Thursday, 29 July 2010

Screenshot time!

Not much can be said today, other than CHECK OUT ALL THOSE BAD GUYS!

We're well chuffed, as we've got a ton of different enemies in-game now, with tons of different attributes, skills and whatnot. the game is really coming along nicely now. Maybe we're not far off a video? Hmmm...

Anyway, here's the best picture of the lot so far:


We have zombies who grab and bite, Ninjas who fight like you do, Hotdoggers who slap you in the face with barely disguised disdain (and then try to trip you up), as well as the Thugs who just try to punch you in the face. Best place to punch someone, so I'm told. Then there's the Spacemen who seem to have forgotten that it's not zero gravity in Knuckle Sandwich and spend their time jumping around, and occasionally on your head.

There may not be an update tomorrow - because Jon and myself are travelling to Essex. We'll try to update with something though. Promise we'll try.

Toodle-oo for now!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Say hi!

Hi!

This is Pete. He is Alternate Player Character 2. He is also brand new as of about 5 minutes ago. He likes jogging, and making people feel uneasy with his choice of attire. The less said about his expression the better.

Can you guess where he's inspiration came from? Clues: an old achool acting hero of mine, and a little-known (but hilarious) BBC comedy about a failure of a man.


Answer:

A weird combination of Vincent Price, and Dan from How Not To Live Your Life

If you don't know either of these people, you need to sort your viewing habits out :)

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Birthday Update

Right, it's my 28th Birthday today, and to celebrate (and because we promised yesterday) we've got an image-heavy update for you.

Less words than normal too.

Honestly, I'm stopping typi-...

Would you like some explanation?

I'm in a playful mood, so some clues are what you're getting instead. Ok, from the top - Trip Hawkins, Robo Love and 2001. Bring on tomorrow.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Slow days.

So on a slow Monday, where no 'real work' has been done on Knuckle Sandwich, what could I talk about?

Well the topic of time well spent appears to be worthwhile. I spent a really amazing weekend in London thanks in no small part to 'S', James and Kraig - and got back off the train this morning at around 10am. After settling in and emailing the various new industry contacts I made on Sunday, all of a sudden it was lunchtime, and that meant it was jog time too (6 laps today, feel the burn!).

Then we had lunch bought for us - a very nice treat by the canal - and before we got back it was 3pm. A few more important emails, some research and a glass of water or two later, and it's the end of the day. Where did it all go?

It's very easy to procrastinate, and though I have opened my art package of choice, and jon has loaded up the code, neither of us has made any tangible contribution to the game today. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing - far from it. Sometimes you need to get your head up out of the sand, take a breath and look around.

We've talked about the game plenty today, and having a fairly stop-start 9-5 has meant we know exactly what we're going to do next. Sometimes having a big list of stuff to churn through is good but too often the objective becomes clearing the list rather than thinking its contents through and making sensible decisions.

So no 'real' work done, but nonetheless the day has benefitted the project.

I know that pictures are nice though, so I promise it'll be a nice image-based update tomorrow.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Told you.

See, this is the zombie - walking his way over to your face, ready for a chomp on a chump.

Today saw him getting prepped for the game properly (all in a nice sprite sheet now) and then work continuing on with the Hot Dog guy you may have sneaked a peek at on our Twitpic updates.

The thing with zombies is that we're aware they're cliched, yet a game like ours doesn't seem whole without them in it. Them's the breaks. Deal with it.



But in gameplay, he proves an interesting variation. Essentially a 'grabber', this guy will wander over (slowly) and try to grab you, then bite you. So far so normal. He also takes a hell of a beating on the way. Again pretty standard stuff.

Oh, were you waiting for me to give you some amazing insight into how our zombie is different from all the others? Well there isn't one really.

He fits the 'bruiser, gets close' mould perfectly, and you'll know exactly how to deal with him and what to worry about when you see him in the game. That's something I think is sorely underestimated these days - the value of simply seeing a screenful of game and being able to tell exactly what you're up against, and what kind of fun you're going to have dealing with it.

Cliches work for a reason, and their powers are misused too often in games.

So we have ninjas, zombies, robots, spacemen... what else is missing?

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Revamp your tramp...

...or your Ninja!

Because the first two sprites I did for Knuckle Sandwich were my first two for a game EVER (the Player Character and the Ninja) they left a lot to be desired.

And that's an understatement. There's a reason you've only seen them in screenshots, and I'm grateful to Jon for being so encouraging as I fumbled my way into pixel art. Anyway, the main problem was continuity, and a consistent level of polish. the next load I did (Hotdog Man, Astronaut, Zombie et al) were way better. Still not amazing, but better - more than good enough to make people smile.

So I've spent the day re-doing the Ninja - at least to the point where his new look can be pixel-pushed all over his frames of animation - and this is how he looked before (left, being smacked in the face for being such a bad attempt) and now (right). A tiny bit better don't you think?


So the rest of the day was spent - after finally settling on the Ninja's hot new look worrying about grabbing poses, and bringing the Zombie to (after)life. Or maybe that should be drawing the zombies frames of (re)animation.

Tee hee!
Either way he'll be the next bad guy in the game. We've actually got a lot to talk about now that we haven't yet - especially regarding the awesome front end we're getting in. If you've played Run Away, you'll know roughly what to expect.

Come back tomorrow for the last update of the week!


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Daily update 2 of 2, as promised.

So second update then!

A sneak peek at the nearly finished (the font is going to change) Title Screen.



Bask in the dithered glory of the gradient sunset :)

Update 1 of 2 - to make it up to ya'll!

So we failed to update yesterday, and as penance we're going to do two today.

First up, here's the image we're talking about:


So what we've got here is the first implementation of the between-wave transition panel, which simply announce to the player what wave they're about to fight, and a rough guide to hard the game thinks it'll be is hinted at through the background graphic - cunning, no?

We're also planning to have the player repeat the waves but against tougher enemies, until they get too hungry to continue (or until they die with a MASSIVE score). That's where the 'round' comes in. How many rounds of waves of fiendish enemies can you survive?

The big thing with this is making it polished enough that it looks nice, but without interrupting the play flow too much. We've got the transition taking up about 5 seconds at the moment, with a bit of bounce and sound effects to come. The panel flies on from a random direction, shows the player what they need to know, then flies off again, all without interrupting the feeling of playing the game - levels without loading screens. Neato!

Come back later today for another update! Because we feel bad! :)

Monday, 19 July 2010

Daily update... lite

In this world of dieting fads and that sort of malarkey, we bring you a 'lite' update.

We've been working all day, the two of us in the conservatory. It has been hot, thirsty work but we got shit done. That shit being the following:

Emailed upwards of 40 people. Crazy. Catching up after Develop, following up on various opportunities, applying Knuckle Sandwich for the Indie Arcade competition, and other things that are admittedly less interesting or relevant to the project.

Jon also demanded we sit down and do some real work - I agreed, he has a point - so we've planned out (and he has been implementing) a nice inter-wave system of prompts, rewards and whoosh-y transitions to compel you to beat your way further through the hordes of bad guys... or if you should fail it might offer you some kind words and encourage you to get back into the fight. For now it functions with my hastily prepared placeholder art, which shall be made all cool and shiny tomorrow, or later this evening.

We might pop a photo up later too, maybe not of the game, but of our working environment for those who are curious...

All the best, and see you all tomorrow for another exciting installment!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Laying in the summer breeze.

Or should that be lying about the force 10 gales?

Seriously, the single biggest impact I felt the entire time was the wind on Wednesday night after the GI.biz/Develop Awards after party (and bear in mind that included - amongst other delightful, exciting and exhilarating things - a Pimm's appreciation session and more free drinks than I could spend vouchers on - I actually ended up leaving with more than when I arrived).

Walking from the Hilton to the party took 10 minutes. Going back took half an hour. Very amusing and kinda fun, but Jesus it was Mother Nature at her most buffeting.

Anyway, let me take you back to the start of the week, I'll talk you through what's been happening in detail as an apology for the lack of daily updates.

DISCLAIMER: You may feel I go a bit off topic every now and then, dwelling on seemingly pointless diversions, but bear with me.

First up this blog was set up as an honest and un-filtered look into the development of Knuckle Sandwich.

Secondly, I like to think that some of the details reveal something of my personality and that gives this blog a unique side.

Finally, technically everything that happened at the conference affected our experiences of the show, and clearly of the work we did/didn't do on the project.

Here we go (it's long)...

Day 1 - Monday:

Arriving in the UK after a 3 day bachelor party in Amsterdam (including the World Cup final...) meant getting up at 6am. Not fun. Nevertheless Jon and myself went home, unpacked, rested momentarily and then repacked to come down to Brighton - our first time in this wonderful city. After 2 and a half hours of cruising down the sun-baked motorways of Essex, London, Kent and Sussex, we arrived with a bit of MIA blaring on the stereo, and decamped at Pete's place.

Pete is Jon's sister's boyfriend, a laid back and incredibly nice young man who also 'does art' for Blackrock Studios. He had offered to put us up for the week, and even trusted us with a spare key. Incredibly kind of him, it also saved us poor Indies a butt-ton of money.

So then we headed into town for a drink and dinner with the mighty and mightily talented Adam Boyes (he used to run the Product Development department at Capcom US). I first met Adam Boyes a good few years ago when I was at Leipzig with Proper Games, when I had to cold-call the Capcom booth in an attempt to sign our game. Long story cut short, I successfully pitched Flock! to him, and that was the start of a really good friendship.

So he's recently done the right thing too and set up by himself as Beefy Media, and we thought it'd be ace to catch up. Taking Jon with me, we had a couple of beers and decided we needed food. On recognising the always-smiling Tim Flett of Escape Studios earlier on in the hotel bar, I thought it'd be a good idea to ask if he knew a good restaurant... and then the five of us had a few drinks, got to know each other. Tim was there chatting to Mike Cox from Monumental, so we all shook hands and started more went for dinner and some partying - that lasted until around 3:30am.

Fun, but ouchy.

Anyway what that meant is, wonderfully, we now have someone interested in talking to us (and vice versa) about browser-based plugin technology, and what might well be a good alternative to Unity. So the lesson learned here is - use any (decent or believable) excuse to walk over to a known face - you'll be introduced to their friends and colleagues. This has happened to me many a time before so I can vouch for it. In fact some of my best friends around the world I have only met through this.

It's essentially like walking up to a hot girl in a bar, but with slightly less chance of being rudely snubbed and losing face!

Day 2 - Tuesday:

The first day of the conference, dubbed Evolve, saw me heading in to register and collect my pass (the free one) and then trying to flirt/charm/force my way in to the full thing. To their credit the lovely (and helpful) volunteers put up with my attempts to blag and I spent most of the day hanging in the lobby, drinking water, and recovering from the night before.

It meant I saw a lot of people, some recognisable and some not, and met up with the chaps and chapettes from Abertay Dundee, where I went to study Computer Arts between 2000 and 2004.

Honestly I got a bit bored standing around a lot - Jon couldn't leave the house for fear of leaving it left open and unlocked, and mostly I just killed time in various manners. But that was fine because later on I met Toby Allen an old friend of mine who is currently a jet setting producer - we chatted business with his current employer and then went for lunch. We randomly meet up, Toby and I, every other year or so. It's the weirdest thing, and inexplicable - neither of us can really remember where or how we met, but every time we do we have a giggle.

Anyway, this time we went to catch up over lunch (unexpectedly vegetarian goodness at Food for Friends - yum) and put the world to rights with a bit of hair of the dog. Not sure it worked, but we definitely were on the right track with discussions on how to manage teams of various sizes, the way we see various production methodologies working, and how to budget properly.

Heading back to the Hilton we joined in the ice breaker drinks, where I caught up with the most enthusiastic man in recruitment - Pete from Jagex - and introduced him to the group - as soon as he caught wind of Tinka's Norwegian origins he went off on a proper rant about how amazing Norway is - of course the Nordic scene is gaining momentum, a country with a stable economy, pricey amenities and beautiful scenery no more than 3 or 4 hours from London on a plane this was good to know. They have a relatively short history with games, but plenty of room to rise up as a hotbed.

Later on Jon, Toby, Tinka and I went for a bite to eat at Zizzi's and had a giggle at the expense of Toby's card bill when he stays in Norway. After a yummy pizza and an incredibly weak tasting Italian beer, Jon headed home (he's been poorly all week really) and the rest of us had a pint at the nearest pub. Bumping into more conference people there was no real surprise, and in an attempt to get a real sense of Brighton's nightlife Toby and myself headed to Life, under the arches.

If anyone has been there they'll know what to expect - a nice enough place playing RnB, with a seemingly inflatable hot tub. Narrowly avoiding being peer-pressured into it was an experience, but more importantly the atmosphere (and this proved to be consistent the whole week) in Brighton - and bear in mind this is on a Tuesday night - is simply brilliant. People of all styles, appearances, preferences and clich├ęs were gathered in the same place enjoying themselves immensely. This may well explain why studios as different in their outlook as Blackrock, Zoe Mode and Relentless set up here - and it's something that has really endeared me to this city.

So 3am comes and goes, and I head up the wooden hill.

Day 3 - Wednesday:

The next morning I was beginning to feel a little rough around the edges (repeated shots followed by multiple rum and cokes will do that to you) but had a meeting with Aardvark Swift to attend.

The meeting was really eye opening - my company is a one man band, and Knuckle Sandwich is a two man collaboration so I wouldn't have been surprised if the meeting had gone very briefly, but Hollie and her colleagues talked to me about some very cool and interesting opportunities. Some were clearly motivated by our mutual benefit, but at the same time news that they are considering expanding their really cool Search for a Star award in the future was heartening to say the least.

I have to apologise to them though, as a very pretty girl was sat at the table nearby having a few meetings as well, and I kept sneaking a cheeky glance over at her. I know it's a tiny bit off topic, but I thought I'd mention it because it was something that affected my work that day, much like all the alcohol - and that gets mentioned a lot too. Wouldn't want to be biased. Anyway, hi girl at the table. Hope you had a good day!

Also of note was the hideously slow amount of time it took the tea to get served later that morning - like literally about 10 minutes from standing right at the bar to receiving the still-needed-to-brew mixture.

Aaanyway, I somehow managed to get myself a free internet access card for the helpful ladies at the front desk, and did a bit of time killing until Adam Boyes caught me and we talked business. He got to see a nice pre-alpha build of Knuckle Sandwich, and we talked both of our business aims - a very cool catch up as you never know what might happen in the future with people as talented and driven as him.

That afternoon I caught a free talk on narrative that was good, if a little rushed towards the end. The examples the lady (need to find her name!) made about her work on Tomb Raider 4 made it all the more interesting.

That evening Adam, Toby, Tinka and me went to Jamie Oliver's Italian Place, a really nice place that served good food. Some was excellent, some was a little disappointing, but the value was ace. Recommended if you ever end up in Brighton.

Afterwards we made our way to the GI.biz / Develop Awards after party, early so as to secure good seats which we found in the carpeted section, and proceeded to use as many of the free drinks vouchers as possible. The only time we did differently was when I found out the group we were with (an interesting technical artist from Relentless joined us too) had never experienced a good Pimm's, and so the education began.

The entire night was epic in so many ways, and some of the repeatable highlights include failing miserably to take photos for a new set of contacts, failing to give another contact my phone number (some reason my card wasn't good enough!), failing to keep my glacial cool when exiting the Boy's room and finding myself skidding across a slippery puddle of spilled drink (though I didn't make contact with the ground, thank god) and also failing to stay sober. That's a lot of fail, but there was some win too, so don't worry too much on my behalf.

Also, side note - Tameem Antoniades is a totally lovely guy, spoke to him m for almost a whole 5 minutes and he left a really caring and easy going impression on me. Ace guy, hope he says hi on the email. I was actually introduced to him twice, but that's no bad thing!

Day 4 - Thursday:

So after 1 hours sleep (not the record you may initially think, over the course of the day I found people who had simply not slept, and had gone to get breakfast at 6am after still technically being on their 'night out' :)

Of course, this meant there was a much slower pace that day, and despite managing to grab a proper pass, there just wasn't the energy of the day before, either side of the conference divide.

I spent the morning in the hotel lounge nursing tea, and waited for a meeting that didn't happen due to the smallest of mistakes (wrong phone number) and then managed to snag a few sips of hot choccy from another hang-over nursing attendee which actually only made the hangover worse.

So, weirdly, my craving for sushi led me to Yo Sushi at lunch. Had a giggle with a new friend, who kindly (and fortunately) brought up the free ice cream. Relentless had paid for a van to give soft whip to anyone with a conference pass (anyone with few enough teeth, and a scary enough stare... weird story). If you know me, you'll know I got a little too excited at the prospect, and continually spent more effort walking into the wind than is reasonable - the weather had been windy as hell for a full day and night by this time, but the promise of soft vanilla ice cream was enough to keep me motivated :)

Oddly by the time I got the Hilton I'd forgotten about the van (even though it was parked outside... must have been the cumulative effects of the various late nights) so instead I went and sat at Tameem's talk about Alex Garland and their new game at Ninja Theory. It looks great, and the studio should have a big hit on its hands when they release it.

Remembering my previous excited quest I then headed out for a free ice cream with Adam, then got free beer at the hilarious (and in one example weirdly preachy) Opinion Jam, hosted by a hilarious chap who's name escapes me, but apparently works at Telltale. The idea was for members of the audience to walk up to the podium, and try to convince the rest of us of an opinion.

Pretty wildly different, topics covered included the idea that tax breaks would kill the industry's future, that games demos are killing it now, and that games are generally too big and too sprawling to make financial sense for developers to make. A call for compact and polished games, essentially. Also, someone misguidedly tried to preach to the audience about their own product - a free games paper - but the very amusing Ellie Gibson saved the day by saying that instead of focusing on getting women into (men's) games, we should try to get men into 'girls' games... Just Dance et al. She had a point too, and won the audience shout-vote by a country mile.

That done, we headed for the lounge again and caught up with some people I met at the party the night before, while waiting to go for (more) sushi with Mark Rein (him from Epic) Greg Zeschuk (him from Bioware) and 9 other industry types. All way more important and influential than little old me, but thanks go to Adam for inviting me too. Very kind of him. I ended up eating very yummy (but very slowly delivered) sushi, washed down with crisp Japanese beer and fruity cool sake. I have to apologise for not remembering the names of the other people at the table, I am a bit terrible at remembering them and never got a chance to exchange cards, but they were all interesting and bright people.

Afterwards we headed for drinks, losing Adam and Mark on the way (it was the end of a loooooong week) so the remainder of us sat with interesting beers (turns our Dr Greg loves to try new beers and ales...) and talked new paradigms and the challenges of development these days before moving along back to the hotel lounge again and sat shooting the shit for a few more hours. Mark was there, sat at his iPad so we joined him, and it turns out none of the group had ever had a Pimm's at all. Weirdly cyclic, but easily fixed, as the boys behind the bar at the Hilton jumped into service generating 2 lovely pitches of the stuff. After a short bit of ribbing about the fruitiness of the proposed drink, the guys and gals all really liked the concoction, and conversation turned to how you'd market it in the US of A.

More people drifted off, as Ellie and a group of her friends turned up, so we joined them and I had to sit there fighting off drunken sleep after foolishly attempting to make rose with Red and White wines. It might've worked, but it just made me sleepy - a glass of water helped to stave it off so I could enjoy Dr Greg, Ellie and the rest's company for a bit more. I finally gave in at around 4:40am, and after announcing my imminent arrival Greg kindly asked for my business card. He may never email, but it was nice because I thought we got on quite well, drinking and chatting about the things we had in common. A really nice, charming, unassuming, bright and funny man.

A lovely end to a lovely time, all told.

Lessons learned?

But what did I gain, except a near student-like ability to take drink and a small ache in my neck from all the bottle-sipping? Well there have been enough words I'm sure we all agree, so here are some hard figures for you.

4 days spent
£300 spent
26 business cards collected
35 follow up emails sent
2 follow up phone calls to make
6 individual potential business opportunities generated
100+ totally new experiences lived through

Overall score: 10/10 :)

Seriously though I hope you don't think this was an account of a debaucherous trip to Brighton. The conference is only half of the reason to go; meeting people, getting to know them and making contacts are just as important. I went along with minimal preparation (only 3 meetings booked for definite) and still I am absolutely sure it was both immensely enjoyable on almost every level, and also immeasurably valuable.

Cannot wait till next year.

PS: typos will be fixed when it's not midnight.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

High-backed chairs...

...are apparently the hip and happening place in which to tap away at keyboards judging by the amount of people doing so at Develop right now.

They're tall, sleek, and weirdly uncomfortable, but not in the same way as any other uncomfortable chair I've ever sat in. Peculiar, and typical of the conference world.

Anyway, a quick update between meetings and talks, I'm schmoosing and spotting friends to chat to, while Jon had a dose of guilt and has headed back to the flat we're staying in to do work.

Excitingly enough, some people might well get a sneak peek at Knuckle Sandiwch here, and if that happens I'll be sure to post about it, and twitter and all that stuff.

Adam Boyes from Beefy Media was kind enough to embarass me yesterday at his talk about convergence, so say hi if you were there!

Apologies for the lack of update yesterday too, I feel really bad about it. Simple thing to do, I just never got a chance to. Bad Smithy, no twinky for me.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Back, and then gone again.

Just enough time in our busy jet-set schedule to say 'hi' after a wonderful stag weekend celebrating Drew's upcoming nuptuals in August. Amsterdam was great - the sun was shining, the beer flowed cold and delicious and the football... well that was made up for by the atmosphere in the park where we watched it. Simply put, a brilliant weekend celebrating a brilliant mate.

Anyway, before we hop off this afternoon to drive down to Brighton for the Develop Conference, I thought we'd keep the posts daily. I'm hoping to do the same this whole week, but with minimal developing going on it might turn into more of a treatise on why all games conferences should be held at the seaside. Or bemoaning the fact I drop every icecream ever handed to me.

So, alas, today is info-light. Sorry - but this is a diary, and this is still technically talking about what we're doing :)

For now, see ya'll tomorrow!

PS: Want to meet us at the conference? Email me - andrew dot smith at spiltmilkstudios dot com!


Friday, 9 July 2010

From the ether...

Hi guys, this post is a remotely-scheduled one because the two of us are in Amsterdam. Brilliantly enough we'll get to see the world cup final with Holland (hopefully) beating Spain, and also get up to all sorts of mischief.

But enough of that, what of Knuckle Sandwich?

Well if you take a look at the image below, you can see some progress (if you've been paying attention). The main thing you'll see different from our older images, and which I've mentioned before, is the arena borders. Essentially, we hate it when you're playing something like Streets of Rage, and you get to a point where all the enemies end up off the edge of the screen, you place yourself on that edge and then punch your way to clearing the screen without seeing any action. Nobody likes that. So we've put in place a limited area on-screen that you and the enemies can fight in.

To sell this feature to the player, we need a series of objects that suggest impassability, while staying in the theme of the level's background. No forcefields in the streets of NY for us! So the biggest addition recently was a first attempt to clutter the edges of the screen with barrels, bins, litter and barriers without making it look stupid.

Then we realised we need to make sure this arena wall was sold consistently across not only the left and right edges, but the top and bottom too. Notice the two varieties of fence we've chosen to do this with. We think it works quite well, and are happy to iterate on it for the future.


That's it for today, tune in on Monday for another picture and some more insight into our thinking!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Newsworthy?!

Once more we've been granted a very kind article by the indie press, this time over at the great site DIY Gamer.

They've said some nice things about us, and for that we are eternally grateful :)

Today's an odd day, we're getting SFX into the game so we're not really going to be able to show you that in screenshot form. We'll still fire something up though, don't you worry.

Yesterday's progress was mainly hindered by moving from Nuneaton in Warwickhire to Hatifeld Heath in Essex for a week or two's development. We have two offices, how snazzy of us!

However what we did do yesterday was put in some nice background graphics to the arena, and I've posted one of them in the Screenshots section. Check them out! They're first pass, and I'm going to make sure they do the game justice - we're hoping to put multiple backgrounds into the game so that each Round has a new visual twist... but we can't promise anything at this stage. In particular the objects to the left and right of the screen are more of a test. They're not interactive, they're just designed to provide a visual clue as to the boundaries of the arena without resorting to invisible walls - which we all hate.

Keep checking back for more...

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

First press - pop those corks, we've arrived!

The kind and talented chaps over at Gamergeddon have done a nice ickle preview of Knuckle Sandwich, and we furnished them with some exclusive screenshots of our latest (but still very early) build. Exciting!

We'll be firing them up here eventually, but for now head on over to check them out, then come back here and lavish us with praise :)

PS: Jon says 'hi'

New character unveiled!

This is Rabbit Man!


He likes coffee, jumping, and boxing (must be the Hare in him). We'll see how this translates into the game, but rest assured you'll be smacking him in the face just as much as the rest of them.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

In the beginning there was only light...

...because we work in a conservatory and it is really really sunny today.

So this is officially day one of the dev blog, but really it's about day 15 of the project. I forget now precisely how many days it's been since I quit the mainstream industry and set up Spilt Milk, but the day Jon told me he was joining in the quest for indie happiness was one I'll never forget!

He totally ruined all my plans, and I had to hastily rethink the next few months ;)

We decided we've got enough time to try a few ways of making enough money to survive on indie games, one of them being something on xblig. Conventional wisdom suggests we're not going to make a mint, but we've got something pretty cool up our sleeves, and we're not stopping with this project anyway, we'll be crossig platforms as well as genres. So nerr.

First up, a little bit about the game - Knuckle Sandwich is a single-screen 2D brawler, styled after Final Fight and Streets of Rage, but with the wave and score mentality of something like ODST's Firefight mode.

We're hoping to provide a real retro slice of classic action, but brought up to date with some snazzy effects, cool moves and exciting powerups.

Now that the blurb is out of the way, I can tell you a bit about today's development.

The interesting thing about being an indie is that you can tell yourself when to work, and what on. So while I did some background art pixel pushing and Jon tinkered with a bit more AI code, we also allowed ourselves to spend time on various other little bits and bobs:

Dustbin
Drinks Can (4 colours)
Choccy Bar
Crisp Packet
Barrier (reversed)
Oildrum (empty)
Oildrum (full)
Paper
Leaflet
AI: Wandering Behaviour
Blog setup
Emails (various websites, press contacts and other interested/interesting parties)
Develop blog draft

On the not-necessarily-work-related list we have:

20 minute jog
Dog walk
Dog lying-to
Ball throwing
Stencilling (shh, it's a secret)
Lunch making
Tea drinking
Joke cracking

Obviously because this is the first post we've gone into extra detail, and the yawnsome bits will be left out in the future.

Today's biggest thing was really the emailing and setting up of this blog. We're keen to be open and friendly with any fans and the community we're trying to build here. We're not shy about showing people the game in its earliest stages, and we hope that this development diary will help give you guys out there an insight into the excitement that is indie development.

We're trying to build up awareness of not just the brand but also the game we're making. We know it's the community who end up buying the jubbly toys we make so we want to do anything we can to a) let them know we exist, and b) give them a reason - beyond promises of being an ace game - to stick with us.

Hell if you really want to, email me at andrew dot smith at spiltmilkstudios dot com.

Go on; send me a funny link, I'll plonk it up here tomorrow.

There's a lot of other good sources of this kind of thing out there already, but by contributing our small amount we can only hope to strengthen the community and contribute in a meaningful way.
So as a recap for those that don't know:
Here is our daily TwitPic update page (latest - zombie *yawn*!)
Here is our Twitter feed

Hopefully see you tomorrow for more ramblings!

Have a lovely interim :)

PS: Our good buddy Defdefire made this, it is wonderful. Hint: Dreamcast, Jet Set Radio, Anniversary. Nuff said.

Welcome!

Hi everyone, and welcome to our new home.

This is the blog where we'll be making regular updates on the development of Knuckle Sandwich, our upcoming XBL Indie Game.

We'll try to make the updates daily (well, every weekday, plus maybe once or twice on the weekends) and we'll try to make it all interesting - open development being the future and all that! The main thing is, what with the small matter of celebrating our mutual friend Drews' imminent marriage, and then the Develop conference in Brighton to attend next week, content will be a bit thinner on the ground than we'd like, but we'll endeavour to update as much as humanly possible regardless.

We've got a Twitter feed, links to our images, and we do a daily image update regardless - again on the weekdays.

I should point out that 'we' is myself Andrew J Smith, Game Designer and owner of Spilt Milk Studios and Jon Keatley, Coder and owner of Joncorp. Andrew previously worked at, among other place, Proper Games Ltd where he designed Flock! and Final Fight: Double Impact, while Jon is the multi-talented mathemagician behind XBL Indie hit Run Away!.

Its gonna be informal, unregulated, and a bit of fun as a result. Check back regularly for more, or follow Spilt Milk Studios on Twitter.