Jul

2014

Cat Crossing / クロネコ交差点

Tabletop Pixel just released a small but fun endless runner in collaboration with Wizcorp.

Save a poor cat from accidents!

His favorite street is crowded today. There are so many cars and obstacles he never noticed before.
But that’s not going to stop him from going for his afternoon stroll: the afternoon stroll is sacred!
Luckily, he’s not an ordinary cat. He has special powers… he can fly!

Simple and short game sessions:
- Tap the screen to change cat’s direction and swipe to make him fly.
- You start with one flying bonus and you get a new one every 100m.

We had fun hiding geek references, will you find them all?

Cat Crossing 1 Cat Crossing 2
Also, with the help of WAKU WAKU, if you are living in Japan, when you reach 300m or more, you may win a discount coupon!
 
Available on the iOS app store
Mar

2014

Bitsummit 2014 report

As I previously announced, Tabletop Pixel was attending Bitsummit 2014 (japanese indie game festival) in Kyoto. I had a booth (in fact a simple table :D ) shared with my friend Ahmin and his game Ekoro.

DSCN2261It was huge ! Not as much as the TGS of course, but still big.

It was the first time I was showing the stuff I’m doing to the public… and I hope not the last (GDC, TGS… you are in my line of sight for the following years!).

DSCN2255Our table in the morning, before doors open.

The main target of this event was for me to meet a lot of people, to exchange tips and ideas, to discover original games… and to go party in Kyoto’s streets by night with fellow developers and other indies actors! For all of this it was a “Mission Complete”.

On my table I was showing Super Puzzle Neo and Retroizer. I already knew that my family oriented puzzle game with Mucha as a representative was not going to attract public’s eyes as much a manic shooter with big pixels can, and it was obviously the case, but not as bad as I was expecting: a lot of people still stopped by, tried the game, asked questions and even sometimes stayed for long play sessions.

A10Public was there!

I was delighted to (in random order) meet for the first time Mark from Von Flex, Nicolas from 1001 Pixels, Nicolas from Tsugi, Christa, to see my friends from Gangs of Space winning the Game Design Award, to discuss with Vincent from Waku Waku, to discover a small Filipino’s indie group who makes great titles like the very promising political simulation El Kapitolyo, to jump on Chipzel‘s (Super Hexagon music composer) live beat, to discover the games Galak-Z and Nova-111, and much much more…

Can’t wait until next year’s edition now!

Mar

2014

Retroizer

I did a small eye-candy oriented tool this week-end: Retroizer.

It allows you to choose a picture (or to shoot one if you are on a mobile device) and to retro-ify it into a very famous japanese old hardware system-like, for the entertainment of gaming-dinosaurs like me.

The beauty of it is it’s a simple webpage: all the processing is done by the browser, the picture is never transmitted to a server… HTML5 power! It means that you can save it for offline browsing and use the web-app even if you are not connected (on iOS this is done by adding the page to your reading list).

It’s completely free and it have been tested on :
- iOS6+ (Safari)
- Galaxy S3 (Chrome)
- desktop Chrome
- desktop Firefox

If you try with other devices or browsers, don’t hesitate to report here if it’s working (or not)!

retroizer1retroizer2

retroizer3retroizer4

Tip 1: After your picture have been generated, tap (or click) anywhere on the screen to open the configuration menu: you will be able to change the pixel dithering algorithm, the palette used or do stuff like posting he generated picture on facebook.

Tip 2: On mobile devices (at least on iOS) the first time you try to share on facebook the attempt may fail if you are not connected on facebook yet or if you didn’t allow the Retroizer application before.

Mar

2014

Tabletop Pixel @ Bitsummit 2014

Tabletop Pixel will be attending the Bitsummit 2014 edition in Kyoto, from March 7 to 9! This is the Japanese indie game festival, back for a the second year. I am so excited about meeting a lot of awesomely great and creative developers and artists!

I will go and share a booth with a colleague, Ahmin Hafidi, who is going to present his PS Vita game Ekoro.

I am a little shy because I will not have much to present this year, only a simple family oriented puzzle game, but it was just impossible for me to miss this event, and I already plan to come next year with much more pixel based stuff :D .

Super Puzzle Neo flyers
Flyers arrived today! graphic.jp is doing a very good job for cheap price.
Mar

2014

Super Puzzle Neo

Super Puzzle Neo is the first project I worked on for being released under Tabletop Pixel name. It’s a very simple, family oriented puzzle game. And when I say puzzle game, it’s much more a real tabletop jigsaw puzzle than a Candy Crush or a Puzzle and Dragon.

Thanks to this, I hope I will be able to do some partnership or to get licensing agreements to create special versions of the game based on already existing IPs. And that’s the reason why the game is not released yet: the code is finished, the iOS version is fully functional and the Android and Windows phone versions are on the way, but instead of just releasing it on the app stores and never be found by anybody or be forgotten quickly, I am trying to come with a better plan.

Let’s talk quickly about the gameplay: it’s as simple as what you can imagine when you see screenshots:

Super Puzzle Neo screenshot 1Super Puzzle Neo screenshot 4

It looks like a 15 puzzle but it is not: you can move any piece from anywhere to anywhere and pieces can be rotated by tapping on it.

Why did I start with a simple game as this one to to start the studio? Especially when I am dreaming of rebooting a turn-based-car-fighting-wargame I did long time ago, adapting for mobile devices some great modern board-games or developing a nice pixel art danmaku? Because I need to start with something simple to validate the technologies I chose, to create and test multiple processes, framework, tools, train my marketing and communication skills… a lot of serious and not every-time so fun things requiring a lot of attention. If I had started with something more ambitious or requiring to create and balance a lot of game mechanics, I may have never reached the end. You have to start somewhere ;o).

But at the end I am proud of the result and I hope it will have some success!

Nov

2013

Super Puzzle Neo on Tizen

Tabletop Pixel’s first game “Super Puzzle Neo” is going to be released on Tizen very soon (assuming everything is going well during the validation process)!

You are going to ask me “But what the hell is Tizen and why are you going to ship your bootstrapping game on this first?”

So let’s explain: Tizen is a new OS designed for mobile devices: smartphones, tablets, fridges, TVs, cars … with companies like Intel, Samsung and the Linux foundation behind and supported by phone carriers like Docomo and Orange. You may have never heard about it yet because it’s not released. It’s currently scheduled to hit the market in 2014. Even the developers (like me) are most likely developing with a simulator and an emulator without any real device.

2014/03/02 update: the app have been approved right after, but there is still no Tizen devices on the market.

Now “why“: because Tizen launched an application contest with more than $4 million in prizes! Smallest one is $40k … tempting isn’t it ;) ?

2014/03/02 update: finally I didn’t get any reward, but it was worth to try :o ).

When I heard about it two weeks ago (I try to not cry when I think that this contest have been launched AGES ago and I’ve never heard about it before) I instantly dropped my current iOS polishing process to jump on the Tizen board: with only one month before the deadline (December 8th) and the necessity to have an app registered in the app store before to participate, I had to learn fast.

Hopefully, one of Tizen’s core is webkit and guess what? Super Puzzle Neo is basically an HTML5 game (even if I don’t like this term and the image of “crappy game with bad performances” it conveys; I prefer to talk about ”javascript hybrid application”) so there was no big problem for porting the code. Also, the SDK is remarkably well-done  and I have been pleasantly surprised multiple times: the tools, the help, the support, the processes … everything around Tizen have a professional look and feel and reflects people who know what they are doing and who are doing it well.

The javascript API provides a straightforward access to all hardware features without having to deal with any wrapper, and also (as far as I understood) to a lot of low level system stuff (as a developer I feel really excited with this, having the sensation that I can build an OS over the OS with only javascript, but I’m afraid this may turn into security problems in the future).

So, now I am really excited about this OS and I look forward to having a real device in the hands. When on the other side Apple is taking grating decisions like removing developers ability to hide the navigation bar by themselves in the browser, Tizen is a fresh breeze and may be a great boost for the HTML5 development scene, hopefully a way to finally give it the crown and the scepter it deserves.

I will post about Super Puzzle Neo itself in the future.

Aug

2013

Tabletop Pixel website is up!

Finally, it’s alive!

After so much time spent finding a cool name, getting the logo done, designing and coding the website, Tabletop Pixel is now standing on its feet!

For the logo I used the most famous graphic contest service: 99designs. Previously I didn’t know that this concept was so popular, there are so many websites of this kind around (see for example this top 10) and it’s really useful: for a pretty decent fee you get more than a hundred of design proposals! Of course, some are so-so, but there are also a bunch of really wonderful ones. If you want to see what the logo could have looked like, you can still browse the contest page.

About the website, I was thinking about WordPress because I already had several experiences with it, but I was not sure the whole website should be based on it, or if it should be just a brick in a more complex system. But after browsing multiple game studios’ websites, I found that a lot were entirely based on WP, so I thought it was not a so bad solution. Then came 24 hours of horror: I tried to find a template whose design was more or less what I had in mind + easy to understand and to customize, but I could not find any! Even when I was able to find one that was kind of matching my design hopes, the code was complex as hell! But then my research led me to HTML5 Blank WordPress Theme. This theme just made my week. It’s the best simplest-white-empty-minimal WordPress template ever! With a lot of comments everywhere, easy to understand, easy to manipulate, easy to customize… This theme is like clay ready to shape and is a real pleasure to sculpt! So if anybody wants to understand how WordPress is working, this is the best start point!

Now what? I still have to set up the official page on social networks (links will appear soon on the top-right corner), to take care of the business cards and then I will be able at last, TO COOOOODDEEEEEE again :D !!!

The first app that is going to emerge is “Super Puzzle Neo”, see the home page for slightly more information, more will come in future posts.