Throwback Thursday: Dire Consequences

Now this is something that brings back memories!

In fact this game is the roots and foundation of Derp Studios!  I owe many thanks and respect to those who worked on the project and for their contribution in getting Derp Studios FIRST (and by all means not the last) title to the iOS App Store.

The story of Dire Consequences is a tragic tale, where a random team of 10 of the best game jam participants were to form the 4th team and take part in Make Something Unreal Live 2012.  Baring in mind that none of the 4 teams had ever made a game before in their lives, we all recieved the challenge of not only developing a title in 8 months, but to utilise the Fighting Fantasy franchise of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone.  That we could handle, however what really through the curve ball was that we had to develop a game within the first person genre, for iOS devices.  That’s right, a first person title, based on Fighting Fantasy, for iOS.

Making something for PC would of been fine, in fact a lot easier due to less restrictions, however the real challenge was mobile.  As UDK users know, mobile and PC development within UDK was very different in the way you made your materials and you were also targetting your title at iPhone 3GS and iPad 2’s as a minimum hardware submission.

Our team wasn’t alone though.  The other 3 teams (also comprised of Train2Game students, all fresh out of the box in regards to developing professionally) were in the exact same boat, only their studio had been given different genre’s.

I’m assuming you’d like to know the teams right?  These teams gave ours a run for our money, I can tell you that now.

  1. Digital Mage
  2. Indigo Jam
  3. Commando Kiwi
  4. Derp Studios

So there you have it, 40 students, fresh out of the box were to take part in Make Something Unreal Live 2012, the first 3 teams were the winning teams of the Train2Game and Epic Games game jam of September 2011, which gave the other team the advantage of working in a team as they already knew and worked with each other for a couple of days.  Not that it made much difference, but in regards to their teams gelling, they had an advantage (because when you’re in a room for 48 hours flat with a team of 10 in a contest you kind of need to team up to make the magic happen).

Us “Derpsters” as we were called later on through the MSUL preparation events were comprised of random individuals who were essentially “the best of the rest”.

So what happened in these 8 months?  Well that’s a story and a half my friend.

First things first the teams needed a captain, in which I bravely stepped upto the plate.  I took that step into the unknown, fully aware that if my team screws up, or we miss a deadline then it’s all on my head.  I was responsible for myself and 9 others.

Dire Consequences

Soon after that we were given the game books from the Fighting Fantasy series which we would base our game off.  We were given “The Citadel of Chaos”, game book 2.  Soon after that we got onto brain storming game designs and ideas.  In fact originally we wanted to make Dire Consequences an RPG, however being the noobs we once were (and still are to be honest, only a little less nooby) our industry mentor Pete said that we were biting off more than we could chew.  We had already though of having a wave game mode.  Sort of like Gears of War 2’s Hoard mode and Pete strongly urged us into making our planned “Chaos Mode” which was effectively, “Hoard with Swords”.

The teams had to have 3 physical meet ups at the University of Bedfordshire in Luton, which was quite a journey for some of us.  We had to present our prototypes (ours was rough as hell, I actually don;t think we even had one at the first meeting).  Our nominated team speakers would go up and present the games and recieve feedback.  At the time we thought we had to scratch build everything, which was the reason our development was taking so long.  We soon noticed that all the other team had been using 80% UDK assets.  We really freaked at that moment and instead of using UDK assets, we continued to scratch build (not sure whether it was pride, stupidity, stubbornness….maybe a mixture).  By scratch building our own assets we could take ownership of the all the content being 100% Derp Studios.  We didn’t have to pay royalty for UDK assets, however Derp Studios really gave it there all in the assets.  There were many glitches on the way in regards to lighting, path-finding, materials and much more.  We even had team members drop out and be replaced for many numbers of reason.  It was a stressful time.  Trying to meet deadlines as a virtual team, who had never made a game before, only ever really studying the theory of it.

Originally our team thought kismet was amazing, don’t get me wrong, it was an awesome system and me and the level designer went to town on it.  However it had many limitations and was no where near as powerful as Blueprint is today in UE4 which is Kismet +9000 (class based AND level based).  We even had a designer learn code in a matter of weeks to pull this game off, we called him the “Devigner”, a mixture of developer and designer.

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Many things went right during the development of Dire Consequences, however just as many things, if not more went went wrong with it in many areas.  Not only were things stressful and going pear shaped a lot, the 5 days of developing 9 to 5 live in the Birmingham NEC with people walking around and observing us meant that people would be seeing our botched iterations.  However we took it on the chin and worked hard.  I think in that week at the Gadget Show Live, where MSUL 2012 was held, Derp Studios got more done in 5 days than they did in 3 months.  Which was awesome as the game was really looking good and actually functioning well.

The most stressful times of the MSUL days were having to build our game ready for the presentation.  To be honest we should of left our working copy on, because there was so many moments when we needed “5 more minutes” or we went on the show floor and there were cringe worthy bugs that game industry veteran such as Peter Molyneux, Jon Hare, and Cliff Bleszinski witnessed.  They did provide great feedback and it was nerve racking to watch the teams presenter and narrative designer Dimitri present the game, mostly with level designer Sam dressed in his Derp Frog onesie playing the live demo build.  They both pulled off their presentation, in fact Dimitri is one of the greatest presenter I’ve ever known.  That guy can sell ANYTHING!  He really sold it, maximum respect to the guy.

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I remember the time I literally broke down into tears beace it was 5 minutes before a presentation and the build showed one of our features completely broken on device in comparison with the unreal editor.

After 5 days worth of presentations and solid development, it was time for the judging panel to begin…well…errrr…judging I suppose.

Unfortunately our team didn’t win the competition, which was gutting, however truth be told, I believe we were the only team to get their title shipped onto the app store.  I think Dire Consequences only stayed on the store for a few weeks before we were asked to take it down due to licensing expiration or what not.

I thoroughly enjoyed MSUL, despite all the blood, sweat, tears, stress and everything else, the positives far outweighed the negative and would love to have another opportunity to take part in something like it.

Two years down the road, I remain as the only original Derp Studios team member.  Everyone else were either scouted, went solo or resumed their studies.  Since the departure of the original Derpsters, we’ve had many come and go, many happy times and a few low but we’ve stuck through it all and here the studio stands, loud and proud and earning not very much! haha!

MyDerps
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A big thanks you to the following people in the cover photo of this album (left to right):

Back Row: Chris Ledger (Lead Designer), Stuart Moore (Lead Developer), Neil Gorman (Lead Technical Artist), Dimitri Michael (Narrative Designer), Connor Adams (Concept Artist), Matty Wyett-Simmonds (Concept and Modeller)
Middle Row:  Nigel Clark (Devigner), Sam Hawkins (Level Designer), Daniele Morisco (UI Developer)
Front Row:  Amanda Blatch (Modeller)

And for those not in the photo a big thank you to:

Jake Lock – Sound Engineer
Will Golledge – Sound Engineer
Levi Moscovici – Sound Engineer
Max Lacome-Shaw – Narrator
Pete ‘Leet’ Hickman – (Industry Mentor)

We’ve entered the RPG Maker Game Jam!

We’ve been awfully quiet the last few weeks!

That’s because….

We’ve been participating in the RPG Maker game jam!

We will have something for you all to play on 30/06/2014 at the very latest (even if it is bugged like no tomorrow).

We will be performing maintenance on our game jam title post release as well as this title is fairly promising and a lot of hard work has gone into it!.

This also means you get to witness the game evolve and have an active part in helping us make our game better!

Two Souls reviewed by Ind13 Magazine!

We are pleased to announce that the new Indie gamer and game development magazine Ind13 has reviewed Two Souls!

To read the article directly you can click here

Ind13 are really worth checking out, they support indie developers and also appeal to indie gamers.  They touch on a myriad of articles ranging from game reviews to case studies and approaching challenging topics that indie’s like ourselves face almost on a daily basis!

Their website is www.ind13.com

Two Souls launches on Gamonaut!

Our studios beloved Two Souls makes a grand appearance as a web browser game!  Thanks to our friends at Icey Monty, Two Souls is now hosted on the website www.gamonaut.com.  We would like to say a big thank you to Icey Monty for all the hard work they’ve put in to get us fully set up on Gamonaut and other gaming sites across the internet!

You can find the press release below:

Wednesday, 16th April, 2014:

Student studios studying with Train2Game have joined forces to release Two Souls on free to play 3D gaming website: Gamonaut. A Lite version of the game developed by Derp Studios is exclusively available on Icey Monty’s popular gaming website. The partnership has come together as both studios won a Swan PR Train2Game competition to gain free PR for a month.

Gamonaut developed by Icey Monty has around 1/2million plays on its site to date and its numbers are rapidly growing. Two Souls is one of Derp Studio’s many popular gaming releases, the full version of the game is now available to buy on Android and Windows Phone 8, with planned release on iOS in the near future.

Nick Walker, Director, Icey Monty, said:
“Two Souls has an original mechanic that makes it challenging and gives players a new experience. It’s perfect for the web and mobile markets. Derp has been brilliant, both in terms of getting the game ready and with the teams enthusiasm for the cooperation. We’re excited about giving Two Souls more outreach, and that ends up being mutually beneficial.”

Christopher Ledger, CEO, Derp Studios:
“With John and Nick’s experience with building web games combined with our knowledge of games, I think we can cover a lot of audiences on both PC and mobile.  We’ve made a totally exclusive version of Two Souls for Gamonaut, dedicated to players using the keyboard. The levels are unique, so when players buy the game on mobile they will have fresh new content.”

Available now on Gamonaut here

Available now on Android
Pro:  Here
Lite:  Here
Available now on Windows Phone 8:
Pro:  Here
Lite:  Here

Links: www.iceymonty.com, www.derpstudios.com, www.train2game.com, www.swanpr.com.uk

Two Souls Trailer!

So out of the blue a trailer for Two Souls has appeared!  It’s an unofficial one however the team are really digging it!  A big thank you to MaximumAndroid on YouTube for this creation.  They may not know it but they’ve done the studio a favour by providing some publicity!

Here’s the trailer:

 

Two Souls released on Android!

The moment has come!

2Souls has finally hit Android! Derp Studios winning game candidate from the Swan PR competition, with special thanks to Train2Game and many others in getting the game where it is today. We hope you enjoy playing it as much as we’ve enjoyed developing it!

So without further ado:

Introducing one of the most challenging games to grace the app store! Take control of two little androids on their journey through the stars. Although their goal is the same, their paths are very different. Using the analog sticks guide our two little soul mates towards the end zone of each level in the best time you can achieve!

Features:

  • 10 Levels, each level more challenging than the last
  • Challenge Mode, a true test of dexterity!
  • Achievements, beat the challenges set by the developers and earn achievements via Swarm.
  • Leader-boards, attain bragging rights and post your high score on Swarm, Facebook and social media, show the world you have what it takes to be the best!
  • Beautifully composed soundtrack

Check out the page here and download the game on your Android devices here!

We really hope you enjoy playing this as much as the team enjoyed developing it!

Bug report forms are live!

We have just launched a bug tracker/submission system to our website!  Reporting a problem has never been so simple.   All you need to do is click on the “Report new issue” button and fill in all the fields.  Player feedback is always appreciated and Derp Studios is dedicated to bringing players great gameplay experiences.  The studio is always aiming to bring out high quality titles and what better way to do that by offering players a chance to be heard!

You can find the bug report form here!

Slyborg is released!

It maybe the shortest game we’ve ever created, but Slyborg is released!  You can check out the game and play it for free in your web browser on the official Slyborg page at www.derpstudios.com/slyborg.

A very big thank you to Jake Watts AKA The VIRUS Empire for creating the sounds.  Check him out at https://www.facebook.com/officialtve

The next game jam on the list is the jam that brought you Derpman: CMC!

Stay tuned for updates on the next Speccy Jam!