RavalMatic defies the USA

RavalMatic has broken the embargo imposed to Russia by the USA and sold its most strategic game to Comon Games, a courageous Russian company.
The negotiations were conducted with maximum secrecy in Viena by one of our agents and high level officials of Comon Games. Once the deal was completed, we inserted an usb memory in a banana. That usb contained all the project files. The banana was part of a bananas cargo that left the harbour of Barcelona 3 weeks ago with direction to Istanbul.
Nobody of the crew was aware that among the thousands of bananas they that transported there was such a dangerous game!
The third of June, two members of the Russian embassy in Istanbul got the banana, carefully extracted the usb key, ate the banana to destroy all evidence and flew to Moscow to deliver the app-files to top executives of Comon Games.
 
 

 

bananamania – breaking the rules

bananamania_carrousel_02

Our latest game is here. After the success of FootChinko any other studio would have done a sequel, but we decided to produce bananamania, surrealism in its pure state.

Hopefully players like it. We don’t know if it’s a good game, as players have to decide on that. But one thing is for sure: it’s a game that goes round and round in circles.

Its peculiarities start at the preload scene, as it lacks of the typical preload bar or a number measuring the loaded percentage. Progress is just a collection of unconnected dots that grow to conform a big pixel banana.

It’s original! We’ve taken the risk of not producing a match 3 or the clone of a successful mobile game, which is exactly what publishers love and finance.

Opposite to the html5 casual games currently published, it doesn’t target a particular kind of player. Everyone who is bored of playing clones of clones is welcomed to bananamania.

Its title is too long. Many publishers misspell the name when answering our emails.

The home scene is too elaborated and detailed, sometimes we think that we’ve invested more time on that scene than in the whole game.

No tutorial.

It lacks a story and its setting is unrelated to the game play.

The score text, which on any other game would be just readable and noticeable, gains prominence and spins, hurting even the game play itself by doing that.

3 of its 6 levels are hidden to the player, he/she doesn’t even know that they exist! and a semitransparent and disabled arrow button leads nowhere.

Its high graphic weight doesn’t correspond to its simple game play. Graphic assets and game play are quite unbalanced. The simplicity of the game mechanic rests value to the amount of work put on the pixel art, visual and audio effects instead of praising them (as a couple of publishers think).

The basis of the game mechanic is breaking the player’s flow continuously. Opposite of what game design books recommend, bananamania is ridiculously difficult and keeps on offering frustration without any rewards to the player (as real life sometimes).

The player can’t control the game characters, which is uncommon, just throw them bananas.

The player encounters hazards without previous warning.

And last but not least, maybe just one person in the world will be able to finish the game. So much effort on a single player in the era of the online masses, doesn’t make any sense from a materialistic point of view.

Too many contradictions in your head? Don’t go bananas and play bananamania. Here is the link:

bananamania

Stories can also be told by level menus

We develop casual games, which in narrative terms means that, generally, stories tend to be overlooked in our field:

  • Some odd pigs stole your eggs and you immolate your people (birds) to erase their kind.
  • Someone leaves a hungry critter at your doorstep and you feed it a la “Home Alone”.
  • You use a machine-gun as a jetpack to burst into a factory and gather some cash that would allow you to get a green mohawk haircut (??).

The list could go on and on, and the quality of stories would diminish until we got to: “a sugar-dealer majordomo invites you to move candies around”.

Before going any further we must say that despite their minimalist stories, these four games rely on a solid gameplay that’s been proven highly motivating for millions of players.

Although we may not be great story tellers, and we definitely have replicated some naive approaches to casual games, we certainly care about making casual games move forward…

Workers leaving the factory – Inception

In the pathway we have figured out that we can tell amusing stories using not just the intros of the game. In this case, we’ll talk briefly about the narrative possibilities of level menus.
Once again, the previously mentioned games have no significant stories, so there’s no way that their level menus can build up something that is missing from the beginning.

Three classical models of casual games level menus: slots with numbers, In-App-Purchases focused screen, and pointless map. (While you can talk about a journey using a map, in most games it’s just an excuse to give a sense of progression and use different background settings in the game. In the best of cases, every new area will unlock new game mechanics vaguely related to its emplacement, but still though there’s no underlying story about a travel.)

Here there are some story-aimed level menus we used in the past.

Meet Barcenas, the treasurer of a major spanish political party. In the game Chorizos de España, this merry fellow has gathered tons of black money and needs to carry them to Switzerland, the nation where blood-stained money sleeps tight. Traveling by plane is not safe for his purpose, so you have to drive all your way through.

The narrative resource of the journey fits perfectly here. The real character made these very same travel to carry loads of 500-euro bills to Lombard Odier’s offices in Geneva. So if point A and point B are relevant to the development of your story, and there’s a story about a journey to be told… don’t fear the stiff and overused maps: they are your answer, master Frodo!

[…]
Hail soccer maniacs! This is soccer: once a sport and now a showbiz where 22 guys kick a ball on an encapsulated green meadow while earning a vast amount of money. Just that. A cheerful sports commentator here, a spicy streaker there. No big plots. And still though, there’s a competition context we need to reinforce.

 

The badge and reward system totally makes sense here. Simply by grouping different stages and arranging them inside a tournament system, we can compete for these world famous trophies, instead of playing an array of spare matches. After all, sport talks about competition, and this display of status which is a trophy cabinet is a major motivator for a sportsman.
[…]

 

When you are traveling with your friends, your plane suddenly crashes on a mysterious island. Are there any survivors? Let’s find out!

Boom Bang Friends uses a rather uncommon map through a guided tour on the island. You start looking around for your friends, but then, a magical portal appears at the end of level 3 and sends you randomly to another dimension or back to the past. The journey unravels offering you to travel to a sci-fi and a halloweenesque world. On the other possible branch, the time travel can lead you either to the pirate seas or the indian canyons. This bizarre story is widely inspired by the series Lost. The purpose here was to drive the player through an impredictible journey out of control.

 

[…]

Do you remember The Death appearing on “The seventh seal” challenging the knight to a chess match? … no? Well… remember the scene of Death playing Battleship in Bill & Ted’s bogus journey? Well… anyway… Death knocks on your door, and before you can even challenge her to a game in exchange for your soul, she proposes a basketball match, just for fun, with her and her three friends: Famine, War and Pestilence.

It may not be quite elaborated, but in Apocalypse Baskeball’s story the individual appeal of the characters is quite relevant. Instead of presenting 4 different game modes, we emplace the player against 4 challenges, 4 cocky demi-gods that make fun of you from the very beginning.

[…]

All in all, it’s pretty simple. No deep diving into ellaborated plots or metaphorical stuff, and still, with little effort there’s enough space to reinforce the theme of your game via the level menus. We just sneaked into the possibilities (we are certainly no masters at it), but there are so many opportunities for you to build part of your story using this screen. So when you discover yourself planning a 3-starred-slot levels matrix, or a map to nowhere, just take a couple of minutes to see if you are loosing a narrative opportunity there.

Pocahontas Slots features

<div style=”clear: both; text-align: center;”> <div style=”text-align: left;”><a href=”http://footchinko.com/wordpress/game/pocahontas-slots/”>Pocahontas Slots</a> license is now available. Watch the video to see the features of the game or play it <a href=”http://coldcherry.com/test/PS/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener”>here</a>.</div> <div style=”text-align: left;”>Just drop a line at info[at]ravalmatic if you think it may look cool on your website.</div> </div>  

Krazy Race trailer

Here’s the game trailer of Krazy Race, soon available on web, Appstore and Google Play.
Developed using Citrus Engine and Starling.

Racing Games infography

Now that we are about to release our Kiba and Kumba racing game, here’s an infography about the evolution of racing games, since 1988 (RC Pro AM)  until nowadays (GTAV?). Click image to expand info.

 

Chorizos de España

This new entry makes more sense to be written in spanish, so here we go…

Conoce al hombre detrás del mito. ¡El genio de la evasión de capital! …mmm… no hablo de Pepiño, ni de Iñaki, ni de Fabra, ni de Griñán, ni de Oriol, ni de Millet, ni de Guerrero, ni de Sepúlveda, ni de Chaves, ni de Rato, ni de Correa, ni de Guerra, ni de Roldán, ni de Conde, ni de De La Rosa, ni de Botín ¡¡ni siquiera del Dioni!! Hablamos ahora de Bárcenas, y hablamos del saqueo masivo de un país tan grande y generoso que puede permitirse muchos de estos personajes. ¡Incluso diría que muchos más!
Estamos ante un panorama desolador, estamos viendo el impune desfile de: CHORIZOS DE ESPAÑA (y olé).

En próximos capítulos (actualizaciones) podrás meterte en la piel de otros presuntos mangutas, pero ahora es el momento de ayudar a Luis Bárcenas a trasladar su fortuna a las oficinas de Lombard-Odier en Ginebra, Suiza. No sabemos en qué planea gastarse todo ese dinero, si en crear un satélite artificial de confetti concentrado, o formar un ejército personal de clones de Cristiano Ronaldo. No nos incumbe. Allá cada cual con sus vicios, sólo importa que necesita nuestra ayuda y no se la podemos negar.

Recorre los paisajes de la azotada meseta española. Haz turismo por aeropuertos fantasma, obras faraónicas muertas de risa, hospitales masacrados y traslada toda tu fortuna sin perder ni un céntimo por el camino. Aquí no encontrarás enemigos que se interpongan, (alfombra roja para el emprendedor) sólo estáis tú, tu pastuqui, y tu pericia. Y qué mejor manera de realizar este maravilloso periplo que hacerlo a ritmo de pasodoble de organillo.
Siente el cierzo en las patillas, el olor de los billetes de 500, el ritmo pachanguero del Casiotone y embárcate en esta aventura fiscal. ¡Al fin, la corrupción está al alcance de pobres como nosotros!

Ayer, en pleno brote psicótico, los esforzados miembros de Ravalmatic subimos la primera versión de Chorizos de España a Google Play para poder ser descargado en móviles y tabletas Android. Próximamente se publicará también la versión iOS. ¡Os mantendremos informados!

Mega Makeover 2 and success!

Mega Makeover Halloween

Wow! Players loved our last game. 

These days is very difficult to get the attention and involvement of players but our Scary Lilly seduced them. Lilly motivates us to improve MMO’s concept and make it more appealing and entertaining.

Since the game concept and the code is almost the same as MMO-1, all the merit belong to the artists. They really did an amazing job.

Artists:
Eli Basanta (doll and hairstyles)
Estela Gaona (dresses and accessoires)

>> Play MMO-2 here

Gamelab: day one

And so, Gamelab has begun. The biggest and most important videogame event hold in Barcelona opened its doors today at Catalunya Plaza Hotel. Today’s topics moved loosely around the mobile gaming issue. Let’s not even try to grasp a whole view on the day’s speeches, but instead let’s focus on the two best moments from a personal point of view.

For us, a humble tiny studio, those conferences about expanding to asian markets, or stretching the brand until you get profit of plush toys, were kind of celestial voices whispering about their fairytale world. But at lunchtime, the bunch of guys who struggle day by day just like us, (Lucera Project, Lemon Team, No2, IDS and with some more ease Ludei) were singing a different tune. A song about plain survival, perseverance, environmental adaptation and “old coder tricks”. It’s been a nice time spent among these buddies and the feeling of being rowing in the same boat is quite strong.


After that, 
the ever caustic and witty Daniel Sánchez-Crespo has shared his worthy point of view on game monetization. He was supposed to talk about Vita, but instead he showed his concerns about the players loosing the perception of game value itself. When selling games at 0.99$ we are putting ourselves in a point where it’s almost impossible to make a living out of them. The Appstore is overcrowded with daily releases, and making those games profitable means to invest the less time possible on them. In the end is a rat race with no way out where the victims are our own wallets and the games’ honor in general. 

On the other hand, as Dani exposed, there are some hopeful horizons in freemium, downloadable contents (DLC), subscriptions and the typical retail market from the console environment.
The question is… now that the mobile (iOs) users are used to pay cheap prices and they have a distorted view on the game value, is there a way back that allows the studios to quit from working for peanuts? Is the games respectability too eroded by all the mediocre stuff gathered together in the Appstore during this time?  
And most important, should I go back to my father with a gloomy gaze and tell him –You were right. Living from selling games at 99 cents was naive and I’ve been a fool for believing that.– ? 


Zombie Cells – Character Design (2/2)

Now we’re going to conclude our little analysis on character design, using the case of Zombie Cells as a reference.

In the previous entry we covered the first stages of char design. That includes the broad brainstorming, pencil sketching, first approaches and absurd ravings that must be identified and rejected before you find yourself falling in love with them.

In this stage of development we chose to depart from that comic/cartoonish style, that resembled Angry Birds, and try something less raw. We wanted some extra details, but not too much. Plain style is perfect, but there’s also a search for visual identity. You have to come to a balance point between simplicity on one side (works better for humorous purposes), and details, which may move you away from bold elegance but make the uniqueness of the design come into bloom.

Again some pencil work helps the designs come out more fluent. But once you have figured out the sketch, the basic design in outlines, you have to color it. Here we found a minor issue about color style, that is very illustrative. The first style makes use of gradients and works out better the volumes of the figure. But as you can see, the effect is quite gloomy, making thus the comic effect fade away. Just check out how different do they look, the exact two cells with just a different color style.

Finally we have to put all the cells together. They are not isolated beings, they must look fine as a group. Having the same visual design is something that we’ll take for granted at this point, but besides this, there’s also the color matching factor. When placed together they have to offer a cool group image (just like them). And assuming is a funny zombie game, we wanted them not to look too grayish or just  having variants over green tones. We wanted the whole zombie palette here, to get the richest variety of tones assuming we’re dealing with necrotic cells.

Enjoy the infection!