Update in the Works
Happy New Year!
It’s been some time since I’ve written a post here – Tim and I have taken a break from game development beyond keeping Caveman Craig patched and participating in the Steam community. We decided the wisest move would be to see how well Caveman Craig is received and determine our next steps from there. Good ideas take time!
I have, however, been working on an update for Craig, which on top of fixing a few bugs and making some tweaks, will include some exciting new content as incentive to explore everything Caveman Craig has to offer.
Primarily, we’ll be including at least 15 more Steam only achievements, encouraging players to try new things. We’re also looking at adding a Father Daughter mode, which allows mature players to play Caveman Craig with their child or young relative, without hindering their ability to play through the game. It’s something we’d like to include in all our future releases if we can.
It hasn’t been a smooth experience working with Game Maker of late, having had to jump back and forth between early access and standard releases and stable and beta builds in order to fix various issues with the game. Unfortunately, even if I completed the update today, we would not be able to release it until some bugs are fixed in an update to Game Maker.
We’ll keep you informed!
This past week has been a welcome break after months of working on Caveman Craig for Steam. We’ve been so happy to receive all the positive reviews of the game and Let’s Play videos, and the privilege of having a game on Steam is itself a reward.
For those who’ve been following us over the years, you’ll know that we are not as active as many game developers tend to be. In fact, game development is an after hours thing for us. Tim and I balance full time jobs in I.T Administration and Animation, respectively. On top of that comes family & social life, involvement in the Church, and other hobbies and ventures. Our energy in game development comes in hot bursts, with long cool periods. It’s probably not the right way to run a business, and there’s admittedly an amount of consistency we need to achieve, but that’s what happens when you have 10 fingers and a lot of pies.
I promised myself that following the release of Caveman Craig, I would take a well earned break from game development (with the exception of supporting the game with bug fix updates and public relations) and focus on my still very non-established music vein.
So the past week has felt like a game dev detox, as I perform all the cleaning tasks too menial to bother doing when there was a time-sensitive stack of jobs to do on the computer. Now the house is clean, my brain is clean, and my office is clean and primed for music composition!
Here’s a shot of my game dev office, which doubles as a mini recording studio. Some highlights for those who are interested include…
- Mechanical “DAS” Keyboard. Still works beautifully after many years of service, except the USB hub smells like an electrical fire.
- Windows Surface RT which is capable of doing pretty much zero, but using SplashTop actually works has a handy substitute for a second display. When I need to fill my screen with code or notes, the Surface works nicely as a reference screen – to read a document off, or have a youtube video passively there when I get bored.
- MacBook Pro Retina 15″ – Man, I love Apple laptops. I hate to say it, but if it weren’t for GameMaker, Games, and my DAW of choice, I’d be all Mac. Anyway, having this laptop off to the side is useful for testing Mac builds of games and fiddling with Logic Studio. It also hooks up to the monitor as a second source for when I’m focusing on Mac-related work. Plus I take it around with me everywhere I go.
- The desk – the main desk is a simple but elegant unit from OfficeWorks, so nothing special. The desk raiser on which I sit my display & studio monitors (and under which I store bits and pieces) was actually a lucky find at work which was no longer needed, and it fits nicely with the desk. The space on the main desk usually houses a bunch of tablets that we use for testing apps, or the MIDI keyboard if I need to get more hands on with it & the DAW.
So what’s next for Parabox?
Years ago we announced that we’d decided on some new projects – Nightbear and Stadium Builder. Nightbear had some concept art put together and we had many conversations about the design of the game, but the teddy was ultimately shelved because we realised we had to approach it from a different angle. Meanwhile, Stadium Builder had gone some way as you might have seen on youtube years back, but then we lost the project files amidst technical difficulties. Some progress had been made to get that project running again.
These games are still interesting ideas for us, and over the past few years we’ve also toyed with other concepts. Tim and I will need to meet sometime soon to work out the future of Parabox. We need to reconcile the gap between what we love making, what we have time for, and what is feasible as a business.
And we’ll endeavour to keep you informed along the way!
One more sleep!
Caveman Craig will be available for purchase on Steam tomorrow!
We’re offering a 10% launch discount, making it feel like a bargain at under $9.99 USD (But seriously, it’s worth it)!
If you haven’t already, add Caveman Craig to your wishlist here!
We are very excited, but also so tired after months of late nights and meeting unreasonable deadlines (which we put on ourselves, so I guess we can’t complain). A couple of weeks ago, I took a break from all the lines of code and heartless BETA testing and actually played Caveman Craig, recruiting my real life caveman friend, Nat, and playing co-op! Check it out, you might learn some new things about the game!
A big thank you to everybody who helped make this possible. To our pre-launch party testers, our BETA testers, our friends & family, the Greenlight supporters, and last but not least our faithful fans! It means a lot to us to hear your stories of playing Caveman Craig since its conception in 2008 and beyond.
Bring on tomorrow!
-Rhys & Tim
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!
It’s exciting to be productive enough to write another “etc” post here. Although to be honest, it’s just a lazy way of coming up with a title to say “here’s our latest news”.
Caveman Craig 2 for Steam is coming along very well. I’ve spent many evenings and weekends improving the game – a balance of fixing old bugs/glitches, new features and improvements, and most importantly, porting the game to GameMaker Studio. This process has already proven very promising (though time consuming) – the game is much more stable, powerful, functional.. and moving to GMS has paved way for some fun new features which we hope to announce soon. It also means that Caveman Craig 2 runs great on Mac OS X, integrates easily with Steam’s API (achievements, statistics, leaderboards…), and soon we will test the game in Ubuntu as well (but no promises here).
At this point, it’s making more sense for us to ditch the idea of making an interim update/patch to the GM8 version. It would have been a rushed job, and not a reasonable or adequate way to launch the Dudu Forest DLC, nor appropriate use of our time.
What this means for current CC2 owners is that you will need to suffer with any bugs or crashes you are encountering for a little while longer – but the reward for your patience will be greater! I can’t wait to show off some of the stuff we’ve been working on.
That’s all for now. By the way, whenever I’m on a roll I like to tweet my updates. So (and say hi! It’s nice to know I have company) – who knows, I might leak some of the new features on there first..
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 , a group of secondary school kids get to learn some really cool stuff – programming, game design, robotics, augmented reality, you name it – and we also share the Gospel with them. It’s a real pleasure being able to use my experience in game development to educate, while also being able to share my faith.
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.
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.
1 March 2013 A.D
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!