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Stardock Game News

Stardock, Paul Reiche to team up on next Star Control game, beekeeping

Published on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 By Tatiora In Star Control News

Stardock, Paul Reiche to Team Up on Next
Star Control Game and Beekeeping

Dispute settlement paves way for new games, new DLC, and lots of honey

 

Plymouth, MI. - June 11, 2019 - Game Developers Stardock Entertainment, Paul Reiche and Fred Ford have amicably settled the dispute concerning the tangled intellectual property rights that surrounded the 30-year old game franchise.

In a statement released by Paul Reiche on their website, Mr. Reiche wrote, "Paul and Fred have offered to volunteer their own creativity to Origins by teaming up with Brad to create some new aliens and plot lines for Stardock's future Star Control games."

The settlement agreement, while itself confidential, expressly makes the terms available to the public.

"Paul and I both insisted to the lawyers that the terms should not be confidential," said Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock.  "We really wanted to make sure the fans didn't have to speculate on how we came together on this and that it was genuinely something that resulted in both sides getting what they wanted out of the situation."

The dispute revolved around the murky dividing line between what trademarks cover and what copyrights cover. Stardock claimed the trademarks to the classic series and Paul Reiche claimed the copyrights. The issue came to a head when both parties announced new games that appeared related to Star Control.

After a year of litigation, the dispute was ultimately solved by Reiche calling Wardell directly, bypassing the lawyers, and the two finding a lot of common ground on a wide range of topics ranging from game design to beekeeping.

"The magic trick to resolving this was just picking up the phone and calling each other directly," said Reiche. "Brad suggested this back in 2017 and it worked! By talking directly to each other, we were actually able to put something together that we both liked before all the legal mumbo-jumbo got in the way."

Once the two talked about what each really cared about, coming to a resolution was swift.

"We figured out what we wanted in just a couple hours of talking," said Wardell. "The rest of the time was the lawyers smithing out exact, agonizingly precise, verbiage. That took much longer. Usually these things claim to be amicable but it's just both sides trying to spin things. In this case, it really was amicable."

The agreement itself, in true Star Control fashion, includes a substantial amount of levity.

"We added a section in which I'll be working with Paul on beekeeping. He's going to send me some meade, I'm going to send him some honey," said Wardell.  "I don't think the lawyers were particularly enthusiastic about us incorporating some of this into the agreement. I did a tutorial video on beekeeping I was going to send over but got stung in the video, so thought better than to actually send it."

With respect to the specific terms, the classic Star Control games will return for sale on Steam and GOG as they were before, along with the alien music DLC that had been removed while the teams resolved the IP questions.

In addition, the trademark and copyright questions were put to rest with the agreement spelling out the copyrighted IP that Reiche and Ford care about along with the trademarks that Stardock cares about, with each party agreeing to respect these boundaries in their use in the future.

Star Control: Origins is available on Steam and GOG for $29.99. The expansion pack, Earth Rising, is due to be completed this Fall. Stardock and Paul Reiche plan to begin work on the new Star Control game together this Fall.

More information and details will become available in the near future as Brad, Paul and Fred will be hanging out at E3 together and meeting with the press to discuss the future of games, the fascinating yet unintuitive way the legal system works, and anything else that comes up.

To read the full release, visit here.

The homepage for Star Control is www.starcontrol.com

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation v2.8 Update is here!

Published on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 By Tatiora In Ashes of the Singularity News

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation v2.8 Update Improves Visual Clarity
and Brings Extensive Balance Updates

We're launching an update today that improves the game's visual quality and balance. By making colors more vibrant and scaling up the size of many units and buildings, we hope to help distinguish and communicate each unit's functionality for new players. We’ve also made additional minor visual tweaks and slightly adjusted the camera angle so it’s less top-down and more tilted.

v2.8 has many balance changes to make dreadnoughts more viable and better equalize the power of each faction's orbital abilities. 

See the full change log below!

Siege of Centauri
Siege of Centauri
Siege of Centauri
Siege of Centauri
Siege of Centauri

Don't have Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation?
Buy from SteamBuy from Stardock | Buy from GOG

Owners, the v2.8 update is ready and waiting for you in your Steam client.

v2.8 Change Log

 

Gameplay

We’re scaling up the size of many units and buildings to help distinguish and communicate the unit's functionality to those who are new to the title. We’ve also slightly adjusted the camera angle so it’s less top-down and more titled. It’s minor, but helps distinguish unit silhouettes by making things look more 3D.

  • Unit and building sizes increased

To compensate for size increases:

  • Units are created with more distance between them.
  • Unit spacing increased
  • Updated Collision boxes and collision avoidance behavior. 

 

Visuals

We’ve slightly adjusted the camera angle so it’s less top-down and more titled. It’s minor, but helps distinguish unit silhouettes by making things look more 3D.

  • Modified camera angle at medium to close zoom levels.
  • Increased size of explosions.
  • Unit hover pods are no longer affected by player color.
  • Improved Terran morning lighting.
  • Improved deformable terrain around buildings.
  • Improved the colors on buildings.
  • Reduced emissives intensity

 

Balance

This update has many balance changes, in particular aimed at making dreadnaughts more viable and better equalizing the power of each faction's orbital abilities. Balance is overall in a good spot so these are mostly small changes.

Atlas

  • Damage increased from 15 to 16

Archer

  • Health reduced from 90 to 80

Tormentor

The Tormentor was too lacking in a role and will now be an excellent way of dealing with Archer spam. Previously Substrate could have issues dealing with mass frigates.

  • Damage increased from 75 to 80

Reaper

This should see Reaper blobs clump up less to dive after a cruiser and make it less vulnerable to splash damage.

  • Targeting priorities changed to engage all targets equally

Drone Hive

Drones will no longer get one-shot by the Atlas frigate as it was too easy to shut down.

  • Radioactives cost reduced from 90 to 80
  • Drone health increased from 15 to 20

Apollo

  • Metal cost from 310 to 350
  • Radioactives cost from 46 to 66

Destructor

  • Plasma Rain Launcher damage increased from 13 to 14

Caregiver

The Caregiver and Regenerator are receiving a small performance boost to give Substrate more of a chance to withstand Artillery Post bombardment as well as mitigate Plasma Storm and EMP Pulse.

  • Regeneration increased from 40 to 45

Avatar

PHC have two engineer spawn abilities, so they naturally will ramp up less by mixing it between both of them. Also a QoL change for the Avatar as it would often engage enemies and move out of build range as a result.

  • Leash removed - It will no longer move to engage
  • Quanta cost ramp up reduced from 0.25 to 0.20

Dreadnoughts

Typically players cruiser spam into air and juggernauts while skipping dreads. We want to make dreads tougher to have them see more use.

  • Retributor, Cronus, Hyperion and Overmind health increased from 14,000 to 15,000
  • Savager and Prometheus health increased from 16,000 to 17,500

Eye of Darkness

This change was supposed to be in 2.76 but was accidentally not included. This will make turtling up and rushing the Eye while skipping dreadnought production much riskier.

  • Metal cost increased from 22,000 to 24,000
  • Radioactives cost increased from 22,000 to 23,000
  • Quanta cost increased from 12,000 to 13,000
  • Logistics cost increased from 300 to 325
  • Build time cost increased from 900 to 1000

Instigator

The Instigator was underperforming and will now be able to clear creeps with its weapon.

  • Now has a weak laser
  • Acceleration increased from 600 to 800
  • Cost reduced from 350/80 to 250/60
  • Logistics reduced from 10 to 6
  • Build time reduced from 40 to 35

Hades

The Hades Bomber was the only non-fighter that came in a squadron of 3. This created balance problems where Hades flocks would shrug off Air Eliminators but then get deleted by splash such as the Falcon. We are reducing the squadron size to 1 and tweaking it to compensate so that it is more consistent against other anti-air types. Reducing the squadron size will also fix the targeting issue of the Hades sometimes not dropping its bombs.

  • Squad size reduced from 3 to 1
  • Hades will no longer pass without dropping bombs
  • Damage increased from 60 to 75
  • Health increased from 625 to 1200
  • Metal cost reduced from  270 to 220
  • Radioactives cost reduced from 190 to 150
  • Logistics cost reduced from 9 to 7
  • Build time reduced from 45 to 40

Artillery Post

The Artillery Post was too spammable in certain maps, especially team games.

  • Minimum range increased from 200 to 500
  • Maximum range reduced from 3000 to 2800

Regenerator

  • Regeneration increased from 30 to 35

Carving Turret

PHC had too many Orbital Abilities that could influence cruiser engagements while Substrate only had Drone Swarm. Carving Turret is now only able to engage Dreadnaughts and Juggernauts to even out PHC’s orbital advantage.

  • Can no longer target frigates, cruisers and buildings

Drone Swarm

Drone Swarm was shut down too easily by armies that had modest amounts of anti-air.

  • Drone health increased from 15 to 30
  • Health per second increased from -0.5 to -1 (To retains its 30 second life)

Nanite Assassination

While expensive and limited to only a single target, players may wish to use this ability to snipe a Hera, Engineer or other crucial units like a sieging Artemis.

  • Can now target cruisers
  • Damage type changed to direct for instant killing.

Plasma Storm

Plasma Storm was too impactful so we have reduced its damage per second and slightly increased its duration so players have more opportunity to escape from it or sustain through with Caregivers and Regenerators.

  • Damage reduced from 15 to 10
  • Duration increased from 30 to 35

 

Tooltips

  • Updated Carving Turret & Nanite Assassination tooltips to reflect changes
  • Removed obsolete “Armor piercing” and “Area Damage” tooltips from Artemis and Destructor main weapon.
  • Removed obsolete “Targets radar contacts” from 8 weapons. (Everything can now target radar contacts)

 

Bugs

  • Fixed Shader corruption bug
  • Fixed a hang when starting the Benchmark
  • Fixed Saboteur targeting issue causing it to stop firing
  • Fixed a bug where Nanite Assassination would sometimes miss moving dreadnoughts.

Community Newsletter #4 - 06/07/2019

Published on Friday, June 7, 2019 By SchismNavigator In Stardock Community Newsletter

Defenders Take Up Arms and Space is Getting Crowded

 

As a reminder, if you have any comments or would like to see something included in a future edition, you can leave it in the comments below or as a direct message on Discord.

 

The Horizon

 

Siege of Centauri Beta 2

 

 

Culminating from a series of feature updates, changes, and bug fixes, we are excited to announce the release of Beta 2 of Siege of Centauri for all early access owners!

 

Set in the Ashes of the Singularity™ universe, Siege of Centauri places the player in the role of commander of the defense of Earth's first colony on Proxima Centauri. Beta 2’s new equip screen allows players to customize the towers they bring into every mission, allowing for more meaningful strategic choices.

 

“The enemy has a wide range of units seeking to destroy your colony,” said Derek Paxton, lead designer. “Players have access to a wide array of towers, each with unique capabilities, to choose from. Beta 2 allows players to pick the towers they want to use, rather than the game deciding for them.”

 

Beta 2 also adds new missions for players to explore, including one that introduces large and powerful war machines called Dreadnoughts for the first time. They will need to overcome this powerful new challenge as they deal with the swarms of enemies already attacking their base.

 

The Early Access program is designed to allow fans to have input into game mechanics, pacing, and balance. Stardock has been releasing frequent updates based on player feedback.

 

“Weekly digital updates based on player feedback well before release lets us get to a level of balance and polish that traditionally had to wait for post-release updates,” said Paxton. “We’ve been really happy with how the fans have helped shape this game so far.”

 

Siege of Centauri is currently in Early Access on Steam and through Stardock for $9.99. The final version is expected to sell for $14.99.

 

Continue Reading...

Beta 2 for Siege of Centauri is now available!

Published on Thursday, June 6, 2019 By Tatiora In Siege of Centauri News

Beta 2 is now available for the massive-scale tower defense game
Newest update adds weapon customization, new missions, and new towers

Set in the Ashes of the Singularity universe, Siege of Centauri places the player in the role of commander of the defense of Earth's first colony on Proxima Centauri. Beta 2’s new equip screen allows players to customize the towers they bring into every mission, allowing for more meaningful strategic choices.

“The enemy has a wide range of units seeking to destroy your colony,” said Derek Paxton, lead designer. “Players have access to a wide array of towers, each with unique capabilities, to choose from. Beta 2 allows players to pick the towers they want to use, rather than the game deciding for them.”

Beta 2 also adds new missions for players to explore, including one that introduces large and powerful war machines called Dreadnoughts for the first time. They will need to overcome this powerful new challenge as they deal with the swarms of enemies already attacking their base.

The Early Access program is designed to allow fans to have input into game mechanics, pacing, and balance. Stardock has been releasing frequent updates based on player feedback.

“Weekly digital updates based on player feedback well before release lets us get to a level of balance and polish that traditionally had to wait for post-release updates,” said Paxton. “We’ve been really happy with how the fans have helped shape this game so far.”

Siege of Centauri is currently in Early Access on Steam and through Stardock for $9.99. The final version is expected to sell for $14.99.

Siege of Centauri
Siege of Centauri
Siege of Centauri
Siege of Centauri
Siege of Centauri

Visit www.siegeofcentauri.com for more information.

The Video Game Machine : Alpha 1A Update!

Published on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 By ScottTykoski In The Video Game Machine News

 

  

We've updated The Video Game Machine: Alpha1 with several player requests and bug fixes.

Thanks again to everyone that has been playing and giving feedback - the more we hear from you, the more player suggestions we can implement!

Get the latest build of VGM today from your MY DOWNLOADS page.
Check out the changelog below to see everything we've added!

DOWNLOAD NOW

 


The Video Game Machine: Alpha 1A Change Log


- Improvements -
+ Added a [Delete] button to The Arcade, so players can delete games they've accidentally uploaded.
+ Control Text in the 'Pause' Menu is now specific to the genre. When you're in a Top Down game, for instance, the 'Jump' controls will be hidden.
+ Enemies spawned from blocks can now have a target to trigger whenever they die.
+ Tiles can now swap to "Bush" in Adventure games.
+ Tile Swapper gizmo will now spawn a tile on the position if there isn't one.
+ Locked doors will have a notification above them telling the player what item they need to unlock it.

 

- Bug Fixes -
+ Fixed hang on exit the first time the game was run and activation was successful.
+ Screenshots for a game will no longer get overwritten / lost when a game is being edited.
+ Outro text will now send the player to the title screen - not Level 1.
+ The time that Outro text stays up is now dependent on the length of the text.
+ Games that you've made will now properly state you as the creator (we were accidentally taking credit for your hard work - sorry about that!)
+ Fixed issue with lighting post process effect causing outline around screen at low health in lower light tilemaps
+ Fixed issue with projectiles giving incorrect knockback to enemies 
+ Enter key now activates levers instead of up key in adventure mode 
+ Swapping a tile type will now cause it to update the surrounding adjacency correctly  
+ Tile Swapper gizmo now destroys all tiles on the position instead of just the first found tile 
+ Item locks now persistent with game state 
+ Movement group now fills in extra info needed for game state loading 
+ Persona ID and display name stored in game data as well as in the manifest now 
+ Fixed issues with loading a save game saved in a dungeon
+ Leaving a dungeon will take you to the entrance you came in from again
+ Fixed weird lines on sprites (from https://forums.stardock.net/495223/page/1/#3751028 - thanks Silver-Streak!)
+ Adventure games: Fixed Camera offset and zoom so a room fits properly within the cameras bounds.
+ Deleting any key lock gizmo on a prop will now correctly delete that prop.
+ Fixed some props that spawn gizmos not displaying said gizmos without first entering play mode.
+ Did a pass on Shadow position on Heroes & Enemies in top-down games. (https://forums.stardock.net/495226/page/1/#3751161 - thanks AcornCereal!)
+ Format tags in dialog boxes will now properly format text as it's being built (ie. you won't see the <color> tag built as an NPC is talking)
+ Fixed the likely cause of someone having infinite lives.
+ Added a 3 second delay in the Game Over screen (prevents the player from accidentally button-slamming they way past it)
+ Fixed being able to mash enter/space when prompted with a post-level "save your game" dialog to force it to advance more than one level
+ Fireman no longer goes bald when facing up in an Adventure game


+ Attacking with a weapon or projectile a [!] block will now change it to it's 'Empty' state (thanks Seilore)
+ Wizard Staff & Water Hose fire now properly when facing in different directions(thanks Koldac)

It's Time to Make, Play and Share with THE VIDEO GAME MACHINE!

Published on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 By ScottTykoski In The Video Game Machine Dev Journals

Greetings, fellow designers!

Thank you for your interest in The Video Game Machine. If you're anything like me, you've spent your gaming years both engrossed in games and overflowing with game ideas of your own.

If that sounds like you, then you're in the right place!

A quick bit about myself: my name is Scott Tykoski, the local Mad Scientist at Stardock Entertainment. I've been working here for 19 years now, and for the last 4 of that, my colleagues and I have been messing around with a side-project. A real gamechanger, if you will.

The Video Game Machine: A Game that makes Games.

And it's finally ready for YOU to play!

All the Fun, None of the Frustration

OK friends, confession time: making video games is one of the best jobs in the world. I know, I know - what an unbelievable factoid. It's OK to be gobsmacked.

The fun of game creation, however, comes with a dark side: hours, weeks, and even months of frustration when things just don't work. Game Development is a fun job, but that fun can be fleeting when the non-fun parts keep getting in the way.

Our goal with The Video Game Machine is to remove as much of that frustration as possible, giving you a bucket-load of robust, easy-to-use mechanics that you can snap together to make your own awesome game.

In fact, ease-of-use takes center stage right from the start. With the initial 'Make Your Game' setup process, we've boiled game design down to 3 simple steps...

Step 1: Pick Your Genre

The core gameplay experience is driven by the GENRE. Is this a top-down adventure game?  A sidescrolling platformer? A Shoot-em-Up where you're fighting off waves of enemies? Some other genre that we haven't announced yet?

Gameplay Mechanics - things like player controls, camera movement, and enemy spawning - are all set by the chosen genre. Development can't get any easier than one click!

For players who want more direct control over gameplay, there's a screen in the Level Editor called "The Rulebook" where you can add specific mechanics/gimmicks to your game. This very powerful tool will get it's own journal entry very soon.

But, I digress! Onto...

Step 2: Choose Your Hero

When picking your hero, you're basically picking your overall theme. Is this a Wild West game? A Fantasy game? Superhero? Radical Dinosaurs on Skateboards?

The hero, and their theme, will define some of the defaults of your game: random enemies, hidden items, environments, and music.

You can override these defaults later, but from an 'ease-of-use' standpoint, this helps the player quickly make a game that looks, feels, and sounds cohesive.

Step 3: Name Your Game

We've saved the best for last! With a genre and hero selected, you should have some idea of the game you want to make.  Now that game needs a name - and the crazier, the better!

If you can't come up with something, I highly suggest using the Video Game Name Generator at https://videogamena.me/.  Some of my favorites…

  • Revenge of the Fighter Attack
  • John Romero's Chess in the Outback
  • Sleazy Axe '95
  • Drug-Induced Polka Throwdown
  • Satan's Soccer Island
  • In Search of Underwear Gold
  • Post-Apocalyptic Afro Apocalypse

You're Ready to Play!

Now that you've set the basics, it's time to jump into your creation. At first it'll be a little empty - it needs your creative spark! - but by combining Playing and Making into one fun package, TVGM ensures you'll have your own game to show off in no time!

Alpha 1 and Beyond

The version you'll be playing is the "Alpha 1" build. There are 4 major areas we're looking for feedback on during this early stage of testing.

  1. Ease of Use: Is it easy and fun to create content in TVGM?
  2. Sidescroller Games: Can you make a fun Sidescroller with the tools provided?
  3. Adventure Games: Can you make a fun Adventure game with the tools provided?
  4. Sharing: Can you upload games and share them reliably?

As you play and have feedback to share, please jump onto the forums and let us know how things are going! Remember - one of the major goals is to smooth out frustrations, so if something annoys you, it's probably annoying other players too. We want to hear about it!

Thanks for your feedback, support, and excitement.

Let's build something awesome together!

-TeamVGM

The Video Game Machine Founder's Program Begins Today!

Published on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 By Tatiora In The Video Game Machine News

The Founder's Program for The Video Game Machine Begins Today!
Join the Founder's Program today and play the alpha right now

Make, play, and share unique video games that you’ve made yourself! The Video Game Machine is a sandbox game that removes the tricky parts of development and leaves only the fun, putting the power of creativity in YOUR hands.



(A key will be issued to you via the email you purchase The Video Game Machine with.)

Give valuable input on mechanics and gameplay during the development process by joining our Founder's program! You'll get access to the alpha of the game today, plus all future betas and the full game upon final release. Joining the program also includes a special Founder's badge for the forums.

"If you play games, odds are you’ve wanted to try making one too," said lead designer Scott Tykoski. "The Video Game Machine is a game that lets you pick a genre, choose some rules, and unleash your inner game designer."

An alpha for the game released today and includes the first two genres: Platformer and Adventure. Players are encouraged to leave feedback on Stardock’s forums in order to participate in the development process.

“Player feedback is so important at this stage,” said Tykoski. “The game has been designed to be easy enough that anyone can create their own games while still having enough power that savvy gamers can create truly unique games with it. We want to make sure that everyone is having a good time and that the process for creating is as intuitive as we want it to be.”

Some of the game genres players can expect to find in The Video Game Machine as it develops are side-scrollers, shoot ‘em up, and adventure. The genre choice takes care of the game's basic game mechanics. From there, the player sets up the game's rules and selects the characters they want in their game such as knights, superheroes, ninjas, cats, and more.

The Video Game Machine includes a host of pre-made games that players can edit, or they can start with a blank slate and start creating. Players can share their games online, as well as download games made by others to try them out.

The Video Game Machine
The Video Game Machine
The Video Game Machine
The Video Game Machine
The Video Game Machine
The Video Game Machine

For more information, visit www.TheVGM.com

A key will be issued to you via the email you purchase The Video Game Machine with.
If you can't locate your email, click here to retrieve your key.

All About Gizmos

Published on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 By ScottTykoski In The Video Game Machine Dev Journals

One of the most powerful tools in the Video Game Machine is the GIZMO tool. With Gizmos, you can bring your levels to life in unique and interactive ways.

The Basics
While the main building block of your level is the 'block' (no surprise there), gizmos will take those blocks and do interesting things to them.

Simply select the Gizmo tool on the left hand side of the Level Editor (the Gear Button) to show the list of available options.

Most gizmos can also have a 'Target'. When a gizmo is activated, its target will also be activated. This is useful for making switches that cause things to happen in your level.

Set a target by rolling over the gizmo, pressing the [T] key, then clicking on the target location.


Starting Location
Use this to place the starting location of the player in this level. If there are multiple locations, the game will simply use the first one it finds.



Finish Line
Place these at the end of a level. The current stage will end and the next one will be loaded.



Hidden Area
Placing these onto a section of blocks will turn them into a "Hidden Area", meaning the player will be able to walk into those tiles to find hidden loot (and possibly enemies).

Hidden Area tiles may look like they're blocked, but you can run right through them!
Old-school games were known for their awesome secrets - we highly recommend placing these in every level.

 


Pushable Tile
Place this on a block to make it 'pushable'. When the player presses against it for 1 second, it will move in the direction pushed.

If targeting: The targeted gizmo will be activated when the block is pushed.

 


Doorway
Doors will teleport the player to a target location. If the Doorway gizmo doesn't have a target, then nothing will happen when the player steps on it.


Weapon Trigger
Trigger gizmos are just switches, where activating them will simply trigger another gizmo.

The Weapon Trigger gizmo will activate when hit by a weapon. By default it will activate with any attack, but you can also specify what type of attack is required (Sword, Dagger, Fire Attack, Explosion, etc).

If targeting: The targeted gizmo will be activated when this gizmo is attacked.

 


Trigger Area
When the player steps into a Trigger Area, they will activate whatever gizmo the area is targeting.

If targeting: The targeted gizmo will be activated when this gizmo stepped into by the player.




Trigger Link
If a 'Trigger Link' gizmo is targeted and activated, all linked gizmos (touching the chain of linked gizmos) will be activated as well.

 


Movement Group
The Movement Group gizmo is a powerful tool that lets you move large chunks of your level around. Simple place Movement Group gizmos on tiles you want to group together, then set a Target Destination for the group with the [T] key.

If targeting: The target tile is the destination for this movement group. When a movement group is activated, it'll move to it's target location.

 


Swappable Tile
Swappable Tiles can swap from one type of tile to another. This is useful for spawning ladders in Sidescrollers or opening Pathways in Adventures. Place it on a tile, then press [E] to edit the gizmo and specify what type type it should swap to.

By default, the tile will be destroyed.

Alpha 1 Note: Currently, Swappable Tiles only activate it they're actually ON a tile. A future update will allow these to be placed in empty spaces and activate as expected.

 


Flying Enemy Pt. (Sidescroller Only)
Spawns a flying enemy at this location. If the enemy is killed, will respawn the enemy in 4 seconds. Useful for Pit-Jumping challenges.

 


Gateway Gizmo (Adventure Only)
Links two levels together via the side of a room. When you exit a room by the set direction, you will teleport to the linked Gateway exit.

Press the [E] key over the Gateway gizmos to link them together.


By linking levels together with the Gateway Gizmo, you can create one, large, interconnected world.

 



The power of the gizmo system is that these simple systems can be connected in interesting ways, giving you an infinite number of options to make your creation truly you own.

What clever gizmo combos have you come up with?  

Let us know in the comments...and happy building!

Community Newsletter #3 - 05/27/2019

Published on Monday, May 27, 2019 By SchismNavigator In Stardock Community Newsletter

A new game and so much more in this third edition of the Stardock Community Newsletter.

 

In this, the third edition of the community newsletter, we have highlights on a new release, game updates and a hot new mod.

 

As a reminder, if you have any comments or would like to see something included in a future edition you can leave it in the comments below or as a direct message on discord.

 

The Horizon

 

The Video Game Machine!

 

We have announced a new game: The Video Game Machine

 

What is The Video Game Machine (imagine an echo each time)? Well, simply put it is a game for making other games. Fun idea huh? Of course, there have been a few games like it before, but this one is a PC-first title and supports multiple different 8-bit inspired genres.

 

With The Video Game Machine you will be able to create your own levels, scenarios, add dialogue, create triggers, change the rules and even go a step further (for the really technical) and edit the XML files directly. You can then share your game with others who own The Video Game Machine and see who has the most diabolical mind amongst your friends.

 

In VGM you will be able to make a game, play that game and then share it with others! All without needing to know anything about programming, bitmaps, tilesets or driver incompatibilities.

 

The Founder Program is live now, you can sign up and expect to get your hands on the game as soon as the 29th of May. By doing so you will also be able to help us direct the development of the game, including what future genres we add and other features that we may or may not have thought of yet.

 

 

Sign up today!

 

Continue Reading...

Creativity and Play: A Gaming Retrospective

Published on Monday, May 20, 2019 By ScottTykoski In The Video Game Machine Dev Journals

If you've played Stardock games before, you know how much we try to encourage the modding of our titles. Making games is fun, and we do our best to open it up for players to enjoy.

There's something amazing about that first time you edit a text file, then start up a game to see the change as you play. Sure, 8-year old you would probably just change the phrase "Player 1 Start" to "Player 1 Fart"  - * guilty cough * - but it really is an eye opening moment: YOU have the power to change & create within the games you love.

The goal of The Video Game Machine is to put this power at the player's fingertips. And while we bring some fresh ideas to the table, we're certainly not the first ones to tap into the creativity of gamers.

Here are some of our favorite Games, Tools, and Accessories that allowed us to get creative!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lode Runner
Systems: C64, NES, PC

One of the first titles I ever encountered with a Level Editor, Lode Runner let you make single-room levels where collecting gold and avoiding enemies was the name of the game.

Simple and straightforward, but even with just a handful of options it was a extremely engaging.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excitebike
System: NES

Nothing was better then passing the controller back and forth, making devilishly difficult Excitebike tracks for your friends to try out.

Just don't be the guy that makes a track of only Mud Puddles. Nobody likes that guy.


 

 

 

 

 

D&D Unlimited Adventures
System: PC

Unlimited Adventures was a pretty amazing toolkit - letting you make maps, quests, battle encounters, and everything that makes an RPG fun.


Wolfenstein3D - Map Editor
System: PC

Looking back, the true power of the Wolfenstein Editor was in how dirt-simple it was to use. You placed blocks down on a grid and out popped a 3D level for you to run around in. As we'll talk about later, 3D can quickly lead to control issues & frustrations.

That this tool pulled it off is impressive (even if it wasn't REAL 3D, but back then it felt real enough).




Mario Paint
System: SNES

OK, so you couldn't design games in it, but you can't talk about creativity in games without bringing up this little masterpiece. I mean, if you had a VCR with the proper setup, you could even use this game to make your own cartoons!

Also, many of the UI Themes and ideas started here would find their way into Mario Maker, so that was cool to see (for all us Mario Paint veterans).

 

Galactic Civilizations II
System: PC

Forgive me for listing a Stardock game here, but the appeal & longevity of GalCiv2's 'Ship Designer' still blows me away. To this day - nearly 13 years after it's release - players still create and show off their ships. That's the power of creativity when used as a game mechanic.



Minecraft
Systems: Anything with a Screen.

You know it. You've loved it. It's 3D Legos. It's made all the money.

Moving on…


Little Big Planet
Systems: Playstation

One of the leading forces of creativity in the newer console generations, Little Big Planet was tons of fun to build content for. The talented team at Media Molecule even has a new game - Dreams - that can make some amazing 3D creations.


Disney Infinity
Systems: Wii, XBox, Playstation

One of the first casualties of the "Toys to Life" game explosion, Disney Infinity actually seemed to do everything right - ESPECIALLY their amazing 'Toybox' mode. Here, you could use objects unlocked in the main game to build your own worlds to play in. The problem - for me, at least - was that the 3D controls made the creation process too slow & cumbersome. It would take a long time to make something, and often the finished product was too far from what you envisioned.

This is a big reason we went 2D w/ Pixel Art: quick design iteration with an interpretive visual style should alleviate some of those problems.

As a whole, however, Disney Infinity was an amazing package that my kids and I still play.



Super Mario Maker
Systems: WiiU

The current creativity juggernaut is the Super Mario Maker series. With a sequel coming out next month for the switch, it seems gamers are certainly excited to do more with their games than simply play them.



Where Does The Video Game Machine Fit In?

There have been a TON of great gaming options for unleashing your creativity over the past 25 years. This leads the the obvious question about The Video Game Machine "Where does it fit in?"

  • It's For Everyone: Ease-of-use has taken the top design spot as we've created The Video Game Machine. A long Early Access period will ensure the rough edges are all filed down so Everyone can be a Game Designer.
  • It's for Short or Long Adventures: In the above examples, almost each one limits the player to one area/scene/level. One of VGMs benifits is that you're making an ENTIRE game, meaning multiple levels. This gives the player lots of room to build a properly epic adventure.
  • It's for Players that want to Tell A Story: Dialog systems and Narration rules make it very easy for players to interject their creation with custom, world building text.
  • It's for Sharing: Right out the gates, TVGM will allow you to upload your creations to share with others, or download games made by the community to play.

So will VGM stack up against these creative classics? We certainly think so, but more importantly - what tools or games did we miss from this list?  When we talk about getting creative in a video game, what experiences comes to mind?

Let us know in the comments!

Thanks,
TeamVGM

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