December 13, 2017


Episode 486: More Civilization

from Casual Gamer Chick

No Gravatar

This week’s episode focuses on the Patreon disaster and a major expansion for an important strategy game. Even more shockingly, the crew manage to remain on topic and not drift off into discussions about superheroes or global politics.

The news discussions include:

  • Patreon’s service fees anger creators, patrons
  • Civilization VI: Rise and Fall announced
  • Bungie admits “we’ve made mistakes”
  • New Game Boy game released

Let us know what your favorite games of 2017 are!

This week’s episode focuses on the Patreon disaster and a major expansion for an important strategy game. Even more shockingly, the crew manage to remain on topic and not drift off into discussions about superheroes or global politics. The news discussions include: Patreon’s service fees anger creators, patrons Civilization VI: Rise and Fall announced Bungie admits “we’ve made mistakes” New Game Boy game released Let us know what your favorite games of 2017 are!



December 08, 2017


Mystery Case Files: The Revenant's Hunt Review

from Casual Game Guides

There’s been a grisly murder, and who’s to blame? Welcome to Mystery Case Files: The Revenant’s Hunt, where you are a master detective – assigned to the case by the Queen of England herself. You don’t want to disappoint her royal highness, so you put your umbrella drink down, end your vacation early, and fly to Vermont. You discover this is no ordinary mystery as supernatural forces come into play during your investigation.



» Mystery Case Files: The Revenant's Hunt Walkthrough & Forum

» Mystery Case Files: The Revenant's Hunt Free Trial & Related Games



December 07, 2017


Animal Drop Safari launches on iOS. Get your iPhones and iPads ready!

from Anawiki

Animal Drop Safari – get ready to go on safari in this epic match-3 adventure game! The game just launched on iOS. Get your iPhone or iPad ready for some cool matching action.

Travel the world, from the ocean to the savannah and from the Amazon to the Arctic. Collect photos as you go. Swap and blast your way through 100 levels of entertaining, casual puzzle action!

Grab your camera – careful you don’t drop it! – and keep your eyes peeled for the colorful parrot, the lazy sloth, the slippery frog and 17 other animal friends. This game has eye candy galore. It’s more fun than a trip to the zoo, and you don?t have to wait in line! Watch out for the ferocious tiger and sneaky anaconda, though, they’ll make your legs turn to jelly!

Download Animal Drop Safari for iOS form the App Store
Download Animal Drop Safari from Google Play for Android device

As you advance through your photographic crusade, you?ll submit your best shots to a wildlife magazine. Mash that shutter button, because those pics are worth hard cash! We?re not talking lollipop money, either: You can use your earnings to buy power-ups, continues, extra lives and more.

Animal Drop Safari - a match-3 game Animal Drop Safari - a match-3 game



December 06, 2017


Shadowhand dev diary #31: Looking back

from Grey Alien Games

We announced Shadowhand in September, 2015 and rapidly put together a demo to try out on the public at EGX.

The concept was something of a prequel to Regency Solitaire, featuring one of the older characters from this Regency Romance in her wild youth, 40 years earlier.

While I was getting immersed in the history of the 1770s, with masquerade balls, highwaymen, smugglers and tricorns, Jake devised a novel game mechanic: turn-based combat driven by solitaire rather than dice rolls. As far as we could tell, this was the first time this had ever been done.

Testing the concept
Positech Games arranged for us to exhibit Shadowhand at EGX in Birmingham. So we spent four days cosplaying as highway robbers and demoing our game.

It was an exhausting time but the super-positive reception we got from players and press gave us confidence that we were on the right track with the game.


Photo credit: Jason Alan Dewey

We were hoping that Shadowhand would take maybe 12-18 months, but in the end we have spent over two years developing the game. Some of the extra time had to do with fine-tuning art and adding a lot of content, such as a multitude of enemies, items and collectible cards.

But the other factor that has taken longer was building and balancing a turn-based RPG. This is very complicated! There is a huge amount going on behind the scenes and we really wanted to get this right and provide a good level of challenge, choice and strategy to the highwaywoman experience.

The final weeks in the run up to launch have been exhausting as we have been working around the clock to make sure everything is ready.

Now we are finally at the finish line with launch day tomorrow – December 7th. We are really proud of what we have accomplished and are already getting great feedback on the game from those who have tried it.

It really is time to stand and deliver!



December 05, 2017


Mystery Case Files: The Revenant's Hunt Walkthrough

from Casual Game Guides

Our Mystery Case Files The Revenant’s Hunt Walkthrough is ready to welcome you to Avondel, Vermont a sleepy town with a supernatural problem! A supernatural serial killer! Get ready to dig into the past to reveal what a plane crash from the 1980’s has to do with the murderous events ravaging the town? Check out our Mystery Case Files: The Revenant’s Hunt Walkthrough full of mini game & puzzle solutions, colorful screen shots and simple instructions to guide you to safety in this creep-tastic adventure.

We hope that you enjoy our Mystery Case Files The Revenant’s Hunt Walkthrough.



» Mystery Case Files: The Revenant's Hunt Walkthrough & Forum

» Mystery Case Files: The Revenant's Hunt Free Trial & Related Games




Redemption Cemetery: One Foot in the Grave Review

from Casual Game Guides

Welcome to Redemption Cemetery: One Foot in the Grave, where you are walking around a cemetery riddled with tombstones, eerie sounds, and dark creatures. Keep your wits about you as you work to rescue those that are in dire need of help – and may not make it out alive.



» Redemption Cemetery: One Foot in the Grave Walkthrough & Forum

» Redemption Cemetery: One Foot in the Grave Free Trial & Related Games




Shadowhand dev diary #30: Game complete!

from Grey Alien Games

We’re done! (almost)

It’s been a super-intense week with some extremely “crunchy” days but finally the game is done and a beta version has been uploaded to Steam, and a build has been sent to GOG! We still have to add Steam achievements and maybe tweak a couple of things before launch on Thursday but that won’t take long.

Hurrah!

Added in levels for Chapters 11-22

The game has got 22 chapters to play and over the past month we added in the levels for chapters 11-22 which is 12 chapters x 8 levels = 96 levels! As you can imagine, that took a while because each level is edited and balanced until it behaves how we want it to feel.

Then we playtested them all, and even got our publisher and sons to help – and now beta testers are testing them as well! This way we can spot any issues that automated tests don’t reveal and fix them but luckily pretty much everything was fine.

Balanced Weapon Groups C, D, E

There are 5 distinct weapon groups in the game and Jake balanced the last 3 groups by testing them with the automated AI test system and then tweaking them as required.

We also finalised all the gear (bombs/potions) item drops throughout the whole game. You can get gear from enemy loot, the shop, and crates on some of the levels.

Balanced Duels from Chapters 11-22

This was a big task that took a long time. Each enemy needs testing with different weapon and outfit combinations, and their stats must be adjusted to be the right level of difficulty. Generally enemies are hard but fair. Some are deliberately a bit easy (trash mobs) and of course the bosses are hard (but possible!)

Mid way through this task Jake discovered that the reality of the test results began to diverge from his mathematical design models as the enemies began to get too easy. So we had a rethink about how to make them tougher in a variety of interesting ways and then implemented that. It was an unexpected bump at the last minute but we solved it.

Edited the story from Chapters 11 to 12

We also edited the story and made various pre-duel and post-duel dialogs pop up for various characters. Plus we added in some pre-duel story sections and selected relevant music and gave everything one last continuity check.

What’s next?

The game has been sent to beta testers and press/streamers. If you need a review key, please go here and get one via keymailer.

Now we need to add the Steam achievements which we’ve already planned. There is code in place from Regency Solitaire for achievements that we’ll reuse plus we’ll add in some new ones. So it’s not a giant task luckily.

There may also be the odd tweak here and there before launch based on beta feedback and our own list of things we’d like to do. Also, there are things we can’t add in time for launch that we’ll do in the coming weeks in between collapsing in a heap from exhaustion and eating mince pies.

Misc Tasks

As per usual we’ve done a ton of small tasks covering all aspects of the game. This time I won’t bore you with the minutiae, suffice to say there was a LOT of it.



December 02, 2017


Episode 485: Review Bombing

from Casual Gamer Chick

No Gravatar

This week’s episode is unremarkable. Don’t expect any surprise guests or news, just a lot of chatting about comics and wandering way off the topic of video games.

The news items for the week are:

  • Valve implements methods to curtail Steam review bombing
  • Matsuda insists Deus Ex not being discontinued
  • Star Citizen releases new video, makes another $500K in a Day
  • Kamiya wants to work on Devil May Cry and Viewtiful Joe remakes

Let us know what you think.

This week’s episode is unremarkable. Don’t expect any surprise guests or news, just a lot of chatting about comics and wandering way off the topic of video games. The news items for the week are: Valve implements methods to curtail Steam review bombing Matsuda insists Deus Ex not being discontinued Star Citizen releases new video, makes another $500K in a Day Kamiya wants to work on Devil May Cry and Viewtiful Joe remakes Let us know what you think.



November 30, 2017


Shadowhand behind-the-scenes development video released

from Grey Alien Games

Grey Alien Games, the developers of Shadowhand (the card-battling Highwaywoman RPG coming to Steam next week on December 7th) have today released a cool ‘behind-the-scenes’ video, which offers a candid look at the highs and lows of forging an original game set in 18th century England.

The video is now up on YouTube here:
https://youtu.be/argag8E8IDU

About Shadowhand
Set in late 18th century England, we follow the story of Lady Cornelia Darkmoor, a beguiling young aristocrat who masquerades as the notorious highwaywoman, Shadowhand. Fleeing a crime scene and forced to act under the cover of darkness, Shadowhand’s mission to safeguard a woman she holds dear leads to a web of corruption, smuggling and blackmail.

Shadowhand is coming to Windows and OSX on 7th December 2017, and will be priced $14.99 (With a one week launch discount of 10%))

Shadowhand’s Steam page is already up and live, so people can add the game to their wishlists in anticipation of the release right now:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/427490/Shadowhand/

On release day, the game will be available from Steam, GOG, The Humble Store, and direct from the publisher’s website at www.positech.co.uk.

The previously-announced trailer for the game is here: https://youtu.be/tKWGHhfkjK0
And you can follow the developers on twitter at @GreyAlien and @BCHezza.

Shadowhand’s developers are Grey Alien Games, the makers of Regency Solitaire. The publisher is Positech Games, publisher of Big Pharma, and developer of Gratuitous Space Battles, Democracy and Production Line. A press pack is available from http://www.positech.co.uk/shadowhand/



November 29, 2017


New Pretty Good MahJongg for Windows v2.6 - Now with 400 Games

from A Shareware Life

Pretty Good MahJongg, our companion game to Pretty Good Solitaire, has updated to version 2.60 (for Windows).  This version adds 25 new tile matching layouts to bring the total to 345. It also contains 55 solitaire games with MahJongg tiles, for a total of 400 games. The game is also updated for Windows 10.

This is a free update for all registered users of Pretty Good MahJongg - just download the trial version and use your registration code to make it the full version (it will find your code automatically if you have the full version installed already).

Pretty Good MahJongg is solitaire with MahJongg tiles instead of playing cards. It features the classic MahJongg tile matching solitaire game, where tiles are removed in pairs, and original MahJongg solitaire games such as MahJongg Spider, MahJongg Klondike, and MahJongg FreeCell.

DOWNLOAD TRIAL - http://www.goodsol.com/pgmj/download.html
MORE INFORMATION - http://www.goodsol.com/pgmj

Pgmj-screenshot-traffic




Animal Drop Safari launched on Android!

from Anawiki

Animal Drop Safari is our latest match-3 game. It’s officially launched on Android and you can find it in Google Play store. iOS version of Animal Drop Safari is coming soon :)

Travel the world, from the ocean to the savannah and from the Amazon to the Arctic. Collect photos as you go. Swap and blast your way through 100 levels of entertaining, casual puzzle action!

Grab your camera – careful you don’t drop it! – and keep your eyes peeled for the colorful parrot, the lazy sloth, the slippery frog and 17 other animal friends. This game has eye candy galore. It’s more fun than a trip to the zoo, and you don?t have to wait in line! Watch out for the ferocious tiger and sneaky anaconda, though, they’ll make your legs turn to jelly!

Download Animal Drop Safari from Google Play for Android device

Animal Drop Safari - a match-3 game Animal Drop Safari - a match-3 game



November 28, 2017


Shadowhand dev diary #29: The final countdown

from Grey Alien Games

Don’t forget that you can wishlist Shadowhand now on Steam!

With launch day for Shadowhand just ten days away on December 7th, we are excited that so many people can’t wait to play the game. Fortunately our publisher, Positech Games, is currently working on many aspects of promotion so that we can concentrate on testing and last-minute details.

Content complete
The game was finally content complete on 22nd November – until that point we had various enemy artwork and levels that we had designed that had not all been slotted into the game. Every detail is mapped out on spreadsheets first. That’s right, until a few weeks before launch the game in its entirety only existed in our heads and in Excel.

Balancing
Jake has been doing stirling work balancing the battle elements in Shadowhand. We have numerous meetings to talk through consumable items, weapon damage and effects, enemy and player stats and so on. This ties in to level design and difficulty. I designed the levels, which we then order and edit together to fit their final location in the game.

As well as the more obvious enemy health and defense, there are a number of factors that we can use behind the scenes, such as tweaking the intelligence of the enemy AI, to ensure that players get a fight that is just challenging enough.

Testing
After balancing the first half of the game and automated testing, it’s back to me (and soon a number of beta testers) to play test the game. Inevitably we have found a few issues with level design that mean we will have to make changes. But of course I’m also looking for the difficulty and fun factor, whether the game economy works, and flagging up any frustrations.

The good news is that I’m loving it! Our plan was to use a card game to drive an RPG with a lot of player choice and customisation. I honestly think that we have delivered. As I was testing, I felt this every time my enemy scored a health-giving steak and ale pie during a battle and I coveted his lunch. I was delighted each time one of my swords delivered a surprise counter attack. I spent a while pondering whether to wear a corset that protected me from stun or bleeding…and I wore my ruffian beard, both an excellent disguise and to boost my stealth.

Checking the enemies’ stats before a fight becomes increasingly important, and switching out weapons or defensive clothing items can make a real difference. Here’s mine at the end of Chapter 10:

The rapier I’ve selected comes with a chance to counter attack, and because it is a “sea” class weapon the Swashbuckler Swordbelt, designed to go with sea swords, boosts its damage by 10%. At this stage in the game Shadowhand could equally be wielding a club, an axe, a duelling pistol or any number of other weapons. For her off hand I’ve chosen a blunderbuss that comes with a built-in chance to stun.

This waistcoat is also anti-stun (I’ve just come fresh from a fight with a bludgeoning enemy). My breeches, shirt, bracers and hood all stack to boost stealth – the chance to go first in fights. Other items, like my hat and boots, add to my character’s defense.

Here are a few of the alternatives at the same stage in the game, with garments that are are better for combatting bleeding, animal attacks, and resisting the debuff effects of alcohol:

There’s more testing and level polishing to do, as well as finalising Steam achievements and a host of other tasks. Onward!




Episode 484: Letters!

from Casual Gamer Chick

No Gravatar

This week’s podcast was delayed in publishing thanks to the holiday week being more hectic than usual. However, better late than never, and there’s even some listener feedback included!

The news items include:

  • Valkyria Chronicles 4 is mobilizing for deployment in the west in 2018
  • Clicker Heroes 2 developer abandons microtransaction model citing ethical concerns
  • Rainbow Six Siege is getting a high-tech ninja named Vigil
  • Minecraft is adding tridents, shipwrecks, dolphins and coral reefs in Spring 2018

Let us know what you think.

This week’s podcast was delayed in publishing thanks to the holiday week being more hectic than usual. However, better late than never, and there’s even some listener feedback included! The news items include: Valkyria Chronicles 4 is mobilizing for deployment in the west in 2018 Clicker Heroes 2 developer abandons microtransaction model citing ethical concerns Rainbow Six Siege is getting a high-tech ninja named Vigil Minecraft is adding tridents, shipwrecks, dolphins and coral reefs in Spring 2018 Let us know what you think.



November 20, 2017


Episode 483: Rolling Ones

from Casual Gamer Chick

No Gravatar

This week’s podcast has been seriously delayed due to Jonah’s computer going belly up, then having to deal with reinstalling everything. Not to worry, however, since everything on the old hard drive was saved. If that weren’t enough, Jonah is enjoying his new Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition.

The news of the week includes:

  • EA responds to community criticism of Battlefront 2 unlock system
  • L.A. Noire remaster requires 29GB, forcing Switch version to require MicroSD card
  • Physical media still “nation’s format of choice” for video games, says eBay
  • Xbox One S available for lowest price yet

If that weren’t enough, there’s about 30 minutes of outtakes we’re saving for the future as the gang talks about 2018. But that’s for an Outtakes episode.

This week’s podcast has been seriously delayed due to Jonah’s computer going belly up, then having to deal with reinstalling everything. Not to worry, however, since everything on the old hard drive was saved. If that weren’t enough, Jonah is enjoying his new Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition. The news of the week includes: EA responds to community criticism of Battlefront 2 unlock system L.A. Noire remaster requires 29GB, forcing Switch version to require MicroSD card Physical media still “nation’s format of choice” for video games, says eBay Xbox One S available for lowest price yet If that weren’t enough, there’s about 30 minutes of outtakes we’re saving for the future as the gang talks about 2018. But that’s for an Outtakes episode.



November 17, 2017


Living Legends: Uninvited Guests Review

from Casual Game Guides

Welcome to Living Legends: Uninvited Guests. You are Kate Petite, an invited guest on your way to a beautiful wedding in a castle on a mountaintop. Unfortunately, you’re running behind, but it works in your favor! As you make your way to see your cousin, the groom, you suspect something is amiss, and begin to find clues that confirm your suspicions. All is not what it seems: Beware!



» Living Legends: Uninvited Guests Walkthrough & Forum

» Living Legends: Uninvited Guests Free Trial & Related Games




Launch Announcement

from Grey Alien Games

Stand and deliver!

Positech Games (publisher) and Grey Alien Games (developer) are excited to announce the release of the full official trailer for SHADOWHAND, the new indie card-battling adventure game set in 18th Century England, along with the final release date for the game…

A full copy of the trailer can be grabbed from the Positech website here:
http://www.positech.co.uk/shadowhand/media/ShadowHand_1080p_STEAM.mp4

Or found on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/tKWGHhfkjK0

Set in late 18th Century England, we follow the story of Lady Cornelia Darkmoor, a beguiling young aristocrat who masquerades as the notorious highwaywoman, Shadowhand. Fleeing a crime scene and forced to act under the cover of darkness, Shadowhand’s mission to safeguard a woman she holds dear leads to a web of corruption, smuggling and blackmail.

Shadowhand is coming to Windows 7 OSX on 7th December 2017, and will be priced $14.99 (With a one week launch discount of 10%).

Shadowhand’s Steam page is already up and live, so people can add the game to their wishlists in anticipation of the release right now:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/427490/Shadowhand/

On release day, the game will be availble from Steam, GOG, The Humble Store and direct from the publishers website at www.positech.co.uk.

The developer Grey Alien Games is also the developer of the PC game ‘Regency Solitaire’ (Currently on Steam). Publisher Positech Games has previously released the Gratuitous Space Battles & Democracy games and currently has ‘Production Line’ in Early Access.

For more information contact Cliff Harris at Positech Games (cliff@positech.co.uk). A full press kit is available for download from the Shadowhand website at:
www.shadowhandgame.com



November 14, 2017


Animal Drop Safari – join open beta tests

from Anawiki

Animal Drop Safari is our latest match-3 game. Travel the world, from the ocean to the savannah and from the Amazon to the Arctic. Collect photos as you go. Swap and blast your way through 100 levels of entertaining, casual puzzle action!

Grab your camera – careful you don’t drop it! – and keep your eyes peeled for the colorful parrot, the lazy sloth, the slippery frog and 17 other animal friends. This game has eye candy galore. It’s more fun than a trip to the zoo, and you don?t have to wait in line! Watch out for the ferocious tiger and sneaky anaconda, though, they’ll make your legs turn to jelly!

Download Animal Drop Safari from Google Play fro Android device

Animal Drop Safari - a match-3 game
Animal Drop Safari - a match-3 game



November 13, 2017


Shadowhand Dev Diary #28: Final Graphics and Steam Trading Cards

from Grey Alien Games

Click here to wishlist Shadowhand on Steam!

It feels like ages since the last blog post but we’ve got loads done since then including plugging in all the remaining final art. Also we will be announcing a launch date at the end of the week!

Final story item graphics

We plugged in the final art for the story-related items that you find in crates. Sometimes these are purely plot-related (like the map above), and other times they are cool things that you get to use.

Final locks and keys graphics

We also plugged in the final art for various fancy lock and key cards. Some of the cards are quite large (like the gravestone above) and they cover up a lot of ordinary sized cards until you unlock them.

Added levels for chapter 8,9,10

Helen has designed enough levels for the rest of the game (22 chapters in total) and we added some more of them into the game. We carefully choose them depending on what we think looks best for the chapter background and theme, and then edit them for difficulty as well as adding any special locks/keys or story items that are required in that chapter.

Finalised enemy loot

Jake also finalised all the loot drops for the remaining enemies (see screenshot above). Players are going to get some pretty cool loot that’s for sure!

Steam trading cards

We also designed 8 Steam trading cards (see image at top of post), 5 wallpapers, 6 badges, and 5 emoticons! It’s a surprising amount of work, but we are pleased with the results and have submitted them to Valve for approval.

More test runs and balancing

Jake spent a long time updating the automated test run code and running test runs on character stats and active/passive abilities in order to balance them appropriately. Now that has been done we can add in the remaining levels and perform test runs on them and tweak them to be an appropriate difficulty for the abilities and stats that the player will have by that point in the game.

The great list of misc

As per usual there’s a huge list of smaller tasks that have been completed. We are getting very close now folks!

- Plugged in final surrender flag graphics.
- Plugged in final status icons.
- Plugged in final rat and throwing knife particles.
- Added soldier dialog to hand 8 of “Highway Robbery”
- Finalised which hands have duels on for chapters 8,9,10
- Added new pre/post duel dialogs for chapter 9 “Fleetwood’s Armoury”
- Checked/Edited story and dialog text for chapters 6,7,8,9,10
- Made sure all story item dialogs trigger on the correct levels.
- Added ability to have mirrored large lock cards (for the hedge cards in chapter 20)
- A bit more save-related code.
- Forced players to replay a hand if they fail to find a goal item unless they are in normal mode in which case they are allowed to skip ahead.
- Player’s weapons are now hidden and restored in the Gaol chapter.
- Added item drops for remaining story goal items.
- Finalised story-based item drops.
- Finalised shop-based item drops.
- Made sure player has the vicious dagger on the correct Gaol hands.
- Filled out enemy properties in code as per design spreadsheet.
- Limited random crate contents to consumable items introduced up to the current chapter.
- Created fixed IDs for item drops and locked down the save file format.
- Make sure replays of a chapter still generate enemy gold loot.
- Ran some tests on group B weapons to compare/balance them against each other.
- Balanced Chapter 6 duels and chapter goals and enemy stars and economy.
- Fixed timing of 1 star animation and post duel dialog.
- Fixed scaling down of crate item picked up before duel mode refresh.
- Made sure log file didn’t output hand gold earned when you retry, abort or restart a hand.
- Tested Chapter 6 again with Family Jewels passive powerup to see how it affects key stats.
- Made a list of all passive powerups and their likely effects on key stats.
- Made Test Run work with Hangman’s Noose properly so it now reduces suit locks.
- Tested passive abilities on easy and hard levels.
- Made Test Run take prosperity stat into account.
- Made Test Run take lucky cards into account.
- Balanced character stats via test run on easy and hard levels.
- Fixing Rabbit Foot exploit with equip button
- Coded active abilities in test runs.
- Tested active abilties on easy and hard levels.
- Generated a list of key active/passive abilities I should be by using by the time I start each chapter.
- Added player AI support for using wildcards so I can better model duel outcomes.
- Tested duels with and without wildcards to compare.
- Added luck stat to player AI in duels for testing.
- Tested duels with key player stats and passive abilities.
- Removed unused particles from particles folder.
- Created a new large blank card for particle effects on large locks.
- Output cards per turn on non-duel test run as it’s a useful value.
- Reviewed list of stackable effects and tested some of them to make sure they are not OPed.
- Fixed bug where if last thing picked up on a hand was a wasted key it doesn’t do a layout refresh.
- Fixed bug with dark cards in AI duel test runs.

Back soon, with a launch date announcement!