Bringing Soulcaster from PC/XNA to Newgrounds with HTML5

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Two weeks ago, I took my XNA dungeon crawler/tower defense hybrid to Newgrounds. The port was entirely the work of Kevin Gadd who stuck around during the first week to push no fewer than 8 patches.  This was my first launch on a web portal, and this article is about what went right and wrong.

The main thing I did right was research what the Newgrounds community (and web game community in general) would be receptive to. I already have a web demo of Escape Goat, which is designed to feed sales of the digital download from my site. I learned early on  that this type of demo/upsell wouldn’t go over well there, so I made the decision to offer the full game. (Thanks to Hyptosis for this bit of advice.)

Bottom line: If your computer is relatively fast and you use a modern browser, you’ll have an identical experience to the PC game I sell for $2.99.  I also made sure to clearly label this as an Experimental Beta, given how unpredictable HTML5 support is with some browsers. This paid off, and some players even said they cut me some slack with the technical issues because it was marked as a beta. (Also big thanks to Lars Doucet for his wisdom after launching Defender’s Quest on Kongregate.) Continue reading Bringing Soulcaster from PC/XNA to Newgrounds with HTML5

Escape Goat PC Launch on Indie Royale

The wait is over!  Escape Goat is available on PC, and has debuted in the June Bug Indie Royale bundle.  Get it in the next few days along with some other fantastic games for an unbeatable price.

Before I even had time to write this post, the bundle has already sold 2,200 copies (in under two hours) and even most astonishingly, Escape Goat is trending on Twitter.  Some friends (@DaveVoyles, @MasterBlud and @jmpaul) sent proof of this:


John Walker of Rock, Paper, Shotgun wrote a pretty positive review:

More to come!

Indie Royale Bonus Content Unlocked: Soulcaster Guest Remix Album

It’s official: Indie Royale has added some music content to bundle purchasers, including six never-before-heard Soulcaster remixes done by some talented friends of mine.

Back when we were setting up the bundle, the Royale crew asked about adding the Soulcaster OST’s to the bundle as bonus content.  I was fine with that, but knowing that they’re available for “name your price” on Bandcamp, I wanted to provide something special and exclusive for the bundle.

My concept: a remix album.  The only problem was that I didn’t have any time to work on it.  So I put the word out to some composer buddies, to see if there was anyone willing to do a track in just a few days.  I thought maybe one or two people would have time, but no… here are the six songs I got back.  Unreal!

Here are some bios on the contributors.  In the spirit of Valentine’s day I’ve tried to add my personal touch to them. (I’m listening to the To The Moon soundtrack right now, so if this starts getting really sentimental, just bear with me.)

 1. James McCawley – Neverglade 02:35

James is a long-time friend with origins going back to the Video Games Lounge on AOL.  He’s currently working as a sound designer & “occasional composer” at Treyarch, where he recently wrote some incidental music for Black Ops, including most of the BGM for Dead Ops Arcade.

 2. Kyle Johnson – Ruin the Remix 04:00

Kyle and I met through the Game Audio Network Guild back in 2005, when we first collaborated on some contract gigs for GBA and NDS audio. Since then we’ve become close friends, and I’ve known him through his tenure at Neversoft, where he did all kinds of stuff for the Guitar Hero franchise, notably (ha!) track design. He’s an all-terrain music guru with sharp composing skills, who just so happens to shred at the guitar. His latest project is a deep ambient collaboration with Tom Owen, We Spies.

3. Surasshu – All Souls Alliance (10,000% Remix) 04:35

Steven and I also met through the G.A.N.G. back in 2005, and he proved a valuable ally on the many game soundtracks we did. It’s rare to find someone who can cope with the limitations of Gameboy Advance and DS, but Steven just happens to be a master of authentic 8-bit and chiptune styles. Just don’t think he’s pigeonholed into that style though, because I’ve found him one of the more versatile composers I’ve worked with. His most recent endeavor is yogurtbox – Tree of Knowledge, what I can only describe as the soundtrack to a make-believe Japanese dating sim.

 4. Jake ‘virt’ Kaufman – Merchant of Beatdowns 04:08

How do I write a bio on virt? Everyone knows virt! Jake and I started doing game audio around the same time, about a decade ago, and in that time he has gone from mere mortal to unstoppable demigod. I could name drop (Bloodrayne: Betrayal and Retro City Rampage), but what I want to say most is that he came through for me on this face-crushing dubstep remix with zero advance notice from me. I think he went without sleep to help me promote Soulcaster’s PC debut and that just says a lot about the man’s character.

 5. DJ Bouche – Soulcaster II (Northern Lights Remix) 02:23

Andrew Lim (a.k.a. DJ Bouche) is a contact I made through this remix album, actually, when I asked Steven to see if he knew anyone interested in doing a track. Steven came through with DJ Bouche. He’s a remix, trance, soundtrack and chiptune virtuoso, who according to his Soundcloud profile, is looking for a break into the industry. Listen to the track, and listen to his Soundcloud reel… the man is ready.

6. madbrain – Storybook – Symphonic MIx 02:10

Hubert Lamontagne (a.k.a. madbrain) is another Surasshu comnection. He’s a mysterious fellow without much web presence, flying under the radar for now, no doubt waiting for the right time to make his move. In addition to music composition skills, he’s got some programming ability and is making a digital synthesizer based on physical modeling of wind instruments.

Cover illustration: James Walker

James and I first got in contact just a few months ago, when he dropped me a message about Escape Goat.  He’s a fellow jack-of-all-trades game developer, currently working on a master’s in statistical analysis of compiler optimization (OK, so he’s a few notches above me in the coding department).  When he’s not distracted by academics, he’s working on his next indie title, yet to be announced but looking very cool so far.

As of now, the only way to get these awesome tracks is to buy the bundle… your contributions will be put to good use, trust me! Help us shatter some records, and get some great games and music in the process.