Don’t forget to pre-order!
With the majority of my animation work done on CC2, I just wanted to take a moment to encourage you to pre-order the game!
Over the past few years that we’ve been working on this great sequel, I’ve also had the opportunity to work on a number of animated TV shows and films (Disney’s Kick Buttowski, Big Green Rabbit, Wakkaville and feature film; Santa’s Apprentice – just to name a handful) which have fueled and nurtured my animation skills beyond what you would have seen in the original Caveman Craig game. This is just one small reason to have confidence that CC2 is gonna be great!
CC2 has over 12 new dinosaurs. There are 4 challenging stages in which you must defeat 4 different enemies (we’re keeping the last one especially secret!). There are also 5 or so bonus levels and minigames between each stage. There’s a big rewards catalogue with well over 35 items you can buy to help Craig through the levels. Things like catapults, mammoths, natural disasters and lookout towers.
As an incentive to pre-order the game, we are offering “Caveman Craig: Special Edition” as a freebie to those who preorder before the game’s release. We’re hoping the game will come out early in the new year. Get onto www.cavemancraig.com to preorder.
Have a Merry Christmas and a happy new year! Treat yourself (or someone you tolerate) to a preorder of CC2!
Back in Action
It’s been almost exactly one month since my last entry.. sorry about that! Christmas and what, o’ course.
It has indeed been a busy month for many reasons, but fortunately for you all, CC2 is one of them. The finish line is getting closer and closer, I promise you we’re not running in circles =) In fact we’ve made some significant leaps over the past weeks.
Ricky Garcia has finished the final masters for the CC2 soundtrack. And it is simply fantastic! We never thought we’d get such an exclusively professional & fitting bunch of tracks. Hopefully within days we’ll have something to show you featuring some of the music that Ricky has composed.
Tim has completed all of the caveman animations and a majority of all the artwork in the game.
Having recently spent a week chilling in a big ocean liner, I’m now getting myself back into the pace of things. I’ve made a start on most of the bonus minigames, and one or two of them are almost done & dusted. The Meteor Dodge game in particular is looking pretty awesome and it plays even better.
There are only a few more Sound FX to complete, and we only have a handful more rewards to put together. I recently recreated the pet dino (which featured in CC: SE) reward/bonus. Pet dino’s latch onto dinosaur threats and slowly drain their health. If you manage to get a male and female pet dino and they fully grow, they start having baby dinosaurs that also grow up and fight for you. A fun and handy investment.
Unfortunately, at this point CC2 won’t be released before the beginning of next year. However we plan to release a demo of the game before new years. Whether this will be for all to taste or just for those who have pre ordered the game is yet to be decided.
Thank you all for your ongoing support! Not long now!
The concept archives..
Weeks ago, after a big burst of development made on CC2, I’d have typed up a blog entry with some sneak peeks at what we’d done and what you could expect in the final game.
However, we’re now in the late stages, and showing you too much will spoil the fun of experiencing it all when you first play. So for today I thought I’d go through the gigs and gigs of data used in putting together CC2 and find some concept art to have a look at how far CC2 has come. Click on the images to see a bigger size.
AAAND, just for some contrast.. here is a fairly new screenshot. This is running on the very same engine that was being built in the screenshot above.
Life continues to be busy for Tim and I and rest assured we are still working hard to have Caveman Craig 2 ready by the end of the year. I’ll make a forewarning that we may spill into 2012 as I do not want to rush to meet a release date at the expense of polish.
The focus on these past couple of weeks have been on implementing all the XP rewards and further work on classic mode. Tim will be finishing off all the enemy leader animations soon but until now has been working on putting together some great XP rewards. Tutorial guy reprises his rock stomp contraption, as you can see here…
Here are some highlights in the changelist so far for the latest build of Caveman Craig 2 (I’ve hidden some things.. you need SOME surprises when the game is out!)
- Added ‘teacher’ reward/bonus
- Added ‘rock stomp’ reward/bonus
- Added the ‘ransom’ feature, allowing the player to spend caveman credits to revive Craig if he dies in enemy territory (and the enemy leader can do the same)
- The enemy leader is now smarter when choosing whether to attack Craig or not
There has been some discussion around the mini / bonus games in Caveman Craig 2. Raptor’s Revenge and Meteor Dodge will make a return, and they will be designed to be a lot more fun and challenging. We have some more to add too. These mini games won’t just be unlocked to be played at your leisure – they are incorporated into the progression/story of the game and provide the opportunity to unlock new rewards or features which will help you in the succeeding levels.
Thankyou all so much for your pre-orders – the response has been a testimony to your continued and loyal support, and we truly appreciate it. If you are yet to pre-order Caveman Craig 2, whattaya waiting for?
Classic/Survival Mode Begins!
I am on holidays for this week, which means I have lots of time to get on with personal things, which includes CC2! And amidst the house hunting, music composition, and web design, I have been making lots of fun progress on CC2. If you follow Parabox Games on twitter, you’ll have noticed I made live updates while doing bits and pieces. Always good to follow us on twitter!
Some ‘minor’ changes done this week..
- Preparers fart a lot less often.
- Added pause/save/return to menu dialogs
- Can now use arrow keys as well as WSAD to control Craig
- Created an extension system so that custom spritesets and scenes can be created. See http://twitpic.com/6td4ms/full
- Cavemen actually dodge dinosaurs properly now.. can’t believe I missed that.
Past these little bits and pieces, most of my work has been surrounding the ‘classic/survival’ gametype. If nothing else gets you hooked on CC2, this will. The gametype mimics that of the original Caveman Craig – your goal is to get your tribe as large as possible without being obliterated. When Craig dies, you lose. Additionally, some of the key features in the conquest gametype are introduced in the classic mode too. Your cavemen can eat from the fruit pile to restore health. You can see individual stats from each cavemen. There are new dinosaurs, new rewards, and so on.
There will be a lot of testing and tweaking going on over the next couple of weeks to resolve some of the balance/difficulty issues in CC1 and CC:SE. In some versions, you’d be doing just fine until suddenly a billion raptors would appear and tear your tribe apart. Other versions left you overpowered once you got a certain number of hunters. We don’t want these frustrations to come across in CC2. Some goals I have for the classic mode…
1. It must be very challenging. Getting more than say 8 cavemen will be a decent accomplishment. Having huge tribes of 20+ cavemen is for the conquest gametype, or those who are truly hardcore cc fans.
2. The difficulty can’t plateau. The game should get harder and harder and you shouldn’t reach a point where you have nothing to do but sit back and watch your hunters wipe out the T-Rex population. Think Call of Duty WaW zombies.
3. The scoring should be determined by how good your tribe was at its best, not when Craig dies. If you reach 30 cavemen, then lose all but 3, and then Craig dies.. you get a lousy score, even though really you achieved a great tribe size. Perhaps the game should end when a certain number of your cavemen have died?
Has anyone got any suggestions to help us?
(Late) September’s Etc
Christmas is quickly approaching, and Tim and I have a long long list of things to do before CC2 is ready.
For those who have pre-ordered, a big thank you for supporting us and giving us the extra push to get this out as soon as we can! We know you’re going to love the game.
Not much has happened from a content standpoint in CC2′s development since my last entry. For the past few weeks I have been working primarily on the save function (which now works completely minus any kinks I have yet to discover!) that I went over with some technical details in my previous entry, and changing the spawning / difficulty curve for dinosaur threats. In the first BETA some testers found that they would suddenly get wiped out by up to 40 velociraptors later on in the game, an unrealistic number given the size of their tribe. The randomness of the director made it difficult to control the difficulty of each level. I have since changed the algorithm so that there is a more specific and intelligent method of spawning dinosaurs and other threats. This also allowed me to easily govern the types and numbers of threats in each level, and the enemy tribe’s growth rate.
Testing each level has lead me to discover that each level isn’t just ‘harder’ – different factors require you to play the game in a different way which really adds to the replay value and progression of the game. For example, in the second level there are less velociraptors and more pterodactyls – pterodactyls don’t hurt much but they tire your cavemen out. The level is also a lot larger and so your gatherers must travel further to get meat. This will affect your choice of XP rewards to use, and your micro management of each cavemen – when they sleep, which tasks they prioritise, and so on.
At this point there are 4 standard conquest levels. You must play each one to unlock the next. Along the way you will also unlock new gametypes, XP rewards, while facing new threats and tribe leaders. Some XP rewards are unlocked as you progress through the game, others are unlocked by getting certain achievements or reaching certain highscores in the unlockable gametypes. In Classic / Survival mode you can play as any tribe leader that you have conquered.
Very soon I will be beginning work on the “Classic / Survival” mode. This is the “build your tribe as big as you can” gametype you all know and love from Caveman Craig 1. While this is the next biggest gametype after conquest, most of the coding is already done and it’s just a case of stripping down the code and changing the way dinosaurs and such spawn.
As for the other guys..
Ricky is working hard on the soundtrack and I would say we’re at least 50% there. His musical diversity is really showing here with each level having a very different orchestration to fit the terrain type. Grassy levels have a very chilled out, slide guitar, country feel to it. In the snow you’ll hear metallic, electronic sounds layered with caveman chants. The highlight is most definitely the main theme – it will empower you and prepare you for battle! Think Halo.
Tim’s biggest job now is to complete the animations for the enemy tribes and prepare the frontend/menu. Past that, there are some rewards left to create, and some gaps to fill.
Greg has mostly completed his work for the game, being the stunning backgrounds and scenery in each level, as well as some trivial reward images and such.
Once this is all done, the other game types should come together very quickly and we’ll be looking at a finished product!
The Horrors of Saving
Just before we released our private BETA almost 2 weeks ago, Tim requested that I prepare a ‘save’ option so that testers can save the game to play later, but also send the save files to me if there were glitches so that I can see what’s going on. It sounded like an essential feature for our first round of BETA releases.
Unfortunately, Game Maker’s in-built “game_save” function just wouldn’t do. While we used it for Caveman Craig and the Special Edition, there was a lot of additional coding that had to be done to re-instate some data that’s lost during the game save. Namely, data lists (ds_list functions) and instance ID’s.
In CC: Classic and CC: SE, I used a simple ‘switch’ that told the game that a game had just loaded, which tries to ‘guess’ the contents of DS lists, to avoid errors, etc. It was as simple as:
The variable is quickly switched to false after the game saves, so that no other object thinks the game has just loaded when in fact it had just saved. But when the game is loaded, the switch was missed, and so it gives all the objects a chance to ‘work their crap out’ to avoid errors. It was messy, but it worked.
Not so for Caveman Craig 2, which has twists and turns in the code everywhere you look that the game_save function just doesn’t account for. I released the BETA without a save script, and made a note of looking at this as soon as we got back to work.
There is a lot to do, but I think I’ve finalised my concept for a custom save script. The simple part is as follows:
When saving the game, I use this code:
This tells every instance in the entire game to execute its 15th user event. If the object has nothing that it needs to ‘tell’ the save file (like the cursor object or something), I simply leave this event blank. Otherwise, the object writes code to the save file which involves creating a clone of itself, with all the variables set correctly.
The save file is then executed as a script when loading, which creates all the instances and sets their variables to as they were when the game was saved.
Seems pretty simple and solid, right? WELL. The tricky part is in the fact that instance ID’s change between games (from what I could tell, game maker’s “game_save” function does not preserve instance IDs). Caveman & dinosaurs interact a lot, and there are a lot of variables which contain IDs of instances with some significance to the object. Example, if a raptor is eating Craig, Craig has “raptorID” set to the Id of the raptor eating him. The raptor also has “targetID” set to Craig’s ID. In using game_save and game_load, this gets lost and suddenly Craig has no idea who’s eating him, and the raptor has no idea who he’s eating, resulting in way too many errors to try and work around.
So I came up with the idea for an “ID Translation List”. With this concept, there are two DS lists. An A list and a B list. The A list contains every ID of every instance in the game as it was when the game was saved. The B list contains the new ID of each instance when the game is loaded. Because the file is compiled as a script, and executed as a script, it can work this out in 2 parts.
Firstly, in the game save script I created, it creates some of its own lines of code in the save file before getting every instance to add theirs:
file_text_write_string(global.saveFile,"global.idTranslationA = ds_list_create();
global.idTranslationB = ds_list_create();
This creates the 2 lists, but also adds “-4″ (the special term ‘noone’ which does not change) to avoid errors when, for example, Craig is not being eaten by any raptor at all.
Additionally, the script now calls the user events from all instances twice. Once with the variable “idTranslate” set to false, and again with it set to true. This is to place the code into the file in the right order, as follows:
-> create each instance with basic variables
-> add each instance’s old and new ID into the translation list
-> set each instance’s ID variables such as ‘targetID’ or ‘raptorID’ correctly by using the translation list
It looks like this:
_"+string(id)+" = instance_create("+string(x)+","+string(y)+","+string(object_index)+")
//Uses the translation list to set ID variables like targetID
This script is for Craig, by the way.
So far I have only tested interaction with Craig and an Othneilia + his carcass, and it seems to work correctly. There is a LOT of work and testing to be done, but I’m confident this is going to be the most solid way of saving and loading in Caveman Craig 2.
My week off.
As you all know, a week ago we announced the CC2 pre-order deal and launched our new flashy Caveman Craig website. Simulteanously, we released our first BETA version to some private testers.
Tim and I had worked during every pocket of time we got to get these two milestones ready as soon as possibly possible. It was with great excitement that we found ourselves at the top of the final stretch as of last Saturday evening.
Having worked on the game at every chance I got during the past month or two, I decided to have a week “off”. It came to my attention that I had not played enough games recently, so I made that a priority.
After being blown away by the demo, I bought Playdead’s “Limbo” and played through within hours. The animation and graphics are stunning, sure, but the music and sound’s contribution to the atmosphere got me the most. The puzzles were challenging but not frustrating – for some I was so sure I was missing an element to the puzzle that would make it a little more possible, but eventually something always clicked in my lateral thinking mind.
Mostly, Limbo just got me thinking more about game design, and also some of the old games my brothers & I used to play. “Another World”, on Mega Drive/Genesis, was a christmas present when I was a very young child. I was terrible at it, and I think most of us thought it was a pretty B grade game as none of us had heard of it, and, what the hell man, no dialog or colourful sprites or bloopy sound effects. Retrospectively I think it’s one of the more respected games that I grew up with. Also, I never finished it.
Next up was “Sixty Five Million and One B.C”, a really good plot-driven platformer, created in Game Maker by snailfox. The game did originally have a price tag but is now free – a very generous move by snailfox, although it left me feeling sorry that I never bought the game to support him originally.
65m&1bc is actually really funny. There’s great dialogue that makes fun of the game and doesn’t take itself too seriously. The feel of the prehistoric forests and mountain ranges are just really friendly and light. The puzzles are challenging and clever, although sometimes it feels unpolished and I did come across some annoying glitches. Some of the music, art, and feel of the game really inspired me when working on Caveman Craig and I’ll always hold this game in high regard.
The last two games I played this week were America’s Army 2 and Call of Duty: United Offensive. That’s right, the very first Call of Duty (with an expansion pack that we don’t utilise). Tim and I spent many hours playing 1 on 1 over the LAN with our sniper rifles or MP40′s. Just recently we had an opportunity to relive those times all over again with some friends, and it was all rather exciting and with a welcomed slower pace from the later games in the COD series. It’s also funny seeing some of the sprites and ideas that are still unchanged in CoD: Black Ops.
I went through high school playing America’s Army at every chance I got. I was obsessed with this game – clan wars and all. Returning to this game after years of dulling my brain with newer renditions of Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto meant it took a few days to get used to the slow, tactical pace of this game. In COD, jumping like a maniac is your key to survival. In America’s Army (and real life..), jumping is the worst thing you can do in a firefight. You lose your aim and you become useless for about 2 seconds while you get your gear back in place – 2 seconds, while your firefight lasts about 1.
AA is free, and brilliant. I’m not so sure about the current AA3 version, as I’ve heard it’s still very glitchy. I’ve been playing AA2, which is now dereliect with only a few servers. But it’s worth it!
And that, friends, has been my past week.
And now, back to CC2 =)
PRE-ORDER CAVEMAN CRAIG 2 NOW!
It is with great excitement that we announce this pre-order deal for Caveman Craig 2: The Tribes of Boggdrop! The long-awaited and highly anticipated sequel to the award winning indie hit will be available sometime between now and 2012 (so you get a chance to play before the world ends).
After over 2 years, Craig is back, and ready to conquer the 4 tribes of boggdrop! Caveman Craig 2 provides a whole new twist while remaining faithful to all the things we know and love from the original!
- Over 12 dinosaurs, including the classics and a grakload of new frightening threats!
- Featuring a whole new gameplay experience in which you must take over 4 increasingly difficult tribes with unique Craig equals!
- Smarter cavemen can sleep, eat, improve their skills (eventually unlocking a special ‘veteran bonus’), and prioritise their tasks.
- Over 3 extra gametypes including ‘Classic/Survival’, where you must build your tribe as large as possible while facing harder and more frequent threats – just like the original Caveman Craig!
Pre-order Caveman Craig 2 for just $9.99 US, and get all these additional benefits because you’re all so awesome:
- You will receive Caveman Craig 2 a week before everyone else
- You also get a FREE copy of Caveman Craig: SE to keep you entertained while you wait!
- Finally, we’ll chuck in an exclusive content pack including a CC2 wallpaper and some BETA screenshots.
In preparation for the CC2 launch, the Caveman Craig website has been completely redesigned. Go there NOW to pre-order the game and check out our other Caveman Craig games if you haven’t already! http://www.cavemancraig.com.
The private BETA is being distributed to a few friends and family members for testing over this weekend. The focus for this round of testing is on enjoyability, replay value, the game mechanic, and learning curve – of course, bug and glitches will be found too along the way and we’ll be working on those.
Once this is done, we will be completing the frontend/HUD stuff, creating each level in the conquest gametype, and then putting together all the other gametypes.
Thankyou all so much for your support!
Rhys & Tim
A change of pace
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