PLAY Expo Manchester 2017 was a fantastic weekend, packed to the rafters with everything gaming. From an almost exhausting amount of arcade cabinets, through to the next big indie hits. The show benefited from an embarrassment of indie riches, but I would like to highlight seven of these indies which stood out for me.
Balance of Kingdoms – WoksOn Studios
Balance of Kingdomsis a multiplayer indie game where you seek to build your kingdom on top of a balance beam. Castles, towers, cannons, and villager dwellings are all required, and must be carefully placed to avoid toppling your own settlement. Once the building phase is done, you start attacking your opponent in order to knock them off-balance.
The quick-yet-versatile building mechanics bring a tactical element to Balance of Kingdoms. The battle portion of each round is sensationally satisfying when it goes your way, and entertainingly enraging when…
Over 6 years ago I began putting together a PC sequel to my Android gravity platformer SuperCube, called HyperCube. Little did I know at the time that the game would completely change twice throughout it’s development. It started out as the aforementioned HyperCube which then quickly became the cartoony You can Double JUMP which a little under a year ago finally became what it is today, a neon platformer called Super Lumi Live.
Fast forwarding to this very day and I couldn’t be happier to announce my love letter to some of my favourite 2D platformers is ready for the world!
My publishing partner, Flying Interactive and I have decided to launch with a 15% discount through Steam for the first week which ends on 12th September. I also wanted to celebrate by uploading a sneak peak of one of my favourite levels from the final Season, The Core. It’s level 5-5 and it’s called Hot Rocks. I love this level because it’s a pure test to the limits of your precision platforming skills.
So Steam Greenlight is long over and unfortunately Super Lumi Live didn’t get through. To over 300 of you who voted yes, thank you so much for supporting the game and wanting to see it on Steam. All is not lost though because with the help of my publishing partner Flying Interactive, we’ve used Steam Direct to get onto the store instead.Implementing Steam’s features using Riley Labrecque’s excellent C# wrapper for Steamworks was a not too terrible experience. That’s glowing praise in my view considering how cumbersome some other stores back-ends are.
The game takes advantage of Steam’s stats and achievements and I’ve got to say that implementing the achievement system was a lot of fun! I settled on a direct messaging system which uses key events during the game like LevelStart or GameCleared to tell the achievements what the game is doing. I then use a static class called AchievementBlackboard to throw any data there that the achievements want to know about during their update call.When coming up with achievement ideas I tried to follow the principle of having no easy ones like “First Level Complete!” or “You Jumped Once!”. I instead wanted as many of the achievements as I could to be a challenge which fell outside of the normal context of the game. Achievements like “Hot Coals” which is awarded by clearing a level under the 2-Star time target while also being in the air for over 95% of the time.Statistics are exactly that. It tracks a few things and puts them into a handy list and also saves them to your Steam account.
The game tracks your achievements on Steam and on an individual in-game profile seperately. In a future patch I’ll add the ability to sync up the Steam ones with any achievements awarded on your profile. This will also be handy if Steam can’t initialise properly within the game for whatever reason.The game now also comes with an error reporter so that in the unfortunate event that something goes wrong, you can be rest assured, if you click OK, that I will get what is known as a stack trace sent to an email account from which I can pinpoint the exact line of offending code. These little extra things really make me happy when they work 🙂Thanks for reading,
Since the initial alpha release of Super Lumi Live the game has been saving everyone’s best replays and version 0.12 finally allows you to play them back!
There a few features still missing such as time controls and tombstones but the system is pretty stable now (on v0.12.2) and I’m happy with how accurate the playback is. In v0.12.0, the player animation prediction use to get a bit screwy which sometimes resulting in epic moonwalks like the one below.
Ghosts were added to the latest build (v0.12.2). These holographic versions of Lumi allow you to race against yourself and help you see which routes will shave off enough fractions of a second to get a 3-Star Medal.
Super Lumi Live will soon be on Steam and with that comes the ability to easily download replays to watch or compete against. You’ll even be able to watch the best replays in the world to see exactly how some players get ridiculously quick times.
So next up will be me looking forward to getting everything set up with Steam and their Steamworks API. Achievements is to be next on the agenda and then back to polishing the remaining levels and testing the game ready for it’s gold launch hopefully by the end of August.
I hope you enjoyed the trailer and if given the opportunity to release on Steam I will take full advantage of the Steamworks API to bring Achievements, Leaderboards and Workshop functionality to Super Lumi Live. With Steam Workshop supporting the game, sharing and playing custom Levels will be incredibly easy and I positively can’t wait to see what kind of Levels the community comes up with.
When it comes to designing real-time games, one of the most important aspects is the feel of the controls. Another important factor is the degree to which those controls can be mastered. This skill range is how far apart the skill floor and ceilings are in a game.
Generally it’s best to have the skill floor as low as possible for maximum accessibility but also have a high skill ceiling to allow players to continually get better at the game and still enjoy it for years to come.Continue reading →
Whether you love speedrunning or exploration, the first 2 worlds containing 17 levels are ready to be torn through at lightning speeds or scoured meticulously for Bonus Level warps and hidden Gold Tokens.
The game will be updated on a weekly basis ranging from fixes and tweaks to new features and of course, more levels!
A big thank you to all those who purchased the game, I hope you are all having a lot of fun speedrunning and collecting in the neon world of Super Lumi Live.