Could Mirrors be one of the last games through Steam Greenlight?

By | Development Updates, News | No Comments

Around a week ago we put Mirrors live on Steam Greenlight with the hope of getting greenlit before Valve press ALT+F4 on Steam Greenlight. If you haven’t read about Mirrors yet you can do so on its new updated page that can be found here.

Why are we bothering with Steam Greenlight?

We always intended to make Mirrors available on Steam, but with Valve announcing the scrapping of Steam Greenlight the clock began ticking and we needed to rush into it a little. As much as we would like to get Mirrors onto Steam, if we don’t get greenlit, it’s not the end of the world. We will look at other avenues of distributing Mirrors until such time that that Valve get Steam Direct up and running and we will see if that works for us.

Although we do have backup plans, in the meantime we would still love to get through the Steam Greenlight process if we can. So if you can go and vote for us and share this post to other gamers and that would be awesome!

Lower your expectations

 

Greenlight process so far.

Upon starting we got a pretty big influx of ‘No’ votes but we somewhat expected this as puzzle games aren’t exactly that popular compared to a lot of other genres that are available on Steam Greenlight. During this time we also got a nice number of ‘Yes’ votes, potentially more than we really anticipated. That was nice.

Currently we are getting a nice steady flow of ‘Yes’ votes and next to no ‘No’ votes each day. I think not being on the front page of Steam Greenlight anymore means we’re less inclined to attract people who aren’t interested.

We find this very interesting as Castaways was greenlit in under a month but received so much criticism. Mirrors is already over a week into the Greenlight process and although we’re receiving much less criticism, we’re also getting a steady amount of organic ‘Yes’ votes. Perhaps it’s something to do with the internal workings of Steam Greenlight. I suppose we will never know.

 

What we’re working on.

We’re already in the process of adding a few more awesome things to Mirrors. We have just completed a procedurally generated tomb flooring system which means each unique level with have its own unique flooring pattern. We’re also in the process of improving on how the user interacts with each of the various objects around the tombs.

Over the coming weeks we will be working on implementing the multiplayer version of Mirrors. This will allow two people to race through tombs to see who the better treasure hunter is. We are also in the process of tweaking how the existing modes work.

We are looking at adding a few additional mirrors such as a sliding mirror which has a fixed rotation but runs along a track. The objective would be to position this along the track where you would need the reflection.

There is also the addition of different shaped tombs instead of just the standard rectangle that we have shown you so far. We believe that by adding a variety of different shaped tombs will add the complexity and the creativity of the level design, whether it is us or you making the levels.

Mirrors has plenty of scope to constantly improve on where it is currently and we will continue to do so, but we would also love to hear your ideas. So if you have any suggestions how we can improve it or what we could add, please don’t hesitate to get in touch or leave a comment!

 

Additional Projects

Monocool Interactive always has a lot going on. To quote one of the artists we have 10 fingers in 20 twenty pies. How? We’re not quite sure. But it works. Plus we love pie.

Lower your expectations

We are in the process of developing a range of tutorials to help people get into game development. These will be free to use and will come in a mixture of difficulties. We will also be looking at providing feedback to answer any questions you might have along the way.
We’re also in the process of wrapping up some work for Cardiff University on their game Storyboard. Once done we will be looking to get additional work with either another client or focus on one of our own projects.

Finally we’ve been looking at a side project to do once Mirrors is finally live – regardless of what platform that may be. Obviously we wouldn’t be abandoning Mirrors and hoping for the best. We would continually develop it, but as mentioned, we love pie and we want more! We have a few ideas for what this next project will be and we’ll be looking more into these shortly. So stay tuned!

As always, if you got this far, thank you so much for your time. It really does mean a lot. If you have any comments or questions we would love to hear them.

Please remember to go and check Mirrors out on Steam Greenlight! Tell your friends. Tell your enemies. Tell anyone! It’s much appreciated.

Rhys Willis
@rhyswilly

Castaways has been Greenlit!

By | Development Updates, News | No Comments

After just over a month of being live on Steam Greenlight, Castaways has been Greenlit!

Waynes World Waynes World Party Time Excellent!

First things first, thank you everyone for all your support. Obviously this would have been 100% impossible without the help of the public as that is what Steam Greenlight is all about! We have learned so much from the whole process, not only about Castaways but the process itself. Do’s and Don’ts. When and if a game is ready for Steam Greenlight and more importantly Steam Greenlight isn’t everything.

Before Castaways went live on Steam Greenlight we were steaming away with the development of Castaways. Upon going live things almost came to a standstill. We have been extremely busy developing games for other companies, so that is half of the reason. But in a sense Greenlight can be somewhat demotivating. So I think in future, and for anyone who is considering it, it’s important to have a game plan for when you go live, and ensure that you stick to it! Although we had / have a game plan we got side-tracked by negative comments and complacent with the positive comments. Either way, everything that is happening is amazing and we have no real negatives to talk about.

Waynes World Waynes World Party Time Excellent!

So what are the plans for the future? In the interest of keeping this short and being as honest as possible, things are a bit hectic at the moment. We are in the process of wrapping up a game for a client which we can’t talk too much about currently. This will be done within the week. We are also in the process of developing a nice little mobile game which we plan to release at the end of the month. In addition, at the end of March we will be starting another game for a client, which will last until around June.

Amongst all this we will of course be continuing to work on Castaways and get it to a standard not only are we happy to release, but it’s in a position where it’s worth the money. This of course will take time, but in the interest of time we are in discussions about hiring an additional 3d modeller / artist to help with the work load. Our models and textures was the biggest negatives we received from Steam Greenlight and is something we were already well aware of.

We have no delusions that there is still so much work ahead of us for Castaways but we’re going to take a few days to enjoy the moment and discuss what our goals are and what is realistic in terms of release.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter where we’ll be letting you know about whats going on and answering any questions you might have. Finally, share this post if you have enjoyed reading as its likely someone else will too!

Thanks again for all your support over the last few months!

– Rhys

Feel free to follow me on twitter!

 

 

7 Reasons To Vote For Castaways

By | Development Updates, News | No Comments

If you’ve been following Monocool Interactive you will know all about our debut game Castaways, and more importantly you will know that it is now on Steam Greenlight! We are one step closer to making our dream a reality, and we would love your help to get there. Head over to our Steam Greenlight page and vote Yes for us to be Greenlit!

What, need convincing? Our months of Developer Diaries and epic #ScreenshotSaturdays not enough for you? Well, here’s 7 reasons why you should be excited for Castaways, and why you should give it a Yes vote on Steam Greenlight!

1 – What is Castaways?
Castaways is an environmental survival game that gives you – the player – the power to create and fine tune your adventures exactly how you want them, every time you play. Want a shorter or a longer lasting game? No problem! Want to try a different game mode with different objectives? Go ahead! Bored of your current enemy set? Pick another! We want to make Castaways a one stop shop for the survival genre and we can only do that with your support.

2 – Game Modes
Every time you play Castaways you will be able to set what type of game mode you want to play which defines the method of winning or losing that game. For instance, if you choose to play the Rescue mode, you and your team must work together to survive until rescue arrives, while also completing tasks to ensure that rescue will come such as lighting signal fires. Or perhaps you might pick the Onslaught mode where you and your team must build defenses to fend off waves of enemies until you defeat their leader. Then again, you can just pick objective mode and let the game guide you on an adventure that Is different every single time. The choice is yours!
We strive to continually add new Game Modes to Castaways to ensure that you will never be bored and always have a new adventure waiting to be played.

3 – Enemy Sets
Enemy Sets are one of the finer points of Castaways that sets it apart from all other games that fall under the same or similar genres. For every game of Castaways that you play, you get to choose which enemy set you will be playing against.
Each Enemy Set will come with its own strengths, weaknesses and their own little quirks. Multiple Enemy Sets are already in development and include a cannibal tribe and dinosaurs, but we already have plenty of ideas planned out and intend the variety of enemies to be constantly expanding.

4 – Environments
With the Environments in Castaways we wanted to take a step back from ever expanding locations and go back to smaller but more detailed landscapes. In Castaways you will be able to choose from a selection of Environments of different complexity and scale. Each Environment is also dynamic, so even if you choose a specific map, certain details will change to ensure that you have a different experience each time. These differences are subtle and will not affect the game play in anyway and example would be a cave system that may exist, may exist but need excavating or just might not exist at all!

5 – Background System
The background system is more commonly known in other games as a class system, except with Castaways you play as what you were, not what you are. Before you join a game, you will need to pick one of the several Backgrounds that are available. Currently there are 5 selectable backgrounds including Lumberjack, Soldier, Doctor, Engineer and Project Manager.
Each background has its different strengths and weaknesses and will benefit a team in a variety of different ways. The more you play with a character with a specific Background, you will earn experience to let you improve on the skills that you already know making you a Castaways every team will want!

6 – Survival System
When you’re not busy building a raft or hunting down a vicious T-Rex you will be busy taking care of yourself. We believe that the Survival System in Castaways is truly original and ticks all the boxes between fun and realism. Your health, hunger, hydration and energy all need to be monitored to ensure your efficiency is at its highest. If your efficiency drops for any particular reason, you won’t perform tasks as well as someone who has a higher efficiency.
We honestly have so much to talk about for Survival System and we are certain that you will not be disappointed. Once we have finalized a few details we will definitely be releasing a video to fully explain it and show you it in action.

7 – Build Mode
The last of the 7 reasons to vote for Castaways is our Build Mode which sets Castaways apart from any other survival game you may have played. Castaways has gone through multiple versions of its Build Mode to ensure that it’s easy to use and more importantly, enjoyable. When entering Build Mode your player temporarily leaves their first person view and gains an aerial view of the surrounding area where you can now begin placing buildings and defenses.
When you are done planning out your camp, simply leave build mode and return back to your characters first person view. Now you your team can begin building your camp using the tools you have collected or crafted.
So there you have it! Now you’re convinced why our game deserves to be Greenlit, so head on over to Steam and give us your vote! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for all the updates on Monocool, Castaways and our other projects.

Thank you for your support,
Monocool Interactive

Monocool_7reasons_banner

November Dev Blog

By | Development Updates | No Comments

Nov

November has been a pretty hectic month as we have a lot of deadlines that we would love to hit before Christmas comes. As a result it’s been pretty much all hands on deck. We are really close to meeting all our own personal targets and we’re approximately 2 months ahead of the schedule at present. Exciting times!

We have several updates for you – so let’s get right in to it!

Finally on Twitter!
Yes Monocool Interactive has finally got on board with the big blue bird that is Twitter! You can follow us @monocoolint and don’t for get to follow our Studio Director @rhyswilly as well.
Facebook Competition – WIN £50 GAMING CREDIT!
We are currently running a competition on our Facebook page that will close on the 15th December. All you have to do is like our page Monocool Interactive, share the pinned post, and tag the 5 friends who would make up your team of Castaways.
Storage and Inventory UIs Overhauled
Both the Storage Hut and Inventory UI were still suffering from being placeholders. Both have been redesigned and implemented.
Sound Effects Added
We have been working closely with a sound engineer and he has come up with some great sound effects for us. We have implemented these sound effects and they sound amazing and really make the game so much better.

I would recommend that if anyone needs some sort of audio work done to check out Chris Carlone Composition.
Weapons and Tools Added
Last month we remodeled and textured the weapons and tools we have currently added to Castaways. We have now added them and they work a treat.
Single Player to Multiplayer Conversion
Last month we made big strides on moving from single player to multiplayer. We have developed this even further and implementing the following:

All Buildings Work

  • Fire is synced for everyone
  • Day / Night System
  • Creating both Private and Open Multiplayer Games
  • Joining Private Games
  • Open Game Server List
  • In Game Chat

In addition we have also solved a problem with our animations which means we can hopefully have player rigs properly working in multiplayer before Christmas.
Remodeled Watch Tower
We are now in the process of fine tuning the build mode for online gameplay. As a result we decided to remodel one of our more complicated buildings to push the limits of our servers before we begin polishing every other building type.
Implemented AI Foundations
We have managed to get the very basics put together for AI but we are still yet to fully integrate it with Castaways. We will be doing this through December. Currently we have the following working pretty well:

  • Enemies interacting with player characters
  • Enemies having idle behaviors
  • Enemies following ‘rules’ for game modes
  • Enemies walk around environment objects.

Work on Trailer
We have spent the last week of November working on the Castaways trailer. We’re very happy with the way things are going and we think the trailer is going to be awesome. We’re not going to say too much on this as we will let the trailer speak for itself when the time comes. The trailer is planned for release very, very soon!

Throughout December we have a few surprises as well as a few targets yet to meet, some are way more complicated than others. Once these targets are met we are planning to release a lot more video dev blogs, and show a lot more of our game off. We are very excited for this, but currently our focus is on fine tuning the game to make sure it is in the best possible state to present. Stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter, Steam and IndieDB accounts for more updates over the next month.

Thanks for reading!

October Dev Update

By | Development Updates | No Comments

Oct

October has been awesome! We’ve received confirmation that we’ll be receiving funding from Princes Trust as well as being in talks with the potential of a few additional projects. Not to mention, we’ve been making some fantastic progress on Castaways!

Weapons and Tools Remodeled and Textured
Hammer, Chisel, Axe and Torch have been remodelled and retextured and are looking much better than our original place holders. We feel that going forward our new tools and weapons will work perfect up until the beta.

Player Animations and Model
Currently we are using a place holder first person rig so we have begun the development of redoing the model and the animations of our first playable character. The modelling is complete and it’s just a matter of animating before we can implement it into the game.

Leaf Remodeled and Textured
We have added new leaves – not the most exciting of headlines but it is all a part of the design process. Again, our place holder leaves were extremely rushed as a way of just testing how they would work. We are much happier with our new palm leaves and they are a massive improvement to the resource gathering side of the game.

Single Player to Multiplayer Conversion
Now that we are flying ahead with the single player we have begun to ensure that this is all working in multiplayer. So far, players can create their own games as well as join existing games. We have also implemented the following:

  • Personal Inventories
  • Team Inventories
  • Tree chopping and resources spawning
  • Lumber carrying and depositing
  • Boulder mining and resources spawning
  • Resources gathering
  • Basic Building

UI Overhaul
With the advancements on the multiplayer side of the game we felt it was important to start looking at the main menu and how we go about joining these games.

  • Full Main Menu in place but not fully coded.
  • Create a Game Menu Designed and mostly working. We just need to actually make some of the options we’ve included work.
  • Join A Specific Game finished. Allows you to join a private game if you know its name.
  • Browse Existing Games has been Designed. We just need to begin populating it with the servers we create.

Background System Implementation
We have started work on the Background system which we are really excited about. Currently we have only implemented two classes, Lumberjacks and Engineers. Picking one of these backgrounds will give your character certain benefits while performing tasks.

  • Lumberjacks currently chop down trees 50% faster than other classes.
  • Engineers build structures 50% faster than other classes.

We have also planned out the benefits of having multiple of the same Background within your group of survivors but we have not begun implementing this yet.

AI Started
We have started putting together the basics for our AI. The plan is to have the basics in place ready for November so that when we are done with what we are working on currently; we can begin adding the AI to the game almost instantly.
Currently we have put together some of the more basic of player interactions such as following and interacting when in range. We have also began putting in some of the more objective orientated AI functions. We know what Game Modes we are going to implement first, so we also know what tasks we need the AI to perform in order to make the Game Modes work.

IndieDB Live
We have finally got around to setting up our IndieDB account and we’re hoping to start attracting a lot more attention to Castaways through this medium. Find out more here.

Stay tuned to the Castaways Facebook page for regular updates, and you can also follow us on our brand new Twitter account @Monocoolint. Over the next few weeks we’ll be working closely with a sound engineer while looking at the sound track for our upcoming trailers as well as sound effects for the game. Not to mention we have some great plans for our Hunger and Thirst System, Polishing a lot of our models and also implementing game modes! You will be able to find out all about these and more over the next month by following our Facebook page. You can also follow us on @monocoolint our brand new twitter account.