Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Consuming Shadow Steam Release

The Consuming Shadow Insanity Edition will be released on Steam on Friday the 20th of November 2015, at 3:00am PST. (That's 11am GMT and 9pm where I am) is now live on Steam! HUMBLE BUYERS SEEKING STEAM KEYS: CHECK BOTTOM OF POST

After the considerable support Consuming Shadow enjoyed on Humble Store and on Steam Greenlight, we've been taking the time to expand it for the Steam edition, which is now called the Insanity Edition. And it's going to be out on Steam by the end of the week.
As well as the existing dungeon-exploring monster-shooting world-saving procedural-puzzle-solving gameplay, you can expect:

 - 2 all-new monsters and 6 new variants of existing ones

- 12 Challenge Modes to unlock; play the standard game with special modifiers to add new difficulty, ranging from the mild to plonker-tuggingly hard

- Including the Daily Challenge, which generates three gameplay modifiers using a random seed based on the date, so that players attempting it on the same day with the same character can play an identical layout

- The Descent, infinite dungeon mode; get through as many levels of an ever-expanding, increasingly dangerous dungeon as you can without dying

- Nearly 100 Steam achievements and 5 Steam trading cards to unlock

While I've got you I might as well state now that save files and unlocks from the Humble edition sadly won't carry over to the Insanity Edition, since the game has changed a bit and the save system has been updated, but at least there's good reason to restart now there's all these achievements to get.

Humble Store buyers read this! As promised, those of you who bought the Humble Store version will receive a Steam Key in time for the release. You should automatically receive it, and will be able to get it from the same download page that was emailed to you when you bought it the first time. If you don't have it by Friday, get onto Humble Store about it; don't get onto me because I won't know.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Shadow Re-Boxing

Only a couple more days left to get the Consuming Shadow special bundle for the reduced price! In the meantime, we've released an updated version of the game that fixes a couple of major issues that have been reported by users. Thanks to everyone who took the time to let us know about them.

Fixes for version 1.1:

 - Fixed game not deleting save files for some users. This was a rare one that might have been related to players using older or non-English language versions of Windows, in which the game was happy to write save files but not delete them, so whenever you tried to start a new game it'd load the end of the previous one. The game has been reprogrammed to overwrite saves rather than delete them, which should fix the issue.
 - Fixed the crash caused by the 'northdoor' variable in dungeons. A lot of people have reported this one, it was caused by a specific random sanity effect trying to activate in a dungeon entrance. All fixed now.
 - Fixed town jobs disappearing when a subsequent text message is ignored
 - Fixed a rare crash on the encounter screen caused by 'rewitem' variable
 - Fixed an error in which equipment quests would show the item being owned when it isn't
 - Fixed saving hostages not being acknowledged in the end text of some dungeons
 - Fixed being able to interrupt the final ritual by interacting with the rune cluster
 - Fixed some typos

Please re-download the game from Humble Store to ensure you have the best possible experience with Consuming Shadow. The version on Mac App store will be updated soon as well.

Just to answer a couple of frequently asked questions, yes, we will be giving out Steam keys to anyone who buys the Humble Store version, when/if we get cleared by Steam Greenlight. And yes, we will be adding Steam achievements at that stage.

On that note, thanks to everyone who's been supporting the game on Steam Greenlight. And it's also been heartening to see the player-created support and resources appear quite unbidden by us, some of which I thought I'd boost a little here, since it's nice to have places to exchange knowledge.

The GoG wishlist page
Thanks to anubisgod6 for creating an entry for us on the GoG wishlist. If you'd like to see the game available on GoG, you know what to do.

The Consuming Shadow subreddit

The Consuming Shadow wiki
Could use a bit of fleshing out, this one

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Shadow Boxing

The Consuming Shadow is now available to buy from the Humble Store. Here's the official homepage for the game if you want the deets. Can you save mankind from the invading Ancient with just 60 hours, a gun, a notebook and an increasingly loose grip on your mental functioning?

Special offer! If you buy from Humble Store before August 7th, you can get the special bundle edition of the game, that comes with copies of my two ebooks (Mogworld and Jam) thrown in, for the same price as the solo edition - $9.99. After August 7th, the bundle will go up to 16.99, so better take advantage quick like.

Have some widgets!

Consuming Shadow special bundle

Consuming Shadow by itself

Mac users! Don't think you're being left out! The Mac version of The Consuming Shadow is also available now on the Mac App Store!

Also, if you've got a moment, we've also got a Steam Greenlight page set up. Please show us support by voting us up so we can hopefully get a version of the game out on Steam!

Really psyched that I'm finally getting this project out there. But wait, while I've got your attention, I don't believe I've mentioned it in my blog yet but Hatfall, the Zero Punctuation game for browsers and tablets, came out a couple weeks back, and you can play it here right now. What's more, my new weekly video series, Judging by the Cover, is currently going out on Fridays at the Escapist. It's a wry look at the wonderful world of cover art, blurbs, and marketing imagery. Coh, what a busy time I'm having.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Time Consuming

Alright, I suppose the phrase 'a few weeks' in my last post might have been a bit overoptimistic, but the good news is Hatfall is now through most of the complicated testing and porting stage and should be ready very soon. But that's not all! By weird coincidence rather a lot of my ongoing projects seem to be approaching their launch windows at more or less the same time. For example, there's also this:

Yes, The Consuming Shadow is finally coming to fruition. It's come quite a ways since the alpha: multiple playable characters to unlock, more monsters, more missions, controller support, a whole slew of design changes. It's my very first attempt at turning my solo game projects into a commercial release rather than a freeware one and should be coming to a digital distribution system near you soon.

And there's a third project of mine that will be launching soon. I won't give too much away now, let's just say that it starts with 'N' and ends with 'ew weekly video series'.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

To Catch A Hat

So in my last entry I hinted at a little game design project I've been working on for the last couple of months (since around last Christmas, I think, 'cos I remember using my week off to prototype it up properly). And now the Escapist have announced it, so I can confirm that it's this. HATFALL, a game for browsers and tablets based on Zero Punctuation.

When the opportunity to make a ZP game came up, I blew it off at first. I couldn't immediately see how it could be done. But then, out of nowhere, an idea started to grow. ZP is based on a fast pace, minimalist style, and a stream-of-consciousness barrage of nonsense, and so the game should correspondingly be built around a fast, minimalist core gameplay, which I could then use as a platform for as much silliness as I could come up with. And then I realised that I'd thought about it too much and I had no choice but to make it. After all, ZP is my own personal stream of consciousness, I couldn't trust anyone else to recreate the same spirit.

It's going to be free to play and out sooner rather than later, so watch this space (and this one) for the next couple of weeks.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Various Updates Update

Alright, sit up straight, stop eating that pie. Here comes the minimum necessary effort required to be able to call this a 'biannually updated blog'. Although I do actually have some stuff to report: most notably that I am as of very recently being represented by the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency, I've got a new book in the works, we're going to be pushing forward on that in the new year and it's all jolly exciting.

Secondly, we're coming up on a whole year of weekly Let's Drown Out videos, which seems as good a time as any to announce that the series is going on hiatus for a bit. I think there's a feeling between Gabriel and I that we were repeating ourselves, so we'll be back probably in a couple of weeks either with a retooled format or maybe one of those prerecorded adventure game playthroughs we used to do. Either way, no need to panic or start crying because your free entertainment went away just yet.

Also, Consuming Shadow. Still working on it. I had to do a bit of overhauling after some testing, so it's a good thing I'm not the kind of person who commits to release dates. Actually development's on hold for a bit while I work on a smaller game design opportunity that came up and which I should be able to be less enigmatic about sooner rather than later. See, when it comes to game development, I'm a grower, not a shower. I'm like a cougar in the long grass in that when I'm quiet and out of sight then that's when you need to be wary that I might suddenly POUNCE at any time and sink my big fangs into your soft, tasty neck.

Yes, it's been a time of bountiful opportunities lately. Also also, Zero Punctuation continues to run weekly on the Escapist, as does my follow-up column, Extra Punctuation. But I always think it's a bit silly to plug those on this blog since this blog gets considerably less views than the Escapist does. Still, if you need a reminder, I do tend to plug the videos on my Twitter most weeks; it's @YahtzeeCroshaw in case you didn't know.

Right, I think that's everything, go back to your pie.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Some Things To Consume

Believe it or not Gabriel and I have actually managed to keep Let's Drown Out going on a weekly basis ever since it started. Probably because it basically just entails us hanging out and playing a game, which we would probably do if we weren't recording it. I haven't been posting them here every week because then updates would lose their precious rarity, so here's a link to the playlist with them all on.

In other news, The Consuming Shadow. I'm still hard at work at the eventual full version (in between being hard at work at all my other jobs). All the feedback from the free release has been very helpful and I'm still tweaking away. I thought I'd take the opportunity to remind you it still exists and fill you in on some new features I've got in there now.

Firstly, music. The big news is that Mark J. Hadley, of Parsec Productions and Slender: The 8 Pages fame, has very kindly created some ambient audio and music for the game, and I'm personally very happy with how much it's added to the atmosphere. At this point you can't do much more than take my word for that, but I'm going to put a trailer and gameplay video together at some point, and you'll get a listen of the sort of mood his work has added then.

Secondly: Revamped levelling/upgrade system! (click images for big)

Instead of levelling-up providing dry 'upgrade tokens', each level grants you a new birth star. At the start of each run-through, you place this iteration of the character's birth stars in the night sky, granting upgrades based on their proximity to certain constellations. I just thought it was a more fun way of bringing it across.

Thirdly: day-night cycle!

Instead of all-pervading darkness throughout the clock, there's a cold light of day that gradually fades down and up as night comes and goes.

You can see here that whether you do a dungeon in the day or night makes a difference to the visibility.

Fourthly: Unlockable documents!

I thought about what kind of things motivate me, personally, to shoot for 100 percent, and one of them was ancilliary world-building fiction. So I wrote a story expanding on the game's background and you find pages from it in dungeons. Also, each monster now has a bestiary profile, which is gradually decrypted a little more each time you encounter one. Collect 'em all!

The other thing I find works for me is new unlockable gameplay modes. Taking another cue from FTL, I'm thinking in terms of alternative player characters with different gameplay styles (and slightly different constellations in their star maps) that are unlocked as you complete specific tasks. One additional character is in already, I'm shooting for getting at least 2 more in there. Also it might be fun to have some kind of 'tower mode' where you just go through dungeons back-to-back that get increasingly hard. Shouldn't be difficult to implement.

Besides that, the gameplay's been tweaked, as well as animations and controls to make movement less clunky across the board, and there're new monsters, bosses, random events while driving, dungeon goals, dungeon appearances, and the all-important final boss fight. I'm not being feature-creepy here, most of this is done already. New playable characters are the only really big job left, besides testing.

I'm just wondering what to do after it's all done, in terms of distribution. I am resolved to try to sell it for money somewhere, because I've come to realise that if you work on something creative and give it away for free, you're not just devaluing yourself, but the work of everyone else trying to make a living as a creative (thanks @forexposure_txt).

I thought about doing a Steam Greenlight page, but I don't know. I feel like I'd need another wide-range beta test of the full version, first. But I don't want to put the whole thing out for free again. I thought about going with Desura, using their tools to see if I can get a closed beta going, but I don't know how well that works. Ah well - these bridges to be crossed merely glimmer on the horizon still.