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Total Arcade Racing Open Development Newsletter – Week #20

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Welcome to 2020¬†ūü•≥

At the end of 2019 I got hit by a cold shower from Microsoft, they had changed their Xbox One policy, so I needed to update some of my older games before 1st of January 2020. Many of the games had not been touched for years and one project in particular was originally created in Unity 4. I decided to roll up my sleeves and start working on the updates. While I was at it I couldn’t resist to also improve the graphics in the games. You can read about the updates below but as a side effect I didn’t have that much time left to work on Total Arcade Racing but¬† I did manage to add some important new features.

What have I been up to this last few weeks?

A new update is ready for you to try on itch.io¬†v0.2.4¬†ūü•≥

Ghost car replay
To make the Time Trial mode more interesting I added a ghost car which you can race against in Total Arcade Racing. It is only updated when you break your local record and I’ll see if I can use this feature in the future to download ghosts from other players.

Total Arcade Racing

Traffic Race 3D 2 – Xbox One Update

New and improved graphics was added to Traffic Race 3D 2 on Xbox One. This was the first game that I published with Unity and it’s still played by a lot of people. You can try it for free here:¬†https://www.microsoft.com/store/apps/9P9LPTLR4FGF

Pixel Driver – Xbox One Update

New and improved graphics & improved performance was added to Pixel Driver on Xbox One.  You can try it for free here: https://www.microsoft.com/store/apps/9plcdsvrg3z9

Oops I did it again … several updates and no devlog…

I’ve been making steady progress on Total Arcade Racing but most things have taken way longer than I expected. This has been frustrating for me personally as I would have gotten further in the project by now.

Jumps!

What would an racing arcade game be without jumps, pretty boring right? This is one of the things that I mentioned earlier which took waaaay more time than expected. I’m pretty happy with the end result and it’s just plain 2D with scaling and some other magic tricks with collisions etc.

Total Arcade Racing Jumps

Bridges and underpasses

To be able to build more interesting and complex levels I needed to add support for bridges and underpasses. When you are driving under something like a bridge an outline is displayed.

Total Arcade Racing Bridges

Car stats

The car stats was hidden in the game before but one of the most common requests was to show them to user.

Total Arcade Racing car stats

Country selection

The old country selection was a pretty bad experience and with loads of more countries left to add it was just going to get worse. The solution was to use a more traditional picker that will be easy to expand with more flags.
Total Arcade Racing country flags

Improved car graphics & new cars

I re-did the graphics on all cars and remove the complete flat design. I think it looks nice even though you mostly see this difference when picking cars. The old design is above and the new cars are below. I also added 2 new cars.

Total Arcade Racing new cars

A bunch of other things have been improve here and there.

Details of what’s new in v0.2.3

New stuff

* Added 2 new cars (total 5).
* Added a new course (total 4).
* Jumps.

Improvements

* When playing single player all keyboard setups can be used by P1. This means that you can drive with arrow keys or WASD if you wish.
* CPU players in local multiplayer will strive to pick another car than another player.
* Adjusted SFX volumes.
* Made oil spill higher resolution.
* Arrow keys now work for car selection country selection.

Bug fixes

* Fixed Bug: While going over a bridge you would still collide with cars going under the bridge.
* Fixed bug: If you play local multiplayer with only 2 human players and the players play as player 1 and 3 the 2nd player doesn’t get spawned.
* Fixed bug: When reversing no sfx is played as engine sounds.

Details of what’s new in v0.2.2

New stuff
* Added a new course (total 3).
* Added bridges.
* Outlined cars when they drive under trees or bridges.
* Added car stats to UI when selecting cars.

Improvements

* Added a bit more drag when you hit an obstacle and slide against it. Before it almost didn’t have any impact on reducing speed.
* When reversing the drift of the car was way too high. Reduced it a lot and now you can drive i reverse much better.
* Added more variation to how AI drivers drives.
* New and improved way of selecting country under settings.
* Added more country flags.
* Added graphics for classic start lanes.

Bug fixes

* If the host is disconnected from a game, the new host will not be able to complete a lap as the states was not synchronized.

Details of what’s new inv0.2.1

Improvements

* Improved: Music fades in at game startup instead of blasting at full volume.
* Improved: Added splashscreen.

Bug fixes

* Fixed Bug: Player start boost didn’t work some times.
* Fixed Bug: If you have music volume set to zero you will still hear the music for a short while when the game starts.
* Fixed bug: UI Canvas scaling doesn’t work properly on ultra wide screen, the UI is offscreen.
* Fixed bug: You can’t get down to “save” in the settings using only a controller, it gets stuck at the player’s name.

Online multiplayer related:
* Improved: Added player idle detection
* Improved: Host checks if players actually complete laps. If no one is completing laps the host will get kicked and another host will take over.
* Fixed Bug: While waiting for other players and you race then lap counts and if you complete more than 4 laps AI will take over.
* Fixed Bug: The host car orientation was not set properly when a race is starting which caused weird things like the host facing the other cars.

Online multiplayer support and much more juicy stuff in Total Arcade Racing v0.2.0

I’ve gotten a lot of question if Total Arcade Racing¬† will support multiplayer. Originally the plan was just to support local multiplayer as it’s complicated and hard to get multiplayer to actually work on all platforms. But with all the requests about adding multiplayer support I decided to at least try to add support for it.

I decided to use Photon Engine for the network support. I’ve used PUN¬†in 3 other projects and felt like it was the fastest way to add support for network and it also works on the target platforms that I want to support. Implementing the code changes wasn’t that hard as I pretty much had all the required code from another project.¬†After a few days work network support was done and I was surprised how well it actually worked. As a start it uses a single US server as it increases the chances of actually finding someone to race with, in the future I can move it to region support instead.

 

To make the courses more interesting I added boost areas where you get extra speed when you pass them and oil spills which reduces the traction for a while.

Inspired by Mario Kart I added a boost if you press the accelerator at the right time when a race starts.

Details v0.2.1
* Improved: Music fades in at game startup instead of blasting at full volume.
* Improved: Added splashscreen.

* Fixed Bug: Player start boost didn’t work some times.
* Fixed Bug: If you have music volume set to zero you will still hear the music for a short while when the game starts.
* Fixed bug: UI Canvas scaling doesn’t work properly on ultra wide screen, the UI is offscreen.
* Fixed bug: You can’t get down to “save” in the settings using only a controller, it gets stuck at the player’s name.

Online multiplayer related:
* Improved: Added player idle detection
* Improved: Host checks if players actually complete laps. If no one is completing laps the host will get kicked and another host will take over.
* Fixed bug: While waiting for other players and you race then lap counts and if you complete more than 4 laps AI will take over.
* Fixed bug: The host car orientation was not set properly when a race is starting which caused weird things like the host facing the other cars.

Details v0.2.0
* Added: ONLINE multiplayer support.
* New Feature: Mario kart style turbo if you hit the accelerate button at just the right time.
* New Feature: Boost area which you get extra speed when you pass.
* New Feature: Oil spills which causes your car to loose grip.
* Improved: Removed count down on multiplayer & single player in main menu.
* Improved: Added more flags to county selection.

* Fixed bug: If you have a score downloaded and you change nickname or country it won’t update unless you beat your score.
* Fixed bug: Course are a little bit more narrow, when playing on TV it extends the levels bejoynd the TV safe zone.
* Fixed bug: Music volume changed in setting doesn’t work anymore.

Online leaderboard & more tracks TAR v0.1.3

Hey!

It took a bit longer than expected to get the release out for Total Arcade Racing but I hope it was worth waiting for.

In this release the graphics for the track has been re-worked which makes it easier to create more interesting tracks. A major thing is that the game now works on Nintendo Switch which is one of the target platforms for the release.

Last but not least I’ve also added a global leaderboard so we can see who is the fastest driver in Time Trail for each track.

A bunch of tiny improves also made it into the release but I won’t go into the details with those, you just have to experience the improvements on your own.

Details of what is new in v0.1.3
* Added Nintendo Switch support.
* Added 2 tracks.
* New Feature: Online Leadeboard support
* New Feature: Ability to change/set nickname & country flag.
* New Feature: Ability to select different courses.
* New Feature: Show icon of how the joycon is held and/or keyboard joystick.
* New Feature: If there are no game pads attached show a key icon and the key a user should press instead.
* New Feautre: Split users input so players get either keyboard or gamepad when playing local multiplayer.
* Improved: Added count down on car select screen with ability to abort.
* Improved: AI players animates their car selection too.
* Improved: Ability to disable AI players.
* Improved: On start auto detect country.
* Improved: Reworked race completed screen where you get the position of each player and leaderboard.
* Improved: Adjusted how skids marks are created and made the tire squeel noise play less frequent.
* Improved: Started to make changes to the graphics using own track pieces that are centered instead.

More cars & 8 players support in TAR v0.1.2

Hello!

On this update the focus has been to add the possibility to have different cars with different colors.¬† As a start I’ve added 2 new cars that have different performance from the original car.

After experimenting a bit with different color options I can to the conclusion that pre-made skins is probably the best solution with the future possibility for users to create their own skins.

I’m very happy with the result so far! While I was at it I also added support for up to 8 local players and did a bunch of tweaks and improvements.

Here is a little video of how the game looks and performs now.

Details of what is new in v0.1.2

* 2 new cars with different performance, total of 3 cars now ūüôā
* New Feature: Ability to select car.
* New Feature: Local multiplayer with up to 8 players!
* New Feature: Skins for cars which changes the colors.
* New Feature: Your position is shown when you complete a lap.
* New Feature: When a car finishes the race a finish flag is show.
* Improved: Text lap was hard to see, changed it and made text bigger and changed color.
* Improved: AI takes over when the player has finished the race.
* Improved: CPU shows their position when they have completed all laps.
* Improved: Add keyboard support for local multiplayer up to 4 players, on the same keyboard :o)
* Fixed bug: Lap UI should be using one less lap as it now says 8/8 just as the player completest the final lap.
* Fixed Bug: Lap completed sound effect is played even when a player has completed all laps.
* Fixed Bug: Lap counter was not showing the best player when running in local multiplayer.
* Fixed bug: Player cars drives by themselves for a short time when a race starts

Twilight Tower Defense Open Development ‚Äď Week #10

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Hey!

I was contemplating for a long while whether¬†or not I should¬†write a post this week. The reason for that is that I didn’t make a lot of progress on Twilight Tower Defense due to the release of Super Jumpy Ball on Nintendo Switch. But then I realized that this is exactly why I need to do it! Working with indie games often means that you work solo or in a small team and at times you are not as productive as you’d like to be. In the end it’s all about pushing through that and get back on the horse!

As always if you like this game and the concept head over to the Discord Server and give me a hand with features, feedback and ideas that I can add to the game.

What have I been up to this week?

Super Jumpy Ball was launched on Switch last Friday and the week was spent doing a lot of marketing and of course some bugs was found in the last minute.

When it comes to Twilight Tower Defense the focus is still on Towers and I did manage to get one features implemented related to that.

There is a new version that you can play on¬†itch,¬†this is what’s new in it:

Restock Bow Tower with arrows  
The bow tower, that was added a while ago, has a set number of arrows in it’s stock. After a while it will run out of arrows and will display a large ! sign. There was no way to restock arrows and when it ran out of hours it was just a sitting duck. Now you can restock the tower but it’s a little bit awkward, fire an arrow close enough to the Tower and it will drag it into it’s stock. In the future I’ll add the ability to add more than 1 arrow at a time.

Bow damage
Before the Bow did equally amount of damage regardless how much you pulled it back. That is changed now so the longer you pull back the bow the more damage it will deal, and the same goes for your enemies, so archers are more deadly now. Headshots require a certain amount of force otherwise they won’t count as critical kills.

Detailed change log
v0.1.9
* New Feature: The longer you pull back the bow the more damage it does. If the force is too low enemies won’t die from a single headshot.
* New feature: Bow turrets pulls in arrows close to the tower to resupply.

Super Jumpy Ball is out on Nintendo Switch

Super Jumpy Ball Play on Nintendo Switch & Xbox One

Super Jumpy Ball is out on Nintendo Switch and so far people seems to enjoy it! You can order it here

A big thanks goes out to everyone that has bough Super Jumpy Ball on Xbox One and PC. An even bigger thanks goes to the testers and members of on our Discord Server who constantly comes with new ideas and suggestion that improves the game, you are all amazing!

Super Jumpy Ball launches today on Nintendo Switch

Stockholm, Sweden (September 6, 2019)

Super Jumpy Ball Play on Nintendo Switch & Xbox One

Super Jumpy Ball, a fun & challenging 2D platform game for 1-8 players, from CasualGames.nu, is launching today on Nintendo Switch. Faced with clever level design and challenging obstacles, players must find their way through each level while bouncing, wall jumping, avoiding spikes and spike balls.

Super Jumpy Ball was initially released 2017 on Xbox One and was one of the first titles in the Xbox Live Creators Program. Since then Super Jumpy Ball has been recognized as one of the fan favorites and one of the top games in the Xbox One Creators Program.

Reviews & Rating

  • ‚ÄúSuper Jumpy Ball delivers instant fun and entertainment‚ÄĚ
    Rating: 7/10 ‚ÄstHype.se¬†(In Swedish)
  • ‚ÄúSuper Jumpy Ball is quite a fun little game for those casual moments‚ÄĚ
    Rating: 3.5/5- Northern-gamer.com
  • Xbox One players rates Super Jumpy Ball 4.5/5

Review keys

Review keys are available for press, review sites, YouTubers and streamers. Contact press@casualgames.nu to request keys.

Screenshots, trailer and clips and more details about the game is available on our Presskit site. http://hello.casualgames.nu/presskit/sheet.php?p=super_jumpy_ball

Nintendo Store Page: https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/super-jumpy-ball-switch/

Xbox One & PC Store Page:  https://www.microsoft.com/store/apps/9ng8b8qn86dd

Super Jumpy Ball Nintendo Switch release trailer

Game Description

Super Jumpy Ball is a challenging & fun 2D platform game for 1-8 players, inspired by retro platformers. Faced with clever level design and challenging obstacles, players must find their way through each level while bouncing, wall jumping, avoiding spikes and spike balls.

Super Jumpy Ball has been recognized as one of the fan favorites and one of the top games in the Xbox One Creators Program.

Key Features

Local Multiplayer. Play up to 8 players in various local multiplayer modes.
Global leaderboard. Compete with other players from around the world and reach the #1 spot. Prove once and for all that you are the best player in the world.
Speed run support. Beat all levels as fast as possible and see if you can become the fastest player in the world.

Game info

Title: Super Jumpy Ball
Trailer: https://youtu.be/34P1AqchR1Q
Developer: CasualGames.nu
Publisher: CasualGames.nu
Genre: Platfomer/Party
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC
Engine: Unity
Price: $4.99/ ¬£4.99 / ‚ā¨4.99
Release Date: Nintendo Switch (September 6th, 2019), Xbox One (August 11th, 2017), Microsoft store (August 11th, 2017)

Game Rating: PEGI 3, ESRB E (Everyone)

Stores & Downloads

Nintendo Switch 
https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/super-jumpy-ball-switch/

Xbox One
https://microsoft.com/store/apps/9ng8b8qn86dd

About CasualGames.nu

CasualGames.nu is an independent game studio based in Stockholm, Sweden. Founded in 2013 by Fredrik Kellermann. The studio is focuses on delivering simplistic yet awesome games that everyone can enjoy. http://hello.casualgames.nu/

PR & Press contact

Press kit with screenshots, videos, PR contact details and more is available on: http://hello.casualgames.nu/presskit/sheet.php?p=super_jumpy_ball

Twilight Tower Defense Open Development – Week #9

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Hi!

Progress on Twilight Tower Defense was a little bit slow this week since I had to focus a bit on Super Jumpy Ball which is launching on Nintendo Switch on Friday¬†ūüéČ

As always if you like this game and the concept head over to the Discord Server and give me a hand with features, feedback and ideas that I can add to the game.

What have I been up to this week?

I’ve focused on improving the construction of Towers during this week. There is still a number of improvements left but it’s a big leap forward compared with the previous version.

There is a new version that you can play on¬†itch,¬†this is what’s new in it.

Improved construction of Towers
There is now a UI showing how much a Tower will cost before you build it. And¬†there is also the ability change change Tower. A bit of juice has been added with a nice “thump” animation when you place Towers and suitable sound effect. The Tower indicates in red when you cannot place it, if there is a tower already in that space or if you simply can’t afford it. Behind the scenes there was a plenty of work so support this with data structures to support many different Towers in the future.

Buttons
I’ve made some decisions which influences the controls in the game. With gamepad X is now the “Cancel” button. So if you start to build a Tower with B you can cancel it with X. The Y button is now the pickup weapon button.

On Keyboard I changed the E button to be the pickup weapon button.

Detailed change log
v0.1.8
* New Tower: Wood palisade Tower.
* Improved: Tower placement, towers get red when they cannot be placed. Added Particle + sound effect + shake effect when Towers are placed.
* New feature: Ability to cycle towers.
* Improved: Ability to cancel construction of Tower.
* Improved: Show cost when building Tower.
* Improved: If you have too little money to build a Tower then flash the color of the cost of a Tower, and play denied sound effect.
* Improved: If you press B a Tower will appear even if you can’t afford it.
* Improved: Bow Tower shows a ! when it’s out of ammo.
* Improved: Changed weapon pickup to Y on gamepad and E on keyboard.

Super Jumpy Ball
This week on Friday, Super Jumpy Ball, is launching on Switch¬†ūüéČ
You can buy it with a 10% pre-order discount here.

Twilight Tower Defense Open Development – Week #8

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Howdy!

Sorry this¬†post was supposed to be published yesterday but I wanted to squeeze in some features into the weekly build. I hope that you’ve had a nice week. My week has been a little bit more fragmented than I wished but I managed to get a lot of things done.

As always if you like this game and the concept head over to the Discord Server and give me a hand with features, feedback and ideas that I can add to the game.

What have I been up to this week?

This week the focus has been to create more variation in enemies and I really wanted to get a enemy with a long range weapon. So I came up a skeleton archer, read the story about it below.
I also created a Discord bot for the Discord server, currently it doesn’t do that much but I hope to build some mini-game into it. There is a new version that you can play on¬†itch.

Skeleton archer
To make it easier for me to handle various weapons in the game I figured that the it would be great if the AI player could use the same weapons as the player. To avoid having to create a gazillion animations I tried a system where I create the a weapon as a separate object which can be carried by the player or an AI enemy. But the process took a¬† bit of time, just giving the AI a bow didn’t have the effect I plane.¬†At first the AI tried to use it as a sword, which sort of works actually so that is now a feature when they run out of arrows.

2nd attempt went a bit better but still had some issues with the AI killing itself.

After a number of attempts it started to act the way I had envisioned it.

Aiming 
Having an AI archer also meant that I need to figure out how to aim and spent a fair time reading about ballistics and how I would be able to calculate a trajectory. I felt like I was about to drown in the deep-end of the pool but then I found this article which explains how to that in various ways and included source code to a sample.

Bow Towers 
Well now that I had an AI that could carry a bow I could easily duplicate the same mechanism for a turret.


Detailed change log
v0.1.7
* New Enemy: Skeleton archer.
* New Test Level: Two Towers are already built for you on this map.
* New Tower: Bow Tower that can aim & fire bow.
* New feature: Added SFX when zombies gets into the house, like mmmm brains.
* New feature: Added shake effect on door and turrets when Zombies hit them;
* New feature: Added SFX baning sound when Zombie hits turret or door.
* New feature: Added SFX screaming when Zombie enters house.
* Improved: Only allow enemies to enter house while they are on ground.
* Improved: When placing towers all sprites get 0.5 in alpha value so you can see through the whole turret.
* Improved: Created general shader & material to make a sprite go white, this makes the process when hitting something much easier to handle instead of a material per sprite.
* Fixed Bug: Enemies turn around when they encounter a door at times.
* Fixed bug: Enemies won’t hit towers if they are too thick.

TRAC -> TAR (Total Arcade Racing)
Ok so TRAC doesn’t compute to Totally Rad Arcade Racing, not sure what I was thinking about so there is a new name for it and you can try the first version on¬†itch¬†already!