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It’s 2019

Well hey how’s it going!

It’s certainly been a hot minute (like two and a half years) since I last posted something on this here blog! It’s now 2019, and the goal is to change that.

I could rant for a while and make excuses about why I haven’t given any updates on games for a while, but let’s be honest! I lost motivation and have spent a lot of my time at work and playing dumb games like World of Warcraft and Destiny.

But! I’ve also been learning GML (Game Maker Language). You see, up to recent times I have been building all of my projects in Construct. Now Construct, while great in it’s own right, has it’s limitations in terms of what it can do and what platforms it can support.

With swapping to GM, I’m going to have to rebuild my projects from square one, and I’m super excited about that opportunity. It’s not like I haven’t gone through a million iterations of Captain Quack anyway! I have been spending a lot of time fleshing out these games over and over on paper and prototyping things, and I am feeling good about where they are now and am getting ready to start bringing them to life.

I’m not going to be making any lifeless goals this year with these projects, aside from the goal that I will at the very least post SOMETHING related to these games, my game making process, my thoughts on gaming in general, or just a quick look into my dumb life. In short, I want to share more, a lot more, throughout this entire year.

I’m just one man, and I’m doing everything (art, sound, design, programming, marketing/networking) all by my lonesome, I’m also a husband and a full time employee in a time consuming career, so things may come slowly, but they will come in time.

SO WHAT AM I GOING TO MAKE? Well, I’m gonna keep making ‘A Deep, Dark Place’ (previously Project Orb), and ‘Captain Quack: Stool-Fueled Fury’. With GM, I can bring these projects to the platforms I want! My target platforms right now are simply PC and Nintendo Switch. Quack might also see itself in some form on the mobile scene at some point, we’ll see.

That’s it for now! I hope to be much more engaged going forward. Even though nobody reads this, maybe somebody will one day. If anything it will be nice to look back on my stupidity and progress (or lack thereof) throughout this year.

P.S.
Tom Hanks

Love,
Grant

Dem Rootz Run Deep

I have an old house, with old plumbing. I believe it was made in the 1920s? The main drain/sewage line backs up once or twice a year, since we moved here a few years ago.

For three days the sewage has been backing up, so we couldn’t use any water in the house. There’s tree roots invading my pipes at home, so some dudes came over and did some stuff and foamed it up real good, then I paid them.

I had to poop at work in the after hours in the meantime.

Quack #1 – Early Insight

Since Quack has been essentially been rebooted, I’m going to consider this post the first post regarding it!

At the moment I have nothing visual to offer, but I wanted to take a quick moment to discuss the current outline for the game and what it will have in store.

Story
The game takes place on an island, which was once peacefully inhabited by various animal creature humanoids. At some point, an unknown human traveler invades the area and establishes his own mechanical humanoid kingdom (he’s never been good with actual people, so he made his own so they can’t so no to being his friend).

Years later, the mechanical folks are overtaking the animals, and attempting to capture them for their own experimental use and oppression. This is where our story begins — with Cornelius Quack teaming up with Mr. Stumpz (the tech savvy genius beaver) in order to save his family and fellow animal inhabitants. So yeah, it’s basically Sonic + Mega Man.

Gameplay
The gameplay will hold true to the original vision, with the majority of the game being a series of levels consisting of part puzzle solving and part boss-like encounter. Right now, I’m planning on a total of 23 main levels/encounters, plus a slew of secret goodies. Additionally, things like Boss Rush Mode, Wave/Horde Mode, a Crafting/Gear Progression system will be in place. The ultimate goal is to keep the gameplay tight and polished, while packing as much variety of fun things to do that would realistically fit the game and my resources.

Platforms & Release
My goal is to bring it to PC/Mac/Linux, available via a variety of marketplaces, as well as the Nintendo Switch. Mobile release might be feasible, if I can make the game control as I’d like it to without compromising the experience.

We’ll see where development goes from here in the weeks ahead, I’ll continue to offer updates or insight into the process. It may start as more descriptive and conceptual before moving into showing demos and in-game assets. Until next time!

Music and stuff

I like music! I like to make, listen to, and discover music all the time. I’ve made music under the alias ‘Castleton’ since 2005. It’s all hot garbage, but I’ll be documenting my Castleton endeavors on here now under the category of the same name.

I’ve added a link to my Castleton works in the top navigation menu, if you feel the urge to indulge in bad sound.

Over the past few years I’ve been (super) slowly creating a new Castleton album, ‘Coda’. It will be available in the first half of this year. If you wanna take a gander at what’s to come with it, you can do so in the teaser below!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMs0Fhq6NsU

Project Orb

cave1

HELLO THERE.

It’s been way too long since an actual blog update here on the ole website. Quack is still alive and well, but it’s being put back in the oven so that it can cook a little while longer. We’ll have more news about that at a later date, but for this post I wanted to take the opportunity to announce work on a different project — Project Orb.

Project Orb is of course a working title. The game is in a very early stage of development (as in official development literally started today), but we’re hopeful for a speedy and efficient development process. Part of the reason why we shifted focus to this new project is that it seems like a smaller-scaled project that we can realistically create and polish in a reasonable amount of time.

More details will come in the weeks to follow (I know this post is quite vague). Stay tuned!

~ Hamsacker

A Quack Update – #1

Hello! It’s been a little while since I last touched base with everyone about Captain Quack. My goal going forward is to be as transparent as possible with the development of this game (and any future HBG titles). 

Things have admittedly slowed down subsantially as far as development goes since the campaigns failed. I’ve taken a lot of time to reflect on feedback, the current state of the game, and where I want the game to end up at the finish line.

The result of this is stripping down the game to the fundamentals and refining them. After this, experimenting with various systems and new mechanics that will hopefully greatly enhance the game.

Let me be clear, I in no way think that the game is in any way bad as it was, but my end goal is to make it the best game that I possibly can, in every aspect. What I’ve come up with is exciting, and I can’t wait to start showing off some of the new ideas in the coming months.

The game at this point is going to take a lot longer to develop, as I now have full-time work that will take up lot of my time, so the project will now move to my free time. But the plus side is that with the job I can completely self-fund the project.

With this in mind, I won’t even begin to give an estimate for a release date, but it will simply be done when I’m finished with it! I look forward to sharing this journey with you all.

Crash Course

In retrospect, I was ill-equipped and, perhaps more importantly, delusional to launch not one, but two public campaigns for Captain Quack at one time (KS and Greenlight).

I had done the research through and through. I polished a public demo, prepared a press kit and gathered a rather large list of press contacts in hopes that a dumb game might catch fire and spread through this vast forest we call the internet. It didn’t.

Thus far, the campaigns are comparable to that of a marathon run, only instead of continuous and well paced strides, they’ve only been something of a slow crawl. Some of the more devoted friends and family members have shown up on the sidelines to cheer me on and offer my support, but the rest are merely shaking their heads in disapproval.

That may be a bit of an overly dramatic metaphor, but they still are what they are at the end of the day. Failure.

It was a long shot from the get go. I’m trying to get people to buy in on the ridiculous idea of a game about a duck that poops on stuff. Hardly an indie darling.

But regardless of the results of these things, I can’t help but analyze the platforms of which they ran on. 

The number of successful Kickstarter campaigns for video games has drastically dropped within the past year. Have people lost faith in the developers that they so willingly threw their wallets at previously? Perhaps the answer is yes, due to broken promises and underwhelming end products of those projects that at one time beaming with potential.

Greenlight, on the other hand, is by and large a popularity contest. Formulaic games that rehash successful genres and concepts are welcomed in with open arms. Promoting a title from a no name first timer becomes a game of bribing voters with the promise of a trade in up-votes or the offering of product keys.

While I briefly dabbled with these practices, I quickly decided that I don’t want to achieve sweet victory through negotiations. I want people to support my project because they are GENUINELY interested in it.

This is wherein the problem lies. How do you make people care about your project? Reaching out to hundreds of press contacts and streamers is difficult, because they are spammed with so many similar requests each and every day. You can only annoy people on social media so much before they think to ignore anything and everything you send their way in the future.

I suppose what this all bogs down to is that I wasn’t ready, even though I was convinced that I was. I failed to capture user interest within the first ten seconds of video, first sentence of text, or first bar of music. What I have to offer simply may not be polished or captivating enough for anyone to give a care.

Strangely, in the end I am grateful for the experience. I’ve learned from it. I now know what NOT to do next time (should there be one for any future projects). I’ve discovered contacts and marketplaces to take my projects to, even if they are considerably smaller than the big boys.

Quack will continue, as it’s development was never completely reliant upon outside support. I’ll get back to focusing any free time I can conjure on a dumb game that I can’t wait to play for myself, when it’s done.

Quack – Weapons and Abilities

Today I’d like to offer you folks a quick look at the weapons and abilities systems within Captain Quack. These two systems work in synergy to bring a great deal of depth and strategy to what looks like a simple game on the surface.

The main goal of both weapons and abilities is to provide fun and useful things to the player, but also present the restriction of choice.

You can unlock any of them in any order (provided you have a token to redeem), but will NOT be able to unlock all of them in one play through. Some of them are strong on their own, some pair very well when used together.

First off, let’s talk about the weapons. There are three unlockable weapons to choose from in the game.

The Weapon Wheel
The Weapon Wheel

The charge shot adds the ability to… well… charge up your normal attack! It is a great source of single-target damage that you can “weave” into your normal attacks.

The Charge Shot
The Charge Shot

The spread shot splits your shot into three weaker projectiles. It is a reliable attack to use when you want to cover multiple areas with a specific angle.

The Spread Shot
The Spread Shot

The missile barrage continuously fires a sporadic stream of weak attacks in a general direction. It’s not the most accurate attack, but it is the go-to choice when you’re unable to line up a direct shot and need to attack while on the move.

The Missile Barrage
The Missile Barrage

Next up, the abilities. There are a total of ten different abilities to choose from. These are unlocked by redeeming a token of insight, which you receive from reaching milestones within the game (ex: defeating a boss for the first time).

The Ability Wheel
The Ability Wheel

While you can swap abilities that you have unlocked at any given time during gameplay, you can only have one ability active at any one time, and must wait for the respective cooldown on your ability to finish before using any other that you swap to. Let’s break these down into three categories: utility, defensive, and offensive.

Utility Abilities:

Teleport – instantly teleport a far distance in the direction that you are facing

Double Damage – temporarily double all of your damage dealt

Ghost Pepper – temporarily enhance your stool with acidic power, which leaves a damage over time effect on anyone that you hit

Ghost Pepper leaves a damage-over-time effect on your enemies.
Ghost Pepper leaves a damage-over-time effect on your enemies.

Haste – significantly increase your movement speed, acceleration and deceleration for a limited time

Defensive Abilities:

Shield Orb – grants you immunity from all sources of damage while active

The Shield Orb protects Quack from all damage while active.
The Shield Orb protects Quack from all damage while active.

First Aid – passively regenerate any lost health over time

Guardian Angel – upon taking damage that would normally kill you, you are instead saved and restored to full health

Instead of death, the Guardian Angel saves Quack and restores him to full health.
Instead of death, the Guardian Angel saves Quack and restores him to full health.

Offensive Abilities:

Pewpximity Mines – launch a mine which detonates when an enemy is within a specific proximity of it

Pewpximity Mines explode when enemies come close.
Pewpximity Mines explode when enemies come close.

Diarrhea Beam – unleash a beam of stool which deals continuous damage to all enemies within it

The dreaded Diarrhea Beam does big damage to enemies within it.
The dreaded Diarrhea Beam does big damage to enemies within it.

Dooklear Explosion – cover the entire screen in an explosion of stool, instantly killing any weak enemies

The Dooklear Explosion covers the screen in stool, instantly killing weak enemies.
The Dooklear Explosion covers the screen in stool, instantly killing weak enemies.
Afterwards, a friendly squeegee cleans things up for you.
Afterwards, a friendly squeegee cleans things up for you.

Some of these may sound much more useful than others, but again it’s important to keep in mind synergy, as well as the fact that all of these abilities have different cooldown lengths associated with them.

One last thing… I’ve implemented an achievement system within the game! This works similarly to these types of systems within other games or marketplaces (WoW, Steam, Gamejolt, etc.).

When you do special stuff, respective achievements are unlocked.
When you do special stuff, respective achievements are unlocked.

When you do something fun or cool within the game, you may unlock the associated achievement. These range from dumb things like your first failure, to monumental things like defeating a boss without taking any damage.

Don’t forget to support/share our Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight campaigns. You check out an early version of the game via the browser-based demo on GameJolt (note: you’ll need to create a GJ account, but it’s worth it. I promise!).