Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jetstreame At GDC 2013

by Shawn McFadden

This is a very exciting week for the Game Industry and Jetstreame plans to make it a very exciting week for our fans as well. The 2013 Game Developer's Conference is in full swing and Jetstreame is in attendance. That's right, if you are one of the lucky attendees, you can get an exclusive look at some of our upcoming releases on the show floor at GDC.

We currently have four games on display with full playable demos. We will have brand new builds of Dragon Drop, Crush Hour, Star Shapers and Circuit Swap. You can play these four great games on our brand new Android demos that we have prepared just for GDC. Not lucky enough to attend the show? No matter! We will also be releasing brand new screenshots and gameplay demos for our games this week. We are all very excited and we hope that you are too. For more news on our games, check out our Facebook page, our Twitter or keep coming back to the Jetstreame blog.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Jetstreame Game Spotlight #3: Star Shapers

by David Hellstrom

Hello from Jetstreame!
David Hellstrom here. I am the team lead and game designer for Star Shapers. This is the game that will be the focus for our third Jetstreame Game Spotlight.

Star Shapers is a classic example of instant inspiration. I must have had a muse next to me on the drive home the night this idea struck me. I was trying to think of something simple, yet addictive. There on the black pavement were shapes in the road. An arrow here denoting a turn-only lane, a crosswalk made of rectangles, a yield sign. Shapes we see every day plastered in front of me on a black background. Luckily, I was on a section of road without much light-pollution or I never would have noticed the starry sky.

Star Shapers was born.

I was convinced the game would not only be fun, but also simple to make. My lead programmer, Thomas Woods, did not disappoint. He quickly came up with a prototype and we  immediately saw the potential. Not only were we determined to make this game fun, but we also wanted Star Shapers to look amazing. I had to call in the big guns. A friend of mine, Billy Reiter, excels in art and animation, he even teaches the subject at a local college. If we could get him on board I was convinced we would have a winner. Lucky for us, he agreed.That night, he came up with the shape designs you see above you. Star Shapers was starting to take shape rather nicely. To complete the Star Shapers team, we added our Jetstreame artist/sound design intern, Sarah Schuler, who designed the menu screens, background art, and music.

Star Shapers is a very simple game. The player is in control of “pieces” which they shoot out of a cannon at fragments floating around the star filled void. When the right number of pieces are connected to the fragments a shape is created. The player will have 1:30 seconds to complete as many shapes as possible. Think Tetris meets Asteroids. Power ups will augment the speed of the pieces and fragments, as well as possibly adding time to the count down clock. There is a special shape, a star, which will give the player a rather explosive bonus as well.

We truly hope others will be as excited as this game as we are. Keep checking back to the Jetstreame blog for more news on Star Shapers and the rest of Jetstreame's upcoming releases.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Circuit Swap Now On Blackberry App Store!

by Shawn McFadden

Just a little announcement for all Blackberry fans. Jetstreame would like to officially announce our very first release on the Blackberry App Store! That's right, Circuit Swap is now available. Circuit Swap is an addicting puzzler where you need to complete circuits in order to light up a city at night. Circuit Swap is the first of many Jetstreame games that we have planned for this platform. You can now buy Circuit Swap for $1.99. Stay tuned for news about future Jetstreame games.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Jetstreame Game Spotlight #2: Crush Hour

by Derrick Tarrance

Greetings! My name is Derrick Tarrance and I am the lead designer for Crush Hour. Crush Hour is a mayhem puzzle game and will be one the first of the titles Jetstreame will be releasing. This title is expected to debut in April and will be available for the iOS, Android and Blackberry devices. 

Crush Hour is a simple yet fun and comedic game. It challenges players to think on their feet while getting the thrill of a little fender bending. In this title you follow the story of five policemen and women; each who have been demoted to the boring task of a traffic cop. Their stories take you to five different locations around the world where you must enact their revenge and take it out on traffic. Directing traffic in all the wrong ways will earn you points and gain access to extra areas in each stage. At it's core, this game is very simple. Players are directed to crash cars by swiping vehicles of matching color into one another and clearing each intersection before the time runs out. Be sure to not let the cops escape, because they are heading right for you. 

To be honest, the concept for this game came from a joke and took off as something really worthwhile. It was early 2012 when the game idea was proposed. Originally, everything about it was a laughing matter. Even the name, "Crush Hour" materialized after a few jokes. In it's early development stages, Crush Hour was progressing very slow. Finding artists and programmers came as no easy task and for a while we could not keep both positions filled consistently. With myself leading designs and art work at the time, it was very difficult to get both jobs done in a timely manner. It was not until early 2013 that artist Vincent Perez and co-founder/programmer Andy Jeune joined up to help with development of the game. Together, the game's development has really taken off and we are moving along on schedule. 

None of us are expecting the next Fruit Ninja or Cut the Rope, but we do foresee Crush Hour as a title that people can have fun with. Each of us have full time jobs and can only dedicate so much of our time to Crush Hour's progress. We have put forth an immense amount of work and continue to receive support from our family, friends, and fans. At the end of the day, we just want to make a fun idea into something memorable. From myself, the team of Crush Hour, and all of Jetstreame, we thank you. Without your support, we wouldn't have come this far.

For more on Crush Hour and all other Jetstreame projects, check out our Facebook or keep coming to the Jetstreame Blog.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Jetstreame Game Spotlight #1: Dragon Drop

by James Richards

Hey Jetstreame fans! I'm James Richards and I'm the team lead and Game Designer for Dragon Drop. This is going to be the first in a series of articles where we will be focusing on one of our many projects that we will be releasing during the rest of this year and let you know what it is all about. Dragon Drop is a platforming game that will be coming out for the iOS, Android & Blackberry this Spring.

The core mechanic of the game is the unique ability to drag and drop platforms and other objects into the game to guide your hero to the end of the level. Dragon Drop has been a concept that I have thought about since my sophomore year of college. Back then, I simply called it "Stick Platformer." It was just one of many game ideas I had used for a class project at the time. I grew rather fond of the concept and saw a lot of potential in it. I attempted twice back in college to get a group of students together to work on the game, but things fell through due to a number of difficulties and scheduling conflicts that I had with the other students. The project was shelved for some time and I used the game design document as a portfolio piece. In September of 2011 I started an internship with the company now known as Jetstreame. Around March of 2012 we started development on the title but it wasn't until September or so that we finally got a solid team together. We brought on Vanny Sou as our programmer and Ashley Waldorf as our artist. In December of 2012, I launched a Kickstarter campaign for the game to raise $1,000 for development costs. Fortunately, we were successfully funded with 36 total backers. Now we're working on finishing the game. Our new goal is to have the game ready by the middle of May.

Dragon Drop takes traditional platforming and puts the power of choice into the player's hands. The player could use their allotted platforms and other dropable tools strategically to grab all of the enticing collectables, or they could head straight for the goal and just grab what is in front of them. The game is all about having fun. I want the player to enjoy the story, experiment with items, but most importantly; play it their way. The game is divided into three worlds each with 8 levels. After completing a level the player is taken to the world map where they can use the map fragments they have collected during gameplay to unlock new levels. If a player is diligent enough to collect every map fragment they may even be able to skip a level or two if they desire.

At the end of every world is a boss battle. We're working very hard to make sure these fights make it into the final product. Hopefully we will be able to deliver this element to you. There are also many power-ups that can be found during gameplay including a Sword, Umbrella and Spring Boots. The "dropable items" that the player can use include a Platform, Trampoline, Stone, Dynamite and a Candle. There are some great gameplay scenarios that result from using these items.

We are dedicating all of the free time we can to create a game that we believe in. We are not trying to turn over a quick buck or make the next Angry Birds. We are simply trying to express our creativity and make a fun game for our fans. The support we have received from our friends, family, the gaming community who just want to see a small studio succeed is inspiring. Thank you all for your support, we can't wait to share our game with you!

For more updates and information on Dragon Drop keep coming to the Jetstreame Blog or check out my own Personal Blog about the game.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

PS All-Stars: Five Characters That Could Shamelessly Plug Upcoming Games

by Shawn McFadden

Oh, Playstation All-Stars. It has been a long and slippery road. Such high expectations and so little faith. I, for one, was an advocate of the game since its leak and eventual announcement. I always found that the Playstation ecosystem, though not as iconic as Nintendo's, had great potential to make for an interesting mash-up of characters that could quickly turn into something special. It's not to say that the guys over at Superbot Entertainment didn't do a great job, quite the contrary. They laid a great foundation for something that COULD have turned into a great franchise if given a couple tweaks in future installments (Though this doesn't seem likely due to the recent firing of Superbot from the project). Alas, Sony kind of screwed up with this one in a couple of different ways. One way was the complete and utter lack of marketing muscle used to promote the game. Sure, they made that live action trailer and it did turn out pretty cool, but it was simply too little too late. The majority of PS fans still do not even know the game exists. But the lack of a proper marketing campaign behind the game is not what this article is about.

The main reason why the game was unable to gain a proper following was the game's inability to round up a cast of characters that both properly represented the Playstation brand as well as played off of the nostalgia of its fans. After looking at the starting cast of characters and the newly announced DLC characters, it is painfully obviously that somebody at Sony wanted to make this game a big commercial for upcoming PS3 and Vita titles. How is Big Daddy a good representative of the Playstation ecco-system? Should Raiden, the character that is constantly hated for not being Snake, really be chosen to represent the MGS franchise? Alright, Snake is in Smash Bros, but they could have just used Big Boss or Old Snake in order to turn away comparison. Hopefully you are starting to get my point though. Superbot simply did not pick their characters wisely. I mean, would Super Smash Bros have succeeded if they put in Buck Bumble, Glover and the sheep from Space Station Silicon Vally instead of Mario, Link and Donkey Kong, simply because the new games were coming out? Surely, not. Dante was put in the game to advertise DMC, Big Daddy for Bioshock Infinite, and Raiden for MGS Rising. It wasn't that big of a deal, because with the exception of Big Daddy, the other two represented classic PS franchises. Sure, it would've made more sense to use classic Dante and Snake, but the newer characters were probably easier to get into the game. Then the DLC is announced. Who was it? Crash? Spyro? Other characters that everyone has been clamoring for? No, instead we get two of the most unpopular Sony characters in recent memory. Have any of you played Star Hawk? Does anybody consider Emmett Graves (Yeah, I bet you didn't even know his name) an ALL-STAR? Surely not. Kat from Gravity Rush? Why add a character from a game so new when you have so many years of history to include? They both turned out to be good characters but they were surely incapable of creating post-launch  buzz for a game that already did very poor in sales. After that who do they decide to include? Isaac from Dead Space? What? It totally doesn't seem like they are just trying to advertise Dead Space 3 or anything. Zeus from...Mythology? Yeah, I know that it's the one from God of War (Surely being used to promote the new game as well). Zeus was probably the most puzzling character choice yet. He not only is not a character that was highly requested but he was also from a franchise that is already represented. Not to mention the outcry from religious fundamentalists that this is sure to create. Well, you get the point I am trying to make. Since Sony seems hell bent on milking every last dollar out of this game in order to advertise upcoming releases, I thought I would select five characters that I think would help to advertise their new games but also would make sense in the PS Universe. So basically this is my list of characters that wouldn't piss off fans. Here we go:

1. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)

Now we are talking. Lara Croft is a great example of a classic Sony character. I mean, she starred in five different titles on the PSOne alone and then went on to do several more on the PS2. She is also a character that has seen a recent reboot. Lara has always been a character that has always been about her looks. Although fans often complain about redesigns, making Lara look like a more realistic girl is something that nobody could complain about. This would give a lot of potential to advertise the new reboot of the series. Besides, who wouldn't love to see her square off against Nathan Drake?

2. Abe (Oddworld)

Abe, we miss you. You have always been such a unique and interesting character that was always good to Playstation fans. Sure, you took a slight detour on to the original Xbox with your old pal Munch, but we know that you never forgot your roots. The creators of Oddworld have publicly expressed that they want Abe in PS All-Stars. The fans have publicly expressed that they want Abe in PS All-Stars. Abe is even seeing an HD remake of his first game that is due out later this year. Why not do some cross promotion here? Give Abe away with every purchase of the game? Bam, instant sales. Make it happen, Sony.

3. Sora (Kingdom Hearts)

Being a Kingdom Hearts fan today has become rather depressing. We had two great games and then a flood (or should I say waterfall) of spinoffs and side stories with varying levels of quality. It is to the point where the storyline has become more convoluted then trying to read Shakespeare that has been translated into Chinese and then back into English. It is not surprising that Square-Enix has decided to re-release the first Kingdom Hearts in HD (That is the trend after all). It is also not surprising that they gave it some weird title that makes it totally confusing to the everyday consumer. But I digress. Sora should be put in the game. He is a classic PS2 hero that should see some love in PS All-Stars. This would be a great opportunity to advertise the new HD remake and make fans of the series happy. Give us something to do while we wait for Kingdom Hearts 3 to be released in 2035.

4. Rayman (Rayman)

Hey, remember that Wii U exclusive Rayman game? Oh, well it isn't anymore. So why not get Rayman, a character that got his start on Playstation, into All-Stars? Smash Bros can have the Rabbids, because Rayman belongs with good ole Sony. It would make even more sense now that Legends is finding its way to PS3. Plus, he is way more mascot-esque then Fat Princess. Since his revival in Rayman Origins, there's more love for the limb-less hero than ever. Why not throw him in the game?

5. "Papercraft...Boy" (Tearaway)

Okay, he's not a classic Sony character but just look at him. We still don't know the name of this charming hero, but it's safe to say that he will fit right at home with the likes of Sackboy. Sure, the PS Vita isn't selling well. This doesn't mean that Sony couldn't give some love to Media Molecule's new game. Plus, he is way more iconic then Kat and she is already in the game. If you're going to add a new character to the game, this guy makes the most sense. Or you could just give us Crash and Spyro.