Monday, December 27, 2010

Systems resetting

Christmas has past - always a sigh of relief - and the new year is just up ahead.
2011 is starting off to be a busy one. Lylian Ep one still has an update to come out, which includes various translations and a few more distributors signed up to sell through.
Still looking into ports or a wrapper for the game onto Mac and possibly Linux. It's tricky to find something because the game is sold for so little, and it's expensive to port over.

A contract job starts early January, where I'll be creating a bunch of pixel art (I'm quite excited as it's a nice change from 3d animation and I'd like to broaden my services to mobile games). There's also a few other little contract that'll pop up here and there too which I'm excited about.
Lylian episode two will be worked on inbetween contract jobs as I need to pay the bills, keep the family fed and afford any specific contracting hiring on the game.
Also, episode 2 has a lot more in it compared to the first one, and changes made. So it's going to take a bit of work. :)

There's also a collaborative project I'm working on with a developer friend in Finland, looking forward to that coming together!

Thanks to everyone that has bought the the first episode, and those who will be buying. :D

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Translations almost done. And Episode 2 coming along

An update for episode one will be out soon. It includes translations to Spanish, German and French!

Also, Episode Two is in progress. A balance shift in combat and puzzles will be evident, including some changes to the combat itself. This reflects feedback from Episode One and also the story's development. Exciting stuff!
No date can be made of its release at this time.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In other news... Flick Buddies!

A good mate of mine has released his first game for the iPhone/iPad today. Looks pretty fun and I'll be giving it a good run at the first opportunity. :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Lylian: The Demo (part 3)

A demo is now available!

So if you've been waiting for a demo to test, you can grab it directly from the Shop. And soon from Gamers Gate and Game Arena.

Lylian: The Demo (part 2)

After spending a week on the demo level and having a few people playtest it. I've come to the conclusion that it's too confusing for the player whether they've played episode One or not.

The people that haven't played the game, and played the demo are confused with the changing areas (I wanted to play it out almost like a dream sequence crossed with a movie teaser). They're expecting the game to be the same and feel unsure about it.

The people that have played the game are confused because they're expecting something to happen at certain points, but something else happens instead. So it's hard to get into the mood of the game because they're constantly being yanked from all sides.

So, I'm dropping the special demo level and shall just offer the first few sections of episode one instead. This way no-one shall be confused, and people know precisely what to expect when they buy the game. :)
I am glad I gave it a go though, seemed like a great idea in my mind.

For those waiting for the demo before deciding to buy the game, it shouldn't be too far away now!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Lylian: The Demo (part 1)

I'm working on the special demo level for Lylian. It's a demo of the game, but a level specific to the demo (you like how I said the same thing, different but essentially the same?).
I've been trying to find a way to make it interesting for people that have already played Lylian Ep1, as well as for people who haven't experienced the game yet. So I've ended up making it a hint of things to come in the next episode. Emphasizing 'hint'.

The demo still has a ways to go, and is effecting development time of the next episode. But I think it'd be worth it in many ways. :)

The Missing Intro/outro animations Fix

If you can't see the intro and outro animations in the game (blank screen but can hear music), which is happening on certain video cards. Please send me an email and I'll arrange a new download for you with the fix. I wasn't able to create a small patch for this fix unfortunately.
Remember to add in your email the order number and where you purchased the game from so I can give you the correct link.

If you purchased directly from the Lylangame site (which is handled through Fastsprings) and want the fix faster, you can download again from there with your download link.

Please let me know through the above email if you still have trouble. :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A tour of the Pixelpickle Games studio

Welcome to the offices of Pixelpickle Games.

Here we have the development area, where most of design, through to release and marketing of the games happen. [notice the mirrored wall used to enhance the size of the environment]

And this is the security system currently in place.

Well, that pretty much wraps it up.

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lylian released! And an ATI hardware bug found.

Lylian is now out on the internets. And can be purchased for a measly $4.99US.

It's available for purchase at

Also at GamerGate where there's a Christmas special going on:

And Bigpond GameArena for the Australian crowd. :)

A bug has been found and is currently being worked on:
Some uses who have ATI graphics cards can't see the intro animation, although the rest of the game works fine.
So if you've purchased the game and can't see the intro, I know what the problem is and a fix will be available within a few days!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Viral rocks!

I'm seeing a lot of amazing support out there after the recent trailer, and really appreciating it!

The funny thing I'm seeing is people saying 'budget' and 'team'. Little do they know most of the game is developed by one person and the budget is whatever I can scrape together to get some specific jobs done from a very select couple of contractors.

Here's a few links of awesomeness:

Not to mention the awesome 'Likers' on facebook and tweets on twitter. A big thanks to everyone that's been passing on the links and spreading the word.

I still have a goal of releasing the game by end of this month. I've been living on 4 hours sleep per night lately... negatives haven't kicked in yet but I've noticed the alcohol is more effective.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lylian: Episode 1 Intro and game-play video is released

After a long few weeks the intro animation is complete. And a few days are spare to put the final touches on the game.

Here's the latest video with intro and some raw game-play footage.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A slow process

Began the slow process of rendering last night. 3 seconds of animation in 7 hours completed so far. Looking good although there are a few frames that will need redoing. Some issues just can't be seen until they're rendered.

This is a test frame of intro shot03.

The computers won't be turned off for the next 7 days or so I'd imagine.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Supporting role

When Lylian gets a hold of the spotlight, she doesn't let go. Well I guess she is the main star but there is a supporting cast.

Here's another hires character. This was the other character that Harsh Borah created for the cinematics. I've just finished touching it up and preparing it for animation.
Still plenty to do; the game itself is ready and waiting, but this is something I was looking forward to getting into.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cinematics are Go!

I started on these intro and outro animations earlier this year. But left them sitting idle until the majority of the game was complete.
Well the majority of the game is complete now and I'm pretty excited to get these cinematic animations going. Because I've made some changes in the game, the outro animation will be quite different to how I first planned it to play out.
So in this instance putting it off was a good thing!

The animations will be very minimal in characters and props, I'll be using a model of Lylian and another character that I contracted a friend - Harsh Borah - to model and texture some time ago.
 I need to keep it simple, so I don't get carried away and spend months on it and create slow rendering times. If I stick to the plan, it should only take a couple of weeks tops.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Supporting Thanks!

As also mentioned on the facebook page. I just want to give a big thanks for you all that have supported the development of Lylian so far. It means a lot and helps me stay motivated!
Also, a big heads up to those that have thrown in a few dollars of their hard earned cash into the pre-order. I'll be using that money to help advertise the game and spread the word that it's almost complete!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pre-Order Lylian: Episode One!

The 1st  Episode is almost at a release worthy stage. And to help give me that last burst of motivation; I've set up a pre-order that's available here: . Pre-ordering gives you 40% off the price on release which I must say is a pretty good deal, AND you get to play the game a few days before it officially releases!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

end cycle

After much self debate, Lylian has been entered into the Independent Games Festival. Last year it was entered as one section of the game with a lot of things missing. This year it's an almost complete game (only missing some sounds, Intro/Outro anims and a few little bugs). It can be played from start to end with all its trappings.

I use IGF as a deadline; to make sure the game is where I hoped it to be at by a certain time.

It's not quite finished yet, with the above mentioned things to be added but it's sooo close to being done. I'm just too tired to be excited at the moment but at least I can relax for this moment.
I haven't had time to play a game this year. My PS3 is finally fixed but now it just taunts me. When Lylian is released I'll certainly be taking some time off development, and get a life! My oldest daughter wants to get back into Little Big Planet. But there's so many games that have come out this year (and last) I still need to play.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Reports are coming back

A Lylian build has been doing the rounds. A few play testers getting a run at the game, the great news is there's only been minor bugs reported and playing smoothly on all tested systems. well I'm chuffed.

This means focus is mainly on completing the remainder of the game... the fun stuff like sound effects, graphic effects and last minute UI. Oh, and the intro and outro animations... and I still haven't finalised the 'box art'.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chin waggin'

Three involuntary playtesters have had a go of the game over the past three days (if you intend on visiting us,  expect to be forced in front of the test machine). Things are looking good! Still missing a few important assets but nothing vital.

To the proofreader and translators, I'll have that build to you soon. I've actually added a couple of extra lines and after the in-house playtests I've found a few minor areas need to be tweaked.

Font selecting! Man this is hard; trying to find good fonts that are both easy to read and fit in with the game, without looking cheesy. Took me the whole night last night to semi-settle on a few.

IGF, not sure I'll be entering it this year. I'll wait until the last vital hours before I decide, I think. So many other places $100 can be of good use.

Considering taking pre-orders for the game after a few people now have asked for it. It will either be through PayPal or if I can find a moment to get that sorted. Pre-orders will offer a lower price.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A patient lot!

According to the recent poll, some people don't mind waiting longer for the episode release. Which is great. I did promise my fiancĂ©e that I'll get it completed very soon though, so that "I can have a life again!"

There's also a few distributors lined up (they've been patient too). The game is forming quickly now. A few important elements missing still but day by day it's getting closer to a finished product.

Left to complete:

A few more effects
More sound effects
A couple more ambient tracks
Intro and outro animations
Cut scene images
Tutorial section
Figment effects
Two more Figment enemy variations
A scripted gameplay scene
Global stats
Bug fixes

OK, that does look like a lot, I know! But most have already been started.

Finally, my bottom is numb from all this sitting down!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Teaser trailer almost finished

I just need to do a few effects, line up a little sound and overall tidy up.

For now, here are a few test renders of it:

Monday, August 30, 2010

She stares at me

Getting closer to release, it's time to start making a few teaser animations. The first one is being animated specifically as a very short... short, about 20-30 seconds. Won't be seen in game at all and won't really have anything of the game in there.  I've been looking forward to this day!

So has she...

Time to animate.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The roller coaster of development

A chunk of contract work has come on again, which is very nice. As usual it has slowed Lylian development down too. But I'm still managing to get work done on it.

I was hoping to be on music and sound effects by now. But still doing the remaining props that are needed.
There are a few things I'm not happy with in the game that will have to remain, fonts for example. Not as polished looking as I'd like when going into full screen mode.

So, play test has been pushed back a little. I won't start sending it out until at least the major sound and effects are finalised.

Time to sleep now.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ramping up production

Getting closer to the deadline, which is somewhere in September and there's still a lot to do.
It seems the more that gets done, there's more that needs doing.
By the end of this week, the game will be playable from start to finish. From this point on effects, remaining sound and music need to be created and implemented.
There's a major game play feature that still needs a lot of polish too. And then there's the intro and outro animations which initially were planned to be quite detailed with props and lighting. Are now re-storyboarded (is that a word?) to be very simplistic and as it turns out should create a better mood. Then it can do the final rounds of game testing.

The dialogue is still going through revisions, then it can be crossed over for proofreading. When it gets to that point, I'll be a happy camper!
From that point it'll be sent around to the awesome people that have offered to translate the game. I'm thinking the game will be released in English only first, then updates will become available with each translation that's completed. This will give the translators time to go through all the text at their own pace.

FreePlay this weekend. I've bought a ticket and hope to catch up with a few other Independent devs there. Should be interesting!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

End Boss mechanics

I'm making headway on the Boss level and its mechanics, and have come to a crossroad. The most memorable bosses in games have a pattern they follow with slight deviation depending on what the player is doing around them.
This is because the player likes to learn and get a feel of what the enemy is going to do next. So through trial and error, they eventually defeat the Boss through repetition.

Another way is still with a set list of motions, but in a more random order (and better AI?). This is usually more challenging, but I'm not sure if it is more rewarding.
The animations usually offer some anticipation to give you a quick hint of what's going to happen next, which keeps you on your toes!

The battle goes through stages, so there will be three separate patterned attack sequences. And because of these stages, I can only imagine a random like mechanic to become frustrating as the variations multiply.

So, I'm leaning towards the pattern like mechanic. I don't intend the player to keep dying until they get it right however. As I don't want it to be too difficult for this first episode, it just needs to be fun!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nothing to do with Lylian!

Once in a while I get to do something out of the ordinary for my work. Here I've modeled (still in progress) and rigged up a steam train. I had some fun rigging the wheel components.

EDIT: I've removed this video from Youtube, to keep the channel focused on games development.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Should dialogue progress automatically?

At the moment, I have dialogue popping up and progressing automatically. So one character speaks, then maybe six seconds later the dialogue changes to another character's line. I also have it so you can skip through each one by hitting enter or the mouse button.

But I'm wondering if it should all progress manually. so a line of dialogue stays open indefinitely until the player clicks to progress forward.

There are certain times when the dialogue pops up during battle. I guess keeping that automated would be important. Just in areas where there is a gap in the action would require user input.

Any thoughts?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Spreading the Pixelpickle love

While working on a few animations for a client's project today, it made me think of how many projects out there have a little pixelpickle animated love in them. So I counted them out, and divided them into Indie and mainstream:

Indie - 11
Mainstream - 10

I'm happy with far!

Great thing about freelancing is you get to work on the widest variety of projects. Even the different methods of workflow make it interesting. Always keeps me on my toes and forces me to try things differently.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

progress report: Lylian

All is coming together nicely. Infact the further I get, the more the game pulls itself together.

Got a bit of extra contract work coming up, so trying to get as much done on Lylian as possible now. Still have September locked in for release (but we've all heard that before).

Early September will be the next playtest, and translation into various languages should begin around then too. A special thanks to all that put their hands up for translating to their preferred language.

Marketing the game has fallen by the wayside, and I feel very annoyed about that. A little unsettling thinking the game is going to be released and not everyone and their dog/cat will hear about it.
On that note, I'm hoping to get a cinematic out, to post on gametrailers and the like.

It's getting late... best get back into it!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Getting with the times

Lylian has been built using a 2d engine, running on software rendering (all on the cpu) since it's beginnings. Now it's time to bring it up to speed, making use of Direct3D9 to let the graphics card take some of the weight.

It'll only take a night to make the changes, and will be well worth it; offering smoother gameplay on a wider range of user computers. Also open up to a better selection of screen effects - which is quite important for the final sections of the game.

What remains of development:

A final couple of areas to be completed
A Boss battle's mechanics
Copyedit and proofread of dialogue
Translation (although can become available after release)
Remaining sound effects and music
A whole buch of bug fixing (assumption)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Like a Bullet train...

...Super fast and quite punctual.
At least, that's how development of Lylian has been recently. The new goal for Episode one's release is end of September/early October. And this one is pretty important for various reasons.

A high amount of contract work utterly destroyed the previous release date. Things have been quiet since and a lot has been done. Still a fair bit to go though but as more content is made, the faster the levels come together. And only One more major enemy mechanic needs to be worked on.

So, two months as of now to complete the game, then the final month for bug squishing, dialogue proofreading and translation.

Hmm, it's not really leaving any room for the fmv though. I'll take that as a challange!

Might be about now I should become a coffee drinker.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Progress on today's HUD goal

It's coming together swimmingly. Keeping the original idea in mind and fancying it up a tad. Next up is to redo the stat bars that indicate the aura and stamina.

Design a HUD day

Today, is design the final 'Head Up Display' day. The experimental version:

It needs a revamp. Although it looks kind of cool (in my mind) it is hard to read the info and the flaming aura effect is draining small but precious processing power.
The aim is to try and keep some of the uniqueness of the old one, but make it easier to read so the player doesn't need to sit through a detailed tutorial on it.
I'll post the updates at the end of the day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Can't afford... to blink!

It's May already... sheesh. OK Lylian won't be released end of May/early June as I had originally thought. Contract work keeps cranking through and I don't think it's going to stop anytime soon. I'm booked up to my clavicles!

I haven't worked on Lylian (much) over the past few weeks and it'll be at least another week before I can hoe into it again.
I'll certainly be hiring a small fulltime team for the next episodes as this is just crazy sauce!

Plan B is now in action!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bits and stuff

The final comic page is finished, Aaron did a great job on them and we'll hopefully work together in the future on Lylian and other projects!

Once again development on Lylian has slowed down due to incoming contract work. Infact this may be the busiest year for Pixelpickle Games. There's still hope that Lylian's first episode will be out by early June, but the release date is getting fuzzier each week.

Anywho, back to work!

Friday, March 19, 2010

I call Foul! On myself

So the release of the little flash game called Hacklaster Mow-Down has come and gone rather quickly. I created it to advertise and also to put something on the Lylian minigames page.
It has done it's job in creating some interest in Lylian, and that's awesome. But I was wrong in my thinking while I set out to make Mow-Down.
I set aside a weekend (turned out a week by the time the scoreboard was working correctly) to get the game out.
I thought that's all it needed, simple game mechanic, using optimized versions of pre-existing art and audio borrowed from Lylian.
But I didn't take into account testing and balancing; which completely failed the game.

I'm not much of a flash gamer myself and didn't take into account how saturated the market is, nor how serious it could be.

The game hasn't done awfully bad, it's averaging 2.5 - 3 out of 5 in portal ratings. But honestly I wish I could bury it now and move on. It's kind of leaving a sick taste in my mouth as I think "why did I release that?"

If I had put a month into the game, it could be a whole different story; it could have very well done... well! More enemies, stage tweaks and whatnot. But that would mean less time for the main project, and I wouldn't have felt good about that.

One thing it has made me feel good about, is when I jump in and have a play of Lylian, I feel very relieved it's a vastly better game, and the multitude of extra time put into it really shows. Well, it's pretty silly for me to even compare the two.

These things you learn from, right?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Minigame page now actually has a minigame on it!

I haven't officially announced this yet though as there's still a little tweaking to be done on the flash game. but it's up and playable!. It's also available in facebook form for those who'd like to compare their scores with their facebook buddies. Both are linked to the global highscore, but friends can also have their own private list.

This is an attempt to try and make a little money on the side to fund Lylian. and so I'm considering putting up a few project wonderful adds on the minigames page to gain a little more cash and hoping people don't think it'll degrade the quality of the site.
I know not a lot of money is made from these advertising sources. But $1 a day could help. page views are climbing for the page, so it may be viable.

And now here's a picture, because pictures are cool.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A weekend for a minigame

I spent the weekend working on a little free minigame... just a casual thing, to add to the minigames page. It's complete! But not yet uploaded. Currently Working on hi-score tables and database... stuff. I'm hoping to have it up within the next day, so I can hook back into Lylian.

As you can see, it borrows art and sound assets from Lylian which is why I've been able to put it together so fast. I was considering creating fresh art for it, but that would have easily dragged it out another couple of weeks that I can't afford.
Still, it should be a fun short burst of gaming!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Out and about the game dev

The game is... Progressing!
The Lylian shop is... Filling!
The Minigames section is... Still Empty!

I do have a lovely concept to show for a character that won't be seen until a later episode. Conceptualised by Aaron Alexovich.

He'll also be starring in a later comic page.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hacklaster Mentalwear

Lylian gets vectorised and stuck on some t-shirts along with Bob.
This is what I've been doing when I have access to a computer, but not my own (to work on the game).
At the moment t-shirts are all the shop has to offer, but it's goal is to offer much more; like the game, for example.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Comic Bliss

Old news is the website is up. New news is a new comic page has been added on it!

Shirt designs are almost ready to place as something in the currently empty pit called the 'Shop'.

And a major contract job is almost complete, leaving room for much anticapated development ground covering for the actual game.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ideas Challange... T-shirt up for grabs!

The official Lylian site will be up very soon, honestly... within a few days!
Among other things, a shop will be in it. I don't want the shop to be empty on opening day, that would just be nuts!

Eventually the game will be sold in said shop, but that's not finished yet. So I have a couple of T shirts I'll be putting up for consuming. But I need more so have set up a challange:

Idea Challenge
If you wore a garment that had ridiculously long, possibly heavily starched sleeves; what useful things could you do with these?

If I love your idea I'll create a design based on it, and you'll get a free tee!

You can either comment here, or email to lylian at pixelpickle dot com with "ridiculously long sleeves idea" as the subject heading.
You don't need to draw any pictures, just tell the idea in a few words and it might trigger some dark twisted portion in my own mind (possibly hasn't been used for a while) to think up the design.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Brain, reset

Came home from a weeks work in Shanghai yesterday. During the flight home I had a few great ideas to implement into the game. By the time I got home I realised they weren't that great, must have been the high altitude.

I've cancelled a contract job in March (Gave the client plenty of good notice of course and they were very understanding) to work on Lylian fulltime for that month.

Minor report follows:

Website is still being developed, looking good.
New level essets being created
A lot of bugs fixed
New characters being designed

I haven't spent much time on the multiplayer aspect of the game which is seperate from the story mode, single player game. And have been wondering how important it really is. Hate to have spent so much time on something that may not be enjoyed by many. I'm a fan of coop games, but they're not much fun if it's difficult to find coop buddies to play with. For the time being it's still on the schedule.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New milestone set

Contract work is never ending. Of course that's not a bad thing but it does impede on development time. However Lylian is coming together well.
I've set a new milestone which is end of March. I was actually hoping to have the game in Beta by then but January has been very busy, and February is looking to be quite nuts as well.

I've also decided that an area in the story wasn't working too well, so some backtracking is in order.

Can't set the release date just yet, as it's all depending on outside influences. But it will be released before June, it has to be!

Friday, January 8, 2010

IGF Feedback

Lylian didn't make it to the finals of the IGF competition. Seems there were a few bugs that I missed, and a prominent gameplay issue. But it was a good experience in any case, and they provided me with the judges feedback:

"The theming and storyline makes up for a very interesting game. I got lots of the same feelings as when playing the big money horror games, with a nice twist of humor that worked as a nice counterpoint to the morbid theme."

"The aura indicator should be taught to the players a bit better, I was pretty confused about how it worked initially."

"The pace of the game was just right for me."

"The character animation got stuck on my Win 7 machine occasionally, forcing me to quit the game."

"Although the problem may be simply that the game was too hard...Important lesson on the importance of easy difficulty at game start."

"Also, I would prefer moving with arrow keys..."

"- Great character design
- I do love the idea of swinging straitjacket arms as weapon. Pretty sure that hasn't been done before
- If American McGee's Alice were a sidescroller? (That's a good thing)
- Not enough depth in combat for me -- leaves me cold
- Needs copyedit
- Really impressed by the animation"

"I liked the moody atmosphere and thought at first that there would be equally quirky mechanics. When it became clear that it was just a basic slap and run right mechanic, I was disappointed. The way the story was told interested me, though, and the imagination mechanic that is introduced at the very end had promise."
--- ---

Lessons learned here is I've got to make the game a lot easier at the start, which is easy to do.
There's a few bugs that escaped me, I'll need to test on more machines.
The combat mechanic issues are understandable, as I've already planned a few things for that.

So I'm quite happy with this feedback. They're things that in the grand scheme of it all; are quite minor!