August is going to be a great month for Parabox Games
As you all should know, Caveman Craig is coming to Steam this month! Caveman Craig is a ‘remastered’ version of Caveman Craig 2, with split-screen co-op, re-imagined levels (plus a new one), Steam integration, and more.
A big thank you to our squad of BETA testers who are sinking their teeth into the game already and spitting out all sorts of bugs and glitches they’re coming across. Thankfully, so far 90% of the reports were an error that I was able to fix over the weekend in a new update.
Our BETA keys are now exhausted, so we can’t offer any more out. Sorry, you had to act fast! If you owned Caveman Craig 2, you are still eligible for a free copy of Caveman Craig once it is released.
There’s a lot of work still to be done on the game, and Tim and I have put together a roadmap of when the final features and fixes are expected to be rolled out.
Everything is going along swimmingly, so it’s time to ‘lock in’ a release date! We have decided to stick a pin on August 28! So add Caveman Craig to your wishlist on Steam if you haven’t already, and BETA testers… pressure’s on!
The pun is inexcusable, but we are “full Steam ahead” with the upcoming release of Caveman Craig. If you’ve been following us on twitter, we posted a few weird screenshots of our BETA testing experiences over the weekend.
You should soon see the game details on the Steam store, and more details will arrive soon after on pricing, dates, and so on.
We do have a sort-of unfortunate announcement regarding the BETA program mentioned in our previous post. While we would love to provide early BETA access to everyone who owns Caveman Craig 2, we found out that it’s frowned upon and not always allowed by Valve, for a mass distribution of BETA keys.
So instead, we are offering any purchasers of Caveman Craig 2 to ‘opt in’ to the BETA program. We only have a limited number of spots, and our schedule is really tight! So if you are interested in working closely with us to make Caveman Craig as awesome as it can possibly be, please opt in using the Google Form!
Parabox Games are excited to announce that, following Caveman Craig 2 being greenlit on Steam, we will be releasing a revamped, refreshed, and updated adventure with our hero, titled Caveman Craig: The Tribes of Boggdrop, or simply Caveman Craig for short. We plan to release Caveman Craig in August, 2015!
Caveman Craig will include a grokkload of new features and improvements, including the long awaited and embarrassingly over-delayed Dudu Forest DLC!
“Wait.. what?? Didn’t you release Caveman Craig 2 like.. 3 years ago?”
That’s correct, we did! And Caveman Craig is, as far as our existing fanbase is concerned, simply an overhaul of Caveman Craig 2, but with a new name. Our chore-list for a Steam release got so long, that we realised we’re releasing a sort of reboot. Branding this reboot as simply Caveman Craig allows the game to stand on its own two feet and attract our new Steam market.
“Ok – so what are the new features in Caveman Craig?”
If you’ve already bought & played Caveman Craig 2, here are some features that may be particularly interesting to you..
- Engine Overhaul - The game has been ported to GameMaker: Studio from GameMaker 8 for massive performance benefits, plus making a number of other new features possible and fixing a number of crashes that were caused by the ageing GM8 engine with newer machines.
- Sound Engine Overhaul - Better positional audio, dynamic effects, new & replaced sound effects. plus an expanded soundtrack by Ricky Garcia.
- Graphics Engine Improvements - Better scaling, new lighting/shader engine, tweaked animations, and more!
- Support for Mac OS X – Native and full support for Mac OS X! Play Caveman Craig and wear a scarf!
- Dudu Forest DLC - Included by default in Caveman Craig will be our long-awaited Battle at Dudu Forest DLC. Featuring:
- A whole new Conquest level with a new dinosaur, playable character / enemy, and other secrets..
- Unique challenges and unlocks added throughout the campaign. Harvest mushrooms, collect the rare colourful Scansoriopteryx feathers, or find the long lost tablets of caveman wisdom and literature!
- New achievements and unlocks, including some really stupid cheats!
- Multiplayer - Invite your friend over to your house like we did in the 90s and play Conquest or Survival mode in 2 player split-screen co-op! Requires a game controller (PlayStation or Xbox controllers are good)
- Custom Games – Play a customised game of Conquest or Survival mode – make it super hard, super easy, or super weird!
- Gameplay and control improvements - Dinosaur behaviour improvements, improved HUD and learning curve, and heaps more – too many to list!
- Steam only features - Friend leaderboards for various game statistics, Steam achievements, Profile and game save sync over Steam cloud.
“I already own CC2! Do I have to buy Caveman Craig? Wasn’t the DLC meant to be free?”
Do not fear! Caveman Craig will be free for existing owners of Caveman Craig 2. In fact, if you own a copy of the game, we would like to warmly invite you to participate in our BETA program on Steam. More details on this to come soon..
We want to thank our long term fans for their continued support of the Caveman Craig franchise. It is so exciting to bring the game to a new market, and breathe new life into our game.
Last week, we ran a ‘re-launch’ BETA testing party. This was very similar to our ‘pre-launch’ party back in 2012, but of course stress-testing the new features in Caveman Craig and evaluating its potential on the Steam platform.
Caveman Craig is now in the hands of a number of private testers, and we are on the final stretch to release!
The day was a massive success, at least in our eyes – the testers diligently entered issues into a bug tracker *cough* google spreadsheet over 8 hours of playtime. There were some pretty major bugs and errors to fix up, but that’s what a BETA test is for!
The buggiest part of the game was saving & loading – which presented a catch 22 to players. Do we save our game and risk losing our progress if it crashes during the save? Or do we take another risk in playing through the whole level without saving? This caused a fair bit of frustration amongst the testers.. which was unfortunate but showed how invested they were in the game.
We setup split-screen co-op on the big screen, for people to take turns playing together. Working together to take down the enemy proved to be lots of fun!
Some other key areas to test included..
- Mac OS X – Ran almost flawlessly!
- Steam leaderboards and achievements – It was heaps of fun comparing our scores with other players in the room.
- New dudu forest level – presented a unique challenge, that many spent lots of time on. The level is beautiful and serene, with a fantastic celtic soundtrack by Ricky Garcia.
We had a couple of game developers and professional testers with us, and there was no shortage of merciless, brute force testing of the game. One managed to get a ridiculous tribe size before crashing the game..
And now, it’s time for me to shift gears entirely and complete some contractual app development work. After pouring every spare hour into Caveman Craig for the past month, a well deserved break is going to do me and the game some good. We can’t wait to release the game, and after some meetings and plans, we will be excited to announce something more official very soon.
This past week or two have been big ones for me – working every weeknight and all through the weekends to keep on schedule. I’ve been playing with the new lighting engine of choice – a modified version of prettylight by Nik Sudan. It looks even better than in Caveman Craig 2, and has the added benefit of a gaussian blur shader which we’ll use sparingly for a layer of polish. It looks especially pretty in the main menu, as we blur the background scene when the menu elements appear.
Each level has added unique charm. The new level, originally to be part of DLC, set at Dudu Forest, works a little more like Survival mode as far as dinosaurs go. Rather than having a director ‘unleash’ groups of dinosaurs at chosen intervals to provide a crafted pace like most levels, dinosaurs are spawned at random, at any given time. I call it “frenzy” mode, and it will be an option when playing custom games, another feature we’re adding.
We had a lot of feedback about the ending of Caveman Craig 2. The final challenge, in which you lead the other tribe leaders into battle with a family of T-rexes, was an unexpected change of pace from the rest of the game. It was fun, though perhaps implemented poorly. In the new update, the T-rex challenge will become part of the final conquest level against our furry friend, Steve. It’s heaps more fun because you can enlist your entire tribe to take down the nest together, and strategise accordingly.
There’s still a lot to do, and my next big job is to implement Steam leaderboards. The current plan is to include leaderboards for each Conquest level, plus the mini-games. I’m not a big fan of global leaderboards, where seeing the number 1 player in the world only discourages you from bothering to even try. So we’ll be focusing on comparing scores with Steam friends only.
How do you measure how well you played a Conquest level? How quickly you finish it? How much damage you inflict? There are many different ways to play each level , and we want to encourage you to play the game in different ways and be rewarded for it. Each level will have a few standard high score measurements, but there’ll be some unique challenges as well in each level.
Our Steam update is nearing a private BETA release, the commencement of which will be flagged by a Caveman Craig re-launch Party, scheduled in a couple of weeks time. Before we initially released Caveman Craig 2 in 2012, we ran a testing party for a private group of friends. It proved very helpful in ironing out bugs, getting feedback, and generally prepping the game for final release.
With the amount of changes Tim and I have made over the past couple of months, we decided that another testing event was in order. With the use of Steam’s API, testing with a larger group of people is especially necessary to see how well everything works with regards to leaderboards, achievements, cloud sync, and so on.
Soon after the re-launch party, we hope to announce a release date and some more official details about what you can expect in Caveman Craig for Steam.
A development update for Caveman Craig for Steam for you all.
Progress is coming along quite well, and I’ve set myself a deadline for the end of the month to have all the core work done. We’ll then need to spend a few weeks testing, preparing launch material, and configuring the various aspects of the Steam page.
There’s a lot more to Caveman Craig for Steam than a layer of polish and a bunch of bug fixes and tweaks. We’ve added new features – stemming from the Dudu Forest DLC, or features we’ve wanted to implement since the original release in 2012, or new ideas we’ve had while porting the game to Steam.
Each Conquest level will feature a unique challenge to either aid or hinder you in your attempts to conquer the enemy tribe, or provide a secondary goal.
We’ve added some more achievements, and with them come new unlocks. In particular, there’s now a cheats menu where you can activate a number of fun modifiers, ala TimeSplitters, providing you have unlocked them. There are currently 7 cheats, including the “Barno” cheat that you can already unlock in the current version of Caveman Craig 2.
I’ve been going to town with Steam API integration. All the achievements are tied in with Steam’s system. We use Steam cloud to synchronise your game profiles, saved games, and stats between computers. And I soon plan to integrate Steam leaderboards. You’ll be able to compare various statistics and scores from Conquest, Survival, and all the mini-games with your friends (providing they also own the game).
A feature I’m really happy about is the ability to play 2-player co-op on a shared / split screen, old school style! You can play through the Conquest campaign with a sibling or a pal using a game controller (PlayStation, Xbox, etc). This was an experiment, and it proved to be a whole lot of fun. Players can now make cavemen follow them specifically by pressing “F” on the keyboard (or triangle / Y on the game controller) while they are standing over one. I’ve been playing with Tim and other friends – one might be in charge of training gatherers + preparers, the other in charge of training hunters… have one defend the tribe while the other attacks.. or both go all in.
We’re really taking advantage of the sandbox nature of Caveman Craig’s engine with this Steam port, too. Players will be able to start a custom Conquest or Survival game – customising the difficulty, scene, and characters. Personally, I like a game that gives players the freedom to customise it to the point of absurdity or malfunction. I’ll be trying to bring out this nature in Caveman Craig more. For example, last night I accidentally created a zombie apocalypse in one of my play-tests.
Ricky will be expanding the soundtrack to accommodate the new forest level (originally for the Dudu Forest DLC), and to include battle music! Tim will begin significantly redesigning the main menu to support the new levels and features, improving old animations, designing the new characters + dinosaurs, and so on.
It’s only taken 2 and a half years, but Caveman Craig 2 has been green-lit for distribution on Steam!
It came as a big surprise to us on the morning of Feb 14ths. Yes, Valve, we will be your valentine. Thank you to all our fans for their ongoing support for the game.
We have been wanting to bring to light a few things recently, and the news of CC2 being green-lit has prompted us to do so much sooner.
Firstly, we are well aware of a number of crashes and bugs in the current version of CC2. CC2 was built in the Game Maker 8 engine – some aspects of that engine, in particular the sound functionality, has not aged well with newer machines and hardware, and this has caused more and more frequent crashes.
We are not comfortable re-releasing a buggy game on Steam, so our first chore is to port the entire game over to the newer GameMaker Studio engine. This comes with quite a few other benefits, including:
- Vastly improved audio engine. True positional sound, dynamic effects, etc.
- Native support for Mac, and possibly other platforms such as Ubuntu.
- Built-in Steam API functions will allow us to easily implement achievements, in-game overlay, etc.
- Better texture handling, native compiler, etc = faster performance overall and possibly lower minimum hardware requirements.
We had been working on this over the past months, and as it stands it’s running pretty well on both Windows and Mac. But we still have to rewrite the lighting engine, sound engine, and save/loading scripts.
Second on our list of chores is the Dudu Forest DLC.
It’s actually almost finished, but we’re in this awkward spot now where releasing it on the GM8 engine is not far away but it’s also sort of a waste of time if we’re planning on porting to GMS. We now also have the opportunity to integrate the DLC as part of the core game for Steam. Dudu Forest will be free to everyone with a copy of CC2 as promised. Whether it is on the GM8 engine or GMS engine will be confirmed soon.
Finally, we are looking at rebranding Caveman Craig 2 as simply “Caveman Craig: The Tribes of Boggdrop” and modifying the game accordingly. It’s still a sequel in our hearts, but this will make more sense to the mass Steam audience, who mostly won’t have heard of the first anyway.
We have a few other secrets up our sleeve that we will announce in due time!
Thank you all once again,
Rhys here. As you might expect, there’s not a whole lot happening in the Parabox camp. We’re busy bods in areas outside of game design, but we have so many ideas we can’t wait to put together and show you.. if only we had more time!
As far as programming and game design does go, however, the past few months has been a fun learning experience for me. Firstly, I was contracted to develop an ‘in-house’ educational game app, and have been spending most of my free time acquainting myself with GameMaker Studio to accomplish the task. This is the first time I’ve used GMS to build an iOS and Android app from the ground up (some of you may know that our game, Teka Teki, was released for iPhone many years ago – but this was recompiled and distributed by YoYo Games for the short window of time that they were offering such a service). Now in its final stages, I’m heaps more confident in building for these platforms, and this opens so many doors for Parabox Games when considering our future projects. I can’t show you the app I put together for copyright reasons. But trust me, it’s pretty cool!
reboot computing camp
A few weeks ago, I lead at ‘reboot’ computing and technology camp, running a workshop in Advanced Game Design. At
In preparation for my workshop, I challenged myself to build an Asteroids game in one day, and have it functioning on desktop and mobile. It’s a simple Asteroids game with a shop where you can upgrade your weapon, armour, etc. The campers at my workshop were able to build a similar Asteroids game, as well as their own designed game. I’m thinking of finishing it off and releasing it as a free download here. It’s just a classic, retro Asteroids game, but it’s pretty addictive!
Caveman Craig 2 News
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that we’re a few years past our deadline for the Caveman Craig 2 DLC, Dudu Forest. Whilst there has been no development in recent months on the DLC, we are looking at incorporating more ideas into the DLC and making it even more worthwhile when it does come out.
For starters, I’ve been porting the source code into GameMaker Studio. We had originally wanted to do this when GameMaker Studio first came out, to release on Mac and perhaps mobile platforms alongside the Windows release. This never happened, for a pretty simple reason – when GMS came out, it just wasn’t powerful enough to handle some of the trickery I had to pull off to complete Caveman Craig 2. GMS has come a long way in the past 2 years, though, and I managed to get the game functioning 90% in GameMaker Studio – yep, that includes Windows AND Mac.
So will we see Caveman Craig 2 available for Mac anytime soon? I certainly hope so. But there’s still a lot of code that doesn’t work with GMS that needs to be completely rewritten. For starters, you can’t save or load, and the lighting engine is kaput. The sound engine I wrote for Caveman Craig 2 had to dance around the serious limitations that GM8 had in its built in sound functionality. Thankfully, GMS’ sound engine is brilliant, and most of this code is no longer necessary… but it still needs to be rewritten! So no sound yet, either.
Happy belated new year!
I want to apologise for the lack of communication over the past year. This post is largely to say – we are not dead! And nor is Parabox Games. But we are a small team who do this in our spare time – the chaos of life naturally sways our productivity.
Needless to say I feel pretty guilty that we have not posted much in just under a year.
While we keep the facebook + twitter feeds relatively active, the truth is not much is happening in the world of Parabox.
We’ve no excuse for the extreme delay in releasing our free DLC, “Battle at DuDu Forest”. Finding time amidst our already busy lives is extremely difficult. Sure we get an hour here and there, but when it comes to game development you really need to be in a creative ‘zone’ that requires mental space. Most of CC2’s development was smashed out in 3-5 hour marathons of programming, and finding that time nowadays is virtually impossible for both Tim and I.
The standalone version of the DLC is complete in the backend, but needs some art and sound assets. Once that’s done, we still need to put together a patch file.
And what of other projects?
Stadium Builder is still a project we are committed to, but progress as you might expect is also minimal. In fact, last year we had a mixup moving data to a new system and the project files were lost. There has been some progress in putting it all together again.
Additionally, Tim and I talk regularly about other project ideas. We still love video game development and yearn for more hours in the day to spend doing it. I am dabbling in a number of ideas to see which one is likely to really take off. Some are solo concepts, others collaborated with Tim. We of course will let you know here of progress in all our projects.
First & foremost, my apologies for not meeting our deadline to release the Dudu Forest DLC. We’re rushing around finishing off all the details on the stand-alone version of the DLC, and then I have to rewrite every change in a PATCH file so that existing owners don’t have to redownload the entire game.
But while you wait, I thought I’d go through some deets.
The Battle at Dudu Forest is a whole new level with a twist. There are four colours of ‘orbs’ that you can collect to unlock cheats. You may need to play through the level a few times to collect all of a particular colour.
These orbs are dropped by the new, bird-like dinosaur that crawls out of the forest trees for a snack every now and again. They can be hard to spot, and even harder to take down before they flee back to their tree. But it’s worth noting that the birds don’t like fire…
Another new feature, exclusive to the DLC level, is the ability for Craig to eat mushrooms. Millions of fans around the world BEGGED for Craig to be able to eat mushrooms. It seemed only logical. There are a variety of mushrooms scattered around the forest, each type with its own effect. Take note! The effect of these mushrooms change with each game, so Craig has to take a risk and remember which colour/pattern does what.
There’s a new enemy for Craig to defeat too, but we’ll keep that secret for now.
Finally, we decided to add new functions, tweaks, and achievements to the game.. here are just some:
- The player can now sort the list of cavemen in the caveman overview window by type, health, energy, etc. This makes it much much easier to manage your army.
- You now can use A and D (left/right) to shake off dinosaurs instead of space bar
- You can now throw rocks with W as well as pick them up, to make throwing rocks much easier
- There’ll be a special achievement… and possibly a special prize for the first fan who manages to ‘film’ the phenomenon and upload to youtube..