As you know our plans very rarely work out, but we do keep trying.
Here’s what’s on the menu for this year so far:
Tribloos Series Plans
I’m very aware that Tribloos 3 hasn’t been as widely noticed as Tribloos 2. There are a number of factors here including our reluctance to push too hard on bundle sites with it – something we’re still not too keen on doing just yet.
But there are number of things we will be doing this year, starting in Februrary.
Release of the Sound Track remixed and remastered!
A re-release of Tribloos 1 for free on Steam (this has been requested lots)
An update to Tribloos 3 itself – more news on this later
We’re hoping this push gets Tribloos 3 out there as much as Tribloos 2 did. Good luck little fellas.
Pioneer Re-release on Steam
Before I was part of the Bumpkin Brothers I released a game back in 2009 called “Pioneer : A Space Adventure” which was a mix of Star Control 2 / Freelancer type gameplay with an asteroids style perspective. I’m planning to re-release that (as you can’t buy it from the original vendor any longer) and get that on Steam. It’ll be very reasonably priced and features an 8 hour (based on feedback at the time) campaign. Again, more on that later, but you can still get the soundtrack on BandCamp.
It did pretty well for a solo developer with no Steam or other distribution mechanism. I think I sold around 20-30 copies at £10 each, which was big money for me as an indie dev back then!
I only stopped selling it because I had an odd exchange with an artist who was helping redo the GUI elements (for free) then stopped responding to emails. So the game was left in limbo with 20% new UI elements and 80% old. That’s going to be sorted out and the game will find it’s way on Steam with updated gfx!
This is really bad – but check out this horrid low res video I released in 2008 of the game in progress.
I’m sure you get the idea even if that doesn’t look very clean.
Newspaper Simulator Game
I’ve written a backend engine for a Newspaper simulator game that we are messing around with right now.
The game is “working” but I don’t have any visuals to show yet as it’s all back end stuff. However I’m hoping to announce a release date in February once I get a feel for how long it takes to create a proper scenario.
But the gist of the game is that you’ll be the editor of a series of newspapers deciding which stories to run and which opinions to put forward. All whilst trying to keep the paper selling and not upset the owners too much!
It’s working title is “Tabloid” and, again, I hope to be announcing more of this soon. However I did tweet this not too long ago…
A Programming game – currently untitled!
Oh gosh I’m very excited about this one. I’ve never made a programming game before but I’ve been chipping away at an idea I had late last year and it’s taking shape.
I’ve always been a big fan of games like ShenzenIO and ExaPunks by Zachtronics. This is going to have some similar elements but won’t be level based, it’ll be more of a living world. Again more to come later but not for a while probably.
I can leave you with this cryptic whiteboard scribble though. Not much to go on but maybe someone will guess what I’m making…
Finally, a word on Space Farmers 2
We’ve literally attempted to create Space Farmers 2 5 times over the last 5 years. One attempt per year. Each attempt has been different – you can read about some of them on this blog.
The big thing that always stops us is the networking. We always think we have it licked, then *boom* we get stopped in our tracks.
That doesn’t mean we won’t get there in the end though. We keep trying and our next attempt is approaching. Rich is currently heading this one up and has some neat ideas to give the whole game a fresh perspective whilst maintaining what made the first space farmers game a space farmers game.
Believe me when I say no one is more frustrated that the game never gets finished than us. But I really think this year is the year that stops.
So in summary…
New Tribloos content coming in February!
Pioneer to be steam released in March/April
“Tabloid” (working title) release pencilled in for June/July
Programming game (no title yet) pencilled in for before end of year
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!
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…
First off a big thank you to everyone who has bought the game so far on BigFishGames.
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.
I think the Tribloos 3 Trailer is well overdue, don’t you? So here it is!
I was originally going to create a teaser trailer, then a story trailer and then a gameplay trailer. But they eventually ended up merging into a single trailer above. Look out for the game coming to Steam in the next few weeks!
The Marketing push begineth
Do you run or are aware of a games review site or youtube channel which you believe would like to share the Tribloos 3 trailer? Let us know and we will also send over a review code!
There will be further announcements on how to get your hands on the game and even one of our real life tribloos over the next few days. We’ll be running a contest, updating our Steam page in preparation and basically just sharing the heck out of it whenever and wherever we can.
As well as looking at our next project we am also preparing the demo version of the game for Steam. That way everyone can look forward to trying the game one way or another! It’ll be very sensibly priced of course…
Anyway, tell us what you think of the trailer. Get ready for release day which is pencilled in for the 12th of April 2018.
This being the third game in the series I wanted to do something a bit different and special. It needed to be something real and tangible.
So before this…
For Space Farmers we’d created Papercraft models of the two main characters. We did small ones and 6 large ones which we took to events. We actually had a hard time hanging on to them.
There was one instance back in 2014 when I left two large Papercraft Space Farmers next to someone else’s Occulus Rift overnight. When we came back the next morning there were two things missing and neither were the rift. Another time we were at Insomnia 52 (I think, I lost track of the numbers back then) and I remember spending a good 30 minutes politely saying “no” to a lady who was trying to blag one off us. They were too personal to me! I took ages making the plans and crafting them by hand.
Really what I should have done is Sold Them! But at the time I didn’t think that would make any money and it would have required me to tidy up the plans to make them presentable. Maybe we’ll make them public one day…
Wasn’t this supposed to be about Tribloos 3?
So when I was thinking about what I wanted to do this time it was obvious that Papercraft just wasn’t going to cut it. I’d toyed with the idea of making Tribloos styled items or toys before but very rarely got past the “wouldn’t it be nice” phase.
But this time, with the game almost complete back in November 2017 I decided to actually try it out for fun. So I contacted Mari at PictureToPuppet, an Edinburgh based group who turn child’s pictures into real life puppets. Check them out.
They’ve turned out fantastically, because they’re hand made they’re all slightly unique!
We’ll be giving them away as part of competitions and giveaways over the next few months! So stay tuned to the blog and, probably Twitter and Facebook.
Tribloos 3 is currently being checked out in intimate detail by Big Fish at the moment. I’m working on a new project as well as adding some final touches and prepping for marketing. So I thought I would take this time to share some of my personal thoughts on why I like writing Tribloos games.
I’ve spent about 3 years on Tribloos 3. That might seem like a lot, but in actual terms it’s probably only been about 4 months full time work for me. Someone asked me, about half way through development, why hadn’t I just re-skinned and expanded the Tribloos 2 engine. Why had I started almost from scratch again? It’s a good question, I think. I’m biased of course, but I thought perhaps others might want to know why too. So here it is, why I like writing Tribloos Games.
It’s 2014 and…
Space Farmers had been out for 4 months. We’d been working on it in the meantime, adding new levels and gadgets and other fun stuff. But despite various cool things happening (such as it being played by PewDiePie) it hadn’t performed financially as well as we would have liked. That’s quite depressing really, can you imagine what it’s like to have you game featured in a video that has had over 2 million views and your distributor reports back that it’s resulted in a grand total of…30 extra copies?
Yes that’s right, YouTube marketing officially doesn’t work, you heard it here. Okay that’s a big bold statement which begs to be explored. So more on that another time I think.
However we were a little dispondent about creating another game. I decided to take a step back and start work on a new Tribloos title. It’ll only take 6 months, I convinced myself.
But this time I want animations!
I’m torn about this statement. On one hand I’m pretty pleased with the animatics that are in Tribloos 3. I think they look awesome and add some depth to the world and the story. On the other hand they took absolutely forever to make.
It’s no surprise really but I’d made up my mind to focus on making my near-perfect Tribloos game.
That meant I couldn’t simply recycle all the old code from the second game. I had to attack the weak areas of that and build on the good bits. The good bits were, for me and many fans of the series, the characters and the “gotta get gold time!” gameplay. I decided I wanted to add some more intelligence to the workers. This in turn would lead to more possibilities in the engine and what you could do in the game.
I quickly sat down and started writing out a plot for the game based on an idea I’d had at the end of developing number 2. The gist being that one of the Tribloos gets “Tribb-napped” (oh how I lolled) and you have to rescue them. This led to a whole host of new area ideas as the remaining Tribloos could split up and go after them.
They could split up!?
That meant there were going to be sections of the game where you could legitimately play various areas at the same time. So after completing the first area you’d be let loose on areas 2, 3 and 4. After completing all of those you could attempt 5, 6, 7 and 8! 9 And 10 would be in order but I was still pretty pleased with this idea. And it’s stuck until the end.
The challenge here has been to implement a “what happens now” function at the end of each area. If you’re playing the game from start to end then it should be smart enough to pick the next area for you.
That’s something I’ve only had to worry about recently now I’m in the end stages of development. I always enjoy doing the story based stuff when writing tribloos games! Not that I didn’t enjoy adding the 30+ functional buildings to the game.
Now because there are more environments there are fewer levels per environment than before. This has been an advantage because I’ve been able to keep them more interesting progression wise than the previous game. But as you can see this new game is absolutely packed to the brim of new buildings and obstacles.
So, why do you keep writing Tribloos Games?
It’s 3 years well spent. I’ve been full time contracting, moved house, met many new friends, lost old friends and brought a new baby girl into the world. It’s been a roller coaster ride and the Tribbs have been right there with me.
When I first started submitting games to BigFishGames back in the late 2000’s I had some really great feedback from the guys there. I submitted a couple of games. One was a tetris like block building game. The other was a sokoban clone – although I maintain to this day I’d never seen Sokoban before writing it!
The Tribloos are a special bunch for me. It was my first game series to sell several thousand copies, sure, but the big thing was this: People really seemed to like it. I got even better feedback on the second game. The bigger question is why did I stop?
Uhm, so why did you stop?
I attempted to push The Tribloos 2 onto mobile users a few years ago (2013) and it flopped. F2P had just started to strangle the mobile market and I, like many other game devs of that time, fell foul of it. We had no interest in fleecing people for in game items that could be used only once or for cheats to make levels easier. And so our games fell by the wayside…
However I always knew I wanted to make another Tribloos game. I think this one will do pretty well, it’s definitely by far the best game in the series so far. I don’t plan to stop here either. As long as people enjoy them I’ll continue to write Tribloos Games til the end of my development days!