Posts by Shawn White:
Hey loyal Blurstizens! It’s been a few weeks since we last updated you on our progress with Off-Road Velociraptor Safari HD. We’ve been hard at work rebuilding much of the original game to eventually expand on it and add more Raptor goodness. Today we’re happy to give out our first official development build of Raptor Safari HD for people that have it pre-ordered. Those of you that have pre-ordered should be able to download the dev build from your profile page right now! If you haven’t pre-ordered Raptor Safari HD yet, it’s not too late to do so. Head over to the Raptor Safari website and pre-order your copy now! You’ll have access to the new development build as soon as you pre-order.
Much has been changed and updated in this build. We’ll always keep you up-to-date with the latest build changes on the Raptor Safari website, but here’s a few changes I’d like to highlight.
Though not finalized yet, Matthew has spent a better part of a month solely on retuning the driving mechanic. We’ve been taking in loads of feedback about how the driving feels and have now applied it to the vehicle physics model. Arguably the most notable of the tuning changes is that the xbox 360 controller is now supported on Windows and Mac. As another plus, Windows users will have some nice vibration feedback when using the 360 controllers. Feel the jolt of every Stunt Jump landing and every Raptor Roadkill!
Ben has been hard at work upgrading all of the original game’s assets to push the game into the Next-Gen category. You’ll notice the world is much more dense with vegetation and obstacles, most of which have been upgraded with normal maps, higher resolution textures, higher polygon models, and more. There’s still much work to be done, but what’s done now should give you all an idea of what’s yet to come.
You’ll notice some new effects and graphics popping into this build. We’ve implemented some Post Processing techniques we’ve used in past games like Jetpack Brontosaurus and Blush along with some other effects you’ve never seen before in our Blurst games. In the Facebook version we showed off the beginnings of real-time dynamic shadows. Now the shadows are higher quality and work on more objects in the world (for those of you with machines that can handle it). We’ve also thrown in anti-aliasing for the Danny Bs among you.
Let us know what you think! If you find any bugs/issues, have any suggestions, or just want to tell us how awesome Raptor Safari is head over to our support page and let us know! Be sure to follow us on Twitter and be a fan on Facebook to stay up-to-date with everything that’s happening in Raptor Safari HD.
And here’s a teaser of what’s to come later in the year! Yet another awesome piece by our concept artist Justin Messner.
As Ben mentioned earlier most of us have been out in Texas for GDC Austin. The primary focus of this conference is, unfortunately, MMOs and since we aren’t making Cretaceous Worlds or NumNums Online much of the content for this conference was superfluous. However, Matthew and Steve, along with Simon Carless (Gamasutra/IGF), Adam Saltsman(Semi Secret/Flixel), and Brandon Boyer (Offworld), hosted an amazing Independent Games Summit, the first to be hosted at GDC Austin.
The Independent Games Summit lasted for only two of the days we were in Austin. The rest of the time was spent with our Indie brethren from around the world. These people are amazing artists, designers, and developers and very good friends of ours. It’s always motivating and inspirational to spend time with the Indies and I hope we will funnel much of it into the future of Blurst.
We’re flying back to Arizona today, but that’s not the end of our adventures. Steve and Matthew are heading to Japan for the Tokyo Game Show on Tuesday! Don’t worry though, even with all of this excitement, we’ll have the next Blurst game out on time on November 1st. Keep an eye on the flickr stream for more photos from the trip! Photos of the trip are up on flickr, check ‘em out!
While we were away our Art Director, Ben, made an impressive game design prototype that we may or may not end up using for a Blurst game sometime in the future. Check it out!
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!
Time for my little introduction. I’m Shawn, one of the Flashbang programmers. Like the other programmers here I do pretty much anything that needs to be done, but my specialty is graphics programming. When we need interdimensional jetpack exhaust, balls that looks like candy, a china shop to become hellish, or a graphics engine made in a week, I’m the guy that makes it happen. In other words, it’s my job to make the games look “next gen” … whatever that means. It’s also my job to make these awesome “next gen” games work on your hundred-year-old computers. :( I also spend much of my free time making cool little demos which I end up putting up on my blog.
I started working at Flashbang as an intern back in April of ‘07 when I found Steve through the Art Institutes as a student. I first worked with Steve on a student project in which he was the Faculty Advisor. We literally slaved with four other students for months to make Shanke, a 3D physics based jousting game, for the Art Institutes. Shanke went on to be displayed for the Art Institutes at Siggraph and the Game Developers Conference.
Y’all will mostly see me rambling on about new and exciting graphics tech here. The Unity engine along with their webplayer has enabled us to take web-based games into the realm of “next gen.” No longer are we stuck with the graphical limitations of Flash in order to bring awesome games for FREE to the internet. I know I’m excited to be making these awesome beautiful games.
If you have any questions or comments for me, whether it be about what I do or about one of our games, then leave a comment and let me know!
Go Kill Some Raptors!
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