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On the road

Posted by on 29 Apr, 2016 in Fragmental

I’ve spent the best part of a week out and about showing off Fragmental at various events. Here’s a roundup of each:

 

Epic Unreal Engine 20th birthday event

Epic Games recently celebrated the 20th birthday of their much used Unreal Engine. To mark this, they held an event at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, where they wanted to have a room showing off a number of different third party games currently in development, that are built using UE4. We were happy to oblige (even though it meant a 7:30am flight followed by the sleeper train back the same night!).

The day started badly, as after about 4 hours sleep, I managed to cut myself shaving for the first time in about a decade. It was one of those where it’s the tiniest knick, but within seconds it looked like a scene from CSI. One plaster later and I look like I’m auditioning for Shenmue 3. Still surely it’ll be fine by the time I get to London.

Shenmue

It did indeed stop. Then started again 5 minutes before the invited attendees were due to arrive. The only option to avoid looking like I’d been stabbed in the neck was to ask the catering staff for a plaster. Anyone who has worked in catering will know what comes next…

A bright blue chef’s plaster. Amazing. So I had to spend the first half hour talking to people looking like an idiot. Well, even more than usual.

 

UK Games Fund showcase

We were lucky enough to be selected as one of the companies to receive funding in the first round of grants from the UK Games Fund, and this event was a showcase for all selected companies to demo the games they had used this money to fund. While we were only set up for an hour and a half, as much as anything it was useful to meet the other dev teams to swap stories and make new connections. as well as catch up with old friends and colleagues.

 

EGX Rezzed 2016

We took  the decision not to show Fragmental off at Rezzed. This was for a number of reasons, but chief among those was that it freed us up to spend the entire show with three main goals:

 

1) Attend talks & presentations, learn from those that have more experience in making successful indie games

While a lot of the talks were aimed more at startup companies, maybe embarking on their first project, one talk stood out as a must-attend for us – Mike Rose from TinyBuild talking about their approach to community building and Twitch integration. This was not something we had given much thought to before now, but what Mike had to say made a huge amount of sense, and his attitude towards taking small risks for potentially large rewards was refreshing and compelling to hear. We managed to grab him after his talk for a chat, and gave him a steam code for Fragmental, so it will be interesting to see what he thinks of it!

 

2) Making contacts that will help us further down the line when it comes to marketing, selling & publishing Fragmental

Through direct contact, and contact by association (talking to people, who then passed our details on), we successfully managed to get connections with the major platform owners, as well as a number of publishers and social media sites. Chief among these were the guys from Machinima who were a great bunch of guys and always up for a laugh. :)

Clyde

Hashtag Clyde

 

3) Research what other developers were doing in the indie game scene

The sheer variety of games on show was impressive, though melee based multiplayer arena battlers seemed to be the most prominent. Just as well we went with a shooting based game then! Over the three days of the show, we tried to play as many as we could, and here’s a review of our combined favourites:

 

Super Arcade Football – This is without doubt the spiritual successor to Sensible Soccer (though the actual successor, Sociable Soccer is also in production). The first game we played on day one, and it remained our favourite for the entire show. We must have played about 20 games of it. 11-a-side, indoor 5-a-side, and it seems everything we asked about is already in their development plans. This deserves to sell so many copies…

SuperArcadeFootball

 

Raging Justice – I was a huge side scrolling beat-em-up fan in the 90’s, and went straight past Rocket League and Quantum Break in the Microsoft room to play on this. Turns out its being coded by one guy (take a bow Nic Makin) in his spare time evenings & weekends, with help from 1 artist! There are clear inspirations in here from Streets of Rage, Final Fight, Double Dragon & maybe most prominently, Vendetta. If anything, it looks even smoother on iOS. Insanity! Those of you who have read my blogs will now realise this is an absolutely perfect segway to allow me to use that meme of Jackie Chan that I use in all my posts. As its too easy here, I’ve decided not to bother.

 

RagingJustice

 

Snake Pass – The result of an internal game jam at Sumo Digital, and only 3 months of development time, I didn’t expect much as it looked like a run-of-the-mill 3D platformer. However the snake movement physics felt really satisfying as you navigated the scenery. Its something that can only be appreciated by actually getting hands on with the game, so if you get a chance, give it a go.

SsnakePass

 

Manual Samuel – Initially I dismissed this as it wasn’t much to look at graphically, but its one of the few games that can actually make you laugh. You control a man back from the dead, who has to navigate a day in his life with all involuntary body processes now requiring voluntary input. So if you forget to breath periodically, you will die. If you forget to blink, the screen will fade to white. You need to keep your spine straight. Left and right steps are on different buttons (so a simpler version of QWOP). Simple processes like drinking a cup of tea, showering, or getting dressed all require thought and dexterity.

I know, it sounds terrible, but it actually somehow works.

manualsamuel

 

Fugl – Hidden away in the Sega Leftfield room for slightly more unusual games, I found this gem. Despite thinking it had an awful name, I’ve since found out it means ‘Bird’ in Norwegian, which kind of makes sense as the developer, Johan Gjestland, is Norwegian. Still. A more interesting name couldn’t hurt…    This is exactly the kind of experience I want from VR, and playing it on an Oculus was a beautiful experience – Diving through the clouds, skimming along a river, swooping between trees. Yeah, I’m sold. After this I didn’t feel like I needed to join the frankly ridiculous queue’s to try any of the other VR games.

FUGL

 

Scanner Sombre – While only a very early tech demo from Introversion (the guys behind the great Prison Architect), Scanner Sombre was an eerie, experience. Set in pitch black, you have a scanner that shoots out hundreds of tiny dots of light. Wherever it hits something physical, it sticks to it. Through this method, you can effectively paint the world. The creepyness comes from when you realise there are human figures around you, but you don’t know if they are real, statues, or echoes. I’m not sure what they plan to eventually do with this, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for it.

scanner

 

Lumo – This kind of feels like I’m shilling for a friend, but Lumo is genuinely a great game. Tons of in-jokes / homages / references to games from the past, and a charming graphical style. What’s not to like? Though if all you ever play is COD or Fifa, maybe its not the game for you.

lumo

 

 

One final thing I have to do is apologize to Dara O’Briain. Yes, the Dara O’Briain from TV and comedy. As we were getting ushered out at 6pm with the rest of the scruffy people, the tuxedo and dress brigade were arriving for the Bafta game awards. Without realising I managed to wander into shot behind Dara while he was being interviewed on the red carpet for Sky news. Having watched it now, I noticed a clear moment where the camera pans away from where I was. Oops.

FRAGMENTAL – UPDATE 2

Posted by on 21 Apr, 2016 in Fragmental

We’ve just made Update 2 live on Steam!

 

It’s been 4 weeks since our last Update, so we’re currently a little behind our planned schedule, but I promise it will have been worth the wait!

While Update 1 added new Weapons & Modifiers, this Update is a bit heavier in content, providing new Maps, Game Setup configuration options, and a new team based Game Mode.

 

New Game Mode

Team Deathmatch

Now you can team up to Frag your enemies. Or more likely, argue with your Teammate as you realise that friendly fire is most definitely a clear and present danger!

Fragging your Teammate loses your Team a Frag, so don’t just spray bullets randomly or you might end up taking more backward than forward steps on the road to victory.

 

New Standard Maps

Boxed In

One of the tightest Maps in the game. The combination of windows and doors mean Rounds never last long here.

Showdown

A high noon shootout, wait for the walls to drop and don’t get an itchy trigger finger.

Prison Architect

Don’t be introverted here, run to the middle to fight!

Shooting Gallery

Moving platform action where you can be fragged from any angle.

Knuckle Duster

Curved walls everywhere mean you’re never safe from bouncing projectiles.

Death Track

A racetrack loop with deadly spectators ready to join the action at the press of a button…

Ball Pit

So. Many. Balls.

Nae Dice

Lots of movement on this Map, try bouncing shots off the outside ring for skill frags.

Grassy Knoll

This is all about deflecting shots off walls, or threading the needle down the centre.

Window Pains

Remember you can shoot through windows. There’s lots here to take advantage of.

Standing Stones

It looks like Stonehenge? Really? Hadn’t noticed.

Battlefield

A large battlefield with irregular walls for unexpected ricochets and perfect aim long range shots.

Death Valley

Careful of the gaping chasm in the centre of this map.

 

New Survival Maps

Lazer Maze

This room hates you. The floor moves and the walls are deadly.

Hex-A-Gone

An evil Billiards inspired table with added laser death.

Parkour Punching

Aerial jousting with 4 platforms and 1 Jump Pad.

 

Game Setup Configuration Options

Something we’ve noticed during demos, and also something that has been requested on our Steam Discussions board, is to allow the Player to define the number of Frags that are required to win a Match.

Despite only needing 20 frags to win a Match as it stands, we’ve seen people play the game and have their Match go upwards of 70 Rounds. So yes, well done general public, you’re definitely right on this one. There are some other high level Game Setup Configuration Options as well as this, and we will continue to add more for Players to customise their game in future Updates.

Frag Limit (5 / 10 / 15 / 20)

You asked, we’ve provided! At present we’ve given the choice of 4 Frag Limits, but will possibly make this even more open to modification later. So if for some bizarre reason you really want a 13 Frag Limit, we might make that possible if enough people want it.

Death Walls (On / Off)

If a Round goes on for longer than 15 seconds, we trigger the Death Walls. This is to keep the action moving, and to stop Rounds becoming long, drawn out tactical affairs. Fragmental is all about fast paced action. However, if you really want to hide like a coward, this now means you can turn off the Death Walls and be a pussy to your hearts content.

Survival rounds (On / Off)

These are my personal favourite rounds in Fragmental. But if you really don’t like them – then I assume you are the kind of person who is crap at them – you can choose to turn them off. This would make me sad though, so don’t do it.

Modifiers (On / Off)

Modifiers are there to mix things up a bit. Who doesn’t like Infinite Ammo? Who doesn’t like Shields? Who doesn’t like Slow Motion? Who doesn’t like Reverse Runner… actually forget that, everybody swears at Reverse Runner. Anyway, if you want a really vanilla version of Fragmental, you can now turn these off.

 

Weapon Updates

Homing Launcher

Splash damage radius increased +100%.

Rocket Launcher

Splash damage radius reduced -20%.

Mine Launcher

Splash damage radius increased +100%.

Player can no longer trigger their own Mines.

Redeemer

Splash damage radius reduced -17%.

Sniper

Can now be fired through teleporters.

 

So, that’s update 2 out of the way now, on to update 3. This next one is a biggie, with the first implementation of AI bots meaning you will finally be able to play Fragmental single player.

As ever, if anyone has any questions or suggestions about these Updates or the game in general, add them to the Steam Discussions board and we’ll do our best to get back to you as quickly as possible.

With these updates, and the growing number of videos from Youtube and Twitch streamers, we’re beginning to see our player base grow. If you’re not yet one of them, head over to the Steam page and get onboard. The practise time you get will give you an advantage when we get to the update where we deliver the monster that is online play. It’s only a few more updates away…

 

The Ruffians