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The Global Game Jam 2013 is starting tonight and we’re really excited to join in and see all the creativity.
If you’re not familiar with Game Jams, let me explain…
A game jam is an event where game developers, artists, programmers, and game designers get together to create original games, over the course of 1 weekend, around a specified theme.
As you can imagine, creating a whole game in only one weekend is no easy task – and requires copious amounts of energy, creativity, coffee, energy drinks, and pizza!
There are many different Jams that go on all year long, but this is the Global Game Jam. Last year over 2000 games were creating and 47 countries participated! It’s a fantastic way for game makers to get together, make new friends, learn new techniques, and have a great time.
See what I did there?
Our Sudoku Together 1.1 update is on its way to all iPhone, iPad, and Android users! So without further ado, here the four big updates coming your way..
We know iPhone and iPad users have been experiencing some weird crashes and freezes, due to the iOS 6 update. The reason we were having problems was because the software we were using hadn’t been updated for iOS 6 yet. However, the software was updated and all of our testing went well, so you shouldn’t experience any crashing problems. If you do, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know! We always do our best to fix bugs so you can continue playing.
We’ve got 18 achievements to test your skills for all you iOS users out there! Just log in to Game Center and let the games begin.
Don’t want a boring plain white profile card anymore? No problem, we’ve got you covered! There are 15 different profile designs to choose from. You may even be seeing special holiday editions
Or don’t! Now you get to decide how you want to place tiles. You can even switch it up in the middle of a game.
If all goes well with our Apple Review, you’ll be seeing these updates this week! But be sure to check our Facebook and Twitter pages just in case, because that’s where we’ll announce the update as soon as it goes live.
Just like it says on the tin, it allows you to play Sudoku puzzles against your Facebook friends. As is all the vogue (and rightfully so), you do this asynchronously, like your favorite board game titles or games like Words With Friends. You can even play cross-platform from Android to iOS or vice-versa.
The power-ups make it a bit more than just static Sudoku. The Cannon tests your timing as it reveals up to five unsolved squares. The Tidal Wave reveals three squares, but requires you to remember their location before they fade away. The Treasure Map narrows down squares to two possible choices for a span of time and the Glacier freezes the board. Use these to out-solve your friends. Mistakes cost you twenty seconds and the fastest time is the winner and will gain rating stars.
I always gauge games I make by how sick of them I am after it ships. I’m not sick of Sudoku Together at all. I can’t wait for the new features to hit and for you all to challenge me to a game. I dare thee.
And even more exciting, it is completely free! You only pay for coins that allow you to use more powerups (and they will allow you to do some other fun stuff in the almost ready 1.1 update). We sure would appreciate it if you enjoy the game to spend some money on coins or the Ad Squeegee or the Winner’s Club Card. We can only keep making games if players decide to spend money. As a studio, we are very against manipulating the player with sleight of hand into spending money. We want you to spend money because you enjoy the game, not because you are afraid your crops will wilt or you need to collect a fifth needle in a haystack.
If you enjoy the game and don’t have a dollar to spare, please just tell your friends that would enjoy the game about it. We are just a group of game lovers who want people to have fun and we cannot do it without your help! Updates are already in the pike and we have a number of great new ideas being incubated. I can’t wait to show you them, but until then, enjoy Sudoku Together!
(*If you find issues, especially with the Android version since there are nine hojillion Android devices to support, please email email@example.com and we will look into it right away. One of the benefits of being a small developer is that we can respond to almost all of our feedback! Maybe you’ll even find some more coins in your account afterwards.)
Sudoku Together is our newest game title, just released for iOS and Android. We’ve been working on it for quite a while and wanted to share some of our experiences with you. For other developers, maybe you might be able to apply some of the lessons we learned to your own projects. And for all you Sudoku players out there, you can see all the work that went in to producing our take on your favorite game.
Asynchronous gameplay is all over the mobile game world, and we wanted to explore this style for ourselves. The idea that you can actually play games with, and against friends, without even having to be in the same zip code (or even the same country) as them is awesome!
We also wanted to look at the freemium game model – instead of doing a paid and ‘lite’ version. If you look at the top grossing apps, you’ll see that nearly all of them are free games with in-app purchases. We love this model, because we don’t want to coerce players into purchasing a game they don’t like; we want players to pay because they enjoy playing our games and see the value in getting in-app purchases.
Put these two things together and you get a plethora of Zynga, turn-based style Word games. We wanted to explore this game style, without copying what’s already out there. So we turned to puzzle style games that are usually thought of as single-player, and worked our game design magic to turn them into turn-based, asynchronous games. While there are many games out there, we chose to take on Sudoku.
With our design doc in hand, our artists and engineering team worked some crazy hours to crank out a prototype worthy of showing off at GDC. The code was kind of messy, but we did it, and were able to proudly show it off!
After getting back from GDC, we knew that the code needed to be cleaned up and optimized, and the design needed some finessing, so we set to work. Check out second working prototype below…
After finishing this prototype, we submitted to a bunch of people to test and get feedback. We got some great feedback and ideas, but the biggest piece of advice we got was this:While it’s a great Sudoku game, there are tons of similar games on the market already. What’s the hook that makes your game different?
That got us thinking that we really needed to shake things up. Even though we were already trying to mix it up by adding the asynchronous aspect, that might not be enough to interest users. Players are already very well acquainted with turn-based mobile games (think Words With Friends, or Draw Something), so what was going to set our game apart from all the rest? We decided to take a closer look at the UI, game model, sounds… everything.
We revamped the visuals and some of the game mechanics, changed the game sounds to match our new theme, and finessed some of the design to be more intuitive for users.
Now, we’re not saying the game is perfect. But we’re very happy with the changes we made and the direction we took with the design and visual direction of Sudoku Together. Now we can focus on gameplay, new features, and bugs.
Speaking of bugs…
We released the same day as the new iPhone and iOS 6 released – and with that came a major bug: the game crashes. Not good. And we’ve heard you loud and clear! We’re working hard to optimize the game for iOS 6. See look how hard we’re working*
Yep, we’re already working on an update! But more to come on that later.
* Note: that’s not really us – but we are working very hard.
Since our last posting TONS of new stuff has happened around here… But since our website was down, we haven’t been able to update you (unless of course, you’ve been following us on Facebook or Twitter*wink wink *hint hint). So that’s what we’re doing today! Updating you on everything that’s happened in the studio since April.
Hold on to your hat, because here we go…
We’re about to release our newest app! Check it out Sudoku Together skyparlorstudios.com/sps/sudoku-tog…
— Sky Parlor Studios (@SkyParlorStudio) August 28, 2012
— Sky Parlor Studios (@SkyParlorStudio) August 29, 2012
There were a few bumps and growing pains along the way, and since Apple was in the middle of releasing iOS 6, it took longer than we hoped to get the game approved. But all is well and ends well, right? We’ll catch you up on all the Sudoku goodness a bit later. But for now, go download it! It’s free on both iOS and Android.
Pollen Power is a great children’s game, released for iOS!
I think I can speak for everyone when I say this is one of the most exciting things to happen all year long! We love having a nice big space to get creative in, have the most gruesome of Nerf gun wars, and amazing post-it note wars with offices from the other tower.
May marked the one year anniversary for some of the studio’s crew! A big thank you to them for all their hard work and dedication, making this an awesome place to work.
Welcome to the family new Sky Parlorians? (came up with that on the spot, cut me slack) We’re still hiring over here at Sky Parlor, so if you think you’d be a good fit for our team, just email firstname.lastname@example.org with your resume.
Yep, you heard right… Marathon! 16 hours with some of Marvel’s coolest super heroes! The studio took a vacation from the studio and relocated to Universal’s City Walk Theatre. We also saw the Batman marathon too.
Well, that’s what has happened this summer in a nutshell. Don’t change that dial, we’ve got new games already in the works and cool new stuff coming for Sudoku!
It’s been nearly a week since we released Pollen Power and we’re excited to share that we’re being featured in 2 places on iTunes! We’ve also got a 5 star rating.
Thanks everybody who has downloaded the game! If you haven’t yet, check it out. It’s free and lots of fun for kids (entertaining for adults too!). Don’t forget to rate it