Bootworm Racing minigame development

Wow, I've been neglecting this blog more than I thought. Things are still progressing; I've just taken to posting most updates on Twitter lately. But anyway:

I'm currently working on a sidequest/minigame for Emerald Shores called "Bootworm Racing." Here's how it works.

If you find the secret exit in level 2-3: Ice Castle, you open up a path to this island that looks like a Bootworm. This island, Bootworm Island, is home to a farm and a series of race tracks.

When you get here, you'll have a sassy pet Bootworm. You can bring him items that you find in the regular levels, which grant him new powers and teach him new spells.

And then you can take him to race in the Bootworm Races!

If you place first in all five races, you'll unlock something useful for your house.

This is just an in-development preview, and there are a few things I need to add to the UI in the racing minigame, but that's the gist of how it all works.

Art update, new RPG in pre-production

Quick update on Emerald Shores:

I posted last month that I was contracting an artist to replace the art. It was a quick search, and I found a really talented applicant to fulfill that role. The game is going to have a very "Super Nintendo" feel to it.

No screenshots to show yet, but I'll post as soon as the art replacement process is far enough along.

New game in pre-production:

I have some downtime from Emerald Shores while that's going, so I've started pre-production on my next game.

This one's going to be a 2D monster-catching RPG. I'm taking some inspiration from the Shin Megami Tensei series, so if you're a fan of games like SMT III: Nocturne, I think you'll like it. Planned platforms so far are PlayStation 4 and PS Vita.

It's still early in the planning stages, so right now I'm getting the story, characters, etc. out on paper, mapping out the world, deciding which technology to use, figuring out the art direction, and planning the battle system.

I'm pretty excited for this game, as I've been wanting to do a game like this for years but never had the time due to college and life. A couple of years ago, I finally decided I was going to build a small game (Super Blackout), then a medium-sized game (Emerald Shores), and then this one, which will be the largest game I've ever developed in the nearly 17 years I've been developing games in my free time. Even bigger in scope than Seeds of Time Online. :)

Emerald Shores is getting a new look

After the announcement post, there was a lot of feedback regarding the art style. Based on that, I decided to hire an artist for the game, rather than continuing to draw it all myself.

As a result, Emerald Shores will soon look totally different and much, much better.

Expect a bigger announcement in the next month or two, ripe with screenshots and eventually an updated trailer.

Announcing Emerald Shores for PS4, PS Vita, and PSTV

I'm happy to finally announce Emerald Shores, a challenging 2D platformer with light RPG elements.

It's entirely a one-man effort (programming, design, music, "art"), so it's been a long journey, but it's close enough to being finished that I can say it'll be out by the end of summer 2017.

A few details:
  • The concept is something like "take Super Mario World and add a level-up system that determines your HP and how much damage your jumps deal to enemies"
  • The main storyline will have at least 20 main levels, 5 boss battles, really short cutscenes, a few secret unlockable levels (find those hidden exits), and then something for those who manage to complete all of the secret levels
  • There's a Remix Mode which plays just like the original story mode, but all levels are rearranged to be more difficult
  • There are two world maps: the one you see in the trailer, and then a floating island called Emerald Shores
  • Levels have powerups hidden in them, which grant abilities like double-jumping and throwing fireballs
  • Not confirmed yet, but the plan is $9.99 and cross-buy between the platforms

I'll be posting news and in-development screenshots regularly on Twitter now, so if you want to hear more about the game, please give a Follow:

Game announcement next month (finally)

This platformer is finally almost ready to be unveiled.

I'm planning on writing up a full announcement post, complete with screenshots, sometime in the coming weeks. There are just a few more things I want to finish up first.

I'll also be showing the game at the Midwest Gaming Classic in Milwaukee this April. If you're in town, come check it out!

Delays and progress

Some major delays have occurred, but things are back on track with my current [not-yet-announced[ project.

Over the summer, I ended up porting the game to a different engine, which solved the technical difficulties that had been plaguing development for a while.

I also purchased a PlayStation 4 development kit over the summer, so I'm happy to announce that the PS4 build of this game is fully functional. I'm now testing regularly on both PS4 and PS Vita as the project goes along.

Not much more to say yet about the game. I'm still planning to keep details under wraps until the game is virtually finished, which will be a couple of months before it's released. At this point, I'm hoping to have it released sometime next spring.

Still progressing...

Just posting a quick update so that this blog doesn't look abandoned.

The game is still underway and not ready for announcement yet. I want to have the game mostly finished before announcing it, so that the trailer can resemble a final product, and it's taking longer to get to that point than I expected. Still planning for a PS Vita release sometime this summer, though, and a PS4 release soon after.

In the past few months, I've mostly been composing music for the game, and the soundtrack is now mostly finished. I also built a little scripting engine to use for cutscenes, so I'm looking forward to putting that to use soon; it was fun to write a compiler for the first time since college.

For now, it's time to try and digitally paint some more of the game's non-pixel art: character portraits, backgrounds, etc.

Vita/PS4 platformer is still progressing; announcement fairly soon

Just a quick update, since it's been three months since my last post:

The platformer is still progressing really well, but it's not quite ready for an announcement yet. I'm still working to have a really significant portion of the game complete before the announcement even takes place.

I recently decided to go all-in this time and do everything in the game myself, including music (something I hadn't created for a game since 2008 or 2009). Between the programming, art, music, design, and sound effects, there's quite a bit to do in a single project, but it's a fun challenge.

Super Blackout is now out on PS Vita!

Super Blackout was just released today on PSN for only $4.99. You can find it here:!/en-us/games/super-blackout/cid=UP0770-PCSE00784_00-SUPERBLACKOUT001

If you purchased Super Blackout on PS Mobile, I want to give you a free upgrade to the new PS Vita version when it launches on Tuesday

Did you buy Super Blackout on PS Mobile? You have my sincere gratitude, and I want to give you a free upgrade as a token of my appreciation (and because I believe you shouldn't have to buy a game twice on the same console).

The outpouring of support I received when Super Blackout launched on PSM is a huge part of what led me to launch Fordesoft two months later, jumping feet first into PlayStation game development, with a special focus on the PS Vita. This was always a goal of mine, but the feedback I received from Super Blackout gave me an extra push to do so now rather than later.

By the way, if you haven't heard about the new version, here's what the new game looks like. It launches on Tuesday for $4.99. While it's the same game at its core, this new version adds new graphics, new music, trophies, controller support (in addition to the touchscreen), and PlayStation TV support.

Note that the game is currently only being released in North America, unlike the PS Mobile version, which was available in both NA and EU regions. If you purchased an EU version of the PS Mobile game, you're still eligible for the free upgrade, but note that I can only send you a code for the NA region, because that's all that exists right now. A EU release is possible but uncertain at this point.

How to claim your free upgrade

To verify your PSM purchase, I need you to look up your e-mail receipt from when you purchased the game, and send me some details from it, following the instructions below.

And I really have to stress that I need to be able to verify your purchase. If the information you send doesn't match the sales records I have, I won't be able to send you a free code. Please make sure to double-check the information before you send it.

1. Track down your e-mail receipt from PlayStation Network, which should have the subject "Thank You For Your Purchase". If you're using Gmail, try searching All Mail for "super blackout thank you for your purchase" (without quotes).

2. Send me an e-mail via the Contact page before November 30, 2015 with the subject "Super Blackout free upgrade", with the values of these two fields copied directly from the receipt:
  • Date Purchased
  • Order Number
If you purchased the European version of the game, please let me know that in the e-mail, too.

When will the free code arrive?

As long as the verification is successful, I'll reply with your free code to you soon afterward - almost definitely within a week, but probably within 1-2 days. The earliest is Tuesday, since the game won't be out until then. And be sure to regularly check your Spam folder in case it somehow winds up there.

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