What does it cost to run Nine Dots?

I wrote a piece about the costs of starting your own game studio for Polygon and it just went live. If you want all the crunchy details, financial or otherwise, I invite you to read it. A little share can’t hurt either ;)

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http://www.polygon.com/2014/7/31/5949433/the-cost-of-a-game-studio

- Guillaume

Steam Achievements and Squad System

GoD Factory: Wingmen is almost complete and we’re now mostly doing finishing touches, such as the Steam Achievements and the system to be able to play is pre-made teams, or squads.

Rather than just put achievements for the sake of it, we decided to make them matter a little more by associating them with in-game rewards. Every achievement you unlock will grant you credits and a new color or sheen to apply to your ship. We have over 40 achievements, with varying degree of difficulty. We’re using those also to train the player and to show him different tactics and abilities.

The squad system has always been something important to have but which always got pushed away in development in favor of issues more directly related to gameplay. Now we finally got around to making it. Essentially, it’s just a way to say tag your friends and say “I play with them and we stay together” and when the squad leader enters a game or leaves one, his team will follow.

With these two things out of the way, there is little more left to do than menu sounds, debugging and polishing.

Oh and on another note, tonight we’re going to play a game of Guns of Icarue Online against the devs! It will be on our twitch channel at 8pm Eastern Times.

This is what their game is about.

This is what their game is about.

Whachoo’playin #3

Hi everyone! We realized that our Whachoo’playin posts were rather long, so from now on we will alternate between 3-4 devs sharing their experiences instead of having everyone on board every time. It’s also a little more scalable should we expand our team in the future.

Rock Mercier
This last weekend was the EVO, which is the biggest event of the year on the fighting game scene. I love the competitive level of those games and although I’m a big fan of the Street Fighter series, I always check the other titles as well, even if I know less about them. Every game is amazing to watch when the best players in the world are gathered to play it. Seeing all the crazy stuff pro players actually pull off in desperation of turning the tide and ultimately win their sets is exciting; there’s always a lot of surprising results and tensions. I strongly suggest following this event if you like competitive gaming (you can find EVO videos on YouTube pretty easily). It is also very well commentated; you will learn the game terms and the slang of fighting games just by watching. Have fun!

Pier-Luc Tremblay
Two weeks a ago, I ended up buying Mario Kart 8 to play with my girlfriend. I ended up bringing my Wii U at the studio to play with my coworkers during our dinner break. I hadn’t played a Mario Kart since the 64 version. I have to confess that I’m not a huge fan of any Mario game (except for Smash Bros.), but I had a lot of fun playing this one and completing cups since you can do them in splitscreen with up to 4 players. If any of the 4 players gets enough points to be first, you get a new character. So we where basically playing coop with friendly fire, it was hilarious.

Pascal Maltais
This week the game I’ve played most is an MMORPG named Rift. It is yet another game I can play with my girlfriend. Rift has a lot in common with World of Warcraft but these are the differences I noted:
– Free to play
– Better graphics
– A Bard class <3
– Unfortunately, less species to choose from (and all human looking)
– The awesome customisable classes (you may choose a pre-made class that you can modify or create your own)

Other than Rift, since I finished the Portal 1, I've started to play Portal 2 in co-op which is really great :)

Crew Quarters and a space station’s interior

 We’ve begun work on an interior environment for the Crew quarters, where a player can see his or her track record. Here’s a work in progress screenshot from the game (with no menus):

progress

The different computer terminals will bring up different information about your pilot career.

This work prepares us for the eventual single player of GoD Factory, where your character will be able to walk the halls of a massive ship.

 

The room shown above is composed of many small parts, such as a straight wall, a corner wall, etc. This allows me to create new layouts on the fly, which will be useful once we’ll need a more comprehensive environment for our characters to eventually move in.

 

Until next time,

EV

Whachoo’playin? #2

Guillaume:

I was very eager to try out Divinity: Original Sin and so far, the game holds up to my expectations! It is indeed a modern execution of the glorious CRPGs of old, such as Baldur’s Gate. I appreciate that it doesn’t try to hold my hand and lets me explores how the different mechanics work. I found the progression a little slow however, but that might be because I spent too long in the first city before venturing out. I’ve also tried Strike Vector for the first time. I liked it but I had a hard time getting used to the controls, mostly because I kept trying to control it just like GoD Factory, whereas that game has a simpler control scheme, you just need to point in a direction to fly over there. The real fun for me started when we tried Capture the Flag instead of Deathmatches.

Pascal:

This week I tried Magicka. It’s pretty cool to mix the elements to do different things but I found it hard to remember all the recipes. I’m sure that I’ll get used to it in time. I’ve also played Strike Vector, which happens to be very fun, at least for the Capture the Flag game mode. The experiences wasn’t so focused on spawning and dying in this mode. The visual of the battlefields are very nice but I don’t like the ship’s design and wished there was more than one model to play. I finally went through Portal but I don’t need to say more since I believe almost every gamer know how cool this game is. Will now have to start Portal 2!

Rock:
I’ve always been a fan of the Diablo series and I always thought other diablo-like didn’t deliver the visceral feel of danger and production value of the original. This week however, I’ve been dragged into Path of Exile by my brother and I must say I was impressed. The main flaw in my opinion are the animations. Your character looks stiff and performs his moves clumsily. At least the special effects are ok. The customisation system however is so interesting! It’s a rare thing to see games that allow the player to tweak their character this much and still succeed at delivering a really intense endgame challenge! In addition of having access to 6 different classes, you can reach astonishing amount of attack speed and increase the power of your skills tenfold (before applying your stats bonuses), and you still die frequently… which is great!
I love this game so far.

Pierre-Tuan:
This week, I played some Strike Vector. I’ve found the game to be most enjoyable when playing objective based game modes, like capture the flag. I also tried Mario Kart 8, which I enjoyed thoroughly as well. There are quite a few new features for me, as I had not played a Mario Kart game since the N64. I think the kart customization and the anti-gravity stuff is quite interesting and will probably end up buying a WiiU for this, Smash, Monster Hunter, and other upcoming games.

Pier-Luc:
Last weekend, I went to a small video game convention in Quebec called Geekfest. There was a small Super Smash Bros Melee tournament and decided to get into it with Samus even though I was sure to be eliminated in the first rounds. I was really surprised to make it to the semi-final round as the amount of Fox players was too damn high. I guess, playing Smash Brawl with the Project M mod for the last year with my colleagues prepared me for that. I also played Guild Wars 2 with my girlfriend and tried Strike Vector with the Nine Dots devs. I have to say I had a lot of fun even if this game is really hard. I will definitely play it again.

Etienne:
As planned, I spent my last few evenings in the Mojave wasteland, in Fallout New Vegas. I’m playing in hardcore mode, so I got to watch out for dehydration! I’ve yet to start any of the DLCs so expect me to play for at least another week with my suave gunslingner.

Gabriel:
I recently got my hand on a pretty good game named La-Mulana. The gameplay is like the old 2D metroid games but with an Indiana Jones vibe, with not-so-obvious puzzles to solve. In fact, they are often teasing you with treasure chests that you seem to be able to get to but that will only be available later. That means a lot of back tracking. A LOT. La-Mulana’s map is also huge and full of stones with riddle that are not always linked to the room your in. Finding where you need to go and what you have to do is hard (and a bit frustrating at times), but the feeling of accomplishment when you finally find a way to progress is what makes this game great.

Streaming Strike Vector today, more to come in the future

Hi all!

Tonight at 8PM (eastern time) a few guys from Nine Dots will join up online to play a game called Strike Vector on Twitch. The idea is that we want to have more ways to interact with our audience and we also want to help other games get discovered by awesome players. So from now on, expect to see more frequent streaming of games on Twitch, and not only our own titles!

If you join us on the twitch chat tonight, we may have some activation codes to give ;)

http://www.twitch.tv/ninedotsstudio

strikevectorscreenshot

Whachoo’playin? First edition

Today we start something new, a type of post that we will repeat every Friday. I think we’re going to call it “Whachoo’playin”. Each of us at Nine Dots will tell you what games we are currently playing and share a few thoughts.

Guillaume:

Recently I’ve played through Spec Ops: The Line single player campaign in one sitting. It’s disappointing to think that it wasn’t commercially successful. The themes they explored helped make the story stand apart from the other military shooters. I loved the progression of how war consumed the mind of some characters. I was also impressed by how they used sudden changes in the lighting and color palette to quickly change the atmosphere, it was a nice touch that added a lot of flair. On another note, I’ve started yet another game of Civilization 5 with my girlfriend, I keep going back to this game over and over again. My Chinese Empire eradicated India before we even reached -800 BC ;)

Pier-Luc:

With Season 2 of Guild Wars 2 that started a few days ago, I returned to Tyria to defend the land! I realized that I had never finished my main quest, and decided to make it my main focus. I also acquired a few indie games during the Steam summer sales, such as Guns of Icarus Online, Bastion and FTL. They are pretty good games and I play them when I want something a bit smoother. And because we never have too much games to play, I’m playing The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD when I do not feel like playing on my computer.

Etienne:

In the last week, I played my copy of Deus Ex: Human Revolution that was sitting on my shelf for the last 3 years. It’s really good and the art direction has inspired me, as I’m currently creating an interior environment for GoD Factory. I’m looking forward to playing Fallout New Vegas which I’ve bought during the Summer Sales on Steam. I’m a fan of the series and of Bethesda, so Obsidian’s take on Fallout 3 should be nice.

Pierre-Tuan:

Recently, I’ve been playing Guns of Icarus Online. I think it’s a very nice team oriented game that rewards communication and tactics. Lately I’ve been using a Spire with 3 engineers, a gunner, a Hwacha and gatlings. I also like that we’re using development tools similar to those used for Guns of Icarus. I’ve also been having a lot of fun playing FTL, a game that is outside my usually gaming preferences as I prefer games involving other players in some way. I think what really kept me playing was the randomness of events combined with the short length of a playthrough, which allows for quick experimentation with ship builds. I really like playing Engi, Mantis and Slug ships with some boarding tactics.

Rock:

There’s one game I wanted to play for a long time due to friends’ feedback and my predisposition for wizards (when done right): Magicka! I finally tried it and the spellcasting system of this game really made me feel like a mysterious wizard manipulating magic. To cast spells, you have to generate specific “mana” and mix them together to produce specific effects. You have to do this within a frantic “Beat ‘em Up” experience, having monsters constantly coming at you in real time. This system combined with their touch of humour really delivers. Now, there’s also a free-to-play MOBA version of the game: Magicka: Wizard Wars, I definitely intend to check it out! I tip my wizard hat to Arrowhead (even though their wizards wear hooded cloaks, not hats)

Pascal:

These days I mostly play Don’t Starve, which I discovered from Gabriel at Nine Dots and from the Steam Sales. Loved the fact that I was always learning new things about the game like new enemies or new crafting recipes, among others. And while playing I’ve unlocked and tried many characters that add depth to the game, like the were-beaver Woody. I’ve also came back to Torchlight 2 to show this nicely done Diablo-like game to my girlfriend. However, the one I probably enjoyed playing the most would be Guns of Icarus, which I started playing with Pierre-Tuan.

Gabriel:

Wanting to play a turn-based tactical strategy game for quite some time, I decided to give a chance to Eador: Master of the Broken World. After my first battle, the first thing that struck me was how awful the animation was. Being an animator it was enough to stop me from playing it until Guillaume convinced me to try again. I have to say that this game has a lot of strategic potential but another problem stopped me from continuing the story mod. The progression between each conquest is just not enough to keep my attention and I was soon tired of having the same units in hand.

So that’s what we’ve been playing lately. What about you? What games caught your attention in the last week and why?

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