Author Topic: I'm a Steam Dev now: GravBlocks released on Steam  (Read 3094 times)

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Offline EvilNick

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I'm a Steam Dev now: GravBlocks released on Steam
« on: December 15, 2015, 04:55:41 PM »
Hello folks!  I've talked a bit about doing game development on the side, and today, we've added another platform to our repertoire. 

My team made a match-three puzzle game, but, we went out of our way to go against the grain of other predictable match-three games.  We copied nothing from Candy Crush or Bejeweled, and while the game may not appeal to the same casual audience, it does give more dedicated gamers a unique challenge to enjoy.

Our puzzle game eschews the combo-building of other match-three games in favor of a new strategy-centric design, where players change gravity to earn score multipliers, but due to hazards in the walls, they must do it carefully and with some planning!

Our game is $3.99, but releasing for $2.99 promo price.

It has 5 gameplay modes, 8 styles of block graphics, 15 background graphics, a 30-level story mode, 150 puzzles, 80 Achievements, over a dozen unlockables, Steam Cards, Badges, Backgrounds, and Emojis.  It works with keyboard, mouse, Xbox 360 controller, and Steam controllers.

The story concept is an alien abduction scenario, but where they've "reached the limits of traditional probing," so now they task players with a variation of the match-three puzzle game design.  Because aliens are ridiculous.  The DLC is a guide for the 150 puzzles in the game, interspersed with "Factoids of Interest" about both the game and general "alien history," and since I wrote all of those segments, they're crafted from a skeptical viewpoint (complete with a reference that Ancient Aliens is 100% crap).

Find the game here:  http://store.steampowered.com/app/403300/

http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/256659044/movie480.webm?t=1450213473
http://fromnothinggamestudios.com/

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Offline Smooth

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Re: I'm a Steam Dev now: GravBlocks released on Steam
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2015, 01:04:45 PM »
Congrats!  The game looks like a lot of fun!

As a customer, I am a big fan of Steam, and pretty much only play Steam games.  I was in fact, just looking up whether the Steam Machine allows a keyboard and mouse. (It does.)

Congrats again on your game! I will certainly check it out.  I love the name of your Inc., too!

Offline PANTS!

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Re: I'm a Steam Dev now: GravBlocks released on Steam
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2015, 06:38:46 PM »
Grats!
Now where I come from
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Offline Andrew Clunn

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Re: I'm a Steam Dev now: GravBlocks released on Steam
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2015, 06:44:34 PM »
Purchased.  Good for you!
I'm just the victim of my cognitive privilege

Offline gcason

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Re: I'm a Steam Dev now: GravBlocks released on Steam
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2015, 11:17:32 PM »
Purchased.  Good for you!

Purchased as well. Congrats!
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Offline EvilNick

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Re: I'm a Steam Dev now: GravBlocks released on Steam
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2016, 04:51:35 PM »
Thanks folks!  Very much appreciate the support!

It's a little old school in that there are no tutorials, but there is a PDF manual available on the game's page.
http://fromnothinggamestudios.com/

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Offline Andrew Clunn

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Re: I'm a Steam Dev now: GravBlocks released on Steam
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2016, 04:48:49 PM »
For some reason the whole process just became much more zen with a controller.

So what was your development environment / language / framework?  Sorry, the coder in me is always interested in these things.
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Offline EvilNick

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Re: I'm a Steam Dev now: GravBlocks released on Steam
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2016, 09:21:12 AM »
For some reason the whole process just became much more zen with a controller.

So what was your development environment / language / framework?  Sorry, the coder in me is always interested in these things.

I did graphics, concept design, and bossing people around (so the graphics are my fault, but they were a secondary consideration to gameplay), but I think the programmers did everything in C#, and it was all built in Unity.  The development environment was usually my living room, ha ha. 

The game is built a little oddly, per my understanding, and operates based on framerates--which was a compromise that had to be done on the original Android version.  But it got ingrained in the whole thing, which required some back-and-forth with Nintendo to get it released on the Wii U.  The reason this was done had to do with the huge number of checks running in the game at once, which made it a rather intensive puzzle game.  With 48 wall panels that have two settings each (Hazard or Floor), there was a lot for the game to track at once.

We got an additional coder for the Wii U version, and he pretty much rebuilt a lot of the game from scratch, outside of the basic engine.  We received a compliment from another, much more established developer here (Ken from Big John Games) who told us that our game didn't look like a typical Unity game, so he was surprised it was built in there. 

The Steam version ended up being the Wii U version (though it was originally the Android version), with several edits and Steam additions. 

I put up an update to explain where we're going this year:  http://fromnothinggamestudios.com/archives/598
http://fromnothinggamestudios.com/

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Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: I'm a Steam Dev now: GravBlocks released on Steam
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2016, 09:33:50 AM »
I have made little tiny fits and starts to develop a game but it is pretty damn hard, even on Unity. I will say that for turn-based strategy MVC seems to be the way to go nowadays.
Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.

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Offline EvilNick

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Re: I'm a Steam Dev now: GravBlocks released on Steam
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2016, 11:38:05 AM »
I have made little tiny fits and starts to develop a game but it is pretty damn hard, even on Unity. I will say that for turn-based strategy MVC seems to be the way to go nowadays.

We started out as a group of students who all went to school for game design.  The hard part for us was finding people who wanted to do this work for a long-term eventual pay-off and working in your free time.
http://fromnothinggamestudios.com/

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Offline PANTS!

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Re: I'm a Steam Dev now: GravBlocks released on Steam
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2016, 11:51:26 AM »
I have made little tiny fits and starts to develop a game but it is pretty damn hard, even on Unity. I will say that for turn-based strategy MVC seems to be the way to go nowadays.

Are you speaking of the design pattern Model-View-Controller when you speak of MVC?
Now where I come from
We don't let society tell us how it's supposed to be
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It's forgotten the message and worships the creeds

Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: I'm a Steam Dev now: GravBlocks released on Steam
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2016, 12:03:39 PM »
I have made little tiny fits and starts to develop a game but it is pretty damn hard, even on Unity. I will say that for turn-based strategy MVC seems to be the way to go nowadays.

Are you speaking of the design pattern Model-View-Controller when you speak of MVC?
Yes. Yes I am. Again, I have made zero inroads on my own game design but MVC definitely makes turn based strategy stuff easier to conceptualize and, I think, implement in Unity.
Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.

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Offline EvilNick

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Re: I'm a Steam Dev now: GravBlocks released on Steam
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2016, 01:31:48 PM »
I have made little tiny fits and starts to develop a game but it is pretty damn hard, even on Unity. I will say that for turn-based strategy MVC seems to be the way to go nowadays.

Are you speaking of the design pattern Model-View-Controller when you speak of MVC?
Yes. Yes I am. Again, I have made zero inroads on my own game design but MVC definitely makes turn based strategy stuff easier to conceptualize and, I think, implement in Unity.

Out of curiosity, do you start with an idea and then go coding, or do you have anything like a design document you write out first as an exercise?

Our design document (made by me) for GravBlocks was so poorly cobbled together that afterwards, I made a full template for our design documents in Excel, complete with pre-set tabs, columns, and headings and such.
http://fromnothinggamestudios.com/

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Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: I'm a Steam Dev now: GravBlocks released on Steam
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2016, 02:28:45 PM »
So my day job is writing highly targeted solutions for businesses, so whenever I get a chance to work with a design document I jump on it with both feet. My last job had a person who literally told us that the design document was "in her head" when we asked if we could write one. The place before that, I was able to write one. The current place has some documentation that we adhere and then don't adhere to. With this project with me, which again, I have not even begun to get off the ground, I've written down a pretty OK amount concerning what I want the "game board" (the model) to look like but a. since it's a one-man thing a lot of it's still in my own head, and b. I don't feel I'm good enough with Unity to really speak to how I'll render the view through the controller.

When you're working with multiple people, yeah, documentation is pretty great. I do seem to gravitate towards work environments that use Scrum, which maybe doesn't *quite* require you to have the same single robust design document that other techniques do, although at the very least if we have a story that requires a targeted solution we try to get use cases and, where possible, mockups (I'm a developer, not a designer). The issue I and I think others run into when they don't have a set document is that scope creep becomes a constant and ever-present thing.
Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.

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Offline Andrew Clunn

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Re: I'm a Steam Dev now: GravBlocks released on Steam
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2016, 05:00:29 PM »
So my day job is writing highly targeted solutions for businesses, so whenever I get a chance to work with a design document I jump on it with both feet. My last job had a person who literally told us that the design document was "in her head" when we asked if we could write one. The place before that, I was able to write one. The current place has some documentation that we adhere and then don't adhere to. With this project with me, which again, I have not even begun to get off the ground, I've written down a pretty OK amount concerning what I want the "game board" (the model) to look like but a. since it's a one-man thing a lot of it's still in my own head, and b. I don't feel I'm good enough with Unity to really speak to how I'll render the view through the controller.

When you're working with multiple people, yeah, documentation is pretty great. I do seem to gravitate towards work environments that use Scrum, which maybe doesn't *quite* require you to have the same single robust design document that other techniques do, although at the very least if we have a story that requires a targeted solution we try to get use cases and, where possible, mockups (I'm a developer, not a designer). The issue I and I think others run into when they don't have a set document is that scope creep becomes a constant and ever-present thing.

But haven't you heard of AGILE?!  It's this wonderful thing where people don't bother to design things before hand, have coders put stuff together without clear requirements, and then continuously pay them to rebuild it!  It's got all the arbitrary deadlines of waterfall with extra soul crushing, "Let's throw this out!" and is useful for completely destroying any notion that clean code or documentation is anything other than a waste of time, precisely because you're going to keep throwing things out.  Best of all, when something finally is delivered, your expected to go in, after the fact, and then make all the documentation  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D  Are you smiling yet because this is the new trendy method that everyone should be adopting  ;D ;D ;D
I'm just the victim of my cognitive privilege

 

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