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Music, Orbs, and Alpha!

Another month, another progress update!
As usual, a pile of work got done and here’s a summary of all the stuff we’ve been chipping away at for our upcoming twin-stick shmup: A Quiver of Crows.

Music

One of Alice’s many gamedev hats is the music hat. In between building levels and gameplay programming she’s managed to find some time to churn out a couple of tracks for the game’s official soundtrack. Here’s a sneak peek:

Gauges

Back in April we were working on the gameplay gauges to showcase health, ammo, current weapon, etc. Since the last progress update, we finalized the gauge designs. Check it out:

Upgrade Orbs!

In true shmup form, we decided to go with floating orbs to deliver weapon and health upgrades. Some of these are placed throughout the levels while others are dropped from dispatched enemies.

Alpha Testing!

We were super excited to start our first friends and family alpha test this month. Feedback and bug reports are rolling in already and we’re already making improvements, all thanks to our alpha testers. We’ll probably do another round or two of closed alpha testing before we starting thinking about doing a public alpha or beta test.

Check out some of the tutorial artwork that went into the game for the alpha test. The first image there shows the controls you can expect for the game. The second image shows some in-level tutorial billboards we’re experimenting with to help provide instructions without pausing the game.

 

Building Levels

Level building is one of our biggest todos at the moment, so there’s a lot of that going on. Danny’s designing new environments, Alice is putting them together into levels, and Chad’s implementing the necessary level features. Here’s a video of some spooky environments being put together:

Stay Tuned For More!

That’s it for this update! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at crows@sheado.net or start a discussion in our Steam community hub. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @AQuiverOfCrows for more frequent updates!

Progress Update!!!

Hello fellow twin-stick shmup fans!

It’s been a few weeks since the last progress update. We got lots of stuff done over the past month. Here’s a review of all the progress we made developing A Quiver of Crows.

Gauges!

Everybody loves gauges right? In A Quiver of Crows gauges will show you your health, current weapon, and current bomb. It’ll also show you bomb ammo and weapon upgrade level. In the screenshot below, you can see one of the gauge designs in-game.


The design has evolved a bit since we started on it. Check out (below) all of the different variations we’ve considered. We’re still tweaking the design for the gauges, but we’re getting close to finalizing it.
HUD Design
Also, while I’m at it, check out the awesome job Danny did animating the heart!

Vignettes!

Another thing we worked on was a vignette effect for when the crow dies at the hands of those demons and ghouls. Check it out in the screenshot below. We’re still fine-tuning the color and shape of the vignette, but this is the type of effect you can expect when a pile of biters decides to overwhelm our dear crow!

Dream Catchers!

Each stage exit in A Quiver of Crows is controlled by a fire-bound dream catcher. Once you complete the stage, the dream catcher’s fiery spell will be lifted, allowing you to move on to the next one. Much of the work for the dream catcher is done, but we have yet to place it in a pretty environment:

Damage Animation

Visual feedback when your player takes on damage is quite important. We decide to go with a glow to red effect for the crow when it takes on damage. We’re still fine tuning this effect too, but you can get an idea of how red the crow will get for a split second when getting hit:

Upgrade Design

There are a million ways to design a shmup. How do you upgrade? How do you downgrade? How do you get your bombs? Hundreds of shmups have explored different solutions with varying results, and so we spent a lot time researching and revisiting old shmups in order take away our favorite designs from each. The community at shmups.system11.org has been extremely helpful in sharing ideas and opinions regarding shmup designs. If you’re really into shmups, we definitely recommend you check out their site.

Balancing!

Last but not least – gameplay balancing! This is perhaps one of the most important tasks we’ve been working on lately. We want to make sure the different weapons, bombs, and enemies are all balanced accordingly. So we’ve been doing lots of math and fine tuning to get this just right.

Stay Tuned!

Okay – that’s it for this update. Thanks for reading and supporting us! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at crows@sheado.net or start a discussion in our Steam community hub. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @AQuiverOfCrows for more frequent updates!

Steam!

Hello Shmup Fans,

A Quiver of Crows now has a Steam store page and community hub! First of all, thanks to everybody who gave us a Yes vote on Steam Greenlight – we couldn’t have made it this far without you.

Now that the Steam page is up, we encourage you to Wishlist and Follow us there to stay up to date with the latest development progress. Make sure to check out the hub’s artwork section for never before seen concept art and development screencaps. Also if you have questions about the game, feel free to post questions in the discussions area of the hub.

That’s it for now. Stay tuned for more updates!

Art, Code, and Levels! A Progress Update!

Hey Peoples!

We’ve been super duper busy over the past few weeks and a whole bunch of stuff got done. Figured we’re due for another progress update, so here it is:

Art!
The art in the different levels of A Quiver of Crows is inspired by the color palate associated with each time of day. From the baby blue skies of dawn, to the pink and purple hues of sunset, each time of day is beautiful in its own way. With this in mind, Danny has been finalizing the look of the Dawn and Sunset levels. He did quite an amazing job – check it out below!

Palm Trees at Sunset

Pine Trees at Dawn

Code!
On the programming end of things, Chad has been busy creating the Windows and Linux alpha builds of the game (the OSX build is already good to go). It’s really cool to see the game running on 3 operating systems!

Levels!
Levels – those are important, right? That’s why Alice has been chipping away at the level design and enemy balancing. Not too easy, not too difficult! We hope to have one of the levels ready for alpha testing soon – can’t wait!

Other Stuff!
In other news, we released a mini billiards game on the App Store. It’s really casual, mindless, and fun – check it out!


Also, if you’re a game developer, you might be interested in the Steam concept stats we shared recently in a Gamasutra blog post.
 
Ok! It’s back to work for us. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow us @AQuiverOfCrows for all the latest.

1 Shot Pool

We made a mini-game!

Hey Peoples! Check it out:

It’s real simple. You get 1 shot to sink them all! Give it a shot – you might even like it if you’re not totally into billiard games.

Also, it’s free! Go get it now!!!!!!!1!1!!
1 Shot Pool

The Aftermath of Being Greenlit

Hi everyone!

Being Greenlit gave us a huge morale boost and an even bigger pile of work! Luckily though, we can ease off promoting the game for now and focus most of our attention on game development. The three of us have been busy:

  • Danny is working on the environmental assets for two new stages.
  • Chad is upgrading the development framework and preparing the Windows build for alpha testing.
  • I’m building the alpha level as well as balancing the monsters.

I’ll leave you with this timelapse video showing the ground building process of a level using the RUBE (Really Useful Box2D Editor):

That’s it for this update. Don’t forget to follow us @AQuiverOfCrows for the latest news and screenshots of A Quiver of Crows.

A Quiver of Crows has been Greenlit!

Thanks to everyone who has voted, tweeted, written about, and supported us in any way. We are so humbled and extremely grateful!

A Quiver of Crows Greenlit on Steam on January 26, 2015

A Quiver of Crows Greenlit on Steam

It’s back to work for us. Follow us for more updates! @AQuiverOfCrows

In the Midst of Greenlight

Now that we’re about 2 weeks into Greenlight we’ve done a good deal of reaching out to journalists, websites, and shmup fans. The process takes a lot of time and anytime someone picks up a story on us, it’s a big help.

Check out the awesome coverage the game has gotten so far!
IGM Forum Finds: A Quiver of Crows
Destructoid – A Quiver of Crows looks lovely…
Gaming on Linux

At this point we will let our Steam Greenlight page go into auto-pilot as we continue getting a stream of votes. Feedback from our voters has been mostly positive so far, which is hugely motivating!

Here’s a timelapse showing the animation process for willow trees that will be in A Quiver of Crows! The animations are being done in Spine – 2D animation software for games.

Thank you for your support and lets keep those yes votes coming!
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A Quiver of Crows™ is on Greenlight!

Hi everyone!

We are excited to announce that A Quiver of Crows is on Greenlight! If you haven’t seen our trailer, check it out there. Please vote for us!

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If you have a moment, please help spread the word of our Greenlight campaign to your family and friends. We need as many votes as we can from our fans in order to be successful.

Thank you!

Homing Quills!

Happy New Year! Things are pretty distracting during the holidays, but we are still getting work done on A Quiver of Crows. Our entry on Steam Concepts has been very positive so far.

Check out our new screenshot. We don’t have homing pigeons in our crow game, we have homing quills!

These quills will heat-seek enemies and hunt them down relentlessly!

We will be running our Greenlight campaign next week, so stay tuned!

Please follow us on Twitter @AQuiverOfCrows for updates.