Caveman Craig – 5th Anniversary Celebrations!
On 20th April, 2008, we released Caveman Craig to YoYo Games as an entry into their “ancient civilisations” game design competition. Today marks the 5th anniversary, and Tim and I wanted to celebrate with a few exciting announcements!
Caveman Craig Special Edition is now FREE!
The special edition of Caveman Craig 1 is now FREE to download from this website.
Caveman Craig 2 is now just $6.99!
We are reducing the prize of Caveman Craig 2 to $6.99, if you buy from Desura or CavemanCraig.com. That’s 30% off!
Release Date & feature list for Caveman Craig 2: The Battle at Dudu Forest, announced!
We will be releasing the FREE “Battle at DuDu Forest” DLC for Caveman Craig 2 on the 12th of May, 2013. The DLC is a brand new conquest level set in a dense and lively forest, featuring..
- Beautiful new animated scene
- A new dinosaur with a unique challenge to unlock secrets!
- A new enemy caveman that you can defeat and unlock for play in classic mode
- And more! But we don’t want to spoil it for you..
The DLC will also provide some tweaks and updates to the main game, including..
- Shake off dinosaurs by pressing A and D in rhythm instead of mashing spacebar
- Throw rocks/spears using the W key for easier throwing
- Sort the caveman overview list by birth date, caveman type, following status, skill level, health, or energy, for easier caveman management.
- And more!
And finally.. a ‘behind the scenes’ pack for the die hard fans!
Looking back on the past 5 years, it’s been interesting to see how our ideas developed. So I put together a bunch of old concept art, sketches, and even documents with notes on the development of Caveman Craig 2 (and some for Caveman Craig 1!), free for you to explore.
Support us with the IUP Bundle!
In just over 9 hours, Parabox Games, Joe Hubert of Epic Vessel Games, and 4 other developers will be releasing the first “Indie Underdog Pack” bundle, featuring Caveman Craig: SE and 5 other brilliant indie games!
For those who are unfamiliar with bundles such as the Humble Bundle or The Indie Gala, indie bundles are seriously good value and are usually designed to support good causes and celebrate the little men of game design!
IUP is designed to support further development for the developers behind available games. For us, you would be supporting porting CC2 to Mac, iOS, and Android. You’ll also be helping us expose CC2 to the world and begin development on our next projects (Which are yet to be announced!)
For just $5 (that’s the same price as CC:SE on its own!) or more, you get CC:SE and 5 other games! Contribute more to this great cause and you’ll get a number of other benefits.
Even if you already own CC:SE, $5 is still great value for the other games!
WATCH THIS SPACE!
Learning from the sound issues in Caveman Craig 1
If there’s one thing I hate about the development platform of choice (Game Maker), it is the sound engine.
It seems to be lacking so much, both in functionality and stability, that my stomach twists every time I remind myself that my games do eventually need sound effects.
Caveman Craig 1 was whipped up in a month; we had a deadline. As a result not much time was spent on sound. We had to rely on what GM could provide and cop any of the idiosyncracies it has, like some WAV files not loading / playing at all, weird buffer issues, and very limited functionality.
This time round, with CC2, I’ve spent some time researching possible sound engine alternatives. The major problem was, however, that CC2 will not just be released on Windows, and so we couldn’t rely on DLL’s and extensions for all platforms. So I went back to Game Maker to see how I could work with its sound engine. And I believe I’ve had some success!
Firstly, the ‘buffer’ issues I always found in my other games weren’t really buffer issues at all.. I don’t think. There is a “sound_loop” function, but I previously used “if !sound_isplaying() then sound_play();” instead, as it meant as soon as the action stopped (say, preparing fruit), so would the sound associated with it. I wouldn’t need to check if the action had finished and execute a “sound_stop” function. It was laziness on my part, I guess. But I’ve discovered that the “sound_isplaying” function is 1 step/frame out of sync. So, if sound X is not playing, the above code would return true twice before it realises the sound is playing: enough time for the game to play the sound twice, 1 step apart from each other – therefore giving off the impression the sound is not playing correctly. If I discipline myself to use sound_loop and sound_stop, we might not get those issues. Alternatively, if YYG fixed this minor glitch in an update, I will kiss their feet.
Secondly, positional audio in GM is not great. And this is why: each sound file that you load has an ‘index’. You set the position and volume of a sound based on that sound index. So, for example, if you have 5 rocks landing in 5 different places at the same time, and they all play the same sound, only 1 position and volume value can be used. My solution, forgive me if there are technical limitations to this approach (I don’t know how it works in other programming languages, really), would be to give each instance of a sound playing an ID, and choosing the position and volume on a per ID basis. That said, realising that most of the positional sounds are either short or not often played (a rock landing plays a short sound, and the sound of a velociraptor dying is rarely going to play twice, and when it does, positional problems aren’t really going to matter), it looks like we can work with the GM engine after all.
So far, we have implemented a number of the sounds from the original Caveman Craig for testing purposes, and this seems to work just great. I’m looking forward to showing you some more ‘lively’ gameplay teasers soon. Perhaps even with a touch of Ricky’s musical presence!
Sorry for the wait, guys!
We’re just as anticipating Caveman Craig SE’s release as you might be. Truly, it’s in its final form, Tim just has to get some final bits and bobs done, like remastering some of the sound effects and making a few more graphics. Then we’ll package it all up, send it to some lucky peeps who get to test it for us, make a few adjustments, and then it’s all yours! Any more delays will be due to testing and cleaning out bugs – because once you buy a copy of the game, we haven’t got any way of giving you any fixes without you buying the game again. Though… now that I think about it, I might be able to incorporate some sort of update tool. I’ll sort it out!
The Caveman Craig website is just about done, with a few pages ‘ere and there to go. Check it out here: http://www.cavemancraig.autumnhouse.com.au. We’ll be getting the domain soon too.
How’s things going?
I haven’t posted here in a while, there just hasn’t been anything special happening other than the development of new additions.
However, with only a few weeks away from release, we can safely give you a list of the new features that Caveman Craig: SE will include. We are also putting the new Caveman Craig website together. To see its progress (keep in mind this is still being designed so you may see placeholder text and so on), visit http://www.cavemancraig.autumnhouse.com.au.
Caveman Craig: SE will be a revamp on the original, award-winning indie game. For only $5.99 US, any Caveman Craig fan can enjoy these additional new features:
- Rewritten engine for optimised performance and elimination of glitches.
- 6 new bonuses, including pet dinosaurs, meteor strikes, and more.
- The ‘dilophosaurus’, a frilled-neck dino that spits poison at his prey.
- No limit on the frequency of your saves!
- A brand new and challenging minigame – ‘Meteor Shower’ (as well as the old ‘raptor’ minigame, which is recreated to be more enjoyable).
- Prioritise your gatherers and preparers to choose fruit over meat, or vice versa!
- Gather up your hunters to take down dinosaurs together!
- An extended map size, now twice as long as in CC Classic!
- Remastered, high quality sound, and a whole new soundtrack!
- Probably some other stuff that I’ve forgotten!
I hope this entices you guys to purchase a copy. Remember, by spending just a few dollars on this very special edition of Caveman Craig, you are supporting and funding our development of Caveman Craig 2, as well as other projects that Tim and I are working on, for both YoYo Games competitions and commercial sales.
Special Edition Update
I know we haven’t been blogging lately, this is partly the fault of our commitment to getting the special edition of Caveman Craig completed as soon as possible. However I think now’s a good time to tell you a bit more about the specifics of this special edition that is perfect for anybody who spent a good slice of their time playing the original.
Caveman Craig SE will be based on the original but with lots of added features. That is, many more bonuses, new dinosaurs, another minigame, a larger map (about twice the size!) and lots of optimisation and engine revision to ensure that the game runs fast and more consistently. The special edition will have full-quality sound, a revised and audible tutorial, and LOTS more goodies.
“So if the special edition is going to have all these extra goodies, what’s left for Caveman Craig 2?” – Caveman Craig 2 will be much different to the original and the special edition, with a focus on caveman-tribe warfare – defending your cave against dinosaurs is just one half of the game play! With plenty more dinosaurs, much more control over cavemen, and lots of mini games, Caveman Craig 2 is quite different to the special / enhanced version of Caveman Craig 1, which will be available in a month or so.
Caveman Craig 2 – ‘Mini Hud’
One issue that Tim and I wanted to fix in Caveman Craig 2 was the ugly looking hud above the cavemen. You have their name (which fades out when it’s over another caveman) and two little icons on either side of them to show what skills they know – and a brain that throbs when they are learning.
To do this, we’ve designed a ‘mini hud’ which only appears on cavemen when your mouse is rolled over them, or when they’re following you. With this hud you can see their health, their progress towards learning their two skills, and their name.
The cool part is that you can prioritise what the cavemen do. In Caveman Craig 1, if you want a gatherer to take berries instead of carcasses, you have to only teach him the berries task so that he ignores the carcasses. In Caveman Craig 2, you can pick which task the gathere should prioritise. If a gatherer prioritises fruit, he will only go for meat if there is no fruit to pick, and vice versa. For hunters, you can pick between prioritising carnivores or herbivores. Furthermore, you can grab fully-trained hunters to follow you and they will attack whatever you attack – team effort!
Below is a diagram showing the mini-hud that we’ve designed. Please tell us what you think, and make any suggestions if you like. Speaking of suggestions, I’ve created a page that you can access on the right if you want to make general suggestions about Caveman Craig 2. This is just so we don’t clutter the blog section with comments about the suggestions. I’ll also put in a list suggestions that have already been made.
Caveman Craig v1.5 plans
When Caveman Craig 1.0 came out the game was very hard and people played for a long long time. Unfortunately, Tim and I made the game a little too easy as versions past and now a lot of people are saying that they found the game pretty boring once they got 10 or so hunters. I want a strong replay value on Caveman Craig, so as a result Tim and I will be working on version 1.5 in the next week or so. Luckily, making the game more difficult is just a matter of tweaking. However, if you guys have any ideas on how we can make the game more difficult without adding much / anything (just tweaking), feel free to comment here!
In other news, I’ve recreated the AI for the hunter, preparer, and gatherer for Caveman Craig 2. In caveman craig 1, I made many holes in the AI that would cause them to act strangly, and as we were very restricted with time I patched up the holes by adding more code, not modifying the current code. So this made the AI a little less efficient (though effective). In CC2, I have made sure the AI is programmed efficiently in a manner where no ‘holes’ / bugs are produced. So far, so good – all cavemen are working perfectly with old and new features. Tim and I really appreciate your suggestions, guys. We’re reading them through and bringing many of them to the table to discuss. Some of them are a little too much concept for too little gameplay, but we’ll of course consider them all.
Concept Art and Screenshots for CC2 soon!!
I’ve created a monster!! + Dinosaur List for CC2
Today I recreated the Gatherer AI. I’m quite surprised to see that he is running around doing things as he should without too much testing – I slimmed down the code (HEAPS) from the other game, optimised it, and modified it to fit the new engine, and after a few quick fixes he’s happily dragging carcasses around and ripping out berries.
I’ve centralised the actions and code between Craig and other cavemen so that conflicts and visual flaws are minimised. Instead of gatherers having a unique code for walking and ducking that’s different to Craig, they simulate key presses according to their actions, to ensure they act just like Craig does. For instance, a caveman can no longer move unless his image is the walking animation – there is no exceptions. The restrictions on when they can perform certain actions is very strict, and clear, and I’ve filled gaps to ensure that a caveman doesn’t stop doing things just because he is too restricted. This also assures minimal redundancy of code and faster performance.
In other news, I’ve laid down a pretty good idea of what dinosaurs we’ll be implementing into Caveman Craig 2. At the moment, there are 5 herbivores, and 5 carnivores, plus a few ‘background dinosaurs’ that will be present but not on the actual battlefield.
Stegosaurus – Huge and hard to take down.
Pachycephalosaurs – A fiesty herbivore who charges into anyone who attacks him.
Triceratops – He’s back and more irritating this time!
Parasaurolophus – The loudest dinosaur ever discovered. These guys run in herds and are hard to hit.
“Herbivore” – No scientific name as such. This is the green dinosaur you see in the original Caveman Craig.
Velociraptor – They still leap on you, and they still eat you.
Allosaurus – A taste of the t-rex. Eats cavemen whole, but is a bit slower in its attack (though runs fast).
Compsognathus – Attacks cavemen in huge packs and hangs until either they or the caveman dies.
Tyrannosaurus Rex – This big ol’ grumpy beast still roams the prehistoric land in CC2.
Dilophosaurus (Jurassic Park style) – A bit like a frilled-neck-lizard except freaking scary, and spits poison at cavemen.
Also present – brachiosaurus, pterodactyl.
I am still going through all the suggestions you guys have (and good suggestions they are) to revise the list.
Development on Caveman Craig 2 Started
In the past few days I’ve started physical development of Caveman Craig 2. At the moment, it’s the basic engine using Caveman Craig’s sprites, so it’s nothing to look at for the moment. However, I’m taking careful steps to ensure it’s going to work very smoothly.
We won’t be releasing information about the new features for a while yet, however I will mention that there will be a new control scheme that will resolve the issue of trying to pickup rocks while standing over carcasses or bushes. It’s also setup so there can’t be any jarring of animations – if Craig is walking, he’ll be using his walk animation, there’s no exception. Where as, in Caveman Craig, you could be flying in the air with a ducking animation after being hit by a Triceratops. Simple things like that.
In the meantime, Tim is sketching some concept art for new cavemen looks and the new dinosaurs. I hope to upload some of those sketches sometime soon.