A collection of topics – new forum launched!

Over the last couple months, we’ve made some changes and improvements to Star Pirates Infinity which really help the flow of the game and the new player experience. Our focus moving forward is to try and generate more discussion about the game. We want to increase our interaction with those who are playing the game. To that end, we’ve set up both a forum and a Discord server so we can more easily interact with the community. For those unfamiliar with it, Discord is a new free all-in-one voice and text chat with a focus on games. The server is accessible here:

 

https://discord.gg/Y6XCj5R

 

Our long term roadmap is to have a forum tied to SPI player accounts to remove the need for a second set of credentials. This would be more integrated into SPI, much the way our webgame forums work, but for the moment we’re going to use this forum:

 

http://starpiratesinfinity.forumotion.com/


If you’ve had the opportunity to try the game, we would very much appreciate if you could take a moment to leave a quick comment on the forums, or leave us a message in Discord. We’d like to know which platform you’ve tried the game on, how you found the experience, and biggest thing you noticed while playing the game; something that really stood out to you, either good or bad.

Much of this effort is based off our experiences with Star Pirates, Spy Battle and Gates of Camelot. It has been our experience that those games built a sustainable community because the players had the opportunity to interact both in an immediate shoutbox and to share ideas in the forums. We hope that the addition of forums will help increase community presence in Star Pirates Infinity. If you haven’t tried the game yet, just a reminder that it plays across Android, iOS, PC and Mac. You can download the latest version here:

www.starpiratesinfinity.com

Star Pirates Infinity DOWN FOR MAINTENANCE

Hi Folks,

Any of our Star Pirates Infinity players in Canada and Australia are likely experiencing some issues if they downloaded the newest update on Android.

The game will give a warning about your version being out of date – this is not the case. Our data on the server is out of date, and we will be fixing that within the next day.

Basically, we have a front end client (the game you download) and the back end server client (where all the data is stored.) In order for the game to function properly, we have to release the game on the respective app stores at the same time as we update the back end data, and our data got out of synch today.

We apologize for the inconvenience, and promise a great experience when the game is back up and running tomorrow!

 

Thanks,

SHG Staff

To (Star Pirates) Infinity!

Hello All!

Today is a great day! 9th anniversary of the launch of the original Star Pirates (www.starpirates.net). Original? Yes, as Star Pirates Infinity (SPI) launches today!

Colin Ferguson (AAB) here, to tell you a bit more.

 

Where can I download it from?

PC:   http://www.starpiratesinfinity.com/pc (Worldwide)

Mac:  Coming veeeeerrry soon  (Worldwide)

Android: Coming veeeeerrry soon for Australia and Canada. (Worldwide in early May.)

Apple: Depends upon Apple. Likely April 28th or so. (Australia and Canada only. Worldwide in early May.)

 

Watch the Trailer Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uXLiI5bFN4

 

So what the Heck is Star Pirates Infinity?

A Collectible Card Game (CCG) based in the Starcrash Universe, but many years further in the future and with a new cast of characters – human, alien and everything in between alike. The game has weekly (or so) events where we, over time, unroll the links between SPI and the original Starcrash titles.

 

Is Star Pirates Infinity any good?

Short answer, yes; all the developers are addicted to it. If you like CCG’s you’ll probably like it a lot. There are a few new twists on standard CCGs including a 2nd summoning resource, and “Table Top Mode”. If you don’t like CCG’s you’ll probably struggle for the first bit to learn the mechanics, but if you do, the game is really rewarding.

It’s also taken a cast of dozens, a million dollars, and 2 years to build. By far our biggest project. And we think we got it right.

What is the connection to the Original Star Pirates?

The main 2 links are that it comes from the same studio and that it has deep social features. Guilds and the new “Networks” enable the same kind of social collaboration and conflict that made the StarCrash Games so fun. Again, the story doesn’t seem to be that linked from the start, but you’ll see it is.

 

Thank you, and see you on the other side of the Universe,

Colin

Full Circle

Star Pirates Infinity wrapped up production 10 days ago, and we have been in full Marketing mode since. Placing the game in a closed beta is a good way to gather feedback from select people that aren’t us; after creating a product for 18 months, you know everything about it and have a “soiled opinion.”

Right now, we have 32 souls testing SPI, and a large number of them are players from the original Star Pirates! Some of these players have been a part of SHG’s family since the beginning, and letting them be some of the first to try a new story in the Star Pirates saga is a small reward for all their support.

The story of Star Pirates Infinity is brand new, but some of the concepts from the original Star Pirates had to be tied back so our Legacy players didn’t get lost; SPI is an island in the same ocean.

To properly tie in previously existing lore, we decided to add a number of cards with references to weapons and concepts from the original game, with plenty of player input (we were admittedly sneaky about it.) The results from our artist, Shawn, were fabulous!

Here are a couple samples:

I won’t give away the names or their abilities, but if you know Star Pirates lore well enough, you can probably guess the answer to both (although one has the name right on it.)

The game is soft launching soon in select markets to gather some initial numbers before the big push worldwide, and we couldn’t be more excited to share it with you all!
Mark

Pick a card! Any card!

As I leave the holiday season behind me I find myself thinking about some of the good fortune I’ve had in my life. My career is certainly one of the things for which I’m most thankful. There are few jobs in this world that will pay you play games.

But as any developer will tell you, testing games and playing games are very different things though. Having to repeat the exact same played action dozens of times looking for an edge case (a bug that occurs in rare circumstances) can get tedious after a while; particularly when there’s a really exciting game and you’re stuck standing at the gates.

For Star Pirates Infinity, and card games in general, we face unique challenges. Since cards remain in play and can have effects across the board and touching many cards, balance is a tricky thing to achieve. While a particular card may seem to have an effect that is reasonable based on the cost of the card, effects can be amplified by interactions with other card abilities.

Precise language is also critical. Anyone who has played games such as Pokemon, Magic TG or Hearthstone will tell you that the addition or removal of a bit of punctuation can totally change the meaning of a card. This presents another challenge that our goal is to have a multilingual game at release, but starting the translation while card review is ongoing will force us into some updates to the translated text as card details are refined.

The best part now is that most of the cards are in the game and playable, the deck manager is working, and both PvP and missions are working really well. It just makes me thankful that not only do I get to play games, I get to play games that I and my team – colleagues and friends – have designed and built together. Yeah, my job is pretty cool.

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Christian “Balthagor” Latour
Product Manager, SHG Studios

Happy New Year/Badlands Draw Winner!

Let me commence this blog by wishing each and every one of you a very happy 2017.  I am personally still getting over the fact that people born in 1999 will be legal adults this year, and my beard is growing whiter with this information.

Here at SHG, we are all oiling the gears to get our next game, Star Pirates Infinity ready for release. We are excited about the progress so far and cannot wait to show the world what we have done with it. It is by far the biggest project for SHG, and every one of us are proud of it.

As for Badlands – Max Carnage, we tried something a little different. We decided to do a Draw with the prize being a real-life prize of a $50 Gift Card to the Google Play Store.

The Draw closed on January 2nd, and was drawn today via a randomly selected Player ID.

 

Congratulations to McArrgh! We will be contacting you shortly.

 

There will be another draw for the same prize commencing on Thursday, January 5th at Midnight (server time) and running until Friday, January 20th at 11:59pm (server time.)

For details on the Draw click here:

Badlands Max Carnage – Login Draw Rules

 

 

Thank you all for playing, and see you in the Badlands!

The Art of Drawing

Last week Star Pirates Infinity development was focused on additional polish to the UI and various bug fixes. Much of the required card art is done, so our art team can focus less on drawing cards, and more on the clean up of the UI.

It ended up being one of our most exciting weeks in quite some time. By the end of the week, our art team had really improved the visual quality of the game and we were playing simultaneous games on a bunch of devices. We knew we had the team engrossed once everyone started talking about card balances, but that will need a bigger testing pool to be properly evaluated. We strongly believe that detailed game balancing is best done with the community, post launch. We have set a baseline for balance, but we’ll need players to make all the wonderfully unexpected combinations for us to really understand the meta of the different card combinations within each faction.

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Badlands: Max Carnage meanwhile will be focusing on drawing of a different kind. We have launched a draw for a $50 Google Play gift card. Players earn one ballot per day they log in after their first day. Full contest details can be found here;

Badlands Max Carnage – Login Draw Rules

For the Starcrash games, work is continuing on Spy Battle to create the 3rd Ascension. We’re also running a contest for the creation of one of the art images needed for the story, an image to be done in ASCII art. The story called for such an image and we decided it would be a great opportunity to invite community participation. Hop on over the to the game if you’d like to get all the details. There are 6 months worth of Special Agent days up for grabs!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from everyone at SHG Studios!

The Varying Aspects of Game Design

It may come as little surprise, but it’s often the little things in game development that trip you up. The focus this week for Star Pirates Infinity is on QA of the code that’s been written the last few weeks. I was reminded of the importance of having a library of testing devices. An animation error was observed on one of our tablets, but testing the game on my phone, the bug magically went away. The cause was later determined to be specific to the aspect ratio of the device. There are so many different screen sizes on Android, we spend a lot of time retesting things that worked on one device to watch for unexpected results on other devices.

aspect_compare

Despite all this, we have a third faction in testing now. We have the majority of the art created, although some will be revisited to make it better based on the ever improving skills of our art team as they spend so many hours involved in art creation. We’ve also been testing the game’s multiplayer connectivity to assure a seamless play experience.

For Badlands – Max Carnage, it’s a case of another week, another update. This week saw the launch of a new season in PvP as well as some improvements to combat ability animations. Our goal is for ongoing PvP competitive seasons. The current thought is a default one week rewarded season followed by a one week unrewarded PvP. We may also switch up some of the game mechanics during certain seasons so we can analyze the impact on gameplay. We expect that it will take data from a number of seasons before we find the right balance to make competitive play fun, challenging and balanced.

This week and next also involve some back end maintenance. We are switching servers for most of our games and this may cause some down time as new site addresses are propagated. We are making efforts to minimize the disruption and apologize if we happen to be down when you’re trying to connect.

And if you’re trying to find me in games lately, you can likely catch me in Star Pirates. I began Ascension 2 last week and got an initial bunch of points that I’m currently using to try and burn through the low levels. If you see me online, feel free to ask questions in the shoutbox. The other players are working hard to keep me in the yard so I usually have time to answer.

Multilingual gaming, without a babelfish in your ear…

We’ve been much too quiet lately, apologies for that, and I’ve decided the solution is simply to start talking. Cue the Pink Floyd.

 

Legacy Games
Zombie Moon has more missions. Guts and Glory is sunset, but playable if you have the game. Star Pirates now has a Leviathan class ship. Gates of Camelot is looking old, and either needs a facelift or a sunset. Spy Battle will get Ascension 3 in the coming months; balancing new things in a long running title is hard.

Badlands Max Carnage (BMC)
Despite being available in only Canada and Australia so far, Badlands Max Carnage continues to gain users. Our worldwide launch timeline however is being heavily impacted by marketing plans critical to the long term success of the game. We are continuing the update the game, with last week’s update adding PvP rank to the leaderboards, a new store layout and further performance fixes. We continue to listen to what you think needs to improve in the game — if you have comments, please tell us.

The game server however is still not sufficiently reliable for a wider launch and we’ve resigned ourselves to the fact that we’re going to need a new partner for the server hosting. Server migration should occur sometime in December.

December is a challenging time to market a game, as many types of advertising is double price this time of the year. So expect BMC to make a big push just after Christmas and into the new year. We have a large (for us) promo/ad budget to use by Feb 28th. We do social games — and social games get better with more people!

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Star Pirates Infinity

Development on Star Pirates Infinity is progressing well with card art nearing completion and we have a working beta that allows us to play a few matches a day.. We’re currently doing only a closed beta but may open it up to the community as we get a little further along. Our next major consideration is going to be localisation – we’re close to a final word count so we can start the process with our primary translation partners. Our hope is also to leverage local game developers who are multilingual to perhaps offer more than the standard EFIGS regions.

 

Part of offering multilingual is the fact that SPI will allow for play across languages. The borderless nature of videogames is such that a larger number of markets can be supported with a bit of planning and effort. As well as being available on multiple platforms, multiple languages helps games reach a bigger install base. Something very important for a game designed to leverage social experiences making Daily Active Users (DAU) one of the Key Performance Indicators we’ll be tracking at release.

Happy Holidays from all of us at SHG Studios!