Safety In Numbers – Ready For Testing

Hello fans and friends of Better Bug Games!

The BBG team is happy to announce that our latest title Safety In Numbers (SIN) is ready for beta testing! We’ve been hard at work finalizing the game play mechanic and getting the general feel of SIN ready for public scrutiny and critique. We are pleased at how SIN is coming together and can’t wait to see how others react to playing it.

So, we are looking for all the feedback we can get. We are extending this beta to all of our Kickstarter supporters and the fans and friends of BBG. The industry has seen some great titles come from community driven feedback, and at BBG we want to create that same welcoming environment. So please join us, not only in play testing the next great title from BBG, but also in starting a dialogue to make SIN the best it can be together!

To participate in the beta, go to forums.BetterBugGames.com and sign up for an account. Then send a pm to the user Jason Q to get the private subforum unlocked. From there, you can read the instructions, see what other people are saying about the game, and download the latest version. Currently we only have a Windows installer version, but we’re working on getting a Mac version soon as well.

Hope to see you there!

Tony P
BBG

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Safety in Numbers Update / Kickstarter Overview

Hello all! I wanted to give everyone a short update on the status of Safety in Numbers (SIN) now that our Kickstarter (KS) has come and gone. While the KS campaign wasn’t successful, ($215 raised/$1000 goal) we had some great milestones with this KS campaign. This was the most money donated, most backers, and it’s definitely the most fun campaign we’ve run! Need proof? Check out this video made with the help of the very talented Sean Caspian. So, thank you all for your support. As for SIN, it will still get made, but we’re going to scale things back just a bit. Seeing as how there seems to be a hesitance on the style of gameplay, we’re going to remove the paid version of the game and just give all of the features out for free! We are currently targeting the end of July as our release time, so those of you that are looking forward to playing it won’t have to wait long.  Also, for those of you who ordered beta testing status, you will be getting it. Even though we didn’t reach our goal we are not a company that forgets it’s fans! Once we have the game to a beta testable state, we will send out a personal message with details.

Still feel like helping Better Bug Games? We recently launched a Patreon account (http://www.patreon.com/BetterBugGames). Patreon is an ongoing supporter platform rather than a one off like Kickstarter. Creators can get paid small amounts per project or per month. We’re looking for donations per month since our project size and release schedule can vary widely. Please check us out and spread the word! Jason and I think this may be a more successful avenue for BBG to explore. Patreon allows our fans to contribute on an on-going basis, and allows us to grow as a company rather than have to hope for a large scale KS project to get us off the ground. Our goal here is to transition full-time into game making and you can help! Pledge what you can and spread the word!

Regardless of any hurdles we may come across, Better Bug Games is still going to charge forward and bring our games to the world, where they belong.

Thanks so much for your support!
The Better Bug Games team

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Safety In Numbers Kickstarter

Better Bug Games is happy to announce a Kickstarter for our upcoming title, Safety in Numbers!

Safety In Numbers, or SIN, is a reverse tower defense title where you are charged with handling the flow of refugees of an impending attack! You must use guards and natural obstacles to keep a controlled flow of people moving into the safety of the city through a single gate. If you allow too many to stack up, panic will overtake the masses and the people will riot. Think that sounds fun? Check this out… the premium version of the game will feature a level editor with the ability to Tweet your custom levels for others to play!

Please take a moment to check out our campaign here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/betterbuggames/safety-in-numbers-by-better-bug-games . Any size donation is wonderful and will be greatly appreciated, but there are also some awesome perks to helping us achieve our goals.

For any not capable of monetary assistance, you can still help! Let people know about our campaign and help get the word out about Safety in Numbers. As Indie developers, we know the hardest part is getting people to find our project. The Indie community, players and developers alike, is one of the most inclusive and helpful we’ve ever been apart of and with your help we can reach of goal! Short on time? Just use the blurb below on Facebook or Twitter and *boom* you have helped out your favorite indie game company Better Bug Games!

Blurb:
Safety in Numbers, a reverse tower defense title with tweetable custom levels from ! Contribute here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/betterbuggames/safety-in-numbers-by-better-bug-games

Thank you for helping in our success! :)

I can’t wait to have to write an article about how awesome all of you are for helping us reach our goal!

Tony P and Jason Q

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A blast from the past with a new twist! – The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Review

Let me start off by saying this is the best 3DS non port title I have ever played! If you own a 3DS this is a must have for your library! Now that I’m done gushing, let’s review this title properly because as great as it is, it is not without its faults.

Story

A Link Between Worlds (LBW) starts much like the Super Nintendo classic A Link to the Past (LTTP), one of the greatest console games to ever be released. LBW takes a whole lot of gameplay and inspiration from LTTP.  This can be a blessing for those looking to just blow through the game, but I found it kinda disappointing because there was no drive for me to dig into the story. In fact, outside of the paintings, I found nothing super entertaining about the team of villains bent on Hyrule’s destruction (up until the finale, at least, which I will not ruin here!). The game does pay great homage to LTTP, but the story really feels like a well done reboot. This means for me or anyone else that’s played LTTP, you’re not really getting anything new.

Story Score – (6/10) It’s good but I’ve already read this one…

Gameplay

This is where LBW really shines. The swordplay and item system are solid (except for upgrades…I’ll get to it). Exploration is fairly open right from the get go, letting you dictate how you consume the game. This is something I really love that is missing from a lot of newer titles. I don’t need you to hold my hand! Let me explore this great world of yours and make it my own by going where I want to! LBW does this so well that near the half way point of the game I slowed my story progression and went Maiamai (goofy looking octopus babies) hunting to try to upgrade most of my equipment. I grabbed a ton of those little guys, got a few key items upgraded, and jumped right back into the story. I never felt like I broke the game nor did the game compel me to resume my quest; it just let this hero of Hyrule do his thing as he saw fit.

Onto the upgrade and item system. A lot of the classic items return and no matter which Legend of Zelda you’ve played you’ll feel right at home with the hookshot, lantern, bow, and boomerang just to name a few. There are also a few really unique and new items in LBW like the sand and tornado rod which allow you control over their respective elements. This does make for some interesting puzzles later in the game, but overall they feel under utilized. I think the worst part of the item system is by far acquisition. How do you get these great items? You go rent or buy them from a very eccentric little shopkeeper who sets up his business in your home, of all places. There are a few items discovered in dungeons, but overall your job is to grind for rupees and go shopping. This just felt lame, like anyone with cash could be the hero of Hyrule, not a brave adventurer willing to brave deep, dark dungeons for their untold treasures. Item use in general is pretty basic. The game tries to ramp it up by adding an upgrade system, but it doesn’t really do anything but make your items slightly cooler or more powerful. While I appreciate the idea of renting items and using the Maiamai to upgrade my stuff, at the end of the day it felt like these wrinkles were added because they felt like they had to do something different from LTTP, not because it was fun or cool. I really never got to feel the pain of rental because I never died (which causes all rented items to be repossessed), so I never lost my stuff. However the game does not reward you for that. You instead get to buy your stuff twice so that on the off-chance you die you keep it.

The best thing about the gameplay is the heart of the game’s theme…Wall Merging! This particular mechanic is handled so well that it is super easy to overlook the flaws in the other components. From exploration of the two main overworld to the amazingly well done dungeons, the wall walking never gets old. The game does such a good job of making you use this ability in conjunction with your other items to get through each dungeon that it quickly becomes your go to move when stuck. In particular, I loved this because it made the dungeons seem much bigger. The same room could be played over and over again because it became a new experience every time you gained access to a new part of the wall. This game should be a lesson to any game designers looking to make a great game. Make sure to focus on that core of your gameplay and do it well. It makes it so the player is so immersed in that one component that the others take a back seat and won’t feel broken or annoying if they are  not done to the same great quality.

Gameplay Score – (9/10) One Great Component done very well mixed with a serviceable support system

Graphics and Sound

This game is beautiful! I loved the look of everything. The music and sound effects really helped immerse me. A lot of the music will feel familiar to anyone who played LTTP, but all the scores are upgraded and wonderfully handled. As for visuals, the color palate is selected beautifully even in the dark land of Lorule (Hyrule’s doomed counter part). You can really tell that the land used to be vibrant and beautiful, just like Hyrule, until it fell under dark influence. It would be a great looking title even if it weren’t on a handheld!

Graphics and Sound Score – (10/10) Can’t think of how I would have changed it for the better!

Overview

This game will make those of us born in the 80′s feel like a kid again! For those experiencing the greatness of Legend of Zelda for the first time, this game is a wonderful introduction into the universe (Now go play all the old titles you young whipper snappers!). This game reminds me why Nintendo has survived some of the very poor decisions they have made over the years. When they make a great game, they make a really great game! So thank you Nintendo for LBW it is truly a title that will never leave my library and will be visited over and over again!

Overall Score (9/10) I want to give it a slightly lower score but I just can’t. Even with its flaws, this game plays near perfect when all compiled together!

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Password security

Everyone has wonderful passwords, right? I’m sure you’ve got a different one for every website you go to, with some crazy combination of upper case, lower case, numbers, and symbols. Nothing in there is personal, like a pet’s name or your mother’s birthday, and it would be absolutely impossible to guess. Right?

Ok ok, you can stop laughing. But that is the current suggested standard by people who are supposed to know this stuff. And they are 100%, absolutely, gut-wrenchingly wrong about everything. In light of the recent major losses of consumer passwords, it’s time we had some hard conversations about password security.
Continue reading

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BBG is headed to GDC 2014!

Hello everybody!

I just wanted to hop on and give a quick update because it’s been quite some time since our last post. Rest assured that BBG has not been sitting idly by! We have been very hard at work on Myrddin Tales: Episode One and planning for 2014 in general. We have a lot of upcoming plans for this year. First and foremost is Jason and I will be attending GDC again this year. This looks to be super exciting this time around as we purchased all-access passes and will be out there for the full week and attending tons of workshops. After we get back we’ll be putting the finishing touches on Myrddin Tales: Episode One (check out screen shots below) and Jason and I will begin work on an episodic RPG project as well! (but more on that later) That’s it for now but stay tuned for GDC updates, more news on our upcoming games, and probably a ridiculous amount of stories from us playing Titanfall… ;-)

Thanks,

Tony P

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GDC 2013 recap BBG style

Hello all,

Jason and I are back from GDC and already we are planning our triumphant return! The event hosted about 23,000 successful and aspiring game developers and the environment was electric. We came back energized and full of ideas to make BBG a better all around company. Since our laptop broke on day two, we did not get to do any daily posts as promised, but I’ll recap each day here so everyone can experience the greatness that was GDC!

Day 1 – Denver 5am MDT – Time to get up and get going. We quickly headed to the airport for our 8am flight. We needed to arrive early because we were flying standby and our seats were therefore not guaranteed. (Big shout out to our dear friend Chris Combs who provided the passes! The trip would not have been possible without his help.) Arrival and security at DIA was uneventful and we reached our gate about an hour and a half early and checked in. The attendant told us we would be called when our seat was assigned. We grew nervous as they began boarding the plane and we had heard nothing as to our status. There was also a crowd of people standing around who looked like they might be on the standby list as well. After watching everyone else board, we started to talk about what to do… then it happened: our names (or at least my name and a horrible butchering of Jason’s last name as queens-something) were called. We were elated and quickly boarded and, on our way to the tunnel, we heard someone behind us ask about their seat only to be told that there were no more available; we nabbed the last two seats on the plane! Two hours of smooth flying later we landed in San Fran. We hopped on the next train to our hotel in Oakland (Another shout out, this one to Darrin Rosenberg, for helping us book an affordable hotel!) We dropped our stuff and headed back to San Fran and arrived around 1pm PDT. After a quick lunch, we grabbed our passes and began to soak in all the awesome! First stop was the expo floor where companies and developers could show off their stuff. We chatted with the Amazon Web Service people and got amazing help from one of their reps. We also grabbed some other flyers for stuff we thought was cool or could help us grow BBG. There was also the super packed IGF pavilion where all the sweet indie games that were nominated for awards could be played. Before we knew it, day 1 of the expo was over and we had about an hour before the Independent Games Festival Awards and Game Developers Choice Awards were scheduled to start, so we chilled for a bit and headed over to the awards. It was packed! We ended up sitting in the back but still had a great time watching some established and great up and coming companies win for their amazing work. Hosts Andy Schatz and Tim Schafer were entertaining and the ceremony was fun. On the way out we ran into our friend Dylan Jones and made plans to meet up the next day. Back to the hotel and sleep. Day 1 complete.

Day 2 – Up early and off to Frisco! We grabbed a light breakfast and then checked out GDC Play where some other indie games were on display. There was some cool stuff there to check out and before we knew it, it was lunch time. We met up with Dylan for lunch and chatted about everything GDC. Afterwards, we tried to plan what to do next. We were about to wander the expo floor again when Dylan texted us and said to head to the garden for some unorganized indie developer talks. This was one of the highlights of the whole trip. Since Jason and I couldn’t get into many lectures with the passes we had, this was a great opportunity to get to learn from some of the industry greats. It was a large gathering of developers who could sign up to talk for 5-10 minutes about anything they wanted. We got to hear some great stuff in a variety of topics.  We spent the rest of the day there soaking up everything we could. Since there was no after GDC activity planned like the previous night, we decided to hang out and try to find one of the legendary GDC parties. While waiting to hear if we could make into a party we met a new friend Wilson Leong of Binary Rebellion. We spent the next hour or so chatting and sharing about our ups and downs as small time companies. We then decided to try and take the party situation into our own hands. The three of us headed to where Blizzard was partying and tried, unsuccessfully, to make it in. We took this as a sign and headed back to the Hotel. Day 2 Complete, almost. Back at the hotel room, Jason managed to bend a hinge on the laptop wrong and took out the screen. No more computer!

Day 3 – Day 3 was a little more laid back as everything was winding down. We slept in a little and planned the day out over breakfast. We discovered that there were actually some lectures available to us that day so we make that the plan of action. The first lecture was a how to get a game programming job workshop with a panel of people in the industry. It was cool to hear these people speak to their experiences and successes working as game programmers. We then hit the expo floor again, this time a little less overwhelmed,  and made sure to converse more and grab up as much swag as we could to bring back to our Colorado friends. Unfortunately, being Friday, most of the good stuff was gone. Soon, it was time for the last lecture of the day: a super cool Post Mortem on three sweet indie games. Penny Arcade 3, Dys4ia and Ziggurat. Each developer took a turn describing their experience of creating a game beginning to end. It was super inspiring to see people who were where we are not so long ago, and just like that, the convention was over. We decided to take it easy and just grab a drink with Dylan after. During drinks we met another new friend Laurent Lavigne creator of McDroid. We had a great chat about our companies and upcoming games. It was a great way to cap the convention.

All in all we had a great time and learned a lot. Can’t wait to go back and experience even more!

Tony P                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               BBG

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More like God of Bore!…God of War Ascension review

I want to start by saying I am a huge GOW fan and have loved everything that has been released up until the point Ascension came out. I have played every title to completion including the handheld ports and 1 and 2 HD remakes. Kratos has been one of the most memorable and powerful characters to play in my entire 26 year gaming career. That being said, Ascension is quickly becoming the most boring chore of a game I have ever felt the need to finish. I have played approximately half of the single player campaign and haven’t yet had fun or been challenged by anything that has happened.

What’s wrong with the game, you ask? The strange answer to that question is I’m not sure. Solid combat system? Check. Huge boss battles? Check. Epic score and beautiful environments? Check and check. It’s all there, everything that made the previous titles great to play, just minus the fun factor. It’s simply not fun to play… It’s like meeting a beautiful, successful woman who has everything you’ve ever wanted in a mate, but you have absolutely no interest or attraction to her what so ever. This series has given me so many quality nights of gaming that I WILL FINISH this game and give you all the other half of this review, but I am very concerned by the fact that the most fun I’ve had with this game is when Jason and I tried to figure out how to unlock the Last of Us demo that comes with the game. After struggling with the directions and trying hard to figure out what the hell the F and S buttons are (yes those are the actual instructions and I still have no idea what they were referring to) we used the code to activate the online pass and that gave us access to an amazing….Count Down Clock…Ohhhhhhhh….Ahhhhhh. But at least we laughed ourselves silly. So if you haven’t already been duped like I have, wait and rent this title before you drop 60 hard-earned dollars on what so far has turned into one of the least memorable titles I have ever played.

Wish me luck with the rest of the game everyone!

Tony P                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        BBG

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BBG and GDC!

Hello all!

It’s been a great start to the year and it’s only going to get better. Jason and I are heading to San Francisco for this years GDC and we couldn’t be more excited! We are getting in early Wednesday and will be soaking in everything that we can until they make us leave Friday night! We’re hoping to meet some new faces, show off some of the stuff we’ve been working on, and learn a ton about everything gaming!

Wanted to get some thank yous in as this trip would not have been possible without the help of our good friends Chris and Darrin! They’re helping us get out there and have a place to rest our heads when we arrive. Also wanted to thank the lovely and talented Catherine Birkelo who worked double time to get us the necessary art assets to make the super awesome Myrddin Tales Demo we’ll be showing off. She has done nothing but impress since joining the BBG team and busted her hump to meet the demands to make this demo possible.

We’ll post daily as to the day’s events and let you all know if anything super cool happens!

Happy Gaming All!

Tony P                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               BBG

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Ah! My eyes!

Hello again everyone,

Better Bug Games is proud to announce its latest release, “Ah! My Eyes!” Currently available on Kongregate. As the world’s greatest scientist, your eyes are very important, but what happens when you get random chemicals in them!? You’ve got three tries to find out! Play “Ah! My Eyes!” by searching on Kongregate or just click here and you’ll be on your way to eye-saving fun! SEE if you can unlock all six endings (pun intended). Have fun everyone!

Tony P

BBG

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