King Oddball 1.1.0 update and the Diamond Competition

King Oddball, released in September, has been received really nicely. The App Store rating is 4.7! We updated the game last week, adding the ability to replay levels and tweaked a bunch of levels to make the difficulty curve more coherent.

The real story with the update is the Diamond Competition we held. For once we wanted to arrange a competition which was all about skill and skill only. We decided to award a real diamond to the first player to beat the Hall of Diamonds, which is a new and overly challenging game mode we added.

To emphasize the level of challenge, let’s just say the competition expiry date of July 1st, 2013, seemed appropriate. None of us at 10tons has cleared Hall of Diamonds. We verified it’s theoretically doable by using our relentless autoplayer, which plays the game really bad, but at hyperspeed.

We announced the competition on December 12th. We couldn’t have been more surprised when we found a valid winning entry in our email inbox the next morning. But there it was, a perfectly legit screenshot of the completed Hall of Diamonds, with an authentic watermark.

We knew gamers always take developers by surprise with things like this. Gamers are always way more skilled and persistent as developers can imagine. So when creating the competition, we stretched our imaginations. Not enough though!

With permission, here’s a few quotes from the winner, who goes by the Game Center nickname Snooptalian.

”I really thought I was gonna be way behind in finishing the diamond levels. Figured somebody else would have done it first, but went for it anyway.”

”I played the new levels on an off for probably 6 hours, restarting overall probably in the neighborhood of 500-600 times. Was able to get a lot of levels in one go, but some of the later ones had me close to giving up.”

”Some of those levels were down right evil, but I would get on a roll and just kept at it. Next thing I knew I had completed them all and it was 2:00 in the morning.”

”Only side effect is now I got the in game music soundly stuck in my head.”

”Awesome game, and a very cool contest. You can’t beat winning a real diamond for collecting virtual diamonds in a game.”

We’re sure Snooptalian will appreciate the oddness of the situation (which is very much what we we’re going for): Having a loose diamond and needing to figure out what to do with it.

This is the one, by the way:

And since everyone’s dying to get the game after such a heartwarming story, here it is:

Steam Greenlight and Crimsonland

The quiet period on 10tons Labs has hopefully ended, now that the summer vacations are done with and we’re powering into the last stretch of 2012. It looks like we’ll be busy.

We’ll touch on each topic when the time comes. The focus of this post is Crimsonland and Steam Greenlight.

As the most diehard fans have already discovered, Crimsonland is on Steam Greenlight.

Crimsonland is the very first game of 10tons, and without honking our own horn too loudly, it’s safe to say it’s a cult classic. I personally familiarized with Crimsonland just this summer, and boy did the quiet days fly by fast!

As far as twin stick (or mouse+WASD) shooters go, Crimsonland definitely features the gameplay to compete with the best of them. It’s… Hypnotic. The rhythm of gameplay is impeccable, as each session progresses from the leisurely start towards the hectic, twitch fest end.

As for Steam Greenlight, we’ve been intrigued by it ever since it was announced. Steam is surely a strong player in the Windows & Mac (and soon Linux) game sales scene, and Greenlight has the potential of granting indie developers a way in.

On the other hand, no one knew, and still doesn’t know, what the reality of Greenlight will look like. Which games eventually make it? Which factors are the key? Only time will tell.

For 10tons and Crimsonland, the goal is clear. We’d love to get the green light, as we’ve received so many fan requests urging us to release Crimsonland on Steam. We’d also love to update the game with Steam’s highscores and achievements, and throw in some new content.

And on that note, we’d definitely love to finally do Crimsonland 2, which we’ve had to postpone for far too long.

So please, upvote Crimsonland on Steam Greenlight. And as importantly, spread the word and ask your friends to upvote too. Every single vote counts.

Boom Brigade 2 updated to 1.1.0

The post-launch activity on an iOS game is pretty fast and convenient nowadays. Boom Brigade 2 was launched just eight days ago, and today the game was updated to 1.1.0.

The 1.1.0 update includes the usual bug fixes (and those were very minor bugs, mind you) and five new missions; two Survival missions and three Special missions. The difference between Survival and Special missions is that Special missions don’t include an objective to defend. It sounds like a slight difference, but in practice the distinction is clear.

My personal favourite of the new missions is the Special mission Incoming!, where the objective is to survive with a lone Trooper for as long as possible in a battlefield constantly bombarded by artillery strikes and swarming with aliens. It’s hectic, but you get to focus your attention completely to controlling the single Trooper.

We’ve also received some great reviews for Boom Brigade 2:

Touch Arcade 4/5

Apple’n’Apps 4/5

Boom Brigade 2 launchdate and Grim Joggers free

Boom Brigade 2 now has a launch date: The 21st of June.

In other words, the Thursday this week.

It’s set in stone. At least as much as things can be set in stone regarding game release dates in this day and age.

Following the news, the atmosphere at 10tons’ office immediately turned into a delightful mix of relief, happiness and yes, truly, excitement. I personally feel a bit giddy too.

Releasing a game definitely registers as one of the highest peaks in the emotional spectrum of game development, probably even eclipsing the rush of starting production on a new game.

But we must not get ahead of ourselves. Boom Brigade 2’s launch isn’t today, it’s in two days, and we’re going to be mighty busy.

We’re also delighted to announce the iOS version of Grim Joggers, our take on the endless runner, is now free until the release of Boom Brigade 2. Go grab it here!

Tactical Mode in Boom Brigade 2

Yesterday was a very physical one for us working at 10tons. We moved to a larger office, and discovered among other things that a lot of our furniture is made of solid wood instead of the Ikea style hollow wood elements. Solid wood furniture is quite heavy.

But the topic today is not furniture, but Tactical Mode.

In Boom Brigade 2, Tactical Mode allows the player to pause and resume the game at will. It’s not your basic pause feature though, as the player is able to issue orders to Troopers while the action is paused.

Issuing orders in Tactical Mode has many benefits. Obviously, the Tactical Mode button in the lower left corner of the screen is the perfect panic button; tap it and you’re safe to ponder your Trooper-saving moves. And you can issue said moves too.

Tactical Mode is also great for synchronised manouvers. Halt the action, issue orders, resume the action and watch the Troopers fight in perfect sync.

Tactical Mode also allows for perfect optimisation of actions for the economically minded player. It’s possible to keep every Trooper constantly occupied by commanding them precisely with Tactical Mode.

Finally, there’s the issue of becoming overwhelmed. In some missions the player is commanding up to five Troopers. Coupled with dozens and dozens of charging aliens, it’s a lot to keep track of. In these missions using Tactical Mode is a matter of survival.

Oh, and one more thing: In Tactical Mode, the Trooper weapon upgrades are shown. It’s great when the player has, for example, two Pyro Troopers, and has selected different upgrades for each. It’s not at all impossible to lose track of which one is using which, but with Tactical Mode, the matter can be checked instantly.

There is a video demonstrating Tactical Mode in action here.

Boom Brigade 2 submitted

For the past few weeks, 10tons’ office has been a whirlwind of activity. We’ve launched Puzkend for iOS and the Android version of Azkend 2: The World Beneath, and prepared the move to a larger office space.

Yet the excitement and anticipation has only increased, ever so steadily, as the main event of 10tons’ summer of 2012 has inched closer: The launch of Boom Brigade 2.

You may or may not be familiar with the original Boom Brigade. A short summary: Boom Brigade is a mash-up of line drawing and tower defense. Some players felt real-time strategy and top down shooter vibes, which is just as well. It’s as exciting a formula as it sounds.

Launched back in 2009, Boom Brigade broke into the Top 10 of the US iTunes App Store and did very well overall.

Developing a sequel to a hit game is always a bit nerve-wracking, especially when the environment and market have changed as drastically as the iOS/App Store scene has in the past three years. We take some comfort in that we sort of did this already this year; Azkend 2 is in many ways a traditional sequel to a hit. It’s bigger, more beatiful, more of everything, yet keeping the best loved features of the original. Azkend 2 has been received well by media and fans, so the principle seems as sound as ever.

And so, this is the story of Boom Brigade 2 so far. The gameplay basics are the same and there’s a bunch of familiar content (troopers, weapons, aliens). Then we added a full 30 mission single player campaign, Sniper trooper, weapons and aliens. Then we tweaked a lot of stuff. Test feedback has been positive, and the game feels great on an iPad (the iPad didn’t exist in 2009!)

We just submitted Boom Brigade 2 to Apple, and our hands are tingling. It won’t be long now, less than a month.

We’ll try to tell a bit more about the game and its development in the coming days and weeks. In the meantime, take a look at a brand new gameplay video here.

Posted in iOS