Friday 22 March 2013

More Press for Slamjet Stadium!

Slamjet Stadium's been gathering reviews and interest as it's been rolling along since launching last week. Here's a few more of the reviews it's been getting so far!

"A fantastic example of the kind of innovative gaming that could only really work on a touch based tablet"
4 stars - 148Apps

"Alistair Aitcheson’s air-hockey remix is scrappy, silly sporting madness."
EDGE Online

"Slamjet Stadium is a must-buy for fans of frantic, action-packed sports games with a killer multi-player mode for when you’ve got company"

And The Guardian selected Slamjet Stadium as one of their 30 Best Apps for the week

Also, you may be interested in the article I wrote for Gamasutra a couple of weeks ago, which was selected as a featured article. I hope it's of interest!

Time for Multiplayer to Get Physical - On Gamasutra

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Slamjet Stories: The Coach

It wouldn't be sci-fi without fanfiction now, would it? Here's another story by Leon Osborne - hope you enjoy it! All the Slamjet Stadium fanfics can be found via this link.

Coach Hurlock swept his eyes over his team.

What a bunch of disgusting pigs he thought.

Quite literally disgusting pigs; they were the Space Hogs F squad and their sense of personal hygiene had long since abandoned them after deciding it couldn’t put up with the smell. Coach Hurlock was not of the hog persuasion, he came from Jetpack City. It was a quite a radical new thing in the game of Slamjet, inter-region coaches. No longer did the team coach need to be from the same city, planet or species as the team.

Officially this had been done to encourage a new spawn of tactical thinking and to encourage strategies more in depth than I’ll-try-and-knock-that-guys-teeth-out-and-maybe-score-a-goal.

Unofficially, however, this had been done to build a better network of people involved in the sport and make it easier for things like bribery and match fixing.

In practice what was happening was that coaches were being kidnapped, tortured for information about the opposition and ransomed back.

Saturday 16 March 2013

Slamjet Stadium Launches - Gets New & Noteworthy!

Wow, it's been an exciting end to the week! Slamjet Stadium launched, as promised, on March 14th and is now available for iPads worldwide for £1.99/$2.99.

Not only that, but I took a look at the US store and saw this: it's been selected for New & Noteworthy!

It's also listed in the New & Noteworthy section of the Games listing, as well as a banner and a listing in their Tabletop Games feature. It goes without saying: I am overjoyed!

There's been some fantastic reviews too.

"This is anarchic, free-wheeling indie gaming at its finest, and shows just how far a bit of innovation can go"
9 out of 10, Gold Award

"It’s impossible to describe how much chaos can be involved and how competitive games can get"
8 bruised, bent and broken thumbs out of 10

"Tons of action-packed twists every way you turn, and that frantic addictiveness of a great arcade game"
4 stars

Let's hope the game can build on this momentum. Looking forward to keeping you posted!

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Talk: Developing Slamjet Stadium as a One-Man Studio

I gave a talk about the building of Slamjet Stadium at a recent Best of British gamedev meet in London.

I talk about how the development process reflected the small nature of my studio (can't get much smaller than one man!) and the important of pushing a message and an ideal in the design. I also give my thoughts on the benefits I have received from making friends within my industry, and how as indie developers we need to help each other out as best we can.

Best of British is an open group of indie studios based in the UK. We originally teamed up to put together a "Best of British" games bundle for iPhone, and have since run two game jams, releasing two collaborative minigame collections for iOS. We meet up on a regular basis and are always looking for new ways to help each other out, cross-promoting each other's work, passing on connections and contributing a regular column to

BoB is free to join for all UK-based studios and we're always looking to get new people involved - the more the merrier! 

Visit the website, or get in touch with Jake Birkett, the current chief BoBBee, if you'd like to be a part of the group.

Monday 11 March 2013

#AitchesonBrosLaunchDay - The Splintered Kingdom

What is #AitchesonBrosLaunchDay I hear you ask? My brother James Aitcheson, historical fiction author, is releasing his new paperback on March 14th - the same day as Slamjet Stadium hits the App Store!

The Splintered Kingdom is the follow-up to his debut novel, Sworn Sword, and follows Norman knight Tancred a Dinant through the turbulent years following the Battle of Hastings in 1066. 

You can get a flavour of what's in store by reading the first chapter for free from his website. 

The book is currently available in hardcover and on Kindle, and the paperback will be available from all good bookshops, supermarkets and online from March 14th.

So if you have a penchant for rip-roaring action or medieval history I seriously recommend you check out his work, because he's a fantastic writer!

Synopsis for The Splintered Kingdom

Thursday 7 March 2013

10 More Awesome Indie Dev Links

A while back I wrote an article listing 10 awesome articles I've read and videos I've watched, and I was eager to list some more. Why? Because they're awesome! I tend to read a lot about game development, and have pulled a lot of useful insight from the experiences of others - so it would be silly not to pass that knowledge on!

Game Design

Balancing For Skill (video) - Extra Credits

I really love the Extra Credits video series, and this one in particular is a highlight. It's about balancing the abilities in a game - focusing not on getting the high-level game to be well-balanced, but on creating a game that's equally satisfying for beginners as for expert players. It also deals with making sure that players constantly have reason to improve their skills, rather than settling for the easiest-to-execute abilities. Their video on intentionally-imbalanced systems is also very insightful.

The Puzzle of Designing Puzzles - Toni Sala

Designing puzzles isn't something I do very often. I tend to prefer working on the dynamic, self-generating puzzle-like systems like you see in Greedy Bankers, and that I enjoyed in Triple Town, rather than designed problems with known solutions. This article gives a great reasoning for why players like myself often find designed puzzles unsatisfying, and then goes on to show how great puzzle design can work around these issues. Top stuff.

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Slamjet Stories - The Commentators

Writer Leon Osborne, who contributed the first Slamjet Stadium fiction to the blog has come up with some more fantastic work, which really captures the setting I'd envisioned for the game. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have!
A member of the Astro Marines team, as depicted in the game
Part 1

Rikk: Howdy there Sports Fans. Rikk Slinger and Takei Coates here. It looks set to be another beautifully brutal game of Slamjet today.
Takei: That’s right, Rikk. And we’re gonna be here bringing you all the action for Tyrant TV. Today’s match sees the Fanboys go up against the Astro Marines.
Rikk: Ha. There’s gonna be a definite weight advantage going on in this game!
Takei: Too right, Rikk. Slametric data, stretching back decades, will tell you that the Marines have won 90% of the games when facing the Fanboys and have always won on the injury infliction score.
Rikk: Not that we condone the injury infliction score of course as does no one else employed by Tyrant TV.
Takei: You said it, Rikk. Tyrant TV and its associated sponsors promote clean and family friendly hyper violent blood sports. But we’re well aware that many fans-
Rikk: And book keepers.
Takei: -That many enthusiasts take a keen interest in all statistics associated with the sport, most prominent amongst them the Tooth Count…
Rikk: How many teeth a player has lost since his professional career began.
Takei: The Tooth Fairy Count…
Rikk: How many teeth a player has knocked out of other players since his career began.
Takei: The Bone Breaker Count and the Bone Breakee Count…
Rikk: Like the tooth counts but with bones.

Saturday 2 March 2013

Evolution of Slamjet Stadium - In Pictures

I put up this video last night. Actually, it was really fun to do, although it took a while! As I've been developing Slamjet Stadium (from August 2012 to February 2012), I've taken about 350 screenshots - some to use as publicity material, some because of bugs that looked particularly funny - but mostly just to remind me later on of how it had developed.

Then I strung them together, one-by-one into a 70-second montage. The result is below

Below are some of the screenshots from development with a little explanation, to give a taste of how it's evolved.