Little Racers STREET is nominated for IndieDB Indie Game of the Year 2013.
Help us by voting the game on http://www.indiedb.com/games/little-racers-street . You don’t need to create an account or log in to vote, it’s just one click!
In other news, the Steam version is coming along pretty well, we have Mac integration finished and Linux at 75%, and new content (new city and new cars) is around 50% done.
As you may have experienced, Avatar Farm! has a freezing issue that can occur anytime while you’re playing. First things first, our apologies for releasing a game with a bug as that one on it.
Now our excuses:
As some of you may know, the XBLIG platform doesn’t support official leaderboards, or setting up our own servers to store gamer data or provide services to gamers. For that reason, we use a custom P2P sharing scoreboard. This system works as follows: While you’re playing, network sessions are created from time to time, and other players playing the game at the same time join that session. Once joined, scoreboard data is shared between both players, and data is stored on both computers. After that, they disconnect and start over again.
Although quite dirty (too many connections, lots of repeated entries sent…), the system works, which is better than nothing.
Sadly, this environment is hard to test while developing the game: At most we can test with only a handful of consoles/computers sharing data. In this controlled situation, the system works fine and everything goes smoothly. But, once the game was made available on the Marketplace, literally hundreds of people are playing the game at the same time, connecting and sending data each other.
In this situation, some issue in our code arises and causes a total freeze: The only option when this happen is to reboot the console with the power button.
We’ve tried our best to reproduce the issue in our limited environment, to no avail: We’ve let a handful of systems running and sharing at an increased rate (around 100x the rate on the released version), and no freezes are found. So we’ve had to look for the issue “by intuition”, looking carefully at the source code and trying to guess what could be happening (since there’s no way to determine where is exactly the game freezing).
We’ve found some things that could be causing the issue, and fixed/improved them, but there’s no way to be 100% sure that we’ve fixed the freezings. So, to ensure you can keep playing even if we haven’t fixed it, we’re going to add an option to disable P2P score sharing.
Meanwhile, we have some workarounds you can do to avoid the freezings:
- (Only if you are using a wired connection) If you just unplug the network cable once the game has started (Xbox Indies need you to be online to start the game, but once started you should be fine), you won’t share scores with anyone so no freezing should happen.
- If you disable online play in parental control settings, you won’t be able to share scores as well and you should be safe (remember to enable it again to play other games!).
Since XBLIG doesn’t allow to submit an update until 7 days after a game is released, we won’t be able to submit the update until next Thursday. And once the update is submitted, there’s the usual approval process, which can take a week. So we expect the update to be available around Tuesday 23th.
We’ve been also notified of other issues, such as red screens or sound issues. Many of them are related with a bug in the loading process, which will be addressed in the update as well. This isn’t as usual as the freezings and in most cases you can keep playing.
We’ve received some complaints about plants rotting if you don’t attend to them. Although this is a game design decision, it seems that many players are upset with this mechanic, so we’ll be reducing its effect:
Currently, once a plant is ready to be harvested, it waits 100-150% (randomly selected) of its growth time until it dies.
We’re going to change it in the following way:
- A plant will take 150%-200% of its growth time until it dies.
- The minimum time until a plant dies will be of 12 hours.
So, for example an Aloe Vera now takes 10-15 minutes to die, it will take 12 hours. A pumpkin takes 2-3 days to die, now it will take 3-4 days.
We’re going to add a message when you’re quitting the game where you will be told when do you have to come back if you don’t want any of your plants to die.
We’ve seen as well that many people has leveled up way faster than we intended, there was some people at level 15 in just 7 hours of gameplay. We’re going to increase a bit the experience needed to level up on higher levels (around 25-50%), and more importantly, we’re going to lower the experience bonuses from fast-growing plants (such as aloe vera, cotton…) to 50% of their current value.
We’ll also increase the walk speed of your avatar, we don’t know yet the exact value, but expect an increase of 10-20%.
These are the main things we’re going to change in the next update. We’re going to add some new items as well, and maybe increase the level cap a bit, but we’re not sure yet.
Our intention with this game is to keep updating the game, adding new items and features to add more variation and gameplay elements to it, but we’re only doing it if it proves successful (we hope you understand).
The Milkstone Studios Team
After having gathered the feedback by users, we’ve been working on an update for Infinity Danger that fixes the most common issues found.
- Increased area size by 30% approximatedly
- Decreased player ship collision box size by 50%
- Added a red border so players can clearly see the arena limits
- Decreased a bit the needle and ballistic weapons effectiveness.
- Decreased laser beam opacity when it’s still charging.
- Increased a bit game performance on higher levels.
- If a slow frame rate is detected, the game speed is reduced a bit.
- Piece destructions don’t push the enemy to the borders as much as before.
- When the enemy is in the border of the arena, it will try to move to the center.
It will take some time for the patch to be available, expect at least one week from now.
During the last week, we’ve been gathering feedback and suggestions from users, in order to finish the first update and make a better game.
The things we’ve planned so far are the following:
- Fixed many P2P score issues, such as not properly loading data from disk or not sorting data on the high score list.
- Some people have experienced random lockups during play. We can’t tell for sure, but we’ve suffered from these as well and we’ve been trying our hardest to find the issue. Since it can happen on the game menu as well, we think it’s related to P2P score sharing, so it should be fixed as well.
- Fixed some minor graphical glitches
- Reduced difficulty of all the 1st quarter waves (So it’s easier for absolute beginners, and a way to rest after a sudden death)
- Increased “The Plague” wave difficulty (It was too easy to be a Sudden Death)
- Reduced enemies movement speed and projectile speed, in order to reduce the game difficulty a bit.
- Increased “Rinosaur Rex” wave difficulty a bit (Rather easy to be a Sudden Death)
- Reduced “Dinobikers Attack” wave difficulty a lot (Too hard to be a 1st quarter)
- Ask for a confirmation before exiting a game from the Pause menu.
- Added a new background, the Junkyard
- Added some basic instructions when the game starts, so people can learn the basic controls faster
- Added new wave configurations, one per quarter, to increase a bit more the variety.
We expect to finish the patch someday next week. Until then, we’re still open to suggestions and feedback.
Last week we showed you some concepts for our current project. We’ve been advancing at a good rythm and the game is almost finished!
The name is Zombie Football Carnage, in this game you’ll fight through several waves of increasing difficulty, grouped in matches. To slay the zombies and monsters you have three main weapons at your disposal: A football, a charged attack and a dash to escape from enemy attacks. While playing you’ll earn money, that allows you to purchase upgrades in the shop to reach further levels and get higher scores!
The game features 15 different enemies, each one with its own behavior, combined in more than 20 wave configurations, and more than 10 special weapons that you can use.
Here are the first screenshots for the game:
The church scenario
The Metro scenario
This is one of the biggest and best looking games we’ve ever done here at Milkstone Studios, and it shows off some of the improvements we’ve made in the engine during last months, so we’re proud of it :).
We expect to put the game into peer review some day next week. We’ll be posting more screenshots, boxart, info about the game and a gameplay video during the next days, so be sure to check it out!
As you can see, we’ve updated the website with a new template, designed to give faster access to the most important sections in the website, and to give a nicer first look. We hope you like it.
And now the big news! Thanks mainly to the incredible success of Avatar Ninja!, which is near to reaching the 70,000 sales mark, we’ve been able to leave our full time jobs and start to dedicate 100% to Milkstone Studios, developing quality games on Xbox Live Indie Games! We’ve even rented a nice little office to work in, we’ll post some photos so you can see what we use to do the magic!
The results of that extra time dedicated to the games should result in many benefits for you, such as:
- Faster development of games – We’re aiming to release a game every4-5 weeks.
- Bigger and prettier games
- More feedback during development – We’ll post work in progress concept art, screenshots and videos to let you know what we’re working on!
- More community feedback – We’ll be more active in our Facebook and Twitter accounts, and do promotions and contests more often. We’ll also update this website more often.
- Better underlying technology in our games – We’ve been improving the core engine during the last month, which should help us make games even faster and better performing!
- (Probably) Ports of our best games to other platforms, or at least a free demo.
- More Peer Reviews for XNA developers – Now that we have more time available, we’ll try to perform at least 2 weekly Peer reviews on the XNA site. If you’re interested in having your game playtested or reviewed, just tell us!
We are really excited with this new stage in the Milkstone Studios history, but we’re also a bit scared. Be assured we’ll do our best to release lots of high quality games during the next years! As usual, we’re open to suggestions, so please tell us if there’s something you want to discuss.
We’ve already started development of our next game (Not an Avatar-themed game this time!), we’ll post some pictures or videos as soon as we have something worth looking at.
Thanks for your encouragement during the last two years, we’ve been able to make our dreams reality 🙂
The Milkstone Studios Team.
In a few hours, the 2nd MotorHEAT patch will be put into peer review.
This patch features some minor bugfixes, and the P2P World rankings fix. This time for sure!
- Fixed P2P score synchronization when more than one hosting game is found.
- Fixed P2P score synchronization when the first gamepad doesn’t have online permissions, but another one has.
- Now the same song won’t be played twice in a row. Also the performance when starting a song should improve a bit (although there’re still some hiccups).
- Fixed big road signs not being shown.
Finally, after months of hard work, our beloved game Wool has entered peer review. We’ve put lots of care and love while making this game to ensure every player get as much fun as possible from this game (remember, it will be available at only 80 MP).
We’re currently working on the game trailer, by tomorrow we should have it finished and published on Youtube.
Trust us, you’ll like it. A lot. Even black sheep.
Wool’s entrance into the final phase is almost ready, a matter of days. Until now, you can see here two of the features that were added recently.
The first image shows the Versus mode, a competitive mode for 2-4 players where the goal is to keep as many sheep as possible on your zone, while trying to prevent other players from doing the same. Each white sheep gives one point per second when you’re controlling it, and black sheep give three points.
The number of sheep available can be configured, being the minimum around one sheep per player, and the maximum a total of 25 sheeps per player! Without any doubt, our favorite setting. This mode features 5 stages right now (the number could be improved before release), with variants for 2, 3 and 4 players.
Wool Classic mode
And the other thing worth mentioning is the Classic mode, enabled after finishing the solo or coop campaign. This mode allows you to see the game as if it were an old worn out movie. Don’t forget to bring some popcorn when starting a game with this mode enabled!
We are proud to present the first screenshots of Wool, the next game by Milkstone Studios for Xbox Live Indie Games.
Wool is a game with a single objective: Guide as many sheeps as posible to the pen at the end of the level. Obviously, this won’t be so easy: Survival is hard for sheeps with no sense of danger.
If you bark now, the sheeps will probably end up drowned into the lake
To reach this objective, you can use your sole presence, which causes some fear to the standard sheep, and your powerful bark, which makes most sheeps flee from you. But be careful, you don’t want a flock of sheeps running towards dangerous hazards.
Sheeps tend to go in flock, except when they flee
As anyone knows, sheep tend to group in flocks, so usually they can be guided without much problem when there is no danger… except for black sheeps. These sheeps tend to be more individual, and other sheeps don’t like them.
Don't forget about the time limit
Full version of Wool will feature a campaign with at least 30 levels of single and cooperative play for up to 4 local players, and a special versus mode, for only 80 Microsoft Points. Our estimations are that the game will be ready to enter the peer review phase in around a month.