May 29 2008

Saqqarah Beta Update + Surprise

Tag: Casual Games, Codeminion, SaqqarahMaciek @ 3:39 pm

As promised I’m giving you a quick update on the progress of the beta tests of our latest game Ancient Quest of Saqqarah.  We are currently preparing a new version of the game which will be used in the closed beta. It means that we will choose the best testers from the open beta and give them the full version of the game in return for their voluntary playtesting services.

The new version should be ready in the next week and will include many fixes and improvements. We have already solved several difficult technical issues that prevented many gamers from playing the game, so if you were experiencing the strange mouse cursor delay problem on Win XP systems with Radeon Xpress 200 you should check the new version out. Also I am currently in the middle of adding several improvements to the game. Amongst many changes there will be better hints and adjusted tutorials, and additional Khufu in-game events. After careful analysis of almost 500 surveys we received we will also be changing the order in which new puzzle types are introduced throughout the game.

Now, you are probably wondering what the surprise is…

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May 27 2008

Small game downloads

Small GamesA lot of people wonder how do we make our game downloads so small. Magic Match installer download with everything including all 7 cut-scene songs was 6,5 MB and our upcoming game Ancient Quest of Saqqarah which is packed with high resolution graphics is only 25 MB. It is easy to find games with far less content that are much bigger in size. But is shrinking the games to the largest possible extent worth the effort? After all broadband connections are more popular with each day and portals often sell games which are more than 100 MB.

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May 23 2008

Blog Update: Few days off

Tag: General, On a lighter note, PersonalMaciek @ 5:10 am

Currently I’m on a short vacation at the Baltic Sea with my dogs so I won’t be blogging for several days due to limited Internet access. But please stay tuned as I have already started putting together several interesting articles that I would like to post during the next week. I will be writing about the methods we use at Codeminion to make our game downloads small and I will also give you an update on the status of Saqqarah beta. And in case you have missed it, the free launch of Pteroglider Full Version as well as it’s music soundtrack are getting most of the attention on my blog these days.

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May 20 2008

Game Music Section: Pteroglider Soundtrack

In case you haven’t noticed I have launched a Game Music Section here on the Casual Games Harmony blog. It will feature various soundtracks I did for our games as well as other compositions I created over the years.

Currently the Game Music Section only has the music from Pteroglider and some samples from cgMusic, but I will be adding more tracks from my other projects on a regular basis. Most of my compositions are instrumental pieces so Pteroglider’s electronic soundtrack is not what I usually do. I remember that after the launch of the game we received several reviews on the Internet. One review author was even generous enough to include a single sentence summarizing my music! I remember it till this day, because it went like this:

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May 19 2008

cgMusic - Can computers create music?

Tag: General, Music Composition, Personal, TechnicalMaciek @ 3:45 pm

The short answer is -  yes they can. The long one is – yes, they can and in fact they do it better than most people. I’m not talking about computers performing music (like a MIDI Player or a Toyota robot playing violin). I’m talking about computer software that is composing music - making up melodies and writing scores for some instruments. The only thing which gives us, people an edge at composing music is that a real person can tell which one composition sounds better than others. A computer can create hundreds of songs in a second but it will never be able to tell which one it likes the most. But let’s get back to the beginning…

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May 17 2008

Pteroglider Postmortem + full version now free!

Tag: Business, Codeminion, Free Games, Game DevelopmentMaciek @ 6:33 pm

PterogliderWhen it comes to Codeminion Games I’ve been writing about Magic Match, StoneLoops and Saqqarah for the most of the time. But in the past we’ve made much more games and worked on many “interesting” projects. Pteroglider is one of those interesting projects  - it was our first finished game actually published on the Internet. It’s also a space shooter. If you wish to play the game you can jump straight to the end of this article, but if you want to know what, when and why then please read on.

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May 16 2008

Saqqarah BETA is here

Tag: Casual Games, Codeminion, Game Development, SaqqarahMaciek @ 2:39 pm

Today is our big day. We have completed the beta version of Ancient Quest of Saqqarah, a game that we have been working on for almost 18 months now. This is one of those moments that you hold your breath as suddenly your 18 months of work will be evaluated in an instant by a bunch of various people – gamers, developers and publishers. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Actually this is not only a beta of Saqqarah but also a beta of CUG Framework, our proprietary 2d game development engine. We sure expect to find lots of technical problems with it during the beta. There is a long way between a feature rich engine and a feature rich engine that was tested on millions of computers…

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May 15 2008

Codeminion May Update

CodeminionWhen you look at our website it may seem that not a lot is going on. But on the contrary the moments when our website is quiet are probably the ones when we have a lot of work. Just to give you a small idea of what’s coming up here is a list of things that we are currently working on:

As you see we have a lot of work. And apart from this we also need to handle the business part of running the company, distribution of games already launched, provide support for our customers and maintain our websites. This is a lot of work, especially for a team of 6.

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May 13 2008

Using Google Trends to compare games

Tag: Business, Casual GamesMaciek @ 5:19 pm

Google TrendsThere are many ways to compare performance of different games. You can look at the top tens of a particular portal, check a global game top-ten charts (like the one of Logler) or even sort games according to their score on CasualCharts.com. Unfortunately all top-ten based methods of comparison have a serious flaw – they are always relative and their meaning changes over time. Today’s number one game might be selling less copies than yesterdays number two. If only we had an objective way to compare games…

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May 12 2008

The 13’th post

Tag: Casual Games, General, On a lighter note, PersonalMaciek @ 1:21 pm

The 13 ghostsYes this is the 13’th post of Casual Games Harmony, which is a major milestone for me as this is my very first blog. I’m not a superstitious person, but I didn’t want to risk writing about Saqqarah in the 13’th post - especially after StoneLoops! not performing up to our expectations on the first 3 portals it was recently launched on.

Fizbin of MisfortuneAnyway, misfortune is one of those things that you won’t find playing casual games. At least in the properly designed ones. Whenever you find your barbarian suddenly equipped with a Fizbin of Misfortune (Army Morale -2) she can’t throw away or you find that your dinosaurs suddenly destroyed the fences and left your dinosaur theme park, there is a good chance you are playing a hardcore game. The best casual games can give you satisfaction and immersion rivaling the best mainstream titles, but even the worst casual games will never frustrate you on par with some of the hardcore gaming classics. After all if they do frustrate then they are simply not casual anymore!

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