I made it! Ace on Steroids is now available on the three platforms I intended to get and YOU can get its source code by just getting the game for just around 1 buck (US$1.29, €0.99, £0.79 and 80 MS Points on Xbox 360).
Here is the PR I sent over some online media press:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The US$1.29 guide to learn
how to make windows, xbox 360 & windows phone 7 games having fun
ACE ON STEROIDS IS AVAILABLE!
PARIS, FRANCE. – April 17th, 2012
Indiefreaks studio proudly announces the release of Ace on Steroids on Windows, Xbox 360 & Windows Phone 7. Ace on Steroids is a beautiful simple top down asteroids shooter game yet the promise lands in the fact that every purchaser of this game will be granted a full access to the game source code and assets.
Their goal is to share their knowledge with as many game developer “wannabees” as possible to support game development creativity and quality.
“By sharing best practices and real examples to a wide audience, we improve the chances to see new game developers joining the party and make great games for us to play” says Philippe Da Silva, Indiefreaks studio owner. “We believe Ace on Steroids players will have a lot of fun making their games and, who knows… Maybe we’ll team up and create some other great games together.”
Ace on Steroids source code will be accompanied with step by step tutorial videos explaining in more details how and why things were done the way they were.
Ace on Steroids is available right now on the following platforms:
- Windows (US$1.29, €0.99 & £0.79)
- IndieCity: http://store.indiecity.com/game/Ace
- Indievania: http://indievania.com/games/ace-steroids
- Desura: http://www.desura.com/games/ace-on-steroids
- Xbox 360 through the Xbox Live Indie Games Marketplace for 80 Microsoft Points: http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/Product/Ace-on-Steroids/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d80258550af6
- Windows Phone 7 through the Windows Phone Marketplace (US$1.29, €0.99 & O.79£) http://windowsphone.com/s?appid=2a41d041-61b2-45dd-8b94-7b929fe9cdc8
Indiefreaks is a one man indie development studio which aims to beat the record and demonstrate fun games can be achieved without the AAA promise.
In order to do so, it aims sharing as much knowledge as possible regarding game development so then other talented people can join in the party;
Thus the creation of the “Indiefreaks Game Framework” open source initiative.
For additional information
- Press contact: email@example.com
- Any other purposes contact: Philippe Da Silva, firstname.lastname@example.org
Today is a release day!
Ace on Steroids for Windows
Ace on Steroids just passed IndieCity CAP (Community Approval Process) and is now available on Windows Vista & Windows 7 (32 and 64 bits editions). Browse to the store to see what you get: http://indiecity.com/game/Ace
Other platform releases (WP7 and Xbox 360) as well as Desura’s are getting ready too and I expect a full blown communication about it mid April. At least, that’s what I’m aiming for press wise
On another note, the Indiefreaks Game Framework gets an intermediate release before v1.0 based on requests I received from developers asking for an official release with support for SunBurn engine 18.104.22.168.
It actually is a pretty heavy release even as I’m adding a lot of features I’ve been working on as well as a set of bug fixing and performance improvements.
IGF v0.9.2.0 release notes:
- Feature: Added SunBurn engine v22.214.171.124 support (doesn’t support versions below).
- Feature: Added GammaCorrection Post processor to allow developers or even players to tweak the Gamma of the game depending on their screen (courtesy of bamyazi)
- Feature: Added Windows, Xbox 360 & WP7 enabled StorageManager (based on Nick Gravelyn’s EasyStorage) to read/write files for player or game data.
- Feature: Added VirtualGamePad feature for WP7 allowing developers to define Touch areas on screen and mapped gamepad controls.
- Feature: Added IndieCityManager for Windows allowing developers to easily plug IndieCity SDK within their game such as DRM, Achievements and Leaderboards (more information about IndieCity http://developers.indiecity.com)
- Feature: Added support for IGF’s Project Mercury Effect Editor content files. Developers can now create their particle systems in the tool and load them through their Content Projects.
- Feature: Added BEPUPhysicsRenderer manager to IGF Physics assembly allowing developers to see physics debugging information in their game (contacts, islands, physics’ bounding boxes, etc…)
- Bug: Fixed a bug in Goal driven AI where the implemented code wouldn’t get processed in rare occasions.
- Bug: Fixed a few trigonometry issues in AutonomousAgent and Steering Behaviors.
- Bug: Fixed a bug on FadeIn/FadeOut transition effects where they could be called at the same time.
- Bug: Fixed a bug in Lidgren Session Client code where SceneEntities and Commands wouldn’t properly register themselves with the server.
- Bug: Fixed a bug in Lidgren Session to allow the creation of 1 player LAN games (previously, it required at least 2 players which wasn’t possible since the session needs to be created to create a lobby).
- Bug: Commands and Behaviors now properly unregister when their Agent’s ParentObject is removed from SunBurn ObjectManager (accross network too).
- Bug: Fixed a bug where some GUI controls wouldn’t get properly refreshed once loaded.
- Bug: Fixed a bug where GUI controls would throw an exception on WP7 if not using a power of 2 size.
- Misc: Added ClearDevice management on the Application class so developers can control when calls to GraphicsDevice.Clear() are performed.
- Misc: Added Application.Run<T>() enabling automatic Exception report on Xbox 360 (useful for Exception tracking on Xbox 360 builds of your games).
- Misc: Developers can now tell their GameStates if they should use a local ContentManager to load content or use the global Application one.
- Misc: Slight performance increase on games using multiple Layers.
- Misc: InputManager can now return useful Keyboard and Mouse helper methods through its KeyboardInputState and MouseInputState properties.
- Misc: Layer.IsVisible property is now set as Virtual allowing developers to override it and react to property changes on their inherited Layer classes (i.e.: GUI transitions)
- Misc: All session implementations now have an additional Starting state set when the StartSession() is called to allow games to setup and synchronize players, scenes, entities and commands before the actual session really starts.
- Misc: Added an Enabled property on Agent, PlayerAgent and NonPlayerAgent classes to allow easy activation/deactivation of their Behaviors and Commands (useful for game pauses or the like).
- Misc: Performance improvement on Behavior and Command processing.
- Misc: Particle assembly is now splitted in two: Indiefreaks.Game.Mercury.dll for Project Mercury implementation and Indiefreaks.Game.Particles.dll for actual SunBurn engine integration (no breaking changes to the API, just internal design).
- Misc: Small performance improvement on ParticleSystem update and rendering.
- Misc: GUI Image controls now set their rendering size based on the texture size (Scale is applied to Texture width and height)
- Misc: GUI Label control has now a readable Font property allowing developers to access Font properties.
- Misc: Added WP7 touch support to GUI.
I finally reached this first milestone: getting Ace on Steroids available for Play test on Xbox 360!
I reached a total count of 20 days of spare time development (actually, it’s exactly 19 days, 7 hours and 4 minutes) and I’m really close to get it all setup for release and start working on the tutorial videos explaining the inner concepts of the framework by example
The framework itself is also getting closer to a new version release which I expect to happen somewhen before the end of next week: I’m waiting for SynapseGaming to release SunBurn 2.0.18. I’m not totally sure but it may end up being the official Indiefreaks Game Framework v126.96.36.199 depending on the feedback I get from the beta tests on Xbox 360 and other platforms.
By the way, if you are willing to participate on the beta test for Windows or WP7, feel free to contact me and tell me which platform version you want me to send you.
If you’re willing to play test the Xbox 360 version, you can visit this page: http://catalog.create.msdn.com/en-US/GameDetails.aspx?catalogEntryId=8a21618d-3eb3-4c44-8aaa-b523c8f71b92&type=1read more
I believe I just found a small additional feature to the Xbox 360 dashboard that could drastically improve how game developers and publishers could market their games towards Xbox 360 owners. If you have any direct contact in the Microsoft team responsible for its development, please share this post with them so we can move on and make it a better business place.
The Xbox 360 Dashboard is a closed portal
I’ve been thinking about it with all the recent threads and tweet discussions from XBLIG developers complaining that the latest Xbox 360 dashboard updates resulted into marketing their indie games even harder because their games get solely listed in a deeper place within the dashboard Metro style menus hierarchy.
While I believe it’s fair from Microsoft to promote their partner games in good places within the dashboard since they are into a way more lucrative business relationship than with Indie developers which solely bring them 99US$ / year + 30% of their sales share on titles ranging from 1 to 5 US$, I’m sure there is room for UI improvement and accessibility so that marketing games could be easier.
Let’s face it: the Xbox 360 dashboard is more like a web portal with prioritized content than an open content plaftorm. Microsoft goal is to generate revenue out of their marketplace and will be extremelly cautious on the content they put in the first levels.
While Top Download and Rated lists help significantly finding games within the Xbox 360, even for established game studios and publishers, the room available in the dashboard is rather limited. As a consequence, these same game studios and publishers, as XBLIG developers have to rely on other media to promote their games: Online press, social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, forums, etc…
The sole issue with this approach is that there is absolutelly no way to mimic the “link” mechanism we are all used to which would pop a page in the marketplace from which you’d be able to buy the game since the Xbox is a closed platform.
On smartphones, we’ve seen a lot of ways to help potential consumers getting straight to products:
- Specialized links such as iTunes links that would open iTunes on iPhones or desktops when hit on a webpage
- Quick Response Codes (QR codes) which allow physical based marketing where scanning them with your phone will bring you to a specific webpage
I therefore thought why couldn’t we have a similar mechanism to let us market our games outside of the closed Xbox 360 environment and have console owners use it to get straight to the promoted game either they learned about it from a website, an email, a tweet or even a magazine?
But above systems couldn’t work with Xbox 360:
Typing links with the gamepad would be a nightmare: I already hate to type serials to unlock limited edition features or enabling multiplayer in some games (we’re lucky we only have to do it once). QR codes wouldn’t be an answer neither since not all Xbox 360 players own an Xbox camera or a Kinect device.
What are our requirements for such system:
- It must be easy to remember or physical so players can get from their computer, magazine, phone, whatever to their Xbox and use it as a direct input.
- Easy to represent so that it can be placed in a website, a tweet, a magazine, a advert…
- It must rely on Xbox 360 input devices
- It must allow a really high number of possibilities so the limit can’t be reach in a reasonable timeframe
- It must be easy and quick to input to decrease the number of Xbox 360 owners which would find it too unfriendly to get there
No, none of these options is viable…
But then came this obvious and very very very common and players friendly system!
“Move Links” © Me :p
Back to arcade days and the era of fighting games, what every single player from kids to more grown ones would try to find and share with each other?… Move lists!
Those games used combinations of directions and button hits to execute special moves for their caracters and they had similar requirements.
That’s what I believe is just the perfect system for us to market our games.
Wouldn’t it be cool to display something similar than this to promote your game on Xbox 360?
Then going on the Xbox 360 Dashboard, players would get to the Move Link page and it’d ask to execute a sequence resulting into navigating you directly to the related product.
I really believe it would be awesome and extremelly powerful since it would talk to players, can easily be shared and provide a good number of possibilities.
If we’d stick to the above sample, using solely the DPAD, the A, B, X, Y buttons and the Left and Right shoulder buttons, it’d offer a 10*10*10*10*10*10 = 1’000’000 possibilities! Enough to manage a huge set of games
Microsoft would still have total control on that feature since they would be handling the Move Link service on their own as well as giving them to the developers.
On AppHub, for each Xbox game we would have created, we could get one unique Move Link to use everywhere
This is just me and I really believe that would be a great marketing tool not only for XBLIG but also for the established game studios and publishers.
I’d love to get your feedback on such feature and once again, if you believe it is a good idea and if you know someone at Microsoft that could help getting that in place, please spread the word: it’d be beneficial for all actors in this field: Players, Studios & Publishers and Microsoft would gain a good vibe around this
P.S. : By the way, Microsoft, if you’re reading this, I’m seeking for a jobread more
I’ve been very busy with life since my last blog entry but stilll a lot happened since then regarding IGF development so I decided to sum them up and make a quick post.
Open Source & Contributors
As I shared with you a couple of months ago, after I called for contributors to help me move IGF forward, I received a few emails asking to participate. So far, I have 3 contributors that would be likely helping building IGF v1.0. They’ll shortly be able to work on the project as I put the team workspace in place.
This workspace will be composed of a source control repository and a set of project management & communication tools. I’m still talking with John from SynapseGaming to prepare that environment and making sure we don’t break any SunBurn EULA rules. I hope to get that working with IGF v0.7 release.
IGF v0.7 was mainly targeting the Project Mercury particle system implementation and I’m quite satisfied with current status which will probably be on the next release as is. However I also made some R&D on some other aspects and surprisingly I get most of them in a shape that conforts me to expand IGF v0.7 scope.
- Local Session system: IGF v0.7 will let you create local only sessions so that you don’t require Xbox Live to get the Logic domain & features being processed in a single player game.
- WP7 Support: I made IGF v0.7 work on Windows Phone 7 with a few changes. The sole point I didn’t made it through is how to handle WP7 input inside the InputManager: I need to make some more research here to implement best practices. I’m unsure to finalize the WP7 touch input integration within InputManager but I’ll for sure release an Alpha preview of WP7 support as part of IGF v0.7.
I also worked on a few optimizations but didn’t yet get them to work properly so they may not be part of the next release:
- Multithreaded AI execution: as of IGF v0.6, all AI using the Logic domain is executed in the main thread. While this is enough for simple behaviors and/or few agents, with a world composed of a great number of agents or if AI behaviors require more than the 16ms limit per frame (to get 60 fps) this execution pattern may become a problem. I’m therefore working on the Logic & Session domains to process it in a second thread. Almost there but I must ensure that all the Logic is thread safe which isn’t trivial
- Performance control on Logic processing: I’m also implementing some properties in Steering Behaviors, Finite State Machine and Goal Driven AI to provide you with a better control how often their logic gets processed to let you optimize how many times they get called. This will let you optimize their usage depending on your game needs.
- BEPUPhysics Manager: One of the contributors is working on a BEPUPhysics manager implementation that will replace the standard SunBurn CollisionManager instance and respect the ICollisionMove contract set in the SceneObject class. This should let you switch from CollisionManager to BEPUPhysicsManager without making any changes to your code still getting all the features from BEPUPhysics. I didn’t see the code yet as we don’t have the workspace environment setup yet but I’m eager to have a look
Well, since I’m going on vacation the 22nd August until the 3rd September, I don’t want to flew far from any internet connection without pushing v0.7 up for you to play with.
You should therefore expect a release before the 22nd August