funding route and that didn't seem to have too much success, instead of giving up on the idea completely I decided to take another route towards the final goal of getting Lazarus ready.
We decided to take on several contracts to generate some money along with working with DreamFever, a London based art group, to create a side project which is close to release.
What about Lazarus?
Sadly, development has slowed right down for the project, buts it has not stopped. I believe our initial goals were set too high and we hoped to achieve too much, too soon. Bamboo Raven have been great with their artwork, even releasing some animation work for the characters, they will be used in the game. It's just been a shame that things slowed down so much, but what can you do? We all have bills to pay and stomachs to feed.
A Thank You
Thank you to everyone who believed in us for Lazarus, we will not let you down, if you would like a refund on your donations as well, please get in touch with me (Contact details are on the IndieGoGo site).
What Rampant Studios has been up-to?
The last week we have managed to implemented the majority of the systems that Lazarus: The missing memory will need for the tech demo. These include the Hotbar switching for spells, the experience system (Allowing the player to gain levels by completing goals, achievements and killing enemies), the AI for the guards (Causing them to search and destroy the player and follow guard routes) and the Menus for the game.
Why don't we show that off?
We are waiting for the tech demo to come around so we can fully show what we are up-to to the public, at the moment we are in the polishing stages for everything to make sure it works as we have planed along with getting things added in. All will be shown very soon!
Bamboo Ravens eye candy
Over the past month Bamboo Raven has been pushing out consistently great artwork, ranging from character concepts to fully blown 3D models. As the tech demo is approaching they are working over-time just to make sure everything looks perfect. You can see some of their fantastic artwork below (or in our gallery!)
In the next few weeks you can expect to see a lot of activity behind the project as we make our final push towards the demo. We are still running a crowd funding behind the project (To pay for development costs / feed the team) and if you would like to get involved please make sure to check out our IndieGoGo project - http://www.indiegogo.com/Lazarus if you can't help fund us, please share this to your friends and family, every little helps!
A couple of questions
We are always grateful for what the community think's of the project, as such we would like to ask what people would like to see in the tech demo. Be it some game-play you would like to see or the sort of magic Lazarus will be using. After the demo has been released we hope to build on the feedback provided to us to provide a game that people would like to play.