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

  1. Rodrigo Cardoso (2011-04-11 09:19)

    Why don’t you try DSiWare?It will get some new life when the 3DS receives the update….

  2. joe (2011-04-16 17:29)

    I should have a look into that. Don’t know if it’s possible to get into the DsiWareStore as small Indie.

  3. Intermediaware » I hate Match-3 Games, but… (2011-04-21 16:07)

    […] 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, […]

  4. AL LEBEDOFF (2011-11-21 03:39)

    At times the movement gets in a corner and starts repeating
    itself non-stop. I have to quit and start again. Is there a
    current update for this game. Also , what do the gold coins mean???

    BC Canada

  5. Joe (2011-11-21 18:58)

    Thanks for purchasing it.

    Which version do you have (you can have a look at it at the title screen in the credits section)?

    If the movement starts to repeat due to arrows you can click on the undo or level restart button. Probably I should put in a check so the loop gets detected automatically.

    With the gold coins you can buy levels on the additional path. Just go to the map progress screen and select a Level / Waypoint with a $-Sign on it (the path on the right). Then a requester pops up asking you how much coins you have to pay to unlock the level.

  6. Wendy Harrington (2012-01-01 21:34)

    I do really like this game but cannot get a full screen. If I play it on small screen, all is fine but when the full screen is checked all goes bad. It will just not play and is distorted. Looked at forums and others are having this problem. Also the transporters do not seem to work right on Level 18, put icons in wrong sections. Any help there?

    Thanks Much, Wendy

  7. Madison (2013-05-02 04:48)

    Lovin’ your game! I am having an issue playing it on my iPod touch. The ads cover the bottom half of the board and I lose control of the game pieces. They are hidden behind the ad and I can’t access them. Is it possible to buy an ad free version? I also bought it for my iPad hoping the bigger screen would solve the issue but can’t get it to open. How much available memory does it need to run? I noticed the option to buy Mac OSX versions of the game. What is the difference between that and what I purchased for the iPad and iPod touch? I would also purchase it for my laptop and iMac if I could feel confident I wouldn’t run into any issues but with what I’m experiencing now, I’m just not sure.
    I hope you can help me out… Frustration level is rising…

  8. Theo (2013-07-08 23:10)

    Hello im very interested in unpublished games for the nintendo console, do you have any cartridges of a prototype?

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