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Progress Update #25

Hey!
Happy New Year!

Here’s the latest progress update on our upcoming twin-stick shoot’em up: A Quiver of Crows.

Developer Let’s Play Video

For the tl;dr in you:

Dynamic Camera

After getting a bunch of beta feedback we noticed a common issue in some of the comments: offscreen enemies sneak up on you way too quickly. We believe part of the reason for this is that the camera used to always be centered on our heroic crow. As a result, you could only see half a screen’s view ahead of you when flying in any direction. To remedy this, we introduced a dynamic camera that pans ahead relative to the crow’s speed and direction in order to allow you to look ahead as much as possible. So far, we’re finding that this new camera functionality has helped significantly reduce sneak attacks by offscreen enemies while also allowing players to fly their crow more quickly into unknown territory.

More Music

Another month, another track. Enjoy!

Artwork

More art assets are being churned out every day. The Dawn and Morning stages are finished. The Noon stages are nearly complete (check out the screenshot below) and the Sunset and Evening stages are still in the works.

Stay Tuned!

That’s it for this progress 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 wishlist the game on Steam and follow us on Twitter @AQuiverOfCrows for more frequent updates!

November Progress Update

Hey Peoples!

Here’s another progress update on our upcoming twin-stick shoot’em up: A Quiver of Crows.

Developer Let’s Play Video

Watch our latest developer let’s play video showcasing one of the latest stages as well as some newly completed weapons:

More Enemies!

Over the past few weeks Danny and Chad spent a lot of time adding new enemies. Our goal is to introduce a new enemy every 2-3 stages. Among the latest enemies is a darting beetle, a floating urchin that shoots spikes all around, and a demonic flying eyeball that shoots a triple spread of bullets.

New Weapon Upgrade Level

A Quiver of Crows is heavily influenced by traditional shmups that feature weapon upgrade pickups. We have just finished developing the 3rd level upgrade pickup, which causes the purple bullets to spread 5 ways, the plasma weapon to fire 3 parallel bullets, and the laser beam to reach further. With the level 3 upgrade the game has really started to feel even more chaotic as the screen fills with colorful bullets and piles of enemies.

More Music!

Enjoy the latest track, courtesy of Alice:

More Stages!

Alice has been working hard creating stages. She’s nearly 40% done with all of our planned stages, and we hope to have another beta and press preview build ready soon. If you’re a member of the press and would like a preview build, please contact us at crows@sheado.net.

IndieCade

Last month we got to show our game at IndieCade’s IndieXchange Gametasting. It was awesome to have lots of other developers play the game and give us feedback – much of which has already influenced the latest build of the game. The showing went great and the game was even selected as part of the Gametasting Spotlight!

Stay Tuned!

That’s it for this month’s 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!

October Progress Update!

Hey All!

Another month, another progress update on our upcoming twin-stick shmup: A Quiver of Crows.

Developer Let’s Play Video

Fine tuning the pacing of the game has been our focus over the past month. Watch the latest let’s play video, which covers the subject in more detail.

Pacing and the Stages

We’ve done 3 beta rounds now and have made a ton of changes as result of all the great feedback we’ve been getting. The most significant of these changes affects the pacing of the game. Previously our stages were 6 minutes long with no checkpoints. The majority of players found it too punishing and tedious to almost complete a stage, only to die and have to start over again from the beginning. After weighing different options to address this issue, we decided to go with the solution of having very short stages with significantly greater difficulty. The result is a much more action packed frantic game, which is exactly what we’re going for.

New Weapons and Upgrades!

Over the past few weeks, we’ve also been adding and fine tuning some new weapons for our beloved crow. These include the laser beam, a bomb special attack, a sticky bomb special attack, and another upgrade level! The laser beam has been refined and now can pass through multiple enemies at once. Players will want to switch to this weapon when massive hoards are heading their way in tight quarters. In the special attack department, the new standard bomb is a nice alternative to the heat seeking feathers. This weapon has a bit of force, so it’s useful for clearing away enemies and their ragdolling bodies. Similar to the standard bomb, we are also adding a sticky bomb, which players can stick to a clueless enemy! Lastly, we’ve finalized the 3rd weapon upgrade level, which results in a larger spread or more power depending on which weapon the player is using.

More Art!

It’s “more art day” every day at Sheado.net. Danny’s churning out more new art every day. Check out the latest forest he created:

Controls

As promised, keyboard and mouse controls are finally in! We’re still fine tuning the controls, but they are very near finalized.

Stay Tuned & Happy Halloween!

That’s it for this month’s 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!

More Progress!

Hey Peoples!

The summer is flying by as we chip away on our game! Here’s a summary of all the progress we made over the past month working on our upcoming twin-stick shmup: A Quiver of Crows.

Developer Let’s Play Video

Rather watch than read? We’ll you’re in luck!

More Locations!

The Dawn level is now complete and is comprised of 11 stages. Over the past month we’ve been adding multiple new areas to these stages including an underground arena, multiple tree caves, as well as various forest scenes.

More Foreground Animations!

Danny, the artist, has also been focused on creating more foreground animations to help the stages appear more lively. For the Dawn stages, this included large crawling ants, crows gnawing at skulls, and various plants swaying in the wind.

More Skelecrane Boss Polish!

The first boss was completed in August, but we’ve spent more time polishing, balancing, and fine-tuning the 3 headed skelecrane boss.

More Sounds!

After churning out all of the stages for the Dawn level, Alice – developer and composer – has moved on to sound effects. She’s already sourced or created 20 different sound effects and is now working on the audio programming end of things.

Title Screen and Alpha

In preparation for an upcoming alpha test, we’ve been spending more time working on non-gameplay features such as the user interface. The title screen and several of its related menus were completed. We can’t wait to get through alpha, get feedback, and move on to beta testing with more people!

Stay Tuned!

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!

August Progress Update!

Hey All!

Hope your August is off to a good start! Here’s a summary of all the progress we made over the past month working on our upcoming twin-stick shmup: A Quiver of Crows.

tl;dr

Rather watch a let’s play progress update? Well then – check out our first let’s play progress update video!

Stages! Stages! Stages!

This is going to be a recurring theme for us now. We are in stage building mode and we’re almost done with all the stages for the Dawn level. In the Dawn level there’s lots of lush greens and blue skies. Some stages are outdoors while others are held entirely inside of large trees or underground. We’re also throwing in a couple of battle arenas to mix up the gameplay.

Map View

In A Quiver of Crows you have 360 degree range of motion and you can explore any part of a stage in any order you want. In case you get lost though, we decided to go with a fog of war enabled map view so you can see where you’ve been, but not the places you’ve yet to visit.

Localization

We’d love to support every language! But we can’t =/ So after careful consideration we decided to go with the following languages:
Spanish, Russian, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), and of course English.

Interview!

We had out first interview! Thanks to J.A. over at Obsolete Gamer for making our first interview experience a pleasant one!

Stay Tuned!

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!

Moar Progress!!1!

Hey Everybody!

Time flies when you’re making a video game! Another month has already passed since the last progress update. Here’s a summary of all that we’ve been up to with our upcoming twin-stick shmup: A Quiver of Crows.

Levels & Stages

The past month has been all about the Dawn stage. Alice has been busy designing and building the stages while Danny has been continuously churning out the graphics for them. Check out the latest screenshots from the Dawn level:

Music

Alice has been chipping away at more music too. We don’t have any new tracks to share at the moment, but we did post one of the previously completed tracks on YouTube for your listening pleasure:

Physics

Chad’s been busy adding new physics capabilities to the game in order to support some of the features required by the bosses in the game. The most time consuming of these is partial ragdoll support. Currently when an enemy is killed, it ragdolls and falls to the ground. With this new feature, a boss enemy can stay alive while parts of its body ragdolls – all the better to make them even more uniquely spooky. Check out this development screencap of the work in progress:

Rescuing Crows!

In this twin-stick shooter you will be spending most of your time mowing down demons and ghouls with the crow’s various weapons and special attacks. One additional responsibility you will have is to rescue your fellow crows by shooting their cages open. Free the crows and you get to move on to the next stage. Check out some screenshots of crow rescues in action:

Tutorial Billboards

We’ve always been fans of minimal instructions and tutorials. So for A Quiver of Crows we are using billboards in the background and occasional flyers in the foreground to guide you with the basic instructions in the game. See the screenshot below of a billboard instructing you to rescue a crow:

Press and Stuff

From time to time somebody writes something about A Quiver of Crows. This month OneAngryGamer did – check it out here. In hopes of reaching out to more potential fans and reviewers, we submitted A Quiver of Crows to IndieCade – an indie gaming festival in California. Here’s a peek of some of the games that applied – can you spot ours?

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!

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.