Games and prototypes by Ciro Continisio

The brain from Cortex Command in UFHO2

Day four of our guest characters brings you none other than…

THE BRAIN
(from Cortex Command)

From DataRealms award-winning game in the making, Cortex Command, comes one of our weirdest guests. As the name implies, this is just a brain in a glass bowl. However, just as in Cortex Command this seemingly harmless body part is hooked to some technology that helps it move, and has the ability to mind-control other living beings.

STORY
There was once a great Gooy UFHO commander, who was so able in navigating mazes that he could single-handedly (as if he had hands) outsmart two or three opponents at a time. He was a brave one and always served the Gooy space fleet through all his life.
When he died, the scientists of the fleet developed a very advanced machine to keep his intelligence alive. Their goal was to preserve his navigational experience, to study it and use it from time to time to help the fleet in difficult moments.
The machine seems to have enhanced the brain mental abilities somehow, and scientists have mentioned that they feel like the brain is talking to them at times.

GAMEPLAY
The brain has developed strange ESP powers, so he can control the opponent once per turn. This means that he has 5 moves in total, and as a last move (only the last) he can move another character once. With this possibility, he can move opponents away from the gem, or make space for himself to move (though his turn is now finished).

He can also move a teammate if the game is a 2vs2 match, this way opening new strategic avenues for smart team-players…

I’m thrilled to have the brain from Cortex Command on board, thanks to Dan TabΓ‘r. As always with these external characters, they come from games that I deeply love and that influenced me somehow. I got the alpha of Cortex Command years ago and I’m looking forward to see it finished. Maybe we’ll launch UFHO2 in the same period, who knows!

Don’t forget to back UFHO2 on Kickstarter… Time is tight! Over.

The Tetrobot in UFHO2

A new challenger appears from France, this time it’s…

TETROBOT
(from Blocks That Matter)

From the minds of William David and Guillaume Martin of Swing Swing Submarine, the Tetrobot is the protagonist of the cute and difficult platform/puzzle game Blocks That Matter, for XBLIG and PC, Mac and Linux.
Redubbed “Hexabot” in UFHO2, as the other guests he’ll be both a race (even though he’s a robot) in the story and a selectable character in multiplayer.

STORY
Built by the Renegooys, the Hexabots are utility robots that help in cleaning and keeping tidy the UFHOs. They are not that sophisticated but they contain the basic algorithms to navigate the mazes of rooms and corridors UFHOs are made of, and get to another spot in the least time possible, for efficiency reasons.
When programmed to look for the Gem, they become difficult to overcome thanks to the elaborate calculations they do about the shortest path.
As if this wasn’t enough, Hexabots are equipped with a frontal drill that they can use in case of emergency to pass from one room to the other when there’s no other way.

GAMEPLAY
Hexabots are very good at finding the shortest path to Gems, but not as good at exploiting the characteristics of the different powerups.

Their specialty is that they can use the drill once per turn as if it was a normal move. This grants them the possibility to move from one room to the other even where there’s no connection, at any time during their turn.
They cannot move through different areas this way though, as areas have reinforced walls that cannot be perforated by the Hexabot’s compact drill.

I hope you like this last addition as I do, Blocks That Matter is a game I really appreciated and that kept me playing for a long time.
Until next time!

The Super Crate Box critters in UFHO2

Another day, another new character. This time’s the turn of…

THE CRITTERS
(from Super Crate Box)

The ‘adorable’ skull-shaped critters that swarm in Vlambeer‘s hit Super Crate Box will inhabit abandoned UFHOs (such as the crashed UFHO currently used for 2vs2, if you have played the game) and be selectable for multiplayer.

STORY
These creatures are little carnivorous predators that move in small packs, and they can be found in plains on different planets (it is said that they hide in spaceship’s cargos, thus their presence in more than one ecosystem).
They are usually not dangerous for anybody bigger than a cat, as they only prey on very small animals. Nevertheless, these critters developed a love for the Gems and will go after them blindly when they see one.

GAMEPLAY
When met during the story, the critters will be quite peculiar: the player will face two of them at a time. This means that after the player’s turn, each of them will have his own mini-turn.

They are so small that two of them can fit in one room, so they don’t block each other. Being so small though, they have only 3 moves available to them.
Being primitive creatures, they don’t conceive the use of powerups: in fact together with the Tremodillos, they are the only characters in UFHO that will not use powerups at all.

In multiplayer, the player will be able to use them but as for other races he will be limited to one. The critter will have 6 moves as usual, and one special perk: whenever the opponent gets a Gem, he becomes infuriated for one turn and gains two additional moves (only for that turn).

This is all for now, next one will come soon… in the meantime, keep supporting us on Kickstarter! πŸ˜€

Commander Video in UFHO2

As teased several times before in other posts, I said that several characters from other known indie games would make their appearance in UFHO2. Finally it’s time to say the names, and the first is:

COMMANDER VIDEO
(from the BIT.TRIP series)

The first guest star, provided by the nice guys at Gaijin Games, is the black alien known as Commander Video, starring in the awesome BIT.TRIP series (I personally love BEAT and RUNNER). He will not be only one character, but an entire race of aliens in the UFHO2 universe.
You’ll meet Commander Video during the later stages of the single-player campaign, and you’ll be able to play as him in multiplayer matches. He’ll be kinda powerful too, not without some downsides though.

STORY
The ‘Commanders’ are an ancient race of aliens, which was thought to be extinct long time ago. They were the first form of intelligent jellies, and all the jelly-like races in the universe are thought to descend from them.
There are also legends on how the blue Gems are actually an artifact created by Commanders, to encase and use the power of all the living things in the universe.

In recent times, traces of Commanders have been reported by an UFHO flying too close to a black hole, and getting sucked in. The Gooys on board reported via radio – before disappearing – about the casual encounter with a very dark friendly race, with one white glowing eye. They sad that even if they were black, these wordless creatures left a trail of coloured spots as they moved, as if they were made of the matter of every living jelly being.

GAMEPLAY
When compared to the other races in the UFHO universe, Commanders are very quick and smart.

In fact, they can move 7 times during a turn (vs. the 6 moves of most other races). Unfortunately, being not used to modern mechanisms, rotating an area costs to them 3 moves instead of 2.

When talking about powerups they make very good use of them, and their increased move count allows them to use expensive powerups and still have some moves to spend to complete their strategy. This makes them very complicated opponents to overcome, although trapping them in the wrong area can slow the Commanders down considerably.

Just for the record, some time ago a character (a Jeevil) from UFHO appeared in BIT.TRIP Runner, although he was quite hidden. Here’s the proof!

We hope you enjoyed this small surprise! Keep following these updates because Commander Video is not the only guest character, there’s still 3 more to go! Can you guess from which games?

UFHO2 on Kickstarter

After a couple of months of preparations, UFHO2 has been put on Kickstarter to raise funds for its development. For those who don’t know what Kickstarter is, or similar sites like it, it is a relatively new way of doing fundraising. People discover project they like, they pledge money to make the project a reality, and if the needed amount is met by the deadline, the project creator gets the money.
In return, people who donate get a bunch of rewards for their early help.
For UFHO2, the plan is quite simple: raise the money by february next year, develop the game in 5-6 months, and then reward everybody! (some rewards may come earlier)

As an example of rewards, pledging 10$ (it’s like, less the amount of money you spend on a night out) you will get a digital download of the game for both PC and Mac + a big thanks on the game’s website with your name under “People who made it possible”. For 20$ you get the soundtrack too, and a hand-written postcard to thank you for the effort. From 30$ and up we start with the physical goodies: in random order, a t-shirt, the physical copy of the game and soundtrack, stickers, badges, posters, up to a hand-painted Xbox 360 controller, or some other cool stuff.

So, if you like the game and you feel like helping us, this is the way to go:

Alternatively, speak about the campaign to friends who could like it, and share it into social networks and similar.

Also, stay tuned because we will be releasing updates to the campaign, with surprises to come!

Let’s make this happen!

Back into active development

After another long pause in updating the blog because nothing really worth in my developer life was going on, I decided this tiring wait has to end.
I have been doing a lot on the events side this last year: I’ve attended the Global Game Jam in january, been to the Netherlands in february to visit the Dutch Game Garden, NHTV, Vlambeer, Ronimo, etc., took part in the Lunarcade Factory jam, went to Napoli for the Brave New Game award in march, been to the No More Sweden 2011 in Stockholm in august, and at the GDC Europe ’11 as a volunteer. Apart from the three small games I made at the game jams, I posted no update on UFHO2 because, simply, there was none.

I am now organizing to resume working on UFHO2 100% of the time and finally see it finished. In fact, I already resumed the work on the graphics as you can see from the opening screenshot.
The full details on how the reboot will happen will be revealed soon enough. Stay tuned!

Bledge is complete!

The first LUNARCADE Factory event (read “game jam”) is over, and so is the game I made for it. Actually I went a bit over the limit, and the night I completed the game I stayed up until 5 AM just to put a final word on it. It didn’t come out too bad, to be honest!

The music is from the always good Francesco D’Andrea.

Bledge is in fact ready and downloadable from the event website! You can play it on the web (it’s a Flash game after all), or download it for PC or Mac (the Mac one has a cool icon :P).

      

      
(click on the images to see them bigger!)

Oh, and check the other games too! There were a total of 11 entries, which is not bad at all considered the “localized” soul of the event. It was an exciting experience all in all, and cool to interact from home with the guys at the jam.
Try also Cathode Rays, Codardo Bastardo, Line Avalanche, Sky Limit (by Santa Ragione themselves), SPIIIIILIIIIINE… to name a few… well do something, try them all! πŸ™‚

Bledge and the LUNARCADE

I want to give you a preview of a small game I’m creating for the LUNARCADE game jam that is going on these days in Milan, organized by the always active guys of Santa Ragione and Cranio Creations.
The theme of the jam is LINEE (“lines”) and, unlike other jams, people had the opportunity to participate from home. Since I didn’t want to go all the way to Milan -> €€€ (although now that I see the streaming I really wish I had gone) I decided to take part from here in Madrid.

Bledge is basically a two player oblique Snake game, where each player has to guide a small spaceship and make the other one crash on his trail (tail?). Trails are made of three colors, variations in brightness of the same hue, and there’s a reason for this: the tricky part is that the other player crashes only if he crosses the trail on its dark side, otherwise he just passes over it.
Each player can always pass over (and overwrite) his own trail, so he doesn’t really need to bother about it (this is different from all the other Snake/Tron games).

Apart from that there’s two “special moves” to spice the game and create a bit of strategy: one is a boost that lets a player cover two tiles in one move, and the other is a spin of his spaceship which inverts the orientation of his trail (say, if the black side was on top now it’s facing down), so he can trap the opponent.
The special moves cost energy which can be gathered by picking up some powerups on the stage.
Simple as that.

Let’s see if I can finish the game by tomorrow at a decent hour, the guys at the jam will put it there to be played by all the bystanders if I make it in time. I’m so slow! πŸ˜€

Some links for the jam:
The threads for the jam on TIGsource and Indievault.it (There’s 19 concepts so far!! Although not all will be brought to completion…).
The live feed of the jam (when it’s on, don’t forget it’s italian hours, so GMT+1). There’s also a chat, although we usually dwell in the Indievault chat.

Stickers and minicards

Finally, the stickers are here!

Click for a bigger image

As before with the minicards, I ordered them on Moo.com. The print quality turned out great as always, even though the guys at Moo managed to cut out a very small part of the ‘y’ letter. I am sure I followed the guide files they provide though!…
Well, not too bad. The stickers are still very nice and the text is readable enough, considered their small size.

A sample of the music for UFHO2

Hey guys, Francesco here.
Being unable to show you some progress on the gameplay, Ciro handed the proverbial “hot potato” to me, so here I am to give you something about the game.
This is a sneak peek on the UFHO2 soundtrack, taken directly from my Bandcamp page. They’re just a few tracks, however I think they’re enough to get what the overall groove and ambience may sound like in the final game.

The first two are actual game level songs. The third one, Nice to Bit You, is UFHO2’s main theme. The final one has been used on the trailer for Space Academy.

Tell us what do you think about them in the comments!