By the way, I haven’t forgotten about Rare Earth! A new update (v0.7) has been submitted to Microsoft for certification. What’s in store?
Ability to customize any planet with a moon or rings
In-game ability to start a new solar system after your star dies*
New abilities for spacefaring life
Bug fixes and stability improvements
*The ability to start a new system was around in v0.6 – after a star died, a “new game+” option opened up in the About menu – unfortunately, it seems like it was way too hard to find! This update makes reincarnating a star an in-game event, and allows players to carry over life from one star to the next.
Voyager is now available to download on the Windows Phone Marketplace!
Get it today (it’s absolutely free), and be among the first to play what some are calling “The smartest game about flinging things at things since Angry Birds: The College Years. Oh, that’s not a thing? Yeah, this is the smartest one, then.”
35 years ago this week, Voyager 1 was launched by NASA to explore the outer Solar System. In honor of one of the most successful scientific expeditions of all time, I am proud to announce Voyager, the next game from Rumor Games.
As an engineer in charge of the Voyager space probe, your job is to carefully aim your launch to avoid obstacles, gravitationally slingshot around planets, and get close enough to your target to scan it – without crashing into it!
20+ challenging levels spread across a Grand Tour of the Solar System
Take and share pictures of the planets you’ve explored
Wow, the initial response to Rare Earth has been incredible. In two days, it’s seen more reviews than BuildDown has in two months. On the other hand, the reviews themselves are heavily divided. Some excerpts:
“What im suppose to do in this game??!=/”
“Awesome after you get it what to do >_<”
– AbsurdMr Egg
“Vi prego, aggiungete un manuale di istruzione!”
– Player 401416879
According to Google Translate, that last one says “Please, add an instruction manual!” Point taken.
Unfortunately, this whole “customer dialog” thing isn’t easy. I could submit a metadata update to the game’s description to let people know that an update is coming, but on Windows Phone Marketplace that requires its own cert pass, which would block me from actually submitting the update for several days. Ultimately, I decided to just release the update as expediently as possible. On Friday evening and much of Saturday, I created a simple instruction screen with version notes and some core gameplay tips:
By Sunday, I was squeezing in stability improvements and improved error reporting (to help track down some of the more elusive bugs that have been reported) and submitting to cert. I’d like to include a more interactive tutorial at some point, but for right now, the priority was on helping our customers have a better “first play” experience.
I’m so grateful for everyone who’s playing Rare Earth – even the people who don’t like it (yet). I appreciate your passion, and I hope you stick with it for this update (and beyond)!
Touchscreens don’t get enough credit as tactile input. Sure, a smooth pane of glass can’t replace a gamepad (I’m no fan of virtual buttons or thumbsticks), but a game designed from the ground up to be poked, prodded, and pinched? Steve Jobs was right – it really is magical.
Anything that can go wrong will land butter-side down. I’ve noticed a couple issues creep up in the newly-released production version of BuildDown, mostly related to external components (coughmicrosoftads), and am hard at work on an update that should make everything work as nicely as it did when we were testing it. Thanks to all the early adopters for your patience and understanding.
Pretty soon, we’re going to debut our inaugural release, BuildDown, for Windows Phone. It’s a fast-paced new take on the falling-blocks puzzle genre. It takes a clever mix of strategy, skill and luck to master. And it’s gracefully crammed with all the hottest features.
But I have to be honest. BuildDown is not exactly a “new” game. The idea is one I’ve been playing with since college. It has a special place in my heart as my “hello world” of game development. And with every iteration, it gets a little better, a little more refined.
For example, putting the game on the phone is the best thing that ever happened to it. Tap to collapse columns. Drag to move blocks. Shake the device to loose a few extra pieces into the playfield. Everything is just so visceral and intuitive on a phone. It’s quickly become my favorite development platform (which is a subject I’ll cover in more depth in a future post).
I hope people play and enjoy BuildDown. It’s a game I’m extremely proud of. A chip off the old block, even.
My name is Kevin, and I’m an independent developer. I’m passionate about making great games, and talking about them openly. I believe that games should be compelling, not compulsive. I believe that customers deserve to be treated with respect. And I believe that the world is hungry for originality.
That’s why I’ve created a new studio built on passion, imagination, and candor. Rumor has it that we’re up to something good!