Archive for December, 2008:
Thanks to help from you we’ve been able to isolate and squash a handful of bugs in Minotaur China Shop. Most of the bug fixes are specifically geared towards people with older/slower computers. We’ve already pushed these changes to the server and anyone who was getting the common black/blank screen or a screen full of gray smoke should be able to play just like everyone else.
The war effort needs your effort! At work, at home, in the community! Psychotic mother laugh!
We’ve come to realize that we will need to come up with some centralized bug tracking system, so we can quickly and effectively get feedback from you all and get bugs delegated to whomever is able to kill it dead. It takes a considerable amount of time to go searching for bug reports on other forums, blog comments, etc… When we get our forums online we hope to have a more direct communication with you all, but until then we’ve created a email for people to send their bug reports to. If you find something in one of our games that seems out of place send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org/ and we’ll get back to ya.
Know Your Foe! <3 Neil Patrick Harris
Obviously the more information we can get from you the easier it is for us to track down bugs and kill them. Unfortunately, as an independent company we don’t have every single possible configuration of computer hardware out there. Our studio mostly consists of macs with pretty high end specs. We do have a couple PCs with lower hardware configurations, but there’s just no way we could find every hardware scenario possible, especially for windows machines. Because of this there are bound to be problems with a few computers out there with weird setups. If you’re having problems playing one of our games you may have such a computer.
So what’s the best way of giving us the information we need to diagnose a problem? First step is to give us as much information as you can about how to duplicate the problem. Does it happen immediately after you start playing the game? Does it happen after your Minotaur goes into rage? How about after you change a level in Jetpack Brontosaurus? Or even the second time you play a game of Raptor Safari? The second step is to give us as much information about your computer as you can. If you’re on windows and you know how to do a dxdiag report, that is the most complete way of getting your hardware configuration to us. If not, then just let us know what you know about your computer and we can work with that. The last step is to get us your unity player log. Steps for that can be found here.
Let me tell you something! I’m from Tempe… I mean Buenos Aires and I say Kill Them ALL!
Whenever I encounter something(s) that is visually compelling in a game I’m going to quickly talk about it and how it applies to the development of games here at Flashbang. I’m going to kick it off with the new Prince Of Persia on Xbox 360/PC.
Anyone who has seen the game either in screenshots or in motion know that it is extremely stylized. While I think they achieved something really cool, what really struck me was their use of plain old pretty traditional art, specifically on the title screen, menu screen, and in this promotional movie. If you look closely at the elements involved in both the menus and that movie, you’ll notice that they didn’t actually use any 3d models. Instead they used flat conceptual paintings in 3d space to communicate vivid and complex scenes like one does in storyboards, or in constructing environments for stage and traditional theater.
I think this is clever because they achieved beauty with 3d depth without taking the oodles of time it takes to create character models and animation. Not that there is anything at all wrong or uneffective about creating these kind of assets for your title and/or menu scenes, it’s just that the time it takes to do so isn’t appropriate for our self-imposed 8 week development cycle. With 3d assets you are creating the model itself, a texture, and possibly a rig and animations for it as well. With this technique you are just essentially just making textures and then applying more fundamental animations to them in real time. Bending, swaying, deforming, rotating…these are things that the objects in Prince Of Persia’s title and menu scenes appear to do. They also employed a neat post processing effect which overlays a texture over everything, and they also created a particle system which generates those mystical blue ashes. This exact particle system is common throughout the game, which introduces some aesthetic unity and tightens up the game as an aesthetic package. A delicious art package. For your brain mouth. :)
As Ben expertly showcases in a previous video blog, we printed some excellent mugs for Minotaur China Shop promotion. We used Zazzle for this, and it’s quite easy to share our product designs so you guys can buy them. And so we have!
For now we only have the MCS mugs, but we’ll be adding t-shirts and other designs into the shop over time. We have two price points available, too:
- Cheap Edition (minimum Zazzle price)
- Blurst Supporter Edition (pay a little extra to help us out)
Or, if you’d like to give us monies, but don’t imbibe fluids of any kind, you can always donate directly:
Raptor Copter has become our first Unity-made iPhone game to hit the App Store! We’re making it available for a limited-time price of $0.99. The game is a loose follow-up to Off-Road Velociraptor Safari. Instead of a jeep, you have a Chinook helicopter, but the basic game loop is the same: Capture raptors, drop them into factories, and teleport their sweet meats to the future.
Raptor Copter uses your Blurst.com login for leaderboards and achievements!
Over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
He’s a prolific and rather brilliant writer, that Minotaur. Don’t you think?
Hey everybody! Hope you’re playing and enjoying Minotaur China Shop. From the stats we’ve been seeing and the comments all over the internets, it seems you are. Cheers, and thanks again for playing! It really does make us so happy to see people playing and enjoying our games.
Just popping in to officially post these two sweet videos Ben made and posted to our Vimeo account. If you want to keep up with stuff like this, an easy way is to follow our Blurst Twitter Account. The first is of the “final hours” kind, taken just before launch (and featuring and appearance by Ubisoft’s business development department, natch.) The second is a preview of some of the sweet Minoschwag we created in a limited run for the launch of the game. Our marketing budget is about as much as a trip to the grocery store, but we still get to make some fun stuff like shirts and mugs. And china that’s meant to be smashed.
Keep your eyes on this space for information on upcoming competitions in which you may be able to win the video-featured schwagery.
Today is the day of freedom my friends! From now on, you can find me here, in my shop:
I’m clicking my hooves in calf-like glee! Today, I am teh win0taur!
Today I leave the labyrinth, free to start my new life as an entrepreneur. It has been difficult these many months, dear readers, I cannot deny it. But thanks to good behavior, my lawyertaur, and the grace of letter-writing activist readers like you, I will at last be free. Thank you!
I have secured a business license for my new china shop (see attached) and am ready to start meeting with suppliers and dealers to complete my stock. I have my eye on a few choice locations, but have not yet finalized my decision. It’s all about hoof traffic. I know, KNOW that all I need is a chance to ply my sweet Wedgewood wares firsthand.
See you soon my darlings!
Your free friendataur,
… a blog from the deep dark labyrinth of my soul
O joyous day! My copy of Bovine Pottery Fancy arrived today.
In my previous posts I’ve mentioned my love of pottery in passing. It is truly a lovely and storied art form, from its humble and practical beginnings between 30,000 and 10,000 BCE, to the sophisticated pieces that are produced today. The is a certain je ne sais quoi that a piece of art possesses only with the knowledge that it has been sculpted by firm hands from the bounties of the Earth. Whether fine porcelain made from the feldspar-derived kaolin of the East, or the ruddy terra sigillata of the Apennine peninsula, my enthusiasm for ceramic magnificence is without bound! In my esteem, however, there is no peer to the pottery of Minoan Crete.
I am certain that some will decry my preference as rank partiality for my home island. I might point out, however, that this is the same culture that chose to unjustly incarcerate me for so very long. I harbor no strong love for the prejudices of this bygone era, but the quality of the ceramics is unrivaled, the objectivity of the justice system notwithstanding. Over the course of a millennium the styles have constantly evolved, with each new iteration showcasing its own particular strengths.
Of these myriad styles, one of my personal favorites is the bold “Ayios Onouphrios Ware.” Fired with a slip containing red iron — mightiest of the elements! — these pieces oxidize to a wonderful carmine under proper kiln conditions. This sanguine tone evinces the strength that the Earth has infused the materials with, giving it the hue of her own sovereign blood.
The decorative elements found on these ceramics were also of a quality par excellence, depicting a variety of motifs. Being made by a sea-going people, some late Minoan pottery is decorated with elaborate maritime scenes, including piscine and octopodine figures. However, the greatest testament to the craftsmanship of the Minoans is without doubt the “Bull’s Head Rhyton,” a type of ceremonial vessel in the shape of a stately bull’s head! These can be found in quantity from palaces throughout Crete, a witness to the esteem in which these dignified animals are held. These are truly a people who understand the allure of the bovine form!
It’s one day to my release! I am beside myself with anticipation!!!!!1!
We made a trailer. Hooray! For those of you who aren’t helping us beta test, here’s a taste of the delicious minotaur sweetmeats to come.
Two more days…
… a blog from the deep dark labyrinth of my soul
Today, a story.
Some astute readers have asked: ‘why, Minotaur, O why have you been consigned to the labyrinth?’ A fair question.
I’ve been reluctant to divulge the details because…well, my story is not for the feint of beefheart, gentle readers. For the longest time I bottled up my rage, keeping minobusiness minobusiness alone. But, the time has come to tell my tale. My therapistataur thinks it will do me good, and I think that the world should know my story. For those reasons, I will plunge bravely on. But, alack! It is…difficult.
You see, my father was a bull. Cretan the Sea Bull he was called, though I am told he preferred “Carl.” Carl was no ordinary bull, that much was plain. Gifted to King Minos by the the god Poseidon, Carl was immaculate, beautiful, and white – a divine bovine. The idea was, Minos get bull, Minos sacrifice bull, Poseidon happy. How sick is that? It’s like giving a boy a puppy and then telling him to throw it off a cliff or he’ll be grounded.
One day, Carl overheard two stablemen discussing his impending sacrifice and it hit him like a holy thunderbolt: he had days to live, and his legacy would consist of standing around for a few months then being stabbed. This was a depressing prospect for an ambitious ungulate, to say the least. And so, with nothing but his wits and looks, he hit upon the idea of escape. Seduction, he knew, was his only prospect for survival. So, when the queen came near he pranced and bellowed and flexed his rippling white body. He was a handsome bull, my father, it must be said. The queen resisted his wily charms as long as she could but eventually succumbed. My father was free.
Hoof in hand, they strolled down the street. Anyone who saw THOSE two walking around knew what was going on; she a young dreamer and he a glorious white bull. It was a little suspect, to say the least. Still, none dared to tell the king, and their love remained a secret. A very naughty, open secret.
Well, you know what they say about birds, bulls, and bees. From that union sprung…me.
Fast forward 5 years and all that’s left is a confused minokid with no true place in the world and a heartbroken woman whose bull-lover has gone in search of “greener pastures.” Getting by with a single mom and helping pay bills as a kid is rough, but going to school as an awkward big-head half-man is rougher.
Then, it happened. One day I was at the grocer when someone chanced to run over my hoof with their cart. I blacked out. I wake up later that night in this labyrinth with an attorneytaur telling me that I had annihilated a centaur’s supermarket in what can only be described as a furious and horrifying Minopocalpsye. Telling them I don’t remember doing it did NOT help my case and they told me to (and I quote) “Get comfortable, chump. You’re not galloping out of here anytime soon.” Which would have been cool if I actually galloped. Ever. In my life.
That’s basically it, friends. I’ve been patiently biding my time, seeing my great therapistaur and working through the anger. In my daily exercise to keep myself calm, I maintain a pleasant and hospitable labyrinth, read great books and magazines, and exercise. I am quite a skilled axe warrior, and I direct this discipline at staying focused. And BOY do I love fine china! It’s just so wonderful, the way it reflects the room around it. It’s so clean and beautiful, yet so fragile. I identify with it, really. So hopefully you understand my decision to open my own retail outlet so I can put this incredible stuff in your hands. I think it will be good for me, and besides…I’m a retail animal. All that time helping my mom at the textile shop really put some SELL SELL SELL chops on me! I’m so excited!
I’m getting giddy so enough of my rambling…it’s now three days to my release. See you soon in the sunshine!
Minotaur China Shop iPad Tease
969 days ago
Minotaur Dance Party
1101 days ago
Visualizing Raptor Safari Data
1124 days ago