Wednesday, 16 April 2014

TinyKeep is ON FIRE! (literally)

Thank you everybody for giving us extremely valuable feedback on Alpha One so far - hopefully every tweak and fix that we do based on your comments will help bring the game that much closer to dungeon escaping perfection!
Aside from those, I've also been working on a new game mechanic that will help dispatch multiple enemies at once...

With this basic system in place, we're starting to think about letting the player set fire to crates, barrels, bombs, fire swords, fire breathing (?) - you didn't think there was only one way to kill the horde did you? We're not THAT cruel.


Last weekend we exhibited TinyKeep at Update, a new event showcasing the very best games from the North West area. I'd like to give thanks to Andrew Bennison (our host) and his team at Prospect Games for putting on an amazing event. So many great talks and games to play, so very much looking forward to the next one!

Jey (TinyKeep's sound guy) posing in front of our game next to Team 17's Flockers!
Jey (TinyKeep's sound guy) posing in front of our game next to Team 17's Flockers!

A random person giving a good go of our dungeons
A random person giving a good go of our dungeons
 Find out more about Update by listening to the team's weekly podcast:


This absolutely knackering month ends with one more show/event: Insomnia Gaming Festival, apparently the largest competitive (eSports) gaming event in the UK. Head to the Ricoh Arena, Coventry, UK on the 18th to 21st April to find out more.

I spoke to one of the guys from Multiplay (the people who organize the event) and there's going to be another expected 20,000 people attending. So apart from the above fire stuff - apologies for not showing that many new features in the past month, I've literally just been spending most of my time prepping for these big shows! Next month, I'll be back on track and you can all look forward to Alpha Two...

Monday, 7 April 2014

Back from Rezzed!

It's been about a week since I've come back from the EGX Rezzed Expo and I still feel like I'm recovering from both the excitement and the ordeal of it all! Today I've finally had a chance to sit down and write a proper long overdue update on how it all went.

TinyKeep at Rezzed!

Rezzed was absolutely amazing - it was the first time I've ever been to a gaming event as a consumer let alone exhibiting our own games. As you can imagine I was extremely nervous but the demo had a great reception and it turned out that TinyKeep was especially good for spectators - people seemed to love watching the game being played. I think it was something to do with the camera angles, the many ways to die, and the excitement and tension of the waves of skeleton hordes.
Myself, Ben and Jey attended the entire weekend - and Will our composer made a special appearance on the Saturday.

I ran a simple competition over the 3 days of the event: the first person to complete the demo unscathed was awarded with free drinks for the entire weekend and a chance to meet other game developers at the after parties, and the 5 runners up would get official TinyKeep mugs. As you can imagine, the competition attracted a lot of press and attention - after all who doesn't like free stuff? To make it especially challenging, we took a prototype of the first level and ramped up the difficulty to insane. Out of the 210 attempts to beat the level, only 16 managed to walk free.

Connor "Sketch" Doran (pictured left) was the first to win after his tenth attempt...

Another notable winner, games critic Mike Smith managed to complete the demo twice in just two attempts, he did not die a single time!

I've posted some videos on our YouTube channel showing some of the latest gameplay footage and the reactions of some of the people who played the game at the expo.

Skeleton invasion:

Alex Rose, Ludum Dare Innovation Winner and developer of Super Rude Bear Resurrection tries TinyKeep for the first time:

 Alex Johansson, developer of the indie title Narcissus struggles with some seriously bad luck:

 Connor Doran gives us his thoughts about the game and the AI:

 A few other highlights:

 Here's a great article by the guys at TPReview on their first impressions of the game at the event:

Saturday, 22 March 2014

TinyKeep on Tour!

Mega busy putting the final touches in for the Rezzed demo and Kickstarter pre-alpha - so I'll just leave this here for now. If you're coming to any of these events, make sure you pop by our stall and say hi!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Prisoners of TinyKeep

Ben's Trip to The North

Yesterday and today I've had Ben trek all the way up North from his dungeons in London, and we've been brainstorming, prototyping and finalizing some really exciting stuff for the stat system. We're going to be augmenting the Pocket Inventory with interesting stat relationships, and then there will be a final sprinkling of procedurally generated weapons and items. This broth is looking rather tasty indeed.

Oh, did I mention we have a lifesize skeleton in the closet?
Oh, did I mention we have a lifesize skeleton in the closet?

I'm letting Ben out of the dungeon for one day only. He's a good little minion.
I'm letting Ben out of the dungeon for one day only. He's a good little minion.

This may or may not be anything related to TinyKeep at all.
This may or may not be anything related to TinyKeep at all.

Prisoner Names

But enough of that - for this update I want to talk to you about Prisoners. As I mentioned in the last post, you'll have the choice to release these poor souls from their makeshift wooden cells. Some will be eternally grateful and will follow you to the bitter end, while others may attack anyone and everything in their crazed stupor. Ben's come up with the idea with using backer names for flavour - occasionally mixed in with some cheeky nicknames...

Stay tuned for more news regarding the upcoming demo version that we'll be showcasing at a number of gaming festivals this year!

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Screenshot Saturday

Must admit I'm a bit strapped for time in the run up to this month's Rezzed expo! Seriously I've been burning the 4am oil most nights this week :(
For this update I'm just going to post a few images I've gathered recently for today's Screenshot Saturday...
Experimenting with camera angles for the introductory cutscene...
 Someone's left a letter behind...
Makeshift prison cells using modular wooden pieces. The green slop may or may not be some kind of bodily excretions. These cells will house prisoner NPCs and you're free to release them if you wish. How they react can be a little unpredictable though...
A few promotional "dioramas" I put together for the press release and Rezzed signage imagery. The red dude may or may not be physically abusing his imp minions.
While TinyKeep has largely reactive AI based off breadcrumbs and steering behaviours - we still need some rudimentary pathfinding for patrolling and fleeing purposes. Here I show the first steps at procedurally generating some simple waypoints for the dungeon.
Finally another promotional shot showing some fully rendered character designs, based off the original concepts by Chantal and Ben. Unfortunately at the time Matthias was extremely busy with his other business so I brought in another amazing artist to assist. His name is Zane Devon and I'm sure you'll agree he's done a great job here.

 That's probably enough for today. Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Luring Skeletons

Yesterday morning I implemented a new feature: Spike Traps!
Luring Skeletons into spikes made me laugh so I thought I'd make a little looping GIF out of it, ready for tomorrow's Screenshot Saturday :)
This may take a little bit of time to load...

Next thing on the list - prison guards, and a mechanic that lets the player release some crazed prisoner NPCs...

Three. Good. Things.

So it would appear a couple of you managed to guess the meaning of those cryptic images I posted last. I think today is the time for me to announce the Three Amazing Things that has happened to TinyKeep in the past days and weeks. It's been an absolute whirlwind for the team and I am still in disbelief at it all.


Back in September last year, a small Indie Games Publishing company from the states sent us an e-mail asking if we would be interested in their services. At the time I wasn't really sure whether to sign up, as I wanted to remain independent. But still we kept in regular contact, after all it is always a good idea to have friends and networks in the industry. Well - after several months of friendly conversation and hard negotiation, I'd like to announce that TinyKeep is now officially signed to Digital Tribe Games, and I couldn't be happier!

Since mentioning the possibility of going with a publisher, a few of our forum members have expressed their concerns about the deal and the future of the game, so I'd like to take the time today to spell it out here what exactly it means to have TinyKeep published by Digital Tribe.
  • First of all, nothing will change in terms of the reward tiers, we will continue and endeavour to deliver our product as promised. 
  • While DTG will be providing regular critical feedback for the remainder of the development process, they are ultimately happy for us to retain full creative control over the game. After all, it was the original concept and creative direction that got their attention in the first place!
  • DTG's primary role will be to handle marketing and distribution. I'll go into more detail about each of these in the sections below, but the most important thing is that this frees up my (rapidly dwindling time) so that I can completely focus on finishing the game to the best of my ability.
  • There will not be any physical stamping of games to be sold in retail.
  • DTG will also be assisting in translation/localization of the game to all major languages, in order to give TinyKeep the best chance of international success.
  • And above all, they will just be there to give me help, advice and security if I ever need it. A mentor, if you like! 


Part of the deal with DTG is that they will handle distribution of the game across a variety of platforms and online store fronts. So only a couple of weeks ago the game concept and early demo was pitched to the people at Valve, and I'm pleased to announce that TinyKeep has now been successfully accepted to be sold on Steam!

This as you can imagine, is absolutely huge for us. Steam is undoubtedly the #1 online games purchasing platform, especially for independent titles. We are so so proud of getting over this giant hurdle, and we couldn't have done it without the help of DTG.
I'll come back with more details on the upcoming Steam release later on - but for now please join us in celebrating this fantastic news. You have no idea how excited we are about this!


If the above wasn't enough news for you, I'd like to officially announce that we will be showcasing TinyKeep live at Eurogamer's Rezzed Expo 2014 at the Birmingham NEC

As I mentioned in my last post, TinyKeep was unfortunately not selected to be included in the Leftfield Collection at EGX. Competition was extremely high (there were over 200 entries) and they seemed to prefer the more unusual and "out there" titles to showcase. Luckily with the help of our publisher DTG, we managed to secure an actual stall just for us on the main show floor of the event.
Arguably one of the largest gaming events in the UK with a footfall of over 25,000 attendees, this is going to be an absolutely massive chance for us to showcase TinyKeep to the wider public and gaming media. We are so proud, honoured and humbled to be shown amongst the likes of Alien Isolation, Broforce, Fez, Hotline Miami 2, Octodad, Prison Architect, Worms Battlegrounds and many others, not to mention the fantastic games in the Leftfield Collection.
The event is spanning across the entire weekend of March 28th (Friday) to 30th (Sunday). Tickets are quickly running out, so if you are in the UK and are interested in PC, console and Indie games, I strongly urge you to take a look. If you are already coming to the event, make sure you stop by our stall and say hi!
You can find out more details on the other games that are exhibiting at Rezzed on their What's On page.
Here's a photo of the event last year to give you an idea of what to expect:

Did I mention that we're so excited?
Did I mention that we're so excited?
The only thing left to do now is to get a really playable version up and running for the event! I say only...
Oh and those of you who bought the alpha - you'll be getting a copy as well. That's a promise!