Tonight was the official presentation of the NEW Zero Shade at the IGDA DemoNight at the SAT Montreal.
The presentation went smoothly even with the online multiplayer match, all that with a public Wifi…ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED
14 games were demoed and a few of those were quite impressive! The video feed will probably be posted on YouTube in a few days.
In the meantime:
1. I NEED TESTERS!
So for the folks interested, let me know in the comments / Facebook / Twitter / morse code. I will be happy to send you the latest demo build.
2. I WANT FEEDBACK!
What did you like? What was easy/hard to understand? Did you expect something that was missing from the demo?
Lemme here your voice, internetz people.
2012 was a crazy year.
After more than a year of work with the passionate team of devs at Gamerizon, Chop Chop Ninja World was finally released a few weeks ago on iOS.
Download it now FOR FREE, it’s full of Ninja-ness!!!
I worked on the game design and level design, enemies and platforming design, and did a ton of level scripting. I hope you like it as much as I do!
2013 will be even better!
I recently had some time to upgrade Zero Shade, so as promised, here is a quick overview of the new Zero Shade designed for iOS first.
At the core of the solo maps is our new character: Zero the chameleon!
Zero the chameleon got inside a strange world by accident. He walks around inside a full 3D world, but it’s about 2D movement just like before!
He can walk around but of course he can hide in some areas:
Strange bots are running after you…and will decimate you in a blink of an eye!
Grab this item as fast as you can to complete the level:
You can get 3 stars for each level:
– FAST star: complete level under 30 seconds
– OCD star: destroy all bots
– STEALTHY star: never get discovered
Zero Shade still has exactly the same gameplay objective: hide in plain sight in a minimalist stealth game. The ambition is now clearer and stronger: the game must be super-easy to “get” while keeping the emergence of a good game of hide-and-seek.
Of course, being iOS, it still must be super fast to start a multiplayer match or a solo level.
So far Zero Shade is still in the conception phase as I still want a good pass of feedback from new eager testers before building on top of this.
So now the next step is to get the word out, I want to see how you all like it!
You can contact me if you are interested in trying the new Zero Shade
Good, short news.
– I have found a rock-solid new server-client system. Indeed, it works with any platform. Mac, PC, web, and…iOS. It also kills all NAT punchthrough problems! So I took the hard decision to make a strong switch for Zero Shade: a complete reboot, designed for iOS first.
– Zero Shade for iOS implies a game even more accessible. This means a mission based solo game as a giant tutorial leading to the multiplayer.
– the solo part of Zero Shade will be done first, and it will focus on fast 1-screen challenges.
– Zero Shade needs a strong hook to identify with as a player. Meet our official Spy character: Zero The Chameleon!!!
Next post: how a 1-screen solo mission will look like.
Yes the project is still alive! The past months required me to be more than full time on another big project, but I will have at last some time in May to upgrade everything in Zero Shade, new map, updated client-server stuff and new Unity version! And also a test to see if the game fits on a certain iPlatform, without guaranteeing anything, I will at least have a look.
Here is a replay of 1 complete duel of Zero Shade. After last week’s Alpha test of the Prey mode, I made some quick adjustments:
– the Guard and Spy avatars are now visually different
– the respawn flashes to separate the multiple duels
– the audio is less confusing (no more dynamic filter)
– the scores are now in sync
I think the replay is very good at showing when the Spy is well hidden and what the other player actually sees on his screen, so I hope this video will be able to explain better to newcomers how the Prey mode works, and show the potential for all the maps that I would love to add!
Warning: the video should be viewed in high definition! (1080p if you can, 720p minimum)
Here are some interesting results from the last few days I spent alpha-testing Zero Shade. For this first trial, a total of 10 players have tested Zero Shade in different locations around the world and most importantly with different internet connections.
01. Country and OS
This first test was mainly done with players from Montreal, however I managed to gather some players from the USA and even India! Even though the sample of players is small (10), their connectivity conditions were varied enough. The first thing to notice is the importance of having a Windows version, with Windows XP being as important as Windows 7. First excellent result of the test: Zero Shade is fully compatible with Windows XP, Windows 7, Mac OS X 10.5, 10.6 and 10.7. And thanks to the power of Unity and .NET, the multiplayer works between Mac and PC across all versions!
02. Tech: NAT and ISP
The most interesting tech data however was the NAT results, which indicated if the players behind their router or Wi-Fi box would be able to be client only or server+client. Currently, Zero Shade uses a peer-to-peer connection which require a “NAT Punchthrough”. The NAT Punchthrough is really important for multiplayer games because it is the “bridge” that allow the client to join the server at the correct address. Without NAT Punchthrough a player can only be client, i.e. he can only join games that other players have started and can’t start (host) his own games that other players could join.
From the beginning, my goals with Zero Shade included a completely invisible client-server setup, because a lot of gamers do not know how their router works and how to tweak it for gaming. Ideally, I expected a very low percentage of players to have a limited NAT. And ideally, a lot of players (with NAT enabled) regularly starting new games would mean very low waiting time even for the players with limited NAT: they would only wait for another NAT-enabled player to start a game then join him. However the results weren’t as good as I expected: with 10 players, only 4 were able to fully support the NAT Punchthrough.
At the same time, I discovered that while starting a game (=running a server) is not recommended with a Limited NAT Punchthrough, it can still work with selected players. Indeed, there are 2 types of Limited NAT Punchthrough: one very restrictive (Symmetric case) and one almost not restricted (Port Restricted case). With my 10 players I found that a lot of times the Limited NAT Punchthrough is actually the one almost not restricted (Symmetric case), which can still let a lot of players join the game.
For this client-server host-join problem, I will test the possibility of letting players start a game with a Limited NAT Punchthrough in the “almost not restricted” version when doing automatic matches. But, I now realize that I need a lot more tests and data specifically about this NAT situation, and I am already integrating a very promising helper: the Lumos game analytics (more about Lumos in another post).
03. Tech: Ping and Graphics
Also worth noting, I managed to gather some data about the graphics card of various types of players (very casual to hardcore). On Mac and PC, it is still very common to have an Intel (integrated) graphics card (which sucks). Thanks to some optimization, I managed to keep Zero Shade very easy on the RAM and the graphics card rendering. The current CPU usage could still use some optimization though.
Zero Shade is a game where the position of the player is extremely important: 3 pixels can be the difference between being hidden or visible. Even though I feared the ping latency variations across different internet connections, the results of this first test were excellent: while the average ping of players were ranging from 10 to 80 ms, all 10 players reported very smooth movements of the remote player!
04. Game and Level Design: Feedback
In the end, the technical side of this alpha test turned out pretty good with informative results. Still, the best part for me was reading the feedback and comments from the 10 players. For instance:
– 100 % of players like the visual aesthetics of Zero Shade!
– 100% of players became really good at hiding after a few games
– 100 % of players can confirm they really had fun while playing Zero Shade
Thanks to all the testers who have participated in this first test! And thanks for reading.
After a bit of initial feedback on the main mechanic of hiding in Zero Shade, I decided to make a clearer visual explanation on how this mechanic works, until I implement full in-game tutorials.
In Prey mode, the Guard can only shoot, while the Spy can only hide with Space Bar (the only action button in the game, apart from movement).
Pressing the Space Bar makes the Spy switch between black and red. Thus, he has to hide according to the red or black background.
01. How to hide in a black area
Here, the Spy is close to the Guard. To get closer without getting shot, he has to hide. He presses the Space Bar to match the black background:
02. How to hide in a red area
Now, the Spy is in a red area. To get even closer, he has to blend in again. He presses the Space Bar and is perfectly invisible for the other player.
03. Be Fast
In conclusion, to be a good Spy, you have to be very quick when going back and forth between a black area and a red area, because you WILL be visible for a short time:
Don’t get caught by the Guard!
Here is the first gameplay video for Zero Shade!
This video will help the few alpha testers, and also show the gameplay for the first mode: Prey.
I’m interested to hear which questions still remain unanswered about the gameplay after you viewed the video!
Finally, Zero Shade has reached its first testing stage. The first available game mode, Prey, is alpha-ready (not the entire game though). The goal of this first step is actually twofold:
1) test the smooth automatic server and client setups with different (average to excellent) internet connections, as well as the simple match making
2) test the map seen in the previons post in the Prey game mode, and iron out the small kinks that I can’t find by playing twice on my computer.
If you are interested in test-driving the first map, please let me know on the facebook page for Zero Shade (or here in the comments if you are an avid reader 😉 ).
Also, I think Zero Shade looks good enough to share some goodies, so here are 2 wallpapers for you: (at least good enough to be used as the background for this website )