From now on, I want to write a post every week so I keep you updated about what we are doing and share some thoughts on different things that have happened since the last post I wrote.
I would like to summarize all the significant things that Fiery Squirrel has been through last months, will try to keep the post short and simple. It will basically cover status about each project the Squirrel has been working on and few tips that might help other developers.
Last year in October, Fiery Squirrel partnered with a new publisher called Apartment 507 to promote and market the game as it was in order to improve sales, downloads, etc. Our agreement basically said that for one year we were going to work together to improve the game and create a better experience for players. We have tried different things with the game and I would like to mention few of them here.
The first big thing we tried was create a Holidays vesion of the game with new content, new levels, new mechanics, etc. You can check the final update here and very likely we will make it available again this year.
As you might notice, the art style is slightly different, Fiery Squirrel is working with Gabriel Uguet, who is a very good illustrator and graphic designer, I’m also working with him in a completely different project that I probably will talk about later. In addition, the theme of the new world was composed by Stefano Merino, original musician of the game.
With this new update, our players could enjoy new mechanics and also we were able to include new features in the game, a bunch of new players, existent and new players interacting more with the game, etc. In general it was a good experience.
But not everything was easy, we also faced different issues. The cycle of work we had, time constraints and all the work we needed to complete was enough to keep us very busy every day and night for one whole month. From the brainstorming, mechanics design, elements, characters, art, sounds, etc, was a lot of work and the worst part of that, even though we managed to finish everything on time, we didn’t consider that the iOS build was going to have issues when we uploaded to the AppStore, it was seriously something not only unexpected but very weird.
Before uploading the game we tested a lot in different devices, it worked well, we uploaded, Apple said there was an issue with the build, we tested a lot again, didn’t find anything weird, compiled again and upload again and it worked (we still don’t know what happened), the bad part of this was that we missed our deadline (on the marketing and promotion side was very important) but I guess we learned a lot.
Try to include everything related from the brainstorming to the release on the market in your schedule, every possible step that you have to take in order to see the game in the market from your device, whatever it is, PC, mobile, the last step always will take a lot of time too and, if (like us) you are small team, it matters.
Pax South 2016
The second big thing I want to talk about is Pax South 2016. We had the opportunity to be at the event this year, it was a very nice experience, we met other developers there ( including Rami Ismail who talked to us about his experience at Pax and other events), were able to test new features, see how a different group of players reacted to the game, promoted the game with different types of promotional material for the first time, etc.
Fluff Eaters was presented at different events in the past and all of them have been a great and unique experience but Pax South was particularly interesting. The main reason is the type of player that played the game at the event, the core mechanics of Fluff Eaters are based on Jacks, which is a game that a lot of people from the U.S. are familiar with, so many of them understood and seemed to enjoyed it very much. Besides this, the response of people was really amazing, a lot of them downloaded the game and played it.
This is something I’ve said before but going to this type of events is very positive for developers in different ways. You might be interested on a post that Apartment 507 wrote about the details of the event, expenses, promotional material etc, you can read the full article here.
These caps were not part of the promotional material that we gave away but were an amazing present from my brother (also part of the team). Depending on how things go (if people are interested), we might sell them in the future.
I guess I could keep giving details of what we have done with Fluff Eaters so far but I also think I spent a lot talking about this game before. In few months the contract with the publisher will come to an end and we will spend the remaining time to keep testing things and trying to improve as much as we can, if you have specific questions please let us know.
Collow is the second project I want to talk about and I’ll do it in a very short way. This idea started long time ago but has been put on hold some times, however, the project will be released for sure this year, the thing is I haven’t have enough time to finish the code for this. We are also accepting playtesters (this is the next step we are going to take) so you can sign up here if you want.
This is a game made for Venezuela Duel Jam 2015 and was the lastest jam Fiery Squirrel has participated in, you can play it here. I know it’s old information but since didn’t mention it before, I would like to at least show it to you. It started as a very simple idea around the theme and I ended up liking it a lot so it will for sure be fully developed (don’t know when) and released as a mobile game.
With this game I wanted to achieve few things:
- Focus on the aesthetics more than usual: In previous game jams aesthetics were not focal point, Chicks does not have awesome graphics but at least they are better than previous games
- Simplicity: Easy to understand, easy to grasp, challenging and entertaining
- Mobile: Something that could become a commercial title for mobile devices
- Complete: A fully playable game
In the end, the game ranked first in the event and more important than that, the feedback from other developers was really good, comments, advices, etc, which will for sure be a key factor when developing the full game.
The last project I’m going to talk about for now. If you follow us on twitter you probably know what this is about. This is the project currently developed by Fiery Squirrel, it’s a very simple and short idea that emerged from the fact that there is a lack of popular and good games that involve the idea of the Sakura (Cherry Blossom) from Japan, in addition to this, I wanted to start getting involved in the artistic part of the games I make and tried to design something aesthetically appealing.
The game is not ready yet. Despite the fact that the idea is very simple, I haven’t had enough time recently, these last months have been busy, however there is significant progress on it and we will playtest it very soon.
The plan is to complete the first chapter of the game which includes 4 different trees, each tree has 4 levels on it, a bonus level and a boss in the end. Depending on how people react to the game, the response we get after playtest and release, it will be decided whether the rest of the chapters (3 more) will be added or not.
This post is longer than I expected, just wanted to summarize what Fiery Squirrel has been doing since the last post. For all of you that are using OpenFL, I still update the repositories in git, I would like to focus more on the implementation of new things and what is there at the moment, there is a lot of uncommented code that might be helpful for someone so, I’ll try to document it as soon as possible and focus future posts on it.
Please feel free to ask questions, if you are a developer, I can talk more about the design or programming of any project you see here, whatever you are curious about just write it on the comments.