engient Engient is Engineered Entertainment

10Apr/130

Rigonauts HD is Moving Out for iOS

Yesterday we released Rigonauts HD for iOS. The game will work on iPads 2 and is currently available for the low low price of $1.99.

You can find the game in iTunes here: Rigonauts HD

Or maybe you would rather play it on PC: Rigonauts on Steam

And of course select Android devices also play the game: Rigonauts - Android Apps on Google Play

Please enjoy!

Note: There are a few people who have been experiencing crash-like events where the game closes. This is due to our game being a bit resource hungary. We plan to submit a fix by end of week. However, in the mean time you should be able to avoid the problem by restarting the device and running the game with no background apps.

24Nov/120

Rigonauts On Sale

Rigonauts is now available for the low price of $4.99 as part of the Steam Autumn Sale. If you haven't tried the game this is a great opritunity. And if you have enjoyed the game please support small developers by letting others know. After all, a small team like ours can't afford a ton of promotion. Therefore, YOU are our greatest media asset.

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10Oct/122

Rigonauts Android Incoming to Snapdragon Devices

I am excited to announce that Rigonauts for Android has been pre-released to Verizon customers (find it here) and will have a general release to all Snapdragon powered hardware on October 23. We hope you enjoy our blend of building, battle, and mind twisting puzzles.

Of course some people have wondered why we are only supporting Snapdragon based hardware at this time. The reason is that initially Rigonauts was only targeted at PC. We are a small team (only two permanent members) and Rigonauts is our first game. Therefore, we had our hands full getting our first product out the door and were not even considering multi-platform. However, Qualcomm had seen the game and liked it enough that they offered to help us with the porting process. This was an exciting opportunity for us so we jumped at the chance. We are grateful to the team at Qualcomm for supporting our unique little indie game and helping to make Rigonauts for Android a reality.

Full Steam Ahead!

I hope you give our game a try and let us know what you think. If you can’t get it on Android then you can find it here on Steam for PC. And please keep an eye out for us on here, Twitter, Google+, or Facebook. We don’t yet consider Rigonauts a closed project and there is a bit more on the way.

Until next time,

voicebox@engient.com

26Sep/123

Post Launch Thoughts I – Score

Dear Friends,

One of the comments we get a lot is about the scoring system. For example, one user wrote:

You are "rewarded" with additional pieces and weapons, yet penalized if you dare use them all.

This is a fair critique and one we agonized over. Therefore, I think it might be nice to give some explanation why it ended up that way.

The score is here, but why?

When we started coming up with the scoring system we really wanted something that measured how much butt the player was kicking. We had two very simple design goals:

  1. Earning a better score should be fun. Obvious I know.
  2. The player should be able to iterate towards a better score.

The first thing we considered was Time. Unfortunately, small changes in the ship would result in huge swings in time. Therefore, violating rule #2.

The next idea was to measure how much Health the player’s ship had when the battle ended. Initially, we thought this one worked very well. After all, if you killed the enemy faster you would take less damage. If you placed your armour correctly you would take less damage. The Health of the ship at the end of the fight says a lot about how well you did. We were happy.

Then we started testing.

The first hurdle we encountered is that a lof of people didn’t understand how to take less damage. See in our game there was no way to completely avoid getting hit. The enemy was always going to hit you with a salvo or two before you were going to start taking down their guns. Therefore, the ways to avoid taking damage was to kill the enemy faster or to place your armour so that their attacks would lose strength. But that required an extra step of thinking that proved hard for a surprising number of people. When they thought about reducing damage, they thought about avoiding hits which just isn’t possible for how the game plays. This was disappointing, but may have been workable if it wasn’t for the next problem: Piece Overlap.

When you make a game that is a bit experimental there is always the chance you will make some mistakes. Building the ship around overlapping pieces is one of those mistakes. It might not seem like a big deal, but it had some big effects on battle and completely upended the scoring system. How could something so innocuous lead to so much trouble?

For starters it meant we had to give most weapons a blast radius. If you could just make a more armoured ship by putting wood beams on top of each other the game would be very dull. Therefore, the blast radius of most weapons drives the player to push pieces apart. That caused us a few headaches, especially in feedback to the player, but mostly it worked as intended: put two pieces too close together and they both get damaged, move them apart and only one gets hit.

Of course one side effect is that if your ship gets hit near the joint, then two or more pieces will be damaged. Now, when it comes to destroying the structure of a ship this isn’t a problem. If it takes four hits to sever the link between the Caplin and the gun, then it doesn’t matter if those four hits take out two pieces or one.

Until you start scoring the player on Health.

Suddenly, we have an Aliasing problem: if an enemy bullet lands in the center of a segment it will do half as much damage to your score than it would if it landed at the joint. Now this didn’t violate goal #2, that player could iterate towards a better score. Unfortunately, it caused havoc with goal #1, fussing with the minutia of placement to get enemy bullets to land at juuuuust the right spot was irritating.

 

Hitting the joint does double damage, which would hurt your score twice as much.

For players who didn’t see the joint problem, their score would fluctuate a bit unpleasantly but they would otherwise play the game as intended. However, for players that did see the issue they would be sucked into a game of making these miniscule irritating changes to maximize their piece placement. And with each tiny tweak a bit more fun factor was sucked away.

And that left us with Resource Minimization.

Oh that was a hard choice day in the office. We wanted players to have big crazy ships, but we also wanted scoring for a number of reasons. Thing is Resource Minimization just worked. Everyone understood the rules and the goals. The player could iterate towards a better score. And in the end it is fun. Of course, being efficient isn’t the same kind of fun as laying into the other guy with all you have, so it wasn't a perfect choice. But given the difficult constraints we had, we think we made the call that would provide the most fun to the player.

So now that you know the reason, do you look at the game a little differently? Or if you haven't played it yet, perhaps you might like the challenge of finding the most efficient solution to a given level. Or do you think we missed something and should have made a different call? Please, let us know on anti-social medial: Toot on Tooter, post on Gooplus, or even face the Book.

Until next time,

voicebox@engient.com

It is a little controversial, but a lot of fun if you like a challenge.

15Sep/120

Update Released 9.14.2012

Ah Yes Dear Friends,
In time for the weekend Rigonauts has been updated. Changes include:

  • 7 new achievements added. Earned achievements will automatically be rewarded when game is run.
  • Fixed tier values for level 3-9.
  • Outputs .mdmp error file to steamapps\common\rigonauts\
  • Fixed several rare crashes.
  • Music has been remastered.
  • Fixed readability of game credits.

Also there are some improved diagnostic tools. So if you are one of the few users who have had problems playing the game. Please follow this link for help: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2935970

Until Next Time,
VoiceBox@engient.com

9Aug/128

Rigonauts Tech Support

We want the game to run for everybody. So if you encounter bugs please let us know by mailing us at tech@engient.com

Filed under: rigonauts 8 Comments
12Jun/122

Playing Rigonauts

A few people paying close attention may have noticed that we posted a new video of some gameplay footage. For everyone else, please enjoy a post-E3 update:

In this video we wanted to give show what it was like to play a simple level from Rigonauts. Rigonauts is divided into two main phases: Building and Battle. In the Building phase you build a rig, choose guns, and issue fire orders that you think will lead to victory. The goal is to knock out enemy rigs by either disabling all their guns or knocking the enemy captain off their perch. Once the you are happy with the design you hit GO and the Battle begins.

The player has no direct control during the Battle phase and gets to watch the their plan unfold. This ‘wind-up-and-watch’ style of play is similar to games like Frozen Synapse and Gratuitous Space Battles and if you have played those games you know how tense it can be. During Battle it is important for the player to observe what happens. Is their ship off balance? Do they need to adjust their armour? Do the guns have clean shots at the enemy’s weak bits? Most times you’ll find your plans get upended so it is back to the Builder phase to rejigger your design.

We hope you like the gameplay footage, please drop us a line on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ and let us know what you think.

Onward!
VoiceBox@engient.com

Filed under: projects, rigonauts 2 Comments