Sunday, 28 August 2011

The making of Gloop Troops: The Lost Crown

Gloop Troops: The Lost Crown is now out as part of the Little Shop of Pixel titles on Spectaculator! here is our 'making of' for this game, which almost never got released!

The Lost Crown started development whilst we were finishing up the development of Gloop Troops. Whilst developing Gloop Troops, we found we were creating many more levels than what we had space for in the final game. Andy was continuously experimenting with both level design and what he could graphically achieve with our level tile set.

It was a difficult choice picking the final 30 levels for Gloop Troops. We knew that we wanted some tutorial levels for the start of the game, and so had to allocate around 5 or 6 level slots for those. These tutorial levels were designed separately and were crafted so that each one would teach the player one or two of the game's mechanics.

After picking the levels we wanted we for Gloop Troops we found that we had quite a few levels left lying around, and came up with the idea of doing a B-side game! The B-side game would be on the other side of the tape and would act as a Gloop Troops 1.5, a little something extra for those who we'd given a copy of the physical tape to. We'd also planned to release this B - side game shortly after Gloop Troops, so that anyone who enjoyed the game could have a little more to play whilst we went back to our adventure game.

We took a good look at the levels which hadn't made it into the final copy of Gloop Troops. Some of these levels re-visited themes which we thought were already included in Gloop Troops ( such as cycling up and down the screen ), some of them had their difficulty either a little too high or too low, and some of them looked similar to other existing levels.

Andy selected the 15 levels which he liked the most and set to work. Each level was to be re-skinned and fleshed out properly. As our set of levels within this 'lost levels' collection was reduced, we would be able to increase the number of graphical tiles available to each screen to give them all a more striking look!

Gloop Troops: The Lost Levels - Level 1

More space for tiles meant we could radically change the look of each level if desired.
Fewer levels meant more space for graphic tiles and tile configurations!

More custom tiles for each level!
We released Gloop Troops whilst we were still working on our lost level collection, now titled Gloop Troops: The Lost Crown. The game was finished and we created a small print run of tapes to hand out to some friends and family who'd put up with us talking endlessly about Spectrum hardware, and compressing code down into just a few K :-)

However, from the feedback of Gloop Troops, it was clear that whilst Gloop Troops was enjoyed as a game, there were some omissions which we'd either missed ( such as adding music / configurable keys ) or hadn't considered. Rather than release another game a month later, which felt similar to our previous game, we instead decided to tackle a full Gloop Troops 2. We also once again pushed our adventure game back until this was completed.

A year and a bit has gone by and Gloop Troops 2 has snowballed into quite an epic project! We're hoping to release it soon, but there's always one more feature to write or tweak. It has ended up resulting in a complete re-write of the Gloop Troops code base ( everything now has to work with the 128k memory pages )! So its development has taken a longer than initially planned.

When Jon contacted us about Spectaculator we thought it would be an excellent opportunity to re-visit Gloop Troops: The Lost Crown and to give it a unique release, and to also be a bonus for his emulator! We re-visited the game and made a few tweaks for iPhone controls ( such swapping name entry to left and right on the stick so that we could keep up as a jump button ). We also re-visted some of the levels as they were a little too tricky with touch controls ( specifically - there is a level which had a 2 block gap to fall through - this proved to be much too fiddly ).

We're very excited that The Lost Crown has finally found a home, and we hope that you enjoy playing it!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Little shop of pixels is now on the iPhone!

Thanks to the awesome work of Jon Needle, our games are now available as part of free iPhone version of Spectaculator!

But that's not all :-)

We've also provided our previously unreleased game as an exclusive for the emulator! Gloop Troops: The Lost Crown!

We'll shortly post up a making of for Gloop Troops: The Lost Crown and why it was previously unreleased in a future blog post!