Mirrors is now live on Steam!

By | Mirrors, News | No Comments

What was meant to be a quick game to design and develop, somehow turned into over a year, but we have finally reached the finish line and Mirrors is now live on Steam! Mirrors will be available for purchase as of 11th October 2017 from its Store Page located here.

Help Us

Although you can’t buy it right now, you can help us by following and adding Mirrors to your Steam wishlist anytime between now and it’s release. By following and wishlisting Mirrors, it will help get Mirrors into a better place for displaying it in the ‘new games’ category (among other benefits) which in turn will help us get more sales of Mirrors. So be awesome and go and follow / wishlist it here.

Hurdles in Development

There are a load of reasons why development time jumped from a few weeks to a few months to over a year.

Steam Greenlight

Depending on how you look at it we had a failed or successful Steam Greenlight campaign just before Steam Greenlight was stopped. It was a success purely because we got almost 50% more Yes votes than No votes, which is also a good thing. Sadly it was a failure because even with the difference in Yes votes to No votes, we still didn’t make it into the top 10% to actually get Greenlit. The only reason I can think of this is purely because, although Mirrors is a cool little game, I know it’s not going to be for everyone. Mirrors isn’t the first game that has a select audience and it definitely won’t be the last. Regardless of how good or bad Steam Greenlight went, Mirrors is on Steam now and that is the most important thing.

Additional / Contract Work

On top of Mirrors and some of the other games we’re working on, we also took on a fair bit of contract work including Soju Party and Storyboard, not to mention working on Deal Director and some of our other projects. Obviously when we were working on all of these other projects Mirrors unfortunately had to take a place at the back of the queue.

Reflections

The way in which the reflections work within Mirrors turned out to be far from simple and required a lot of tinkering to get it perfect. Before using our current setup we tried a variety of options but none seemed to work. Now after one of our programmers has spent a load of time perfecting the reflections code, it’s pretty much amazing though we know of one or two areas we would like to improve on.


Development and Redevelopment of the Level System

The level system within Mirrors has been developed about 4-5 times. The first few versions were OK but they were pretty basic and restricting, they almost made no sense in regards to the progression of the game. From there we moved into the adventure mode where you have multiple fictional locations within a dessert. Each location holds a number of levels and completing each location allows access to the next area. We also have an area for players to access custom made levels. It’s straight forward of course, but its simplicity is far better than the complex and not so useful versions we used originally.

 

The Future of Mirrors

Over the next few weeks and months, regardless of how well or popular Mirrors is or becomes, there are a few things we would like to add and iron out.

Fixing Bugs and Responding to Feedback

Based on feedback, we will be focusing on fixing bugs as they are found. We are confident that Mirrors is mostly bug free, but we’re not infallible and bugs can appear from nowhere. In addition to this we will be taking on board the opinions of the players and any issues that seem to be game breaking. Improving Mirrors benefits everyone. For this reason we look forward to getting as much feedback as possible as well as hearing your ideas.

Steam Achievements and Trading Cards

We will also be adding a range of Steam Achievements to Mirrors. We’ve done a lot of research and Steam Achievements seem to be a big selling point for games. Some of the achievements we have planned will be self explanatory but others will take time to execute such as hitting a mummy with an ice trap.

Adding Shadows

We are in the process of adding a really cool shadow system which will see the lighting from the previous tombs lighting up the current tomb. It’s really great as it casts a silhouette of the current assets around the tomb and makes our high quality graphics that much more impressive. This shouldn’t take too long to implement and we look forward to sharing it with you.

Adding additional Game Mode(s)

We have a lot of intentions to add a variety of extra modes and game play to Mirrors but these things will take time. We have the idea for implementing an Arcade Mode which will see you clearing as many tombs as possible within a set time limit. There is also the plans to implement a multiplayer mode where you can compete against other players to see who can clear tombs the quickest.

 

I look forward to and appreciate your support over the coming months.

As ever feel free to follow me on twitter.

Rhys

Getting Started With Game Engines

By | Game Development | No Comments

In this post I will be giving my thoughts on Game Engines, which ones you should should learn and how you should learn them. Even supported with years of higher education, developing games can still be tough. There is so much information available and almost all of the information can be conflicting. Some people will say one engine is better than another, others will say a certain way of learning is better than another. So which is best?

I personally believe game development is a very personal task. What works for one person may not work for another, so it is all about finding what works for you.

 

Which Game Engine should you learn?

The best answer to this question is to use whatever you’re comfortable using. Once you’re using an engine or software that you’re comfortable with, the natural development of becoming better at developing games will kick in and you will become better over time.

If you have done some game development already, then you possibly already know which software you’d like to use. I know a fair few people that do a lot of reading into the different engines and software available. The problem here is that I feel this helps them be knowledgeable about making games, but developing games is completely different to the theory. This is the exact same reason doctors do internships as you can’t learn everything from a book.

For this reason I prefer the more practical approach. Try everything.

I don’t usually write captions, but this isn’t creepy at all.

Most engines are free to use until you’re earning over a certain amount. For this reason anyone who wants to get into game development should really consider giving each of these a chance and decide how you feel once you’ve tried them for yourself.

There are so official and unofficial tutorials available that teach creating games with each engine. By following these you will be able to decide what you like from each and what you dislike from each. Within no time at all you will know which engines you don’t enjoy using and more importantly which one is best for you.

 

The Game Engines

There are so many ways of developing games, but these – for me – are some of the best available for various reasons.

Unity

Unity is without a doubt my favourite engine to use. It is really well maintained and allows for a variety of complex games to be created. I don’t think it gets as much praise as other engines simply because not as many high profile games come from Unity. The key part of that sentence is ‘not as many’.

Heres just a few that have been created in Unity.

Rust
Hearthstone
Lucky’s Tale
Kerbal Space Program
Pillars of Eternity
Subnautica
And many more… 

As you can see it’s possible to create a large variety of games with Unity but this isn’t the reason I like it so much. For as long as I have used unity there has always been so much information and support available. They provide a large amount of tutorials and support for beginners and the community is always providing assistance with their own tutorials as well as providing solutions to problems. In the time that I have been using Unity I have mostly been able to overcome any obstacles I have had relatively easily and this is down to the support that Unity provides as well as receives from its community.

 

Unreal Engine

Unreal Engine is just as popular if not more popular than Unity. Unreal Engine tends to be known for more high profile games than Unity as well as having more aesthetic games. My opinion on this is that with an artist you can easily make a game look great in any engine, but for quickness Unreal Engine would be the way to go.

Unreal Engine also has great support for those who are new or not so interested in programming. BluePrint is basically scripting without the code and allows anyone to create complex scripts by simply dragging and dropping between modules. This is great for anyone who either don’t want or don’t need to know how to code well as they are given an even playing field with programmers. But the biggest downside for me is that you’d still need to learn how to use BluePrint and I feel that time could be spent learning to code in the first place.

 

Game Maker

Game Maker by Yo Yo Games is another great tool to get yourself into game developer with. Game Maker is very simple to use and has a very good source of tutorials on their website which makes creating your first game a piece of cake.

The biggest downside for me is that the free version of Game Maker doesn’t allow you to export your games so you will need to fork out around £75/$100 before you can build your game – and that’s only for Windows / Linux / Mac. If you want to make an android game or an iOS game you its a further £350 / $400 and the price just keeps increasing. Fortunately I have seen Game Maker on Humble Bundle a few times so if you can keep an eye out for that it’s a great buy.

 

Other Options

There are a ton of other game engines each with their pros and cons depending on what you’re making and your personal needs.

 

I would love to know what you think about certain engines and hear your tips for helping people get into game development. In the next post I will look at picking and making your first game and what type of idea you should be aiming for.

If you have any questions feel free to comment or get in touch with me on twitter.

Rhys