It feels like too long since I posted here. Plus our amazing plan of releasing a game every 2/3 months seems to have ground to a halt for various reasons. Time for a quick update then…

So I (Andy) have had a bit of time off work recently. I’m between contracts so thought I’d look at a new game engine I’d heard about.

I was sifting through my YouTube feed for Blender3D tutorials and noticed a few videos called “Why I moved to GODOT” or similar. Usually this kind of thing is clickbait-ish of course but I thought I’d give them the benefit of the doubt because I’d just watched his decent tutorial on sculpting.

Godot looked pretty amazing and I was naturally skeptical at first. However it seemed like it was gaining popularity for 2D projects especially so I thought I’d give it a go. Anyway, to cut a longer story short I’ve been working with it for about a week when I’ve had chance. The output has been pretty good so far! If you follow me on Twitter then you may have already seen this:

So I’ve had this idea for a game for donkeys years. It’s morphed from 2D to 3D back to 2D. I had aspirations for making it an MMO, in my imagination the whole thing is played out like a Pixar movie!…But I’ve decided to be vaguely sensible about it and keep it 2D and single player and focus on the gameplay/story I wanted most of all.

Disclaimer: Who knows, I might stop developing it! Life is…flukey at the moment and with family/work I’ve no idea what will even happen tomorrow at this point. Things will hopefully stabilize soon…

So the plan is that the game features two halves. The first is the world travel/exploration via a rail network where you’ll be able to activate junctions to new areas via a remote control device of some kind. I hope to have train battles as well as being able to upgrade and even personalize your train.

The second half of the game is the ground combat/exploration which will be a side on version of mass effect 2/gears of war style combat. Duck/Cover/Shoot type mechanisms. I’ve only really had chance to work on this for 3/4 hours so far including more learning about Godot. So not too much to show there but I will share this super early picture of a Tribloo I was using to test with.

(It’s not a Tribloos game – I’m just using that as a reference pic. That said I believe could have made Tribloos 3 50% faster in this engine!)

So things are moving at a nice steady pace at the moment. I’ve got at least another two weeks or so before I start another contract so I’m hoping things will continue to develop well for a while and I’m hoping to write an update next week with more news!


Announcing a series of tiny, experimental games by the BumpkinBrothers, coming soon to your android mobile telephone devices!

What be this?

Aha, yes indeed you may ask that. Actually you’d probably start asking about Space Farmers 2! But never mind that for now. The important thing is we have another game coming out asap. In fact by the time you read this it’s likely to have been released.

We’ll get back to other things after we’ve done this, ok? Honest, nothing would make us happier than to do Spac…*that game* but it’s kind of become our Half Life 3. Various versions have come and gone and…bleh, enough of that for now.

Good grief, tell us about this new game

Oh, yes. We have a new game!

It’s called POPSHAPE! It’s a small casual title where you control a large circle in the middle of the screen.

Smaller, coloured circles come in from all sides and stick to the side of the big ball (or a smaller ball if it’s already attached).

The idea is to try and connect 3 or more of the same colour together. Do so and they go POP! and you get some points.

That’s it pretty much. There’s a spiky thing to try not to hit with your clump of balls and if you grow too big and hit the edge of the screen it’s game over!

Click here to see it on the store! Or just search for Popshape on google play.

It’s free with ads (as everything is these days) but we’d appreciate it if you tried it out and let us know what you think.

Thanks for reading and-

Wait! Waaaait. Didn’t you say this was about Bumpkin Labs?

I mean, what is it and all that?

Oh yes, sure! So BumpkinLabs is the name of the initiative we launched several years ago and did absolutely nothing about…

Until Now

Bumpkin labs was always our description of our more experimental titles that we never got round to making. Well we made a couple of them but never finished them enough to release them into the world.

So POPSHAPE is the first of our new mini titles that we want to release over the next few months. The next game is already well underway and we have about 4/5 more planned after that.

Stay tuned for our next game coming very soon!

Time for a quick update on Space Farmers 2.

Some Good stuff that’s happened

While, as usual, we’ve not had the time to work on things as much as we’d like some progress has been made. We’ve moved to a new library to help with the networking and have been performing some tests on how that performs. Also we want to make sure it’s a viable alternative to us writing our own integrated networking. This library supports the idea of *gulp* servers so we’re also looking at procuring some test servers and uploading the server software and trying all that out.

Something I can show is some basic pathing I’ve been working on for enemies! It’s nothing special but I can have a multitude of enemies following this path and all being tracked on everyone’s client. And when I say everyone’s I mean more than 2 people (woop!)

Next is getting basic weapons and enemy attacking sorted. This is leading to a game mode we’ve been calling “The Fridge” since 2012 (yep, that’s how long we’ve been talking about Space Farmers games for now!) It’s the same as a dungeon defenders mission or a Team Fortress 2 MvM mission.

I’ve got no idea on a specific timescale for this yet (this month I’ve got far too much personal stuff going on, hence a blog post instead of a video or anything) But I should have some further news next month on how some of this went. But here’s a picture of some prototyping for the enemy pathing I had going on:

(ooh, animated giff thanks to my new mobile phone!)

What else is going on…

In other news it’s no secret I’m fresh out of the release of Tribloos 3 which has slowed me down somewhat. The “What do I do next?” question every developer asks themselves after a release always leaves a feeling of uncertainty and unease. However I’ve thrown myself back into this as much as possible (around my full time work and family time) which Rich is fighting to simply get some desk space to work from (it’s a long story).

I’ve got a few ideas for what to do next. One of which is some DLC for The Tribloos 3 which I’ve made a tentative start on. The other is a top down RPG shooter game which I made a prototype for a few weeks ago. My plan is to incrementally work on these for a few weeks and see what excites me the most and then focus on that for the rest of the year. I’ll show some more details on the blog presently.

So that’s about it for today!

Just a quick notice to say that the Steam version is live! Go Go Go!

There’s also a bundle (which isn’t yet appearing on the Tribloos 3 page, but IS on the Tribloos 2 page) to get both Tribloos games on Steam for a bigger discount! Get the Tribloos 2 and 3 Bundle!

Thanks for everyone’s support in getting this far. Fingers and toes are crossed for this release now.

Also, check out the following recorded livestream that I did with my good friend Geoff “DangerGerbil” Davies over on Twitch:

Watch Tribloos 3, with special guest developer AndyBumpkin from DangerGerbil on www.twitch.tv

What’s Next?

For everyone who is interested I’ll be announcing the next Plushie competition on Facebook this evening! I’ll announce it here too of course.

I also have a Facebook ad campaign on the go, it’s a bit of a test as I’ve never done one before. So we’ll see how that goes.

Of course any suggestions are welcome on where we can send it for reviews/news.

What about after The Tribloos 3?

I think a lot will depend on how the game performs on Steam. We’ve got plans for other games in both the Tribloos series and, of course Space Farmers. We also have other game concepts we’re working on. The main issue for us is getting time to work on these projects currently, but as soon as we have anything to show we’ll post it here first!

Hey Tribloos fans, time for an update on the latest version of the game. 1.3 Brings some stability updates, a change to the default gfx driver (for windows users) and various improvements to the game itself.

These version are live on BFG right now! So check your client for an update.

Fixes:

Achievements

There were a number of achievements which were not…achievable! Oops, apologies for that. I changed the counting code later on in development and when the building ones seemed to work I wrongly assumed that “everything was fine”. I’ve now made the appropriate changes here and achievements are working as expected.

Boom Leaf Hover Text

You were all treated to my internal code system of the game here, if you noticed! It’s a bit of an obscure fix but details count right?

Changed GFX driver

So some people were experiencing weird issues with display with some gfx cards. I’ve changed the default display driver from dx7 to opengl. This can be overriden with a configuration setting. If you run into trouble either contact BFG or email me for help.

The Improvements

Static Backgrounds Option

From your user screen on the main menu you can tick a box which specifies if you want static backgrounds or not. This will pause movement in the following areas:

  • Flying Fortress (clouds/leaves when outside)
  • Pirate Ship (waves will be totally still)
  • Train (the train will not move)
  • Spotlights in circus

Vine Bush visibility

These now have lovely blue flowers which make them easier to notice on the tree backgrounds at the end of the first set of levels.

More story explanation

At the end of the first cutscene I have added some text which explains why the Tribloos split up and how that effects what level you can play next

End Of Level Arpeggio sound

Some users were describing that the end of level sounds were a bit naff – this turned out to be that my “clever” method of creating an arpeggio using a single sample failed. So I’ve created a full arpeggio recording now and stop it when the score bar finishes.

Things not yet done

Work on the Steam release have faltered over the last couple of weeks. I’m having to relearn some C++ to get the latest API stuff into a Blitzmax project for the achievements and I also want to put something more awesome in there that wasn’t in Tribloos 2. Look forward to more details!

But the Itch.IO version will be released soon. So for those that prefer a DRM Free experience, we’ve got you covered!

Let me know if you have any comments about the above

The BFG Forums are no more! Sad face ๐Ÿ™

I liked them overall as they gave a great way for me to respond to anyone who had bought the game. Specifically helping people out who were having problems with the levels. One of the big questions over there was how to complete level 10. This was due to the tuning forks!

So in response I made a video recently showing how this is done. Check it out:

Are there any other levels you’d like me to cover? Let me know if so. Next up will be levels 30 and 32…

Back in 2014 we both had a moment where our time went inversely proportional for game development time. From having tons of time to work on games to very, very tiny amounts of time to work on games.

I chose to spend that time working on a different title. It took sooooo much longer than I anticipated. But it got finished and distributed. And very near the end of that we started talking about developing a new game!

It wasn’t Space Farmers 2.

What?! You said you would be-

Yes yes, we know we said we’d be working on Space Farmers 2 next. But we had a really, really good idea for another co-op game. We spent a few weeks playing around with physics engines and wheel collider code to try and make it work. And while we still love the idea for [SECRETGAMENAME] we haven’t got the time to mess around with unity physics right now.

We will return to this mystery project, probably in a few months just for fun if nothing else. It might even become *part* of Space Farmers 2. But for now you can be assured we’re back on the case!

So c’mon then. What’s going on?

If you’re an avid fan (and good grief, we love you guys) you’ll know we’ve been messing with prototypes of the game engine for some time. The problem is we’ve not gotten very far with any of them. We started in Unity, then looked at Unreal and are currently back at Unity (mainly because we’re so much more comfortable in C# as a language).

We’ve split our duties to spread the load.

Rich is working on gameplay! How will the character be controlled? What kind of control modes are there?

Andy is working on networking! How will the client/server architecture work? How do people connect to the game?

We’ve been having online dev sessions most Mondays for a while now and that’s working out quite well. We’ve both progressed well and it’s almost getting to the point where we put our work together to create a proper prototype project.

Tell us about the new prototype!

We’re still trying to work out how we want this to play out. This is the current plan:

– Single Lobby that anyone can join and see others
– Some form of example game mode for 2 people
– Some form of example game mode for > 2 people

And, well that’s it at the moment. We don’t want to plan too far ahead otherwise we can’t stay agile. But we wanted to have a starting place where anyone could just load up and start a game. The first release may be even more basic than that.

Why are you planning to start so small?!

Well we don’t really see it like that. But the idea is to start with the fundamental basics. Get some feedback on the initial version of the net code, movement, shooting, etc.. And then put out as many updates as we can each month.

What we don’t want to do is make everyone wait 2 years until we have something half baked. We may as well show you the batter first.

We also don’t have a planned date for any of the above just yet. But like I said above, progress has been good recently. We’ve got a lot of work to do but we very much hope it’ll be worth it!

First off a big thank you to everyone who has bought the game so far on BigFishGames.

The Tribloos 3 Development Diary

I can’t publicly share sales figures but I will say they’re a bit lower than Tribloos 2. There could be any number of reasons for this such as people moving to mobile devices for their casual fix or people generally gravitating away from BigFish to other portals like Steam/GoG/GameJolt/Other. Or it could be related to the technical issues when the game launched. Or maybe because it’s been 4 years since the last game in the series. It’s hard to say but I’m not about to stop trying to get the game out there due to a slight hiccup at the start.

So we had a bit of a shaky start but generally feedback on the game has been really good from fans and newcomers. That’s really encouraging and now I’m looking at what’s next.
Continue reading “Tribloos 3 – One (and a bit) week on”