Intermediaware » Mac OS X indie video game developer blgo Tue, 31 Dec 2013 15:42:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Captain Backwater Trailer Fri, 14 Oct 2011 01:13:35 +0000 I just finished the brand new gameplay trailer for my latest game Captain Backwater.

I used FRAPS to recrod the gameplay and iMovie and the blockbuster template to cut it. As I’m very unexperienced with video-stuff I’m very satisfied with the result. I hope you like it:

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Hoist up the Jolly Roger Mon, 10 Oct 2011 18:53:52 +0000 Captain Backwater is released. This is one of the most exciting parts of developing his own games. The day of the release. The day when you find out if the players love or hate your game.

This is especially true for Captain Backwater. Believe it or not: The first email I got from Emmanuel (artist of Backwater) with the idea for pirate themed puzzle game was in April 2005 (!!!). Emmanuel attached some cheesy scribbles, here is the original scan:

We had tried out some early gameplay mechanics in two or three prototypes. But nothing seemed to work out. Our game design was poor. Back then, Emmanuel worked with different looks and cel-shaders. After a few weeks (or probably one or two months – can’t remember) we stopped working on Backwater.

In 2007 I had a new idea for an interesting puzzle gameplay. I started to work on it with the “old” graphics from Emmanuel. This time for Nintendo DS, but progress was slowly as I started my new job at Gameforge. When I finished the game in December 2010 JoWood was interested in publishing it, but one month later they went bankrupt. What a great timing!

This was the point when I decided to restart the project for Win, Mac and Linux. I’ve done it using BlitzMax and my own Horizon-Framework.

Everyone I showed the game in the early stages loved the gameplay. Towards the end of the project I stumbled over a blog post from Andra Dogaru. She did an amazing pirate ship, so I asked her if I could use her graphics in the menu section of my game. Andra was excited and even overhauled her work. The result is fantastic I think:

So, what’s next…?

I’m currently very busy with finishing the Linux version of the game. After that, I need to do a free, playable demo version – which is my most important marketing instrument for my direct sales. I also try to get the game into the big casual and indie portals.

I also have already received some feedback from customers. They love it, but they also found some small issues I should fix in an update. I also want to add more languages to Captain Backwater. At the moment, the game is available in german and english. If someone of you is interested in translate it to your native language, please contact me.

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The final steps Thu, 08 Sep 2011 21:31:26 +0000 Captain Backwater is more near to completion than ever before. So, what happend during the last two months?

First of all I was in holidays in Mallorca with some good friends for 10 days. It was planned to stay there for 7 days but we missed our plane back home (note to myself: never book a return flight again that starts off early in the morning). Here is a picture we took in the Megapark:
Mallorca 2011 – I’m the one with Dennis’ hand on my face.

Back home I first analysed and organized the feedback of the nearly 200 beta-testers. The feedback was great, but it was also a lot of work to put every bug report and every feature idea into my issue tracker.

Then I worked on a lot of minor and major bugfixes and thought about which features and ideas I wanted to implement into the final game. On the map screen the player now has two paths he can select from.

The main path contains the path to treasure and fame. During game progression the player can collect hidden coins and catch some bananas. With those the player can buy/unlock levels on the second path, where he can rescue Captain Backwaters big love Mary’o'Malley.

I also worked many, many hours on level design. The final game will contain 100 levels (80 + 20), but I will hopefully release level-packs later on and I also hope that the players will create lots of cool user-generated-levels using the easy-to-use level editor.

Whats left is that I have to design the 20 bonus levels, then re-balance some of them and whats left after that is some polishing.

Last but not least Emmanuel from Graveyard Dogs is working right now on the last missing graphics.

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Get a free beta key for the upcoming indie hit game Captain Backwater Wed, 15 Jun 2011 22:07:32 +0000 Captain Backwater, the new indie hit puzzle game, is near completion. This sunday evening I will start a closed beta test. For this I need you to have a look at the game and provide some useful feedback (if you’d like to).

If you are interested to be one of the first one’s to have fun with our little gem Captain Backwater (Mac OS X, PC Windows – Linux will follow soon) please follow those steps:

  1. Follow Captain Backwater on twitter or become a fan of his facebook group.
  2. All followers/fans will get a personal message at sunday evening (CET).
  3. You play the game and you will have a lot of fun being a mighty pirate on treasure hunting.
  4. If you have suggestions, ideas or problems you send me a message. (I will take every single reported issue or idea very serious!!!)

Oh, and by the way: Did I mention that ALL beta testers will get their name in the credits section of the final game? Imagine for a few seconds: YOUR name in a damn COOL game! True story!

To be honest: This will be the best game I’ve ever made and I’m already very proud of it. But I really need your help to make it even better.

Now it’s your turn:

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I hate Match-3 Games, but… Thu, 21 Apr 2011 15:07:44 +0000 …at least now there is one I really like.


Jake Birkett from Grey Alien Games asked me a few weeks ago if I want to beta-test his latest game Spring Bonus. I told him, that I will have a look at it, but that I don’t like Match-3-Games very much.

When I started playing it I was very impressed by the quality and style of the art. The main-menu music is so lovely that I got stuck on the main menu just to listen to it.

I started playing and it felt like many other Match-3-Games out there, but as I progressed there were lots of interesting things introduced. There are a lot of special items (some even inspired me for new items for Captain Backwater). I also liked it that it got very challenging during the game. I was so impressed by the game, that I decided to ask Jake if I’m allowed to offer it through my own website and was very happy when he gave me the permission.

If you love Match-3-Games this one is a must-have. If you don’t like them, you should give Spring Bonus a try anyway.

Jake, you did an awesome job on this one!

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DevLog: Captain Backwater Sun, 03 Apr 2011 23:42:52 +0000 Captain Backwater is a puzzle / brain-teaser game that @Emme73 and I develop in our spare time.

NEW: Follow the mighty pirate @CptBackwater on twitter!


History lesson

Emmanuel had the idea for the game quite some years ago. During this time I started my new job at gameforge and I stopped development.

Later, during my spare time I started to work on a version for Nintendo DS. When it was nearly finished, I contacted several DS Publishers. Although they loved the game, most publisher told me, that the market for DS is flooded and they don’t want to publish games for DS without big licences. Indeed JoWood was the only publisher that was interested, but they went bankrupt.

Because I really loved the concept and Emmanuel’s graphics, we decided to reanimate our old idea and bring it to Mac OS, Linux and Windows (this way we can offer it for download, without the need for a publisher). We started to work on it at the begin of 2011.

The gear behind

Captain Backwater for DS was developed in C++ with the Nintendo SDK (TWL, Nitro) and BitEngine from Bitfield (great Framework). Here is a video how an early DS version looked like:

For the Mac OS, Linux and Windows versions I decided to use BlitzMax and my own (free) Horizon-Framework. BlitzMax is an easy-to-use yet very powerful programming language. We are also using TimelineFX – a great particle editor/engine to do all those fancy effects.

Emmanuel and I are also talking about an iPhone/iPad/Android version from time to time, but we haven’t decided yet. Probably if people like the PC-Version we’ll make a decision.

For the graphics, Emmanuel uses pencils, Lightwave3D and Photoshop. As you can see from the screenshots, he does a great job on the graphics.

I will do the whole soundtrack for Backwater in my home studio with lots of external synths and effect units as well as VST-Instruments and Audio-Units. Everything is controlled by Renoise – a great music tracker/sequencer.

Is it just another puzzle / match-3-game?

When you have a look at the screenshots, you might think it’s just another match-3 game or something like that. But that’s not true. The gameplay is very different. The basic rules are simple, but it will get very challenging during the later levels. We have also a lot of different special items implemented already, like the teleporter, the skull, the holy gray, the dancing monkey and much, much more.

When is it done?

We do the project in our spare time, so we won’t announce a release date. We want to do our perfect puzzle game, so if we need more time, we’ll take it. I work a lot on small details, which slows down development a little bit, but the results are great so far. Also, we have a very agile development process: If we have a new idea, we’ll try it and if we like it we’ll keep it in. If we are bored of Backwater, we’ll do other stuff. We don’t want to force ourselves to get work done. I think this will ensure, that the final game will be of great quality.

I will probably release a free work-in-progress download if enough people are interested in it. And if you like it you can probably give us feedback, suggestions or ideas for new features we haven’t thought of yet.

Keep me up to date

Here are some more resources for you, if you want to keep informed about development on Backwater:

Completed Features:

(last update: April, 3rd, 2011)
Basic gameplay, ingame gui, level-editor, level format (save/load routines), secret coins, game event system, dialogs, tutorial system, particle system, teleporters, undo/restart buttons, talking Backwater avatar, bones, holy grail, dancing monkey/bananas, arrows, skull (bomb), blur of color, score system / balancing, dynamite, player profiles, auto save, hammer, ice block, paint brush, rotation arrow, stop sign, ingame message system, all level- and bonus-level-design, …

Features left to do:

polish level complete stats, final testing

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Aiolos Sat, 19 Jun 2010 05:49:48 +0000 I have finished Aiolos – a new prototype of a game idea I had. A game with interessting controls. As I promised this game is completly free for you and I have it ready for Mac OS X and Windows.
Now it’s up to you: Download it, have fun, and let me know if you like it, what I can improve and even what you don’t like.

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A new game prototype is on it’s way Sat, 29 May 2010 23:06:52 +0000 The last few weeks I worked hard on some basic engine and tools stuff for rapid prototyping new game ideas. Most things of my codebase works like a charm now and I just started to begin work on a first prototype and a simple level editor tool. This game will contain innovative controls where you’re able to launch particles to move objects. Please check out the following video to get an idea of it:

As soon as I finished the prototype, the game will be available here for free for both Windows and Mac OS X.

If you have cool ideas for this type of game, please let me know.

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