At Wolfire, we don’t take breaks for pesky occasions like Christmas or Hanukkah. One of the advantages we have over the big guys is our insane work ethic. Continuing our fine tradition of weekly alphas and open development, I bring you Overgrowth Alpha 7!
Following right on the tail of our unexpectedly hot post about why you should support Mac OS X, we’re eating our own dog food.
The big news this week is that THE UI WORKS ON OS X. We are using Google Chrome for all sorts of hot stuff in Overgrowth, including the user interface. I’ll explain this in more detail later, but Chrome is not very Mac friendly (yet).
However, in the spirit of the holidays, I recently gave my personal Macbook Air to the Webkit genius AJS, and a Christmas miracle happened: the Chrome underpinnings used in Overgrowth are now Mac OS X compatible!
We also have PPC support, courtesy of the god-like Ryan Gordon. If there ever was a time to be an old school Mac user and Wolfire fan, it’s now! The PPC build is untested right now except in emulators, so let us know how it works in the secret preorder forum.
Also new this week are more map editor improvements (blog post on this coming soon), dynamic shadows (so objects can have shadows cast on them, not just terrain), and some other hot stuff.
We finally have become the number one search result for Overgrowth! Thanks to turbochop in the secret preorder forum for letting us know!
Overgrowth on Google
This sounds kind of dumb, but you would be surprised about the difference between the number one result on Google and the number two. One of the biggest things you learn in web development is that you really have milliseconds in order to get someone’s attention. You’d think intuitively that if someone reads or hears about Overgrowth somewhere, and decides to Google for us, they’d look through all the results and not be deterred that the first result is not Wolfire Games. Well, our search engine traffic for the keyword “Overgrowth” has just about doubled over the past few days!
We love Google and are very thankful for their benevolent dictatorship. Just for fun, here are ten services from Google that we use extensively.
1. Feedburner 2. Gmail 3. Google Analytics 4. Google App Engine 5. Google Alerts 6. Google Calendar 7. Google Checkout (see our blog post on it) 8. Google Chrome (built into Overgrowth) 9. Google Docs 10. Google Website Optimizer
I could write massive blog posts about each of these services because each of them are critical to us and totally awesome. Maybe I will some day. :)
Google is an amazing company that is pretty much key to our ability to bootstrap Wolfire Games. It is amazing because they are giving us enterprise level applications absolutely for free (well, ad supported in some cases). Most of their stuff puts even the expensive enterprise software that I used at other places to shame and we’re not paying a dime.
The downside is that Wolfire is completely hitched to Google, so if they ever decide to turn evil, I guess we will have to migrate to another service? I guess I don’t really see the downside! I love Google.
Hey guys, we just heard that Overgrowth was previewed in Igromania, the largest video game magazine in Europe! We are pretty much speechless. We’re just a humble, indie video game company, and we have a full page in Igromania! One mantra we have at Wolfire is “What would Ron Carmel do?” He probably would shrug it off and keep working.
I promptly told everyone I know and printed out a copy and put it on the fridge.
Thanks for spreading the word, guys! This preview was no doubt a result of Overt Ops. Keep up the good work! We know this kind of stuff happens because of you.
If you run a website, magazine, tv show, or blog, no matter the size, we would love to spread the Overgospel to you. Please contact us and we hope we can spread the word.
Hey guys, we are continuing our experiment with open development. So far it’s been a success! It’s Monday, so as promised: another week, another alpha. Per tradition, it has been posted in the secret preorder forum.
Here’s what’s new!
- David made some improvements on the way the Phoenix Engine handles the sky and shadows. Look for blog posts featuring these soon.
- Massive progress on the multiplayer browser! Last week we announced that we reached a pretty big milestone in multiplayer, with the ability to join a server and chat with your buddies — now we actually have a first stab at a UI for finding servers! For some reason, it is very pink right now. Don’t judge:
Overgrowth Server Browser
- Great improvements in the map editor. Phillip, John, and I made a kick ass level in LittleBigPlanet this weekend, which represents many hours of research on LBP’s map editor. Expect to see a lot of LBP inspired features in the coming weeks. This week, Phillip continues to polish up the basics with the ability to select multiple objects at the same time and seamlessly copy things with the alt / option key. He also fixed a number of issues with the editor.
- Tooltips. Our tooltips are hot. They have a graceful fade in / out animation when your mouse moves over things.
- Some hot new art and models from Aubrey.
Finally, we are all testing Phillip’s map editor tools and building little houses in the game for fun. Aubrey, our kick ass artist, is in the middle of some other stuff, so for this alpha, the default level is Phillip’s “house”. We are kind of having a competition between the programmers to see who can make the best house — luckily, Phillip’s looks kind of funny. Also, new rule, this counts as his final entry.
After our Steam announcement, we got this question a lot: if I preorder now, can I get a Steam version after the release?
We were a bit concerned because we didn’t want to make people choose between us and Steam. When it comes down to it, supporting us directly, getting weekly alphas, and access to SPF are awesome perks of preordering, but a lot of people really love Steam and Valve Software.
Well, after talking to Valve some more, we can go through the horns of the dilemma — we are pleased to announce that your preorder will be honored by Steam!
So if you preorder, not only do you get the Mac, Windows, and Linux (pending Ryan Gordon’s availability) versions of Overgrowth from us, you get Overgrowth on Steam as well! In other words, Valve rocks, and now is the best time to preorder.
Yes, you read that right! Thanks to TrialPay, you can get a copy of Overgrowth for free simply by signing up for a free trial for another company like Netflix or by completing an offer for much less than the $29.95 Overgrowth costs.
We have been testing this out in IRC to make sure everything works. Well, the experiment was a success and we’d like to thank the eight people who have used it so far to preorder Overgrowth! This includes myself, much to TrialPay’s dismay ;). I’ve asked our volunteers to pop into the comments and testify that this is legit, even though it sounds a little too good to be true.
TrialPay Wolfire banner
The way it works is that based on your geographic location, TrialPay will generate a number of offers for you to choose from, ranging from signing up for a trial of Netflix.com to sending someone flowers. Once you sign up for the offer, Netflix or whoever you signed up with will cover the cost of your Overgrowth Preorder and you will instantly get access to SPF and everything else just like a regular Wolfire customer.
To get started, head over to our preorder page and enter your email address and, of course, forum username to get Secret Preorder Forum access. Go ahead and give it a try!
Well, I guess Overgrowth has become big enough to be noticed by the guys at Valve — Overgrowth is going to be distributed on Steam! This is huge news for us, given that Steam is the premiere platform for PC games. We are really excited by this news, and it’s awesome to think that Overgrowth is going to be sold next to games like Far Cry 2, Crysis, and GTA IV.
This is a huge day for Wolfire Games, and a huge day for indie developers in general!
P.S. We are still looking for distributors. Steam is a good start, but we want more! Let us know if you guys have any connections or other ideas for getting the word out about Overgrowth.
We're going to have our first official multiplayer battle at 8.00pm GMT 28th December. The more we can get, the better it'll be so spread the word! Any of you with uber awesome PCs, and fast upload speeds would be great as hosts, all nationalities welcome. Lets lift the boredom of the week between Xmas and new Year !!