So soon, what's new this time you might ask?
Well there a few bits of hidden fun stuff for you to enjoy (maybe the image above is a clue). Lots of little bugs squashed and a nice quick simple installer. I've also added some extra code to make it a little easier to help you if you do get bitten by any of the remaining bugs, so please let me know if you have any trouble (or suggestions / annoyances)
For best results you should delete the files in your AppData/Local/Moon folder and start a 'New Game'
Just in time for new year, The first Alpha version of Moon is now available (see the big link below).
So, what great and exciting features have taken all this time?
With luck the black screen bug is finally dead. Lots of ambient sounds have been added (still no music yet though), I've added and updated a few puzzles, made some fixes to levels so you won't get stuck, improved the controls (especially when jumping up through gaps), added interactive computers, added some hidden fun stuff and fixed lots more bugs.
As ever this is still a preview of the game, you'll get a few snippets of the story and a few puzzles to beat but it'll be a while yet before the whole thing is done. There are definitly still some knobbly bugs in there but in general things should be mostly stable and crash free. Please let me know if you have any trouble (or suggestions / annoyances)
For best results you should delete the files in your AppData\Local\Moon folder and start a 'New Game'
A few months have passed since I originally released a playable version of Moon. Since then I've been adding features and fixing bugs. So now you cane give the improved version a try.
It's still a long way off the complete game and there's still plenty of bugs, but I'm now close to being happy that I have all the underlying code systems as I want them so I think this might be the last Pre-Alpha version. Next stop Alpha and some serious content
It almost feels like I'm building up a little bit of steam on Moon. The level editor works pretty well and I've been adding lots of new graphics tiles when ever I get the chance on an evening or during a quiet moment or two during a weekend. However, by far the biggest improvement to it all has been the lighting and atmosphere system. I can now give every level a unique tone and feel. Everything from fogging and lighting to full on film-like colour correction.
there's still no sound or music and there's some significantly missing features .. but it's really starting to be fun and feel a bit like a game.
It came to my attention that Efficiency+ was no longer functioning.
It seems that some changes by my web host brought a rather annoying web script bug out of the cupboard. So, I got the old code out of storage put in a fix and along the way updated the installer to include all the required components for it to run on Windows 8. I even managed to reduce the download size by just over 5MB
The download link on the original post now points to the new version; or you can click on the giant link below
This week I was very lucky to find myself in possession of a few good hours of creation time. So, I thought I'd share with you one of the many products of my efforts.
As you may have noticed, project moon has been ticking along for some time. From time to time I've even posted a screen shot or two relating to it; each one looking quite different to the last. Much as it may not be obvious, the fundamental design idea behind it has always been the same, only the presentation has changed.
So here to accompany some nice new screen shots I'll give you a few reasons for all this change instead of giving away any actual juicy details about any of the game itself, because that's the sort of thing indie developers do.
In short there are two main reasons why I've changed from 3d down to 2d; time and Fez.
As a professional game developer (and now a farther too) I have a very limited amount of free time to spend on my own code projects. That sparse development time is usually used to achieve two things: make progress on one of my two personal game projects (iO and Moon) or investigating the sort of subjects and problems many programmer are easily distracted by, (graphics, compression, audio processing, etc.).
For a very long time I laboured under the illusion that I could find the time to make Moon in 3d. I made a simple level editor and quick mesh building tool, I even got a basic level up and running. It took an age. In the end it was pretty clear that I was never going to find the time to make all the models and levels. I eventually accepted that making a 2d puzzle platformer instead was not giving in and taking the cheap over trodden path but the only real way Moon was going to see anything like completion.
Something else that help push this decision was the release of Fez. I was all the things that I'd hoped to do with Moon, but better, more polished and more complete in absolutely every way. So, Moon became a purely 2d game and I went looking for ways to separate it from Fez while keeping the original intention of the game intact.
So why does it have the low-res, saturated, pixel look that every other indie game seems to have these days? well it turns out that when you've got very little time it's quicker and easier to make everything out of small images. and once you've made everything out of small images, they look better if you make them look like sharp pixels
Anyway, enough ramble, on with the screen shots
Even if I pick up my 'iO' project again, these character concepts will probably never be used. So, rather than let them be forgotten I thought I'd upload them on here.
Some are obviously better than others and I do have favourites (depending on the day). It's been pointed out a few times that they've got a little bit of a pokemon feel to them. It wasn't intentional but I wanted fun accessible characters which all look colourful and different. With those criteria pokemon pretty much draw themselves
I guess the trite phase about third time being lucky may be appropriate here
For the Tortuga event in 2009 I wanted to make sure the puzzle was accessible and fun. I wanted as many people as possible to have a go but it be difficult enough to make the real puzzle enthusiasts still enjoy it. I opted for a hunt for buried treasure (of sorts).
The puzzle was given out early as usual but only two weeks before the event. It came in two parts. A reference map of the Caribbean and a letter. The map was painted on a large board so it could be available for people too peruse on the day (It was also little clearer in the flesh too which helped)
This is probably one of my favourite Tortuga puzzles. It had a excellent balance of fun and challenge. Plus, having lots of pirates looking at the map in the middle of a tavern table, tracing out ideas while trying not to give away what they're doing or thinking made for some great moments.
More pirate themed puzzles. this time the puzzle from Tortuga 2008
This time the aim of the puzzle was to extract the order of 7 words that formed the instructions for the next part of the puzzle. Those seven words have now been lost, but this part of the puzzle still works just fine
The puzzle from the previous years had been given out a month before the event, to get people excited and give them a bit of time to mull over various possible answers. In previous years, the puzzle had often fallen in a few days or weeks. So I made this one a little bit harder. turns out I may have made it a little too hard. It was solved, but not by many
Who doesn't love pirates? I imagine the number has dropped a little since they now seem to be everywhere. I liked them before they were cool *put on hipster glasses*
For many years I provided the games and puzzles (and a lot of nonsense) for a pirate themed gathering amongst 40-50 of my friends. I recently rediscovered the lost image files for most of the puzzles that featured in each one and thought it would be fun to share them with the wider world (not that my website readership is all that wide).
First off is thise one from 2007. The aim was to work out the numeric combinations of three tumbler locks that were all attached to a single chest.
This is a reasonably tricky puzzle. Sadly I fell a bit flat when one of the (far too cheap) locks seized up on the day and the hinges of the chest had to be removed for the treasure to finally be won
I still have the chest; and it still has a broken lock attached to it.
Sometime is good to realize that a project idea is so intractable and unwieldy that it's best to just stop before you even really get started. Luckily this was the case with an internet based isometric game I nearly started
It was to be a sort of turn based, fantasy, strategy game. Whether or not it's game play would have worked was heavily reliant on whether I could find the best (and most fun) way of implementing the magic system which was to work very much more like chemistry, and less like dice
Well, it was just too massive a piece of work, so it was dropped. All I have now is a odd tile based board game (a little bit like dominoes) and this image I made of some example world land tiles.
As ever, updating my website ends up at the bottom of my to-do list for months on end. Well, I've got a pile or stuff sorted and ready to be uploaded, so expect light flurries of random artwork and other nonsense over the next few days and weeks.
The long term forecast is still of significant dry patches, but we'll see I guess. It helps that I know that at least a few people actually look at this rubbish. Here's a sneak peek