I really like the graphics
We have just wrapped up development on Spacebound, our first casual game and wanted to give everyone here a sneak peek of the game:
We here at Gamenauts are very proud of the game, not only is it our first game, but also because we've put extra efforts in making it a very unique game with truly innovative gameplay. At first glance, it may look like any other matching game (although it's *not* a match-3), but it really plays and feels very differently.
The game is slated to be up on portals within the coming weeks and we will announce the final playable release as soon as possible.
P.S.: I'll also be at GDC all week long, so for anyone attending and are curious about the gameplay, please contact me at email@example.com and I'd be more than happy to demo the game.
I really like the graphics
This is a very attractive look! Nice job! However, I disagree with this assertion: "The game play itself is deceptively simple yet unique..." This isn't the first rotate-4 I've seen. (And in Alexey's Hexic, you rotate 3...) Perhaps I'm missing something? It's a shame, too, because I think the rotating mechanic is just too complicated for casual players. This done as a standard dragging match-3 would totally own the charts... Hope the theme is enough to raise it above the rest! Good luck!
This isn't the first rotate-4 I've seen. Perhaps I'm missing something?
I think the "big idea" in this game is the rescue meter, it's sort of like the bar in Lumines. After you make you first group of four it's starts to fill-up. You can keep making groups until it completely full.
It's a shame, too, because I think the rotating mechanic is just too complicated for casual players.
you don't really have any basis for that claim. you may be right, but the past success of Hexic leads me to believe you're not.
the only game I actually recall with that exact mechanic (rotate-4) is FlashBang's Potion Motion... it was in real beta quite awhile back. it hasn't showed up yet, maybe because Real felt the mechanic was too hard (like you say) or maybe for some other reason.
Maybe Matthew can fill us in, he should have first hand knowledge of how difficult the portal crowd finds the rotate-4 mechanic
The theme is so similar to pikmin that I'd be affraid to release this game as it is. You can't copyright gameplay but the big "N" might not be so happy with the characters' similarities.
(not wanting to start a debate about creating an original universe instead of parasiting...)
there is only 1 similar looking character and it just barely looks like a pikminOriginally Posted by electronicStar
Thank you all for your comments. Here comes my long reply.
I think Bmc has a perfect read on both our gameplay and our art style. The key part of the gameplay is not simply the rotating feature, but the Rescue Bar as well. It's sort of quite difficult to describe in words, but there is a certain rhythm and addictiveness to the game that makes it very playable, if I can humbly say so myself.
Regarding the similarities to Pikmin, although it did influence our art direction (I'm a big Nintendo fan and have a Miyamoto signed standee of Pikmin 2), we have also invested a lot of efforts into the character designs and we think that our characters can stand on their own, in terms of style and storyline as well. And calling it a "parasite" is very, very harsh, because we are taking a chance of creating a characters-centric game, where we could have *easily* gone with a generic Atlantis-Egypt-Quest-Jewel theme. I honestly feel that we have gone out of our way to make Spacebound a truly unique game.
As for whether the rotating features is too complicated for the casual crowd, I admit that I always had reservations about that, even from Day 1. Fortunately, after numerous testing periods, all of the casual participants reacted very favorably to the mechanic and their description of "this is like a 2D version of Rubik's Cube!" came unsolicited and in droves. We hope and think that this may be a universal reaction when playing the game. And I think we have been validated in our efforts and our risk-taking in that several portals have already agreed to pick it up. So in other words, I don't think the audience or the major portals find the mechanic too be too alien or difficult.
It's also funny that Flashbang's Potion Motion was mentioned, because I did see the Beta version here in this forum and boy, was I nervous! But after taking a look at it, it's actually pretty different in terms of the gameplay, so we breathed a sigh of relief and went back to finishing Spacebound.
I could probably go on and on describing the gameplay and explaining out my key rationale for each point, but I should probably wait until the full playable version is out so that everyone can try it out first (just waiting for the DRM bit).
Lastly, I wish to comment on what sonicron said:
"This done as a standard dragging match-3 would totally own the charts... Hope the theme is enough to raise it above the rest!"
It was definitely very tempting, and probably easy to use the match-3 mechanic, especially for our very first game where a studio might understandably want to minimize the risk. But I really contemplated a lot about this and decided to gamble on an unproven mechanic because we want to fully come out with the statement: "This is the kind of studio that we are" sort of thing. I have many restless nights about this because quite a lot is riding on Spacebound, but I think it's worth it. Or at very least it's creatively fulfilling to me. Also it's kind of ironic that now, we are not counting on the theme or the art to "raise it above the rest", because we think that it will be the gameplay itself that can do the job.
Oh.. those restless nights.. I had one last night just a week after changing (upgrading, simplifying) the core mechanic in my game to involve more of the theme... which led to an "epiphany" of simplicity just this morning. I can imagine the inner turmoil you went through...Originally Posted by Gamenauts
As I said before though, I think it does look great and highly polished and above all "fun" and really the kind of thing I would look at d/l just to check out. It's also very nice to see a 2D puzzle game that isn't based around the safety net of atlantis, inca or egypt. Yeah, it certainly DOES look like pikman character art, but that isn't a bad thing. I actually think yours looks nicer, of course it's just 2D rendered and not 3D so it's always going to look sharper and cuter.
good luck with this, I look forward to the demo.
Only one of the little alien guys looks like a Pikmin, true, but the space explorer character also has a similar "feel" to captain olimar, even though they don't look exactly alike.there is only 1 similar looking character and it just barely looks like a pikmin
It's clearly not STEALING pikmin art or anything, but it feels close enough - especially with calling them 'Picolytes' - that I could see Nintendo raising a fuss like they did with that MMORPG they thought looked too much like Zelda Wind Waker. ("Wiki", it was called? Did it ever come out?)
Sorry for the harsh "parasite" word. But you can't just dismiss the similarities with Pimkin, it's too obvious. And as an indie develloper you wouldn't want to have legel problems with nintendo on your first game would you?
The reason why I used the word "parasitism" is because I thought you wanted to use these similarities to lure the customers to your game. Sorry if it's not the case.
I was going to PM Gamenauts, but I guess he's too new to receive them. So here, slightly edited for public consumption:
Please ignore the crowd shouting about Pikmin this and that. The similarities are nil. You have my solemn promise (as self-appointed chief counsel to Nintendo) that Nintendo will not harass you in any way for any reason, ever. This board is getting so absurd...
Good luck with your game and its really awesome graphics!
Looks great, very nice and friendly style !
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Awesome graphic! and character! love the 3D toy look. Hope the gameplay is as fun as the look!
The gems or color cube (in the game) seems to have creatures inside them, and this transparent look abit distracting.
i so cant wait to play ! i hope its as fun as it looks. This migth revive my interest in match 3 type games ! i hope its in 1024x768 ?
Last edited by steve bisson; 03-22-2006 at 01:18 AM.
I know this isn't announced on here yet but I have played the demo today (it's on yahoo and reviewed on gamezebo).
This was one I was watching out for, based purely on the graphical look of it. However, while the game is a solid title and is bound to please someone in the casual playing mosh pit I found it didn't live up to my expectations. Maybe that is something to worry about when you have beautiful static screenshots that give players an idea of how it will play and feel and then.. .doesn't.
To clarify, there are many things right with it, as to be expected from a team produced casual game these days. The production quality of the 2D artwork is very nice.
I found however a real lack of "life" to the game, everything felt so static. I had imagined the rocket ship "Bobbing" up and down while it was waiting to climb out of the atmosphere, the flames are animated but the ship moves very rigidly and then just comes to a stop. A small effort into making it feel alive (or more "real") would have payed off with the fun to be had from seeing it climb higher imo.
I admit I have a problem with rotation games (having scrapped a few prototypes myself because I just don't think they work so well when you have to have 2 rotation directions (on different mouse buttons), even for me it becomes a confusing chore at times). I think had the different colours ALSO been different shapes it would have been more relaxing and easier on the eyes to play, not to mention more interesting. As it is purely color led it can tire the eyes (I found) though that could be just because I'm tired anyway
edit> I also noted the lack of any moving elements on the backdrops or menu. If you just had the pico-whatsits twitching their ears, or the birds moving a bit, it would have brought it to life. On the san fran area there is a seagull (or something) clearly visible but it's strange to see it just hanging there and not animated or moving around. the backdrop itself is fine and I really like the art style!
There were also some non antialiased edges on gui elements which stood out against the sheen of the rest of the 2D artwork.
And the worst offender to the fun (as mentioned in the gamezebo review) is the timed combo thing. I think it's fine to have a time limit on making combos or bonus rewards but the way it is here makes it feel "edgy". I am dividing my attention between the matching colours and that rapidly rising meter.. I end up missing combos because I have a mild panic that the meter is going to fill too quickly. I could see you probably had balancing issues in that, because it's pretty easy to make combos you had to time limit them. Maybe there could have been a reward for same colour matches in a row rather than timed (maybe there is that also). This would give the "casual" player the chance to look for combos if they wanted but not to hang around too long. Of course I can cope with time pressures (Many hours spent on Meteos) and enjoy them, but it's that feeling of not knowing how long I have left and feel compelled to look at the meter to make more combos and the question "why do I go fast when making combos and not all the time?" the game goes from fairly sedate find /create the match to full on rush to get bonus. If it was always one or the other I think it would feel more fun. If a game is primarily slow paced and you get no tangible rewards for rushing it (as is typical with the best casual games) then to force the time pressure each turn is jarring. Maybe as a bonus round but not after each match? Of course the only reason this feels that way is because of that meter creeping up fast. If it wasn't even visible it would possibly work even better by giving a reward as you made your matches within that time threshold but without that meter being a distraction. Then all the focus would remain on the playfield, it would be obvious you are still "open for combos" because the last one hadn't cleared yet - THAT would be your "meter". Hmm.. yes, I think that would work.
Of course it's too late now, and I don't want you to think I'm picking your lovely looking game apart for the sake of it. I was just a little dissapointed in the gameplay compared to the static shots.
I'm cetain it will get many downloads based on the graphics, It will be interesting to see if games like this can dent the top tens and that casual players are open to pressures that remove their typical idea of "fun".
Just downloaded the game and gave it a quick try to see how it looked and played in real time. The graphics are REALLY NICE and I found the rotational control pretty easy, though I did hit the wrong button a few times.
I also found keeping my eye on the rising meter caused a few missed combos, no idea what effect that would have on a true 'casual gamer', but I would hazzard a guess that it could cause a bit of frustration!
I did find the whole game kind of 'FLAT' as well, due to the lack of using the 3d hardware for special effects.
Having said that, it's at number 3 on yahoo, so you can't argue with that, and another big plus for SDL. Not sure if the lack of effects will affect those that will play it or not. All in all though it's certainly a neat game, even without those 3d hardware effects.
All the best
I also played it and thought it was great. At first I wasn't used to rotating with the right mouse button, but got used to it. Eventually I just alwasy rotated using left mouse button, it just took a few additional rotates. I thought the timed combo idea was good and gives you more time to setup big combos once you get good at the game.
No.3 on yahoo already, that is good news for a first release!
I've always wanted to do a game like this since playing Revolved...speaking of...does anyone know what the first game of this type was?
I love hearing about what things you shouldn't do such as using a space theme or using a rotating mechanic, because in my mind such discussion only shows what hasn't worked, not what will. Quite similarly, telling people how to make a successful game typically centers around what HAS worked, not what will. Both statements center around the past, not the future. While there is plenty to be learned from the past, I often think that going after what hasn't worked and making it better is a more interesting approach than going after what has worked and making it better. (though doing something completely different is often my preferred approach)
I really enjoyed the game though it got mindless after a bit. I have to admit I like the much less polished Revolved better due to the fast action of that game. However, Revolved never had the right amount of polish to make it successful. Visually the game turned off the casual audience, and it didn't find another audience to embrace it.
I think this game will do a better job of approaching the casual audience. Visually it feels like an extension of Pikmin, which was a very friendly game. Saying it was inspired by Pikmin graphically is a bit like saying Arkanoid was inspired by BreakOut.
Best of luck! This is a game much like one I had always wanted to make since playing Revolved and I'll sleep better at night knowing someone has done one of the games I wanted to do (oh if I only had any programming skills!)
This is the thing, i always felt ok playing revolved (and a bit of GEOM) - so I'm not totally devoid of rotationality It was more a combination of that with the pressure meter (that shouldn't be/feel a pressure meter but a reward meter) that made the odd "oh I pressed left instead of right" to feel the way it did (to me). >> Also in those 2 games you are matching up the edges of the rotational parts to make a whole, it's a bit more relaxing. When you are moving the whole block as in spacebound it's a lot of keeping track of large blocks of color and feels different because it's not forming something but is part of a block.. erm.. what a crap explanation. anyway I just felt a few weeks spent on tweaking that gameplay and adding some animation would have improved this obviously nice game. If I thought the game was rubbish I would probably not even be commenting. Shame there wasn't a beta for feedback.Originally Posted by cyrus_zuo
If you make combos it should be additional to the fun, it felt like too much emphasis was put on making them because of that fat-ass meter in the corner of your eye. I tried to ignore it and it felt much better to play, however I still felt the artwork while great to look at statically felt too rigid and lifeless and only felt like "half" a game because of it. Maybe because of it's obvious quality, I just wanted to see it come to life more. Had it been blander graphics it wouldn't be as noticable that it's so static.
As for yahoo top ten is that based on sales or "new*download" rating? If downloads then as I said I can see why due to the very nice static images. If it is sales then it helps confirm that top quality artwork will get you far (though preferably with more "life").
'Funny Faces' from those boys at Arcadelab uses a rotational mechanism to line up pieces( which you then click to pop)..............whatever happened to that?
All the best
I played this demo again recently (and it seems to have done well regardless of what any of us said on here), and was actually enjoying it far more. I am still impressed by the rendered images and the character design and even the gameplay felt better this time around.
Just thought I add that as I may have been a bit critical of it in the earlier posts (based on my pre-release hype due to the nice graphics )
Sorry to bump this very old thread, wanted to thank Sharpfish for the kind compliments.
Also, I wanted to announce that the boxed, retail version of Spacebound is now out in Best Buy stores in the US (comes in a nice shiny box, to boot):