If you’ve been following the fortnightly Canalside Studios’ Devblogs all year, then you’re probably quite familiar with “Flux8” already. For those who don’t know, here’s what the game is all about:
As a sentient magnet, enslaved in a factory, you have two options: work or be terminated!
However, not all magnets are born to work. Some dream of freedom and choose to rebel.
There’s a whole wide world waiting just outside those factory doors… you must remain positive!
Flux8 is a puzzle platformer, based around the polarity of magnets and how they react to opposite and similar forces.
You play as two magnets named Newt and Tess. Navigate the factory floor, attracting and repelling at will to avoid your untimely demise.
Each level tests your understanding of magnetic forces to navigate and dodge the deadly working environment as you head for freedom.
Collect floppy discs throughout your escape to customize Newt and Tess with a range of fashionable accessories.
Work alone or team up with a friend to earn your freedom, across both individual and co-op campaigns.
Create your very own levels with our built in level editor. The simple to learn editor gives you the freedom to express and share your creativity with the world via the Steam Workshop!
You can purchase “Flux8” for just £4.31 right here on the Steam Store!
Still not convinced? Check out the free demo which is available here on Gamejolt!
“Flux8” is a puzzle-platformer based around the polarity of magnets and how they react to opposite and similar forces. The game is due to be released on Steam this August.
We’re looking for Computer Games Design and Programming students within the University of Huddersfield to provide us with feedback and help us find bugs. Play-testers will have access to both single player and co-op campaigns, as well as the built in level editor.
Play-testers who play “Flux8” for 3 hours or more throughout the course of the week will earn themselves a Steam key to download “Flux8” for free once it releases.
All in-game footage will be recorded using screen-capture software, so that our developers can go back and replicate bugs and issues later.
If you wish to take part in the play-test, please come to Canalside Studios (CW4/19) any time between 10am-4pm, Monday 24th – Friday 28th July.
In the meantime, why not check out the latest devblog to see what we’ve been working on?
We look forward to seeing you all next week!
Over the last two weeks, I have been working on developing the background creation tools. The main part I have been working on is a tool to place background prefabs and spacers. As a part of this, I created a new snapping system to allow rooms to attach despite being different sizes. In addition, I have also made a new system to place scenery, such as wall mounted assets and clutter. Again, for each of these, I have added a feature to save and load.
This week I have been working on the Steam Workshop integration with the game. I have made a UI that allows you to upload your level with a screen shot, and apply updates to levels you have already uploaded. This will allow other users to download your level and play them from the main menu.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been trying to polish several parts of the game. This includes updating parts of the menu to be usable with controllers. I have also added the majority of achievements required for the game and set this up to work with Steam when we release.
During the past couple of weeks of working at Canalside Studios, I have been continuing with fixing and decorating levels at an increased rate in order to meet our deadline for testing. I have also been delegating tasks to the other designers, evenly splitting the remaining tasks so that we can release the game on time.
The past few weeks I have been working on polishing some of the levels ready for testing. The aim is to complete the levels for next Friday so there is plenty of time for testing before release on July 31st. I have also helped by working on the Steam page and plan to improve it further next week.
Lately I have been working on the levels in Flux8. I made a couple of red and a couple of co-op levels. Then I put all of them in scenes inside the editor, set up all the cameras in the scenes and started decorating them. I am close to finishing the red magnet campaign, which means that we only have the co-op campaign to finish now and all of the levels will be completed.
I’ve begun recording and processing the final batch of sound effects. Once I’ve got all of the sounds we need, I’ll be going through each level and making sure the balance between the different sounds is correct. I’ve also finished mixing and mastering a couple more pieces of music. I still have one or two more to do, but I’m hoping to have these finished by the end of next week. Here’s another one you might recognize if you played the free demo on Gamejolt.
Starting with this “alternative” menu from a very early version of the game, before it even got it’s name!
Then there was the time Tess learned to fly!
And finally, my personal favourite: Reuben’s amazing growth ray! Not quite the intended effect of the lasers…
I’ve been continuing making levels over the past two weeks.
Over the last two weeks, I have been working on expanding the background system to make it easier to create backgrounds and environments for the game. One of the features I have made is a scaffolding tool which can be used to create scaffolding around the level itself. The new system allows you to draw out the initial struts and add cross bars and supports to scaffolds. I have also worked on another tool to manually place the background tiles, mainly for the designers to quickly generate the backgrounds for their levels. Both of these systems can then save and load their setup into other scenes.
This week I have been working on implementing the back and front end of Steam Workshop integration. This involves using the Steam API to get currently uploaded levels, as well as a way for users to easily upload their own levels, which they have made in the level editor.
I have spent the last couple of weeks doing tweaks to add extra polish to the game such as a few minor additions to the menu, adding sounds to the characters and also making extra features for some levels such as blocks looking like they are being destroyed on a level where the player is being chased by a machine.
For the past couple of weeks I have been fixing and decorating several levels, in order to reach our level target for release. I have also been helping set up the the Steam store page, so that it has all the information and images it needs ready for when it goes live.
I’ve been mixing and mastering (or at least, attempting to) some of the music I’ve composed for the game. I’ve got a few that are finished and ready to go into the game now. Over the next few weeks I’m going to be recording and processing the rest of the sound effects we need, as well as hopefully finishing off the rest of the music. If you played the free Flux8 demo, you may recognize the track below – it’s the menu music! Except now it sounds all shiny and finished.
As ever, watch the video below to see some of our work in action!
We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has played the demo and voted for Flux8 on Steam Greenlight so far. Your support and feedback is greatly appreciated! A number of YouTuber’s have played through the demo and given us some great feedback. Check out the playlist below to hear what they had to say!
Check out our website here: http://www.flux8game.com/
You can download the Free Flux8 Demo Here on GameJolt!
At Canalside Studios, Wednesday afternoon is our “Research Afternoon”. Each week, we put Flux8 to one side for a few hours to work on our own personal projects. Here’s a look at what we all get up to when we’re not building levels, writing code or recording sound effects!
For my personal project, I have been working on creating a space-based dogfighter game. The game is currently very basic, containing only a few mechanics. However, I have worked on implementing player controls, a weapon and health system with shields, as well as a camera system to both follow the player and lock onto the target. I have also put in an indicator which tracks where the target is on the screen and will lock to the edges of the screen, showing the distance to the current target. On top of this, I have made a start learning Unreal Engine 4, making use of C++ and following some tutorials to become proficient with the language and the engine.
For my personal project, I have been improving my skills in Unreal Engine. I haven’t used Unreal a lot, so I started with the FPS project and started making changes to it. It’s rather simple at the moment, with just toggle fire modes, but I am expanding on it as i go.
Y’arrgh, this is a mobile game I have been working on in my spare time and project days. It’s currently only a prototype to show off a couple of things like the wheel interface for controlling the boat. However, I do have some more plans to work on it in future, including adding enemies and gameplay objectives.
The most recent part of the game I have been working on is the map generation which I am now going to use when generating paths for enemies to take around the map. This will involve using an implementation of A* to find the quickest path to the player.
For the past couple of research days we have had, I have been working on a modular sci-fi corridor, which I hope to put into my portfolio once it is done. The segment that is in the image is the first of several modular pieces I will be making, along with pipes, panels and other sci-fi elements.
For my research day I have been working on two projects, a MP4-12C Mclaren and a modern living room. I created the Mclaren in my first year of university but never finished it, I went back to it and began retopologising it so I could take a render/wireframe for my portfolio. I have also started a modern living room which is inspired from multiple pictures. My aim is to create a scene that will show multiple skills and techniques across different pieces of software.
In my personal project time I’m trying to refine my skills in animation. I looked at a multitude of videos teaching boxing techniques, from performing a well executed hit to the subtle movement of the body between hits. I am animating the upper bodies of the two characters first to get a sense of how far can they reach and if they are capable of dodging hits. When I do this, I will concentrate on the leg movements as they are slightly more complicated and depend on the upper body movement (for example: when a fighter prepares and executes a hit, his legs react to give him balance and flexibility so that he can move back or react quickly).
I also started modelling a mech. As the project is in an early state I am blocking out the different pieces of the machine using a couple of concept pictures.
I’ve started recreating an old Drum & Bass track I wrote a few years ago. I always liked the composition, but I didn’t mix or master it very well. It sounds over-compressed and the bass is way too loud. Now that a few years have passed and I’m better at mixing, I thought I’d give it another go. You can listen to the original version below.
Watch the video below for a glimpse at everyone’s work!
This demo features two different game modes: Single player and two-player co-op. There are twelve single player levels to complete, along with three co-op levels for you and a friend to enjoy. This demo is designed to introduce players to some of Flux8’s core mechanics and get a feel for the game, while also allowing us to gather feedback and make improvements.
Please remember that this is an early demo, so you may notice a few broken textures and missing audio clips. The demo is currently only available for Windows in both 32bit and 64bit versions. With that said, any downloads, ratings and feedback are greatly appreciated by the whole team!
You can download the Free Flux8 Playable Demo Here!
Still not convinced? Youtuber Fellow Player has already downloaded and completed the demo! Check out his video below to hear his thoughts on Flux8 in it’s current state! Spoiler Alert: He liked it!
pTs 42 also gave the Flux8 demo a try!
Check out our website here: http://www.flux8game.com/
Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve been continuing with the level designs and development. The levels created are now in the process of being exported to separate scenes and cameras for the levels are being place. during this process I’ve also been introducing co-worker to try out levels that have cameras placed and receiving feedback to help refine the levels.
Over the last two weeks, I have been working on making a new system for creating backgrounds in the level editor. A big part of this has been making a tiling system for pipes to automatically connect in a drawn path. The system I made can also save and load pipe layouts.
This week, I came up with a system that allows the balls to respawn without killing the players. Now I’m working on making the ball dissolve before it respawns.
The last couple of weeks have mainly involved reacting to issues that were discovered at Insomnia and trying to correct these. The tasks I have completed as part of this include bug fixes, such as fixing the timer to remain consistent when repeatedly switching between activated and deactivated states. I also added some new, small features such as a visual representation for the timer, so the player can see how long they have remaining.
During the last couple of weeks I have been decorating more levels, creating a new electricity shader and creating more assets for the game. I have also been working with the programmers to get more tools built to speed up the design side of things, such as a modular pipe spline system, where I was responsible for the creation of the modular pipes.
For the past few weeks I have been polishing some of the levels to the standard of the levels we showed at Insomnia. I have also taken feedback from the event and fixed bugs and problems that arose with the current levels.
After Insomnia and making a playable build, I returned to making levels that we have saved for later on in the game. Making the playable build meant that we had to implement some changes to the game and its mechanics. I am now going back to our older levels, which are ready for implementation, and making sure that they are still playable after the changes, otherwise I have to make adjustments to them. Most of the magnetic pads in the levels have had their strengths changed and there are size changes with the different game tokens. Those two examples are easy to fix, but some bigger problems have also appeared which mean I must change the layout of the affected levels.
I’ve continued to work on music and sound effects for the game. I’m currently experimenting with a new piece of music which is a lot more relaxing than previous pieces. Hopefully, it will be finished within the next few weeks.
As usual, you can see what we’ve been working on in the video below!
Over the last month, I have been working to get the game ready for Insomnia. I worked alongside Matt and Sam to test and fix the game ready for the event. Also during this month, I went to Insomnia with Matt, Sam and Harry and showcased the game at the indie zone. We took this opportunity to get feedback on the game and find what areas people enjoyed and what we could improve on. Since coming back I have been fixing areas of the game.
This past month, I have been creating the demo for Insomnia60. This was a lot of work as we wanted a non-development build that allows no errors within our code, so we spent two weeks beforehand removing all of the errors. We unfortunately ran in to some low-level problems in the physics engine, forcing us to use developer mode, but we had no other problems otherwise; Because of this, we didn’t have a lot of time too test which meant we had to do one or two fixes at the event.
We got a lot of great feedback at the event. One of the major things we found was that people didn’t understand the line renderers, which showed them what buttons interacted with. Right now, I’m trying a new implementation to make this more obvious.
Since the last Devblog was posted, the game has gone live on Steam Greenlight. Due to the timing, this meant that the team was split between working on a demo for Insomnia and working on the requirements for the Greenlight page. I worked mainly on the trailer for the game which involved spending a lot of time syncing the animations correctly in Unity so they all played at the correct times.
For the past few weeks, I have been helping to prepare for the Insomnia60 gaming festival. I have mainly been responsible for testing the game, to look for any bugs or design mistakes.
I have also been updating some of the old assets to fit better with the visual style of the game. The moving platforms and the magnet pads are the assets I’ve been focusing on, due to these two being neglected for the past few months of development.
For the past few weeks I have been preparing to exhibit at the Insomnia60 event. I have created merchandise for the game as well as work on the game by building levels and thoroughly play-testing. The exhibition was in Birmingham and lasted 4 days. We gathered a large amount of positive, as well as critical, feedback on the game and are currently working to improve and expand based on this feedback.
During the last month, we were primarily getting ready for Insomnia. I’ve been testing all of the levels that were going to the event and working on the Steam Greenlight trailer. I was working on the multiplayer end levels of the Insomnia demo. The trailer was super fun to make. From the initial idea to execution it was an amazing experience. Reuben and I even had to voice the characters, so we went to a recording studio at the university with Luke and had to make a lot of weird and fun sounds in order to give personality to our characters. From running, jumping and landing sounds to being happy, scared and excited! (You can hear some of Reuben’s sounds at the end of the trailer). Afterwards, we were setting up the movement of the “main character” in the trailer and the different background animations that you can see behind him.
I’ve been mixing and mastering some of the music I’ve composed so it could be used in trailers and implemented in the game. We decided it was about time we gave our magnetic friends voices, so Dimitar, Reuben and I headed over to the recording studio and started to bring Tess and Newt to life! I’ve made more sound effects and created the Steam Greenlight trailer with Reuben and Dimitar. I had to create a soundscape and compose, mix and master a piece of music just for the first part of the trailer. It’s been a busy month! You can hear a bit of everything in the Steam Greenlight trailer below.
If you’re not caught up yet, why not go back and read The Sound of Magnets: Music first?
The factory is noisy and there’s music in the background… but there’s something missing. How does a factory staffed by sentient magnets function properly if none of them can communicate with each other? We decided it was time to get Tess and Newt talking, so we gave them voices!
For obvious reasons I couldn’t just record a magnet talking, so we had to decide how our magnets should speak. Would they talk like you and I? Do they speak in a strange, made up language? Maybe they scream?
We settled on a wide variety of high-pitched mumbles which could be used to express certain emotions depending on the situation. All I needed now was two volunteers, who were willing to lend me their voices and spend their afternoon making weird sounds in a recording studio.
I headed over to the recording studio with Dimitar and Reuben – my two “willing” volunteers. I set up an AKG C414 Condenser microphone and we got to work. We recorded sounds for a wide variety of situations and emotions, from death sounds to the magnets expressing excitement.
While we were there, Dimitar also recorded a voice-over for the Steam Greenlight trailer, so that we could send it to a voice actor as an example of what we wanted.
Once I had plenty of expressions for both Newt and Tess, it was time to start processing them. I removed any unwanted frequencies and background noise from the recordings with EQ and Noise Gates. Then, I cut out the parts I wanted and used a DeEsser to remove some of the “hiss” created by sibilant consonants (mostly “s” sounds). I applied a bit of compression, played around with the pitch and ensured everything played back at the same volume level. Finally, I sent the files over to Matt so we could give our magnetic friends their new voices!
Watch the short clip below, taken from our Steam Greenlight Trailer, to hear Tess and Newt’s first words!
As part of Flux8’s development, I recently attended the Insomnia60 games event at the NEC, Birmingham, along with a few other people. This event was the first part of marketing for the game and getting a large amount of people to play it, in order to see both their reactions, as well as their thoughts on it.
Throughout the event we had a plethora of people come over and try the game, of which a very large majority enjoyed it. We also received a lot of feedback on how we should improve the game, which will be beneficial in the coming months of development. Our expected target audience, which is children, thoroughly enjoyed the game and loved the merchandise we took to the event, including badges, stickers and business cards.
Overall the event went well and it was a very fun time for me personally, getting out there into the world of games and the events that happen because of them. Hopefully I will be there at Insomnia 61, showing an increasingly polished game and meeting many new people, including other developers.
We arrived at the event on Thursday, the day before the event, meaning we had a choice of where to set up our stand. We decided to set up at the end of the row so we could try to entice people passing by with our free merchandise. Looking back after the event, I believe more posters would have been helpful on the sides of the booth to make it look more appealing.
The start of the event seemed slow as most of the attendees visited the AAA games before visiting the indie booths. After a few people visited the booth and responded positively to the game, the stand began to attract visitors more consistently, having at least one person playing the game at any given time. The event peaked on Saturday at noon, having a larger audience at the stand playing the single player as well as the Local-Coop. As the demographic for the game was kids, we had an encouraging amount of positive feedback from the younger audience.
During the event we encouraged players to vote on Steam Greenlight and a large amount of players did, leaving helpful feedback and comments on the game. The remainder of the event consisted of a varied demographic playing the game, ranging from the younger to older audience who all seemed to enjoy it. The event also served as a playtest, allowing us to find bugs and come up with ideas for improvements.
The evening of the first day gave the opportunity to meet with other developers and discuss both game development, as well as how the teaching of games has changed over the years, several of the older developers not having had the option to study games development, let alone get a placement within the industry.
On the Saturday, we went in knowing that it was likely to be the busiest day of the weekend and as such, we went in with the fixes from the previous day, having cut the more problematic levels to give us the best opportunity to showcase the game. We also began to take more of a focus on the multiplayer game and pushed the Steam Greenlight more.
The last two days proceeded more steadily as the attendance slowed down. During this time, we also attracted several cosplayers who got a photo opportunity with Tess and Newt. After spending the 4 days next to the Yogscast booth, Newt even got a photo with Sjin on the last day.
Did you visit the Flux8 stand at Insomnia60? Let us know in the comments section below! Don’t forget, you can still Vote for Flux8 on Steam Greenlight!
From the 30th March until the 1st April, Matt and I were at EGX Rezzed at the Tobacco Dock in London. There, we represented the University of Huddersfield and mainly its games-related courses. Our booth was situated in the GamesIndustry.biz Career fair section of the event, alongside games companies and other universities from all around the country. There, we were approached by a great number of people interested in the University.
From college kids to parents and even college teachers, everyone was asking a multitude of questions about the courses. We were happy to tell them all about what our courses offer and how it would prepare them for employment. We explained what each year entails and the amazing placement opportunities that the university provides – from our on-site studio “Canalside Studios” to our many successful EPY teams and even placements in the games industry.
The amount of talented people that came to our booth was astonishing. There were many people who were already very experienced with drawing, modelling and programming. There was even a 15 year old boy already programming games and testing them on his phone!
EGX Rezzed also had an amazing indie section featuring innovative and stunningly fun games, with a lot of hidden gems that were ready to be discovered by the public on one side and AAA games from massive companies on the other. There were also a lot of unreleased games for the new Nintendo Switch. EGX Rezzed was a unique opportunity to experience all types of games development in one place.