Hi everyone! Currently we've been out looking at properties, working on the Collapsus weekly builds, putting the finishing touched on a game jam game that went a smidge over time called MOTION.rest (it's now hopped to this years Kentucky Fried Pixels jam), and putting more work into CaveWorm, Radarkanoid3000, and Burst Lancer. There's really not too too much to talk about on those fronts, though. There is something very topical we wanted to touch on this week, however: the death of Steam Greenlight and what that means for Collapsus! After that, some other bits of news.

From its very inception, Steam Greenlight has been a decisive program to say the least. We popped on Greenlight pretty late in the game. I believe that Steam Direct, the service planned to replace Greenlight now that it's dead was announced in the same week we submitted Collapsus. It was, well, tough.

One of the things we learned from Greenlight was that more often than not, a game (especially puzzle games) were met with anger, skepticism, and trolling. With the poor reception Collapsus had initially received, at first we thought that it was us; maybe we had misjudged the quality of Collapsus. Thankfully, after poking around many, many other Greenlight pages (and talking with quite a few current and former Greenlight devs) we found that that was just how Greenlight had become. This was more than likely due to a lot of shovelware and vaporware that pushed its way through the system.

Fortunately we did manage to get successfully Greenlit in the 11th hour after a couple very strong weeks leading up to Greenlight closing down. We just want to give a HUGE thank you to everyone who voted and shared! We really couldn't have done it without you!

What will come of Steam now that it's gone and Direct will take its place, though? Really, I'm pretty sure it's too soon to tell. The barrier for entry is $100, same as the submission fee for Greenlight, so who knows if it will keep out the shovelware (although Valve has said that the uploaded games will be curated and moderated more closely now).

Just something to think about... either way, it's great to know that, once done, Collapsus IS making its way to Steam! So, on to other news!

On the 12th, Lance and I were invited to go up to Future Awesome Camp, a STEM-based summer camp in Columbus where we got to give some great talks to some aspiring game developers! It was a really cool camp. They had robotics, programming, fashion, design... all sorts of things for young budding minds. It even helped spark an inside joke about modeling rocks! Good times! We hope to work  with the programming director, Malia, again very soon!

Afterward, we got to hang out with some of the Multivarious and AbleGamers teams since they invited us to come in and see their space/ hang out while we were in town! Oh, speaking of giving talks to game devs...

Tomorrow, on the 29th, I will be giving a Skype lecture "at" Louisville Makes Games about the business side of indie development. In many ways, this is part 4 of a series that I'd been working on since 2013. See, back when we first went to Pandoracon, I gave a talk about how to be an indie game developer, then, when we returned in 2016, one of the talks I gave was the sequel, revising and expanding from what I had learned having actually established a studio. After that, a few months ago, I gave a couple talks at Vector which were on raising funds for starting your studio and what to expect in your first few years... now we have this!

To be honest, it's not like I'm expecting anyone from these other talks to be there for this one or anything, but it's kinda nice to think of it a a series in my head. Maybe if I give more talks I the future, I can keep this train rolling!

After that, on July 7th-9th, we'll be at Indy PopCon again! We'll have the latest build of Collapsus, our buttons and stickers, and will even have t-shirts for you to buy! We may also have a tablet version of Radarkanoid and MOTION.rest as well, but we're not 100% on that... which leas us into later today (I'm typing this out at 7am). Later on, we're having a big Cave Worm meeting to see if there's anything that can be done for Indy Pop this year. We've been doing a meeting every month or so for the past few months and we're pretty sure we're moving along nicely. So, keep you fingers crossed!

Lastly, since I hadn't made a blog post about it yet, we were in the Cincinnati Enquirer! The article is mostly about me even though other teams members were there during the interview (that's what I get for not keeping my yap shut) but it's a really interesting look into the history of Wraith. It's written in a way you may not expect (we certainly weren't expecting it) and we hope you find it edutaining! You can read that here: http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2017/05/25/living-his-dream-vomit-and-video-games/344903001/

With that, I'm off! Hope to see you all at Indy PopCon!
Hey everybody! Sorry it's been so long since the last blog post. I'd written a draft for one last week, but decided to scrap it. On to pf that, we were going to have some guest writers come if for the blog a few times before that, but we had some scheduling problems. So. Yeah. This post today will be all about the progress of the Collapsus weekly builds so far! Let's jam!

Right now, as of the time of the article, we are 13 weekly builds in and are releasing the 14th probably tonight. I'm going to attempt to ouch on most of what's been getting added and changes since the last build we had for events and the weekly's themselves (especially since we know that far more of you have played at events as opposed to on itch.io)

There have been numerous big fixes (some bugs generated by the new code funnily enough, but that's to be expected), tons of graphical changes, new modes, music (finally), and some mechanical changes. Let's go over those one-by-one, shall we?

The weekly builds have a LOT of new content you may not have known about! 

So, I can really only be brief on the bug fixes. Mostly because they are rather technical, boring, and I don't quite remember all of them. There were sever glitches involving things rotating when the shouldn't or not rotating when they should, menus taking you to the wrong location (or not taking you anywhere at all), particle effects acting weird, and a sprites remaining on the screen after the field transitions to another scene. Not really any of these were game-breaking, but they sure were annoying.

As for graphical changes, oh man, were there a TON of them! Heck, the graphics have even changes wildly during the development of the weeklys. One of the biggest obstacles was having an interface for the gameplay to rotate even on a desktop computer. Now, this was always something we were going to have to tackle, but it was really our trial by fire, so-to-speak. We opted for a widescreen background (starting with an awful grey placeholder and gaining a cool, dark-toned dot background) with the gameplay in the middle and rotation buttons on the side. Hey, it works!

This is NOT a mockup! Yup, our baby is all grown up and pretty!

We finally added an animation to the Jolt power-up as well. We also re-added the Void power-up animation which had been missing from the game after Geoff left and Mark picked up the project. The Chain power-up now also has an animation (a quick white flash), followed by rainbow score text and a visible combo multiplier (mainly because no one seemed to know what Chain actually did before). We also made it when the menu buttons are clicked, they have particle effects like broken blocks (since they are styled like blocks). This was a little something stolen from Megaman X (well, sort-of). It helps get people familiar withe the breaking mechanic before even playing the game!

Teaching the player before even starting the game!

The biggest graphical change, however, was a major graphical overhaul involving nearly every graphical element! Hot dang! Blocks, power-ups, text, and most of the GUI! Funny thing is that I bet not a lot of you noticed. See, this was done 2 fold. The first reason was to make sure all of the images were sized properly to be scalable in HD. The other was for a much bigger reason. See, I had a mock-up that I'd been using since 2012. I would keep it in Photoshop and change it as graphics changed. You may know it as the "7350" mockup, since that's the score displayed on so many of the images we've showed off for Collapsus in the past.

Awful background, not HD, looks nothing like the mockups

Anyway, it seemed that no one programming the game (6 programmers across 11 years, mind) were interested in implementing the graphics the way I'd actually designed them! Well, luckily, I was able to sit down with Mark and, with come considerable edits of my own and a bit of time in the engine for him, we made the last couple builds nearly indistinguishable from the mockup! All it really took, at the end of the day, was poring in the mockup at 50% opacity and then lining everything up with that in engine... but to make sure everything worked well in HD, we had to do a bunch of math. The results are amazing, though, so we can't complain!

THIS is a mockup. See the "7350"?

Enough of that, though. On to the new modes! In addition to the 2 harder difficulties, "Expert" and "Diabolical", we now have a grand total of 14 Special (or "Challenge", depending on the day since we keep waffling back and forth on the name) modes out of 25! There were supposed to be only 20, but it's us we're talking about... did you every think we were even capable at stopping at just 20?! Those modes include:

Virus: Slowly depleting score
Obsidian: Blocks with counters become Obsidian
Meltdown: Obsidian blocks that have counters count down to game over
Fatigue: Block meter does not replenish after level-up
Chroma: Split color blocks in addition to “regular” blocks.
Flux: Gravity changing field rotates clockwise
Shake-Up: Blocks can be shuffled at will (like the Shuffle powerup)
Flip-Out: The screen can be flipped at will (like the Flip powerup) but not rotated
Acidic: All standard blocks are Chameleon blocks
Heavy: Docked blocks become Obsidian blocks when picked up.
Axis: Special mode allows gameplay to rotate counter clockwise at will
Spectre: A blind mode where you can’t see how many breaks you have
Wizard: When a block is clicked, instead of breaking it, it shifts to the next Chameleon color
Warlock: Opposite of Wizard, Acidic mode but you tap to change Chameleons to normal blocks

Yup! That's a lot of Special modes, and the rest are very close to being done as well.

Next is another huge change: we finally have, wait for it... MUSIC! Glenn has been really hard at work making a full soundtrack for Collapsus. I believe he has 6 songs done so far. They're crazy awesome! He's still working on a title theme, since we're ditching the one that we're using right now (and used in the old trailer). He didn't make it and so it didn't really fit with the others (and most of the Wraith team members are sick of hearing it). Glenn is still keeping several elements of it, though, because it did get a lot of praise at several of the events we went to.

We also had sound effects for a while. Those were made by me and not Glenn... and, quite frankly, they sucked! Glenn offered to go back to the drawing board with me, so that's nice of him. They will probably sound like they fit the tone of the rest of the sound design now. I'm not an awful sound designer (I did all of the Radarkanoid sound effects, for example), but my style really didn't fit with Collapsus. Glenn will do a much better job than I did, I'm sure.

Yeah, look at all THAT new content!

We also made some gameplay tweaks/additions. For one, we have a new Karma powerup, which clears the board of those pesky Chameleons blocks. It comes and goes (and no, I will NEVER get tired of making that joke). We also tweaked "The Bag" (the algorithm by which blocks spawn) to be a bit more fun (less Nova blocks, for instance). The weeklys also saw the introduction of the Shuffle powerup, which does exactly what you think it does, Split blocks for certain modes (they're really fun) and Obsidian blocks in a couple other modes that only clear when they reach the (true) bottom of the screen. We even have a Time-Freeze powerup! As you can probably tell, much work was put into making cool new Special modes. Rest assured, there were some balancing and power tweaks in the normal modes here and there. Luckily not much else needs to be done on that front!

Needless to say, we've been busy! Heck, Kristy's been working on the puzzles for Puzzle mode. She's got a huge chunk done, and we haven't even implemented that mode yet! This is all while she's been working on Radarkanoid3000 and our game jam project, MOTION.rest. It can't take much more time now!

Well, that's all the news that's fit to print for this week (and it sure was a long one). Hopefully next week will be about MOTION.rest or our latest newspaper interview. Either way, catch you then!
Two weeks ago (the 21st) marked our second year going to EKU Gaming Institute's Vector Conference. Unlike last year (read about that here: http://blog.wraithgames.com/2016/05/a-day-at-vector.html) where it was me and Steve making the trip to Richmond, KY, I was joined instead by Natalie and Adam (they seem to be kinda my go-to team for events, it seems). While we only got to go down for Friday (it was a two day event), we certainly had a great time! 

Vector is a little different from the events we usually go to. Instead of it being a bunch of professional indies showing off their projects to potential customers, it's all about showcasing student games and panels of industry professionals giving talks to other developers. Funnily enough, last year at Vector is where we picked up our Collapsus programmer, Mark!

The main point of going this year was for me to give a couple talks about what it's like running an indie game studio as a small business and what to expect in your first few years (abbreviated, thankfully, as "Jay's Studio Talk" in the program). It was some great turnout and It was my hope that it helped some people! 

There were tons of other great talks this year. Many were by our friends Leonard Wedderburn (@ktp4life), AJ Ryan (@ONLYUSEmeFEET), Jarryd Huntley (@JarrydHuntley), Alex Bezuska, (@alexbezuska), Allen Brower (@ambocclusion) and Ben Thornburg (@benthornburg) (maybe even a few of our other friends, but man there were a LOT of talks!) 

IGDA Cincinnati, RunJumpDev (two organizations we're proud to be a part of) and Louisville Makes Games (an awesome charity whom we created Radarkanoid to help support: http://blog.wraithgames.com/2016/07/radarkanoid-out-now.html). Our friends George Landon (@GeorgeVLandon), Amanda Wallace (@barelyconcealed), Olivia ( @red_sorrel), David Cannon (@dmcannon27), and Leonard Wedderburn (again) ran the thing! How cool is that?! Heck, this year the were apparently sponsored by IdeaFestival, that awesome educational event we went to last year! (Here: http://blog.wraithgames.com/2016/10/a-bright-idea-festival.html

We also got to show off Collapsus a bit (Mark IS a student after-all), though again, that wasn't the point of us being there. We did find some hilarious bugs in the current weekly build, though!

Vector was awesome! We got to see so many of our friends, play so many great student games, and give/see so many great talks! We're very much hoping to be back next year... we can only dream about how much cooler it will be then since this event keeps growing! 

If you saw us there, let us know! We'd love to connect with you!  

I'm not certain how else to open up this discussion than simply asking the question that inspired it: Am I the only one getting tired of the score seven out of ten being the new “average” score? I mean, if I'm honest I'm completely disenchanted with the idea of giving numerical scores to media to begin with... and Metacritic is the biggest reason for that. But, that is a WHOLE other discussion that may or may not be brought up at a later date.

Seriously though... how a seven the new “average” score? Last I checked, in a range from one to ten, five is the median number and the ACTUAL MATHIMATICAL AVERAGE between those two numbers. I don't even need to comb through the recent titles to be released and scored to prove my point. Look up any title online with your favorite site. Go on... I'll wait...

...got it? Awesome. Now, look at all the sevens. Not sixes or eights. The sevens. Note how many are just seen as “alright” games. Not good. Not bad. Just-- average. And that's fine! Really. It's not bad to be average. In fact, I just stated that. It's alright to be average. Not everything can be above and beyond. And I can even argue that we need bad games too... again, another discussion for another time.

In fact, look at all the ones given by whichever site you selected. I bet there's more ones than any other number under five. Hell! I beat most sites have more ones than fives for their scores. And this is the issue! There's no gradient. Reviews have become an environment of extremes. And I think it comes from the fear of being blacklisted by publishers, along with the thought that a ten represents the idea of a “perfect game” and-- I'm sorry. There isn't one. Not matter how much you love again, it can't be perfect. A game can be the best it can become, but never perfect.

My point is this: We need more variation in our scores. Not just from the games themselves, but from the sites that critique and judge them for consumers. It's an important metric used by people looking to purchase games, so maybe we should handle that kind of information with the respect it deserves. A five is a respectable score to have if you're an average or mediocre game. Critics CLEARLY know the scale they are one if you look at the ones and sevens, but I don't think we should forget two through six is all I'm saying.

A note from our army of legal zombies: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors and forum participants on this web site do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Wraith Games or official policies of Wraith Games.
Hey everyone! Sorry blog posts have been fewer and farther between. We've been working on getting Collapsus finished (and Greenlit) as well as working actively on Cave Worm, Burst Lancer, and Radarkanoid 3000. Couple that with the last couple events we did (and are planning on diving right back into more) and you can see why we have our hands full! Well, speaking of those events, today's blog post is all about the events we just came from: The Ohio Gaming Brigade's Dayton Designed: UDCon Edition at the University of Dayton (man that's a mouthful!) and St. Patrick's Day at the Municipal Brew Works. Let's jam!

So, let's start off with OGBDDUDCE@UD (we'll just say UDCon from now on). A couple weeks ago we went to the University of Dayton for UDCon, which is a little university convention held by their tabletop gaming group. Now, keep in mind that we don't really have much of a connection to UD, but luckily, our friends over at the Ohio Gaming Brigade certainly do! See, OGB was founded after members of that UD group graduated and wanted to keep doing wheat they were doing "in the real world" (man, I hate that phrase), so OGB was born (or so I'm told)! You may remember OGB from when we attended their first Dayton Designed (more on that here: http://blog.wraithgames.com/2016/11/madness-4-events-in-3-weeks-dayton.html). Seems that they liked us enough to invite us to this as well (and good thing, too, because these guys are awesome).

Unlike the first Dayton Designed, this was a 2 day event up at UD and, gotta say, even though it felt like less people stopped by than last time... it was so much fun! It really feels like we've made some great friends within this little community. We even got some people who'd played at the last event (and potentially others unconnected to OGB... it was unclear, but it seemed like they were hinting at it). Either way, it was a blast!

We were even featured in an article on Dayton.com (here: http://www.daytondailynews.com/lifestyles/tried-board-games-from-ohio-designers-and-here-how-they-rate/EvkSOopEjk48BCKtSklQKP) written by our new friend Josher Lumpkin.

A couple days after that, we headed literally downstairs to the Municipal Brew Works (yes, our studio is above a local brewery) and took part in their St Patrick's Day festivities. The place was packed, but boy did we get some great reception!

We even put on what we called "The True Irishman Challenge" (a little play on the "No True Scotsman Fallacy"), where, like at most events, we challenged players to beat Level 5 of Collapsus on hard mode, but instead of putting them on a waiting list for a t-shirt, we gave them a free beer! Only one dude was rad enough to do it (though many, many tried).

All-in-all I'd say that this was a terrific start to our events year! On the 27th we're headed to an IGDA Cincinnati event and then in April it's back to Vector! It's not even the end of the first quarter and we've got 8 or so events lined up for the year already... we're going to really pack them in! Considering we're trying to have Radarkanoid 3000, Cave Worm, Burst Lancer, and (of course), Collapsus all done this year, we're rally looking at having a great year of content all around! Hope you're all ready!
Hey everyone! Last week we were visited by our friends from over at the Game Over Game On Podcast. Let's talk about that!

Natalie and I first met them at when we were presenting at LexPlay last year and were featured on one of their episodes (here: http://gameovergameon.podbean.com/e/lexplay-2016-with-jay-kidd-of-wraith-games)

Well, we met some of them, anyway. This time, we got to see Grant again and Jake and Paige (Elvish Gaming on YouTube) while Aaron and Justin stayed back in Kentucky. Unfortunately, while they did get to see me, Natalie, Kristy, Lance, and Steve; Thorne, Cody, Eric, Camille, Adam, Mark, and Rachel had to stay at home... well, this time, at least! Their newest episode talking about this trip is up on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tr3NhO743so

So, we started the day just hanging out at the studio. We got to talk a lot about games and their podcast as well as just life in general. 

Steve had to pop out so he could get to work on a project, so I took some time to show them around the Hamilton Mill, where our studio is. They got to see the Hamilton Heritage Museum, the old municipal court room, and the old holding cells upstairs (which we call "the spooky"). Man, we have a great building!

After that, we headed out to one of our favorite downtown restaurants, "Neal's Barque"! Then, after we ran into Kristy, we took a tour around the city! We went to "Monument Cabin", the "Artspace Gallery", the "Fitton Center", the "Lane Tech Center", and "Lemon Grenade Creative"!

After we came back to the studio, we were met by Lance who then blew everyone's minds with some of his awesome card art (and card tricks)! Then Natalie popped in and we spent more time talking. After we decided to have them record an episode the next time they were in town, Lance popped out and we all went to get food at another one of our favorite local spots, "All8Up Pizza & Hoagies"!

Unfortunately, our downstairs neighbors, "the Municipal Brew Works" were closed and the GOGO guys had to go without having a taste this time. Don't worry, though, they'll be back pretty soon! 

When they got back Paige did an amazing episode on Collapsus over at here YouTube Channel, Elvish Gaming (see that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkF_8EZL8dU&t) We're really glad it made such an impression!

Well, anyway, that's all we have for now, but you can see our newest SlideDB blog post here: http://www.slidedb.com/games/collapsus/news/collapsus-is-now-on-steam-greenlight-and-free-weekly-builds-are-now-live which is all about Collapsus being on Steam Greenlight! 

Catch you all later!