Castaways has been Greenlit!

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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

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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

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2015 – A Year In Review

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First off, if you are taking the time to read this then thank you so much. As you may already know, it’s at this time of the month when we usually do a summary of last month’s work but being as it’s the new year I figured we should jump on the band wagon and do a somewhat ‘year in review’ style post. This is especially relevant as it is approaching Monocools first unofficial birthday! So this month we are going to skip or at least delay the usual developer update and I am going to give my thoughts on the entire year, highlight some of the better points and give a little talk about my hopes and plans for 2016.


 

Going Live

It was in January 2015 when I realized that Monocool Interactive and Castaways was what I wanted to do with my career. I was in a really good position career wise but my heart wasn’t in it and I couldn’t go an hour without thinking about going full time game dev. Obviously there aren’t any guarantees when you’re starting out so it was a pretty big and risky decision, but I had already been working on Castaways for over 2 years and now it was just a matter of taking it to the next level. This was a huge turning point for me, Castaways and Monocool. It was at this point I began taking steps to getting to where we are now and this is also when the Monocool Facebook page and the Monocool website went live for the first time.


 

Becoming A Full Time Game Developer

Although I began taking steps to going full time, it wasn’t until the May when I was in a position to leave my job and make Monocool not only my full time job, but my life. In hindsight, I could’ve done it sooner or later, each with their benefits but what’s done is done and this was the best thing I could have ever done.

It isn’t just the developing of the game that is time consuming. There is so much more to it, writing blogs, contacting people, managing social media, managing those who may be working with you, chasing up funding and jumping through the seemly unlimited number of hurdles they throw your way. A lot of people don’t understand this and I’ve had more eyes rolled at me than I can count when I tell people I quit my job to make games for a living. A lot of people really don’t understand that I didn’t quit my job to take on a more glamorous one with a better pay. I worker harder than I ever have, longer hours and for less than half minimum wage.

Negatives aside, this was a huge turning point for everything I wanted to do. I became so much happier and the progress on Castaways increased tenfold. I was able to start doing simple things that I couldn’t do while under full time employment such as attend business gateway meetings.


 

Steam Concepts

In July we finally got around to putting Castaways on the Steam Concepts section of steam. It is still live and you can see it here. This was great as we could finally start seeing what people thought about our ideas regardless of how developed they were. We received great feedback back from this. The numbers speak for themselves with 96% of the people who saw the page voted that they would play Castaways when completed.


 

Monocool Interactive Limited

As of October 2015 Monocool Interactive is a fully registered limited company. It’s not exactly the most extravagant thing in the world but it was a nice upgrade going from ‘this is my company’ to ‘this is my 100% legal and registered company’. Again, its not the most amazing or difficult thing to achieve, but its a nice feeling when you are in a position to be taken seriously.


 

Funding From The Princes’ Trust

In October I also went in front of a panel to pitch Monocool Interactive as a startup company with the hope of receiving funding. This was a pretty long process and an extremely steep learning curve but it all paid off and in November we were awarded with a nice sum of money to keep us going.
It was nice to finally be considered as a real company as opposed to just someone with an idea or hobby, especially with it including games. Not that we needed it, but it was also a real nice confidence boost!


 

Castaways

Words will never explain how far Castaways has come in a year. I told Alex way back at the start of the year that I think we could get Castaways finished in a year. Safe to say I was wrong, but I wasn’t that far off.

Throughout the year Castaways has changed dramatically in two ways. Firstly, the ideas that I started the year with have evolved, improved and in every aspect became so much better. As more people have gotten involved, the game has taken a life of its own. As time has gone on and we have read or watched different things, we’ve adjusted our idea of wha Castaways is and honestly I cannot wait to get a finished product out for people to play.

Secondly and more obviously, the game has come such a long way. In January we didn’t really have much to be honest but now it’s blossoming and changing monthly. We have single player, multiplayer, Ai, an almost perfect building system, really cool personal and team inventories and the list goes on. And on top of that we still have a gigantic list of things that we want to add that is going to make things even better. This is all just a matter of time, but fortunately this is something we have plenty of.


 

The Monocool Team

I can confidently say without these people I wouldn’t be writing this post. They have been unbelievably hard working, patient, reliable, supportive – just amazing. Like most startups there is very little in it for them in the short term, potentially long term too. They are well aware of it but they still put in an extra shift on top of their normal jobs to keep things going and picking up the pieces where I need them to. So if you guys happen to read this, thank you again for all your hard work.

On a less soppy note, it’s also been great to see these guys from my role as manager too. I have no reservations about any of their abilities. They are all great at what they do and they are all hard working, but being fully honest, over the year every single one of them has surprised me in more than one way. Each has impressed me with their skills and abilities where I had no clue that they were as good as they were. Everyone, including myself, has learned a lot over the year and we should all be proud of how far we’ve come. We are all better for what we have done over the past year.
2015 has flown by. I think 2016 is going to go by even faster and more frantic and I really can’t wait. We have a trailer coming, starting our Steam Greenlight campaign, launching a new website, additional contract work and as mentioned a ton of things we want to do for Castaways and Monocool Interactive.

If you have made it this far, thank you again for reading this and being a part of it. I and everyone from Monocool appreciate your support. I honestly believe that 2016 is going to be a big year for us and I hope that you’ll be there every step of the way and to see and celebrate any success that we may have.

– Rhys Willis, an extremely happy self employed game developer.

Our Top 3 Games of 2015

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GAME OF THE YEAR – 2015

As we approach the end of what has been an awesome year for Monocool Interactive and the development cycle for our debut game, Castaways, we decided to list our personal favourite games of 2015!

Here are our Top 3 picks for Game of the Year, followed by a few honourable mentions:

3. Bloodborne

Ross: “I’ve played a lot of games this year, and some of them I’ve absolutely adored. However, for me, one game stands above the rest and it is Bloodborne, developed by From Software and published by Sony.”

“I’ve never been in to the Demon/Dark Souls games and to be honest I gave this one a go purely because it was a PlayStation exclusive and there wasn’t many around at that time – but 65 hours, 120 levels and 17 intense terrifying boss fights later and I was so glad I did. I was blown away by this bloody (literally) descent in to video game madness. The gameplay, level design, art direction and risk/reward mechanic were all 10/10 for me!”

2. Fallout 4

Andrew: “For me its probably Fallout 4. Although it seems like a very slight mistep from Skyrim due to being rushed a little in places and still having some technical issues, Bethesda always pulls the rabit out of the hat. The best Fallout game to date and I’ve played them all, it’s an incredible game and takes up a massive amount of my time just wandering around discovering new quests, locations and enemies – I’m close to 100 hours!“

1. Rocket League

Kevin: “2015 was such an absolutely packed year for big games being released, it was also a year that was so packed that I didn’t get much of a chance to play anything – too busy working on Castaways, y’see? – but of the games that were released this year that I have played, I’ve got to go with Rocket League because it’s created so many fun and memorable moments with friends by creatively using its physics.”

Rhys: “I would also go with Rocket League as well. The first game in years that I enjoy AND play with a control. I am not really into ‘sports’ games but Rocket League however is just too addictive. It ticks all the boxes – competitive, great fun, quick games, not to mention the endless amount of content Psyonix are releasing.”

Ross: “Yeah it’s absolutely the most fun I’ve had gaming this year, and that Back To The Future DLC was a nice add-on!”

Honourable mentions:

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
Rainbow Six: Siege
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

So what do you think of our choices? Do you agree? Did we miss your favourite 2015 game from our list?

Join in the conversation on Facebook or Tweet us your thoughts @MonocoolInt

 

Happy Halloween from Monocool Interactive

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As it’s Halloween we decided to do something a little different. In no particular order here are each of our most feared, favourite and memorable horror games.

Rhys – Resident Evil
“Resident Evil is the first ‘horror game’ I ever played. I was probably way too young and the minute zombie dogs started diving through the mansion windows… – I think I might be scarred for life as I am super jumpy.”

Alex – Silent Hill
“The game that scared me to the point where, 1) I never played it alone and 2), I never completed it: Silent Hill, PlayStation 1”

Kevin – L.A. Noire
“While I know it wasn’t even supposed to be that scary, there was a moment in L.A. Noire, where one of the new build houses from the Suburban Redevelopment Fund has a flickering light and you have to go in to investigate, and it was the dread that you just know something will happen.”

Arham – Slender: The Eight Pages
“I’ve only played one scary game… Slender!”

Jenna – Dead Space 2 and Resident Evil 3
“Dead Space 2 and Resident Evil 3! I couldn’t finish either one of them until years later after I first played them.”

Andrew – Slender: The Eight Pages
“Scariest game… well jumpiest is Slender for me. I spilled my water all over my girlfriend after she jumped then i jumped! It’s not even that scary… just jumpy.”

Richie – Dead Space 2
“Playing Dead Space 2 in the dark. I did it, but I won’t do it again, nor will I play Dead Space 3.”

Chowshe – Don’t Starve
“Actually, the moment in a video game that recently scared me was when I met one of those tree creatures in Don’t Starve. I was cutting a tree and it came to life and I was like ‘Holy Crap!’”

Ross – Dead Space and The Last of Us
“Dead Space was terrifying. Bought it, tried it, traded it in. There was also a moment in The Last Of Us that scared the hell out of me, where a clicker came out of a door and grabbed me. Totally caught me off guard.”

So there you have it. We are the last people you want in a team to explore a scary location. Luckily we don’t have to. What do you think? Can you relate to any of these games? We’d love to hear what games you found scary!

Happy Halloween and have a great weekend from everyone at Monocool.