Spry Fox is looking for a senior engineer, experienced with C++ (and ideally with Unreal 4 as well) to help us begin work on a new, original game. This will involve several months (at least) of blue-sky, rapid prototyping. 🙂 (more…)
We are pleased to announce that Alphabear: Hardcover Edition, the premium version of our award-winning English word puzzle game, is now available on Steam for PCs & Macs. The price is just $9.99 and we’re celebrating the launch with a 10% discount for those who buy it ASAP. 🙂
The original version of Alphabear has been downloaded over four million times and has won numerous awards, including Google’s “Best Indie” award in 2016. This updated version of Alphabear has been enhanced and completely rebalanced. All free-to-play elements have been removed from the game and new features have been added, including:
- An in-game dictionary (so you can discover what your more inventive words actually mean!)
- A new “prestige” system, for people who complete the campaign and want to replay it at a higher difficulty level to continue challenging themselves.
- New random daily boards you can play.
In addition to the Google Play Award, Alphabear is Gamezebo’s best mobile game of 2015, and also received a Game Developers Choice Runner Up award for “Best Mobile Game” in 2015. We’ve been asked by thousands of you for a premium, less-grindy, pay-once version, and we hope this fits the bill!
So what are you waiting for? Visit Steam now to take advantage of our launch discount! Happy bearaphrasing! 🙂
If you’ve ever wondered who Spry Fox is, why we do what we do, and what inspired us to make Steambirds Alliance, there is a delightful (short) documentary video you can now watch on that very subject. 🙂
By the way, if you like this video, the wonderful person who made it – Russ Pitts – is doing a Kickstarter to fund more videos of this sort! Please consider supporting Russ, he’s a real treasure.
We’re very pleased to announce the worldwide launch of Bushido Bear, our new action game for iPhones & iPads and Android devices! Don’t be fooled by its adorable appearance… Bushido Bear is a very challenging arcade game that will take many hours of play to master. 🙂
In Bushido Bear, you play as the guardian of a forest that is being invaded by evil creatures, spirits and demons. You can collect additional guardians, each of whom has unique characteristics and abilities.
For example, Lone Cub is a tiny bear who easily dodges enemies but is slower than normal; he rains arrows down on his enemies when he makes a combo. Neo Bear is larger, speedier, and capable of slowing down time as he plans his maneuvers. And Chef Bear… well, let’s just say that he enjoys making sushi.
We could say more, but we’d rather you just played the game!! We really hope you like it.
The Spry Foxes
We’ve added mod support to the Steam (PC/Mac) version of Road Not Taken! Warning: writing and using mods is something you do entirely AT YOUR OWN RISK. We’re way too small a studio to fix every possible bug introduced by every possible mod. OK, having given that warning, here’s how you dive into modding:
Using a Road Not Taken mod created by someone else
- Make sure that you’re running v731 or later. You can check your version number in the game’s options menu.
- Browse to the directory where you’ve installed Road Not Taken. (Follow these instructions to find it.)
- Browse to mods/
- In the “mods” folder, paste in a folder containing the mod you want to use. The “mod1” folder is there as an example. Note that you should not overwrite the mod1 folder (this won’t break the game, but if you ever want to get into modding, you’ll probably want to start from the default and/or have a copy of the default to refer back to).
- Launch the game, open the options menu, and choose Select Mod.
- The folder you just added should be listed. Choose it.
- The game will say that you will have to manually restart it. Agree. The game will close.
- Launch the game again.
Creating a new mod for Road Not Taken
- Browse to the directory where you’ve installed Road Not Taken
- Browse to mods/
- There is one mod installed by default. This is the directory named mod1/. Each mod is a directory of all the config files and art assets used by that mod.
- To create your own new mod, copy /mod1 to a new directory under the parent mods/ directory. Name it something unique. Example: “/mod/mod2”
- Edit the config files as you desire in a text editor.
To play your mod
- Load the game
- Open the options menu
- Select mods
- Selected your new mod. For example “mod2”
- You’ll be prompted to restart the game.
- On restarting the game, you’ll begin a game using your new mod config settings.
Hi folks! We’re pleased to announce the first major FREE update to Road Not Taken! Today’s Steam update includes:
- New “just for fun” Timed Mode: try to rescue all the kids within four minutes! You lose time whenever you take damage, and you add time to the clock whenever you eat food and rescue children. Timed Mode has no impact on your career, so it’s a great way to enjoy Road Not Taken for a few minutes with limited stress. 🙂
- New creatures: the Forest Kraken and the Golem (and for those who haven’t yet noticed it in our previous micro-update, the Ninja Bear!) These guys add a little spice to the early years of your career!
- “Easier” mode and hard mode: In our previous micro-update, we split the game into two modes, Normal and Hard. “Hard” is basically our original gameplay mode with a few tweaks; “Normal” is more generous with energy and had less crowded rooms, among other changes. Checkpoints are also less punishing to use now. We’ve done more work in this update and now consider these features “complete!” This should make the game much more accessible to new users.
- Mod support!: Now you can edit everything about the game, including the properties of objects and levels, make your own hand-crafted puzzle rooms and more, and share your work with your friends! Running a mod will prevent your game from uploading scores to the leaderboards (to keep them pure/fair.) Also, please note that using mods is something you do at your own risk! We’re a very small studio and can’t be expected to prevent or to fix every issue that could arise in the zillions of possible mods that can be created. We’re excited to see those zillions of possibilities emerge though. 🙂 Detailed instructions on how to use and create mods can be found here.
These changes (except mod support, sorry!) are coming to the PS4 for free as well as soon as they clear QA and certification! It’ll be a few weeks, but it’s definitely coming. 🙂
We’re a weird studio. When demoing a new game at PAX, most companies try to make the demo as good as they can before the show, then lock it down and live with whatever they’ve got until the show is finished. We, on the other hand, treated PAX Prime 2014 as a giant ongoing playtest, and iterated every evening on the demo/prototype of Free-Range Dragons. Each morning, we brought a new build of the game to PAX that was substantially different from the previous day’s build! 🙂
In case you’re curious to know more about this process, we’ve copied below the entirety of our Skype development log from that very intense time period — all 35 pages of it!
One thing to be aware of: Andrew Fray, one of the lead developers on the project, lives in the UK. That’s primarily how we were able to make this work: he did most of the iterating while the rest of us slept.
Skype Log, starting 8/27 (just before the start of PAX Prime):
Hey folks – I’m pleased to reveal the teaser trailer for Free-Range Dragons, an original action game that we’ve had a small team quietly prototyping for the past year while we were putting the finishing touches on Road Not Taken. 🙂
Free-Range Dragons is all about the joy of movement. We’ve spent a ton of time experimenting with and refining the mechanics of flight in this game, as well as the mechanics of chasing and being chased by wild dragons. Your dragon can loft itself into the air slowly, or use the terrain to send itself rocketing. You have a flaming dash maneuver that can be used as both an attack and a tool for altering your trajectory. We’re still experimenting with a variety of additional attacks and powerups, like fireballs, flame breath, lassoing, and more.
And if you’re attending PAX Prime in a few days, stop by our booth and check out Free-Range Dragons in person! 🙂 We’re booth #135.
I’ve got a whole lot to say today, but first and foremost: Road Not Taken is available for download today!! You can get it worldwide on Steam (PC & Mac) and in North America on the PS4. And hey, we’ve put together a snazzy launch trailer to whet your appetites:
To celebrate the launch of Road Not Taken, we’re offering a limited-time 20% launch sale on Steam, where players can pick up the game for just $11.99! We’re also thrilled to be partnering with Sony, allowing PlayStation+ subscribers to get Road Not Taken absolutely free during the month of August. (For PS4 fans who live outside North America: the European PS4 launch is tomorrow, the Asian launch is the 7th, and the Japanese launch is the 20th, as per the PS+ release calendar.)
Lately, we’ve been doing a ton of playtesting of Road Not Taken, particularly with fellow game developers. (If you’re ever looking for brutally honest feedback, other game developers are a good place to start.) In general, the feedback has been pretty positive: people love the game’s basic mechanics, art and audio. But one big issue repeatedly crept up in many of our playtests: people weren’t sensing the depth of the game and weren’t feeling a strong sense of progression. This blog post is all about how we’ve been fixing that. 🙂
I like to think of Road Not Taken as an iceberg floating in the ocean: a tiny percentage of the total game is visible above the surface when you first start playing, while the vast majority of the game lies unseen, waiting to be discovered. A large part of that depth comes from all the unusual creatures and objects you can encounter as you explore the enchanted forests of the game. Another large part comes from all the secret tools and boosts you can create if you know what you’re doing. (For example, if you combine the right number of red and white spirits lurking in the forest, you can create a useful magic axe.)
In previous blog posts, we’ve talked about the procedural system we use to create the enchanted forests that serve as your proving ground in Road Not Taken. That system is what makes Road Not Taken a fun game to play repeatedly, and as with any good roguelike you’ll need to play RNT many times before you’ve stumbled upon every interesting object and creature lurking in the forest.
But a purely random system, even a very rich one, can start to feel repetitive over time. Every snowflake might be unique, but after you’ve looked at a thousand snowflakes it’s easy to stop appreciating them! Our roguelike developer ancestors have invented a few solutions to this problem, one of which is to change the look and feel of the environment to signal when something new/important/dangerous is happening. Sewers transition into dungeons, dungeons become underground caverns, etc. And in Road Not Taken, peaceful glades might lead to blizzard-ravaged woods, haunted glades and dangerous ice caverns! The changing terrain is both a marker of your progress as well as a warning of new challenges to come.
As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, Road Not Taken has procedurally-generated levels. You get a completely new experience every time you venture into the forest. When designing a game like Bioshock or God of War, a designer must hand-select the placement of every corridor, every object, and every enemy in the game. With Road Not Taken, we’re not hand-selecting anything. We spend our time creating interesting objects and enemies and then carefully defining the probabilities of when and where you will encounter them.
The process reminds me of Duchamp’s painting ‘Nude descending a Staircase, No. 2’. For thousands of years, humanity painted a single instant, captured in time. Duchamp, inspired by advances in motion pictures, decided to paint all the possible states of a woman walking down the stairs in a single painting. To me, designing a roguelike is a little bit like that. Instead defining a single level, we use algorithms to define all possible levels at once.
Hi folks! Ray here, another member of the Spry Fox team. I do a bunch of different jobs for our studio, including making video trailers for our games, QA, and community management. Sometimes, just to have some fun and goof around a little, I make live action videos using my fellow Foxes as actors (or guinea pigs…) And since we’ve been working really hard on our upcoming game, Road Not Taken, I thought it would be cool to do a live action video for that!
Hi everyone! Brent here again. We’ve gotten a lot of questions and compliments about the look of Road Not Taken’s main character, so I thought you might enjoy reading about the process I went through in creating it!
First, I guess I should say that designing a game’s main character/avatar is always tricky. The avatar has to work as a functional asset within the context of the game, has to look good in marketing materials and screenshots, but most importantly, has to feel right as something that represents you, the player! Easier said than done.
We recently added the first batch of sounds to Road Not Taken, and the team got really excited, like the game was finally coming together! It’s funny because it was such a small thing in relation to the huge amount of work that has already gone into the game, but it really highlights the difference sound can make in the way we experience things.
The world of Road Not Taken is made up of magical and natural surroundings. That makes me happy, because even though I love the bleeps and bloops you can get from synthesis, my favourite way to make sounds is from scratch like a foley artist.
It just so happened that I started working on the RNT audio catalogue in the fall, right when there were piles of dried leaves everywhere — perfect! I brought a bucket of them inside and rustled them, crunched and dropped them… my studio was a mess! Also, if you listen closely to the end of the second RNT teaser, you can hear some percussion that was made from dry sticks. At the time I was at a cottage on vacation with my family, so I used a makeshift set-up to build that sample instrument. I expect that you’ll hear it again.
How might a roguelike look like if it featured a thinker and explorer, instead of a traditional warrior? If being clever was more important than being strong? That’s a design challenge we’ve attempted to tackle with Road Not Taken.
You play a ranger in a frigid, enchanted forest, trying to save lost children. You start with a few easy-to-learn abilities. You can pick up any adjacent objects, you can carry them around, and you can throw them. Trees, boulders, bears — they all float at your command. But you need to be careful; whenever you carry things, it costs you stamina. If you run out of stamina, you collapse face-first into the snow. No checkpoints, no reloads. It’s over.
Over the past several days we’ve been polishing up and experimenting with lots of little different bits of Road Not Taken. Trying out new behaviors and objects, fleshing out the details of the player’s career; that sort of thing. We also made the mysterious forest a bit more, well, mysterious. Enter the ghost child:
The boosts we previously described are almost all implemented at this point! In the process, the little house we were planning for the main character has exploded into a not-so-little house full of cosy rooms, lazy cats, bear rugs, and of course tables and desks to hold all the aforementioned boosts. This is one of those situations where design drives the narrative I guess; there are so many totems and trophies you can collect that the main character simply needed to have a more spacious home to put them in.
But then again, the size of the home seems to emphasize its emptiness. It’s full of stuff, yes, but almost completely devoid of people. In that regard, it’s far from the stereotypically “perfect” home. That feels appropriate for Road Not Taken.
This post was written by Brent Kobayashi, our lead artist for Road Not Taken, who is currently enjoying a much-deserved vacation so I’m posting on his behalf. -d
Meeting a few of you in person and talking online to others excited about Road Not Taken, I’ve been asked the question a number (2 is a number, right?) of times what the inspiration behind the look of the game was. Obviously, the style borrows heavily from kawaii aesthetics. The dot-ier the eyes, the higher the mouth, the happier I am. But that’s sort of a rule given my Japanese background. So, I’ll briefly mention a couple of specific points of inspiration behind the look of the game as well.
For the past week or so we’ve been fleshing out and implementing the progression system in Road Not Taken. The premise we’re running with right now is that your character has a “career” of # (20? 30?) games. Once your character has completed that many games, he/she will retire and pass away, and you will take over a new character who succeeds them.
Each career will give you an opportunity to unlock certain boosts that you can use from game to game. A boost, for example, might make the game a little easier by decreasing the spawn quantity of a particular type of troublesome forest creature, or it might make the game more difficult but also more rewarding. Boosts are represented by everyday objects that you collect. Here’s a mockup of what the boost room (where you collect your boosts) might look like:
Additionally, as you successfully rescue lost children through successive campaigns, you’ll encounter new forest creatures and objects. This will serve the dual purpose of making the game more interesting and challenging over time, and also scratch that progression itch (because you’ll have a scrapbook of sorts that you fill up by discovering every possible forest denizen.)
Lastly, you’ll have relationships with townspeople and forest denizens that you will try to juggle and enhance over the course of many games. We’re particularly excited about that system and how it plays into the narrative; we’ll share more in a future update!