The Joyride Labs no longer actively work on this project. A lot of the information on this website is outdated. See this blog post to find out more.
Nikki and the Robots

Here we write about Nikki and the Robots development and other news. Be sure to subscribe! Visit our reddit forum and join IRC for even more info!

Posts Tagged ‘open source’

Open Development Marketing: Three Live Examples (Indie)

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Open development graph: being open about your development makes noise, grows the community and lets you meet new people which in the end all interact which each other.
Image: Open development graph: being open about your development makes noise, grows the community and lets you meet new people which has potential to interact which each other.

Today, Data Realms (Cortex Command) started sharing their backlog (aka ToDo-list) with the public. This made me want to re-capture some methods of being open about your game development and using this for marketing.

1. "Leak" alphas to pre-orderers

When your early version already has re-play value, allowing people to pre-order your games and to play your alpha versions is one of the best things you can do.

Open Development Marketing Example Wolfire
Image: Wolfire's Overgrowth alpha "leaks" get distributed via their preorder forum, which you can only see if you preordered the game.

2. Show off remaining tasks and bugs

Progress bars are beauty in players' eyes. Simply giving players read (and ideally write) access to your internal bug tracker allows super-fans to stalk you with no additional efforts on your side.

Open Development Marketing Example Unknown Worlds
Image: Natural Selection 2's roadmap progress is being shared by Unknown Worlds live, directly on the game's homepage.

3. Share your design knowledge

When a game strongly depends on its plot, it often becomes hard for the writers and designers to let players read or play the story before the project is finished. Even in these cases there is still a lot available in the designers' heads that can be shared spoiler-free: Instead of letting the player experience an in-game plot-twist prematurely (before the game is released), you can teach them about how plot twists are constructed and examine examples of plot twists in existing games.

Open Development Marketing Example Frictional Games
Image: Frictional Games shares thoughts about game and story design in their "Narrative not a game mechanic?" article.

Afterword

I myself work at Joyride Labs on a Linux/OSX/Windows game. Our engine code is open source, we sometimes share insights about our code (this is often Haskell-related and we should do this more often), our bug tracker is completely public, our pre-release versions (that exclude the story mode) are available for download for free.

This short article is based on old slides I used at a talk at HTW Berlin. Are there any other noteworthy examples you would like to share? Please do so in the comments.

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What is taking Nikki Story Episode 1 so long?

Thursday, June 7th, 2012
Joyride Labs: The Team

Image: Joyride Labs - The Team - Working Hard™

Time for a photo of the team (see above)! We took it for a German-language indie games blog that put up a profile of Joyride Labs. As you can see, we are working hard at delivering the best possible black-pink ear platformer experience to you and the rest of the planet!

So why are we taking so long to deliver?

Excuses:

  • Both Sönke and I have been working on another open source project (that has nothing to do with games).
  • Florian started working a full-time job in the south of Germany making 3d visuals and is enjoying the regular life style for a change. :)
  • Legal texts are a pain to write and there is no way around it for our pay-what-you-want store. We are keeping that pain to a minimum by using Automattic's freely-licensed privacy policy as a basis.
Nikki and the Robots S1E2 getting a test run at indie dev meeting 1 in Berlin

Image: Nikki and the Robots S1E2 getting a test run at Indie Dev Meeting 0.1 in Berlin

Nikki and the Robots S1E1 being test-played at LUG Berlin

Image: Nikki and the Robots S1E1 test-played during pd-berlin at Berlin Linux User Group

We have been showing our game around off-line (see photos above). If you have been keeping track of the previous release versions, there are a few changes so far, that will make it into the next free/open source version.

News:

  • We added the first pieces of in-game music (8bit Tidbit 2 by chadsicle in the free part).
  • Performance increased, bugs fixed...

Life lesson learned: do it like Blizzard and don't set a release date!

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Nikki and the Robots 0.5 News and Story Mode Peeks

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Nikki and the Robots 0.5 Announcement

Here is the new Nikki and the Robots 0.5 Beta(!) release (download here).

video: Nikki and the Robots 0.5 Changes and Story Mode Peeks

We're working on a preorder web page, which is open source under AGPL and hosted here.

The changes explained in the video (and some that were left out) are as follows:

  • Game:
    • Info terminals instead of text bubbles in tutorial
    • Falling tiles take a little longer to start falling
    • Batteries have a little less mass
    • Switches are easier to trigger
    • Added laser robots and laser endpieces
    • Cannon-robot sounds
    • Boost sound for jetpack robot
  • GUI/OSD and Controls:
    • Added keyshints in game mode
    • Allow configurable game keys (jump and context) to control the menu
    • Main menu will notify you about the availability of the story mode
    • Mac OS X: default jump key is space
    • In-game OSD shows total number of batteries in level
    • "..."-bubbles when nikki can start npc/computer monolog
    • Added "retry level" menu item to failure menu
    • Added retry-option to pause menu
  • Level editor:
    • Added gray level template
    • Better layer insert and delete control
  • Other:
    • Game art sources added to source code repository
    • Bugfixes on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows that prevented many users from running the game

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Nikki's Valentines Heart Shirts and Global Game Jam

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Valentines Pixel Neon Heart Female Shirt DesignValentines Pixel Neon Heart Male Shirt Design

We added a neon pixel heart design to our shirt store. It is based on one of the first game objects that you will see when playing Episode 1 of the story mode:

Nikki and the Robots Neon Heart

One of us was at the Global Game Jam in Berlin as an organizer.

ggj2012 topic

The theme was a snake biting its own tail and we made a tiny level referencing it. Too late for submission though. ;)

video: Nikki and the Snake - GGJ 2012 Themed Level

The video also shows the recently added game over screen menu (no more abrupt returning to the level selection) and a new, simple background for the editor.

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On Selling Nikki and the Robots' Story Mode

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Episode 1 of the story mode is ready to be released and we are very excited! This will also mark the first public beta version.

We will start selling the story mode using a pay-what-you-want model, which is strongly inspired by the Humble Indie Bundle (which on the other hand was inspired by a World of Goo sale). After one week we will then set a fixed minimum price.

When you buy the game, you pay for the game as it is, but will also get all further episodes and updates for free. With each further episode, however, the minimum price will increase for new buyers of the game. The sooner you buy, the less you pay, hooray! This is similar to the Alpha-Beta-1.0 price increments of Minecraft.

Joyride Labs Preorder Page Concept

Right now we are working hard on the presale website and we hope to be able to release Nikki and the Robots' story mode until mid February.

In the next post we will tell you some more details about episode 1, in which Nikki's great adventure begins to unfold.

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Happy Decemberween Level!

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

nikki-decemberween-level-4

nikki-decemberween-level-3

nikki-decemberween-level-2

nikki-decemberween-level-1

Level "Decemberweenation"

Available on the level server!

Which reminds me, we haven't told you about fail-ly laser tiles yet, did we? Well, they are there. Don't touch!

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Upgrading Levels for the Story Mode

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

We want to allow to preorder the storymode very soon but before talking about business plans, let's take a look at the levels in the story mode first!

We used some of the level contest entries as a basis to create story levels. Lootninja by sauer2 for example:

Original Lootninja Level
Original Lootninja Level, as included with the latest release

Upgraded Lootninja Level
"Upgraded" Lootninja Level

Some of the steps when "upgrading" a level are the addition of...

Upgraded Lootninja Level Terminal
background, skyline and info/data terminals...

Upgraded Lootninja Level NPC & Shadow
shadows and characters...

A Secret!
hidden areas...

... and new content in general. Most "upgrade levels" are larger and require more time to do a 100% run than the originals.

Here is a big screen of a different, jetpack robot-heavy level, which is not based on a contest entry:

Nikki Jetpack Intro
Codename "Jetpack Intro" (1920x1200)

We're nearly done with all the levels for episode 1 but some bugs, the preorder website and paypal integration will probably not allow us to release before January...

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Scaffolding and Re-Inventing Tiles...

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Scaffolding in Nikki and the Robots

Scaffolding, scaffolding, scaffolding...

46 days of no updates...

One of the decorations we use in story mode levels is a scaffolding tile set. Today, I spent some time trying to find an alternative look, which would look better in a single-row/column line of these tiles. I ended up using the original set.

I uploaded the set of alternative 64px scaffolding tiles to OpenGameArt, hoping it will serve some other purpose.

In the next blog post I will tell and show how the story mode levels differ from the freeplay ones.

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