Star Pirates Infinity Available Now in a Galaxy near you!

STAR PIRATES INFINITY LAUNCHED BY SHG STUDIOS

Star Pirates Infinity, the next-gen CCG from SHG studios is live for limited release. You can play on PC or Mac, or if in Canada/Australia download on Android or iOS from here: www.starpiratesinfinity.com.

Star Pirates Infinity (SPI) is a free to play, Collectible Card Game, set within SHG’s dystopian space-opera known as the Starcrash Universe.

“Star Pirates Infinity focuses on competitive PvP, deck building, and completing missions”, says SHG’s Managing Director Colin Ferguson, “SPI contains SHG’s signature social features coupled with active moderating to keep the game about the game. We’ve been creating great communities for 9 years, with the original www.starpirates.net, and other SHG titles.”

“9 years later, some of those original players, are now enjoying SPI. People tend to come for the game, and stay for the community”, adds Greg Ferguson, CEO of SHG Studios. “This was, by far, our biggest project to date, and we think it’s the best. Hopefully the new players agree!”

Almost 2 years in the making, with dozens of contributors, SPI marks a monumental accomplishment for SHG Studios and we are extremely thankful for the support we have received from ODMC’s IDMF Production and CMF’s Experimental Fund.

SPI is available on PC or Mac and if in Canada/Australia download on Android or iOS from here: www.starpiratesinfinity.com.

The Game Trailer for Star Pirates Infinity can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uXLiI5bFN4

Questions about the game, including media requests, can be directed to: info@shgstudios.com.

About SHG
SHG Studios is an independent casual game developer. We create casual games focused on social interaction. Players come for the games, and stay for the community. Our focus since day one has been on engaging social and community mechanics with our games. Players who joined us over 9 years ago, and still play, will attest to this. Our community development dynamics allows us to punch beyond our size and battle it out with the big players in the casual gaming world. We are very cognizant this is why players choose us over our competitors, and we build our games and communities accordingly.

About IDMF
Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), an agency of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport is the central catalyst for the province’s cultural media cluster including book publishing, film and television, interactive digital media, magazine publishing and music industries.

About CMF
The Canada Media Fund (CMF) fosters, promotes, develops and finances the production of Canadian content and relevant applications for all audiovisual media platforms. The CMF guides Canadian content towards a competitive global environment through fostering industry innovation, rewarding success, enabling a diversity of voice and promoting access to content through industry and private sector partnerships.

Game Pace Can Impact Gameplay

In case we haven’t said it recently enough – Thank You!  When we look at how long Star Pirates has been active and the ongoing community support it receives, we are still humbled by how the community has embraced the game we made.  We are also thrilled that we are still able to continue expanding the universe with new content and features.

This month, we again added some of both.  Changes we’ve made this year include specific focus on the pace of the game.  While we cannot do anything that might damage the economy or balance, it is possible to accelerate players through certain areas where progress lags.  We have seen it in many games, that if you cannot assure continuity with parts of a story, the whole experience can be affected.  Consider any MMO where you travel between cities on a regular basis.  The distance between cities is fairly constant as is the time it takes to travel between them.  But imagine if one city took three times longer to reach but had no additional quests or monsters along that road.  Instantly the player will avoid that area of the game.

This was some of the focus of the latest Exclusive Commission which unlocks at level 32 for players.  The level requirements for the Ascensions, that large side stories within Star Pirates, are level 40, 45 and 50.  Many players quickly reach level 30 but, as each new level takes more work than the last, getting up to level 40 is more challenging.  It has always been possible, using belt runs and focusing on PVP, but there was little story elements within that part of the game.  We also wanted to make people think a bit more about going into the Ascensions.  Completion of the Upper Belt story unlocks a new search where players can find three kinds of modules.  These new items offer some of the capabilities of the types of equipment players can get from Ascending but are not quite as powerful.  Players also get some generous hideout credits, and hideout upgrades can really help players progress in the Ascensions.  Ultimately, the items and Hideout upgrades allow a sort of stepping stone for players making their way towards Ascension.

And we are already working on two more blocks of content for Star Pirates and a large block for Gates of Camelot.  Our plans for the game include more content through Sept/Oct then work on growing the community size through Nov/Dec.  We’d also like to fit in a few tweaks to the UI during that time.  Spy Battle content might slip to the new year though I’d like to fit in something before then.

One of our biggest barriers is the art assets for the games. Not that we don’t have assets, but our art team is currently committed to another project.  I can get by with what we have in most cases but resort to a fair amount of reskinning of existing assets.  For Star Pirates I actually think we’ve not used that technique enough of late.  I would expect pirates would like to paint their ships different colors.  Here are some reskins I’ve done for our Cruiser model.

Crui_502 Crui_602

Crui_702 Crui_802
So work continues as the kids head back to school.  This fall looks to be a busy one for SHG, but I’ll let my colleagues speak to that in some of their upcoming blogs.

Cheers,

More Lyz! – Studio Dev Blog

Watch Out!
Watch Out!
Fantastic
Fantastic
Ready to go
Ready to go

 

 

Hello Players! Just a reminder to those who have not played the new missions in Zombie Moon (or have friends who haven’t played them): they are still available and they are fantastic. Go on and play them! Don’t worry, I can wait…

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Finished? Awesome! Lyz has done a fantastic job with the cosplay and she has a bunch more you can check out on her site, facebook, and instagram. Also for anyone who is at PAX Prime this weekend Lyz will be there as well go out and say hello for us!

In Zombie Moon news we are now pushing out more missions every 1-2 weeks for those players who are of high levels. We are hoping to extend the end game so it doesn’t cap too early. Because of our last update we can now get content to players without doing an app update to the game. We will also be adding more tasks to the task list next week so get prepared for that! As always if you have any questions or running into any issues feel free to use the help desk and tell us about it. Look forward to more updates next week!

Zombie Moon Content Boost! – Studio Dev Blog

Hey Everyone, Wings here again with another update! Zombie Moon has received a new update to help us bring you more content without downloading the app every time. With this new update we are bringing out new Tasks that can be done Daily, Weekly and during Special Events! Additional tasks will be coming as the days go by. On top of that we have Achievements, currently only available for Android users (Apple users will be getting achievements on next update, please be patient with us). We have also added a social page in the settings screen making sharing on social media much easier than ever before!

Lyz Copslay ZM
Lyz Copslay ZM

Now for the best announcement… we have also added some new missions! Specifically going along the lines of Star Pirates… Zombie Moon now has a new mission starring Lyz Brickly! She has done a fantastic job and we’re very excited to add her to the Zombie Moon Universe. Definitely check out more of her work here. Also check out the new mission in game now, if you want the full content don’t forget to update to the latest version 3.3.06.

We are planning more content over the next few months with new missions and tasks. Stay tuned!

Ascension live, on to other tasks

Well, we hit our milestone.  Ascension 3 went live on the 15th and as of this morning, four players have earned the “Triscending Cohort” medal, which will be awarded to the first ten players who complete Ascension 3.   Over the years, players have told us that they really appreciate the medals they can receive which are in game achievements.  One of the important aspects of a Free2Play (F2P) game like ours is insuring that there are elements such as achievements which cannot be purchased, only earned.  We pay very close attention to the economy of each game to insure that we do not create a pay to win environment.  Purchases in game are designed to move players through game elements faster, not to provide an advantage over other players.  The medals are an example of something players can only earn through actual gameplay.  Looking at the profile page of a long term player shows a kind of scoreboard of all the things the player has done, regardless of their investment level.

a3_first10     a3_path_1

Having been around as long as we have though, some of the medals aren’t quite as shiny as we would like.  Many were created a long time ago.  The game has evolved a lot since then but some elements have not required changes.  In the coming months, we hope to start addressing some of these housekeeping issues and refresh some of the graphics.  Currently the enemies encountered by players in the Asteroid Belt and Deep Asteroid Belt are the priority, these have become overdue for a refresh.  Before we undertake another large development task, there are some smaller elements like these we’d like to address.

 

Some of these small items can also have a big impact.  The addition of Giulietta’s Story to SP was specifically designed to help new players get into the game quickly, picking up near the end of the tutorial.  Anything that we can do to bring down entry barriers will increase the number of players in game. Increasing the size of the community is an ongoing priority.  Along these lines, I recently opened a conversation about accessibility in our game.  We’re looking for feedback on where players have found barriers playing our game from an accessibility standpoint.  If you’ve had experiences with games and accessibility, either positive or negative, please leave comments below or join the conversation in game;

 

http://www.starpirates.net/forums/forum/viewthread.php?forum_id=2&thread_id=36519
So that’s all for now.  I’m going to jump back into Gates of Camelot for a bit, those darn vikings are invading again…

Ascending for the Third Time

As product manager for the Starcrash games, it is always hard to build big features for one of the games.  It means that I won’t be able to give as much attention to the other two for some time.  It can really only be justified when the feature will have a big impact on a game’s community and long term success.  For the last month, I’ve been working on such a feature and it’s nearly done!

This month, we will be adding Ascension 3 to Star Pirates.  Each ascension is a full story that takes place somewhere in the Star Pirates universe.  Ascension 3 will be the first time that two ascensions happen in the same area.  It brings players back to the Alpha Centauri system which was the backdrop for the first Ascension.  This will make PvP actions possible between player in A1 and A3.  The storyline behind Ascension 3 is our largest yet with more than 25,000 words divided into 5 acts and more than 75 new story images.

A3_preview
Like previous Ascensions, this story will allow players to experience a “fresh start” for a time in a new area of the game.  The rewards for just participating are noteworthy with access to a new unique item category – Hybrids.  Completion of the story will transfer all the items and cash earned back to player’s original account, the slot for the new item type and earn players  a medal.  Two additional medals will be available when the Ascension goes live.  A medal will be awarded to the first ten players who complete the Ascension and the very first person will get an additional “first to complete” medal.

Writing this content was a very large undertaking, but we’re not all work and no play at SHG.  Having hit some recent milestones, some of the team stayed late at the office last night for a board games night.  I’m a strong believer in learning from games across all genre and platforms.  We try and check out something new in gaming every week.  Last night I brought in my copy of Starfarers of Catan.  Alas, the Dark Lady was cruel to me and on my first two turns I failed encounters which meant I could not move my ship.  It was a deadly blow to my strategy and I was unable to catch up.  But we still had a great time!

game1 game1b

So today we are back to work, busy testing and getting the last images done.  We’d love to hear feedback on the Ascensions, either the existing ones or the new one when it goes live.  Leave your comments below about the stories or tell us what board game we should play next!

Christian Latour, Product Manager
SHG Studios

SURPRISE, SURPRISE – STUDIO DEV BLOGS

Hey Everyone! Wings is back again with another blog post. This time I have some content to share with you…

 

Kevin & Kell Misfile

 

TADA! We have partnered with some content creators, Kevin and Kell and Misfile to get some panels out for Guts and Glory. We have done some work with both Kevin and Kell and Misfile in the past and we thought it would be fun to see their characters in a scene from our game. We love reaching out to media contractors be it web comics, cosplayers, writers, musicians and more that could interest and inspire our community, especially for those players who like to RP within the game. We hope everyone is enjoying the content and there will be more out soon and expect more missions involving cosplayers soon *wink* *wink*.

A New Member Joins SHG Studios…

Hello, SHG Community.

My name is Bret Measor. This is the first of many dev blogs by me, and I want to start off my first entry by introducing myself and my video game industry history to the SHG Studio community.

My work in the video game industry started shortly after completing a 2 year video game & design course at the International Academy of Design located in Toronto, Ontario. I had a very hard time getting any work as a student fresh out of school; I was too “green” for any local studio to take me on. I decided to make my own experience and started my own company called Hard-Circle, Inc. and we focused primarily on free to play browser based games made with Adobe Flash and 2D pixel art. I ran that studio for 5 years and we created around 30+ games for some of the biggest clients in the free to play space.  I wore many hats ranging from CEO, designer, producer, and artist.

After my run with Hard-Circle, Inc. I decided it was time to pack my things up (I was worn out), and head out to Ottawa to work for an educational video game studio called VINCI Education. I spent a year and a half there honing my skills in game design, production, and team management. Together with my small dedicated team we created 6 fun educational games, and 1 educational MMO (still in development). It was a great experience for me, the change of scenery, and working with really talented people helped hone my skills.

During my time in Ottawa, SHG Studios was undergoing a transformation and looking to expand their already talented roster with dedicated leadership. I returned to Hamilton and was brought on board in May as the Product Manager/Game Designer responsible for their newest mobile IP called World War Mobile (title pending) due for release on Android devices in the fall/winter of 2015.

I hope you enjoyed my first dev blog post about myself. The next dev blog I write will be more focused on the new IP World War Mobile (title pending). Check back regularly to the SHG Studio blog to see more dev blogs by myself and the rest of the team at SHG. If you wish to follow me on my adventures you can @BretMeasor on twitter.