Reflexive Entertainment announces Big Kahuna Reef

Discussion in 'Feedback Requests' started by James C. Smith, Dec 24, 2004.

  1. James C. Smith

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    [Edit: As I often like to do, I have revived an old topic to add a new update to the end of it. This announcement is old but new info is in the replies.]

    From the creators of Ricochet Lost Worlds and Wik & the Fable of Souls: Big Kahuna Reef

    You can find screen shots 1 2 3, downloads and more at the official web site: www.bigkahunareef.com (still under construction)

    Or See Big Kahuna Reef in Reflexive Aracde

    All feedback is welcome. If you spot any bugs I would love to know about them so I can patch it. If you want to critique it that is fine with me.

    Here is my person spin on the game:

    This isn’t just another 3 in a row game. The unique way the pieces tumble and fall allows for some very interesting and challenging level designs. The game ships with a level editor and we will soon be hosting many user created level sets for free download.

    The other exceptional aspect if this game is Mouse Party (TM). This feature allows two or more players to sit face to face and play on the same computer at the same time each with their own mouse. You can play cooperatively or competitively. We have tested it with 6 players at once playing in our conference room with a data projector. 6 players at one table on one 8 foot display was amazing! The game is fun with two or three player but six to eight players can become rather chaotic. But it is a great kind of chaos that we couldn’t stop playing for 4 hours straight. As long as you have Windows XP, you can plug in multiple mice and the game can detect each one independently and draw a separate mouse cursor for each player. You have never played a match 3 game like this before! Plug in the second old mouse you have in your desk drawer and challenge a friend to a game. Or tell him to bring is own mouse over for a little Mouse Party get together. Or spend $10 at Walmart to get a second USB mouse.

    Even in single player mode, the game play in Big Kahuna Reef is much deeper than Bejeweled / Diamond Mine or other match 3 games. If you have ever played a lot of Jewel Quest then you have a better idea of what kind of game this is. When I first played Jewel Quest I thought it was a clever idea which made it marginally better than Bejeweled. It wasn’t until I played Jewel Quest for almost an hour and got to the more advanced levels that I realized the goal of completing each tile on the board made the game dramatically better than Bejeweled. This is much more than an incremental change in the evolution of match 3 games. It gives the player a goal and inherent progress display, but more importantly, it gives the shape of the board meaning. Certain kinds of corners and nooks are more challenging than others. Each board is a new challenge rather than just more of the same. I think we took this to the next level in Big Kahuna Reef by greatly expending the types of levels which can be made. There is no end to the shapes of boards and types of challenges you will find in Big Kahuna Reef.

    If you are tiered of match 3 games, or never liked to them to begin with, you should still give Big Kahuna Reef a shot. The level designs changes the game a lot and the Mouse Party is a blast!
     
    #1 James C. Smith, Dec 24, 2004
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2005
  2. svero

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    I've been playing it today and so has my girlfriend. We both like it.

    You added a number of your own special twists and I like them. Especially good are the earning of new fish for the reef as a player motivator, and the way the tiles flow into the board instead of falling straight down, as well as tools like the fish net.

    On the negative side though, it's a Bejeweled style clone and maybe people are just getting tired of that kind of game. There have been so many recently. I've certainly had my fill. Had I not played Jewel Quest I might be more likely to play through this game. Just recently we've had mad caps, bejeweled2 , treasure fall, Jewel Quest, food logic, and probably more than 20-30 others that I can't just name off the top of my head! That's a lot of bejeweled! The seemingly endless demand for this variety of game is starting to astonish me. I guess we'll see how it does. Will there be a saturation point in the near future, or are the profits to be split amongst the better competitors?
     
  3. James C. Smith

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    Were you and your girlfriend able to play at the same time? (Mouse Party)
     
  4. svero

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    We never got a chance to try that because the demo ran out after 1 single player game each. Actually it ran out during her game. I quit after 1/2 hr or so to let her have a go.
     
  5. SunAndGames

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    James,

    Maybe you should allow for an extra hour of demo time, for mouse party mode only. Might give people a good incentive to try it, and further enhance your games uniqueness from the rest of the BeJeweled pack.

    I haven't tried it yet, even though I saw your email announcing the game. Just thought it was another match-3 clone. But I bet my kids would have a good time playing that mouse party mode with me. They're always asking me to play games with them. I'll have to give it a shot over the holidays.
     
    #5 SunAndGames, Dec 24, 2004
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2004
  6. Wayward

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    I was surprised how similar this game was to Bejeweled. The new gameplay features you've introduced, like plank-clearing and lock-breaking seemed to work well, but I didn't find the fish-bones particulary interesting. Despite the extras, it still felt like Bejeweled to me. Since Svero pointed me to Jewel Quest I'm no longer sure what's new about this game.

    My favorite bit was being able to swap pieces as they were falling, which reminded me of Tetris Attack (to which Bejeweled might owe a debt).

    My major problem with the game is that I didn't find it challenging at all. I used up the hour of demo time without losing a life, using a fishing net (except the one I was forced to use by the tutorial), or breaking a sweat. Jewel Quest possessed the same flaw. This could be because I've played Bejeweled 2 a lot, yet I still find Bejeweled 2 challenging.

    I found the fish swimming in front of the game screen while I was playing distracting.

    When I dragged to swap pieces, sometimes that drag was interpreted as a click. Jewel Quest had flaky swap control too, while Bejeweled 2 got it right.

    When the demo timed out I was aggrieved when presented with buttons for 'Buy Now', 'Already paid', and 'Other Games'. Where was 'Exit'? I know I can click the windows close button but it felt like you were trying to hide that option.

    I thought the graphic effects and sound effects were on a par with Jewel Quest and most other Bejeweled clones, but they were weedy (especially the sound effects) compared to Bejeweled 2.

    I couldn't try Mouse Party as I've no friends left since criticizing their games.
     
    #6 Wayward, Dec 24, 2004
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2005
  7. Ricardo C

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    Well, I'm hooked. Certainly a very welcome dose of originality for the Bejeweled sub-genre, and an incredibly addictive one, to boot. Thumbs up, five stars, A+, whichever rating you prefer, it's yours :D I've only tried the single player game so far, but that was enough to sell me on it.

    As for Steve's comment on the current glut of Bejeweled-type games, here's how I see it: Bejeweled is the new Tetris/Solitaire, that is, an incredibly addictive game design that's nonetheless very easy to implement, and so it will be copied and re-copied till the end of time both by high-profile outfits such as Reflexive, as well as kids just starting out. It's inevitable. People will certainly get enough of it, eventually, but the true classics in the genre will continue to be profitable. BKR and its sequels (if there are any) will likely be in the evergreen group.

    EDIT: Wayward does have a point re: the menu. An "exit" button is much needed. Not providing one is almost as annoying as games that launch the seller's website on exit, or that don't provide an uninstall option in the Start menu. As a potential customer, it makes me feel like I'm being cornered, so to speak.
     
    #7 Ricardo C, Dec 24, 2004
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2004
  8. svero

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    So far as I know locked tiles and plank clearing were introduced first in Jewel Quest. That's the first place i saw those ideas anyway.
     
  9. Teq

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    I quite like the idea of mouse party, I'm guessing you detect what OS the client is on and determine the compatibility for this feature? Anyway, I went through the process of running the game, worked fine (including the mouse party mode), a few issues where the mice merge into one on hints during party play (which is a bit frustrating) and the graphics on the icons could do with a tweak (though thats just a personal preference). The game crashed on exit (WinXP SP2, A64 3200+ (Clawhammer core), 1gb 3500 DDR, dual raid SATA samsung drives), I'm afraid I couldn't get debug info on this the first time around (due to my debug tools crashing as well!).
     
  10. GameStudioD

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    Nice game. The mouse party mode is excellent!

    I have one suggestion about the 'My Fish' option. It would be nice to make that into a real Windows screen saver. The further you progress in the game, the more you can configure the screen saver. Turn hours of gameplay into something useful.
     
  11. James C. Smith

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    The screen saver feature was something we really wanted to do but just never found the time. I still hope to release a version 1.1 with a few enhancements including the screen saver and support for Mouse Party in older OSes. It should be possible in Windows 98 and ME but not Windows 2000. Currently we only support XP for Mouse Party mode.


    Even if you already used up your 60 minutes of trial time you can still give it another try just to see what Mouse Party is like. The game extends your trial period by another 2 minutes each time you run the program. And the clock is not tricking down when you are navigating menus and assembling your Mouse Party. As you as you start to actually play the 2 minute countdown will start. With multiple players you usually finish a level in 2 minutes.
     
  12. svero

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    Hmmm. Im curios to try it now, but I'll have to reinstall the game. There wasn't any way for me to know about the 2 minute time extensions, so I had uninstalled it.
     
  13. bantamcitygames

    Administrator Original Member Indie Author Greenlit

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    James, As usual this game is amazingly polished and aestetically superb, but like svero said, I'm just sick of bejewled-style games right now so I havne't played it too much. I'll play it more later, but I'm sure it will sell well because casual gamers just can't seem to get enough of this genre. Good Luck!
     
  14. James C. Smith

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    Version 1.2 of Big Kahuna Reef is now available. It fixes some bugs and adds a screen saver feature. Now you can set your Windows screen saver to be Big Kahuna Reef and it shows all the fish you have unlocked in the game.

    This new version of demo also resets the trial period timer. This means you get an additional 60 minutes of trial time even if you already played 60 minutes of an earlier version. This would be a great time to check out Mouse Party if you haven’t already. Mouse Party is a mode where multiple people can play at the same time on the same computer. It requires Windows XP and at least 2 mice. This unique game mode actually lets you have up to 8 mice connected to the same computer and each player gets his own mouse cursor.

    We also just launched the add-on levels download page. There are currently 4 levels packs available totaling 61 additional levels for the game. More level packs will be added soon.
     
  15. James C. Smith

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    We must have done something right

    We must have done something right

    Big Kahuna Reef has been selling very well in Reflexive Arcade. No surprise their. But it is also doing amazing well at Big Fish Games. They appear to have the perfect audience for Big Kahuna Reef. They said it broke their record for sales of a single game in a 24 hour period. And then the next day it broke that record!! Their latest newsletter has this headline. The Hottest Selling Game Ever! Big Kahuna Reef.

    Click to see image of headline

    Big Fish Games sells a lot of games similar to Big Kahuna Reef such as Magic Vines, Jewel Quest, and Bejeweled 2. But Big Kahuna Reef has had a faster sales pace at initial launch than any of those games did. I am sure one factor is that Big Fish Games has a bigger audience now then they did when Jewel Quest was launched. But I like to believe additional factures are that Big Kahuna Reef is a really fun game, it looks great, and it runs on any computer that can run Windows 95 or greater. I believe that the game looks great because we had great artists work on it, we had the financial resources to pay those artists, and because the engine does a great job of displaying that art. By giving the artists a tool that would display any 32 bit art they make in an uncompromised way it helped them make the game look fantastic.

    I bring this up because of the recent discussions about dirty rects, game resolutions, and minimum system requirements. Sure we could have used 3D hardware to get results that look the similar, but it wouldn’t run on all computers. Sure we could have used 2D hardware blitters but the edges of the sprites would look worse with color keying rather than 8 bit per pixel alpha. Some people say we could get away with using a lower resolution such as 640 X 480 X 8 bit or 16 bits per pixel. I am sure we could make good looking game that way, but I think it looks better this way.

    There are so many factors that affect the sales of a game. You can never point to one thing you did and say, “See. The game is selling great. It was correct for us to do that thing.â€￾ That thing may be helping the game do well, or the game may be doing well in spite of that thing. You never know for sure. All I know is that we did enough things right that the game is tremendously successful. When designing Big Kahuna Reef , as producer and lead programmer I had to make several decisions and judgment calls. Every time I looked at the data we had, used my years of experience, and fallowed my gut. I am happy with all the decisions I made and wouldn’t change a thing. And I feel extremely fortunate that my business was financially well off enough to give me the time and resources to build my vision.
     
    #15 James C. Smith, Jan 16, 2005
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2005
  16. luggage

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    Maybe using 640x480x16 would help it run on 6+ year old computers? And there really isn't much difference quality wise between 800x600x32 and 640x480x32 in real world examples. We develop games other than for download and they have to run in different resolutions with their own data and there really isn't much visual difference at all.
     
  17. Abscissa

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    I'd say that an underwater-themed game is certainly a perfect fit for a site named "Big Fish Games". ;)

    Congrats on the success!
     
  18. Jim Buck

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    I finally got around to checking this game out, and I have to admit it's a very tight package! I kept playing until I had 10 minutes left, and I realized I still needed to try out party mode with my wife. :) We had a pretty good time for 10 minutes, especially seeing as my wife isn't a game player. I was surprised how well a puzzle game could pull off "more than 1 player at the same time" and wonder how well this same game could do with a networked implementation.

    Good job on adding some strategy with needing to be aware of what pieces you want to get to certain parts of the screen (to get those last remaining wood pieces zapped). Other such puzzle games - you never care where or when your next "match 3" will be. It's just 100% random. Big Kahuna Reef makes you care since you otherwise won't get to the next level. Awesome!
     
  19. Sillysoft

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    Big congrats on your success. And let me say that your posts here are also much appreciated. By me in particular and I think many of the other newer folks as well. Thanks for helping to keep the signal up. Keep up the good work. :D
     
  20. James C. Smith

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    Thank you for all the congratulation. And I am glad to hear you appreciate my posts. Sometimes I am afraid most of the people here would rather not hear from me. I sometimes assume they think of me either as a big corporate sell out who doesn’t know what it’s like to be an indie with no resources, or I am just pimping Reflexive Arcade, or I am an eccentric zealot who still thinks 3D hardware acceleration is dangerous new fangled technology and everyone would be better off using rocks, clubs, and software blitters.
     
    #20 James C. Smith, Jan 17, 2005
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2005

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