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.








Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Catyph launch trailer & DVD

Oh, if you're now used to follow me on the Icehouse blog, you've probably already seen the information below (if not, please follow the Icehouse blog or FB, where I write most of the news, and where I share a happy relationship with talented people!).

I just can't realise (yet) that the release of Catyph is tomorrow. After 2 years of work!! It's still a little blurry in my head, like a dream in the morning, when you don't know if you've woken up or not. So... here's the Launch Trailer - a way for me to understand that yes, the game does exist in its totality, it's not just an illusion!



Anyway, tomorrow will be full of surprises. Surprises for me, because I still don't know how you will welcome the game, and how many of you will want to discover this new slideshow adventure. And surprises for you too, because moon Tytaah is vast, and there are many places to explore.
I don't even talk of the other surprises. Oh, you'll see tomorrow, but at least I can reveal the Catyph DVD. It is available now, and you can purchase it with ASA Remastered (and maybe Myha?) if you want to reduce shipping costs.

So, rendez-vous tomorrow?





Monday, May 9, 2016

It's the Black Cube week!

I'm beginning the Black Cube week: one week dedicated to my main series because, as you probably know, it will welcome a new episode this Wednesday, May 11th. Catyph: The Kunci Experiment is ready (I hope), and should be available on Steam and self-published DVD on The Icehouse site (www.theicehouse.fr). And maybe on the Humble Store too? We'll see if I can do it.

In the meantime, you can read this beautiful comic strip written and illustrated by my friends Olivier and Cécile from the Atelier Sentô, who work on a great upcoming game: The Coral Cave (www.ateliersento.com and www.thecoralcave.com).

Atelier Sentô was kind enough to get involved in the Beta Test of Catyph (you'll see their names in the credits), and they REALLY helped me fix issues and bugs. If there are remaining problems in the game that we didn't succeed to find, at least it won't be due to a lack of testing! Here's what happened to them during the Beta Test:
 


Read the full article in French on Indiemag with photos of me with Atelier Sentô in Annecy, during their exhibition in 2015.

https://www.indiemag.fr/articles/vacances-etoiles-latelier-sento
  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Catyph is gold

The Beta Tests are finished, the game is now gold. I still have a few bugs to fix, but nothing complicated. Some of the testers have really done a remarkable job. Now I can confirm that Catyph will release in May as announced earlier, unless a catastrophe occurs! If you're looking to play the game, please remember: May 11th, Steam, Windows, English/French. The game contains 4 difficulty levels and should need at least 10 hours to reach the end (the average of beta testers is more 15-20 hours). Get ready!


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Catyph BETA

The Beta-Tests of Catyph are officially started. Several people have been contacted, but there is still some place if you're interested to get involved.

The minimum requirements are a little higher than ASA Remastered, but it's still a 2D game (pre-rendered 3D), so we're far from the requirements of modern and AAA games.

A comfortable system could be:
Windows 7 or newer (but it also works with XP)
multi-core 2,5Ghz +
4 GB Ram
Video card 512 MB (the more the better)
5 GB disk space (the game size is 3.2GB)

It should work on lower systems, even if it could mean that it is slower sometimes.

If you want to become a Beta Tester, here are a few rules that you should be aware of:

- please don't get involved only to receive the game before the official release, and for free.

- Beta-Testing is not as enjoyable as discovering the final game, because it can crash anytime, or your savegames can be corrupted, etc.

- the purpose is to help me fix all the issues and bugs, so if you accept, you should try to finish the game even if you don't like it in the end.

- you'll have to do your best to finish the game before the month of May.

- I won't be able to reply to everyone, but I will read all feedbacks from testers.

- the Beta is private and you are not supposed to reveal in public any information about the game. It could spoil the content to other players, or might give them a wrong idea.

Of course for all of your efforts, you will receive the game for free (Beta and final later), your name in credits, and my deepest gratitude.

Feel free to get in touch with me through my website(s) to request access to the Beta. I won't accept any new Tester in April, or if you are already too many to participate.

Thank you for your help, and see you soon on Tytaah!
Simon

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

At last! Catyph is finished!!

In March 2013, ASA: A Space Adventure first released on Desura.
In March 2014, I officially started the development of Catyph.
In March 2015, I released ASA Remastered Edition on Steam...

And in March 2016, you ask?
Well, I thought it would be the month of the release of Catyph, and I tried my best, but as you can guess: you will have to wait a little longer. No, Catyph won't release this month, but for the first time I am happy to say that the game is finished. I could play it from the beginning to the end several times, in each level of difficulty, and it worked. It might just be a small news, written on a small blog, but for me it's a huge step forward.

The development of Catyph began in the beginning of 2014, and was first planned to last 6 months, just like ASA - no more no less. But the more I was preparing the project, the more I thought I had to do more. A lot of First Person Adventure games are now in realtime 3D with incredible graphics, and are just great. I think that Catyph won't be able to compete with them and, in fact, I'm not going to try. You shouldn't think of Catyph as another one of these games. It's not a game like Dear Esther or The Witness, or even Obduction. Catyph is a very personal project, and I assume my choices, which include working with pre-rendered background again.
I'm happy with the result. It's far from perfect (the gameplay was hard to balance because of the use of static pictures), but I know that I couldn't have done a better project on my own, in the current circumstances, working at home with my own money.
So if you ask me: I am proud of my game and I really hope that you'll share this feeling with me. Today I think I am ready to show it to everyone, as it is a worthy successor to ASA. Just don't expect Catyph to be similar on each point with its predecessor. Some things have changed!

Does it mean that it is ready for a public release now? Unfortunately not! Now will begin the private Beta Tests and it will take about 2 months. Catyph should release around May 15th, and will probably not be very followed by the press (I'll do my best however), so if you are looking forward to play it, please keep this date in mind: Catyph, May 15th on Steam. Of course I will update this blog, and an announcement will be posted on The Icehouse collective sites as soon as the game is officially available.

About this release:
It will only be for Windows, and in English and French.
And probably on Steam only... I wanted to release it on the Adventure Gamers shop, but it is now closed. I don't know yet if other interesting stores will accept the game.
Regarding the localization, the team with whom I worked on ASA (moonplanet) doesn't exist anymore, and it was a sad news. So I had 2 possibilities left:
- release Catyph with also Spanish, Italian and German languages as planned, but it would mean a release much later this year.
- or release only in French and English, and see later what I can do with other languages.
I chose this second option, and Catyph will be localized in more languages *only* if the sales allow it.
I also chose not to release Catyph on Linux and Mac. It was possible with Visionaire Studio, but I think it would be a mistake (not that I don't want to do it!). It would seem that there are still issues with ASA Remastered for Linux and Mac, and I am unable to fix them. I could only release ASA-R on these platforms because it was developed by Andrea Rinaldi, and not me alone. But here with Catyph it's different: I'm on my own, and I don't have a Mac or a Linux PC to make tests (and i don't even know how to use these OS). So I don't want to take the risk. Maybe later with some help?

Now I will just focus on making the Windows version as stable as possible, and fix as many bugs as possible. That's the most important. I confirm that the game is quite big for an indie/solo project, and you should expect at the very least 10 hours of gameplay in Normal mode (probably less in the 2 easiest modes). If you want to find everything and unlock all bonuses, all diary pages and take the time to read them, 15 hours is a minimum I think, and it will certainly be even more if you choose the Classic mode and play in the old-school Myst way, with a pen and a paper (anyway they're necessary).
This consequent lifetime, coming along with HD pre-rendered backgrounds and video transitions, also implies that the game will be heavy to download. You should expect it to be around 5GB, and that's quite a lot compared to ASA (1GB). After all, the game already weighs 15GB before it is built and compressed, and the whole work folder exceeds 100GB on my hard drive!!
It also means that you'll need a more powerful computer for Catyph than to play ASA. Of course you don't need a modern PC (there's no realtime 3D after all), but it will be better with some memory and a good video card, in order to preload all the animations and videos. The requirements will be given as soon as possible.

More news should come soon. I will try to prepare a new trailer. The Beta Test will probably be an opportunity to work (and maybe re-think) everything that was said above. For now, please just keep in mind the release date, OS and languages. A bientôt !
 














Tuesday, March 8, 2016

When ASA meets Rhem

During the last week-end, I have had the chance to receive a beautiful surprise: a nice message from a person that you are many to know: M. Knut Müller, the creator of Rhem! I hesitated to share about it here, because it was a personal private message. I just can't find the good words to describe my feelings, but I was very happy of course.  He has recently been playing ASA a little bit and he likes it, despite taking all his time to progress in the game. Games like ASA only exist thanks to the creators of Myst and Rhem,  they're series that wrote a large part of the History of adventure games. Now I really want even more to make Catyph a good game. Talking of it, I should be able to give some good news very soon, so stay around here!


Learn more about Rhem (and eventually purchase it): http://rhem-game.com/

There was a long, interesting interview of Knut Müller and his projects here:
http://www.adventureclassicgaming.com/index.php/site/interviews/333/

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Myha CD now exists

If you are like me, you like to have a physical copy of your favorite series of games and films! Maybe you'd like to have your own official disc of MYHA then?

The good news is that it's now possible: have a look at the photos of the CD below, and if you want it, it will only cost you $2.58 (+shipping costs). I won't earn money on this disk (the $2.58 is the minimum price on Trepstar, which includes manufacture costs). I must say that I mainly prepared it for me, to keep a nice backup of my work, but then I thought: why not sharing it with you too?

This CD version is for PC, the game will only work on Windows.

Buy CD version of MYHA





Of course the digital version will stay free forever, and you can still download it from itch.io or gamejolt. Check availability here: The Icehouse MYHA page