Thursday, July 3, 2014

Techno Dash Trailer & More


We finally got the Techno Dash Trailer finished!

This took a while since we haven't done anything of the like before and had to learn many things, such as how to capture gameplay at a high enough quality and learning the video and audio editing programs.
For video editing we've tried a couple programs such as premiere but for the sake of speed we went with Windows Movie Maker due to simplicity and the not so steep learning curve.
Another thing we did was use Audacity to mix and sync the audio to the cut video and then import it. While it took more work it gave us the flexibility to work around some of the limitations Movie maker had with audio.


Developments of Techno Dash


Things are coming along for the development on the PC and Droid versions of the game. We got it working fully on a Galaxy S5 and worked on Google Play API. There were a couple issues we ran into such as dealing with consumable vs nonconsumable in-app purchasing and one of our previous tilt controls made the ship turning much very "floaty." We've fixed most of them so far and are ready to test more devices.

Another thing we did was create a 'bridge' pattern on the Tutorial such that it detects which platform your game is running on and gives the correct tutorial. This saves us the trouble of doing a load of "if/else" statements that would be difficult to debug and update. The other benefit is that we learned another technique that we can use to program our future games and features better! Always keep learning!

As for our soft launch, we managed to get a couple people to check out Techno Dash and play it in the regions of Canada, New Zealand and Ireland. Not as many as we wished but kinda expected since we haven't done much hype for our first game. Still, this gave us an insight in a couple bugs in our Metrics system along with some of the critical things that need balancing (getting Stars is really hard on Mobile version, which makes it even harder to get Keys to upgrade).

With that balance thing being said, if any of you are in Canada, New Zealand and Ireland you have a chance to first play Techno Dash. Here's the app id!
https://itunes.apple.com/ [CA or NZ or Ireland] /app/techno-dash/id673845976

Now What?


Since we got the trailer done, we're ready to do our marketing storm of sending stuff to many gaming sites! That and getting our full release ready!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Techno Dash Approved on App Store!

Great News Everyone!

Techno Dash has been approved in the Apple App store! With that taken care of we are starting our soft launch process. The regions it's coming out first is New Zealand, Canada and Ireland. And the release date for them is June 14th, this Saturday!

It's crazy to think that after all this work, the game will be out in the wild for others to play. We've begun to test for Droid on Google Play, running into a few quirks here and there (such as finding out that Unity requires Droid OS 2.3.1 or later to run on a device). Hopefully soon we can get the droid version released at the same time we finish the soft launch with iOS.


In Other News


We also got a temporary new website up and had our Hammerwing Logo redesigned.

Website preview
Check it out!

Our webdev person is still working on getting the backend of the full site completed. Along with the website the HW Logo has been remade (as you can see above) and the icon for Techno Dash has been created as well. We'd like to give our heartfelt thanks for all this person has done to help us. Once their website is up we'll post a link and hopefully we can help launch the person's webdev freelance business.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Developments on Techno Dash Release

We are just about on our initial planned release date of June 10th and plenty has happened since the last post.


App Store Submission Issues


While we submitted Techno Dash to Apple App Store, we learned that we forgot to do some obscure procedure which led us having to submit again, resetting the process. This pushes back our initial soft release date on the 10th to whenever it gets approved and published in the regions we specified. We hope that after a few weeks of our soft launch our metric system will give us the info we need (and last few bugs to squash) before a full release!

Playtestfest


A couple days ago Justin managed to get down to San Diego where there was a gathering of other indie developers doing a "playtestfest." Along with trying out a number of cool games such as Paperbound and Starcrawlers, he got some people to try out Techno Dash and got some great feedback.

One thing that was very noticeable was the difficulty of other people staying alive in the game, and the collection rate of bits is much smaller than the PC version. However everyone who tested it played multiple times, sometimes more than ten times. Along with observation many of the developers gave great feedback on what to consider in polishing the game further, especially the game feel and controls.

Marketing Techno Dash


Apart from having our game at the local playtestfest, we submitted Techno Dash to Indiecade contest. While the submission did cost $80 our team gets an pass to the Festival this coming October which we aim to try to go to. Afterwards we then learned Indiecade also did a #ScreenshotSaturday showcase which they post and tweet 10 games' screenshots each Saturday. We sent in one of our latest screenshots for that as well.

In case you were wondering, it's this Screenshot we sent in. : )


Another thing we are focusing on is creating an appealing trailer for the game. While a gameplay trailer itself can be self explanatory, we are working on another one which would fit the theme and hopefully catch more interest. Once we get that done we'll feel comfortable with sending out emails to reviewers as the presskit will more complete with videos along with screenshots for them to use.

Also this week is E3. Many of the largest game press sites are going to focus on that anyways. However this year there is a spontaneous #IndiE3 that has appeared and is happening at the same time to celebrate lots of the indies outside of E3 hype. We hope to have Techno Dash shown there in some way.

Droid/PC Techno Dash


While the game is in the submission process in the app store, we've been working on getting the Android and PC versions of the game prepared. For the droid version it means we'll have to focus on making sure the IAP with Google Play works as well as making sure we haven't missed sections of code that is supposed to be all mobile platforms specific and not just iOS specific.

PC Version is a different beast however. While we plan on keeping our UI very similar, we are needing to expand on our Options menu and remove the IAP section and a few other elements. On top of that we'll need a PC version of the game's tutorial. This has led to us starting to rebuild the tutorial system (again!) however this time we are trying out a certain programming pattern that if it works out the way we think it will, should really make things easier in the long run (especially in future multiplatform games). Always be learning!


We have no specific dates for the Droid & PC version of the game however we really are wanting to finish it quickly to go to our next project!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Techno Dash Release Date and Website Re-Building!


That's right! We've gotten far enough to decide on a release date for Techno Dash! And we're finally gotten to the point that we should REALLY focus on marketing and website stuff (which we admit should have happened months ago).

Release Date: June 10th 2014!!


That's our release date for iOS mobile! We are working on the final details and fixing bugs. We hope to also get our PC Version finished by then and release it. Our initial planned site is itch.io and later on Humble Store, Desura and hopefully get on Steam through Greenlight. There are numerous other sites we are looking towards and will work on getting Techno Dash on there. As for Android we got the Google Play account started and hopefully we can test and release it near the same time.

Website Getting Rebuilt & PressKit() Made!


We also are finally starting to rebuild our main Hammerwing Studios website. We got this started as we got the hosting finally set up.  An awesome friend we know has agreed to work on it while we focus on the finishing touches of the game. As of right now though the url redirects to the blog but the main site will be back in all its glory soon.

While our main site is currently being worked on, Justin managed to get the PressKit() up and running. For those who don't know, PressKit() is something created by other indie developers which is meant to be an one-stop easy to use portal for gaming press to gather screenshots and info on a game and/or game company for making reviews.

press.hammerwingstudios.com/

Our PressKit Site is press.hammerwingstudios.com 
and we have put an extra link on the side panel of the blog ==>


There are many other marketing things to do such as get a couple trailers made and reach out to a number of gaming press sites for reviews and previews. And on top of that is making sure our release builds works without anything game breaking. We'll likely release another blogpost before the actual release documenting all the marketing things we did pre-release.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Techno Dash's Last System and Detail Work

Details details details and even more details! We've gotten past the mockup stage and have been working on implementing the new UI into Techno Dash! Also we got most of our last system in the game.

Getting it all in and working.

More after the break!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Techno Dash: New UI and #ScreenshotSaturday

Our New Look!


If you've been following Hammerwing Studios's Twitter (you totally should!) the last few weeks you'll have seen that we've been participating in #ScreenshotSaturday. We've been doing that as a way to both get feedback on our new UI look and for marketing Techno Dash. More Screenshots after the break.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Techno Dash has reached Beta!

Greetings everyone!

The last month or so has been the most productive time as the team got back together over the holidays and hunkered down to finish many things on Techno Dash. Here are the details!

Testing & Tutorial


We finished up creating the game's tutorial with all the features put in and got it playtested for feedback. Our primary place for testing ended up being the weekly Feedback Friday threads on Reddit's Gamedev subsection, however we also created a thread on TIGSource's Playtesting forums (here) which continues to be active and get excellent feedback.

Another factor that got added into the game is voice acting! We originally had a text-to-speech voice however it felt flat, uninteresting and got quickly drowned out in the music. But with the current recorded voice it sounds much more clear.

Meeting Our Deadline


At the beginning of our December "sprint" we received an email from Apple informing us that in order to keep the name Techno Dash reserved we needed to submit a build to them in January. This actually gave us a positive motivation to really put forward the effort to get something completed. In the end we met out deadline (to the minute!) and had our build uploaded and in time we'll hear back on their approval status and any changes needed.

In fact, looking back at it now, that "deadline" has drastically sped up our iterative gamedev process in which we had over two playtest and revisions in the Tutorial part of our game. We aim to set more deadlines for ourselves.

What now?


Even though the title is uploaded  and pending for approval in the App store, we're still not finished with it. We are considering our game to finally be in beta builds and will continue to polish features and fix any bugs that pop up. Currently our focus at the moment is working on the UI. The layouts all appear to work however our latest feedback is suggesting that a number of the textures needs updating.

College winter quarter has started and Justin is now back up north for his last term. While he will resume a semi-limited role again, things are quickly approaching release. Stay tuned for our next post which we'll have more screenshots and our final release plan.