Gemstone Keeper is out on the Nintendo Switch!

By the time you read this, Gemstone Keeper will be available for purchase on the Nintendo eShop in most of Europe, as well as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico and the United States!

Gemstone Keeper is an action twin-stick roguelike shooter where a brave explorer can traverse a large and mystical cavern to search for rare and precious gemstones. The deeper an explorer goes into the caverns, the more valuable gemstones that can be found, however at the risk of facing more of the dangerous and hostile creatures that live there, including creatures that are larger than life.

Armed only with a gun, explorers must break through rocks to collect minerals and gemstones and fight off the creatures, and find the portal that can help them go back up to sell what they collect or go further down.

Gemstone Keeper uses ASCII art in both a pure and diverse form, as almost every part of the game’s look come directly from text and symbols while very loose in form. The weapon and bullet system is fully interchangeable, over 150 gemstones to collect, several creatures and bosses, different game modes and a soundtrack that echoes through the open spaces in-between the rocky walls. Gemstone Keeper is the shooter that is both fun and eerie.

It is honestly just crazy for me to think that back when I started making games nearly 10 years ago, I wanted to make video games for one of the big consoles, and now I have achieved that goal! Any and all feedback will be great, and I’m just thankful for everyone who has helped in some way, from the SFML team for being helpful for technical issues I had, Vincent Rubinetti for coming on to produce the brilliant soundtrack, to Ironbell for reaching out to me with the idea of working together to bring SFML to the Nintendo Switch.

Gemstone Keeper: Playable at EGX

After many years of working on games, I can proudly confirm that Gemstone Keeper will be shown at EGX from the 17th – 20th October at the ExCel Centre in London, and it will be the Nintendo Switch version with both the single player Campaign Mode and the multiplayer Survival Mode. It will be part of the Tentacle Zone, ran by Payload Studios, alongside 17 other great indie titles.

There have been a few minor changes since it last appeared at Insomnia, however I do not intend to make anymore changes outside of bug fixes and other technical hitches as it’s getting closer to the end of the year.

I’m honestly excited, while I’m still a bit annoyed that the largest games expo decided to move to London (in a decision that not everyone was happy about), it’s been difficult to get an opportunity to show your work there. Next week I’ll be putting some time to make sure a demo build is ready that can handle hours of uninterrupted gameplay. If you plan to go to EGX, be sure to look out for the ASCII amongst the green tentacles!

I should also close off by giving my love to all the game devs who took part in Ludum Dare this year, I decided to hold off on taking part because of a lot of travelling I did the week before. I’ll definitely look at going back for the next one, especially since my hopes is that Gemstone Keeper will be on the eShop long before then.

 

Gemstone Keeper (for the Switch) for the Public!

Hello everyone! It’s been a while, but my game development focus has been majorly on Gemstone Keeper for the Nintendo Switch! Significant progress has been made to it, plus Ironbell and I (as well as feedback from devs of Naezith) have been continuing our work on SFML-Switch, fixing issues that we find. The submission process is currently in its early stages and with any luck there will be an announcement on its release later this year.

The biggest areas of progress to Gemstone Keeper that have been made is that the Switch release has a local multiplayer mode called “Survival” where up to four players can fight an infinite amount of enemies until the last player dies.

Another big change to Gemstone Keeper is that the graphics have been significantly upgraded to a higher resolution to accomodate with the Switch’s HD displays. While it might seem strange to do this, but the painstaking process of using much larger fonts to generate the textures in the game results in a significantly sharper display overall. To the untrained eye it might not appear noticeable, but when compared side by side or in a split screenview, the differences become crystal clear (pun intended).

Back in June, the Switch port had a public test run at the Retro Revival Festival in Walsall (where I was also selling some games from my private collection). Despite some major technical difficulties, I managed to get some good feedback and players to try out the game, so I’d say it went pretty well!

From the event I also got to speak to Chris O’Regan from the video game podcast group Cane and Rinse, and after he got to have a go at the game and got in touch after the festival, he invited me on the Sausage Factory to talk about the game, as well as my development background and games design! I had a good time talking, although I usually get nervous when speaking in a mindset of having an audience, I like talking about my work and how I feel about games that show a more technical aspect over an artistic or epic approach to them. So if you have under an hour to spare, why not try hearing us talk for a bit?

Gemstone Keeper Episode of Sausage Factory

But that was back in June, what about now or next month? Well I’m happy to confirm that Gamepopper will be returning to the Indie Zone of Insomnia Gaming Festival as part of their i65 lineup (for the first time since i60 back in April 2017). Both myself and the game will be there for all four days of the festival, but do also come down for the rest of what indies have to offer.

There will be one more event in the near future where players can try out Gemstone Keeper, however I’m going to hold back on announcing it until after the final details get sorted.

 

Final Stretch: Gemstone Keeper’s Release

Back in May, I made a simple demo for a University Thesis, now it’s less than two weeks away from being released onto Steam. This is such an exciting occassion for me, but also a nerve wracking one. If all goes to plan, Gemstone Keeper will be available on Steam on March 31st at 6pm GMT.

For the time being I will be working hard on polishing the game and getting the word out, I appreciate any help from that. There have been several updates from when the game was shown at LAGC, especially thanks to the feedback I got of the game from both GEEK Play Expo and GDC. Game has been balanced (repeatedly), boss battles have been redone and several bugs have been fixed.

I’d also like to give my thanks to Gemstone Keeper’s composer for the soundtrack, Vincent Rubinetti. He is probably best known for producing the music to the game INK, the colourful yet minimal platformer by Zack Bell. We’ve been in regular discussions both online and at GDC about the game’s music, and you can hear one of the tracks from the game’s brand new trailer above, I think it’s some brilliant work.

I’d like to thank everyone who has shown support for Gemstone Keeper over the last year or more, this game has been a huge milestone to conquer and I hope all those who try it will have a great experience.

It’s just amazing to think of how it all started…

Secret of Escape – Nearly Ready for Release

I’m happy to announce that Secret of Escape is now at the stage where release is on the horizon, so currently we are getting promotional content ready and getting a release date set so we can let as many content publishers and gamers know that we are coming.

Continue reading

London Gaming & Anime Convention and the Indie Zone Tomorrow

Just a quick reminder of what’s happening this weekend (5th-6th July). I will be showing off Secret of Escape in the Indie Zone along with 9 other awesome indie game developers and their awesome indie games! Alongside us indies, there will be Capcom, Ubisoft, Namco Bandai and GAME in the gaming area! There is also lots of anime, music, TV, film and web related events as well, so it’s a weekend worth going to!

Here’s the full list of indie games at the Indie Zone

More info on the London Gaming & Anime Convention

What have I been up to?

So the last month for me was pretty hectic, I’ve been updating some design elements for Secret of Escape and doing my software day job, both have been battling to take the most of my work and free time but I’m keeping at ease. ut also been doing some extra stuff. I figured that since it’s been a while since I posted on here, I figured I’d show you all the two main things that I’ve made, but till now have only been mentioned on either my Facebook page or Twitter.


A* Pathfinding: Because why not?

So the basic story of this one is that a colleague of mine who also studies games programming was trying to work on his own A* Implementation as well, but was struggling on parts of the algorithm. So I figured I’d try myself, since I too haven’t attempted to write my own version for some time. My first attempt at it was back in first year University, and due to the poor resources I ended up giving up. It’s also very worthwhile that I at least get a working implementation done since Secret of Escape also uses pathfinding for some of the enemies.

After about two days of looking through online resources (I highly recommend anyone interesting in building their own to read this article) and help from some very helpful folks on Twitter, I successfully got a working implementation!

The source code is up online, the application was built using LibGDX but with a bit of tweaking the pathfinder and node classes could be used for other Java based engines. The classes are commented with all the steps for clarity.

View the Source Code

Clean Commuter

This is a grid based puzzle game where you use commands and functions to control cars to get them to parking spaces. The game used three computers connected to a server so each player controlled a car. The purpose of the game was to teach basic concepts of programming, problem solving and teamwork, while adding a small message on environmental awareness. The game was made for a nationwide school event called Blue Fusion, which students from schools around the Hampshire area came to compete against each other by playing games like Clean Commuter in order to gain interest in science, technology and maths.

Untitled-0  Untitled-1

I was the project lead in a team of five, as well as the person responsible for the in-game graphics and most of the rendering using LibGDX. We worked on the game for over five months and we were able to complete the game in time for the week long event. Unfortunately, due to copyright and licensing, the game will not be available for download from me on any site, but I hope you appreciate these screenshots.

So after today, things should be slowly going back to normal. I should be giving a few updates on Secret of Escape within a few weeks or so, I’m also considering doing the Insanity Jam, which is a small games jam where you make a game based on whatever you receive from the random game idea generator with the Insanity option on for totally bizarre ideas. But for now I’ve got some work to catch up on.

Talk to you all later!