Archive for the ‘Programming’ Category

Algo-Bot has been Greenlit

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Hi Guys,

We did it! Algo-Bot has been Greenlit by the community and we would like to thank you for that!

You can imagine what it means to us to have such a great community supporting the game. We are now more confident about the reboot on Kickstarter. 

If you want to get new about the reboot you can sign up to Algo-Bot’s newsletter here.

greenlit_algo2

 THANK YOU! 

Now live on Steam Greenlight!

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

We’ve gone ahead and posted Algo-Bot on Steam.

By voting for Algo-Bot on Greenlight, you increase the chances that Valve will distribute the game through Steam. This is pretty important for improving the game’s visibility, and provides a secure, reliable way of distributing the game files automatically to our users.

 

greenlight_algo-bot_455

 

Greenlight is extremely competitive, so if you’re excited about Algo-Bot, share the Greenlight link with your friends and vote “YES”! Your move!

Thank you!

[Kickstarter Update #3] Internal Level Editor

Monday, January 27th, 2014

[Watch it on Kickstarter]

Hi folks!  

Thank you again for your pledges and support! As you can see, the project gets slowly funded, backer by backer but hey! Rome wasn’t built in a day! Was it?

We noticed that one reason may be the poor visibility we have on the project and it would help a lot to be featured by Kickstarter. According to my sources, one of the statistics that Kickstarter uses to determine who gets featured on the main page is the number of “Finished plays” which means the number of time your video has been entirely seen. We currently have 21,59% of plays completed and we need that number up over 75%. So, here’s my request: Please click play on the main project video, and let it play all the way to the very end. This is super important!

Now, let’s talk about something way sexier. I mean the Level Editor! Many of you backed $80 to have an early access to it and therefore the ability to submit your own levels for the final version of the game. So, we decided to briefly show you how it works. Please keep in mind that this editor is our internal version and it’s not as user friendly as the one you’ll get. Ladies and Gentlemen, please a standing ovation for Guillaume Bouckaert and his level editing presentation!

 

Hope you enjoyed it!  

Thank you for your support, and thank you for telling your friends about the project!  

- The team

 

 

[Kickstarter Update #2] Be the first people to see our new offices :)

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

update_blog_#2[Read it on Kickstarter]

It’s Day 6 and we are only 5% funded. It’s still a looonnng way home. So don’t forget to share this campaign with your friends, your colleagues, your social network and all the programmers and puzzle lovers you know.

I know that, at almost a week from the beginning of the campaign, you’d like to see updates about the game but we have been very busy moving in our new office this weekend. As a proof, here is some pictures and a video of the weekend. 

You know what’s fantastic with the new building? WINDOWS! We now have windows and it’s just awesome. I am sure it will help us to increase our productivity. 

move_in_collage

Thank you again dear backers!

If you have questions don’t hesitate to contact us.

Speak to you very soon!

-The team

 

Here’s the link again to share it around you: 

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fishingcactus/algo-bot-code-smarter-not-harder

The traditional Christmas newsletter and our wishes for 2014

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

christmas_card_2013

Dear Santa,

We have been very good and prolific this year. Now and then we have been oddly and spiky but most of the time as jolly as a cactus can be.

The Cacti worked so hard this year, I am afraid they are just about to turn a little bit grinchy. You know how it is, especially at this time of the year. I guess your elves are busy and grumpy too. At least, I hope your reindeers, penguins and polar bears are getting along. Talking about penguins, we may have got something for you: it’s a game called Learn 2 Fly. We’ve been working on it for a year now and it’s almost finished. Don’t hesitate to spread the word!

learn2fly

 

Fortunately, we will invest the new building by the middle of January which should make us merry as crickets. It will be the perfect occasion to rest and have a joyful feast.

FishingCactus

 

Our planning for 2014 looks promising: There is an opportunity to develop more Fishing Cactus branded games.

We started with Algo-Bot. This serious game has been developed for Technobel with the participation of the EU. They were so satisfied that they allowed us to extend the development and commercialize as a full game. That brings us to a brand new adventure: crowdfunding. If by any chance you are interested in coding, Santa, it’s the right game for you. Cherry on top, the game recently won two awards: Top 5 best indie game at Indie Prize Showcase and Best Serious Game HR – Training at Serious Game Expo.

algobot-kickstarter2

 

Not to be outdone, our other projects are making good progress. In particular, the game we are developing with Child Focus. This one is going to be pure genius. It’s a serious game meant to make teenagers responsible and aware of their use of social networks.

Let’s talk less serious! We just signed a game that will keep us busy in 2014. This game officially gave us the Wii U developer status. So, don’t be surprised if you find our games on your list in the future.pelican_pano_north_pole

So many different games, wonderful universes, beautiful ornaments that are Fishing Cactus’ pride with on tree-topper, Piratoons an awesome pirate game that will also be released under Fishing Cactus brand early 2015.

All this blabla to tell you something, Santa, we have been very kind this year but we don’t need anything for ourselves. If you really want to give us a present, it would be great if you could visit our friends and all the people we had the chance to work with and fill their socks with Candy Canes and beer because we want nothing more than thank them this year.

Thank you and best wishes for 2014.

The Fishing Cactus Team

Tales From the Gaming Trenches

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Creatures_iOS_thumbNo need to tell you that we have been quite busy these days. Most of our teams are working on several projects at the same time excepting Creatures’ team who is focusing on finishing Creatures Online. That game really cost us an arm.

Talking about Creatures Online,  we have been releasing a “weekly update” on the forum every week for 4 months now  . The point of those updates is to show to the community where the development exactly stands. We should have done that from the beginning but the community management was not that effective back in those days. It was the first time we had to manage such a big license with such an active community. We did our best and I really hope that the community noticed it. As you certainly know, Fishing Cactus doesn’t take care of the CO page on Facebook nor the Twitter account anymore.

Algo-Bot_SGE13_award_thumbAndrea and I talked to Raphaël “Ulandar” from ProsiebenSat.1 Games, who is in charge of the whole community management of Creatures Online. A bunch of good ideas came from that conversation such as making videos to show game improvements, talking about CAOS, etc.

The sooner Creatures will be finished the sooner the team will be available to work on other games in production such as Algo-Bot which should hit Kickstarter in January. Yeah I know what you think! It’s a fact that we have deadline issues :-) I have to admit that I’ve never thought that launching a Kickstarter campaign could be that difficult. Meanwhile, you will find our Kickstarter video here and signup if you want to be informed the day Algo-Bot hits Kickstarter. Hope that this game will be funded because it really deserves to be finished. It’s not my only opinion, the awards below talk by themselves: Top 5 of the best Indie Game at Indie Prize Showcase and Best Serious Game in category HR – Training at Serious Game Expo. So, proud of our little fellow <3

To finish my post I would like to wish you a lot of Roasted Turkey, Mashed Potatoes and Pumpkin Pie! Happy Thanksgiving!

Algo-Bot_indieprize_award

Fishing Cactus at Casual Connect Kiev 2013

Friday, October 18th, 2013

badge_indieprizeIn exactly one week, Fishing Cactus will attend to Indie Prize Showcase with Algo-Bot in its pocket.

The Indie Prize Showcase will take place at Casual Connect Kyiv on October 23-25, 2013 with something like 850 industry professionals attending the event. Over 25 indie game development teams will be showcasing their games and two of them will win prizes awards from the showcase sponsors and Indie Prize committee.

I have the Conference content just in front of me and judging by what I read it’s gonna be very interesting and… Oh waww Fishing Cactus is a speaker!  “Algo-Bot: How Coding Can Be Fun” … wait! What?! Coding can be fun. Can coding really be fun? Of course it can and we will show you how we managed to do that :-) So, be sure to be at Casual Connect the 25 October at 10:30 to hear our Guillaume telling you how difficult it is to make a learning game without being boring.

indieprizeaward_target_Algo-Bot

Also, you are warmly invited to read the article about the development of Algo-Bot  that we wrote for the occasion on Gamesauce.org. You will notice that this game taught us way more than concepts of programming.

All this blabla brings us to the most important thing about this event: What can we eat in Ukraine? 

Happy Programmers’ Day

Friday, September 13th, 2013

A few months ago, we celebrated the Moustache Day. Yesterday was the Video Games Day and we celebrated it, as well, the best we could by spending more time with games we like. But today is one of the most important days of the year for Fishing Cactus. Today is the Programmers’ Day and we decided to make a special post dedicated to our beloved programmers who are working very hard these days on a couple of secret awesome new games.  Also, we would like to thank programmers all over the world for the good work they do to improve our everyday lives.

fc_prog_team

 Nowadays, coding is coming to every industry you can think of. From your Facebook page to your newspaper online, including games and apps on your Smartphone, it’s everywhere. Without even knowing it, coding turns out to be the most important and desirable skill there is. It’s huge part of our future. At Fishing Cactus we are completely aware of that and that’s the reason why our Artists and Game Designers worked hand in hand with our Programmers to create a very special game named Algo-Bot. Games are mostly related to coding, now discover a game that offers a real coding experience.

screenshot_small

Check out Algo-Bot’s Facebook page for more information about this coming game and feel free to spread the word all around you.

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.

montage_small

Creatures 4 : Procedural Fur Patterns

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Many of you, in comments to our blog posts, during the Q&A chat sessions and also on Facebook, have shown curiosity regarding the procedural methods that we use to ensure that no two Norns look alike. Today we will be detailing how the Norn fur patterns are produced by our artists and coders. 

 

First things first. There are several breeds in the game, between 12 and 16, depending on what we manage to fit into the launch edition.

Up to a couple of months ago, our process for creating new breeds was rather messy to say the least, based on us trying to understand how to make the bricks turn into solid foundations that were still being designed. Uck!

We are in a far better spot now, which makes it actually fun to create a new breed :-)

It starts with one of us coming up with a cool idea for a Norn breed and defining some basic traits for the breed.

The second step is to prepare a reference art for the new Norn breed

Olivier and Antoine, two members of our awesome art team, work together to produce a concept art that conveys the traits of the breed.

WildlingNorn

 

This one above is a “Wildling Norn” by the way, a Norn that managed to escape from the safety of the Hatchery region and evolved in the wilderness.

 

Once we are satisfied with the art, Olivier’s procedural tinkering begins.

Two main goals here: first, to make sure two Norn from the same breed do not look the same (that’s one of the main perks of using procedural generation); second, to allow all the Norn breeds to be crossed together through natural breeding and gene splicing operations.

Each Norn is made of several texture layers, some procedural and some hard-set. Every element below can be swapped during breeding/splicing.

  1. One Skin texture: static picture that contains the underlying skin which is unique to every breed and can’t be “blended” with other skins. There are variations of these for male, female and elder Norns.
  2. “Belly” Texture: static texture that contains the belly spot most Norn breeds show.
  3. Eye texture & color: static texture. The color is pre-set in the texture, meaning that all Norns that are pure breed have the same eye color (of course they can be crossed with other breeds to exhibit another eye color). Heterochromia iridum is also determined by this texture. That means that a yellow and pink heterochromia will always be yellow/pink. While this is a limitation of the system, it bears the benefit that it allows us really setting in stones the look of a breed.
  4. Base fur color: while the color is not set in the texture, it is fixed for each breed during the creation in our tool (see below). At the moment two pure breed Norns have exactly the same color although we might end up adding some slight hue variations to further differentiate two same-breed Norns.
  5. Main Pattern: There are two pattern textures (which can be empty if needed). We call this the “main” pattern as it is usually used for the most recognizable visual markings.
  6. Main Pattern Color.
  7. Detail Pattern: Same as the previous one, but usually used for smaller dots and marks on the Norn fur.
  8. Detail Pattern Color.

 

Once Olivier has completed the technical design of the pattern and produced the required visual assets, the last step is to assemble all of the above in our Norn creation tool. It’s a web based tool that allows us to push new breeds into the game and preview them in real time. It’s pretty neat!

You can see that the information here is grouped into 8 boxes. This is important as they correspond to the 8 genes that define the Norn visual look. More on that in a further blog post about splicing ;-)

 

viewer

As a side note, this creation system allows us to specify cosmetic differences reliant on gender/age but truth to be told, we haven’t gotten around to use this cool feature yet, due to time constraints.

 

The assets themselves are produced as follows:

The static textures are produced in Adobe Photoshop as standard character textures.

 

texture02

 

The procedural textures are generated in an open source tool that allows basic 2D patterns to vary depending on several parameters defined by the artist. 

procedural_patterns

 

This is really cool because even if two Norns have the same pattern (eg. The gene is the same), the pattern will be generated and applied a bit differently on each Norn.

patterns_demo

 

 

 

Once that step is finished, the only thing left to do is to preview the Norn in the game. Tada!

 

wildling_ingame

 

Hoping that this brief overview gives you a better understanding of how the Norn cosmetics are created. Obviously the goal of all this is simple, making sure no two Norns are exactly equal and give you bazillions of possibilities for combinations!

We’re pretty sure you’ll have even more questions after this post and we’ll do our best to answer them, just keep in mind that part of our team is at GDC next week so replies may take a little longer than usual (okaaay, we’re not THAT quick usually, but still, you get my point :-)

 

UPDATE: fixed a couple of link to full-sized pictures