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Springloaded: 2015 – The Last Vikings

October 6, 2015

So, this is kind of old news, but we started writing a new game back in January, guess what! it’s coming out soon.
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So I wish I had a bit more time to write about the trials and tribulations of developing it! but I don’t…so this will be quick!

our company engaged in some work for hire, which was kind of not suppossed to be work for hire, we made a collection of minigames to celebrate the Singapore 50th birthday, one of which was about dragon boating. What was great was that we got to make whatever we wanted, what wasn’t so great was that the project ended up getting cancelled! In reality I was relieved that we could return to focusing on what we do best which is making our own games with no other agenda. But was sad about a host of other things, the games we made were actually fun, and the people who worked on them (me included) were kind of attached to them. By this time, Springloaded had swelled to the vast size of 15 people! yes, there were 15 of us! some were part time, some were interns, but I was still burning through 45K a month on salaries! So, with cancelled projects, comes less income, less income means less employees, so in what seems like an eternity ago now, we had to figure out  how to proceed, Lydia who works with us, but deals with things such as the bank balance, told me how severe it all was, and while I listened, I kind of stowed away what she was saying in to the back of my brain, and thought if I hid it well enough in my subconscious the issues we were facing would simply cease to exist! Obviously, eventually things had to give, so with a heavy heart I told everyone how we had no money, and how shitty everything really was. They probably don’t know, but I was kind of having an out of body experience as I said the words to people, and then when the gravity of what I was saying hit me on occasion, I nearly lost it, and started spraying water out of my eyes like those giant water canons they use to suppress riots. After such a crap-house of an experience, we reduced our size to around 8 or so people, to focus on finishing up our 3DS games, and getting our next mobile game to market.

Here is a screen shot, of the MIA – you wont get to play – Dragon boat game.

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With the games cancelled, and them actually causing us some deficit, we really had no time to sit around and get depressed, there were games to make! for most of January, I actually spent all my time working on the 3DS version of heart beaten, because it seemed to me like a dumb stupid project that would be a lot of fun to make. I wrote the game code, while Paul worked on getting it on to the 3DS with some help from Alan here and there, Cindy did art to fill out the holes where my art was too shitty, There was simply never going to be any possibility of me drawing something like this (although I think CIndy did it in half a day or something crazy):

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Heart beaten was intended to launch on Feb14th, but it was delayed due to us messing up the submission documents, so it came out a while later. What’s great about being an indie dev? well the night before submission ,Paul said that one of the game modes sucked, and he was right. So I accepted the challenge of writing a brand new duck hunt inspired game before the next morning. I started at something like 10PM, but got it done just before the sun came up. Astoundingly it was pretty much bug free, and we submitted the game on time. In any sane company, you would be told to not do something like that as it’s too risky! it turns out there was a pretty big bug in the game, but we missed it! In one of the modes, you can play forever, and you will never die, unless you die of boredom! you have to be above a certain skill level to do it, but once you are the difficulty stops increasing, and it just becomes a repetitive slog, with no goal! .I was pretty amused with the game, it is unpleasant and stupid, and I guess its clearly not a mainstream product! The theme is that you play a series of different women, who take turns in dumping the games hero, and then destroy his heart with graphic violence! I think my favourite mode could be the R-Type inspired one, (which somehow I drew, and didn’t make ugly), but probably it’s the final stage that’s really the best, seeing as it forces you to play two games, one on each screen at the same time, It’s supposed to represent that you the player have actually found some kind of love in your life, and now you have to protect two hearts, as you are no longer alone. Awwww…. many people thought the game would be cute, and were horrified to be faces with a blood soaked screen. Suffice to say, I didn’t even try to release it in Germany.
CTR_KHBP_HeartBeaten_ScreenShot_Top_5_ENGLISH

So after making 2 3DS games, we decided to take a break, and wait and see what happened as far as finances were concerned, while we waited I got back to working on the Last Vikings. The game was intended to be a small product, built ontop of the singapore game “Dragon boat”, re-skin it, refine the design a little, and add some cool polish so we could release it fast! Well, I am a bit stupid, in the end I think only about 50 lines of code from the original game actually made it across to the new one! the main mechanic was scraped and done again from scratch, the combat mechanic was added, and we added a small town hub,

We actually got the game up and running unbelievably quickly, I think it probably took about one months work to get it into a good state, As we were winding down the team size, a lot of people got to have a small go at something or other, When we stopped to look at the game, we realised it was actually a lot of fun, and then we started realising we could turn it into a fully fledged RPG, adding a story, a huge battle mode, multi-player and everything else you might expect!

So now here we are it’s almost the end of the year, I am sitting in our new office (because we had to leave our awesome free one behind), looking at a game that was expected to take three months, actually taking 9! You could say it was bad planning, but really it was just making the game into something bigger and better than was originally anticipated. We went from making a small game that might sit better alongside an endless runner than an RPG, to a product that has aspiration of competing with top grossing iOS titles!

I will be honest, it’s still not there yet! we are still adding little bits here and there, but now we are ,ostly waiting on the sales data and metrics from the territories we have the game out in already.

I couldn’t be happier with the game, it’s probably the best game I have made so far in my life! but on the flip side of that I can still see a million ways to improve it!

So what’s next? well we submitted our global launch candidate to Apple today, and are now just figuring out whether or not that really will be “the one”. if the game doesn’t do well, then things will get pretty dark for us! As a result, I started writing not one, but two new games over the weekend! much like “The Last Vikings” was supposed to be, these games are super small, and should be done within record time! we will see if that actually happens! but in this case, we have learned a load more about making games in the last year, I think as a studio we are ready to really start delivering on the stuff I always think we are capable of. Hopefully, Vikings is the first chapter in what will be a super victorious 2016 for us! While some of that is down to luck, I think by working as crazy hard as we have (and continue to), means that we have a good chance of making our own luck!

here is some last vikings screen shots in action:
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3 Comments
  1. I enjoyed playing the game for the past several weeks. (Daily playing for weeks – this is an awesome product!) I uninstalled/reinstalled today due to the crashing after raid bug, figuring since it syncs with Google Play my progress would be kept. But my progress was lost! Is there any way to recover?

    • Hi there, the game shoudl have auto-saved regularly, but you will have to manually download your data. After logging in with teh same account as before go to the cloudsave button and select download (not the google download, but our one). By the way the crash is fixed…thanks for playing the game! it means a lot!!!

      • Ginny Brock permalink

        Yes, the auto-save was in the cloud option just like you said! I had to play through the tutorial (2 raids, I think?) before it would let me swipe to the options screen, but once I got there it was easy to get my progress back. Thank you!

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