Friday, September 23, 2016

Catyph: Final version and price drop

Hello everyone,

I would like to warmly thank those of you who supported my work by purchasing Catyph and/or ASA. It really, really encourages me continuously when I see day after day that there are several passionate people all around the world who still enjoy 2D Myst-like games. Thank you!! As you know I have put a lot of efforts during the 2 years of development of Catyph, trying to please both the fans of the original Myst games and the fans of ASA. I know that some of the features in Catyph may be surprising (in the wrong way I mean - such as the Blue Matter System) but it's also part of the job of a developer to try new things. We don't want all the games to be identical! Other things could have been improved (gameplay/navigation), but I think it's important not to give up at the beginning of the game. The region of Kynan (that you can try in the playable demo) is far from being the most interesting and representative place of the game. imo

Also, I have decided to write this news in order to announce and explain a price drop. The game was originally released at $19.99 on Steam and you might have noticed the new price of $14.99. First I sincerely hope that you will not be furious if you paid the high price (at least keep in mind that it was the best way to support my work and it counts a lot).
The reason of this price drop is not related to the lack of success of the game, and it is not a marketting strategy. It is true that I didn't sell a lot of copies, but that was more or less expected with that kind of project, and my lack of exposure in the medias. Changing the price was not either a way to celebrate the end of Summer (who wants to celebrate the end of the most beautiful season? ;)

More seriously, if I chose to lower the price, it is because Catyph is now in its final version. What I mean here, is that I will not bring any new update to the game. Oh don't misunderstand me: I'd be willing to continue to fix bugs for you (happily there has not been any recent feedback reporting issues). But the truth is that it has become impossible: my backup hard drive recently died, and I lost all of my precious work data. I have found no way to recover it: both ASA and Catyph files are gone forever... It is a real pain for me and for my activity, as it will never be possible to use again the 3D models that I had created for these games.
Anyway, I am now in the incapacity to fix any new bug or issue, and to release any new update. As a result I have decided that the price couldn't stay the same, and I hope that you understand why I took this decision.

It was probably the last announcement about Catyph, and the price should now stay the same for a long while (except during special targeted events such as Steam Sales).
I wish that there will still be passionate people to get interested in these old-school games, which should continue to exist next to some more modern projects such as the recent (and very good) Obduction. That's also why we indie devs work hard: to bring diversity and different games - good or bad - but still different!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Catyph screenshots choice

This blog will seriously lack of news now that Catyph has been released. I will of course come back as soon as a new project is ready to reveal. In the meantime, you can follow me on Facebook to stay updated about the next Black Cube projects, here:
https://www.facebook.com/theicehousecollective







Thursday, July 21, 2016

My final Myst game

Hello,

I would like to thank again everyone who supported me with ASA and Catyph during the past 3 years. 

The 2 games have received a warm welcome by the fans of the genre, even though they were far from perfect. I'm really moved that so many people understood what I tried to do with these games, and that they have been able to appreciate them at their true value. After 2 years of hard work on Catyph, I am quite proud of the result, of my creation, and of the feedback I received, even though I regret that the gameplay was still clumsy. I'm glad that the world of the game pleased several people all around the world, and that was my main reason for making games, so I'm truly happy. It's not something I can easily express, but I'm filled with emotions and this is all because I've been able to create a game on my own, that has been loved by several people from several countries. Thank you so much.

On the other hand, I'm also quite exhausted. I've been crossing the desert during several long months. I have been trying to create Catyph for a living, as a freelance indie developer, and it appears that it didn't work. I failed to get enough exposure in the press and on social networks, and despite the few positive reviews that were published, I couldn't reach enough people. Since my games are self-funded, and that I lose more money than I earn,

I have taken the decision to stop making "2d" Myst games, at least for a while, and on my own. Catyph was the final one.

I don't know yet what my future will look like, there are still many reasons for the Black Cube series to continue sooner or later in a different way, but I can't spend my personal money to create these games that most people won't play, won't like, or will never hear about.

I am aware that the market has evolved, and that most of the new Myst games are in realtime 3D, more impressive, more beautiful, (better?), but that is not the path I chose. I like to work on 2D games and prerendered 3D, they bring a different feeling and a bit of nostalgia. If they were good 15 years ago, why not now? Such wonderful games such as Obduction will certainly please a lot of players, but I cannot compete with these games, and I don't want to. I'd rather make something like The Longest Journey, if that was possible. But I understand the passion around full3D games, I'm playing them too!

I would like someday to try a cooperation on a full3D (realtime) Myst game for the fun, but I don't want these games to become the main direction of Simon Says: Play!. I will keep working on "2d" things and other different projects.

So what's next? Honestly, I don't know. First, I might have to find a job to earn money, even though it's not what I want after all the efforts I provided to build the Black Cube series and much more.
Then, I will think carefully of my next steps, and I might consider the Kickstarter option. It wasn't yet available in France in 2013 when we decided to work on TBT: The Black Tower, so there might be another chance now, with a different project? There's nothing sure. What I know for sure is that I gave all I had with Catyph, so it's time for something's different. It won't be TBT though, which I prefer to keep for later, with the hope that I can gather a talented team someday.

It is true that my games can seem quite expensive in price, in comparison to other indie games, but they are not just small games that you finish in 2 hours with no brain. There's a whole world to explore and a lot of things to do, particularly if you like puzzles and point&click adventures.

If you cannot afford to buy ASA or Catyph because of their too high price currently, which I can totally understand, it is however useless to ask me for a free Steam key (it has been the case quite often lately!). If you want a free adventure game, there are already a lot of them available on the web, or you can purchase older games for a lower price. If on the contrary you think that ASA and/or Catyph look interesting enough and deserve to be played, then please accept their current pricing and take in consideration all the time and efforts I've been spending into these games, on my own, at home, without any help from a publisher.

As usual, the price will drop down along the next few years.

If really you cannot buy the game of your choice now, because it is too expensive, there are other ways to support me. It is very important to do it if you like my projects (not only ASA and Catyph!) and want me to continue. I'm not asking for money, neither on Patreon nor any other way: you could for example ...

- ... spread the good word about ASA and Catyph on social networks and forums
- wait for Steam sales, and maybe a possible ASA+Catyph bundle with an interesting price
- tell your favorite game magazine that you enjoyed one of my games
- try to play Myha (free game) and see if you like it or not - it's a good introduction to the old-school 2D Myst genre with challenging puzzles!
- read the ANTERRAN comic book 1 for free online, and share the info here and there
- follow the news of my collective of indie artists, The Icehouse, on tumblr or facebook by linking through www.theicehouse.fr
Etc.

Now I have to move forward, and at this time I consider that starting the development of a new first person point&click like ASA or Catyph is not the solution.

So yes, Catyph was my very last "retro" Myst game for a (long?) while, and I am really sorry if some of you were expecting a 3rd "ASA" game. I hope that I'll be able to keep working hard on new interesting things. The Black Cube series still has a lot of untold stories!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Greg's Collector Edition

Special thanks to Greg McLean, the owner of this Black Cube collector edition, made in collaboration with artist Kiboochan! It was such a pleasure to discover the game on your desk Greg, with all these projects gathered at the same place! 




Friday, June 10, 2016

All about Catyph

Everything that was said about the game has been summarized on The Icehouse:

Let’s end the week with a complete summary of the last news around Catyph, about things that happened since the release of the game on May 11th.

First of all, you can learn more about the game, and purchase it from the homepage: www.theblackcube.fr/catyph
You’ll find our Self-Published DVDs, the game on Steam and Humble.
We’ve also just added the game on itch.io, which will allow you to purchase and play without going through Steam: totally DRM-free!

You might also be interested in listening to the Original Soundtrack. Many people told us how they’ve been impressed by the quality of this OST, composed by the guys of Karreo. If you do like their work, don’t forget to support them with a bit of money (you can also download it for free, but your help will be very apreciated). At least, please consider adding a comment on their page :)

On another point, the Kiboochan/Black Cube special collector pack has been sold, and we would like to sincerely thank Greg for his purchase.
You might also want to check the artbook of Catyph. It contains the Making Of and almost all the pictures from the game, along with other artworks. Yes it’s expensive because it’s self-published on demand, but it’s beautiful with a very nice hardcover.

We don’t forget either the release of the first Anterran book in cooperation with artist John Carvajal! Still available to read online for free, or purchase your printed copy.

Simon has also published the complete walkthrough of the game. Very useful!

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of sites and people who talked of Catyph. Thanks a lot to each of you:
Adventurespel
(dutch info and review)
Planète Aventure (french, Simon available on the forums)
Just Adventure (release announcement)
Game Sphere (french, info)
GoodGameAll (french, info, video walkthrough in progress)
Indiemag (french, game presentation)

And finally, a very long interview (in French…) with Simon, developer of the game. Read it here on Extralife!

Catyph walkthrough

Catyph is too hard? You need help but you don't find the answer anywhere? No problem, the walkthrough is now available.

Some of you might remember that I had shared a walkthrough with ASA in 2013: it was available as a bonus with the game, so everyone could read it immediately. Then why wasn't it provided again with Catyph? Several reasons:

- first, many people complained that the walkthrough was provided. It was too easy to look at it immediately at the first difficulty, and there was no need to build a community to help each other.

- second, there is the help system in the game, which is a kind of integrated walkthrough. It might not be perfect, but most adventurers should find here the answers to the most difficult puzzles.

- third, I wanted to try to be close to the players, and help them on forums when they ask questions. Unfortunately it didn't work because there hasn't been so many questions, and also I have been offline for over 3 weeks because of technical issues.

Anyway, it's been a month now that the game is released, and it would seem that several people are looking for a walkthrough to play with, so here it is:

http://steamcommunity.com/app/396870/discussions/0/350533172683734130/

Have fun!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Simon, are you there?

Yes I'm back! I must apologize for my long silence, which affected both the Black Cube series with the release of Catyph, and the Icehouse collective. What happened is that there has been a violent storm here on Friday 13th of May, which broke my internet access. Because of technical issues on the network of my web provider, I got stuck offline for 3 weeks, almost 4, without any way to browse the web. It happened only 2 days after the release of Catyph, so I was unable to bring support when required. I will try to catch up for lost time.

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Black Cube Kiboo

Kiboochan is a French artist who creates cute monsters and other mysteries. The world of her "Kiboos" is varied and very funny. Sometimes they travel in the world of other artists, and as a result you could see Kiboos in the world of Miyazaki, or Kiboos in the world of Starwars. Today we have a very special edition: a Kiboo in the world of the Black Cube!

It is a cooperation that we have been preparing since the month of April for the release of Catyph. It might not be obvious, but cooperating with another artist takes time and needs some prepares! And Kiboochan needed some time too, in order create the figurine: it is created by hand after all. This is not one of these printed 3D models, nor a figurine produced in a a large quantity in China!!

The Black Cube Kiboo is unique, there is only one single copy in the world. As a result, we have decided to sell it in a collector edition with other interesting goodies. This unique collector package might seem expensive but it is the cost of a figurine of Kiboo + the manufacturing + shipping of the other objects. We don't really plan to make money from it, and we know that it might never be sold. But we wanted to do it: if someone in the world likes to collect all kind of things from video games, and wants something special from the Black Cube series, it is your chance!

You can learn more about the Black Cube Kiboo on this special page:

http://www.kiboochan.com/CATYPH/project_catyph.php

Content of the pack:




Thursday, May 12, 2016

Focus on ANTERRAN

If you have already played ASA: A Space Adventure, you know that the diary of Forte tells about the Anterran people, the creators of the Cubes and the Ark. Yes but, who are they? Can they be powerful beings with a very advanced technology? Why don't we know more about them? It is surprising that there is no trace of them on such an advanced spaceship such as the Ark.

If you are curious to know more, there might be some interesting details in Catyph, but the best chance to discover the truth is probably to read ANTERRAN, a new comics series that I created with a great illustrator living in the US, John Carvajal.

The first issue of ANTERRAN is already available, including free reading online, and we plan to release the second one in a few months, whatever the success of this first book, because we believe in this project.





John will tell you more about this first book:


"It’s finally here! It’s exciting to see all these projects culminate into one big project! It was so much fun working with Simon on his Prequel story for the Black Cube Universe.

Here are direct links to Anterran #1 (Day 0)

Read online on Issuu (free preview):
English
French

Get a Digital download on Gumroad (which is currently a Pay what you want for a limited time):
English
French

Get a physical copy from CreateSpace:
English
French

There’s something for everyone!
Thank you to everyone, and I hope you all enjoy!"
John Carvajal

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Catyph is released

Well, whatever happens now, it is a great day for me. The end of a very long journey... Catyph is released on Steam, it's up to you now!

This new release (my second "real" game after ASA) also comes with other new things in which I put a lot of efforts, with the help of other people from The Icehouse Collective:

- Catyph digital version (Steam, and Humble soon)

- Catyph DVD version (self-published)

- Catyph Original Soundtrack by Karreo

- Catyph special booklet, Introduction to the OT language

- Black Cube Kiboo figurine, collector edition by Kiboochan

- ANTERRAN comic book, issue #1 by John Carvajal

- Catyph artbook, including the Making of the game

- The Day Zero Album, special soundtrack by Sam Oz


Thanks a lot for supporting me during the past 2 years, when I was working alone at home, with no money. It's been tough but interesting.