Small update: in game screenshot
More info soon
The fact that we make games put a series of differences into our production and deployment process that doesn’t generally affect non game software development cycles.
For a start art and animation are key in a game, so are visual effects. In build server terms, that generally means two things: It requires space(for content building) and quite probably a graphics card (for the visual effects). Our ideal solution would be to have a virtual machine per supported platform , but we found that none of the virtualization software (VirtualBox, VMWare, etc) virtualizes the graphics card reliably (if you found a way, please let me know) so we are running our server on a non virtual machine.
The objective is to build the whole game, tools, etc. at each commit. There are a series of tools available in the market at the moment that allows you to do just that. For example: TeamCity, Jenkins, CruiseControl, Hudson.. etc. There is a good comparison matrix here.
We chose TeamCity, mostly because we know it, we find it easy to use and it is free.
Our code is based around XNA and monoGame (recently on version 3).
We have many projects: a game and engine project, a tool, a library and the content builder. This means we have a diverse project output. For example, in the case of the content, we are not interested in the actual build results (yet) however we are interested in knowing that it did build, and to report errors if it didn’t.
The game and engine project reside in one solution and have many unit tests. We need the build server to not only build the project and after that run the unit and integration tests. Initially I set this up using psake (a tool that does the build with PowerShell) this is a great solution if you want to have a one click build, so I gave it a try, I found that setting up the tests assemblies was a manual process and that to get psake to talk to TeamCity nicely it would take more time that I had. So I tried running the build directly from TeamCity, and it was easier and I didn’t loose to much flexibility so, I had to go for that solution (however is a decision I will revisit shortly).
Setting up each of the steps took me approximately 10~20 minutes if done this way. There are a few things that I want to improve on, however the end result is that in a very short time I can have a new project building and reporting.
Some of the disadvantages of the process as it is are:
As you can see the server setup is not perfect, there is loads to improve on, but setting this up from early on has proven very helpful. It allows us to have a one click build and a functional way to deliver our tools and product to the people in our team.
So tomorrow is the Charity GameCarft, that means we have the whole day to make a game. The process will be live streamed, and you yes you make this awesome for the ISPCA by donating some money.
Everyone donating will get all the games finished on the day and also a copy of P-3 Biotic.
Tune in from 9am at www.dublingamecraft.com to view and donate (and possibly laugh )
This idea was born about 10 days ago in a very cosy gamedev chat, and it is scarily and awesomely growing . Thanks to all taking part
And the helpers: Shane , Daniel, Ciara and Eduardo. Also thanks to Digit Gaming and DIT.
Since we last spoke about Jiro, there have been some dark changes. Today, we’d like to take some time to update you about them. Let’s start with
When we first talked about it, it was the tale of a man going off to war, with an ensuing tale of loss and revenge.
Since then it has developed to become the tale of a man gone insane in the midst of war. Returning victorious to find his home and village decimated, with its inhabitants either dead or missing, Jiro is left unsure of what’s really happening and what isn’t. His broken mind conjures an apparition of his dead wife, who compels him to avenge her life and save their son. But with his madness worsening, will he be able to discover what has really happened and save his child before he loses his mind completely?
Mechanically the game has changed considerably too. Whereas before it was a ‘constant runner’ (kind of like Canabalt, but with sword play instead of jumping) it has become more of an action game. Let’s talk about some of the core mechanics:
As the game progresses Jiro is losing his grip on reality; levels become less coherent and enemies become more demonic. However, due to his keen bushido training, he is able to focus his mind for a while and see the world around him for what it really is. This allows him to face some challenges head-on in the insane version of the world that only he sees or he can choose to overcome his obstacles in the real world, free from his insane visions.
Removing the ‘constant runner’ stuff allows us to implement a more detailed combat system, which will see Jiro not only slashing, but kicking and throwing his enemies all over the place. We’re also putting in all sorts of things for you to interact with such as spike pits to throw foes into and rooftops to kick them off.
Also, Jiro can choose to embrace his insanity and perform moves that no normal man could, which will help him overcome the more powerful monsters conjured up by his twisted mind!
There is so much more to discuss, such as the kinds of levels you’ll find yourself in, how Jiro’s progression works, the variety of enemies and a whole lot more, but we don’t want to overwhelm you in one post.
So, for now let us know what you think!
Here at BatCat Pan-international games-station, we’re having a debate on enemy collisions in combat.
This means that, as seen in Streets of Rage or Mario, you are unable to pass through enemies, instead either having to jump over them or fighting toe-to-toe until you or they are dead. Some of us here are very for this.
Meanwhile, in the other camp, some of us think that you need to be able to pass through foes and hit them (or be hit) on the way, in a similar fashion as seen here.
Help us break the tie and tell us what you think!
The internet is the domain of cats, so I’ve wrestled back control of the internet from my fat human.
To celebrate I want to give you a phone. I was going to use it myself, but I’ve no thumbs to text (ignore the fact I am typing this post, questioning human).
It’s a Nokia Lumia 800, to be specific. So, how do you get your filthly little gamer paws on this? Simple:
Also, the phone is not networked locked so I can send it to you anywhere (assuming the stamps don’t just get stuck on my fur…)
So spread the word and viva la rev-cat-lution!
What? A blog post of a Wednesday? The Mayan’s were right!
Well, hopefully not, otherwise you’ll never get to play BatCat’s next game, a Samurai runner/fighting game currently going under the name Jiro.
So, that bloke on the left, he’s our titular hero, Jiro. The young lad is his son and the lass in the background is his missus. Aw now, don’t they look lovely and happy there? Sadly for them, Jiro is a tragedy; a tale of power, corruption, sorrow, revenge and love.
Fuedal Japan has always been an interest for the Batcat crew and we’ve long wanted to bring its aesthetics and moral code into a game. We’ve been scouring historical texts, novels, films, anime and more to pull together the right feel for the game. We’ve engrained the tenets of Bushido into our minds and got up early to practice Kata. We’ve even had a ritual Seppuku.
Here at BatCat we want to make games with engaging characters and story lines and as such Jiro is a narrative driven game, following one eventful and emotional year in the life of our heroic samurai. But that doesn’t mean that gameplay comes second; goodness no! Jiro delivers fast paced action with an exciting and versatile combo system. The aim is to get through each level as quickly as possible, stringing together various techniques to clear the path before you. Think Streets of Rage but faster. Oh yes.
Oh, and it looks gorgeous, as you can clearly see from Tom’s magnificent art above and over here.
Anyway, we could talk about this game all day long, but then we’d never actually get it made! So back to work with us, but we look forward to bringing you more of Jiro as we have it. Stay tuned!
as you no doubt know we have released P-3 Biotic on xBox and PC. We really love the game and we know you will too. That’s why we want to make it as easy as possible for you to get your hands on a copy. For us, getting onto Steam is the next step in that quest. With a 70% share of the digital distribution market and over 54 million users, getting onto Steam is the goal of every indie games developer.
Steam Greenlight offers a way for you, the player, to decide which games you want to see up there. Developers (like us!) get to submit games (like P-3!) and then players (like you!) vote on which ones make it onto Steam proper. Simple!
What would this mean to BatCat?
Well, loads really. Mostly it means you get to play our game. It also means an increase to game profits which allows us to keeping making games (by the way, expect a blog post about our next project soon!)
“How can we help?” we hear you cry!
Well, there are two ways:
Firstly, hop on over to the P-3 Biotic page on Greenlight and click the thumbs up graphic (located under the images).
Secondly, spread the word. Get on your Facebooks and Twitters and forums and Tumblrs and ask everyone do go to Greenlight and vote for us.
Hypno-BatCat commands it! (and also thanks you for your help)