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July Recap

It’s been a pretty hectic month but we are progressing well with the game. Big leaps in UI and overall performance have happened this month as well as extending secret areas. We have multiple cut scenes and a much clearer direction for the final demo we intend to release in the next two months.

We have had to sacrifice most of the old programming, this was linked to previous members of the team which we found too challenging to re-work so an overall has happened and continues to progress in terms of objectives and gameplay.

We have been focusing on set pieces like the one below, which includes mini games and bringing some of the stores to life. the below video shows a work in progress fortune teller machine, which on completion will read your fortune and act as a modifier to gameplay. Fun fact –  Iving (the monkey) is part of an old project a few of the team members worked on so we thought it would be cool to include him! Actually, that wasn’t fun at all, apologies.

In addition to the above we are working on a gameplay scene within the laser tag area. This will be the core focus from now until September as it will highlight the direction of the game and uniqueness of each store. We may bring more machines to life in the arcade too during this period.

The screenshots above are of selected areas and points of interest now in the game. We have a holographic Nutcracker within the laser tag arena, an opening point of interest and the last slide is a teaser to expanded areas waiting to be found. More details about this coming soon!

The UI and inventory system has long needed an overhaul so the team have been busy implementing this over the past month. Although still work in progress visually, we now have the mechanics in place to pick up and sort items as well as inspect them. The functionality will be expanded later to include usable items and tools. 

To accompany the above, we have been working on a main menu and loading screen and intro will be coming next month. Again, this is work in progress but a small teaser is below.

The Nutcracker is still having an AI rework, which will boost performance and allow real time kills/captures as opposed to what is currently on offer which sets the kill as a video. This is too performance heavy currently due to constantly updating target points he can move to and loading in a video on capture is not optimal.

In the next month we have a few events which are 

  • Dundee Pitch Practice (Tranzfuser) – 7th August
  • BAFTA event (GTW) – TBC
  • Comic-Con Wrexham – 21st August

The week ahead will see us finalise small details around our pitch and game so we have something to show off for these events. We are also keen to provide a small demo for the 21st August, which we may open up to a wider audience post event (or simultaneously) depending on progress. This will not reflect the main game but will be a collectable mini-game in the environment with possible prizes to be won! Keep an eye on our socials for upcoming details.

With EGX confirmed as the 22nd -25th September this year we will certainly have a demo by then. We are committed and focused to make this the best representation of our game going forward and look forward to releasing the demo to people signed up to the Alpha sign up at this point for those who cant make the event.

In the mean time we will post some updates through the month and have a re-cap at the end again on here.

Thanks for sticking with us!

Ryan

June Recap

Apologies for being less active on here! (and social media) over the past few weeks, this is because we have been participating in Tranzfuser and game Talent Wales events as well as dealing with the onboarding process for them.

We wanted to share our progress over the past few weeks and what we have planned in the immediate future. The first of which was implementing a basic menu with real-time background. This is intended to be placeholder as we wanted to use sequencer to make something more cinematic so expect change in the below but it is easily modified.

We have also been focusing on lighting as per screenshots on videos shared on social media. This is an ongoing process but its already looking much better than before. We have added fog and dust particles to the scene and will now focus on making areas darker or lighter based on tone of the store or area. If you missed it, here’s a video of the new lighting (currently still being worked on). The fog makes visibility less clear and emphasises the red light of the chasing Nutcracker however, we are undecided to keep this feature moving forward.

The kill animation at the end of the above video will be changed to something more creepier as we move up the intended age range from 7+ to a revised rating of 11+. The reason for this is that as we intend to launch on Steam we realised that to even have a Steam account you need to be 13+ and although children will always find a way round this, it does give us more flexibility in the content we can make going forward. Ben will be working on new captured animations to replace the current one in the coming few months. 

HIRES

We are currently working with contractors for both Art and Audio. These will provide the team with expertise in these areas which we are lacking. We cannot name them due to incomplete work but will do so when everything is ready. However, we can list the areas they are working on. These include:

  • Cover Art
  • Merchandise Art
  • Lore related Art
  • Main Menu Music
  • Arcade Ambience

We are looking for an additional programmer to help adjust AI in the near future and will announce this once we get someone. In the meantime we may share finished work on social media when they start being completed.

Above is a rough sketch currently in progress which shows the Toy Store mascot Bailey who is undergoing a revamp.

LORE EXPANSION

We know a key part of our game is lore and how we deliver the lore will be the making or breaking of the game. As such this is a key area being focused on now. We have a list of ‘victims’ of the Nutcracker as well as missing items related to them to be found in the mall (and beyond). The artists are currently working on items belonging to the toy store both from the present day and old. You will be able to find retro toys, personal belongings from the missing and clues too their disappearances within the area. Your task is to find the items and work out what happened to them and the motives behind them. 

One thing we can tell you is that although we have a mall area this does not mean we are limiting ourselves to such an environment. Secret areas are waiting to be found and the eventual area will be much bigger than you imagine, as long as you can find the way to access them.

The above may sound cryptic but we believe telling everyone our ultimate plans would spoil the surprise. 

PLANNED MINI RELEASE

We plan on releasing a very small release of the game in conjunction with an upcoming event. This will be a 2 minute timed event where you must collect a number of items within the time period. The core mechanics of the game will be present and there will be prizes for the winner of the competition.

The plans for the event are as follows (subject to change)

  • 2 minute time limit to find as many of the items provided
  • Avoid being caught during this time
  • Find secret areas to gain bonus items/objects

We wanted to showcase the mechanics and discoverable items in a fun way without revealing everything. There will be secrets hidden with no clues given, allowing the player to discover and try new ways of unlocking them which will feature prominently within the game. 

A very small example of this can be found in the video below (apologies for UI etc as work on this has just started)

JULY WORK

The coming month will see the team complete or start the following

  • Animation overhaul
  • Objective implementation (old system being scrapped)
  • Artwork finished from contractors
  • Seasonal items added
  • Hidden areas worked on
  • AI overhaul

We know we are some way off where we want to be but have solid plans and realistic scope to provide a good experience by the time we have major showcase events in September.

Keep an eye on our socials for more content in July

TikTok

Twitter

Thanks for reading!

Ryan

Tranzfuser and Games Talent Wales Announcement

We are happy to announce we are part of two exciting programs which will take place over the summer in Tranzfuser and Games Talent Wales. Both of which give indie game companies assistance in making their games and a sustainable company long term. This is a great opportunity for both exposure of the game as well as a great learning opportunity going forward. Future updates over the summer will highlight our activities in these events and we have already been busy attending events and meetings surrounding this.

So far we have attended talks by industry professionals who have given us great advice as well as attending an in person event showing our progress so far in the form of a showcase at Yellow and Blue in Wrexham.

Through these programs we are looking forward to working hard and also having fun in the upcoming events. We have the following lined up with potentially more on the horizon

  • August 7th – Practice Pitch session in Dundee
  • August 21st – Comic-con Wrexham showing attendees our game
  • September 22nd- 25th – EGX (TBC)

Participation in programs like these help us with funding and expertise and we hope to emulate the many success stories which have come from them.

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