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From the exact same 3 people that made Abobo's Big Adventure is our new project...
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Yep, it's done!
Super Chibi Knight is officially launched into the world of Steam games! <confetti!>
First order of business - Please help spread the word by sharing this link:
The game is on sale for 10% off as a "launch discount" so take advantage of that :-D
Where to begin as a review of the long journey?
I think I have to trace the real "root" of this game back to Castle Crashing the Beard (which was somewhat inspired by a game I made way back in 2007 called Boss Bash) It was a silly idea I had in 2008 while Tom was still working on completing Castle Crashers. Of course, @Luis helped turn it into something way more impressive than I originally intended. The pink knight was all his idea :-D
But you can see similarities between Super Chibi Knight and CCTB... it's a side-scrolling simple platformer/beatemup, the character's armor and weapon gets better and better as you level up, fast-paced action, big boss battles, and cute voice acting... the toolkit is all there. @Luis @Coaly and I finished that game in 2 weeks and it's been one of my most played games ever.
CHIBI KNIGHT ORIGINAL
Enough people contacted me and suggested I expand on CCTB, that I decided to do it and eventually, in 2010, made the original Chibi Knight. It was heavily inspired by Zelda II (my favorite Zelda game growing up) and in a kind of fortuitous way, I ended up with my, then, 4 year-old daughter as the voice actress (which is what MADE the game imo). I wrote a post-mortem about making the original Chibi Knight a while back. You can still read it here.
So, the next few years (2010 to 2015) were full of ups and downs, normal life challenges I think for most people, and especially normal for those who are trying to do creative (synonymous with "risky") things. One of the highlights of that time period was releasing Abobo's Big Adventure in 2012 with @mockery and @poxpower and Newgrounds. You can read my postmortem of that grueling experience here.
The kids' educational game company I was working for imploded in 2013 and I was left without much recourse except to buckle down and get my freelance/indie thing going. I had been working on the Chibi Knight sequel in my spare time, but decided to get more serious about it and ran a Kickstarter campaign in February of 2014 which was successfully funded in large part thanks to generous pledges from people like YOU!
Super Chibi Knight was originally supposed to be a web game (you can tell by the weird resolution I originally chose and got locked into) But in 2013-2014 the appeal of web-games was largely wearing off and there was (and still is) a lot of anti-Flash sentiment. People like Ed McMillen ( @bluebaby ) and Tom Brien ( @i-smel ) had recently found success with releasing "Flash" games on Steam (The Binding of Isaac and No Time To Explain) so I decided to make the shift (without really knowing what I was getting into) and launched a Steam Greenlight campaign for SCK. At the time, I was still developing in the Flash IDE outputting .swf files and had no idea how I would ever tackle things like Gamepad Support, Steam Achievements, using the Steam Client, Multi-Platform support (CURSE YOU MAC AND LINUX!), or even Adobe AIR. So yeah, I learned a ton along the way.
It took me 6 months longer than promised in the Kickstarter campaign to finish the game, but it had to be done. I was juggling a lot of stuff: family, freelance work, school, exercise (rarely), and lots of other things too. It has been a whirlwind!
CURRENT STATUS: BUTTERFLIES CHURNING
I'm glad it's over and I can move on to new things, but I am still extremely nervous that it will flop and make the whole experience have a bitter taste or give me some feeling of wasted time/regret/failure.
I would prefer (of course) to have a steady income with a "regular" paycheck. The stress of being freelance and not knowing where next month's mortgage payment is coming from and not being able to save money for the future has been a major strain on me and my family. We've pulled together in solidarity, but I really miss being able to plan further ahead.
That said, I want to keep making games. I feel like it's something I'm meant to do in life, so I'm going to keep pursuing that. I have some ideas about revisiting some of my past hits and re-doing art and code (to be compatible with high-def standards) and releasing them on mobile. It could be PRETTY FUN!
Roger from i-Mockery, Poxpower, and I also have some other plans in the works for a NEW IP that could turn out to be really fun.
I have a .txt file full of game ideas too... so we'll see what happens in the long term with all of those things.
Generally, I feel optimistic and positive. I definitely turned a corner, but need to keep up to speed with tech better. I plan to invest some time into learning Unity and also researching Open FL + Haxe. If Open FL is new to you, you should really check out this article: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/LarsDoucet/20150603/245099/HaxeOpenFL_for_home_game_consoles.php
There are so many people who pitched in to help along the way and saved my bacon. Most notably: @the-exp, @joeybetz, @johnnyutah, @tomfulp, @mike, @luis, @ansel and MANY OTHERS! Huge thanks to everyone who supported this adventure, onward and upward!!!
... but I decided to delay the launch until after the Steam Monster Summer Sale. Lots of people told me launching during the sale would be a bad idea and when I asked why they convinced me that everyone would be spending their money buying up discounted games and not really interested in buying a new release at near-full price. MAKES SENSE DOESN'T IT?
Also, the format of the Steam Homepage is totally different during the sale and heavily features the on-sale games with little to no mention of new releases. So, yeah, I'm glad I waited, but kinda sad that it's not "officially out" yet.
That said, the version that's currently up for sale is 99% complete. I'm just finishing up some final touches to the ending cutscene that will go up tomorrow or Wednesday. The "official" launch date is now June 24th, but you might as well buy it now since it's done and also discounted 10% for the Steam Sale. :-D
I also got my 50th Steam Review today, 48 of which are positive. So now, the little Steam review feedback thing says "Very Positive" :-3
Here's a still from the final cutscene:
Leave me a comment and let me know if you'll be picking up a copy!
Yep, it's finally happening! Next Monday June 15th, Super Chibi Knight will officially launch on Steam. If at all possible, I'd ask you to please share this trailer wherever you can to help spread the word:
What a crazy-long process it has been. It was originally planned to be a web game, then the scope got SERIOUSLY out of hand and it became a kind of a monster.
I worked on it in my spare time for quite a while (probably 3 years). Then, the loss of my job prompted me to get more serious about it. I did a Kickstarter to raise extra funds which many of you generously donated to. At that point I thought I'd only need 6 months to finish the game. Unfortunately it took 6 MORE months on top of the original 6 month estimate... that means we're coming up on the 1 year anniversary of the original Kickstarter campaign. I stretched the KS funds as far as possible, but eventually ended up making some side games and working on some freelance projects to keep things moving (this robbed time from SCK, but was a necessary evil).
I released the game on Steam Early Access last December and those sales have helped to supplement the development costs, but I still needed extra cash to live.
On top of all that, I went back to school (very) part time to finish the degree I left unfinished 10 years ago. Fortunately, the government has lots of grants and scholarships in place to help pay for my schooling :-P
One funny thing is that the game was originally billed as being made by "a dad and his 8-year-old daughter." Well, 3 years of development hell later and that daughter will be turning 11 this fall... I had her record some missing voices the other day and I had to pitch them up in some audio-editing software to match the ones she originally made...
I had a TON of technical problems along the way including the Flash IDE no longer handling the size of the files (which prompted a switch to FlashDevelop and a complete restructuring of the code base). I eventually ran into java heap stack problems with Flash Develop too which took some more finangling to get sorted out.
I also REALLY wanted controller support, and was fretting about having to use an "Adobe Native Extension" (ANE) to tie into C++ to get it working. Fortunately Adobe released its gamepad API which ended up saving the day. But alas, I was not totally free from ANEs...
When I finally got around to implementing the Steam API (Steamworks) to handle Steam cloud saves and Achievements, I ended up having to learn to use ANEs anyway. The windows implementation of the Steamworks ANE (FRESteamworks) was fairly easy (with a bit of help from @Mike) but the Mac version had me tearing my hair out.
Fortunately, some other friends with Macs (@the-exp and @joeybetz) helped me figure that out. I also had a local friend lend me his $1700 iMac to test out more Mac issues which has helped make the final product a ton more accessible.
I left putting in the majority of the music until the end, but Brian Holmes (@thatcomposerguy) really hit it out of the park. He ended up doing over 70 individual music tracks for the game's soundtrack that total over 2 hours of music... that's really insane if you think about it. The soundtrack is available for $4.99 through Steam here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/373780/
Something that really stands out to me now is how much better the art and programming both became the longer I worked on the project. You can see and feel a real difference in the art and the fun of the boss battles the further you go in the game. I learned SO much just by forging ahead MAKING something. That kind of learning process is in stark contrast to the "learning" I've been doing in the university that is 2 steps detached from reality, lost in a theoretical universe. The AUTHENTICITY of doing everything, art, code, sounds, promotional materials, social media, trailers, etc. made the learning real.
I really hope the game is successful and makes all the time invested worth it, but either way I'm really proud of the how it turned out. I made it the best I could within the contstraints I had and within my abilities. I definitely think it's worth the price tag.
I hope you guys get a few hours of fun out of it and will TELL YOUR FRIENDS about it :-D
Here's one last pic of the Kickstarter-exclusive armor and sword that backers above $17 will be getting:
I'm still cleaning up stuff in SCK and adding cool easter eggs - Brian Holmes should finish the music today, and Ansel (hopefully) will be finishing up the ending cinematic today too... that means I should have a version 0.99 up on Steam at the beginning of next week!
Version 0.99 will basically be the "done" version except for bug fixes/tweaks. I'll leave that up for players to test for about a week while I make the official "launch" trailer with the official launch date. :-D :-D :-D
It's been a loooong time, but it's all finally coming together!
I'll leave you with a video of the Newgrounds cameo:
Oh, and here's another sneaky peeky:
U pumped yet?
I'm cleaning up the final odds and ends for Super Chibi Knight. The final boss is very close to done, Brian Holmes is sending over the missing music tracks, Ansel and I are working on the ending cinematic... after that stuff is integrated, there will be some testing and a "launch" trailer that will reveal the release date, which I'm thinking I'll probably keep pretty simple since I don't have the funds/time to have it done up all fancy... yeah things are in the last little home stretch!
One thing I need from you, dear reader, is to be ready to help me spread the word about the launch date once the trailer is out. Can I have your commitment to do that? I'd like this launch to make a BIG SPLASH on the interwebz when it releases. I really need your help to do that.
THANKS for the support, here are some top secret screens that totally spoil the whole game:
You know I love you.
Yo dawgs, I just launched the penultimate update to Super Chibi Knight. It's version 0.9 which is REALLY close to 1.0! What could possibly be left? You ask...
I'm working on the final boss battle which employs a changeup to the gameplay style pretty significantly so it's taking some time. Also, I thought I'd found an animator for the final cutscene, but things didn't end up working out, so now I've got someone new... someone I've worked with in the past and that has one of the most unique styles on Newgrounds... someone who just recently started poking around Newgrounds again after a long hiatus... can you guess who it is? I'm really pumped to work with him and can't wait to see what he creates!
Additionally, @Jouste is doing up some trading card art which is SO SICK YOU WON'T BELIEVE IT! Here's a really sneaky preview:
Other than that, I just submitted SCK to PAX Prime's IndieMegaBooth thing... fingers crossed that it makes the cut!
Not much new to show ye this week, I'm trying to save SOME STUFF for the actual game :-P
Can you guess who will be doing the ending animation for Super Chibi Knight?
First off, I'm looking for a talented animator to do the ending cinematic for Super Chibi Knight. This will be paid! Just send me some samples of your work and some info about yourself via NG PM, or leave me a message in the comments here. I have the script and storyboard ready so a lot of the THINKING has been done.
REPEAT: This will be PAID!
I missed Pico Day... as much as I'd like to say it probably wasn't that good and make myself feel better, it looks like it was AWESOME and I really missed out by staying home to work on Super Chibi Knight. :-(
RAGRET! It was 20 years! I suck!
Seems like I say this every week, but Super Chibi Knight is GETTING CLOSE! Gotta keep on chuggin'!!!! I finish my university semester next Tuesday, so time will free up quite a bit after that.
I submitted it to IndieCade yesterday... I'm not sure it's really up their alley, but I thought it was worth a shot. Uploading screenshots to IndieCade reminded me just how BIG the game is and made me have some feelings of pride and think that MAYBE people will actually like this game. I'm WAY too close to it right now and way past the stage of appreciating it anywhere near what someone fresh to the game will feel. Videos like this one help renew some of the "wonder" I've lost:
I need to start running again...
More pics for your excitement:
Go ahead, leave me a comment, I QUINTUPLE-DOG DARE YOU!
[200th blog post!]
One of the big challenges I've been dreading for the launch of Super Chibi Knight is the communication between AS3 Adobe AIR and Steamworks.
Steamworks lets you do Steam Achievements, Trading Cards, Cloud Saving, chat from within your game etc. Unfortunately, there is no official "wrapper" made by Valve for interaction with Adobe AIR. That means I had to turn to a 3rd party solution which is always a bit scary. Fortunately, I found FRESteamworks, an open source library of classes that uses an "Adobe Native Extension" to communicate with the c++ code that runs Steamworks.
There were quite a few things undocumented (or at least hard to find), especially for people using FlashDevelop, in the FRESteamworks example code, but with a bit of help from @mike from Newgrounds, who went through a lot of the same hurdles making Swivel, I was able to sort everything out and get the Steamworks API working with native AS3 code! Part of the confusion is that all the Steamworks documentation is under NDA, so people who try to make these extensions can only tell part of the story publicly. Valve really needs to address this issue IMO.
Here's a pic of the very 1st Steam Achievement ever earned in Super Chibi Knight (it's just a test, but it still worked right!):
After the native extension was up and running, implementing cloud saves literally took about 10 minutes to implement, so now Super Chibi Knight save states will persist across multiple computers! Woo! Trading Card art is being made by @jouste and it looks as awesome as you'd expect :-D
In other news, progress continues on Super Chibi Knight, though some day I want to write an article about the weird kind of creative block I have about the game ending... I want it to live up to my expectations and be AWESOME, but now that it's here, I'm finding it hard to START the final art and code because then I'm COMMITTED and all the awesome possibilities collapse into the finite choices I'll make which might ruin it all. But it HAS to be done, this game has dragged on for too long... must finish...
Here are some sneak peeks:
[INSERT CATCHY QUESTION TO STIMULATE CONVERSATION]
This post won't be as long-winded as my last...
Winners will be randomly selected from my Twitter list, so follow me there to enter!
Here's a look at new stuff in SCK: