Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Cosmoids Win or Lose! 10% Reached in the Fundraiser! Route 32 Continued! Pink Pokemon! and Egg Hunt!

to get the Shiny Starters? Shiny Zorua? Shiny legendary dogs? Shiny Mew? or any other
shiny pokemon in the game? Adopt them today using
SnD coins! Click here for more info.

the PTD: Pokemon Center - a place to trade pokemon,
get your Daily Code, adopt Pokemon, view your items
and change your avatar!

to the Sam and Dan Games Developer Blog! Where we work non stop to keep you entertained!

Sam and Dan Games: Fundraiser! Phase 3

Help us keep making games and earn awesome prizes like Shiny Rayquaza!  

Last Week's Update

For the last update I focused again on increasing the level cap and adding new pokemon to the game. We increased the level cap to 35 adding over 20 of moves in the process. In addition we added the PTD1 to PTD2 transfer of Eevee, Jolteon, Vaporeon, and Flareon. A much requested transfer which opened up the possibilities of getting Espeon and Umbreon in PTD2 using the Friendship doll. On top of all of that we had our Fire Mystery Gift and Giveaway. Darumaka was the Mystery Gift which brought him and his evolution Darmanitan and the eagerly awaited Zen Mode ability. The Giveaway was Torkoal. On the Cosmoids side of things I worked a lot on the first level, trying to make it exciting and somewhat challenging. I still have a couple of more tweaks to add but you can check out what I have so far in the Funding Rewards Page of the PTD2 Trading Center. A good week overall in my book!

Live Streaming Update

I had a lot of fun live streaming for you guys, unfortunately as you might have experienced my computer couldn't handle it. Thankfully I will be getting a new computer thanks to your guy's support! Once I get that and set it up then I will be streaming all the time! Wooo! 

Cosmoids Win or Lose

If you have played the Cosmoids Early Alpha you will notice that you can't win or lose. The game just kinda stops there. So this week I will be adding Win and Lose conditions. Win or Lose screens are a staple in all video games and it's about time they come to Cosmoids. On top of that Evan, one of our freelance artist, did some grass graphics that I will implement. I will also be adding more graphics to the caterpillar's small bite attack as well as other small tweaks to the level. The game is progressing nicely and I can't wait until more of it is done!

10% Reached in the Fundraiser!

It's a great day today! We reached (and passed) the 10% mark of our fundraiser. With over 6,037 funders we have reached this goal. It is only the beginning and we will slowly reach our goal. The thing to remember that it's just Dan and I working on things here and with taxes coming up we have been busy taking care of that part of the business. Anyways.. Looking at the poll right now Heatran is winning to be the 10 dollar giveaway legendary. On top of getting the legendary, people who donate 10 dollars will also get their choice of Cosmoids starter for their PTD2 account!

Pink Pokemon!

When choosing this week's PTD1 to PTD2 transfers I noticed something. All the ones I picked are pink! That was awkward! Anywho the main thing here is that they all have evolutions that are from different generations. The three that I choose were: Chansey, Lickitung and Clefairy! Naturally all their evolutions will show up if the items/attacks are implemented in the game (meaning no Happiny for now).

Route 32 Continued..

I promised another story level this week and well I'm keeping my promise. This week we will wrap things up in Ruins of Alph and head back to Route 32. This time we will meet with a peculiar Fisherman who seems to be catching different water pokemon depending on the day of the week. The way I hope it works out is that the battle you will face will change every few days based on who can be fished in that spot.

Egg Hunt

It's Easter! Easter has many meanings to different people, but for PTD2 it means an Egg hunt and a new pokemon prize at the end of it. This egg hunt will only be available for one week so make sure to be part of it and receive your Buneary!

Mystery Gift

Like every week we will also have a Mystery Gift! Psychic has won and it looks like Ralts will be the mystery gift but the giveaway pokemon (the runner up) is not as clear yet.

Weekly Progress

Now that we looked at everything that is coming this week (possibly over 20 new pokemon!) let's look at the list.

Cosmoids Released!

  • Win/Lose Screen (100%) 

  • Adding Subtle Grass Graphics (100%)

  • Adding Small Bite Graphics (100%)

  • Not allowing the player to place their tower outside of the screen or close to the outside (100%)

PTD2 v1.40.1 Released!

  • Mystery Gift (100%)

  • Female Avatars will now be able to enter Route 32's second section (100%)

PTD2 v1.40 Released!

  • PTD1 to PTD2 Transfers (100%)

  • Egg Hunt (100%)- Egg hunts starts in New Bark Town, talk to the Scientist in the middle of the town!

  • New Story Level (100%)

    • Intro (100%)

    • Map (100%)

    • Level Layout (100%)

    • Level Waves (100%)

    • Ending (100%) 

  • Police Battle 2 (100%)

  • Add a way to repeat the battle with normal Unown (100%)

  • Test New Pokemon, Attacks, Abilities and Evolutions (100%)

  • New Pokemon (100%) - Chansey, Blissey, Lickitung, Lickilicky, Clefairy, Clefable, Cleffa, Tentacool, Tentacruel, Magikarp, Gyarados, Qwilfish, Buneary, Lopunny, Heatran, Ralts, Kirlia, Gardevoir, Gallade, Solosis, Duosion, Reuniclus! SO MANY! 22!

    • Graphics (100%)

    • Stats (100%)

    • Attacks (100%)

      • Bestow (100%)

      • Cosmic Power (100%)

      • Metronome (100%)

      • Stomp (100%)

      • Softboiled (100%)

      • Fling (100%)

      • Bubblebeam (100%)

      • Barrier (100%)

      • Spikes (100%)

      • Brine (100%)

      • Frustration (100%)

      • Jump Kick (100%)

      • Mirror Coat (100%)

      • Magic Coat (100%)

      • Return (100%)

      • Teleport (100%)

      • Heal Pulse (100%)

      • Calm Mind (100%)

      • Healing Wish (100%) 

      • Psywave (100%)

      • Snatch (100%)

      • Recover (100%)

      • Psyshock (100%)

      • Future Sight (100%)

      • Pain Split (100%)

    • Abilities (100%)

      • Healer (100%)

      • Own Tempo (100%)

      • Magic Guard (100%)

      • Liquid Ooze (100%)

      • Trace (100%)

      • Telepathy (100%) 

      • Regenerator (100%)

    • Evolutions (100%)

    • Add to Breeding Center (100%)

    • Add to Trading Center (100%)

  • Bug Fixes (100%)

    • You can only pickup certain items using the Pickup ability (100%)

So much to do, so little time! As always let me know what you think! Twitter, comments below or email. Thanks for visiting!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Movie Appraisal: The Corridor (2010)

Well, you're not shooting blanks ANYMORE!

This movie is different. I wish I could use another descriptor here, but I simply do not have any others to use. It is a very different movie, not at all like anything else I've ever seen. While it has a fairly original premise, it's bogged down by its fairly lofty (I think...) goals. The Corridor consists of too many tonal changes, too many hectic movements without explanation. It simultaneously reminded me of the novel Dreamcatcher by Stephen King and the nonsensical movie Dreamland. It's an odd combination to be sure, and without much true plot to speak of this movie could easily be relegated to the movies to pass right on by.

I can't recommend this movie. I'll say that right now. I need to get that out of the way. I like obscure movies with original plots, but this one was just a little too much even for me. I enjoyed bits and pieces of the movie, but it was like the movie never knew what it wanted to be. Was it a clear and philosophical statement on the ramifications of mental derangement on one's friends? Was it about insanity in general? Visions specifically? Was it about friendship? I don't think so, but the case could be made, I suppose. Was it about horror? Terror? Gross out gore? I still don't know. It's all of those things and none of those things.

I didn't like the movie all that much. It moved too quickly and never really gave me more than a surface feeling of any sort of story or knowledge of what was going on. It wasn't even frustrating because I never really came to care. The characters were wholly paper-thin, with only Tyler coming out as a real human person. The rest just came off as non-characters, caricatures of what real people are. The case could be made that the entire movie was in Tyler's head. Honestly, that's the only way I can interpret it. The signs are all there, with most of the movie being spent trying to figure out what happened to him, why he broke down, and if he killed his mother or not. The premise of the film revolves around his friends becoming as crazy as he once was, each and every one of them in turn. They see what he once saw, but refuse his help. They become worse and worse, eventually succumbing to the insanity. Well, all but one, but Tyler saves him by sacrificing himself.

I have to believe that the whole thing is a speech on the degradation of mental health. Each insanity is different, but they all involve some sort of mantra, something that Tyler once had. Ev is the violent psychopath who eventually takes his own life. Chris is the one left over, the only one there was ever any hope for. He represents a friend, one who cares, one who is taken care of as he has taken care of others. Bobcat and Jim are two sides of the same coin. They are yin and yang to each other. Jim is a coward whose own intelligence feeds the insanity, while Bobcat is taken over by it, consumed by it, and allows the others to abuse him. He becomes the victim just as Jim does.

I'm reading too deeply into this, but I still think some parts are interesting. The idea of the corridor itself is fascinating. It's a conduit to a deeper understanding, the understanding of others, even the insanity inside of others. The movie is almost saying that we are not fit to hold the forbidden knowledge, rather we must understand ourselves before we can ever take a chance in understanding others. I want this movie to have some kind of meaning though, and it's hard to truly and wholly look at this movie as intelligent when so much of the movie is slow plodding through the plot, gore, or terrible special effects. While there are a few good lines, each and every one spoken by Ev, who really is the star of the movie here, very little else stands out. The visuals are nothing really special, just a snowy cabin in the woods. The sounds and music are standard, barely noticeable, background noise. The acting is mediocre, with only James Gilbert as Everett and Stephen Chambers as Tyler really standing out. They both seem to care about the movie and subsequently both give some great performances. Everett is helped by having some great lines, as I said before, while Tyler is helped by his insanity and expressions. The rest are standard horror movie actors, nothing special, just kind of there saying lines.

It had some slightly (and I mean only slightly here) disturbing things, like when Jim's scalp is taken off, but the gore is the really only noticeable creepy mention. It's not much of a horror film besides that. The movie doesn't even look like a horror film should. It's too bright, not enough contrasts. Maybe that's just me.

Anyway, I guess it does have some psychological horror elements to it, but they are so few and far between that it would be difficult to call it a psychological horror movie. It's probably closer to a sci-fi, but branding it that doesn't feel right ether. Because I don't recommend it, I find myself not caring so much about it's labeling. Call ti what you will.

This is basically a very mediocre film with some interesting, but not quite good, ideas to it. I don't think it could have been made better with the same script. The characters were bland, the writing plodding, and I simply did not care in the end. Also, the ending is hilariously bad. I laughed, and it's not meant to be funny.

Pics from around the web

I apologize for not properly attributing the photos, I nabbed them as I found them ;) but I wanted to show some painted figs and some neat ideas.


Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Wild Eevee appears! Soft Level Cap to 35! Cosmoids First Level making it exciting!

to get the Shiny Starters? Shiny Zorua? Shiny legendary dogs? Shiny Mew? or any other
shiny pokemon in the game? Adopt them today using
SnD coins! Click here for more info.

the PTD: Pokemon Center - a place to trade pokemon,
get your Daily Code, adopt Pokemon, view your items
and change your avatar!

to the Sam and Dan Games Developer Blog! Where we live stream writing blogs and stuff!

Sam and Dan Games: Fundraiser! Phase 3

Help us keep making games and earn awesome prizes like Shiny Rayquaza!  

Our Goal: $50,000

Last Week's Update

For the last update I focused on adding new transfers from PTD1 that could be breed to obtain new baby pokemon. We added Magmar, Electabuzz and Jynx to the PTD1 to PTD2 transfers. We also added the dawn stone to let female snorunt evolve to Froslass. Besides that we increased the level cap to 30 adding a bunch of new moves. Not only that I changed the way the learning moves system works too. If a move is in the game and ready to go and your pokemon can learn it or relearn it then it will be able to do so. It is no longer limited by the soft cap. The soft cap still remains in place to dictate which moves need to be added next. The last thing we added for PTD was the new Mystery Gift Shiny Absol and Giveaway Shiny Scraggy.

For Cosmoids, last week I added the swapping mechanic for your creatures and the new targetting move type. If you haven't played it yet, check out the Funding Rewards page on PTD2's Pokemon Center to find out how to try it out.

Wild Eevee appears!

The much requested PTD1 to PTD2 transfer will finally show up in this week's update! Along with Eevee you will know be able to transfer over all his evolutions from PTD1 (Jolteon, Flareon, and Vaporeon), plus using the Friendship Doll you will be able to get Espeon and Umbreon depending on the time of day that you use the doll in! All rejoice!

Soft Level Cap to 35!

I really want to reach the glorious level 100 soft cap. Having all the moves there really helps with figuring out more exciting levels to challenge you guys. It also helps with giving me extra time to work on Cosmoids. Story Levels really take up a lot of more time. Building the maps as you will eventually see in one of my streams takes up a good chunk of time. Reaching 35 will require 25 new moves!

Mystery Gifts

Like every week we have our Mystery Gift giveaway, it is my way of saying thanks for sticking with us week after week. We will also have the Giveaway which is our new tradition for this year. Right now it looks like Fire is dominating and there are quire a few good fire pokemon that will make it into the poll.

Live Streaming

I got my webcam and so the live streaming adventures begin! I will be posting on twitter when I'm live streaming. (I'm currently live streaming as I type this) So stop by and say hello, I'm always happy to answer questions and listen to suggestions. The link to my channel is  http://www.justin.tv/samsndgames

Cosmoids First Level making it exciting!

This week I will be focusing on making the first level of Cosmoids. Unlike what you might have seen so far in the first level you won't have a creature to help you. It will just be you and your bug bombs against those pesky bugs. First levels are tricky because it is the first time a player starts playing your game, you have to start teaching them things slowly so that they don't get overwhelmed by everything that is happening in the game, but you also have to make it exciting so that they want to keep playing. My goal for this level is to make it easy to understand but exciting to play. Hopefully by the end of this week you will be able to see the results of my effort.

Weekly Progress

Now that we have talked about it, let's look at the specifics for this week.

Cosmoids Released! - Play it at the Funding Rewards page in PTD2's Trading Center.

  • Level 1 (100%) - Make it exciting!

PTD2 v1.39.1 Released!

  • Mystery Gift (100%)

  • Shadow Entei will now pick random targets attacking the unown to throw it's fireball at (100%)

  • Taking too long to defeat Shadow Entei will now cause you to lose the level (100%)

  • Eevee can now properly evolve to Vaporeon, Jolteon and Flareon (100%)

PTD2 v1.39 Released!

  • PTD1 to PTD2 Transfer (100%) - Eevee, Jolteon, Flareon, Vaporeon!

  • Test Moves, Abilities and Evolutions (100%) - Thanks livestream folks for watching!

  • New Pokemon (100%)

    • Graphics (100%)

    • New Abilities (100%)

      • Adaptability (100%)

      • Anticipation (100%)

      • Synchronize (100%)

      • Magic Bounce (100%)

      • Volt Absorb (100%)

      • Quick Feet (100%) 

      • Zen Mode (100%) 

      • White Smoke (100%)

    • New Attacks (100%)

      • Incinerate (100%)

      • Work Up (100%)

      • Belly Drum (100%)

      • Flare Blitz (100%)

      • Hammer Arm (100%) 

      • Flamethrower (100%)

    • Stats (100%)

    • Evolutions (100%)

    • Add to Breeding Center (100%)

    • Add to Trading Center (100%)

  • Soft Cap to 35 (100%) - 25 new moves!

    • Rage Powder (100%)

    • Facade (100%)

    • Acid Armor (100%)

    • Dig (100%)

    • Worry Seed (100%)

    • Skull Bash (100%)

    • Hail (100%)

    • Captivate (100%)

    • Hi Jump Kick (100%)

    • Petal Dance (100%)

    • Cotton Guard (100%)

    • Ancient Power (100%)

    • Roost (100%)

    • Air Slash (100%)

    • Earthquake (100%)

    • Dream Eater (100%)

    • Memento (100%)

    • Gyro Ball (100%)

    • Flatter (100%)

    • Zen Headbutt (100%)

    • Gastro Acid (100%)

    • Sonicboom (100%)

    • Dragonbreath (100%)

    • Ice Beam (100%)

    • Thrash (100%)

  • Fixed a bug with Counter users not properly getting exp when it is the only moved used (100%)

  • Adding Missing Move Names to the Pokemon Center (100%)

That's all I have for you this week, as always let me know what you think! Sam out!

Superhero game

Last but not least from the Taunton workshop, a Superhero based board game...

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Puzzles and Causal Histories

In the last post I brought up a few reasons why puzzles should not be dismissed. In this I will bring up another one: making the player feel as an active force. I refer to this concept as having a causal history. My hope is that it provides a new way to view and evaluate puzzles.

First I must go over the term "causal history". Basically, it means the sum of actions that players feel they have caused; any previous actions remembered as "I did...". Having finished watching a scripted sequence, the causal history will just be "I triggered a scripted cutscene". But if participating in a gun fight, the memories may be something like, "I first shot that guy,  dodged a flying knife, threw a grenade ..". Causal history is a tightly related to agency. A rich causal history increase the feeling of agency. It creates a personal experience for players; an experience where they feel much more present.

Consider these three different gameplay segments, as retold by a player.

1) As I walked up to the door a cutscene started. I watched the protagonist search for a key. Rummaging a few nearby drawers and boxes, she managed to locate it. She unlocked the door and entered the next room.

2) As I walked up to the door, I found a guiding cursor pointing at a box. Searching the box I located a key. The cursor now indicated the door as my next objective. I interacted with it, unlocked it with the newly found key and entered the next room.

3) I walked up to the door and found it locked. I had recently overheard that the orderlies hid spare keys and proceeded to search nearby boxes and drawers. Turning an dusty crate upside down a key was revealed. I picked it up and unlocked the door. I was now able to enter the next room.

All of the three have the same thing happening, but involve the player in the different ways. The dividing factor is the amount of agency provided. The player has, to various degrees, been shown or participated in a happening,

In the first example, the game takes care of the whole situation, and the player does nothing. In the second and third examples, the player does the exact same things; the third, however, provide a much stronger sense of causality. In one retelling the player is explicitly told what to do, in the other the player is implicitly hinted what do. The third one manages the latter by being designed as a puzzle, resulting in a rich causal history.

I think most will agree example three is the kind of experience one wants to strive for. This sort of gameplay set players smack in the middle of the happenings. They are present and responsible; causal agents in the narrative.

By paying attention to this concept an aesthetic for designing puzzles emerge. One wants to have puzzles that  provides the strongest and most detailed causal histories. It fits neatly with the idea brought up in the previous post; that puzzles should give the player a feeling of coming up with solutions on their own.  By focusing on causal histories puzzles become a means to implicitly guide the player through a set of actions. It entails setting the player in a certain frame of mind, to give hints and provide relevant exposition.

While trying to think up complex chains of actions for the player, one cannot get too carried away though. The rules set out in the previous post must still be adhered to. If not, there is a big risk players get stuck, counteracting the intended experience. It is a balance act, and one of  taking risks,when it comes to determining the complexity of puzzle. It should provide strong causal histories, but at the same time it can not break the flow of the narrative.

Another aspect is that simply adding more actions is not good in itself. The actions that make up the causal history must fit the narrative being told. For instance, if a puzzle-lock is added to the box containing the key, it adds nothing to the experience. It just halts the flow and gets in the way. Padding will not improve the experience, but only detract the player from what is intended. Actions should be meaningful or not be included at all.

Having puzzles is not the only way of creating causal histories. Earlier I gave a gun fight as an example of a detailed sequence of actions. This is a form of gameplay that arise directly from the underlying mechanics. If possible, it is an excellent way to create agency.Many situations are however impossible to create in this manner or just too expensive.  Classical gameplay also come with a lot of problem that often break the sense of immersion (outlined here), making it at times undesirable. It all depends on the situation. For any given segment, it is crucial to make sure that a puzzle is the best approach.

Let's summarize. Following this aesthetic one designs a puzzle in a way that gives players rich causal histories. The retelling of a puzzle should be dense with the player performing actions, not passive spectating. One must also make sure that the puzzle does not block the flow, and the actions involved must support the intended experience, not hinder it.

Even though I have not used this approach much for actual work, it has already made me see a few puzzles in a new light. I think there is a lot of potential in this concept and look forward using it more. It might of course turn out to be the wrong way of thinking, but so far so good.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

A Question of Information

I'll add further information later, but this is the first prototype game I've uploaded from the Making Games for Libraries workshop in Taunton, March 2013!

It's called "A Question of Information".

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Taunton event!

View Larger Map

Heading for Bishop's Hull house in Taunton soon to run a #libraryplay workshop for JISC RSC South West tomorrow (13th March). Looking forward to running another workshop in another region of the country, though NOT looking forward to the long journey their and back!

Hopefully attendees will agree (again) to the sharing of ideas via this blog, so I'll post videos and materials

Monday, 11 March 2013

Movie Appraisal: Sinister (2012)

Well, I'm not sleeping tonight.

Sinister is a terrifyingly horrific movie brought to us from the makers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious. Now, I enjoyed both of those films quite a lot, finding both all kinds of horrifying. I mean, seriously, both are incredible movies, with twists and turns and scares galore. And this one is great as well. It never disappoints, upping the horror with every subsequent scene. I mean, the characters are never brilliant, but in a movie like this it's all about the story, the visuals, the sounds, and the directing. All of those things are topnotch. Scott Derrickson does an amazing job throughout, making this an incredibly directed horror film. The Super 8 footage as well as the long scenes without any real sounds made this movie surrealistic and creepy beyond belief.

Yes, obviously this film was marketed as being terrifying. Yes, as a followup to Insidious I expected a lot. The thing is, the movie delivered. It had an unexpected and brilliant ending. It had a great performance by Ethan Hawke. It had some actually creepy performances by children, which almost never happens. Now, the visuals are not always scary, but if you can get yourself really into the movie, that's where it becomes absolutely terrifying. Just imagining a world where things like this can happen is enough to give one the shakes. And the ambiguous nature of the whole thing makes the movie that much more mysterious and awful to think about. The idea of the film is almost more terrifying than the actual execution. And the execution is plenty terrifying on its own. I wish every horror movie could reach this level of horror. If that were the case horror would be seen as a legitimate form of art in film in no time flat.

Ugh, now I just want more. I want to see more of this horror, more of the terror induced by this movie. I'm a junkie for scares, and this movie delivered enough of them to make me crave more. Seriously, there is a ton of quality here. Sure, there are some missteps and mistakes, but for the most part this movie is the real deal. It is pure horror, derived from a terrifying place in the human soul. It reaches out and creates a feeling of paranoia and real fear. It's after midnight now. I have work in the morning. But I'm not going to sleep anytime soon. If I do, I'm almost certain that every creak from my old house will remind me that anything could happen in this crazy world. If I try to sleep I can just imagine closing my eyes and hearing a whisper at the edge of my ear... or closing my eyes and seeing something staring back at me in the abyss of my eyelids.

The movie was creepy. It followed around a burned out true crime author trying to find his big break. He (and his family) moves into the home of some victims of a fairly grisly murder involving the whole family being hanged except for one of their children who happened to be abducted (or so it seems). Well, he finds some old and creepy home movies showing multiple different murders. All of them seemed to be tied to some Pagan deity or demon and a cult. All of the murders are more closely linked than that though, and the author may have made his biggest mistake in moving into the home of murder victims...

I'm just going to trail off there. He did make a huge mistake. It's a mistake that costs him much more than his life. Well, Ethan Hawke (playing the author) gives us a character we can both relate to and kind of hate. He's a big jerk throughout most of the movie. He lies. He drinks. He shouts a bit. He's annoying and unhappy and a bit apathetic. He seems to care much more about fame and fortune than about the well-being of his family. But he is passionate about a few things. He really wants to figure out the mystery of what happened to the murdered family. He does too- figure it out, I mean- but a little too late, I should think. You kind of feel bad for him at the end of the movie, but you also realize that he's not the only one who figured most of this stuff out. And at least one person knows most of the story, even if it is pretty unbelievable. It's still scary, and the ending still leaves a shiver crawling down my spine, but it's not a movie where the ending is something I absolutely hate. It makes sense and works, even if some might think it invalidates the entire movie. I don't, but I can see some people absolutely hating the ending.

The best parts of the film hands down are the sounds and music. I have to mention those things because they are nearly pitch-perfect. I have never seen a film use sound and music so effectively in its horror. That being said, the visuals never quite stand up them. I kind of wish it looked more- I don't know- horrific? Scary looking? New technology, which is used throughout the film, just simply is not a scary thing. And the bright colors and crisp picture of the non-Super 8 film just kind of shows that a clear and crisp picture does not really beget horror in the best way possible. I mean, there are some films that benefit from a beautiful picture and quality of film. Sinister is not one of those films. It's still good- very good- don't get me wrong, but it could have been better if it were made in a time when everything didn't have to look all shiny and perfect.

For example, sometimes the images of the "antagonist" just looked photoshopped in. And that just seems kind of lazy and awful to me. It doesn't ruin the movie, and it may just be my perception, but I didn't like that. The antagonist- Bughuul- is absolutely unnecessary. The children zombie-ghosts are also absolutely unnecessary. None of them are scary. None of them add any real terror to the film. The scariest parts of the movie are the unknowns things: the Super 8 videos, the ambiguous murders, and having no real reason to do the murders. The children in the "extended endings" of the videos are also brilliant. But showing everything is not brilliant. It takes away from both the premise and the mystery, and it leaves me wishing to excise the elements of the movie I didn't enjoy. But I'm nitpicking. Most of the film is incredibly good, and I recommend it wholeheartedly to any and all fans of horror.

This movie is scary. Did I mention that? I need to mention that again if I did before. Watching it alone late at night is asking to be creeped out and paranoid. It does have some moments of silliness and ridiculousness, but those are far outweighed by the moments of terror. Again, watch this if you want a scare. Yes, there will be moments where you will roll your eyes, but the quality of the horror far outweighs the awful little moments. So, if you enjoyed Insidious, The Blair Witch Project, or Paranormal Activity- or if you just like interesting horror- check this out. It's good in my opinion. It definitely brought the terror and paranoia with it. Check it out if you get the chance. I mean, come on- occult, murder, mystery, crime, and terror? How can you even go wrong?

Live Streaming, Baby Pokemon Incoming! Soft Level cap Increased! Dawn Stone and more!

to get the Shiny Starters? Shiny Zorua? Shiny legendary dogs? Shiny Mew? or any other
shiny pokemon in the game? Adopt them today using
SnD coins! Click here for more info.

the PTD: Pokemon Center - a place to trade pokemon,
get your Daily Code, adopt Pokemon, view your items
and change your avatar!

Welcome to the Sam and Dan Games Developer Blog! Where you get all the latest news about our games and their updates and stuff... yeah!

Sam and Dan Games: Fundraiser! Phase 3

Help us keep making games and earn awesome prizes like Shiny Rayquaza!  

Our Goal: $50,000

Latest PTD2 Update v1.37.1

The last PTD2 update again brought us some great new things. We kicked it off with Ditto, Onix and Scyther as new pokemon that you could transfer from ptd1 to ptd2. It goes without saying that Ditto is a great addition since you will be able to breed some of the previously unbreedable pokemon like golett and beldum. I hope their numbers will go up as time passes on. In addition to those I added the Metal Coat item that will enable you to evolve your Onix and Scyther into Steelix and Scizor respectively. The twist is that you need to find the Metal Coat somewhere in the game's story mode maps before you can unlock it to buy in the Item Store. I hope I can add more item hunts in the future like this. Like every week we also had a mystery gift which was Shiny Spheal which you can get all this week (as many as you want!) and we had a very limited giveaway for shiny snorunt. Last but not least I added a new story level to the game. You will battle with a Shadow Entei, watch out for his devastating Mean Lock/Fire ball combo. A small tip is to use pokemon like the Mystery Gift Spheal to take hits of the fireball for other pokemon. Good luck!

Fundraiser.. slow and steady

I haven't forgotten about the fundraiser but I feel like the prize for the 10 dollar mark just aren't as interesting as Rayquaza was at 5 dollars. What do you guys think would be a worthy prize for the 10 dollar mark? In case you don't know the current prize for 10 dollars is all the previous prizes plus your choice at Cosmoid Starter for your PTD2 account. Let me know in the comments below or on twitter.

Live Streaming

We all know I like to keep you guys updated on all my game development efforts. I updated the blog with my progress, I have a current status in the blog that I update. The next logical step is to show you guys directly and live what I'm doing. Nowadays live streaming is very simple to do. So the question is would you guys want to see a live stream here and there of me working on games? Obviously I would have to cut out certain things that I wouldn't want to show you. But again let me know what you think of this.

Baby Pokemon Incoming!

Originally with PTD1 to PTD2 transfers I wanted to go in pokedex order, but after last week of kind of picking and choosing I think it's more fun that way. So while reading some comments of last week's blog I noticed somebody mentioned magmar and electabuzz and that got me thinking. They have something in common which is they have prevolutions! (They also have evolutions but we won't get them this week) As a third pokemon to transfer it made sense to bring in Jynx which also has a preevolution! Babies for everyone I say!

Dawn Stone and other items

Like the week before I plan to bring the Dawn Stone to let you evolve your female Snorunts into Froslass. I don't however plan to add many more evolution items in the next week as I want to feature them in the story at other points in the game. So you won't be evolving your Magmars and Electabuzzes any time soon. Please don't ask :)

Mystery Gift

This week it looks like it's Dark's turn. Vote on the poll to see who will be the shiny Mystery Gift and who will be the Shiny Giveaway! I will hopefully be able to slow down people that are getting more than one set by using multiple accounts. Stay tuned. 

Soft Level Cap Increased to 30! Plus get the moves that are in the game!

I'm also increasing the soft level cap to 30! (Aren't I nice?) I'm also changing it so that if the move is in the game then your pokemon can learn it regardless of the soft cap. This is something I've been wanting to do for a while and this week I will be tackling it. What this means is that lets say I increase the level cap to 30 like I am this week that means Gible can learn Dragon Claw at level 27. This is great news for somebody with a gible but what about somebody with a Gabite or Garchomp? They learn it at level 33. So before this meant that even if the move was there ready to be used, you didn't have access to it due to the soft cap. So I'm removing that limitation. If the move is ready to be used in the game then your pokemon will learn it. I will however be sticking to adding new moves based on the soft cap so keep that in mind.

Cosmoids Progress

I'm pretty happy with my Cosmoids progress for last week I got the creature swapping mechanic down and I"m pleased with my efforts. Sadly I didn't get much time to work on the new move mechanic but I hope to crush that down this week. In games usually you spend a lot of time building the base of the game. The core mechanics that the player will have to keep doing over and over so I take great care in trying to make these the best that they can be. Once you nail the basics down it is all about making the content which goes by a lot faster. In ptd this is similar to how long it took ptd2 to release and then how quickly I can make new moves now. Patience is the key but after you pass that stage everything starts speeding up.

Weekly Progress 

Ah yes, the progress part of the blog. Like every week I will post the details of everything I'm working on and then throughout the week I will update it as I make things. So keep checking back and cheer me on as I complete the task for this week.

Current Status: Not Working. Update is out!

Cosmoids Progress Released!

  • New Move Type (100%) - Targeted moves

PTD2 v1.38.1 Released!

  • Mystery Gift (100%)

PTD2 v1.38 Release!

  • PTD1 to PTD2 New Transfers (100%)

  • Testing new abilities and attacks (100%)

  • Dawn Stone (100%)

  • Learning a move is no longer limited by soft cap restrictions (100%) - This will open up a bunch of moves for evolved pokemon.

  • Add Luvdisc Giveaway pokemon to the adoption center (100%) - Out now!

  • Soft Cap Increased to 30 (100%) - 31 new moves!

    •  Payback (100%)

    • Mirror Shot (100%)

    • Leaf Tornado (100%)

    • Attract (100%)

    • Dragon Claw (100%)

    • Double-Edge (100%)

    • Super Fang (100%)

    • Rest (100%)

    • Acrobatics (100%)

    • Flame Chage (100%)

    • Bug Buzz (100%)

    • Me First (100%)

    • Hex (100%)

    • Aqua Tail (100%)

    • Wake-Up Slap (100%)

    • Selfdestruct (100%)

    • Shadow Ball (100%)

    • Spider Web (100%)

    • Leaf Blade (100%)

    • Aqua Jet (100%)

    • Foul Play (100%)

    • Iron Head (100%)

    • Tailwind (100%)

    • Endeavor (100%)

    • Fire Punch (100%)

    • ThunderPunch (100%)

    • U-Turn (100%)

    • Night Slash (100%)

    • Hone Claws (100%)

    • Dynamic Punch (100%)

    • Autotomize (100%)

  • New Pokemon (100%)

    • Graphics (100%)

    • Stats (100%)

    • New Abilities (100%)

      • Snow Cloak (100%)

      • Cursed Body (100%)

      • Vital Spirit (100%)

      • Forewarn (100%)

      • Dry Skin (100%)

      • Super Luck (100%)

      • Moxie (100%)

    • New Attacks (100%)

      • Ominous Wind (100%)

      • Low Kick (100%)

      • Shock Wave (100%)

      • Heart Stamp (100%)

      • Ice Punch (100%)

      • Razor Wind (100%) 

      • Brick Break (100%)

    • Evolutions (100%)

    • Adding to Breeding Center (100%)

    • Adding to Trading Center (100%)

  • Bug Fixes (100%)

    • Fixed a typo on Ash's dialog after beating Shadow Entei (100%)

Well that's all folks! As always, let me know what you think!

Monday, 4 March 2013

The latest ptd2 update, the amazing breeder, story level and cosmoids UI and move types!

to get the Shiny Starters? Shiny Zorua? Shiny legendary dogs? Shiny Mew? or any other
shiny pokemon in the game? Adopt them today using
SnD coins! Click here for more info.

the PTD: Pokemon Center - a place to trade pokemon,
get your Daily Code, adopt Pokemon, view your items
and change your avatar!

Welcome to the Sam & Dan Games Developer Blog! Another week of updates and long blog post! Woohoo!

Sam & Dan Games: Fundraiser! Phase 3

Help us keep making games and earn awesome prizes like Shiny Rayquaza!  

Our Goal: $50,000

Raised so far: $3,822.70

Percentage so far: 7.645%

Total Funders so far: 4,241

Last updated: 3/4/13 (3:51 PM EST)

Latest PTD2 Update

The last PTD2 update v1.36 and 1.36.1 brought a whole lot of new things. I want to quickly go over them. Last week we added 4 new families to transfer from PTD1 over to PTD2. The Pikachu, Sandshrew, Nidoran Female, and Nidoran Male families. A really great side effect of bringing over the Pikachu Family is that you can now breed Pikachus to get your very own Pichu! If you don't know how to transfer from PTD1 to PTD2 visit our FAQ page for more information. We also added 2 new evolution items. The Dusk Stone and the Reaper Cloth. These items will evolve the Ghost Pokemon we recently had for the mystery gift. Speaking of Mystery Gift we added the Steel pokemon week Shiny Aron as the Mystery Gift for this week. A new tradition I started is to give away the runner up from the Mystery Gift pool in a series of giveaways during the week. This week we gave out shiny Beldum. Today I will do another giveaway after 10PM Eastern Time for more Shiny Beldum so stay tuned on my twitter to find out when. Last but not least we increased the Soft Level Cap to 25! This added 37 new moves to the game that your pokemon can now relearn!

The Amazing Breeder, Rock Solid and Slice and Dice!

So the next update v1.37 will bring in more PTD1 to PTD2 transfers this time one of the most requested pokemon will show up. That pokemon is Ditto! The reason people want Ditto is that Ditto is able to breed with most pokemon especially those that don't have gender like Beldum and Golett. The other pokemon that I'm bringing over is the rock solid Onix and the slice and dicer Scyther! Why those two? Well I think you can figure that out. They both evolve by trading them with the item Metal Coat. Which means the Metal Coat will be available in the game. This time it will be different, instead of it just showing up in the item store you will have to find them hidden in the game then once you find the item, they will be unlocked to buy in the item store.

Story Level

I have been recently been focusing on  adding new pokemon to the game and adding new attacks. That is still my focus but I have to agree that it has been a while since we had some story action. This level will have the gang finally head over to the Ruins of Alph after your encounter with the Unown. What secrets will you discover and why where the Unown grabbing the stones away? Maybe we will find out!

Mystery Gift

Like every week we will have a Mystery Gift. So far it looks like Ice type is winning but let's see if somehow things change. Like last week we will also have the runner up pokemon giveaways. I'm aware that people that created multiple accounts can receive a giveaway pokemon for each account. I'm going to look into ways where I can limit that. Also I'll try to do the giveaways at different times so that people in different time zones can have a chance at getting them. Some have mentioned to have the giveaway available for a whole day but I think that will greatly reduce the value of the giveaway. Lastly some of you have mentioned adding the giveaways in the adoption center and I believe I will slowly add them starting this week with Luvdisc.

Cosmoids UI and Move Types

Didn't get a whole lot of work done on Cosmoids. The soft level cap increase took a lot longer than I expected so I didn't get that much time. This week I'm going to focus on smaller more specific goals so that I can tackle them much easier. A big thing about Cosmoids that we are planning to do is to only allow you to have one creature out at a time. Meaning you will always have your characters tower plus one creature. You can swap at any time to a different creature. So this week I will be setting up that functionality in the early alpha and seeing how it plays out. Sometimes when you are making games you really have to build your idea out before you can say for sure if it is good or not and I think this is one of those cases. The other thing I want to work on for Cosmoids this week is a new type of move type. This move type will have you dragging the attack to the spot you want the attack to happen. Your character will have an attack like this with a long cooldown.

Weekly Progress

Now that we have looked at what we will be working on this week, let's take a look at the specifics. I will be updating this during the week as I work on it all week.

Status: Not Working.


  • Swap Mechanic UI and Functionality (100%)

  • New Move Type (0%) - Targeted move

PTD2 v1.37.1 Released!

  • Mystery Gift (100%)

PTD2 v1.37 Released!

  • PTD1 to PTD2 Transfers (100%)

  • Story Level (100%)

    • Intro (100%)

    • Level Layout (100%)

    • Waves (100%)

    • Ending (100%)

    • New Attack (100%) - Fireball

    • New Enemy Pokemon (100%) 

  • Made it easier for big pokemon to fit into spots that are close to other spots (100%)

  • Fixed a bug that would not allow you to transform into an Unown either by Illusion, Transform or Imposter (100%)

  • Metal Coat (100%) - You have to find the item in one of the maps before it is unlocked in the Pokemon Center's Item Store.

  • Fix how Genderless is shown in game (100%) 

  • Testing new attacks and abilities (100%)

  • Ditto Breeding Rules (100%)

  • New Pokemon (100%)

    • Graphics (100%)

    • New Abilities (100%)

      • Thick Fat (100%)

      • Oblivious (100%)

      • Moody (100%)

      • Technician (100%)

      • Limber (100%)

      • Impostor (100%)

    • New Attacks (100%)

      • Powder Snow (100%)

      • Encore (100%)

      • Ice Ball (100%)

      • Body Slam (100%)

      • Aurora Beam (100%)

      • Vacuum Wave (100%)

      • Bullet Punch (100%)

      • Transform (100%) 

    • Stats (100%)

    • Evolutions (100%)

    • Add to Trading Center (100%)

    • Add to Breeding Center (100%)

That's what we have for you this week. As always let me know what you think in the comments below or toss me an email at sam@sndgames.com or if you want to message Dan email dan@sndgames.com!