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Karoshi version 1.1.0 has now been submitted for approval to Apple, and is now already out on Android from Friday!
Small reminder that GameMaker Standard 8.1 will only be on sale for $25 until June 1st 2011 - then it will go up to $39.99! This will not affect upgrades which are free to those who have GameMaker 8 (with a valid purchase reference).
As promised, cast your eyes on the latest team members in our ever expanding busy team!
The new update for the very popular Solitaire game is now out!
There is a new update for to GM Standard 8.1 this week!
In brief this means if you are a school, its easier to install by no longer being a requirement to install as Admin only.
You also now need to install from the installer to get the fix for the file association. The correct URL that takes you to the installer is - http://store.yoyogames.com/downloads/gm4win/GameMaker-Installer-8.1.exe
I know a few of you still have had problems upgrading despite having valid keys, we apologise for any frustrations in this and we have resolved this by adding a new screen that shows up when you load GameMaker Standard. For upgrading, it requires your license key only (additional email no longer required). For any doubt, make sure you follow the instructions below;
*Make sure you update (you must be online).
*Enter license key (this can be found on the email sent to you from YoYo Games). Enter the full serial number NOT the purchase reference.
*If you do not have a license key then you need to go to the store and enter your purchase reference (from softwrap). The amount will go to $0. You will be sent an email from YoYo Games that will provide you with a valid licence key.
This should do the job, but if you still have any problems contact us at the helpdesk -https://yoyogames.mojohelpdesk.com and NOT by email. We do not have any contact emails that we can deal with the amount of queries we get so please make sure to speak to us through here.
All of latest upgrade info can be found listed in glorious technical detail here http://store.yoyogames.com/downloads/gm4win/release-notes.html
Simply Solitaire is simply one of our most popular games to date, and we have some added juicy features being added for your gaming pleasure! This will include the introduction of OpenFeint and a host of new achievements with new cardback designs.
OpenFeintAchievements (36 Achievements)
Twitter & Facebook integration
Options updateNew Options layout
New Card backs
Game Center Achievements36 Achievements
In-game Achievements36 Achievements
This will available on iOS and Android hopefully next week.
We are aiming to have some fresh new game releases out the door as well which we are currently tweaking, fine tuning, adding, etc til we get them good to go.
What's the latest buzz at YoYo Towers? As you already know, Sandy has said we have a few new recruits to the office which we will intimately reveal one by one once we have them chained at their desks :)
Some of the YoYo boys are off to Utrecht next week to plan world domination (or perhaps just a curry) with Prof Mark Overmars. Good things can only come of this :) More to show and tell next week if they let me...
The Game Creators Academy in nearby Kirkcaldy are running a games competiton, which are all GameMaker based, on Thursday 23rd June. The Adam Smith College http://www.adamsmithcollege.ac.uk/relations/public/pressreleases/default.aspx?prid=20110221N01 run courses for school pupils aged 14 – 18 where young people will get the chance to learn simple programming techniques. Over 150 entrants to the competition are going to be shortlisted into categories with a panel of guest judges (Guess who). We're going along to give our tuppence worth (and some YoYo swag) seeing as its just down the road from us. Expect to see photos of our grinning mugs amongst the next gen designers of tomorrow soon!
We've not had the time to dedicate to the website as we would have liked until now. Now we've been able to turn to it and see it in the cold light of day; there's a lot of dust isn't there? There's a lot things we are doing and want to do with GameMaker and YoYo and the site needs to show that. So, we are in the EARLY days of plans for this, and will looking to you nearer the time for some input into getting the most from it. You will get your chance to have your say but we'll direct that over the forums, just be patient til we have something to show you :)
It's been a long time since I've posted here, but it doesn't mean that I haven't been busy !
Since we opened our office in Dundee last July a lot has happened, so I thought I'd give a bit of a "State of The Nation" update.
First up, we're definitely building a fantastic team in Dundee. We started with Mike and Russell to be quickly joined by Kirsty and Andrew . Then I think it was Stuart and Geoff who joined next, they were soon followed by Lee, then Malcolm. Next week Chris and Paul will arrive and by the end of June I expect two others ("j" and "D"), who are receiving job offers as I write this, will be joining us. That's a total of 12 people in Dundee. There's still me of course and most of you will not have realised that Mark Overmars has been spending most of his time in the last few months at YoYo Games in our Dutch office. (also known as Mark's study)
These days we see YoYo Games as being three things. A Web Community (www.yoyogames.com), Developer Tools (Game Maker) and Publishing (YoYo Studios). All are linked by one thread, Game Maker. When I present the business to people inside and outside the company I use the following slide :
Here's a quick overview of what's happening in each of these areas:-
We started publishing games in October last year and we're incredibly pleased with the results so far. In all we've published 11 different games and we've re-issued almost all of them several different times. In total we have more than 20 different games, including free, ad supported versions of many of the titles on iTunes.
Highlights have definitely included Karoshi and They need to Be Fed. Both games have seen fabulous reviews and we are constantly being asked to port these games to multiple platforms. Simply Solitaire has been a huge hit for us on iPad and we have a new release of that game this week.
We're doing some interesting things at the moment with a company called OpenFeint (www.openfeint.com) so look out for the games we publish using many of the social networking features they provide.
One disappointment has been PSP. Sony have proven much more difficult to work with than the other platform owners even before their recent disaster with PlayStation Network. We're not convinced they can recover quickly, nor are we impressed by what we've seen of the new "PSP". Although we haven't completely given up supporting Sony's platforms our activities are definitely on hold.
We've also learned that we get the best content when we work closely with the most promising developers. We've therefore been hiring some more people in the production team to help provide better Game Maker development support as well as great art and music for the games that we publish.
Unfortunately we are unlikely to ever publish more than one or two games every week. So far we're publishing a new game every two to three weeks), but we expect the pace to pick up over the next month as we now better understand how to get games completed and published.
One BIG learning for us is the importance of QA (pre-release testing). Although Apple are very rigorous in letting games through to the iTunes store, they don't spend very much time looking for bugs. The result is games with serious bugs CAN and DO get through to iTunes. Since it can take as long as three weeks to get an update approved, a serious bug can mean the end of any sales for your game. We now spend at least 20 hours testing every game before we release it. Although it's not hugely expensive (we use students at the University of Abertay) it's one of the main reasons why we are publishing fewer games than we would like to.
Unfortunately, with limited publishing "slots" available for the foreseeable future this means that we're unlikely to be able to cope with the demand from so many of you who want to get your games published . This is why we've delayed the store opening. We WILL open up the website to independent games submissions soon, but we want the YoYo Games Store to be a showcase for the best games so I expect we'll disappoint many of you since we can only realistically publish fewer than 100 games a year. Although this might look like bad news please read on as we think some of the other things we're doing more than mitigate.
You probably aren't reading this unless you're one of the Million or so regular visitors to the website every month. The website has been up and running for more than 4 years now. In that time we've made some significant revisions to it's appearance and functionality but it hasn't really kept pace with the way that YoYo Games and the community has evolved and it's starting to feel very tired and crusty.
One thing that hasn't changed is that many of us come here because it's the best place to discover, discuss and enjoy Game Maker. I'm not sure we have ever really delivered a great website for that purpose. Back in 2006 we were unsure whether we were focused on people who play or people who make games. Somehow we landed in the middle of those two goals with the site we delivered and now is the time for us to make it clearer that it's people who use and enjoy Game Maker who are at the heart of our community.
Kirsty and other members of the team are now working hard on a plan to improve the best parts of the site, erase the sad and tired bits, fix stuff that is important but doesn't work well and give the whole place a completely fresh look and feel this summer (or winter if you're in the southern hemisphere :) ) The end result will be a website that is more clearly dedicated to the Game Maker development community. I'm very excited about these changes as I think they're long overdue.
In our frenzied activity getting the publishing business started we really hadn't noticed how much value we were adding to Game Maker. We've created a completely new runner in C++ that allows us to ship games with very few, or even no changes on Windows, Mac, PSP/PS3, Android and IOS. We posted a video for you here in the Glog a couple of weeks ago to give you some idea of how this all works.
We can and will add platforms to this list. It takes about three months to port the C++ runner and start publishing games on a new platform. We're currently looking at Smart TV, Windows phone 7 and Symbian, though with the success we're having on IOS and Android we're a long way from committing ourselves to any new devices at the moment.
The problem we have is none of this is prepared in a way that we can easily package it up and sell it. It was designed primarily for our internal use and takes a bit more manual intervention than you see in the video.
We WILL deliver all of this multi platform functionality to you. We're working on something we refer to as Game Maker "Studio Edition". First up is a complete rewrite of the "Maker" code in C#. The new Maker will run on both PC and Mac and once it's complete, those people interested in self publishing will be able to do so.
I just want to point out , as a publisher ourselves, that publishing games isn't cheap or easy. Apple for example will regularly reject games for all sorts of reasons and it can take time, effort and a high professional standard to get through their content submission procedures. The same process means you need to own at the very least an iPod Touch, and a Mac as well as getting enrolled in Apple's developer program. A total budget of around $2,000 would not be unreasonable, especially if you allow some money for the development tools too ! Android is easier, but the Android Market is a tough place to get noticed and it's populated with a lot of poor quality content that makes users very careful when it comes to downloading games they haven't heard of and from publishers they don't recognise.
Having said all of that we appreciate that many of you have plenty of potential to become great games developers and we want to help those of you with the ability to do so to publish yourselves without having to rely on us to manage the whole thing for you. We've also been approached by several established studios who would like to use Game Maker more extensively than they do today. In response to this demand we will be adding other important "team" features like version control to Game Maker "Studio Edition"
We'll keep you posted on "Studio" developments as they happen, but we don't expect to ship a product with a rich feature set this year. This will be a package for professional developers and that will take time. We want Game Maker to be a tool that can continue to be used by beginners and hobbyists too, so you'll find that we'll continue to ship regular updates every few weeks to Game Maker 8.1 Future versions of Game Maker Standard and Lite (Mac and PC) will also benefit from a lot of the work we put into the "Studio" release.
HOWEVER.... the last thing in this post is probably the best part of what we're doing. If you believe you have talent to get your games published, and/or can't wait until 2012, and/or you might not get one of our weekly publishing slots and/or want to use Game Maker to build a career in Games development.
Using the existing Game Maker 8.1 code and our C++ runner we started a little project in March to see if we could create the next generation of browser based games using Game Maker. As some of you may have already noticed we called this "experiment" Game Maker HTML5. We've been so impressed with the results that Mike and Russell are now working pretty much full time to create a product that you'll be able to buy. It will be much cheaper than Game Maker Studio, but more expensive than Game Maker Standard. At the moment no exact details of launch or price have been decided, but we're confident we can make this happen this year.
In conclusion... (sorry for the long post)... we're really excited about everything we're doing in Publishing, for the Community and especially with Game Maker. A BIG thank you from all of us at YoYo Games for your support so far. We're really looking forward to the next year and beyond in a big way and hope that you will continue to enjoy being part of our community and many others will join us.
ps - we'll keep you posted on developments here... :)
Some of you will know that I've been working on speeding up GameMaker's 3D performance, and I thought I'd let you see where it's currently at! You can find a link to the demo below...In the archive is the source, and 2 .EXEs. One using the current version of GameMaker (8.1.71), and one using the new, as yet unreleased version of GameMaker (probably 8.1.72). This optimised version is lightyears ahead of the old one, and is quite capable of delivering highly complex 3D environments. On top of this, the demo also has 8x FSAA enabled, which we hope to get in as an option inside GameMaker itself. The initial support will simply be a drop down box allowing you to specify how much AA you want, but we hope to extend this to better runtime support later. Special thanks to xot and FredFredrickson for also providing 3D tests, these were of great help as well.
Along with these changes, we're also fixing "surfaces", allowing them to finally be used in 3D without external DLLs; and many thanks to amd42 for his help in this, and for providing me with a sample to get up and running quickly with - that was a huge help!
We still have some work to do on this, but with luck the update will be out soon so that you can all have a play with it.