It’s been about two and a half months since we started working on SciAnts, and we are very happy to announce that we are ready to start the Android alpha test phase of development!
On Monday, we are going to start sending out alpha invites. We are looking for about 20 people to join the alpha, play the game for a while, let us know of any bugs, and give us feedback on the game.
If you would like to participate in the alpha, please fill out this simple form!
We’re looking forward to being able to finish and release the game soon!
PLAY MY GAME AND GIVE ME FEEDBACK!!!
This is Tim Hely from Tile Isle, and today I’d like to share some information and details about our latest game project: SciAnts!
As you know, a few months ago, I brought Tim Snyder onto the team. At the same time, we applied for a spot in something called the 8-Bit Dev Pipe, a sort of mentorship program run by the Butterscotch Shenanigans brothers to help teams make a finished game over the course of eight weeks. To our surprise, we were picked to be one of the two teams that would have a more hands-on direct mentorship. meeting in person every week to discuss our game’s progress.
This was extremely fortuitous for us. Although I had been making games for years, often solo, and Tim had participated in a number of game jams, this was the first time we had worked together, and having a Butterscotch safety net has helped us combine our powers more quickly and efficiently than if we had tried stumbling along by ourselves. So, I really can’t thank Sam and Seth enough for their support throughout the process.
For the 8-Bit Dev Pipe, Tim proposed an idea for a game that he had come up with about smashing ants at a picnic to keep them from getting your food. It sounded simple enough, and fun, and I expected to be done with it within a week. We got started on it right away.
Our first prototype had a very top-down perspective. The ants looked like real ants, and it seemed fun, but it was missing something. We went through several iterations of the ant sprite, and the gameplay.
Then, Tim had an idea to make the ants more cartoony.
Things started changing a lot after that. For about a week, maybe more, Tim experimented with a whole lot of different styles and variations of the basic ant:
And the walk-cycle:
Then, in his own words: “I got the idea to put down a little perspective grid kind of thing and HOLY CRAP IT WORKED! It helped! Starting with just the foot position, getting that right, and then connecting them to the hips.”
Oh, did I mention that Tim was teaching himself how to use Inkscape during this process? I know I was impressed!
I loved it! And this became sort of the template for all the ants in the game.
Here’s a pretty-close-to-perfect version of the ant from early on:
As for the gameplay itself, we experimented with a lot of different things, and settled on two pretty simple mechanics: you could click (or tap) to smash ants, and click-hold on food to eat it. After you ate enough food, the screen would get cleared, and you’d get a new plate of food that’s a little more difficult.
It was pretty simple, but even in our early prototypes, it was a lot of fun.
We came up with more ants to add to the game and different kinds of foods, and then we had another lucky opportunity present itself: The first Pixelpop Fesitval was happening soon and we had been invited to demo our game!
While we had a mostly working mechanic in the week before Pixelpop though, there were still some issues (and a whole lot of bugs) we needed to work out:
So we had to scramble to make a more presentable version in time. I think we were both up until about 2am the night before the event getting the last few pieces in place to try and blow everyone away with the game. Oh, and to really take it to another level, we decided to move the whole thing INTO SPACE. At literally the last minute, Tim came up with an awesome background, and title screen, and the build we had for Pixelpop was awesome.
We got a lot of good feedback from the event and after spending some time thinking, discussing, and planning, we decided that we really wanted to add something to keep people playing the game and to reward them for doing so. We tried out a few things and then settled on adding upgrades to the game. You’ll be able to earn skill points by playing the game, and can spend them on becoming stronger (increased click damage, radius, etc), and buying powers, like the Bait Bombs which, well, do what you’d expect:
We’re still working on the game, trying to balance it and make it as fun as possible. We have a few more secret surprises planned to implement over the next few weeks. Tim is hard at work now making art for the UI.
I am very excited to get this game finished and released for you to play. I hope you enjoy it even half as much as I’ve enjoyed working on it. We’re planning on releasing it in November for Windows and Android, with a possible iOS release soon after, although that’s not set in stone yet. We might push back release to add something awesome. I should also mention that none of the screenshots above represent the final production, and we’re probably going to be changing and tweaking a lot between now and the release date.
i’ve been makin’ space ants… for you to squish!
hoping to have it finished some time in November?
I’ve got a few things to share with you that I’m really excited about!
First, I wanted to mention that last weekend, Tim and I spent the day at the first ever Pixelpop Festival in St. Louis, Mo! We met a few people, showed off our stuff, and had a great time.
The St. Louis game developer community, and the STL IGDA has been an amazing resource for us as we try to force our way into the game dev scene, and it is events like these - not to mention the multiple annual game jams, and monthly meetups - that have helped us get to where we are today.
Alright, if you were at Pixelpop, you might have seen this already, but, I am EXTREMELY excited to officially announce our latest game:
In SciAnts, you are the sole-inhabitant of a long-range, deep-space scientific research and experimentation station. You have spent the better part of a year conducting experiments on a colony of scientifically-enhanced ants when, unexpectedly, something goes horribly wrong with the ship’s computer! Artificial Gravity has been reversed, hurling you to the ceiling, and the food-replication machine has gone haywire! It has started spitting out all of your food rations, and, in the turmoil, the ant-enclosure has been compromised, causing the ants to break loose!
Now you have to save your food resources from the hungry ants by eating as much of it as you can, while smashing the ants to keep them from whisking your food away.
SciAnts is a simple, yet challenging action game where you are in an eating race against the ant horde. We will be talking about it more as we get closer to the release date.