Creators of Caveman Craig, Teka Teki, and more.. 

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1 March 2013 A.D

Hi all,
Today we celebrated the first anniversary since Caveman Craig 2 was released to the world. For those who follow us on facebook and twitter, 3 lucky fans got free copies of Caveman Craig 2 on Desura.

We just want to give you a BIG thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support and kind words. I couldn’t be happier with the positive response we’ve had both from critics and fans on the quality of the game. I am personally really humbled to hear the praise on how Caveman Craig 2’s engine + programming has pushed Game Maker beyond its limits (however ironic it is that I am boasting about it!).

Caveman Craig 2 has been played by over 4,800 people on Desura, Oberon, and YoYo Games alone. On Desura, we’ve had a 34% conversion rate which is basically 33 times higher than the standard 1% conversion rate goal. We’ve got let’s plays all over youtube, indie game of the week mention on Curse Weekly , and reviews from a range of the top indie game sites on the web. On youtube alone we’ve probably reached well over 100,000 people. I know this is pretty small compared to many indie games out there but we are really proud that our hard work and creative ideas are being shown to the world.

Coming up in late April is the 5th Anniversary of the Caveman Craig franchise. We really hope to do something special for that!

Thanks again,
Parabox Games

New Year Message!

2012 has been a really big one for Parabox Games.
I have always had ambitious ideas, and it’s been very difficult to stay motivated, to have the resources, or skills, to accomplish them. With thanks to Tim’s design vision and artistic skills, encouraging friends & fans, and the blessing of Ricky Garcia and Greg Vanderbeek’s contributions, Caveman Craig 2, our magnum opus, got completed with very little compromise on features and quality. Seeing your positive feedback, particularly those from fans who have been with us since the original Caveman Craig (and even earlier, with Conflict: Arcade and the GameCave era), has really paid off all the years of work.

It’s both a blessing and a curse that CC2 has only given way for bigger and more ambitious ideas. We’ve already announced NIGHTBEAR and STADIUM BUILDER, and have plenty more ideas up our sleeves. With Game Maker Studio, we are now able to branch off into all sorts of platforms and other markets – mobile, web, and other desktop platforms. We are still busy people outside of Parabox, and can’t churn out games as quickly as most indie game companies, but trust us.. we’re always thinking, always talking, and always passionate about creating games.

But the Caveman Craig franchise certainly doesn’t finish here. We’re working on the “Battle at Dudu Forest” DLC for Caveman Craig 2 right now. The DLC doesn’t just add a new level with new dinosaurs and unlocks, but we’re also going through ALL the feedback you have posted on various websites, to find new features to add to the game.

Some of you may be wondering about the release of Caveman Craig 2 for Mac, iOS, and Android – as mentioned in previous blog entries. It’s a real shame we were unable to release CC2 for mobile devices and Mac users this year, but there are a number of significant technical restraints on GameMaker Studio that we did not anticipate. Particularly for Mac, we expected a direct port to require minimal work, but alas GM Studio crippled the ability to save/load games, external resources, settings, and so on. Caveman Craig 2 pushed Game Maker to its limits, and a very elaborate loading/unloading system was put in place to minimize memory usage and lag. Rewriting this will be very difficult for Mac, and near impossible for mobile devices, unless we re-imagine the entire game for mobile. BUT, never say never!

And what of a multiplayer version of Caveman Craig 2? We hope to make an announcement on this in 2013. We’ll see!

Our best wishes to you all for 2013.
-Parabox Games

October’s Etc

Hello all!
It has been a very very busy two months for me, having just moved into my first home and working my way through a number of big life changes. Tim has been busy kickstarting some of his various personal projects, including GLEN AT WORK (Video TV Show), and RORYS REVIEWS (Youtube + Radio Movie ‘Reviews’).

A lot of conversation is happening revolving our next 3 projects, NIGHTBEAR, STADIUM BUILDER, and a 3rd yet-to-be-announced game. And with CAVEMAN CRAIG 2 still gaining ground in the Steam Greenlight Scene (we’re now up to 26% towards being in the top 100… PLEASE support us!!), we are looking at future development of the CAVEMAN CRAIG franchise to support CC2 in Greenlight.

I hope to upload a new devlog video for Stadium Builder soon. Please stay tuned!

-Rhys

Rugby League Live 2 Review

Usually I use this blog to promote Caveman Craig 2 and our upcoming games, Nightbear and Stadium Builder, but tonight I was given an opportunity to be one of the first fans to play the new NRL game, Rugby League Live 2. So I believe an exclusive review is highly necessary!

For our regular Parabox Games followers who are not from Australia, let me give you a quick run-down of the sport and its history in video games. Rugby League is one of the most popular sports in Australia and New Zealand, but due to our relatively small populations (on a global scale) Rugby League video games have been largely neglected in the past, as there isn’t a huge market compared to sports that are popular worldwide. Understandable. A few RL games were released throughout the 80’s and 90’s, and then a series of 3 games by New Zealand developers Sidhe, Rugby League, Rugby League 2 & Rugby League 3 (exclusively a Wii game) hit the shelves throughout the 2000s. While they were good for a RL games, and I played them to death, I felt that they never quite hit the spot. They never measured up to the standard of other sports games available at the time. Then a different company, Big Ant, took on the next family of RL games when they released Rugby League Live in 2010. Sadly, this was one of the worst RL games of all time, and many fans hated it (including myself – sold it on eBay the day after I bought it).

However, Big Ant is out to right their wrongs by daring to make a sequel, the game I played tonight, Rugby League Live 2!

Let’s start with my first impressions…

Graphics and Visuals

The graphics in this game are simply excellent! The player likenesses are also very good. I played as my beloved Panthers and was impressed with a few cut scenes that showed Luke Lewis and Kevin Kingston… they were spot on. Unfortunately, people skipped through most of the cut scenes, but from what I could see, they were very good. Big Ant was generous in all the small details when it came to creating the visual atmosphere of a RL game. Cameramen, flags in the crowd, referees, refs throwing their flags in the air after a goal, and… cheerleaders! And I’m not talking about low-polygon objects in the background… these were fully-detailed dancing cheer girls. The detail they put into this was admirable.

Each team has a good selection of jerseys. For my Panthers, I could choose home, away, heritage and also a classic 1991 jersey… inviting players to consider making their favourite teams from history. They were very accurate, however, some teams are without sponsors (namely ones with alcohol and gambling advertising – I don’t have a problem with these being left out)

The menus in the game looked very impressive also… like something you might see on Fox Sports.

There’s a huge list of stadiums in this game, and from what I saw, they are more than sufficient and reasonably accurate.

I noticed in some of the screenshots released recently that all the players have the same bodies…. and yes, this is a fact, but you don’t notice once you’re playing the game. The ball is also too small, meaning that intercepts and offloads often go unnoticed as both opposing players suddenly lose track of where the ball is.

There’s a generous selection of different camera angles to play with (at least 4 or 5) with side angles, and views that sit higher in the sky, allowing you to see out to your wingers. This, however, makes it even more difficult to see the ball.

We only had the opportunity to play quick ten-minute games, but the Big Ant representative also boasted some extensive player creation/customisation, including over 70 different tattoos.

 

Gameplay

You don’t need to worry about frisbee-ing your game out the window because of frustrating gameplay. RLL2 is going to easily be the best RL game ever.

This game has very extensive controls, which has potential to be its strongest or weakest point. There are 4 different types of tackles, which sounds great!.. but nobody really mastered the controls on the night. Are 4 tackles necessary? It looks like this is the type of game you’ll have to sit down and play solid for hours and hours – rather than casually pick up a controller and play. It’s difficult. I like getting a few mates over to play sports games, but I can imagine most of my friends would get frustrated trying to learn the game, rather than just having fun.

To change players, you had to use the pass buttons, or press two of the triggers to change to the closest player. This was very disappointing for me. I would rather they had one less tackle button.

60% of the time somebody made it over the tryline, they did an embarassing grubber kick, rather than ground the ball. I would’ve hoped that once you’re over the line, any button you press grounds the ball. Mastering the kicks took a while for most people too, but they weren’t bad.

Passing was ok. You can double-press the pass button to do a quick pass to the player on your immediate right or left as they run onto the ball. I tried this a lot, but got nowhere. You can also hold the pass button and do cut-outs, but many balls go to ground, or float forwards. You have to pass straight away, or all your players will be in front of you, and you’ll throw a forward… don’t bother running from dummy half.

They play the ball very slowly, but the tackle animations are VERY good… and you can hold players down in the tackles to make it even slower.

The sad thing about passing was that occasionally the players would do a massive impossible pass halfway across the field. At one stage there was a glitch where a guy tried to pass the ball right, and instead, it flew up in the air and floated 60 metres LEFT over the sideline (it was the only glitch I saw on the night, so it can be excused). Still, the passing was an improvement on previous titles.

If you get tackled when you dive over the line, most times it will go to the video ref… but it’s ok, because the cut scene is pretty cool. The ref makes the TV screen signal, and we see the TRY/NO TRY screen come up – accurate to real life.

Most people struggled with goal-kicking, and kicking off. It wasn’t hard, just very different to previous RL games. You simple rotated your player (taking the wind into consideration) and held down the button and released at maximum power (without going too far). The ball even curls around depending on which foot they kick from.

Big players and forwards are capable of making good busts, and bouncing off tackles from smaller players. I saw someone playing as Manly and sent Brent Kite through for a try, after fending off two smaller players. It was awesome. Fends and sidesteps need to be properly timed. You won’t win a game by simply ‘skating’ up the field with sidesteps, like in previous titles.

There were a few ugly skeletons from previous games, with players often completely out of position. I was hoping to send the ball out to my speedy Penrith centres and wingers, only to find big Cameron Ciraldo positioned on the wing… no wonder I was beaten 22-0.

Commentary & Sound

Andrew Voss returns for the commentary in this game (they’ve recycled old commentary, but they’ve recorded new stuff too), but they’ve now introduced Phil ‘Gus’ Gould. Gus is a great addition to the game – I’m happy they added it – but you will hear the same lines over and over, even within the one game. He also says “no no no NO NO!” a lot, making you murmur “shut up Gus” all too often. The comments are appropriate though. If you score as a result of a mistake from the opposition, he’ll express his disgust at them giving the points away. If it’s a low-scoring game, he’ll comment on the solid defense in the match, and make comments about how good the game is, big hits etc.

I have a strong bias for Vossy’s work in this game (and previous titles) because I’ve worked with him in the past on a few projects and he’s a good guy. When I was a skinny teenager, we did a piece for Boots N’ All together – it’s lurking somewhere on YouTube. I also illustrated his book, and he made some glorious cameos in my Aussie-bogan-flavoured animated web series, Glen At Work – well worth checking out!

The commentary and crowd amps up as you get close to the tryline. The sounds are as you expect from the game. The menu music, from memory, was pretty decent.

 

The bad news from the night, was that the game won’t be out in time for the finals.

The good news is that the friendly Tru Blu Entertainment folks are sending me a free copy of the game when it comes out on the 11th October!

Truth is, I would have bought it anyway, because I feel that after a few solid hours in front of this game, it may very well satisfy that thirst for a decent RL game.

Caveman Craig 2 + Steam Greenlight


Late this month, Steam will be launching a new service called ‘Greenlight’. The service will allow game developers such as ourselves to submit games for the Steam community to decide whether they want to be able to buy it off Steam.

Steam currently has a game submission process, however the fate of every submission is in the hands of staff. I dare say, catch them on a bad day or fail to grab their interest immediately, and a game with oodles of distribution potential misses out on the best opportunity an indie developer could ask for – to sell their game on the biggest game distribution service on the internet.

Needless to say, we’re excited about this and will be submitting Caveman Craig 2 to the service as soon as we are able.

Many of you have been urging us to try and get Caveman Craig 2 released on Steam. We have decided to wait for Greenlight to leave the decision in the hands of our fans.

So in order for the game to be released on steam, we NEED your help! Once Greenlight is released and CC2 is submitted, we will be urging you all to support it in any way possible. Caveman Craig 2 fits into an awkward category of indie games. It needs the support of its fans to draw the attention it deserves.

– Rhys

New Website & Blog Launch!

Hi everyone!
Welcome to our new website & blog!

We wanted a site that was easier to maintain, and to also put all our eggs in one basket. All our press information, links, games, social integration, and our blog can be found on the same website, now. I’ve spent the past week or so putting this one together and am quite proud with the result.

IMPORTANT!
If you were receiving new blog posts from us by email, you will need to RE-SUBSCRIBE from our new location to continue receiving email notifications. To do this, visit our website and enter your email address in the subscribe box! Thank you so much!

As for our old blog location (cavemancraig.wordpress.com), we will keep it in ‘archive’ mode, indefinitely, which means all the content will remain, but no more content (including comments) can be added. For all the latest news and comments, stick around here!

Thank you all for your support,
Rhys

Craig hits the Portals! June’s etc


We’re excited to be announcing that Caveman Craig 2 is now available on a large number of portal websites – including i-play, yahoo games, and more. This means that more people get to play our game!

The past couple of weeks have been spent marketing our upcoming Caveman Craig 2 DLC, and preparing the announcements for our next projects. We are also experimenting with Game Maker Studio and coming up with some more game ideas.. as we do!

Nightbear is still in planning stages – it’s the sort of game that really needs to be worked out to the finest detail before it can be put together. I can’t wait to show you some more epic concept art that Tim has come up with, and release some more details on the game!

Our 2nd game announcement is coming soon via our video log, so make sure you subscribe to our youtube channel if you haven’t already! This game will likely be created natively for mobile and desktop platforms, and will include a free version and ‘deluxe version’. BUT SSHH!! I’m not supposed to say anything yet.

Some of you may have noticed that our domains have changed around a little bit. Parabox Games is now running on a dedicated host (rather than sharing a room with Autumnhouse Web Services), and this is a step forward in trying to combine all our sites together. Eventually I hope to migrate this blog into a new version of the Parabox Website, which should be exciting!

We appreciate your support + patience! As a newly-established design team, progress is slow as we are juggling full time jobs and general lifeness. But we love making video games and we hope that one day we will be able to commit more time to it!

-Rhys

Craig gets groomed

Caveman Craig 2 Updates

Any of you who follow us on twitter or facebook will notice that Caveman Craig 2 has had its first couple of patches over the past week.

We have listened very intently to all the feedback thrown at us since CC2’s release and have tried to think up some ways of softening the areas of the game that have sparked criticism. There were also some significant bugs and crashes we had to get fixed up.

v1.06 fixed a crash that occurred for a lot of first time players. It basically caused the game to completely break if you had closed it before entering your profile name during its first run.

We also added a new use for flaming rocks – they can set checkpoints on fire, weakening their structure. We have heard your frustrations in trying to single handedly stone checkpoints and believe this use (and some others – try using meteor strikes or some other rewards) encourages experimentation when bringing down checkpoints.

v1.07 was more of a bug patch. We fixed two issues relating to the final challenge, that were involved in 80-100% of the bug reports relating to that level. 2 more bug fixes will avoid rare crashes usually involving rival cavemen (classic mode) and pet dinosaurs. Finally, I reversed a little booboo I made in the ‘application’ version of v1.06 (so if you downloaded the PATCH version of v1.06, this booboo was not present).

Desura users have their game automatically updated (application version). New buyers will automatically get the newest application version. Anyone else needs to download the patch files (just a few KB) and put it in their patch folder where they installed CC2. This means your application version is earlier, but your patched version brings it up to date for as long as the patches are in your patch folder.

Download Patch v1.06
Download Patch v1.07 (requires patch or application version 1.06)

I actually think these patches resolve most of the oustanding issues in CC2. But don’t hesitate to contact us if you notice any more, particularly game crashes!

Game Maker Studio

Rather excitingly, our good friends at YoYo Games have released GameMaker Studio. This software will allow us to easily create games for other operating systems – Mac OS X, iOS, and browser games (HTML5).

There have been some drastic changes in the software, however, and I need to go through a lot of feasibility tests to see what can be done with our existing projects – namely Caveman Craig 2. Most of you know our intention was to release Caveman Craig 2 on Mac OS X and later mobile. This is still the case but it is possible that porting CC2 to Mac OS X and iOS will be a very difficult task.

We expect to be developing our next three projects on GameMaker Studio. I like to think we try our best to embrace change!

What’s next?

Tim and I have a LOT planned! With Caveman Craig, with Parabox, with our 2 unannounced and 1 announced new projects.. and it’s just such a shame that we can’t share much of it with you ;)

We are both very busy in our personal lives and at this point, Parabox is still an after hours job! But your continued support and funding by buying Caveman Craig 2 and recommending it to your friends is inching us further!

Take care,
Rhys

May’s Etc

IUP Bundle

Many thanks to everyone who contributed to the IUP bundle! We didn’t get anywhere near our target, but I still considered it a success! The money we earned will be going straight into continued development of Caveman Craig 2 DLC and porting the game to other platforms. I imagine this will include licensing Game Maker: Studio, Apple developer, and so on. We really hope that the impact of your contributions reach fruition soon.

Caveman Craig 2

We are in talks with other distribution/processor platforms (like Desura and BMT Micro) to have Caveman Craig 2 and SE published in other places soon.

We are also dipping our feet in a number of potential DLC opportunities for Caveman Craig 2, but have not come to a decision as to which is most important, just yet.

Other News

If you still haven’t experienced the special edition of the original Caveman Craig, we have just released it on Indievania, with a 50% introductory discount! Even if you have bought the game, consider giving the game an honest vote and comment if you have an account with Indievania!

CAVEMAN CRAIG SE – 50% OFF

Since returning home after a fantastic trip to Norway, I have been very busy getting some necessary work out of the way.. it’s short term pain, long term gain – I am freeing up more of my time to become more committed to our upcoming projects. I’m sure you can tell I’m in a rush by the briefness of this blog entry!

Nightbear is still in conceptual stages. It is a very “tight” game, every detail really needs to be sorted out before it gets put together. But check out Tim’s conceptual drawing of our teddy hero! Let us know what you think of him :)

Onward!

Desura Digital Distribution
Hi everyone,

One month ago, we released Caveman Craig 2 to pre-orderers. It has been a really exciting month for us! Just a couple of days ago, we also released the game on Desura, a popular steam-like distribution platform.

Marketing the game has been almost a 2nd full time job for me, constantly contacting press and remaining active on a number of communities.

It has been a lot of fun partaking in interviews, organising reviews, networking with other developers, and talking to potential distributors.

We are starting to see all this time paying off but there’s no end in sight yet! Not to mention all the exciting downloadable content we could prepare for Caveman Craig, and porting the game to other platforms!

BUT, we must move forward, too! Tim and I have been sorting through our long list of ideas for future projects and trying to add some meat to them to get a picture of what path we should take. We are coming close to announcing our next project(s) and establishing a development video log for you all to subscribe to so that you can follow our progress! We may even have a special character for you to meet…

In other news, it’s my joy to announce that Joe Hubert, lead programmer of Epic Vessel Games and organiser behind the Indie Underdog Pack, is now working with Parabox Games as our manager of marketing (Note to Tim: make Joe a caveman avatar). He’ll act as an adviser, organiser, scout and to some degree spokesperson for all things relating to distributing and marketing our games. His role will grow and become more clear over the coming weeks and months. And as a programmer and game designer himself, who knows what fun collaboration opportunities might arise!

And now for something REALLY cool (sorry about the blurry picture)! This tasty model of Craig was created out of chocolate by cake designers Flour Child Creations! Isn’t it incredible? And it probably has more brains than most cavemen, too! We’ll try to get something a bit higher-res soon.

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