The Empty Inn – NOW ON STEAM!

Hey guys,

Got some big news today: The Empty Inn is now on Steam! You can check it out below:

Honestly, I’m feeling a lot of different feelings right now… I’m anxious, excited, intrigued, happy, relieved… just so many different, amazing feelings! If you like the game, then feel free to give me a buzz on twitter @CandlelightStudios!

I’ll be writing a postmortem about the game which should go live on Thursday. I’ve also got a few other things coming, so stay tuned!

Thank you to everyone for their support and kindness, and I hope you enjoy the game!

Josh

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A quick update on The Empty Inn on Steam, and Untold Story

Hey everyone!

I just thought I’d give you a super quick update on what’s going on!

The Empty Inn on Steam

As you guys know, The Empty Inn very recently got accepted onto Steam through Steam Greenlight. Since then I’ve been working hard on integrating the Steam API with The Empty Inn and enabling things like achievements and the Steam overlay. I can confirm to everyone right now that the Steam version of The Empty Inn will have:

– Achievements,
– Steam cards,
– Steam badges,
– Steam backgrounds,
– Steam emotes,
– A secret ending to the game,
– More balancing,
– Code fixing/refactoring.

I’ve finished all of the Steam integration, and I’m currently working on putting the finishing touches on the secret ending for the game. This ending will go into a fair amount of detail about the events of The Empty Inn and I think fans will really enjoy it. It’s going to be tough unlocking it though, as to unlock it you’ll need to collect orbs found around the inn. These orbs can only be collected on the hardest difficulty (EXTREME MODE!), which has been made a little bit harder since the last patch.

On top of all of this stuff, I’ve also fixed a few leftover bugs and I’ll be fixing a few more over this weekend as I refactor some of the code for two of the game’s problem areas (the save system and the ghost spawn). Both of this areas of the game were fixed in the last patch, however some users did have some minor bugs which I intend to squash.

With this in mind, I’m intending to release The Empty Inn on Steam late next week! (PS: All of these updates will also come to the itch.io version)!

Untold Story

Before The Empty Inn, there was Untold Story. Untold Story never went away, with it merely being put on hold until I finished The Empty Inn. Unfortunately the code for Untold Story was left in a bit of a state. So, I’ve been working on a new prototype for the game which will alter a lot of the core gameplay previously stated (for the better), HOWEVER the story outlined for the game will stay pretty much the same.

I think the best way to sum up the changes to Untold Story is with the word reboot. Untold Story is being rebuilt from the ground up and is a reboot of the game, with me putting in all of the knowledge I gained from Flying Home, The Empty Inn and the last Untold Story. Also, don’t worry, as the game is still an 8-bit, JRPG and will continue to use the same art-style as The Empty Inn. The new battle system will also be fast and tactical, much like the old one.

Suffice to say the new Untold Story is looking pretty awesome so far, and I’m really excited about the new content pipeline that I’ve programmed for the game which will make it significantly easier to add plenty of quality content to the game.

In light of this, Untold Story will be getting a new mini-site in the near future. For this reason, I’ve temporarily removed Untold Story from the press section of the site and from the mini-site header and they’ll be re-added again soon.

Another reason for Untold Story’s removal from the site is that I am currently attempting to seek funding for the game from the various indie labels/funders, and I don’t want to confuse people about the project with the old mini-site and press sites hanging around.

So… I hope that gives everyone a good update about what’s going on! With The Empty Inn’s Steam launch next week, and more news about Untold Story coming soon, it looks like the next half of this year for Candlelight Studios is going to get very crazy!

Thanks for reading guys!

Joshua

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Satoru Iwata – Eulogy: One of the most gifted and greatest game developers of our time.

Satoru Iwata, GDC 2005: “On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.”

Satoru Iwata - You will be forever missed.

Satoru Iwata – You will be forever missed.

In his role as Nintendo’s CEO from 2002 onwards, Satoru Iwata helped to define entire generations of games. He lead the charge with the revolutionary Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii, which introduced millions of new gamers around the world to, not just, Nintendo, but also to the gaming medium itself. His more recent cycle of consoles, the 3DS and Wii U, helped to cement Nintendo’s position within the medium of video games by providing ground-breaking hardware and amazing gaming experiences.

Satoru Iwata was not just a CEO though; he was also a game developer. Having worked on video game series such as Kirby and Earthbound, as well as many others, whilst also helping to establish the Pokemon series, Iwata knew how to make great games and he proved it with every game he released and contributed to.

He was an incredibly experienced game developer and one of the few CEOs of a game company who not only knew what was required to make a video game, but could actually go ahead and make one himself. It was this understanding of the process of game creation that put Nintendo in the spot of excellence that it is today, producing games, and by definition: experiences, which no other video game company can possibly come close to. Iwata, due to his deep-rooted understanding of the medium, cultivated Nintendo’s culture of excellence, giving his game developers the space and time to create the amazing games they are known for.

Satoru Iwata never missed a chance to show off his sense of humour

Satoru Iwata never missed a chance to show off his sense of humour.

Satoru Iwata understood the business of games like no other. At GDC 2011, during his keynote speech, he talked about how to build a successful game. He did not speak about gaming metrics or ways of abusing the consumer, common things which are mentioned in modern game development, but rather of creating a product that is compelling enough, due to its quality and unique ideas, and using those very features to create a “must-have” experience for gamers which they could share.

Satoru Iwata had a few catchphrases, which he was never afraid to use on an adoring crowd.

Satoru Iwata had a few catchphrases which he was never afraid to use on an adoring crowd.

During his speech he warned mobile game developers about the “race-to-the-bottom” by providing sub-par gaming experiences and undercharging for their products. This was met with much backlash from mobile game developers at the time. Unfortunately what Iwata predicted in 2011 turned out to be true, as the mobile market has since turned into a marketplace from which only luck and a huge marketing budget can save a game and help it stand out from the hoards of low-quality games.

He was a true revolutionary who understood his medium and its future.

As a person, Iwata was warm, kind and had a sense of humour like no other. When his company moved away from doing more traditional, large-scale, press conferences to digital events, he used this opportunity to inject his warmth and humour into the company’s presentations, turning heads and hearts, as he became a figure which many gamers loved and cared for.

Satoru Iwata as a muppet during Nintendo's 2015 E3 Direct.

Satoru Iwata as a muppet during Nintendo’s 2015 E3 Direct.

His wonderful youthfulness and kindness most recently came across in the opening of Nintendo’s 2015 E3 Digital Event. During this news event he, and several executives of his company, were turned into Muppets, using the opportunity to indulge themselves in Nintendo’s sense of child-like wonder and fun. Despite his contributions to gaming and all he had achieved, he would continuously poke fun at himself, not taking himself too seriously and was always smiling.

Satoru Iwata was a truly great man, whose seemingly endless contributions to the world of gaming will be eternally felt. He will never be forgotten, with him forever remaining in the characters he created and the franchises he helped to define. The world of gaming will never, ever, forget this truly amazing, wonderful, and creative man. Satoru Iwata will always live on, in our games, in our minds and, most importantly, in our hearts.

You will be so very missed Satoru Iwata.

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The Empty Inn has been Greenlit!

Hey everyone,

Today I’m really really happy to announce that The Empty Inn has been accepted onto Steam!

I hope to get a Steam build available within the next couple of weeks however there’s a fair amount of paper work to complete and SDKs to integrate, so it might take a little bit longer than that! I’m also working on other projects *cough* Untold Story *cough* as well…

Nonetheless… soon you’ll be able to buy and play The Empty Inn on Steam! Yay!

Thank you to everyone who voted for the game on Greenlight and spread the word, I deeply appreciate it!!! I can’t wait to get the Steam version of The Empty Inn into your hands!

Thanks guys!

Joshua

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Blog Post: Getting more people from different backgrounds involved in game development is just one aspect of increasing our industry’s artistic output. We also need better tools to give them.

Nothing defines a developer’s game more than the tools they use. Tools, as well as your experience with them, define what you can and cannot do. Can’t use Blender to make 3D models? Looks like you’re going to have to do it in 2D. Don’t have Photoshop? Looks like you’re going to have to make those textures with GIMP. Can’t program? Then looks like its Unreal or Construct 2 for you. Whilst these are very big decisions, we also can’t forget about the small ones.  Familiarity with our game engines can speed up or slow down the day-to-day creation of our games and can make the difference between the life and death of features, games, or even game companies.

Tools, then, are the essence of game development.

Game development is incredibly complicated, and it doesn’t help that the tools we use to create them are equally complex. Learning how to use even a basic game engine can take many days, and even after doing so can still provide you with little reward. It’s this tool difficulty which, I believe, limits gaming’s artistic growth.

In order for games to expand in different ways, we need far easier tools: tools which someone with limited technological experience can use.

Of course, some tasks require an incredible amount of depth and complexity and I’m not arguing that AAA tools be converted overnight to something far more simplistic, however I do believe there is a big section of the market which could benefit from something easier to use.

I’m a solo game developer; my game engine of choice is Construct 2. Why? Because unfortunately my programming skills are lacking (as are my artistic skills), so the time it would take me to learn an engine is time I can’t spare, especially as I also work on the game’s art, sound, design and writing. And even with Construct 2, I still struggled during development for my recently released game, The Empty Inn.

But without Construct 2, and the other easy-to-use tools that I used during my development, The Empty Inn wouldn’t even exist.

The game industry is in dire need of game engines, 3D modelling software and level design tools, which are easy to learn and quick to use for new comers. These tools don’t have to be state of the art. Indie’s don’t need fantastically wondrous lighting engines, but they do need to be usable and have understandable interfaces and programming languages.

Construct 2, is in my eyes, one such game engine. It’s easy to learn, and creating basic games with it such as shoot-em-ups and platformers, can be done in mere minutes. But even underneath its simplicity, the game engine has a lot of depth, enabling developers who dig deeper to create something original, unique and entertaining.

Unfortunately this comes at a cost. In some areas Construct 2 struggles, especially for PC development. But having short-comings and existing is better than not having short-comings and not existing, and I’m very thankful that Construct 2 exists.

There are a few other engines in the same vein as Construct 2, and I believe the audience for these engines will continue to expand as more game developers with less formal education and experience get into the industry.

Not everyone grew up with computers in their house, painting palettes or musical instruments upon which to practice. Some may have only discovered video games recently, unable to get up to speed with the latest tools, yet still wanting to contribute something to the world of gaming. We need to ensure that these people can be catered for, because they might well open different artistic doors through their varied background and understanding of other things unrelated to games.

But how are they supposed to do that when game development requires extensive knowledge of C#, C++ or any other manor of foreign programming language? How are they supposed to bring their ideas to life when opening up Blender or 3DS Max feels like staring into world full of sci-fi technology?

As game developers we take the complexity for granted. We forget what it’s like for a newcomer, approaching our tools for the first time.

Instead of giving painters a brush, why can’t we give them a 3D modelling tool? Instead of a poet using pencil and paper, why don’t we give them a game engine? With game development becoming more approachable we can not only get people from other medias trying new things, but also give those who have always dreamed of creating games a chance to go ahead and do so.

Of course, this could lead to an oversaturation of low quality games. However, if we can get more people into games development and make it more accessible then we could experience huge shifts in the gaming medium and change the face of games as we know it. Cultures which we previously had no connection to can be shown to us, and lifestyles which we may not have realised existed presented to us in a new way, through new genres.

People complain about how hard it is come up with an original game, when really what they mean is that it’s hard to come with an original game within our current confines. For example: we still haven’t got the gaming equivalent of a rom-com or romance novel. Slice-of-life dramas and historic documentaries still continue to elude our industry. And that’s just looking at a few of the genres currently available through film and books.

When we speak of making video games more diverse, we need to focus not just on the people. They are only one aspect. We need to focus on the tools on we give them, and ensure that what we give them can unlock all of their capabilities.

By Joshua Temblett

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The Empty Inn is now on Steam Greenlight!

The Empty Inn is now on Steam Greenlight! Want to help us get onto Steam? Then do one of the following:

1) Click here and you’ll get taken to the Steam Greenlight page WITHIN your Steam client! Please note, that this will only work if your Steam client is located in your C drive.

2) Visit http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=434828596 (or just click on the link!), which will open up the Steam Greenlight page in your web browser. You’ll need to login to Steam and then you can vote.

3) Go to Steam Greenlight in your Steam Client (click on Community on your Steam toolbar, it’s next to Library, and then Steam Greenlight on the drop-down menu), and then search for The Empty Inn.

Thank you so much for taking the time to vote for us out! With your help, The Empty Inn should be on Steam in no time!

Josh

 

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The Empty Inn – Game Updated (HARD and EXTREME MODE ADDED!) and more!

Hey everyone!

So if you didn’t see my tweet last week then you’re in for a surprise!

Last week I updated the itch.io build of The Empty Inn and added two new difficulty modes: Hard mode and EXTREME Mode.

Hard mode is just like the normal mode, but your light dims significantly quicker. EXTREME Mode on the other-hand only gives the player one health, as well as randomises match placement and increases how quickly your light dims. It’s pretty safe to say that EXTREME mode is only for the hardest of hardcore gamers.

Having said that, I feel like the EXTREME mode could be a bit harder… but I’ll let you guys determine that ;)!

I’m hoping to do another update to The Empty Inn within the next couple of days, this will just be a small bug-fix patch, after which I’ll upload The Empty Inn to Steam Greenlight and send the game off to a few more Youtubers/press outlets.

That’s pretty much what I’m up to at the moment! Aside from sorting out press/PR for The Empty Inn, I’m working on a few other projects right now, but nothing to report just yet… but maybe I’ll have something to show off soon!

Until then – Happy gaming!

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The Empty Inn – Out now… and it’s free!

Hello everyone!

I’m proud to finally announce that The Empty Inn has been released… for free! That’s right; you can now download and play The Empty Inn without paying a dime! Having said that, there is the option to pay-what-you-want and give us some cash if you wish to support us.

What are you waiting for? Click here, download The Empty Inn, and start playing!

Don’t know what The Empty Inn is? Then watch the trailer below:

I’d also like to take this opportunity to apologise to everyone who was waiting for The Empty Inn to launch!

I know that I announced that the game would be release on Thursday 7th May… and then it didn’t and for that, I’m sorry. I’m hoping to write up a lengthy post-mortem about The Empty Inn’s development, explaining what happened and why the game’s release was pushed back so far. So stay tuned!

For now, go play, and enjoy, The Empty Inn!

Joshua

PS: For those of you who have been asking, The Empty Inn’s Humble Widget will be coming back within the next 2-3 days, we’re just waiting for them to upload the build! Thanks!

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The Empty Inn Release Date Revealed (Plus New Trailer)!

Hey everyone!

Today I’m proud to announce that The Empty Inn’s release date will be 7th May 2015, and that the game will retail for $2.99.

The Empty Inn is a 2D, experimental-horror game with 8-bit, NES-style, pixel art and puzzle-exploration gameplay. With only a small lamp in hand, the player is required to solve puzzles and explore the vacant inn, ensuring they keep their lamp lit along the way. If your light goes out then the monster will show its face…

The Empty Inn is a short, polished experience that is close to my heart. I thoroughly enjoyed making the game, and I hope the excitement I had for the game during it’s creation comes accross as you play through it on the 7th May!

Of course, it wouldn’t be a release date announcement without a trailer, so without further adeu, here is the release trailer for The Empty Inn:



You can purchase The Empty Inn at the game’s mini-site, as well as view screenshots and find out more information about the game. To go to the mini-site, click here!

I hope you guys enjoy The Empty Inn when it finally launches, I can’t wait to see what you think!

Joshua

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The Empty Inn – Price Reduction

Hey guys,

Today we changed the permanent price of The Empty Inn from $4.99, to $2.99. This change was made to ensure that we provide a fantastic gaming experience to customers for an amazing low price.

But what if I brought the game for $4.99?!

Then you’ll be refunded the full amount, and you get to keep a copy of the game! This is our way of saying thank you to our fans for supporting us early on, and to give something back for changing the game’s price. We can garuntee you that mistakes like this won’t happen again.

If you have any problems/questions then just email me at joshua.temblett[at]candlelight-studios.com!

Thanks for the support guys, The Empty Inn will be launching very soon!

Josh

 

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