Fail to Win Update: Demo Coming Soon!

After an awesome Christmas with White Elephant, I’m feeling a lot more confident. If you haven’t played White Elephant, it is a first-person 3D puzzle platformer where you must open an absurdly-wrapped Christmas present in an escape-room-like way. The game was well-received with nearly five-hundred downloads, five-star ratings, and lots of recorded walkthroughs. It was one of the most popular games on Itch this past week. This was an exciting response to a game I threw together in four days. Now that Christmas is over and I expect the excitement of White Elephant to die down, I’ve been turning my attention over to my other project: Fail to Win.

What is it?

Fail to Win is a 3D puzzle platformer where in order to progress, sometimes you have to die. With a respawn point that acts as a teleporter and explosives that can launch your corpse at hard-to-reach locations, you solve a series of puzzles while being led by mysterious fourth-wall-breaking guide.

I actually started making this about a year ago when I was playing with ragdoll physics. It was just a proof of concept, and I had no idea what direction to go with aesthetic or plot. I left it for some smaller projects hoping that when I came back to it, I’d have a bit more popularity and could actually get this game in front of people. It is one of my more ambitious projects, so I want people to actually play this one.

Then, a couple months ago, I got impatient and indirectly returned to it anyway by working on making some Asset Store tools. I’m an Asset Store publisher, currently with five code packages for sale. I hadn’t published any new packages recently, so I figured I could work on programming a stage creator designed around 3D puzzle platformers. I’ve been making a lot of progress, so I started using this stage creator to build stages for Fail to Win.

The demo

The demo currently consists of a single stage with a few simple puzzles, acting as a sort of tutorial. The whole experience lasts about ten minutes. You can download it at http://kenningtongames.com/wp-content/uploads/misc/FailToWin.zip.

It isn’t quite ready for releasing on Itch, but it is getting close. Expect the demo to make an official appearance some time in January. Recently, another game jammer, Yru2kind, offered to help out with audio. The full demo might just be this single stage with a little extra polish, or I might add a couple other shorts stages that are close to ready, depending on how much time I have.

What’s coming later?

I’d like to make Fail to Win into a full game, but that is up to the response the demo gets. If people like the demo, and I get enough people following the project (Itch follows, YouTube subscriptions, etc.) then I’ll start looking into crowd funding. The full game will likely last a couple hours for the average player, but maybe more depending on how much funding we can get. Development will take about a year to incorporate all the things I currently have planned for it.

Even the demo is currently a work in progress (more of a demo of a demo), but please try it out and send any feedback my way. Thanks!

Fly Around and Zap Aliens Beta

I recently released a game on the Google Play store called Fly Around and Zap Aliens. It is currently in an open beta, so you are welcome to try it out, although I plan change some things in future. You can download it here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kenningtongames.spacegame.

History

This game actually started back in high school. I had previously made a simple space game in Flash where you and another player orbit a planet, trying to knock each other out of orbit. When I was learning Unity, I thought I would try making a 3D version of the same game. However, I quickly ran into some serious design issues:

  • There’s a lot more space in three dimensions. Traveling from one side of the planet to the other felt like it took way too long, and it was hard to tell how fast you were going until you crashed into something, unable to slow down fast enough.
  • Your field of view is limited, since you are following a spaceship instead of getting a full view of the arena. This made the pull of gravity really confusing. Since there is no up or down in space, the pull of the planet onto the ship just made uncomfortable controls.
  • Multiplayer would be trickier than simply sharing a keyboard with a friend.
  • Boundaries are unclear. In 2D, it was simply the edge of the screen. In 3D, I needed a way to box players in and still have them experience the openness of space.

So I made an entirely new game with a similar-looking stage. There is still a planet in the center, and you still control a spaceship, but now you are defending the planet from aliens. You zap them instead of knocking them backward. There is no real gravity from the planet, but you still fly around it. I originally had a force-field for boundaries, but my force-field effect looked awful. The game was pretty much playable, though. I never could settle on a name. I then took a two-year break from game development and forgot all about it. More recently, I was looking through my old projects and re-discovered it. I had learned a lot since made it (it’s been about five years now), so I decided to start fixing it up.

The Game Now

I chose to port it to mobile because of the availability of tilt controls. Really, a platform like the Nintendo Switch would be more ideal, since it has a little more graphics power than a mobile phone while stile having the same tilt control, but Android is an easier platform to begin publishing for. The Asset Store has come a long way since I started this project, so I was able to make things look a lot nicer, but the game works in pretty much the same way. I did, however, change the boundaries, using a portal instead of a force-field. If you fly too far away from the planet, a portal appears, taking you to the opposite side of the planet, flying toward it instead of away from it. I released it recently to the Play Store, but it still has a few problems. For example, it is possible to dodge the portal and keep flying away. Most people I show the game are initially confused by the controls. It doesn’t take long to get used to them, though. Also, the end screen is kind of boring. I hope to fix these things and more. Still unable to choose a name, I chose the most concise way I could explain it.

The Plan

Between now and the full release, I plan to add the following:

  • Appearance tweaks (Already swapped out the spaceship models; just need to publish that change).
  • Fix the problem of dodging the portal and venturing into the void of space.
  • Add a leader board
  • Have the aliens come in waves instead of a steadily increasing rate.
  • A tutorial
  • Optimizations and device support (If you try the beta, and it does not work on your phone, let me know!)
  • An iOS port

These updates will come gradually as I make them, leading up to the official release. Please try it out and let me know what you think!