Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Creatures Online: live session round up

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

Creatures Online is now over and we would like to thank all the 85 of you who were on the chat and TUNED in to our Q/A. Special thanks to the ambassadors who helped in moderating this wonderful session. Our final thank is for ProSiebenSat.1 Games and Bigben Interactive who support us in our efforts.

Over 190 persons have seen the recorded version that was available on our twitch channel. Unfortunately this video has been deleted by Twitch.tv. But thanks to HelloInterloper, a version with the live chat has been recorded as well. And for those who haven’t seen those videos yet, you will be pleased to find below a third version with devs annotations.

We were extremely happy with the response to the livestream, hopefully we can get around to stream the game again up until the release.

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Creatures Online: live session

Friday, June 14th, 2013

shii_okay_smallAs promised the live session is coming with tiny modifications. The idea stills the same: you will be able to see the game in live and question the team on the chat. Following the feedback we got from the community, we decided to drop Google Hangout and go with Twitch instead. It came to our attention that Twitch would be more suitable due its history with the community and furthermore, the tests we carried out seem to point at a better overall streaming quality that Google Hangout.

So, tune it on the 27th of June at 8PM (GMT+1) and join us on our Twitch.tv channel. The live stream will be accessible to everyone but if you want to access the chat room make sure you have an account on Twitch.tv

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As for the chat room, moderators from Fishing Cactus and ProSiebenSat.1 Games will both be on the chat to make sure that we have got all the answers to your questions. To easily recognize us and keep the place clean, the team will be in red color, so please do not use the same color. Sometimes the chat room is a little bit fickle and the page needs to be refreshed twice to be able to see it.

C4 update: Euro distribution of Creatures Online

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

shii_yeahOver the last few weeks, Fishing Cactus has received a few visits of the nice people from ProSiebenSat.1 Games. The reason behind all that brouhaha was Creatures 4.

ProSiebenSat.1 happens to be a proper media and entertainment mogul over here in Europe. “ProSiebenSat.1 Games GmbH is the games company of ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG. As a leading publisher, the company focuses on the licensing and distribution of online and mobile games, and acts as a strong digital distribution partner for the gaming products of premium partners all over Europe.” is what the press release lingo precisely says. Not only do they distribute in Europe several hit online games, including the great blockbuster games DC Universe™ Online, PlanetSide® 2, and the sequel of the EverQuest® franchise. They also run successful television stations (their original activity) in Germany and Nordic Countries, and have ties with massive French and Italian channels too (TF1 and RAI).

This is just the ideal partner for us, as small indie developer, and Bigben Interactive, as publisher. By partnering with this ideal fit, our respective companies will be able to each focus on what they do best: us making the game, Bigben Interactive making the toys and physical goodies and handling the logistics, while ProSiebenSat.1 Games makes sure that there are many people playing the game across Europe and that we can scale up the network properly.

Cause it’s now official, the ink on the contract barely dry: we have entered an agreement with ProSiebenSat.1 Games for the distribution, maintenance and marketing of our game on the Old Continent.

There are a few consequences to this.

The first one is merely cosmetic: the official launch title will be changed from the tentative Creatures 4 to the definitive “Creatures Online” in an effort to attract new players who had never heard of the previous episodes some good 15 years ago.

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A more important shift is the fact that ProSiebenSat.1 Games is now in charge of deploying the right server network for us, which they have booked already and plan to be ready with around July or so. Once that’s in place, they will be running a first round of beta, which at first will be CLOSED. Access to the beta will be as easy as creating an user account on their network, signing Non-Disclosure Agreements and then stick to confidentiality for realsies ;-)

If you live in another area of the World not covered by ProSiebenSat.1 Games, don’t worry about a thing — We have no intention of leaving you standing in the rain alone. We are currently on the look for Northern American and Asian distributors of similar magnitude and we are in talks with several companies for that. Announcements will follow in due course.

Last but not least, a lot of you have asked us to show video footage of the alpha version we’ve recently feature locked. We’d like to do that. But rather than taking a lot of time editing a trailer that doesn’t talk to you, we’d like to combine the depth of our game with the pleasure that was the Q&A session we recently had in the CreaturesCaves chat rooms, a few months back… So! How about a Google+ HangOut event with the team sitting in a sofa in front of the running demo, everybody? Would you attend to that? Say some time this June? Let’ s hook it up!

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Creatures 4: Q&A session round-up

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

The Q&A chat session between C4 dev team members and Creatures community took place last Thursday 28th of February as scheduled. Over 60 fans attended and it was sure an epic chat, which we have very much enjoyed on our end. Special thanks to Jessica from DiscoverAlbia for moderating the questions stream, it would have been much more chaotic without her help! We tried to answer questions to the best of our ability (and without breaking certain confidentiality ties with various stakeholders). An edited log of the event can be accessed on Creatures Caves, thanks to Rascii. We’re also very grateful to our three other fantastic Ambassadors, Laura (host of the party), Don and ChosenPredator for all the effort they’ve put in to spread the vibe and sort out absentees’ questions ahead of the live show ;-)

As always in such circumstances, some questions were left unanswered. We have received a summary of those through Jessica, and in a “get bonus” spirit, game designer Andrea is going to tackle some more right here:

Q: You mention 150 chemicals ; sounds like the old versions, did you change or improve things about biochemistry or did you stick on the previous mechanism? (Dr_Shee)

A: While the main system is relies indeed on the C3 foundation, we definitely tweaked some values and adjusted the system to match some new sections that we have added in the game, and also to implement the “altruism” mechanic that regulates the Norn willingness to carry out actions that are beneficial to the Norn “society”.

Q: My question is, you’ve obviously done a lot of changes to the morphology and colour patterns of the Norns, how is this reflected in their DNA and inheritance of these traits? It seems much more complicated than in previous games! (NornsofOurAlbia)

A: Indeed, it is more complex. We’re keeping these details for an upcoming full-on blog post (which our recent Instagram photo was a tease for) but to give you an overview, each Norn is made of several texture layers, both procedural and human-made. Procedural textures mean that while the overall look of the pattern will be consistent among a specific breed, there’ll be an element of randomness in the detailing! Naturally, patterns/colors/morphology will be carried over to the offspring DNA. But I’m getting ahead of myself; more details soon!

Q: Can we 3D print our favourite norn as action figure? (MK-Grendel)

A: Love the idea! Creatures 4 would hypothetically be a good candidate for this sort of service. Nothing planned in that respect at the moment but we’re definitely keeping an eye on emergent tech.

Q: Can Norns still mutate their walking or is everything animated? (MK-Grendel)

A: Unfortunately this is one of the cuts we had to make due to the way we’re animating 3D objects in the game.

Q: I’d like to know if we still get to look inside the norn, checking out their brains and poke at the neurons, by clicking on them, like we could in C1 and C2. (Creature905Yme)

A: Not in the first commercial build that we will release. In all honesty it is a bit hard for us to justify developing and integrating this at this point, not knowing what would be the appeal of tools as advanced as those (internally, we’re still using custom-recompiled C3 tools in regards to brain!). We’ve limited ourselves to the science kit for now as it strikes a nice balance between showing the Norn’s complexity and preventing it from becoming overwhelming. We’re not excluding anything in terms of post-launch content updates though.

Q: Will the game engine run localy or will a client server architecture be used? (Gigamoi)

A: The game engine runs locally and the game will connect to a webserver that will contain all the database data and player progress. This is required for the seamless bridged experience we want to offer across all supported platforms (means: we need this to enable continuous play when user walks away from his desktop and resumes play on his mobile device).

Q: Will there be food that can only be obtained in certain specific enviroment? (YeikoVneef)

A: Not food per se, but specific plant pots are unlocked once you discover new environments. You might find a few surprises if you search Sphericus thoroughly ;-)

Q: Will Angry Nornito feature in any later parts of the game? (C-Rex)

A: Wow! We didn’t anticipate Nornito to have a fan club of his own :-) So while we don’t have plans now, Nornito might get back to C4 at one point!

Q: Why in the Gamescom 2012 demo did that Norn fly off into the air? (C-Rex)

A: Two possible answers: 1) the Norn was using the Norn hairdryer in a clever fashion. 2) A nasty coding bug we hadn’t removed yet!

Q: Being multi platform, will norns be able to travel from one system to another? (McDuff)

A: If by system you mean iOS, Android, PC, Mac — The answer is yes!

Q: Will Norns be able to call the Hand by name? Can they interact with it, liking or disliking and such? (LilyNorn)

A: They certainly look at it (they do that a lot actually! Looks cool!) but not directly interact with it (like grabbing it). At the moment they can’t call it by name, but the idea kind of makes sense now that you mention it — Let it percolate with us during the ongoing alpha-test phase ;-)

Q: Will there be a ingame breed-editor or is it planned? (dk1987)

A: The splicing machine lets you tweak some values when creating a new genome. Mostly cosmetic at the moment but there again we have some surprises in store.

Q: There seem to be some “loading” action in the demo, it’s something that was never seen in the previous version, why did you go with this mechanic? (YeikoVneef)

A: It’s mostly a matter of feedback. We’re not planning on having long-lasting Norn actions with progress bars and such. The world can get pretty cluttered when you start decorating your regions. Sometimes, more feedback on some meaningful actions is helpful in seeing clearly what is going on.

Q: If a norn loses all genes for their look – how would they look like? (eg in c3 would look like a bruin norn) (MK-Grendel)

A: Mmm… Naked? I don’t think it’s possible any more to be honest. We’ve secured that part of the genome to make sure cosmetic genes are always present as they also determine the morphology of a Norn and removing them would probably break the game.

Q: Will C4 include support for user-created add-ons? And if yes,on what level? What are the possibilities? (Eprillios)

A: At this point we don’t have plans to support user generated content. As we’ve said in the past, we’d love to look into that possibility but we need to finish and release the core of the game first.

Thank you again for everything! We sure look forward to organize another get-together some time soon :-) We’ll try to come out with a new blog update as soon as humanly possible, but please bear with us a little bit as we are knee-deep in alpha-testing here… In the meantime, you can enjoy the interview our team gave to national Belgian TV station “RTBF” last month, now subtitled in English on YouTube (click on the “Closed Captions” icon at the bottom edge of the frame to activate the subs).

Creatures 4: Q&A with the devs & Alpha-test

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

We’ll be holding a live Q&A session between game designers Andrea Di Stefano and Samuel Languy, from the C4 dev team, and you folks, from the vibrant Creatures community! You’ll get to directly discuss with them about the development so far, and about the inner-workings of the upcoming game. The event will take place in the CreaturesVillage Chat Rooms, also known as CC Chat, where most long-time fans of the series already have their habits. An active mIRC connection is required to attend. The dialog is scheduled on Thursday 28th of February 2013 at 7.00 pm G.M.T.

For those who can’t make it, a transcript will be recorded and shared publicly after the fact. Even better, you can register your question right here, ahead of the gathering and get a chance to have it asked by our Creatures 4 Ambassadors during the session, if its relevance catches their attention! The live session must be restricted to one language only, which will be English. So if you want to ask us questions in French, Dutch, German, Japanese, Swahili or any other language known to Man and Google Translate alike, feel free to do so in that same pre-show thread.

In case you hadn’t noticed, the #NornInvasion of Earth is gearing up, with little ones popping all around the globe. The limited edition figurines have been won by some lucky few during an Instagram Adopt-A-Norn give-away. If you missed the occasion, we’re prepping up more contests as we speak, so keep an eye on our social media in the coming weeks!

On the development side of things, March 4th has been formally set as the beginning of our Alpha-Testing phase. It has been decided that this one would still be internal for now and the target will be to get the game “feature locked”. The polish ‘n’ refine cycle will continue in parallel for a while (that will feel like forever to you, and like the bat of an eye to the devs), until we finally feel confident enough to open the testing to outsiders, therewith commencing beta. Alpha-testing will involve absolutely all Fishing Cactus employees, regardless of which department or team they belong to.

If you recently tried to comment to our blog articles in the section below and found yourself stuck because of not having an account, please note that guest-commenting was disabled by mistake earlier (we omitted to toggle an option off during our Disqus plug-in implementation)… Guest posts are now enabled again! So if you don’t like sharing private information at the same as your opinions, you can take it easy and feel free to speak out anonymously again!

Valentine Special: “Ultimate Care Bear Love Rampage” (Arcade title made in two days during Global Game Jam)

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

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Arriving At The Global Game Jam

That they work all day every day on Creatures 4 is normal. It’s their job. That they keep working on it overtime, long nights and during weekends is somewhat understandable. For it’s their passion too. But when we unleashed our Andrea DiStefano, Samuel Languy and Gauthier Billot for two days off so that they can relax and recharge the batteries a bit, we didn’t quite expect that they’d go ahead and build another game from scratch during their spare time. Yet that’s exactly what they’ve done two weeks ago during Global Game Jam. They were accompanied in their little escapade by our Fabrice Lété and Guillaume Bouckaert, though the latter both ended up working with other dev teams once on site.

 

 

IMG_2530For those who are not familiar with it, Global Game Jam is a regular worldwide effort organized by a central entity that coordinates all local chapters. The concept is both simple and amazing: on a given day, game developers and artists from around the globe, professional or hobbyist alike, set up locations in their region, where they meet and… Improvise the creation of video games on the fly. By the end of the event, the games must be finished.

The latest Global Game Jam took place between January 25th and 27th, and the Belgium scene gathered to the Design Center of Winkelhaak (Antwerp area) for the meet-up. Our three nutjobs only joined the partay on the Saturday ;-)  

 

doubleThe Ultimate Care Bear Love Rampage

Upon arrival on the set, two things immediately grabbed our gang’s attention. First, the camping tents in the corner of the room. Then, a fascinating object had already caught their eye:  the Winnitron indie Arcade system. Already existing in Canada, Shanghai and New Zealand, the collective-spirited retro system was introduced to Belgium for the occasion. A stick and two buttons over a stylish wooden cabinet. 

Take off your jacket. Code, draw, assemble. Don’t stop until they tell you to. Gauthier Billot took the lead on the actual coding, assisted in that by Sam Languy, who also handled sound and music on the side (he actually kept tweaking the main track for a week after, in the car-pool ride to work that he shares with Andrea every morning – note that his creation scooped the prize for “best sound”). Andrea drew the graphic assets to change his mind from his game designer routine. No real director to speak of, our three stooges pretty much decided the mechanics and the flow of the game collectively, in iteration and in consensus. 

The game was built upon the Love 2D multi-platform technology, using a Linux PC, a Windows PC and a MAC. It relies on the Winnitron Frameworks to run on Arcade machines. Maps were created with Tiled software. The underlying concept is clearly and blatantly borrowed from Halfbrick’s brilliant Jetpack Joyride. You press a button to go up, and release it to go down. But there’s a tiny twist that the crew borrowed from some frantic button-mashing titles of our youth, such as Track’n'Field: sometimes to floats upwards, you have to rapidly and repeatedly tap the A and B buttons at the same time until you break a sweat out of it. The action gets increasingly hectic as you progress. Levels are generated randomly. You can play the game alone or against a friend. 

In lieu of Barry Steakfries, the central character you control is an adorable care-bear made of thick and blocky 8-bit era pixels. Don’t be fooled by its cuteness though: it is out for rampage. There’s your title right there. Just throw in an “Ultimate” at the beginning for the wow-factor, and add the word “Love” somewhere in the middle because it’s got heart (and pixelated hearts assets too) — And that’s a wrap. Happy Valentine’s Day everybody!

You can freely download the game file from here

Special thanks to Wim Wouters for setting up the GGJ belgian chapter and making this wonderful weekend possible. Here below some more pictures of the event that he took.

If you recently tried to comment to our blog articles in the section below and found yourself stuck because of not having an account, please note that guest-commenting was disabled by mistake earlier (we omitted to toggle an option off during our Disqus plug-in implementation)… Guest posts are now enabled again! So if you don’t like sharing private information at the same as your opinions, you can take it easy and feel free to speak out anonymously again!

Creatures 4: GangNorn Style, Instagram Voyeurisme & something for the Ladies…

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

A packed update this time around as we’ve let a bunch of norns go wild and loose and we all know what can happen when you do that ;-)

Our animator has spent a few days on a funny angle to present you our latest progress on the Norn Creatures. See, after getting viewed over a cool billion times down on Earth, Psy’s intergalactic hit Gangnam Style has now reached Sphericus, the planet where the cute intelligent Norns race now (tries to) live. Enjoy ;-)

You probably have already noticed it on the official web site, some lucky few have even been gifted one while visiting Paris Games Week, a limited sample batch of small Norn figurines has recently been produced… And one of them has escaped from the box and is now hiding in our offices, stealing sneak peek photographs of our gang at work, paparazzi style! Follow our little Norn reporter’s Instagram feed right here.

Our Sophie Schiaratura has also opened up a little something for you girls*: a Pinterest account full of cuteness all around. We will soon run some special activities there… If you’re into nail-art and that sort of things, go subscribe immediately and pin away, ladies*!

(* If you’re a male, you’re welcome to take a look around too – We won’t judge you.)

On a final note, some of you heard rumors about it so we might as well go on the record: we won’t be ready to launch before the end of the year. The team is knee-deep in crunch time, learning to adjust their bodies and brains to less sleep at nights and more caffeine during the day, but there are still a few bullet lists to cross out. We currently hope to enter bêta phase in January. “Hope” means: it might as well be February that we wouldn’t be totally shocked. That’d translate into a live date around March/April 2013 or so. “Ship when it’s ready” is our stance on this one. Expectations are high and we know it — We can’t afford to drop the ball by rushing it out. We’ve spent too much care on this so far. We will very soon deliver you with a more thorough, radically transparent update about what’s been happening on the development side of things this far. Keep an eye on this space.

Fishing Cactus wins regional AWEX Export Award and goes on national TV!

Friday, October 5th, 2012

(For those of you who don’t understand French, please relax: we are working on an English subtitled edition that we will upload to our Facebook as soon as it is ready.)

Le_Manege_Theater_thumbOn 25th of September, in a really selective  setting , at Le Manége Theater in Mons, took place the award ceremony for one of the most important events in the area: the XIIIth edition of the Wallonia Export Grand Prix organized by the AWEX (the local governmental branch dedicated to export). The theme of the evening was ‘the flight towards success’, so the show was filled with circus acrobats in every corner.

Acrobat_thumbFishing Cactus was granted the “Export Springboard Award” (“Tremplin à l’exportation” in French), to reward our huge growth in overseas sales over the last 3 years.

Prizegiving_AWEX_thumbHonored and privileged we thought of sharing a couple of pictures with you folks from the award ceremony and TV videos from the media coverage. For more of those head onto our Facebook page! We ave been literally invaded by television crews this days and it was really fun seeing each others on TV!

So here’s your chance to know us a bit better, grab your popcorns, ‘cos it’s gonna start! Quick!

Get a stake in Piratoons through Gambitious!

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Ever dreamt of being a big shot producer or a powerful entertainment mogul? This is your chance to get started.

Piratoons_title_thumb We have listed our next hit project on Gambitious, and everybody is welcome to invest in it and actually own a piece of the revenue share! Think of it as an evolved Kickstarter: by investing, you get more than a few perks and collectible gifts; you essentially become a stakeholder in the venture. Gambitious is basically like an online stock exchange for game properties.

The game project we have selected for this, titled Piratoons, is in very early stages of development and has been identified as having strong franchise potential.

Now sit back and relax, Mr. Big, here’s our mind-blowing pitch for you:

Piratoons_Interface_thumb«Steer your ship along the tropical coastlines, upgrade it with new powerful and magical artifacts, recruit the most greedy pirate crew and engage in exciting real-time Match-3 battles to prove your skills and gather hefty amounts of doubloons!
Set sail for the search of the legendary Pelican Tooth, meet a great cast of wacky cartoon pirates, trade extraordinary goods, capture, protect and build harbors.
Piratoons lets you experience the warmth of the Caribbean Sea, its lush colors, seducing rhythms and extraordinary stories.»

Mind blown away? Feels like this is something you want to help making happen? Smells like a profitable opportunity? Then hop on board and let’s go quest for those hidden treasures together! Oh, and if you’re broke and want to help us get our games made anyway, you can still vote for Eyeball Invaders over at Steam Greenlight completely free of charge ;-)

Help us Greenlight “Eyeball Invaders” on Steam!

Monday, September 24th, 2012

It started as a collective effort … Pretty soon Nature prevailed.

Eyeballs Invaders have landed on a mysterious planet and they need to get as many energy orbs as they can to build themselves a new spaceship. Only one tiny problem: there’s not enough room on the replacement shuttle for all of them. Let the massacre begins, cause in the end, only one will survive and go home!

The Eyeball Invaders is a free to play fast-paced multi-player action game for PC, Mac and Linux in which each player takes control of one of many different eyeball-like character and jumps his way through 5 wonderful planets and 150 tricky levels.

The Eyeball Invaders - ThumbDiscover The Eyeball Invaders world through an exciting single player adventure mode or tackle the challenges with your friends! The game will let you challenge up to seven other players over five hectic modes of play, for some local eight-player brawling madness! And if you prefer playing online, go through the steam community and game integrated lobbies to find yourself more challengers!

Control your jump power and leap left or right to catch the Orbs in the glimpse of an eye. Stick to the walls and use them as launching platforms to jump even further! Watchwords: jump, stick and brawl! Feels like something you’d like to play? Then do something about it and head over to Steam Community, where we’re waiting for your votes to get Greenlit!

Vote for The Eyeball Invaders here!