02/04/2012

Finally another peek at Marvin's Mittens before it's released to you all. More details on that shortly. Enjoy!

01/30/2012

We had another great year at the 48 hour insanity that is Global Game Jam! This year's theme was the Ouroboros Serpent image which we thought was highly creative change of pace.

We threw around a lot of ideas and then finally settled on the concept of two cupcakes trying to get to the basket by circling the globe, ultimately attempting to frost a baby cupcake with their preferred flavor. Give it a shot!

How To Play:
-Press Space to start at the title screen.
-Attempt to circle the entire globe by using the arrow keys to move and jump. You play as the Vanilla and Chocolate cupcakes. As you move, you start dropping your own crumbs, which are limited to the number indicated in the top. If you run out of crumbs you "die" and the other player starts. On the next turn for either player, those crumbs you dropped can be picked up! If you touch a crumb of your flavor you get two crumbs of stamina back. So try and dodge both hazards as well as the other player's crumbs while grabbing your own to eventually make it to the basket.
-Try it with a friend taking turns or challenge yourself to make it by playing both cupcakes.

PLAY NOW!

We had a lot of fun making this. As you can tell it's not perfect (as we only had 48 hours!) but we were really happy with how it turned out. We got to see many amazing people and projects underway at the Jam and it really felt great to be among fellow game development nerds. We once again look forward to next year's contest.

01/26/2012

Welcome to our very first developer diary podcast, where Jason Nuyens explains a little bit about the nostalgic tone and Canadian identity of Marvin's Mittens.

 

01/09/2012

Marvin's Mittens is in the home stretch. Levels are being tuned and getting a final art pass, audio is having some wrinkles ironed out, and Jason is slashing his way through our bug list without pity or remorse. While little niceties and fresh art assets are still being added periodically, the team hit an important milestone yesterday: I played through the whole game in release mode, start to finish!

In dev mode, you can skip levels, cheat and generally have a bunch of ways to get wherever you need to, even if some levels are broken or incomplete. Playing release mode without cheating, I was able to start with our intro cutscene, and play through all the way to the credits yesterday afternoon. So the game's not totally finished, but it's in a playable state, which is a claim I'm very proud to be able to make.

It's still going to be a bit of race to release Marvin before the snow melts (to meet our lofty goal of getting it out into the world this winter), but it's looking doable. Hopefully we can get some playtesting going very soon to make sure it's still as good as we think it is, and from there, we'll be in a good spot to get YOU playing the game very, very soon!

Happy New Year!

10/11/2011

This track is from near the very end of the game. Marvin finds himself pitted again the howling winds and vertical rock faces of Mount Taller, but must reach the summit to solve the mystery of the missing mittens! It's a bigger sound for Marvin's Mittens, but it's the ultimate challenge in the game, with this area really testing your powered up gliding abilities, and offering many more magic snowflakes to find if you can navigate the dizzying heights.

 

 

10/02/2011

Breakfall has decided that Marvin will be ready THIS WINTER. Actual release date TBA, we're looking at a PC release before the holiday season. After such an incredible development journey, we're finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and we're super excited that we'll soon be letting you play our game! More details very soon!

06/26/2011

Every sound has a story. Sometimes the story is "needed sound, took from stock library". But tales of how elephants and tires on wet pavement became the iconic howl of the TIE fighter, or chains and cement blocks were used to beef up the Balrog's howl in Lord of the Rings, are both fascinating, and really speak to the creative use of sound that audio professionals come up with.

For Marvin, I've gone out of my way to record lots of original sound. I've used lots of stock sounds too, but to give it the home made, never-before-heard touch, lots of things were made basement, at my cottage or around Marvin HQ at Jason's.

Here's the breakdown for a sound the whole team got involved in.

We've added big drill machine to one area of the game, and without spoiling what exactly it is or does, it's kind of a big deal. We wanted it to be loud and exciting, so I rounded up everyone in the kitchen, and we started recording.

(click the little orange play button to play the sound clip - the text will link to another page)

 

We used some cutlery, oven doors and Jason was hitting his former toaster oven (at least I hope it was already broken, because it ain't toastin' much anymore), and everyone helped generate the machine ambience by humming together. Here's take two...

 

Now everyone thought that was going to sound just about as goofy as it did, but here's where the magic of digital audio production kicks in! First, I took a loop from that first sample and pitched it up, and put on a few other FX (chorus featured heavily).

 

I took "take two "and lowered the pitch, then combined it another copy pitched down even lower. I flanged it a little bit too, and messed with EQ to get some parts to stand out more.

 

Sounding better! But not quite there. I did get some other stock sounds to punch up the mechanical angle. Here's a rumble, a pitched down roller coaster sound, and an actual drill sound that I borrowed from my stock library.

 

With all those sonic ingredients mixed together, here are the final two sounds playing more or less how you hear them in game. I say there are two sounds because they're split into a couple of layers. At the end of this clip you can hear the first layer, the drill hum, pitching up. It's hooked up to a special parameter in the game so we can control the pitch and volume of each part individually.

 

Combined with some other effects, the whole sequence with this machine is cool, because it really provides some punctuation from our otherwise soft and subtle natural soundscape.

And that's how it was made!

For the tale of one of the most legendary sounds of all time, check out this site about the Wilhelm Scream.

 

03/29/2011

Well, ok, more "mentioned" than "seen". But wow, did Randy Smith ever have some kind words about Marvin in the March issue of Edge, which, really, is a pretty spectacular (if not the very best) gaming magazine.

The article talks a bit about what it is to be indie - something Jason and other Breakfallers have had more than a few conversations about. Is it fighting the good fight to see games get made that otherwise would not? Is it a question of scope, of risk, of who your financial backers are? Whatever it is, he puts Marvin up there with some indie projects he feels exemplify the spirit of rebelling against status quo by putting creativity first and being arty, niche or unconventional.

From the article:

"Marvin's Mittens... looks like a game and quacks like a game but by rejecting dogmas about goals and score is instead an experiential art piece which beautifully captures nostalgic childhood memories of playing in the snow."

Then in the picture below the article, Marvin was put in a lineup of characters from such classics as Minecraft, Half Life and Braid. Quite the compliment!

Clearly, Randy really "got it", both our goals of subtractive design and charming nostalgia. I hope the game lives up to his expectations. We did some cooool stuff this weekend, but nothing I want to share - we need to keep a few surprises in there for you!

01/31/2011

The warning is only half joking. Though extremely low resolution and partly censored, the game is chock full of violence and "human procreation".

Jobin recorded a full playthrough for us...

 

And here's the general ambience of Game Jam 2011 at Carleton, and Harold playing the game on the last day...

 

 

 

 

01/30/2011

The Breakfall crew sent a delegation to the Carleton University Global Game Jam for the second year in a row, and it was a huge success! This year's awesome theme was "extinction". Our game, Eats, Shoots & Leaves was voted favourite game by Game Jam participants at Carleton, and given an honourable mention by the judges for "most mature execution"! The game features a panda with a shotgun who tries to swap the endangered status of both pandas and mankind.

I couldn't be there all weekend and just showed up to make some music and SFX on the final day (which you can check out on Mike's personal website here), but Jason, Phil and Jobin created a fun little Robotron-inspired shooter. I'll post a video of Eats, Shoots & Leaves as soon as it's up on YouTube.

Also worth noting is that instead of the Breakfall engine, we used Phil's super cool voxel based engine and art tools. It has a very different look in game, with amazing menu screens by Jobin. That trio really did some amazing things in 48 hours!

ESL Title Screen: Eats, Shoots & Leaves screenshots! 

ESL "How to Play": Eats, Shoots & Leaves screenshots! 

ESL First Game Screen: Eats, Shoots & Leaves screenshots! 

ESL Bamboo Forest Gameplay: Eats, Shoots & Leaves screenshots!

Voxel Panda: Eats, Shoots & Leaves screenshots!

ESL - The Game World: Eats, Shoots & Leaves screenshots!