So finally, our project has come to a close. We finished the demo and handed it to our "clients" during our final presentation yesterday. What a better way to commemorate the occassion than a fantastic write up from Steve Smoothy at GameTaco about our group, Whisperous and life at Qantm. Speaking of which, we hope Jody enjoyed us decorating his desk in the staff office:
We had some bonding time after our final presentation to reflect on our experiences and talk about the future over beer and steak sandwiches. We have decided that YES (it's official), we agree that Whisperous has great potential, and we are indeed more than happy to try our hardest to continue the game in our spare time for all of you fantastic players out there.
The final demo of the game is now available for download and play! Playtesters who supplied an e-mail address to us should keep an eye on your inbox for your playtester's goodie pack that we promised! You will recieve:
- The latest build of Whisperous for both Windows and Macintosh.
- Artbook for Whisperous
- Whisperous Soundtrack
While we were at Armageddon, our project manager Nina had an interview with Jason O'Callahan from Level 3 about our company and our game. Watch the interview here!
Players and peers and friendly dinosaurs, yes this is our last day of production on Whisperous in the studio as Swing Interactive!
We are very excited to have the occasion commemorated by the Kotaku team. They are showing support with a new regular Show and Tell feature for indie devs to show off their latest projects and talk a little bit about who they are and what they do. And guess what? We got a feature! Thank you, Kotaku!
It has been a little while since we kept in touch, because we've been so busy making AWESOME for you all to play! The team is all here working really hard to make Whisperous perfect for our final presentation to our "investors" next week, as well as posting up our final playable demo on the play page.
Look out for some posts next week about the release of the game demo and a post mortem from the team. We will also let you all know where we are at as individuals or even professionals now!
We had an interview with Michael Irving from Capsule Computers about our project, who we are and our outlook on the industry. Check it out!
After a long time coming, we're proud and happy to announce Version 5.0 of Whisperous now up for play and download! We still have five weeks to go until the end of our project, but we really feel like the game is coming along well!
Armageddon went very well for us too. We worked very hard to make sure that we get there and receive as much feedback as we can. We wanted to make it even better for this update! If you were at Armageddon, you got a sneak peek of what would be available today.
You guys wanted stickers, so we got you stickers! Feedback is so important to us that we decided to give away free stickers to anyone willing to fill out a quick form. Unfortunately a few people who wanted to be included in the credits didn't put their name or e-mail on the form! They must have gotten too excited about the stickers! If we missed you in the credits, please contact us.
We had 117 feedback forms filled out at Armageddon which we used to put together graphs so that we could see if we were on the right track.
We noticed that the movement was a bit too fast for most people and worked to fix that in this build. Jumping was tweaked a little bit as well, since it seemed from the data that it was just a tad too high.
We also wanted to know what exactly do people like or dislike about our game, and if our audience's view was generally more favourable or not. Are we on the right track? Data says that we are!
These graphs were based on individual comments that players made rather than their overall impression. This way it was easier to make distinctions between aspects of the game that are working and which are not. Below is a total impression of likes and dislikes. As most dislikes stemmed from bugs and character movement elements, we also included a count without these elements. This was too see a clearer picture of our progress as our aim is to tweak movement until perfect and eliminate all bugs prior to finishing the project.
We noticed at Freeplay that Whisperous was beginning to be a hit with children. Armageddon made us realise that indeed we were looking at a completely different target audience than we originally thought. Children and their parents were drawn to the game, with children between the ages of five and ten playing and completing the level without fail and without instruction numerous times! Whereas adults tended to ask for help with controls or stop playing after a few deaths. This was really interesting for us to see that children never gave up, despite the bugs and would figure out the puzzles intuitively. We even had some parents ask when they could buy the game for their children!
Swing Interactive had a couple of cosplayers in our midst during Armageddon: our game designer, Ben, as the guy in the Valve Software logo, and our art director Antony as Ezio from Assassin's Creed. Ben brought quite an amount of attention to our stand with a little red valve stuck to the back of his bald head, but Antony won best solo costume! Congratulations Antony, all your hard work on your costume definitely paid off.
Oh... And our project manager found a wookie! She loves wookies!
We have recently been featured in the latest Avila College newsletter for Nina's talk about our project and getting more girls interested in making and playing games! Check out the piece from the newsletter below, along with a shot of Nina, Aaron and Anthony with some of the teachers and a student of the school.
Don't forget that we will be exhibiting at this years' Armageddon Expo showing our game and doing some more playtesting. So if you're heading to Armageddon, be sure to come and pay us a visit at our table! Find us on a table near the Alternate Worlds stand! Armageddon Expo 2011 is on the 22-23rd of October at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.
We value what our players think about our product. So, we invite any players who are interested in taking part in the creation of our game to provide their feedback and be included in our final game credits as testers. If you can't make it to Armageddon, simply play our game either via the Unity Webplayer or download the game and fill out the feedback form constructively. Whether or not you choose to be included in the game credits, by providing your e-mail address you will be entitled to a free soft copy of our Whisperous Art Bible, Sound Track and final game demo.
Last night Nina, Ben and Duncan were interviewd by Steve Smoothy from GameTaco. We had a chat about how the project began, the ups and downs of production and what we hope for the future. We will post an update as soon as the interview is made available.
And while all of this is happening, we are working on polishing a brand new build of Whisperous. We have been working very hard the past couple of weeks to rework the particle collision, attract and repel system scripts, as well as completely recoding the movement of the player controls.
We also have an entire shiny new set of models, textures and UI elements for the game including a new reworked dark vs. light colour palette and more refined art style. The design and QA teams are currently rebuilding our entire project with all the new assets and scripts ready to be packaged to streamline our production pipeline, as well as designing a bigger and better level for you all to play.
We're very much looking forward to releasing this next iteration of Whisperous and hope that you will all be pleasantly surprised and enjoy the changes! We still would love to know what we can make even better and incorperate it into our next 6 weeks of production and polish after Armageddon, so keep up that constructive feedback for us.
We thought we'd put together a blog post to let everyone know what we do outside of the studio and this game project. A number of the team members have taken up internships as part of our course and are working on game or animation projects in their spare time.
Our project and community manager, Nina Nikolic, is currently Community Support Assistant at Melbourne-based studio Firemint. Firemint are known for their path-drawing game Flight Control, Real Racing 1 & 2, as well as their recent release SPYmouse, which is currently #1 on the AppStore.
She is participating, on behalf of Firemint, in the Play Well Cup. The Play Well Cup is an Australian Starcraft 2 league, where Australian companies battle it out in support of Child's Play (a charity raising money for the Mater Children's Hospital in Brisbane and the Sydney Children's Hospital). Please donate to the prize pool to help the kids!
Nina is also organising the 2011 SAEQ Student Work exhibition for both SAE Institue and QANTM College. The exhibition will feature games, mods, short films, animations, music and art work by the students for industry professionals and the public alike to enjoy.
Technical director, Duncan Little, game designer, Ben Rejmer and R11 Games' project manager, David Allan, are currently undertaking an internship at Ignition Studios. Ignition Studios are the makers of the successful Monkey Mini Golf game for WP7 smartphones.
Duncan is also working on a personal project, creating a Direct X game engine in C++. He also plays guitar and does vocals for his band BasticH, who will be playing at the Melbourne Fringe Festival on October 6th.
Design director, Benn Lockyer, is the lord of Twisted Shield Interactive, known for the iOS game Bouncy Disco. He is currently working on pre-production for a new iOS game (more details on his Twitter and website soon), another project consisting of producing a shape recognition system intended for game-style integration to help teach children how to draw circles, squares and other basic shapes, as well as some additional work for Project Nonetheless.
Trevor is working on a thesis, studying what elements are required by music in games to create engaging play. He was the winner of the 2011 Global Gam Jam's "Best Sound Design" award for the game Saldo. He is a singer and guitarist for Melbourne band Wolf Vs. Fire, who are currently writing and demoing new songs for their upcoming single and EP. There are some more examples of his work here and here.
Audio engineer, Guy Noble, is currently completing his last semester of his Bachelor of Applied Music Composition at Box Hill TAFE. He is also taking arranging lessons from Peter de Visser and arranging swing and ballad pieces for a jazz big band.
Despite all this extra hoo-ha, we're very excited to be diving head-first into our continuing development for Whisperous. (Expect a newer, shiner, better and funnerer game build and name soon!)
So after a three week break from uni, we're back in the studio making the game!
The design seems to be evolving a lot more, as was to be expected. So the game may progress from what some of you are used to. But, good news is that the player movement is our top priority to get right. No more horrible hill climbs!
We'll be updating as regularly as possible.
We are also proud and very happy to announce that we will be exhibiting at this years' Armageddon Expo showing our game and doing some more playtesting. So if you're heading to Armageddon, be sure to come and pay us a visit at our table! We'll try to make it easy for you to spot us. We should be situated against the left hand wall (upon entry to the Expo space) at the beginning of the line of smaller "artist" tables.
Our post-Freeplay build is now available for download and online play. There are also instructions of how to set up a PlayStation3 controller to play, if you have one of those instead of a USB capable X-Box controller. Enjoy!
We had a lot of fun at Freeplay. It was an absolute pleasure chatting to all the gamers, public and industry folk who took the time to play our game and give valuable feedback. There were some fantastic projects being exhibited in the Experimedia room with us, as well as some interesting talks. Check out the condensed Twitter feed of the event here.
Thanks to everyone who played the game and offered us feedback. If you enjoyed the game, or have friends whom you think might be interested in the game, please share it with them and ask them to fill out our Feedback Form as well.
We can never get enough feedback! We hope to recieve a good amount for us to collate throughout our three week break from university. There may be some minor updates in the mean time, but we hope to see you all around!
Freeplay today went so well. We had an absolute ball meeting everyone, seeing all the projects with us in the Experimedia room, listening to all the talks and watching you all play Whisperous! We hope you all had as much fun as we did.
We have a new build available! Scroll down for more information.
We had some business cards printed in preparation for Freeplay and had to cut them all out by hand with the absence of a guillotine! Luckily, people seem to be taking them as they come to play the game and talk to us about the project.
We have a table in a corner, but have a lot of room for our big team. Come have a chat to us tomorrow! We're happy to answer any questions you have about the game and our team and would love to hear what projects you are doing as well!
The table next to us was occupied by some people from La Trobe University showing off some of their 3D game technology and 3D printer! They were amazing and printed out a couple of figures of our main character and enemy from Whisperous! Look out for more pics of these after we clean them up a bit to reveal the form a bit more.
We have uploaded a new build with some mini-fixes that we noticed needed attention at Freeplay today. For now, this is a Windows only build and is available for direct download only (more information on the play page). We created it to take to Freeplay tomorrow for more testing, but decided to upload it regardless. The embedded game and Macintosh version have not been updated yet. They will be updated on Monday, after Freeplay, in case there are more tweaks/fixes to be done from tomorrow's playtesting. Thanks for your patience!
- Buggy collector at the second door.
- Additional particles beside the previously buggy collector (to see if players form a more direct connection to the particles while learning the significance of particle collectors)
- Gamepad and keyboard controls have both been fixed and are usable. Both still require some tweaking and recoding to make it easier to simply roll up certain inclines.