Just a month short of the 10 year launch anniversary, MacGuffin’s Curse is bursting back onto new screens with the addition of the Switch and Linux versions! And because of the nature of the Mac OS, it finally works on Mac again (for, I dunno, maybe a year or so? Thanks Apple.)
Just a short post about this today as I took liberties rambling in the previous post. If you haven’t checked it out, there are demos for each platform *phew*! So go check out what Best Game Writing, according to Freeplay in 2011, looks like!
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That’s right, MacGuffin’s Curse is releasing on March 15 on Switch! I’m still excited from seeing MacGuffin’s Curse pop up on the Nintendo eStore this morning! You can wishlist it right now, if you’d like to be informed about when it’s going to release. There will be a demo dropping at the same time as release.
I’ve been fairly quiet on the MacGuffin’s Curse launch. It’s been something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but MacGuffin’s Curse was stuck in the purgatory of a 10 year old Unity project. I wasn’t even sure if it was possible to resurrect it and restore it to a supported version. The longer I left it the worse it was going to get, so after Warp Frontier launched I found myself tentatively opening to box to see what I was up for.
The result was about three weeks of pain, going back and forth through Unity versions bit by bit to get parts working, breaking it and going back to analyse old versions, visual and gameplay compatibility testing, and finally taking the high resolution assets we’d made for the iPad retina display and making them the default assets. Also, making the game work for a 16:9 resolution, as opposed to the ancient 4:3 resolution, common to those giant cubes we used as computer monitors back in the early 2000s.
The game will also be getting a Steam re-release with the new assets, and adding Linux! Linux is proving the second most popular PC platform for Warp Frontier, so it’s time to see how those players will receive MacGuffin’s Curse.
Happy New Year from Brawsome! Backup your hard drives! This post is going to haunt you later if you don’t.
I’ve been working on some text translations for Warp Frontier, with the first, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, launching for the Lunar New Year (Feb 1st, 2022). The second is German, which should be releasing in April 2022.
I had not really been considering translations for Warp Frontier, but then I had a very nice, and casually pursuasive, person reach out from Toto Translation Studio, who planted the seed that a Chinese localisation would be a very good idea, purely from audience size alone. So I did some research and found that a bunch of adventure games have Chinese localisations so I wouldn’t be taking that radical a leap. Then I thought, if I’m doing any translations it should at least be German, because let’s face it, for whatever reason, Germans still really dig adventure games. Germans are also spoiled for choice when it comes to professionally localised adventure games, so I went with Warlocs for translation there. It turns out I also have a bunch of acquantences at Warlocs who have solid adventure game chops.
So does an Aussie point and click adventure translate well to Chinese or German? I have no idea, but considering the cost of indie game development, it’s a relatively small risk to take. And if the numbers line up, I guess we’ll be seeing some further localisations.
As a very small studio, it can be pretty boring to work on localisations. There’s little ‘fun’ to be had preparing spreadsheets, importing text and making a bunch of builds (8 builds for Warp Frontier, to be precise). That’s probably why I haven’t done it before, but I always make sure all my games CAN be translated if they need to be, with the thought that if one of them is a runaway success I’ll get some translations done. This year I’m thinking about it from a different perspective, one in which I can help the success of a game by broadening my audience beyond English speakers.
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The Warp Frontier Linux and Mac versions now exist, and the process was mostly smooth! I plan on releasing them on Steam and GOG on November 16th, 2021. The reason they are coming behind the PC version is because updates take time, and only releasing on a limited set of platforms meant maximising time spent on iterating in the lead up to the game’s release. Most of the core team had finished with the game around May, so I’ve been back to being a one man band for the last five months.
If you currently own a copy of Warp Frontier on Steam or GOG you can try out the Linux and Mac versions right now! They’re in a branch protected by the password massivekrill.
What’s this about branches? Are we talking about trees now? Well, kinda, here’s a way to access it.
1. Navigate to the Properties of Warp Frontier in your library.
2. Go to the BETAS section and enter the password massivekrill.
3. alphatest – Platform Testing should be the selected branch. Select it if not. You can always select None to return to the main branch.
1. Navigate to the Configure options for Warp Frontier.
2. Select Beta channels and Change private channel password.
3. Enter the password massivekrill.
4. Platform Testing should now be selected in the Beta channels. You can always select Disabled to return to the main branch. Note that this will not work on Windows, because the branches are only on Mac and Linux. There is no GOG Galaxy client for Linux yet, so I’m not sure how you’d go about getting the beta build via GOG for Linux.
If you discover any issues please reach out via contact at brawsome dot com dot au. I am trying to determine the lowest spec machine this runs on. If you think you’ve got the lowest spec it runs on, please let me know!
I’m usually pretty bad at timing. Jolly Rover released right at the same time the Monkey Island series was getting a big re-release, and Telltale were doing a set of sequels. I had planned Jolly Rover for years before that, but just when I got the opportunity to develop it and release it’s like all the genre-defining pirate adventures jumped on it and said “No!”. Or, “Nay! Ye scurvy dog!”
MacGuffin’s Curse was a bit better, no werewolf puzzle adventures on the horizon, no Teen Wolf revival. No magician-thief inspired games. I don’t know where I’m going with this. I suppose it was an okay time to release it.
Warp Frontier was pandemic, pandemic, pandemic. No opportunities to chat with people about it at GDC, or PAX, or anywhere really, so when I found out that it was being considered for a festival during Melbourne International Games Week, I could hardly believe it! Even better that it was happening right on the launch weekend! Please head on over to Steam to check out some of the best new Australian games on offer, plus demos, discounts, talks and streams!
We managed to cover a surprising amount of ground in 90 minutes, from accents, growing up, my motivations around making games, and through pretty much the entire history of Brawsome up to this point.
I think this is the most comprehensive summary of the life of Brawsome to date, and without any planning I think it ended up as a fairly good yarn. As the game releases tomorrow in some places, and the day after in others, I’m hoping to stay busy enough to fend off the dreaded post-release blues.
It’s going to be a busy week! I think after releasing two indie games I know how to temper my expectations enough to be realistic and celebrate small wins. We’ll just take it one sale at a time.
I find myself in the calm before the storm. Having set some time aside for the inevitable fires that flare up when nearing a game’s release. While some fires have indeed been fought, I found myself staring at a perpexingly complete TODO list, which lead to the rare problem of having a moment to spare.
The moment was quickly forgotten as my brain rapidly unpacked tasks from the mental box that says “break in case of moment to spare”, and I set about some long overdue housekeeping tasks I had been putting off. Such as updating Brawsome’s About page to mention that Brawsome is not currently working on MacGuffin’s Curse, which shipped nearly 10 years ago.
Then an idea fell out that had been sorted in to the category of “Yeah right! I won’t have time for that before release!”, which was to prepare an Original Soundtrack (or OST, for the cool kids) for Warp Frontier. Thomas Regin composed some wonderful tracks for the game which were inspired by The Expanse, The Dig and The Terminator, for the sense of an 80’s sci-fi movie that doesn’t quite fit into any particular subgenre.
As an added bonus, I spent some time investigating how to get it onto streaming servces like Spotify, and landed on a distribution service called DistroKid, which will now be distributing not only the Warp Frontier OST, but the MacGuffin’s Curse OST as well. I’m not expecting to make money from it, but that’s not to say I’d slap a check out of their hands it if came this way.
It’s finally happening! Three years after my return to Australia from the US, Brawsome is releasing its next game – Warp Frontier!
Warp Frontier is a fully voiced 2D sci-fi point and click adventure, in HD resolution, coming to screens the 28th of September, 2021, on Steam, GOG and Switch for US$14.99. Initial PC release will be Windows, with MAC and Linux versions to follow.
Warp Frontier is a sci-fi cop drama, set in the year 2215, in orbit around Cetus, humanity’s newest extrasolar colony, but at its core is an Australian story, with many parallels with Australia’s short history. You play Vincent Cassini, supported by his robot partner, MAC, as they become embroiled in an investigation into a horrendous war crime, in which Vince has a personal stake, from the war that environmentally devastated their planet. Vince is on the verge of a mid-life crisis, dealing with PTSD, alcoholism and survivors’ guilt, but must keep it together for those that rely on him, his family, the refugees of Cetus and the thousands that went missing during the war.
Warp Frontier contains many choices that result in branching pathways, leading to characters opening up, or closing off, the life or death of key characters, and the lives of thousands of innocent civilians. The final scene has around 16 permutations of resolution, from choices made as early as the first few scenes. Players can expect an initial playtime of 6-8 hours, but will need at least 3 playthroughs to experience all content.
Warp Frontier was inspired by hard sci-fi, such as the novels of Alistair Reynolds, and the writings of Ray Kurzweil, as well as the TV series’ The Expanse, and Altered Carbon. It’s set in a what-if universe, where a singularity event in 2050 nearly wiped-out humanity, resulting in the outlawing of Artificial General Intelligence, and replicators. The game-changing Warp technology, made possible by the discovery of a rare element, has allowed a handful of new human colonies to establish in the far-reaches of the galaxy. Over time, branches of humanity have grown apart, separated by distance and environmental factors, to call into question what defines humanity, coupled with technology that cheats death, and challenges the concept of a soul.
Development of Warp Frontier has been a manic series of highs and lows, but determination and a healthy dose of naive optimism have brought the idea from a dog-eared notepad to big and small screens (considering big to be a TV. A big TV). Though Brawsome’s previous titles are all crafted as very personal projects, Warp Frontier hits particularly close to home, being my first quintessentially Australian offering, drawing on my experiences growing up in multicultural Australia as a child of immigrant parents, as well as my first outing in voice acting (MAC), and also my boys first voice acting experience (Sam, Ferdinand).
I probably underestimated the effort required to get all of these done and post about them, like I do with most things, but I’m happy with the result, and I hope people found them interesting.
As this marks the end of the voice actor spotlights, the next adventure is getting some testers into the game, which I’ll start collating next week, but hit me up if you’re interested and can dedicate some time to the game.
Next up in the Warp Frontier Voice Actor spotlights is Lazar Djukić!
Lazar plays Denko Novak. Veteran of the Cetan war, serving as the General Kuznetsov’s personal security.
Lazar has great energy, and had to tone it down a little for Denko. Lazar seems like the kind of actor that I would have been able to cast on Jolly Rover. Maybe there are more roles for him in future! Lazar took on 4 roles in Warp Frontier, but I’m only showcasing two of them here. In the game this voice is processed through a helmet radio, so this is probably the only ‘clean’ version you’ll hear.