Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Butterscotch Chronicle 8/13 - 9/3


SUP, BSCOTCHES! Things have been pretty nuts over here on the Buttery side of life, and we've got the HUPDATES TO PROVE IT!

Crashlands News
We've made so many huge updates to Crashlands' core systems that our heads hurt just from how awesome it all is. When we started working on the game, we had never made a game like this before, with inventory, crafting, construction, and the works. So we had to use other games as frames of reference. After playing around with a mish-mash of systems borrowed from other games, we've finally been able to step back and put our own spin on all of these things. Let's TAKE A LOOK!

NOTE: This is alpha stuff, so it's all subject to change. But we figure you guys would be pumped to see it anyway. SO THERE!

New Build Mode
We knew from the outset that we wanted to have base-building features in Crashlands, and we looked to games like Minecraft and Terraria to figure out how to do it. In those games, you have the following progression:
  1. Build the thing you want to place out into the world
  2. Go into your inventory, find that thing, and move it onto your hotbar
  3. Close your inventory, and then switch your hotbar to the new thing you just made
  4. Walk over to the place you want to put that thing and click to place it.
So in Crashlands, we started with that same system. But in time, it became more and more cumbersome as we added more things to the game. It became a pain to track things down in your inventory, it felt awkward to drag them into your hotbar and then select them, and it was a bit slow to have to physically walk to every place you wanted to put something. So we took a huge step back and examined the whole thing, and came up with a cool new system for building. Check it out!

In the new system, you click on the "build mode" button, and the game populates a list of all the things you own that are considered "structures", and then displays those across the bottom of the screen. From there, you can simply tap the thing you want to place, and put it out into the world. If you have a bunch of that thing, you can even tap and drag to place that thing almost in a paintbrush-style fashion.

And even better, you can pick things up in the same way! Just open build mode, and tap the thing you want to pick up (or tap and drag to pick up tons of stuff at once).



Inventory Management? NOPE!
Another thing that always bums us out when playing crafting-oriented games is inventory management. You know the feeling -- you go to pick up a cool thing you just found, and then get slapped in the mouth by the message: "YOU DON'T HAVE ENOUGH SPACE!" So then you have two options: you can either go back to your base (or town) to sell stuff or put stuff into a chest of some sort, or just destroy something you already own right there on the spot to make room for the new thing.

In all circumstances, this sucks. Running out of room for things is a negative experience that adds nothing interesting to any game.

So we removed inventory management from Crashlands entirely.

Now, you might be saying, "HOLD ON THERE, BUTTERSCOTCHES. How can I play a crafting game if there's no way to manage my inventory?" The answer is simple! We have two features in Crashlands that, to our knowledge, other crafting games just don't have. For starters, your inventory is infinite. That's right: your character has an Infinipack.

The other side of our "no more inventory management" coin is using context-aware displays of the things you own, so that you only see the things you need to see at any give time, and nothing else. In other words, whenever you want to know how much of something you have, the game will just tell you, based on what you're doing at the time.

For example, we have about 300 unique crafting components in Crashlands. They're all stackable, they all come from a huge variety of creatures and resources, and you need all of them for various things at various times. But these components aren't used for much on their own -- they're just used for crafting. So instead of showing you a pile of 300 unique crafting components and making you sift through them to find out how much of one you have, we show you how many of each component you have under three circumstances:
  • When you pick up a crafting component;
  • If at any point you are looking at a tooltip for that component;
  • When you are looking at a recipe that uses the component;
Those are the only three times you care about that component, so those are the three times you see it. All other times, you don't have to worry about it. And since your inventory is infinite, you really don't have to worry about it. Just pick everything up, and use it when you need it!

We'd show you screenshots, but there aren't any to show, because you don't have to manage your inventory anymore.

Massive Crafting Update
The last thing we needed to clean up was the crafting system itself. The problem we kept running into time and time again was: as the player gets access to more recipes, how do we keep them all in order? We realized that our recipe selection system suffered from the same problem as the old inventory system: you have to dig through it forever just to find the thing you want.

In the early game, you may only have 20 recipes, so this isn't a huge deal. But when you have 200 (or 400) recipes, finding the thing you want to make will be a huge pain.

To solve this, we settled on making the workstation system far more robust. Here's how it works.

  • Every recipe is now crafted at a workstation. To open the workstation, just tap it, and your little character will run over and slap it to open it up.
  • The workstation displays all recipes that can be made there, with quantities of how many you can make, plus their time requirements for building.
  • When you tap "build", the workstation begins creating that recipe on its own.
  • When the station is done, it alerts you that it has finished goods, and you can go retrieve them from the station.

This new setup gives us a few cool new spins on the gameplay:
  • Recipes are organized by workstation, so gone are the days of having 200 at once.
  • We can make some recipes feel more special/tangible by giving them a production time, rather than having them all just be instantly manifested into your hands.
  • Crafting stations now feel way more interesting and useful, because they're doing a job for you -- building your stuff -- rather than being a thing you just stand next to sometimes. And by tying them to a very concrete suite of recipes, the station feels like it's more tangible. For example, when you open a sawmill, you see a bunch of wood recipes. BECAUSE IT'S A SAWMILL!
  • Since Crashlands will be on mobile, and mobile gamers tend to play games in smaller chunks, mobile gamers will always have something cool to come back to after a short break from the game. Namely, they can explore a bunch to harvest stuff during gameplay, then at the end of the play session, queue up a bunch of recipes at their workstations, and then retrieve the finished goods at the start of the next play session.
Ultimately the new crafting/workstation system feels way more interesting and real, and it gives the world a much better feel of being a real place with real things happening. We're pretty pumped about it!


THE END!
We've got a lot more stuff, but your eyes are probably tired from reading so dang much. We'll cut you some slack this time. STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT BSCHRONICLE!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Butterscotch Chronicle: 7/30-8/12


SUP, BSCOTCHES. Seth here, with your biweekly weekly Butterscotch update! In this week's biweekly BSCHRONICLE, we've got a hefty load of butterjuice for your gullet. Adam joined the Butterscotch team and immediately started making Crashlands look way more awesome, Sam reworked the Crashlands environments, and I did a bunch of programming stuff that nobody will ever see!

Adam Joins the Team
Our older brother, Adam, has finished his PhD and is now a FULL-TIME BUTTERSCOTCH! It's a bit of an odd time for us to be adding a team member, since we're nearing the end of Crashlands development, but there has been plenty for him to work on. His expertise is in the field of image analysis, and he's a brilliant programmer and mathematician. So naturally, we put him to work on special effects. Here are a few things he's already gotten hooked up!

Low Health Full-Screen Effects
NOT FEELIN' TOO GOOD RIGHT MEOW.
After moving the healthbar to the top left corner of the screen, we noticed it was very easy to lose track of whether you were about to die. WELL, NOT ANYMORE!

More... Watery... Water
Aw yeah, gurl, lookadem ripplin' ripples.
We weren't really happy with the previous water iteration, so Adam took the lead on making us a new water shader with some really nice, subtle waves. JUST LOOK AT THOSE DANG WAVES.

Holograms!
Every now and then you'll stumble across one of these puppies in Q's base, and you can steal them for decorating your own abode. There are dozens of holograms, and we now even have a really cool hologram shader for them. WOOWEE SPECIAL EFFECTS!

Updated Environments
Sam made a THIRD pass on the Savanna and Bawg. Let's take a look at the progression of how it's changed since the first iteration!


GOOD STUFF RIGHT THERE. Oh, and speaking of Sam doing art...

Sam Talks Inkscape
INKSCAPE. It's the thing we use to make all the art in our games. And by "we" I mean "Sam", and he's getting to a point where he's pretty dang good at it. When we first started out two years ago, this breadslice fellow on the left was about the best Sam could do, and now he's making dramtically more detailed and interesting-looking things in much shorter time spans (like our Flop Rocket icon on the right).


Of course, all that comes from practice, but on top of practice you need a tool that gets the job done. If you want to learn how to use Inkscape (or learn why you should consider using it) from a dude who's been using it for 8-10 hours a day for the past 2 years, IT MIGHT BE GOOD TO GIVE THIS VIDEO A WATCH. Sam is the first person to talk in the video.


WHAT'S NEXT?
We're still plowing through Crashlands content and nearing the end of Phase 1 of production. Phase 1 will be complete when all creatures, resources, weapons, armor, tools, workstations, and environments are fully fleshed out and implemented. Which means soon we'll be starting PHASE 2: STORY TIME. In phase 2, we'll refine the new player experience and flesh out the story of the epic struggle between the player and Q. We'll have more info on all that NEXT TIME.

If you'd like to chat about anything from this post, you can always find us on the Butterscotch Forums. SEE YA SOON, BSCOTCHES!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Butterscotch Chronicle 7/15-7/29

WHOOWEE! Lots of stuff has happened since the last Chronicle. SHUT UP SO WE CAN GET STARTED! Cell phones off, unless you're playing a Butterscotch game, in which case... fine.

Crashlands
Weapon & Armor Creation: Now with JUICE!
One of our favorite games is Terraria, and we draw a lot of inspiration from that game as we continue to work on Crashlands. But there has always been something that has bugged us about Terraria: when you build a really powerful item, it just sort of unceremoniously flops into your inventory. Very anticlimactic.

Well, every now and then, you'll craft a piece of armor or a weapon in Crashlands. In fact, weapons and armor are one of the core ways you'll advance your character; you need them in order to fight creatures to get more powerful components for your crafting. There are a large number of possible outcomes when you craft one of these items: its quality can range from mundane to ridiculously amazing, and it has a variety of different stats it can get (movement speed, poison, fire damage, bleeds, critical strike, etc).


So we have made it a point to ensure that whenever you craft something, it feels really awesome. We spent some time to make lots of explosions, loud noises, components flying around, and text slamming into the screen when you craft an item. We believe that when you build something amazing, it should feel amazing. And now, in Crashlands, IT DOES!

Environment updates (still in progress)
Just a small teaser... Sam is retouching some of the older environmental pieces, for the third (and probably last) time as we wrap up the biomes. We'll have some screenshots in the next Chronicle!

Crashlands: The Story (Part 1)
Rather than implement the story 5 days before launch like we did with Quadropus Rampage, we want to take some time to make the story really awesome in Crashlands. Granted, it's a pretty simple story, but we want to hit the player right in the feels -- the angry feels.

We're now wrapping up implementation of the first act of the story. Here's how it's going down (so far).

The Earth is running out of literally everything, and the Bureau of Science is formed by the Earth's governments to scout habitable planets and find a new home for the human race. Because otherwise, the humans are pretty boned. So they choose you, the player, to lead a one-person expedition to a distant planet and determine whether humans can colonize it. Why? Because you're their most disposable scientist, and it's probably not a big deal if you get murdered by a giant alienbeast.



As you arrive in your ship sent by the Bureau of Science (the B.S. S.S. Assess) to assess the planet for human habitation, a being of IMMENSE POWER warps into your ship, named Quetzalcoatl (Q for short). He has been receiving distress calls from his buddies who were researching this planet: Forn, Jobi, and Pete. And now, all three of those poor souls are dead, and here you are, parked in orbit, acting all nonchalant. This means one thing to our new friend Q: You've killed his friends, and he's caught you red-handed.

No matter how you try to explain yourself, Q is inconsolable and makes it his sole purpose to make you pay for what you've done. So first, he just blows up your ship, hoping to wipe you out right then and there. You manage to flee in a tiny escape pod and crash into the planet, but you survive. As you begin to establish a base and carry out your mission of SCIENCE, Q discovers that you're still alive and kickin', so he takes it upon himself to use your good fortune against you... by torturing you relentlessly and crushing your soul, as vengeance for his fallen friends.

Q's first plan is to blow up the planet you're on, since you need it in order to save the human race. That way, you'll die AND the entire human race will pay for what you've done. So the first act of the story involves you, the player, hunting down Q at his various outposts in the Savanna and thwarting his attempts to do build a giant planet-destroying death laser.

What will happen in the next biome? ONLY TIME WILL TELL!

Adam Coster: Ph.D.
Our older brother, Adam, got his PhD on the 18th, and is soon wrapping up his work as a cell biologist. And soon, he'll be coming to work at BUTTERSCOTCH SHENANIGANS! He's a master programmer and is brilliant at image analysis & manipulation, which means he's going to be able to take our special effects up 30 notches. Plus, he's really fast at learning just about everything, so we'll be able to do some very cool stuff in our next games with multiplayer, web-based things, etc...

Adam: The other bad guy (the one in blue).
Microtalks
Sam and I both gave "microtalks" last week to the local St. Louis IGDA chapter. Mine is about "riding the risk dragon", and Sam's is about process -- how to achieve your goals by breaking them down into smaller tasks. Many tears were shed in both talks. Plus, six other awesome people from the St. Louis Game Dev community gave talks as well. Check it out!


Game Development in St. Louis (Article by Sam)
A local organization called iTen, which works with startups, has hosted a blog post by our very own Sam Coster. It's about how St. Louis is exploding as an amazing place to make games. Read it here!

Dev Pipe: OPEN THE FLOODGATES!
Last Monday we hosted our 8-BIT DEV PIPE KICKOFF! Basically, it's an 8-week program where we whip out a cattle prod and figure out a bunch of horrifyingly punishing ways to get local indie developers to get off their butts and make some games. So far we have three teams signed up, and there are more to come!

Registration is here. Note: It's only for St. Louis developers (currently). You can read more about the Dev Pipe here!

Pixel Pop Festival Kickstarter Goes Live!
Pixel Pop is a games festival here in St. Louis, intended to bring musicians, game developers, and gamers together. This year is the first year for it, and as such, the founders (friends of ours) have started up a Kickstarter campaign to make this thing happen. If you're in St. Louis and want to have a great time on September 13th, PLEDGE AWAY! P.S. Sam and I will be giving a talk there, so... BE THERE.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Butterscotch Chronicle: 7/7-7/14


Crashlands Updates
Last week was our first week of real, hardcore work in probably 9 months (since October), now that Sam's cancer shenanigans have come to a close. It's been pretty weird readjusting to life without the constant threat of impending doom and disaster, but we're getting back in the saddle. Here's a peek at some of the stuff we did!

New Creature: The Bamli! If you've been on our forums, you know about the latest and greatest creature to come out of the Bawg. THE BAMLI. He's a flightless-bird-like walrus creature with a giant moustache.

Observe the majestic grace of the flightless Bamli as it flocks across the bony acid shores. OBSERVE IT.
His attack consists of slapping the ground to vault himself into the air, and then planting his hairspikes into the ground to suck electrical charge out of the planet itself. He then launches a barrage of randomly-moving electric projectiles while also creating an electric field around himself. Basically, if you have one as a pet, exercise caution, lest you accidentally aggro 400 enemies at once due to your Bamli's reckless attacks.

UI Improvements! We've updated the font, cleaned up a bunch of clutter, and otherwise made your important information far more accessible. Of note are the new health bars in the top left to track your and your pet's health! We've also added a little "infostream" to the left side, which will pop up whenever you pick up items and such. So far, the health bars added to the top-left are just functional and haven't been "arted up" yet, but they do the job pretty nicely.

Yeah, my name is NAME. DEAL WITH IT. And my Bamli is named Wubwub, of course.
THE BAWG IS DONE! After many a day of strife and effort, we've wrapped up the entirety of the second biome of Crashlands. We learned a lot in the process and now have a bizarre, acid-packed new zone to play around in. It took us quite a while to assemble because we're still nailing down the means by which to wrestle something this huge and condense it into bite-sized chunks when planning and designing, but we're getting closer all the time!

WUBWUB, GET BACK HERE. EVERY TIME. I SWEAR.
THE WINTRY TUNDRA HAS BEGUN! We're taking all the lessons learned from building the Savanna and Bawg to make the WINTRY TUNDRA into something truly spectacular. Sam's art skills are really blossoming, particularly with the environment, and now that he's no longer drugged up on chemo he's become a stark-raving art lunatic, flinging sprites all over the place like Twisted Fate chucking cards in LoL. I might have a hard time keeping up.

Wubwub, gaze upon the beauty of the grassy plains of the Tundra. DANGIT WUBWUB I SAID GAZE.
We're particularly pumped about the Wintry Tundra because it actually has two sub-biomes within it. One is more of a "lush" area (above), while the other is more desolate and alien. Currently we haven't plugged any resources into it, but we'll have some more screenshots of the resources and creatures of the Tundra as the next couple weeks unfold.

STATS TRACKING! This is something we've been wanting to do for a long time, but I finally had the time to hook it up while Sam was fleshing out the look of the Wintry Tundra. We now have, on the right side of the Compendium, a full, detailed account of all the stuff you've been up to. It even breaks down your activity within each biome! WOOHOO!


Met with Kamcord! They sent us brownies, so we of course had to sit down and meet with them. We told them that if they made a Game Maker extension, we'd definitely want to hook Kamcord up to our games. They said they'd think about looking into doing that... sometime next year. WELL! Butterscotch fans, if you want to have Kamcord hooked up to Crashlands (and our future games) so you can record video of all your escapades, feel free to shoot Kamcord an email to let them know they should totally get on that.

BScotch in the Community
8-Bit Dev Pipe: ROUND 2! A few months ago we had an idea to start up a mentorship program here in St. Louis, wherein we work with small indie teams to help them make their dream games a reality. The first round went great, and we have gone through and overhauled the process, which means it's time for ROUND TWO! We've put up all the info here, and we'll be hosting the 8-Bit Dev Pipe kickoff next Monday. If you're in St. Louis and have an interest in being part of a community effort, in which a bunch of people get together, form teams, and make full games over 8 weeks, then GET SIGNED UP! We have signups over at the St. Louis Game Developers meetup group.

October Game Jam: WE'RE ORGANIZING IT! Game Jams have been going on in St. Louis for about 4 years now, and we've consistently had at least 3 per year, which means we've had somewhere around a dozen game jams here. Still, they're hugely daunting things to put together, and we typically have about 150 people at any given jam. As a result, the previous crop of organizers have hit something of a burn-out stage and asked for volunteers to take the reins. So here we are!

The next jam is tentatively set for October 3-5, so if you're around St. Louis (or close-ish), you should definitely come. We'll have more info as details get pinned down!

THE END
That's all we've got for this week's Butterscotch Chronicle. Stay tuned for more next week, and as always, you can find us on the Butterscotch Forums!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Butterscotch Chronicle 6/30-7/7

BSCOTCHES! We noticed that several of you had commented in the Crashlands subreddit and elsewhere that we have been pretty quiet for some time on our various platforms. Well, we feel bad about that, and we'd like to fix it. It's all too easy to get sucked into grinding away on Crashlands (and other stuff) and forget about maintaining the blog and other avenues. So we've decided to make some changes to make sure you all know what's going on and that we're still alive and kickin'.

For starters, THIS! Every week we'll post an update detailing all the stuff we've been up to over the past week. LET'S GET ROLLIN'!


REMISSION! We found out on Wednesday that Sam no longer has cancer! HOLY CRAP.

NEW FORUMS! We've got Butterscotch Forums now! We realized that we needed to give our players and fans a place to congregate, compare notes, and otherwise be amazing together, so this is the result. Get on there and introduce yourself!

NEW COSTER BRO: ADAM! Although it has been just Sam and me for the past 1.5 years, our older brother, Adam, has always been interested in getting in on the action. He is just now wrapping up his PhD and will be joining us in a month or so as our research and development guy. Basically, he's going to do a whole bunch of science, come up with answers to really tough questions, and develop new tools that will allow us to do amazing things that we could previously never even dream of. WELCOME, ADAM!

THE TUNDRA! We've started planning out and working on the Tundra, which is the next biome in Crashlands. It's cold, wet, and covered in stuff. No screenshots yet; IT'S HIDEOUS!

WE GOT NEW OFFICE SUPPLIES! Actually, just a file organizer. But we did sass Beth, the kindly lady who checked us out at the counter, if you know what I mean.

BUSINESS PLANNING! Every 6 months or so, we like to sit down and evaluate how things are going, what our current trajectory looks like, and whether or not we're adhering to the core values we set down when we started this thing. So we took a day to dig through everything we've been doing, revisited our values list, and reworked a bunch of stuff to plan for the next few months and years to come. Now that Sam no longer has cancer, we can actually think about the future! WOOP WOOP!

SAM GOT ENGAGED! He's been with an amazing woman who has been there for him through all this cancer nonsense, and he finally put a ring on her. Way to go, Sam!

Standing by trees is one of Sam and Diana's favorite pastimes.
BROWNIES! Kamcord is a service that allows game developers to hook video recording capabilities up to their games. They sent us brownies so we would chat with them. Everyone else: take note. Send more brownies.
THESE BROWNIES ARE BLURRY. UNACCEPTABLE.
QUADROPUS LUCKY COINS! Our buddy Christian put together some 3D models of the Lucky Coin from Quadropus Rampage. We're going to refine the design some, get some prototypes 3D printed, and then order a run of these bad boys MADE FROM GOLD-COVERED STEEL. And then we'll offer them up to you guys! As a side note, Sam started carrying one of these in his pocket, and then he got cured of cancer. So they must work.

Butterfriends!
Here's what some of our St. Louis developer buddies have been up to.

BEASTS OF BURDENWe stopped by our buddy Stuart's house to playtest a card game he's working on called Beasts of Burden. It's a game about tiny legs and huge sacks. IT WAS FUN AS HELL. Seriously. Not even screwing around. He has a Kickstarter going on right now that you should totally back if card games are your jam. PLUS, you can get a tank top. I MEAN, COME ON.

PIXEL POP FESTIVAL! The BAMFs over at Happy Badger Studio are putting together a festival about MUSIC, GAMES, and GAME DEVELOPMENT. If you're in the St. Louis area, you should check this thing out. It'll be September 13 at Webster University's East Academic Building. WE WILL BE THERE!

THE END!
That's all we've got for ya this week. Hop on over to the forums if you want to chat about any of the stuff we've got going on. OR ELSE.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

HOLY MOTHER OF REMISSION

TL;DR - SAM DOESN'T HAVE CANCER AGAIN! asdfhaslkdjhfasdkfhasomgwhut
WELL. THAT WAS A GODDAMN ROLLERCOASTER.
4 weeks ago I had my second post-treatment PET scan. My family and I were shocked when the doc came in and said "YOUR DISEASE IS BACK." On the PET scan were 4 globes of light, 3 in the lymph nodes where my disease originally started, in my left armpit, and 1 in my spleen, where tumor burden was extremely heavy before my treatment.

The doc wanted me to go straight into therapy. Salvage chemo, it's called, using a regiment called RICE which would put me in the hospital for 3 days every 21 days for 3 or 4 treatments. This would be followed by a bone marrow transplant of my own marrow and another massive dose of chemo, lovingly referred to as BEAM. That would be another 3 weeks in the hospital.

Post self-transplant I'd get full body radiation 6 times, then ANOTHER stemcell transplant, this time from a donor. Another 3 weeks. At the end of it all, we realized we were looking at another 6 months of treatment of a considerably more damaging sort, followed by probably 6 months to a year of recovery.

I'd been feeling so good that I couldn't hardly believe it. My dad went to battle for me and demanded we get a biopsy, a tissue sample, of the lymph nodes in question to see what in the hell was going on before I submitted to 6 months of treatment and potentially lifethreatening side effects.

2 weeks ago we did just that. I went in and they took a needle that looks like a pipe and prodded it into my chest, guided by ultrasound. 5 times they shoveled little stripes of tissue, called cores, into test tubes. We waited.

Three days after that biopsy I was supposed to be admitted to begin my first round of RICE. At 3pm, just 2 hours before my date with the hospital, the doc called and said she had news. The cores their pathologist looked at didn't have any cancer cells. But cores are only a tiny strip, she reminded, and they only got one of the five. The gene institute got the other 4. She was trying to get ahold of them to figure out what they had seen, but told me to unpack my stuff in the mean time.

I was extremely happy. I mean, damn. Prognosis gets worse with any recurrence, and the treatment had so many possible, horrible side effects that I was genuinely dreading it. A crack of light started pouring in again. We tentatively celebrated.

The next day she called and said the gene institute confirmed that they did, in fact, have cancer cells sighted in the cores they had. I cried. I wanted to rip a tree out of the ground. It took me the day but by the end I was, again, ready for battle.

And again, dad went to bat for me. He pushed that we do a full biopsy of the lymph nodes, surgically remove them and slice them into tiny layers to see just what in the hell was going on in there. The doctor agreed, having seen the weirdness of the first cores, and we scheduled surgery.

Last Thursday I went under and got 3 more lymph nodes cut out of my arm pit. They went in through the same scar from when I had my first, kidney-sized tumor removed. I ran 2 miles immediately after the surgery with some friends, because I have things to do.

The doc went ahead and scheduled my hospital stay for yesterday. We hadn't heard any different in the intervening days, so I packed my bag up in the morning and walked around the house anxiously. At 10am a nurse called and said that I wasn't going into the hospital today, but that the doc was considering another biopsy.

Another biopsy? At first I was hit by a blast of optimism - maybe they didn't find anything, so they're going to try some other tissue. Then a huge wave of pessimism - it's more likely they found something ELSE, maybe some other cancer, and they need more clarity before going down the RICE salvage pathway since there are other options for other cancers.

I told my fam, and while we all had a glitter of optimism, we were generally preparing for the worst. Things hadn't exactly been going well.

We get to the hospital and sit down with the doc. She was wearing a lively red and orange floral dress - perfect for the 70 degree and gorgeous day. She seemed very upbeat, but I was cautious.

"We got the results of the biopsy back, Sam. Pathology cannot find any evidence of cancer cells."

My heart exploded out the back of my body.

Evidently the cores that the genetics team had deemed cancerous were, in fact, not cancerous, just abnormal. They had eyeballed them, not stained them, and further analysis with a number of more fine-grain tests revealed that while what's happening in my body is totally abnormal, there's nothing malicious. That inflammation is what was picked up by the PET scan. It wasn't cancer. It was my body, working.

The doctor has only seen this twice, in the hundreds, if not thousands of patients she's seen. Both those patients remained clear of disease at the 3 year mark. She and the pathologists don't really know what in the hell is going on inside me.
But I do, and that's just fine by me.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Announcing the BUTTERSCOTCH FORUMS!

HEY GANG!

Here at Butterscotch, we've had a problem. We have all these players and friends who we want to talk to on the regular, but they're spread out all over the place. Twitter, Facebook, the comments section of this blog, the Crashlands subreddit, The TouchArcade forums, the DroidGamers forums... You name it, we've got a friend or a fan there. But we haven't managed to put together a place that all of our Bscotch Buddies can call home. UNTIL NOW.

We've been hard at work over the past MOMENT throwing together a gift for all of our amazing fans and friends out there: the Butterscotch Forums! GET OVER THERE. GET SIGNED UP. MAKE A POST. MAKE SOME TOAST.

Here's what you'll find in the forums:
  • A consistent, direct line of contact between us and you.
  • General updates about things coming down the BscotchPipe, like merch, minigames, etc... and other Bscotch-related news.
  • A dedicated "official" area for updates about Crashlands.
    • We'll also be using the forums to get feedback from testers when our beta begins. So even if you're not a tester, you'll be able to follow the beta in there!
  • Dedicated discussion areas for our other games -- one for each of our bigger games, and a section for our smaller games. Feel free to chat about strats, post screenshots, fan art, or whatever!
  • Patch notes for updates to our games.
  • Announcements of game jams we're participating in, as well as links to playable versions of those games.
  • Discussion about game development and gaming in general.
All in all, we love you guys, and we want to hang with you and talk about the things we enjoy and the things we make. Now we can!

SO QUIT DILLY-DALLYING AND GET SIGNED UP!
Yeah, that's right. dilly-dallying.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cancer Round 2 : FIGHT

Crashlands will be, to my knowledge, the first game to launch after half its development team underwent cancer treatment...twice.

On Wednesday, June 11th, I had a follow-up PET scan to assure myself, my family, and my medical team that the cancer was gone. The doctor walked in the room where my family had gathered and, with a frown, said:

"Your disease is back."

Three nodes in my left armpit were glowing. The same three nodes where the disease appeared to have begun, way back last fall. I was silently crying as the doc laid out the treatment plan, my veil of optimism temporarily torn asunder by the news. Seth and I talked afterward and, in his ever-optimistic older-brother mode, he assured me that we'd figure out how to get through this.

Since then we've been running from exam to exam, reading statistics, catching up on all the new research for curing what's called Refractory (meaning it didn't die with the first line of treatment) Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma, and shoring up our weak points for the months ahead.

All-in-all, we're looking at another 6 months or so of treatment, 7 weeks of which will have me in the hospital. I'll be getting two bone-marrow transplants, back-to-back. That means I'll be getting my immune-system nuked out of my body and someone else's put in. Hopefully it will be Seth or Adam's (the third Butterscotch brother, who is finishing a PhD in genetics at the moment).

Some in the community subreddit, twitter, and comments here have been wondering where we've been for the past few weeks; WELLLLLL here you are!

What this means for Crashlands
I worked through the last chemo, and I'll work through this one. I even got one of these amazing cardboard stand-up desks that I will be smuggling into my hospital room. Plus, we purchased a fancy new laptop that has a high enough resolution that I can effectively work on its not-wall-sized screen, so I can actually work from wherever.
It may not be shiny but it's DAMN EFFICIENT.
I'm likely to be close to undeath about 50% of the time in the coming months, being conservative. Based on where development is now, and how it's been progressing, we had internally moved our launch time back to end of July. With this new cancer development, we're now aiming for September.

To those of you who applied to the Beta, we've still got your info and will be making our selections once we get to that developmental point. We were originally aiming to be there by now, but cancer happened.

What you can do
Send me your vibes. ALL OF THEM. Specifically, send them to my left armpit.
DAMMIT. I WAS JUST GETTING USED TO THIS "HAIR" CONCEPT.
We're working on something to show-off Crashlands in video-form which includes a number of ways that you, our players and lifeblood, can lend your aid. It'll be something very easily shareable that explains our backstory and gives the first glimpse of Crashlands in action (and not in a crappy gif). In the mean time, spreading the news is all we can ask for. Tell your friends, your dog, your uncle, maybe even your dog's uncle's best-friend. We're going to need all the support you can muster.

To those of you who have been around since the first bout, thank you for your support.

To those of you just joining our combined struggle of indie development and cancer eradication, I say this:

My name is Sam Coster. I'm 24. I make games with my brother, Seth. I have cancer. And I am very, very grateful that you're here.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

WHAT IS THAT #3 Results - THE FINAL TALLY

WHAT'S THAT?! #3 is complete. This also marks the final entry in the series. Thanks to everyone for playing!

Let's take a look...at the scores.



Weapon - Wobblygong
  • Function - For beating the pants off of things. It's an AXE type weapon, meaning it has natural crit built in. Aww yiss, those crits.
  • Compendium entry - It's not happy about being caught, so you might as well beat things with it.
  • Dev background - The Wobblygong is one of 3 legendary weapons that can only be found while fishing. The others, found in the second and third biomes, seem to fit nicely alongside this one... perhaps you can MEGAZORD THEM!?
  • Best guess submitted by Kiwicat4444 -  "sickeel : This legendary weapon can paralyze foes. A sickle made out of an ancient eel. It looks angry because it paralyzed itself a decade ago."
The idea that it accidentally perma-paralyzed itself had us cracking up, and we think is probably likely GIVEN HOW ABSURDLY BAMFY THIS WEAPON IS. Nice job, Kiwicat.

Resource - Nurva
  • Function - It's found in the Bawg and is the provider of electrical wiring (positive and negative) as well as electrical insulation.
  • Compendium entry - Nurva are the dendrites of neurons that have somehow managed to protrude from the flesh of the Bawg. They crackle with electricity!
  • Dev background - The Bawg is a big, living creature, spread out across an ancient marsh. We wanted to pull heavily from real biology for the structures you find there and make some neat things. The Nurva is inspired by neuron cells and all their wondrous functions.
  • Best guess submitted by Karbonation -  "Heart Hibiscus. Some say its good for your heart and blood health, but most just say it heals you."
Structure - Waystone
  • Function - Teleporter.
  • Compendium entry - None.
  • Dev background - Waystones are one of the few things that have stuck to the game through the course of development. We knew we wanted to have a teleporter network that was player created, but also wanted to have a bit of luck thrown in. Waystones are found sporadically out in the world and offer a hefty addition to the player's teleporter network, relieving the burden on them for creating the expensive teleporter structures and throwing in some fun randomness to spice things up.
  • Best guess submitted by Arnon Enez -  "Luminous Stones, Decorative. Provides beautiful lights to it's surroundings."
The waystones do indeed glow, so it's actually easier (though more dangerous) to find them at night rather than during the day!

Thanks to everyone for sticking around, we're going to go grind our faces into the game before betalpha selection. GOOD LUCK TO ALL!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Let's Play WHAT IS THAT!? #3

This is the final installment of WHAT'S THAT!?

In this three part series we'll display three objects each week, as well as their type, and let you guess their names, functions, and Compendium descriptions. At the end of each week we'll reveal the true answers and our favorite community-created guesses. You can take a stab at individual objects or do all three. Check out the community concoctions from the part #1 here, and part #2 here.


Weapons - Items that are used to obliterate (er...defend against) the local wildlife. The higher the rarity the more likely it is to have other crazy effects associated with it (fire, poison, electricity, berserking, etc.)

Resources - The metaphorical 'trees' of crashlands, these objects are found in the wilds, require special tools to deconstruct, and are often replantable.

Structures - Objects that are placeable and used to keep baddies out or for sheer decoration. Though ones like this are found scattered about the planet's surface and are immobile...WHAT COULD IT MEAN!?

Remember: name, function, description.

READY
SET
GOOOOO!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Crashlands BETALPHA Applications are now live. (Android & iOS)

Help us make Crashlands the best game on mobile.

Crashlands is big, and we're only two people. We need some extra hands and eyeballs on this epic to polish it to a shine so bright it fires laser beams.

Applications are now closed. Thanks for applying!

WHAT IS THAT!? #2 Results

WHAT IS THAT?! #2 is over! Let's take a look... at the scores.



Component - Nitro
  • Function - Allows for the crafting of several fire-based items. Super flammable. Also tastes like OJ.
  • Compendium entry - This compound burns you hand when you touch it. It also explodes when you touch it. Basically, don't touch it.
  • Dev background - The Gassak plants that litter the Savannah naturally extract huge amounts of gas from the soil. This gas is trapped inside inflatable sacks along the body of the plant. Once properly removed (WITH CARE!),  these sacks and their flammable components can be distilled at a chemworks to make some SWEET EXPLOSIVES. Because we always need more explosives.
  • Best guess submitted by Nishant Ganesh -  "amber amulet used to build fire based weapons/ items"
ACCURATE AS A NO-SCOPE HEADSHOT, NISHANT. Except for the amulet part. Don't wear this. It'll explode you.

Creature - Snorble
  • Function - Snorbles suck in huge amounts of air and mix it with a disgusting amount of mucus. The resulting concoction is then blasted out in a deadly arc.
  • Compendium entry - Snorbles are incredibly violent creatures when provoked, but really they just like snuggling.
  • Dev background - "SHOTGUN KIRBY" was the idea here. We wanted to experiment with some other attack methods and the first that came up was a sort of 'cleave' pattern. We ran with the idea and ended up with something pretty gross and really fun to interact with. He also makes an excellent pet.
  • Best guess submitted by Karbonation -  "Fwezah the Sucker, Friezas little brother that he doesnt like talking about for obvious reasons. Winner of best nintendo cosplay 2005 as Kirby"
Karbonation is at it again with creepy insight. This time, not particularly about the function of the beast but rather about its origin point. STAAAAAAAAAAAAAHP.

Structure - Scarecrow
  • Function - Decorative. The wompit heart sewn inside still beats. EWWW.
  • Compendium entry - Unfortunately there are no crows on this planet, so this item is probably useless. Still, it looks totally rad.
  • Dev background - The Scarecrow actually started as a functional housing item, back when we were dabbling with the idea of making the housing into a tower-defense-esque nightly game. As it turned out, that was a horrible idea. The Scarecrow originally caused aggressive creatures to move away, but is now strictly a cool trophy to place out amongst your gardens.
  • Best guess submitted by Arnon Enez -  "Stick of Terror - Protects the Survivor and his property by feeling the hearts of his enemies with terror!"
Arnon nailed the original function. Alas, constraints have made this once functional object into nothing more than a stickman. BUT IT'S STILL AWESOOOOOOOOME.

Stay tuned on Monday for #3!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Let's Play WHAT IS THAT!? #2

In this three part series we'll display three objects each week, as well as their type, and let you guess their names, functions, and Compendium descriptions. At the end of each week we'll reveal the true answers and our favorite community-created guesses. You can take a stab at individual objects or do all three. Check out the community concoctions from part #1 here.


Components - Items that are used to craft other items. 

Creatures - Tameable, destructable beasts of the wild. Each one has a clever way of trying to disembowel you, and a particular item it can be tamed with.

Structures - Objects that are placeable and used to keep baddies out or for sheer decoration.

Remember: name, function, description.

READY
SET
GOOOOO!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

WHAT IS THAT?! #1 Results!

This week we had our first go at WHAT'S THAT?! The objects were the following:


The true nature of each item and our favorite community guesses follow!

Trinket - Davy Lamp
  • Function - Grants huge fire resistance to the player.
  • Compendium entryWith this beautiful, ornate lamp at your side, you suddenly feel less afraid of fire.
  • Dev background - We needed something that would help against Tartils, the first fire enemy players encounter in the game. After a bit of research we came across the Davy Lamp, a device which coal miners used to stop themselves from exploding in the mines. It uses a metal mesh that encloses a constant flame to burn away flammable gases. The mesh reduces the heat transferred outside the lamp, thereby denying the very gas that burns inside from igniting outside. SUPER NEATO!
  • Best guess submitted by Karbonation "dragon lantern ... Protects you from fire damage?"
What are you, a PROPHET, KARBONATION!? This was a shockingly close guess, function wise. Though it's actually made of scales from fishing, yellow gems, and glotus berries. NO DRAGONS HERE! (YET.)

Creature - Satgat
  • Function - Fires his hat in boomerang fashion through the player and anyone else. Loves to make cute noises.
  • Compendium entryKnown as the most awkward of creatures, the Satgat hides behind its pointy hat to make sure nobody sees its puzzled expression.
  • Dev background - The Satgat's name originates from the traditional east-asian conical hats worn to keep out the sun. Satgat is the korean term for such a hat, and one we found best suited for this little fella!
  • Best guess submitted by Mea'eshana PhoenixFire - "FlapBat"
This little critter is FLAPPY indeed, though he follows more in the wormy/bug category than the bat category (we've already got that one covered in a very, very evil way). Check him out without his deadly hat, and with his belly button exposed!

such awkward.
Device - Blinding Mirror
  • Function - Blinds a single enemy for a short duration, causing them to either miss their attack or fire wildly.
  • Compendium entryTemporarily blind your opponents by hitting them directly in the eyes with this fashionable mirror for X damage!
  • Dev background - The blinding mirror is an unwieldy, semi-reflective hand mirror. After we arted it we realized it is better served knocking the lights out of enemies than actually bending light, so now the player just whaps enemies in the face with it.
  • Best guess submitted by Joe J - "That device looks half like a mirror, half like a giant blob of butter on a frying pan..."
Got it nearly right, Joe J. We decided it WAS more of a frying pan after it was arted, and made it a more melee-style blinding weapon. Smack enemies in the face with it, out go the lights!

Tomorrow we'll have What is THAT!? #2 up. Keep your guesses coming!