Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Stop motion testing (TULP-BG Update)

We wanted to demonstrate that our little board game box actually contains a full size board game inside including over 250+ pieces. What started as a simple idea for a gif quickly turned into a much larger stop motion animation project.

Firstly, if we were going to do a stop motion animation we'd need a rough idea of what was going to happen and when so I drew up this crude storyboard sketch in MS paint of all things.


Now, this animation took a few days to complete and after a few test runs the animation had changed a bit since this sketch was drawn but is still served its purpose for the time it was needed.

We knew that we wanted the meeples to walk slower than the rest of the elements but we didn't know how much slower so we created a simple test to determine their speed and ended up going with a speed between the purple and white meeple.


We then created a simple test run to see where we'd place all the elements and at what point in the animation they would appear.


We quickly realised that we'd need a decent source of lighting in order to avoid some painfully obvious shadows. Initially we thought that being by the window would offer us bright natural lighting but we quickly changed out plans after noticing that the sun kept going behind clouds and sometimes would just take over the shot completely.


We had some halogen house lamps lying around so we attached them to the camera rig pointing down towards the stage. They fell a few times and we ended up replacing a couple of bulbs until the lamps were secured in place.


Next was the actual animation. We used a Samsung Note 9 with HD Camera Pro to take each photo. I prefer the options the premium camera app has over Samsung's default camera.

Lucky we could reduce the camera shake per photo quite a bit by using the Note 9's bluetooth stylus as a remote to snap photos. The stylus did need recharging a few times but overall it saved us quite a bit of time.


Stephen then took all the photos and added and edited them in HitFilm Express which is a free video editing software while I sourced the music and sound effects from ZapSplat which is a website that offers free sound effects & royalty free music.

The resulting video is a test unboxing animation that we'll be using to showcase the different components of the game. Once TULP-BG has art and maybe a name we're planning on recreating the animation again with better lighting and sounds as a promotional video for potential interested parties.

We're still currently playtesting the game with different numbers and different groups of people and so far the game is holding up pretty well from a gameplay standpoint.

We've heard your feedback and we'll be changing a few small gameplay things going forward including the addition of some basic artwork to help playtesters going forward visualise the game easier.

If you're in or around Glasgow, Scotland during May 2019 and you'd like to be a part of one of our playtesting groups then you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We'll be sharing future playtesting events soon.

Thanks for reading,
Ellie xx

Monday, 8 April 2019

The untitled Late Panda board game

Hi, Ellie here. I wanted to give you a little update on what we've been doing here at Late Panda.

A large portion of our time has been spent on contract work, working for other companies trading under our subsidiary Obscuremoon. We split Late Panda Limited in order to keep the contract work and the game development separate. You can check out a few of our work-for-hire projects over at www.obscuremoon.com if you're interested.


We've also been busy working on creating a board game. The game that is currently titled "The untitled Late Panda board game" or TULP-BG is a 2 - 6 player competitive team-based strategy game that takes 30 - 60 minutes to play. I don't really want to just throw a bunch of buzzwords at you so I'll try to explain.


You start by building your game board any way you like using all the available tiles. Players then break off into 2 teams. The main goal is to capture and convert the members of the other team onto your team until there is only your team left standing. If you're playing the 2 player version then you're both trying to capture the other person first. If you're playing with 3 players then the player by themselves gets some extra powers to help them out. Along the way, you may flip a tile containing a challenge. Players will need to face these in order to progress through the game and complete their own personal goals. Your team will sometimes be able to help you overcome these challenges but not always. There's more to it than what I've written here but above pretty much sums it up. Some people have likened TULP-BG to Dead of Winter and others have said it reminds them a bit of Betrayal at House on the Hill.
We spent a while researching and refining the mechanics and feel of the game. Since it's inception the board game has changed a lot. It was originally a race between all players to see who could capture as many pieces of the board before the end of the game but we playtested a few versions and found that it wasn't exactly what we were going for so we kept refining.


We currently have our latest version printed and cut albeit without the artwork. We've been busy testing with groups and collecting their feedback. The game consists of around 250 cards so we want to get the card mechanics perfect before starting the large art task as some cards will continue to change.


A print and play version of TULP-BG will likely be made available once we're confident that we're close to a release candidate of the game. We’ll keep you up to date here with any further developments.

Thanks for reading,
Ellie xx

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

The Danger of Taking Advice

Hi all, Ellie here and this blog is going to be a little different from anything I've done in the past. I want to talk to you today about giving and receiving advice with a small focus on business development.
I find myself travelling at the moment and without an internet connection. I'm not sure when or if this will be uploaded but I've got a few hours to kill and thought I'd write a post to pass the time.


Late Panda has been around for awhile now. We've received plenty of advice and we've given advice ourselves. I personally listen to a lot of podcasts that dispense advice regularly. The most useful advice I've ever received is actually taken from the song Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen. The lyrics sung by Baz Luhrmann go something like this;


"Be careful with the advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling for more than its worth."



If you've not heard the full song I'd recommend it, I believe it was originally a commencement speech that was later adapted into this oddly beautiful spoken-word song. The above quote is self-explanatory yet thought-provoking. Basically, the advice is given based on experiences, as if it were some kind of a cautionary tale of how not to do a thing but packaged up and told as a form of wisdom.





Now, this isn’t the case for all advice, sometimes you'll come across people who give advice based purely on the fact that they like the sound of their own voice and want to sound smart. At first, It can be difficult to distinguish when you're talking to these people but I think detection is a skill you can pick up pretty quickly. If you start asking questions based on their own experiences on the topic they'll usually respond with anger, annoyance or remark that the solution is obvious enough that they don't need the hindsight of experience.


[insert some funny image here]


Even if the person giving you advice is an expert in the field you should still use a healthy dose of scepticism. They might not know all the information needed to make an informed decision. Experts are usually aware of this and will tell you that their advice is just that, advice, and should not be taken as fact.


Recently I was listening to the Woodlands Secrets podcast. Rami Ismail was talking about bad advice which admittedly sparked this post. During the podcast, he told the story of when he was giving a talk to a group of university students in Johannesburg, South Africa. A student asked Rami if he should drop out of school and Rami replied with something like "If you want to, and regardless of what I say, going to, then sure. Otherwise no". After the talk, the teacher was angry and informed Rami that Johannesburg is one of the most economically segregated cities in the world with a lot of extreme poverty. When Rami dropped out of education he had a social support network, welfare and safety nets to catch him but in Johannesburg, if somebody drops out of education they will die, without education there's no happy ending. Rami went back to the class and apologised for "being a privileged ass without realising it".


At the beginning of this post, I mentioned business development. There are a lot of books out there to help you start your own business and keep it going. There are thousands of people you can connect with who will tell you how to keep your business going. There are podcasts, YouTube videos, business mentors, blogs, you name it. Most will have useful advice that you should probably follow but remember that the decision to take action, to heed their warnings and teachings comes down to you and your business. Where do you want your business to go and how do you want it to grow? That’s up to you.


And yes I’m aware of this posts irony. Thanks for reading, you can follow us all over the internet if you like.




Ellie xx


“If I could offer you only one tip for the future sunscreen would be it” - Mary Schmich

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Post Insomnia X Resonate

Hey everyone,


So now that Insomnia X Resonate has wrapped up I wanted to talk about our experience with the event and how it compared to last year. To start off, this year’s event was significantly busier than it was last year. This could be due to more press about the event or better guests and activities during the event, either way we were happy to see an increase in attendance. We were in the indie zone which was sponsored by Henderson Loggie, as it was last year as well. This gave us the opportunity to not only showcase at a large event in Glasgow but also gave us the ability to meet some new indie developers.  




We attended the event with one of our 1GAM (OneGameAMonth) projects titled Late Panda. We wanted to get some face to face feedback on the game and see how kids and adults alike played the game. Players seems to think that the Late Panda game is both fun and very addictive, this may be due to us creating an event only leaderboard and having all attendees compete for the highest score. By the end of the event the top three scores were Reece with 1929m on day 1, Fraser with 2572m on day 2 and Tamara with 2193m on day 3 well done everyone for competing and we hope you enjoyed the game.




One of the indie developers that we met during the event was Asobi Tech, their booth was two up from ours and we chatted a few times over the weekend about each other’s games and the event itself.




Asobi developed MaoMao Castle, which uses the Magic Leap device to control a flying cat. The player must try to get a highscore by getting to the furthest wave while collecting any points along the way. Ellie played this on Saturday after initial setup and set the first high score, sadly that score didn’t last due to the game’s popularity.  




The final day of the event Ellie spent the later half walking around to play some of the other games and check out the merchandise on the stalls. There were multiple different types of games like VR or retro that she played as well as the stands selling multiple different items.




By the end of the night Ellie had purchased this pluff doll Pikachu during the event because it looked really grumpy and she thought it was adorable, you tell me :P.


So this wraps up our experience with Insomnia X Resonate. We loved attending and thought we got much more out of this year than we did last year, since we already knew how the event would work. It has motivated us to continue working on the Late Panda game, updating it with more features as well as some easter eggs.


If you want to download the Late Panda game for your Android click here.


I guess I’ll leave it off here for now.


You can follow us all over the internet


Thanks for reading,

Stephen.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Insomnia X Resonate

Hi


Late Panda will be exhibiting at Insomnia X Resonate this year, in the Indie Zone. The gaming festival will be taking place from the 21st to the 23rd of July 2017. Don’t know what Insomnia X Resonate is? Allow me to give you a brief overview.


Insomnia and Resonate are both gaming festivals by Multiplay Events and QD Events respectively. This year they’ve teamed up to create the UK’s largest gaming festival, and they’re hosting it in the SECC Glasgow, Scotland.


Late Panda exhibited at Resonate last year, this was one of the biggest events we’d exhibited at and it was awesome so we’re super happy to be back again this year. With the addition of Insomnia, this year is set to be even bigger and better.

Resonate - Total Gaming (5).jpg COMPRESSED.jpg


They have everything from a dedicated virtual reality zone to eSports Tournaments to coding workshops where you can learn how to create your own games and music.


There are only a few days left to get tickets for the event but if you’re a fan of games in any capacity I’d recommend coming along. Hopefully, we’ll see you there, in the Indie Zone. 😉


Thanks for reading, you can follow us all over the internet.


Ellie xx

“Progress equals happiness”  - Tony Robbins