Dienstag, 2. Mai 2017

Devlog #13: It's not all fun, but there are games

Hello, everyone!

It's been a while since our last update. Apologies! We have dived down the mysterious and dark "tunnel" of development. We coded, wrote, discussed, decided, fixed, tested and so on and so on... and now you're probably wondering "what are those guys up to?!"

We've made good progress with Episode 1 and we're really happy with the depth it reached but we also realized that we will not be able to do the ship in May. We're truly sorry about that. We really try hard (as in working day and night, which we did for several weeks...) to keep our promises but unfortunately this one we can't keep. This has two reasons:

1.) We underestimated the content of Episode 1. This is one of the "better" problems to have, because it means that the game is longer and richer than anticipated but it also means we need more time to make it right, fix the bugs, polish. There would be some publishers who'd force us to still release in May, but we don't want to launch an unfinished game.

2.) Bureaucracy. Don't we all love it? We're still waiting for our European tax number which we applied for several weeks ago, which we need to apply for a U.S. tax number, which then again takes weeks for approval, which we need to set up our stores and, and, and, and...AND!!!
You know that office scene in Asterix and Obelix? That's us now (we let you debate who is Asterix and who Obelix... don't be mean!)

Actual footage of Goodwolf Studio applying for a tax number


So without further ado, here's our announcement:

The Release of Episode 1 is planned to be end of July.


Yep. It's going to be three more months. We're sorry about that but this is going to be the best for the game, the soundtrack, the voices, the Kickstarter Rewards and so on (we're still only two guys doing all this... can we make cloning happen? No? Ok...)

Award!!


So now that we got that out we can talk about some good news! Hey, look, we won an award! Code 7 - Episode 0: Allocation was awarded Best Youth Game at the "Deutscher Computerspielpreis 2017". This is a huge deal for us and we're super happy. We're receiving 75.000€ for a "future project." Whether this includes the following episodes of Code 7 or not, has yet to be found out. We will keep you posted. But one way or the other, we will probably not get the financial support before next year, so there will be no impact on current development.

If you're interested, you can watch us on stage here, and below a short interview by our national TV channel ARD. It's in German, but we've added English subtitles. Congratulations to all the other winners!






Our redesigned website is up and running, including a new press kit. You can check it out here: http://code7-game.com
Along with the redesign, we also added new screenshots from Episode 1, which we want to share with you here as well:








We know, delays suck and we'd love to release the game as much as you do (and also to start earning money so we can kinda live normally and stuff...), but we're taking the time we need for this. We want it to be the best game it can be and we're working hard to achieve this. Because you deserve nothing less.

Yours,
Zein & Kevin

Mittwoch, 15. Februar 2017

Devlog #12: Less is More... Literally!

Hello, everyone!

How is the development of Code 7 going, you ask? Well, it's going great! We have finished our first alpha test and learned a lot from it. Features and plot are getting even juicier and the best part is: people had fun playing it! We gathered a lot of feedback and would like to show you our decisions and some of the features.

Less is More... no, really!


We have fleshed out the overall plot and also the story arcs of the episodes; together with the fact that Episode 1 is around 3 hours long (in contrast to our 1.5 hours estimate), we have decided to reshape our episode plan. In order to avoid filler plot (hi there, One Piece!) and also add more gameplay, we decided to tell the story in four episodes instead of five. But don't fear, fellow hackers! At the end of the day the game will still be longer than originally planned. Feast your eyes upon this comparison:



Even though we will have one less episode, the fact that we can crank up the gameplay to 3 hours per chapter will result in almost 5 hours of additional content. This will give us the opportunity to tell the story in a more thrilling way and additionally reduces the time until the full game is released (meaning all episodes). With the current development plan, Episode 1 will hopefully launch early to mid May.

New Features


You want to know what will be new in the Episode 1? No problem, we'll tell you right away:

Utilities: You can find utility software on computers and download them to your systems. You can also install them on different computers and use them to help you solve puzzles.

Network Jammer (Utility): Install Network Jammers on computers to help you during Man-in-the-Middle Attacks (Hacking Game). Deploy them to stun a security node for a short time. Knowing the map and where computers are is even more important, now!

Brute Force: Your new Intelligence App will gather contextual data about various persons of interest and store it. You can always look up what you have found out about a person, like their date of birth or names of family members. Use this data to generate possible passwords through a Brute Force Attack.

Network Movement: You can access the Network and freely move between connected computers or other hardware. Forgot to get a software on a computer you have passed earlier? Move back over the network and get it from there, or reach systems that are locked behind doors.

Advanced Feedback: We worked on giving the player more feedback about what options are immediately available. The portrait will now show the number of available places, inspectable objects, and dialogue lines.

We have compiled a little sneak peek video of the current version, so you can get a glimpse on how things are evolving. Enjoy here, or watch it on Youtube.





What are your thoughts about the episode changes? And what are you looking forward to most? Tell us your thoughts and as always, thank you for your support!





Samstag, 31. Dezember 2016

Devlog #11: End of the Year

Hello, everyone!
It's been a while since our last update. It has happened so much this year and we needed time to process everything, plan the next steps and set the development of Episode 1 in motion.

I hope you all had wonderful holidays. We'd like to share the Adventure Gamer's Christmas Greetings video, which we have been part of. Find us at 03:56, right after Double Fine!




Current Development


We are working on Episode 1: Threading right now and plan to have a roughly playable version in January. There will be new mechanics, like the Brute Force Hack. You'll have to find key words from a person's identity (e.g. through dialogues, e-mails, etc.) and feed it to the hacking program in order to generate the password. But also the Man-In-The-Middle method will be more complex, adding files that you can find during your explorations, which you then can use in the hacking game.

One Part of the Three-Dome Station of Episode 1. What secrets will you find?

The commands NETWORK and HARDWARE that have been teased in Episode 0 will now have functions. You will be able to move through the network and access computers and their hardware, like for example a microphone or a printer.




The story continues, as you find yourself stranded on Mars trying to install an anti-virus before Code 7 reaches Earth. Team up with Zoya to reach your goal and struggle to solve a conflict that takes over the station and catches everyone by surprise. There will be choices that you'll have to make!

Twine Dialogue of the beginning

Kickstarter Rewards

We have also send out the first rewards to our backers, namely the soundtrack / song of Episode 0 and the developer channel access, which nobody has claimed so far, so please do so! You find the access link in our Kickstarter message to you :)

The rest of the rewards will follow in April, because we have to produce them first. We're working hard to make everything on time!!

Player Feedback


Your opinion matters!


In case you have missed it: We're doing a survey to find out who our players are and what you all like about Episode 0, so we can make the next one even better. If you have played Episode 0 and didn't fill out the feedback form yet, please do so. You'd help us a lot and it takes only a couple of minutes.

Find the survey here!


Upcoming events


Next year will start very promising. We'll be showing Code 7 at the Casual Connect Europe in Berlin, which will take place February 7-9 2017. Hope to see you there!
Additionally, if all goes well, we'll be able to show parts of Episode 1 at the Pax East in March.




Thank you for reading! What parts of Episode 1 are you looking forward to most? Will you be at one of the events? Feel free to answer in the comment section!

Your
Zein & Kevin





Sonntag, 25. September 2016

Devlog #10: Code 7 is on Kickstarter and Episode 0 is released!



Dear friends,

We've finally launched the Kickstarter Campaign for Code 7 and are already 18% funded! If you haven't, please check it out and support us. Every pledge and share helps us getting closer to the goal of creating the next 5 episodes.

We have also released Episode 0: Allocation for free. So you can just download and play it right now and let us know what you think. You can find it here.

Sonntag, 28. August 2016

Devlog #9: #IAmEverywhere Challenge: Win a $50 Steam Gift Card



Greetings agents!
We finally have a starting date for our Kickstarter campaign:

» » » September, 21st 2016 « « «

This is also the day you will be able to play the entirely new Prologe, Code 7 – Episode 0, for free! In order to bring all our fans from different platforms together we've created a Facebook group, in which you can ask us questions, discuss parts of the game or share interesting things about hacking, sci-fi and more. To join the group click here.

Join and participate in our #IAmEverywhere Sticker Challenge to get the chance of winning a $50 Steam Gift Card. You can read more about it in the group!

Thank you for all your support so far and we hope you look forward to the next step in the Code 7 development as much as we do! We're already setting everything up to get the game on steam as soon as possible. We'll keep you posted on the progress. Episode 1 is estimated to be released in April 2017.

Donnerstag, 4. August 2016

Devlog #8: gamescom

Hello everyone!

Let's start with the most exciting news, in case you have missed it:

the brand-new version of Code 7 will be playable at gamescom in Cologne, from August 17th to 21st! 

If you happen to be visiting the convention, we'd love to see you at our booth at the Indie Arena in Hall 10.1 Booth A-020 B-021 A-031. Watch the trailer here:



New features include:

  • map and navigation system
  • a whole new hacking mechanism
  • more complex puzzles, including room control mechanics
  • background information through e-mails, audio-logs, database entries and more
  • helpful in-game tools like calculator, notes, password registry and more

And we have more exciting news to share with you! It's our pleasure to announce that Jessica Carroll is the new voice of Sam and we couldn't be happier with this. She did an amazing job portraying the character!

We also finally have a keyart for our game. The artist Paul Kolvenbach has captured the atmosphere of Code 7 in this beautiful peace of art. What do you think?


Our plans are to release the new Prologue / Episode 0 in September for free, simultaneously with the beginning of our Kickstarter campaign. We went all-in to create a high-quality version of Episode 0, but in order to pay the voice actors for the following episodes we need your help.

Last but not least, Kill Screen has written a nice preview article about the game. You can read it here!

I hope you like our new trailer and we hope to see you at gamescom!


Montag, 30. Mai 2016

Devlog #7: How taking a step backwards means going forward


Dear reader,
Thank you for joining us once again for another Devlog of Code 7 and we apologise for being so quiet in the last couple of months. A lot has happened after founding Goodwolf Studio... we have now our own little office! We've been exhibiting the game at Quo Vadis in Berlin and plan to show a new prototype at Gamescom in Cologne, this summer.



Screenshot
Screenshot from the original Prologue


In the last month we have cracked our head over the visual style of the game. We liked the grungy, retro DOS-ish look of the prolog but had some critical questions:
  • does this style allow more complex gameplay?
  • do still images of this style look like an appealing game?
  • is this style compatible with diverse animation and effects?

We came to the conclusion that it might be a better idea to move in a more futuristic direction and started researching interface designs from other games and movies. We worried about the screenshots of the game might look to "boring" to capture a persons attention and make them want to try the game. We thought a more modern and fancy look will be a better eye-catcher.
Take a look at our Pinterest board to see what inspired us.







We wanted to try something similar for Code 7 and make it feel more like a sci-fi movie. Here is a mockup of what we thought was a good direction:

First mockup of the sci-fi look

You can see a more modern font, the minimal but futuristic map, even an inventory system (which we kinda dumped again...). But the visual step was too small. If we wanted to make it more futuristic then we had to really make it more futuristic. Trying to let go of the original interface composition we tried something completely new: putting the input into the center.


Second mockup of the sci-fi look
How the new input looked in action

some variations of the input field


We experimented a lot, tried rearranging aspects of the interface to give them all their own relevance and importance. We tried colours, different animations, rotations and more. A major change was the icons at the bottom. Every element that you can interact with appears as an icon in the bottom, because we wanted to avoid the guessing game some players had to do in order to advance. We think typing in single letters until a command pops up in the auto-complete row is now a good game experience and doesn't feel very rewarding, even if you manage to solve the puzzle. That is why we decided to show intractable objects directly and make the puzzle about the context of those objects. When do I use this? How could I combine this with other objects? You see, that visual design also intertwines with game design? It all is connected.

We showed people the new designs and explained them, showed them mockup videos and game ideas and the result was almost always the same:

They all liked the old design better

Even with all the sparkling new, animated, Minority Report-ish visuals, they liked the old one better. They liked the retro feeling, they liked the DOS look, they liked the hacker-feeling it put in them.

Player feedback is very important to us and we thought a lot about what each and everyone of them said. Then, on the Quo Vadis Conference fellow indiedevs from Monokel (check out their "Shadow of Steam", it looks awesome!) gave us feedback which was the straw that broke the camels back... we had to take a step backwards to move forward!

This doesn't mean we dumped everything new into the trash, we kept some things. But we went back to the classic retro look and it just felt right. This was what Code 7 is suppose to feel like. It was like coming home from a trip. We kept the map, the icon-list of the usable commands and moved the dialog output to the upper part. Take a look at the current state below but please note that this is a work-in-progress glimpse, which is missing effects, sounds and most importantly voice-over (we are rewriting the Prolog right now).






example of the current map system

We are still experimenting with a few things and nothing is completely set in stone. We plan to have the new version running by this summer. Make sure to sign up for our newsletter below to get informed about beta-testings and other events.

What do you think about the "new" old design? What do you like? What do you dislike? Feel free to be honest and give us your feedback. We appreciate it!

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