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      Game Development

      For the Cow King! An Overview of Another Reigny Day

      For the Cow King! An Overview of Another Reigny Day

      When the Cow King bestowed knighthood upon you, that came with the caveat that you defend him to the death! In Another Reigny Day, your mission is to keep the hordes off the Cow King’s lawn by dealing death with a slew of fancy weapons.

      Summon your trusty bow to send a volley of doom upon your enemies. Feeling particularly malicious? Dip your arrows into flavor buckets to spice up your ammo and send enemies flying with knockback arrows, immolate them with fire arrows, or ruin their diets with crispy fried chicken arrows. Don’t fancy yourself an archer? You can also grab hold of a variety of magical spells to add some variety to your deadly volleys. If those don’t pack enough punch for you, set up some cannons to deal major damage to the invaders, or just use them to hurl munitions through your neighbors’ windows.

      Syphon loot from your enemies’ broken bodies to build up your defenses and repair your castle. Use that lucre to prepare yourself for increasingly more deadly waves of enemies by deploying defenses through the purchasing table. Plop down a few turrets, dole out some cash on some upgrades - just make sure you’re ready for the unending hordes. There’s a diverse selection of automated death dealers to lighten the load on your bow; fire, ice, and even rage turrets that turn your aggressors against their friends.

      Don’t think you can just rely on your turrets to do all the heavy lifting, though. There are over 15 types of wily enemies trying to knock down your door, and they range from poop-flinging monkeys and exploding skeletons to boulder pitching giants and fire breathing dragons. Battering rams will try and topple your walls and armored knights are out for some close combat. When things get too hot, give the baddies a good smack with your axes and swat away their projectiles with a wave of your hand.


      It’s a tough job defending the castle, but if you put in the work to gain the favor of the Cow King he will bestow upon you some lordly titles. So make sure that cow stays safe from the endless hordes that are out to topple the stone walls of his home, and you may find yourself rewarded. Perform exceptionally well and you may even find yourself climbing the online leaderboards.

      You can stuff your face into either an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift to play Another Reigny Day, soon to be available on Steam!

      Creating Virtual Reality Games: The Fundamentals

      Creating Virtual Reality Games: The Fundamentals
      With VR becoming more and more prevalent within the consumer space, a new frontier for game development has opened up with its own challenges and opportunities. It’s not as simple as adding head tracking to a first-person shooter, however. The fundamentals are much less simple.

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      What is a Game Developer?

      What is a Game Developer?

      From the entertainment industry powerhouses to international medical device corporations, we have made games for clients in several verticals. Each industry is different, and each company starts the conversation with different expectations. Some have a solid idea or concept that we help them flesh out and bring to life. Others want to work closely with us on several iterations of a design doc. Still, other organizations request that we create a submission for an RFP (Request for Proposal).

      We understand that for many companies this might be their first experience in the video game world, and we are happy to go through whatever discovery process helps them make an educated and strategically beneficial decision. Through many conversations like these, we have gathered a set of criteria which represent the “best practices” to ensure that you – and we – are getting the necessary information for a successful partnership.

      1. Tell me your budget and ask me how we’ll spend it. Many times, companies are hesitant to talk numbers. However, it is difficult for us to provide an accurate scope of what is possible for your game without knowing where to begin, or where to stop. Furthermore, providing a budget in an RFP is advantageous to you because it puts you in control. You’ll be able to compare all proposals based on their content and not their price point.
      2. Tell me what your timeline is. Even the most carefully planned games undergo a process of iteration. When the design doc meets reality and playable builds are on hand, designers and artists inevitably find room for improvement and tweaking. Often, the serendipities experienced in actually playing a game reveal elements and polish that never would have been identified in a purely theoretical space. Knowing what your timeline allows us to budget time for this type of playtesting and iteration.
      3. Tell me what your digital strategy is. Games can complement a digital strategy in many ways. They can serve as client acquisition or lead nurturing tools. They can drive deeper brand engagement or catalyze more meaningful brand activations. Each situation is unique, and no two companies will have the same needs. Rather than have us guess what your current tactics are, tell us straight out, so we can tailor your game to synergize and enhance your current efforts.
      4. Tell me what your marketing strategy is. Similar to your digital strategy, informing us of your current marketing tactics can help us design your game to dovetail with them. Do you need to amplify your messaging? Reach a new demographic? Raise social sharing? A game can accomplish all of this and more – just let us know what is important to you.
      5. Tell me about your trade show and exhibition plans. Let’s use those events to your game’s advantage for user acquisition, pooling feedback, and most importantly, getting the engagement that matters at your booth.
      6. Ask me about Mega Cat Studios. You can get an idea of the company just by browsing our website or typing our name into a search engine. However, I’d also like the chance to explain why I think we’re the best match for your project or needs. Sending out an RFP inevitably means that there will be submissions from multiple companies – allow me to explain what sets us apart.
      7. Tell me your goals and objectives for the project and the company objectives it supports. A game can form the cornerstone of your mobile marketing strategy, a product launch, inject fans into a brand’s story, ignite your expo and event presence, or provide a medium for physical merchandise sales. Knowing what else you’re working towards allows us to deliver more value on the project.
      8. Ask me about game design for a project like this. Sometimes it is hard for companies to understand how their product or service could be turned into a game, let alone a fun and engaging game. This, however, is our strength. As a creative-first game studio, we see the world, and the offerings of every client, as an opportunity for play.
      9. Ask me about our game design ethos. One thing that sets us apart from the competition is how we think about and approach games. We believe that with the right game, anyone can be a gamer – especially your audience. Come see what makes a Mega Cat game different.

        Simultaneous Inputs & Button Timing Buffering for Mobile

        Simultaneous Inputs & Button Timing Buffering for Mobile

        Although the topic of timing and controls is generally reserved for fighting game conversations, we had some unique behind the scenes adjustments lately that we wanted to create a resource for.

        We are porting some of our NES games with a partner to distribute on the App Store & Google Play. Rather than having the games recreated and mobile-optimized, we’re using a custom emulator that, when complete, will allow us a near drag and drop solution for releasing them through these digital storefronts in the future.

        This might look familiar to some of you!

        For those of you that have played Log Jammers, you know it’s a fast-paced arcade sports game where timing and precise controls are critical for success. Looking at the image above, you’ll see that this game includes local co-op play, something we thought would be fun for mobile as well. After some iteration and community testing on timing, inputs, and an increase in the total area that you can touch and interact with, we had one final adjustment to make: simultaneous button press timing.

        In many games, two face button presses are required. In Almost Hero, as an example, A+B is what unlocks the jump kick, which is arguably the most important single move in the game.

        By default, the custom emulator we were using does allow an A+B press, the timing just required exacting precision that created a mediocre gameplay experience. Mobile games should have an additional eye towards accessibility, and this type of frustrating control requirement without a reward won’t be leaving anyone in mobile's general addressable audience feeling excited.

        Simultaneous inputs are possible without making any modifications to the emulator but are extremely difficult with touch controls. The strict timing is particularly noticeable because pressing the fingers down evenly lacks the physical feedback of button switches, which greatly helps in achieving truly simultaneous inputs.

        Buffering can be used to simulate this physical feedback by adding a delay for singular A/B presses (e.g, 50ms) and waiting for the other to be pressed. If the other is pressed at any point within the 50ms buffer window, they are both immediately submitted to the emulator at the same time. If the other button is not pressed within the buffer, just the one that was pressed is sent to the emulator.

        Software-level buffering like this is common, especially in fighting games, but even a very slight additional delay on top of the existing native delay from the emulator may have been too much.

        Without physical buttons or the use of a buffering solution, the difficulty of true simultaneous inputs, therefore, depends on the game's frame rate. The game has to receive both touches on the same frame for it to be registered as a true simultaneous input. If one button is even 1 frame off from another, it means the input systems will receive one button first and start acting upon that, causing it to not use the next button on the next frame (assuming another in-game action was started by the first button). This is assuming the emulated game code itself does not use a buffering solution on the inputs it receives, in which case a buffer at the emulator layer would not do any good.

        A phone I was testing on was somewhat laggy, running at about 30 FPS, which means 1000ms per sec / 30 frames per sec = 33.3 ms (per frame) window for simultaneous inputs. I can get simultaneous inputs around 50-75% reliably at that frame rate. If someone was running the game smoothly at 60fps, they would have a 16.67ms window to perform a simultaneous input, which is unreasonable and makes getting a valid simultaneous input impractical.

        To improve upon this foundation, we added an optional input buffering system into the emulator. This buffering system is easily customizable on a per-game basis (including whether it's used at all). Any games which depend on a lot of simultaneous inputs would have it turned on and tuned to a value that feels like a good compromise, and games with no simultaneous inputs would have it disabled.

        OBS Settings for Recording Game Footage

        OBS Settings for Recording Game Footage
        An easy guide to getting the perfect OBS settings for recording game footage for trailers or streaming.

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