Stories Untold Eve

A year ago, we were sitting on a plane flying out to GDC16 in San Francisco to pitch a game to potential publishers, and do PR for our last mobile game Super Arc Light. 

This year, were sitting on a plane flying out to GDC17 in San Francisco to do PR and launch our most recent game Stories Untold (StoriesUntoldgame.com). Super Arc Light did quite well, well enough to let us make Stories Untold! It's been a crazy year, and we're so glad we've got another game coming out already. Then, almost immediately, we move on to the next one, something a bit bigger that we're really excited about...

SU was a super-fast development project: 6 months, give or take, not factoring the rediculous hours we pulled in the last few weeks. Since The House Abandon in late August, we've done 3 more episodes and pulled together what we hope is a fascinating, mysterious little package of games that experiment with language mechanics in an immersive cinematic way. 

Theres only 3 full time staff at No Code, with some part time help and the odd one off contract help. We're a small team still, and I'm really proud of what we've built. I'd like to think the quality of the game exceeds expectations of such a small team, but I'll let you guys be the judge. 

I've said a few times that 'I don't quite know what we've made', and I mean that in a good way. It's a weird game that tries to appeal to a mainstream audience whilst being about as un-handholding as it can be. Each episode explores some different ways you can work with text input, and how the context can completely change the feel. All wrapped up in odd short stories, wrapped up as a tv series, wrapped up in a game. 

Finally:

1. By all means read reviews, but if you have any inclination to play, AVOID SPOILERS

2. WHILST AVOIDING SPOILERS, DONT POST SPOILERS

3. Play (or watch streams) of episodes in order for the best experience. Like all good tv series/albums/mix tapes, there is a flow that's considered for pacing and so on.  

4. Sound up. Lights off. 

5. If you get stuck, think outside the box a bit. If you're still stuck, don't be afraid to check a walk through or ask around. Enjoyment is more important than 'an honest victory' in a game like this. Help each other out !

 

We really hope you enjoy it! Thanks for playing!

Quick Update

We've been very very very very busy. Too busy. We made the decision to try and crank out a cool thing in the next few months before we start a cool BIG thing, and it's grown into a monster. A good monster though.  

It's been very exciting and we can't wait to show you what we're doing, and who with. 

In the meantime, other news:

  • The House Abandon Live went really well, and we get a moment we'll upload some pics and video we took of the event. We'll definitely be doing something like it again, as people seemed to love it :) 
  • Super Arc Light PC Edition is still coming, and passed Greenlight (yay! Thanks!), but it has been delayed by our other things. Once we get thing 1 out of the way, we'll get the last bits of work done on SALPC before moving on to thing 2.  
  • I was named as a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit in November, which is humbling and awesome. Will post about that experience over the holidays once I've digested the last few insane weeks!

 

More soon...

 

J x

No Code nominated for 2 (Two!) TIGA Awards

We're very happy to announce that Super Arc Light has been short listed and nominated for two awards at this years TIGA Awards!  We're up for both 'Debut Game' and 'Arcade Game', among some truly brilliant nominees.

Wish us (And everyone else!) luck when the awards take place in November.

You can see the full list of nominees here

Thanks TIGA / Judges!

j x

The House Abandon

Well, that escalated quickly!

Last weekend we took part in Ludum Dare #36, an online game jam where a few 1000 games are made from scratch in just 72 hours around the world. It's a fascinating thing, and we like to take part in jams as often as we can. In fact, every game we've released so far has started life in some form as a game jam project. We cannot recommend them enough, and will probably to a post about that in the future...

This, however, was our first ever Ludum Dare jam. So I sat up till 2am Saturday morning,waiting on the theme to be announced (all games must reference a theme in some way, to help avoid the 'blank canvas' issue and provide some inspiration). This time it was 'Ancient Technologies'. My mind immediately went to retro computing as it most often does with any conversation, and it felt acceptable that Spectrum ZX, Commodores, Amstrads et al would be considered 'ancient' by many nowadays, despite being the foundation of my love of games.

Immediately after the theme was revealed, I went to bed. Most people get started for a few hours, and normally I'm not one for sleeping AT ALL during a Jam, but I'm not as healthy feeling as I used to be and decided to take this one at a more measured pace.

8am, co-founder and business/management end of the No Code-stick Omar Khan came round to pick me up and head into the studio. Part time No Coder (and my brother) Graeme joined us for day 1 too. Graeme handled a lot of the initial setup/puzzle design on paper, allowing me and Omar to get started on the game structure in engine, and art.

My concept thought process was: Ancient Tech = Retro Computers = Retro Game = Text Adventure = Game About Text Adventure = Game were Text Adventure spills out of game into other game.

+ Horror.

And so we got started!

<ACTUAL DEVELOPMENT PROCESS POST-MORTEM TO COME LATER!>

Fast forward another 64 hours and we submitted the final game with 15 seconds to spare before the cut off deadline. 

I'm proud of what we did. It feels like we genuinely did something new with an old abandoned genre (hence the name). Then Kotaku featured us out of the blue. Then we hit the top 10 games on Itch.io (Store where we host the game download). Then Rock Paper Shotgun, PC Gamer and Den of Geek wrote about us. Then people started streaming it left right and center, including from the PAX West floor in Seatlle.

Exhausting and amazing! Release week is always an emotional one, but surprise release week is even more so. We didn't think anyone would play it, let alone for it to pick up coverage, but here we are! We're looking at what our next steps are, and talking to some lovely people about what would be best.

More soon!

In the meantime if you haven't played it, grab it free for PC and Mac here:

https://jonnocode.itch.io/the-house-abandon

Let us know what you think!

J

1,000,000 !?

Super Arc Light has been out for a little over 4 months, and we've just passed the 1,000,000 download mark. To think a million people have played our little game is quite hard to get the mind around; a million of anything is quite hard to get in context, let alone people!

We were really happy with our 100,000 sales last week, as it was way beyond our expectations for a small but paid app on iOS and Google. Then we worked with Apple to do a Free promotion and the we got the same downloads again in one day, and our little brains popped. I know lots of games do these numbers, and then some, but it makes this achievement no less special to us. We're not King, Rovio, Niantic, UsTwo - we're just a few (now 3 - big welcome to Geoff!) guys in a little office in Glasgow, and we've reached so many people with our game and it's delightful. 

So we just wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone that's helped us out on the journey to get the game release. Each download is a smile on our faces, and every comment (even the negative ones) help us in some way make the game, and our other games in the pipeline, better. Big thanks to our mega-supportive families and partners, who take a huge amount of the weight allowing us to make these things. Love you lots! 

A few very specific thanks: 

  • Colin MacDonald, Ami Langton, Tone Brennan and all @ All 4 Games for their incredible support and helping get the game in front of people - many thanks, let's do it again sometime!
  • Craig and Andy @ We Throw Switches - thanks for having faith in the game and putting it in front of lots of people, giving us the confidence to actually do something with it. We owe a lot to you guys. To us it was a prototype we were unsure of, and you guys hosting it made it seem like a real game :)
  • Rob @ Google - thank you for your many introductions and advice; you win 'most helpful man in dev award' and if we can return the favour somehow, let us know!
  • and of course Dave Jones for his advice and support since day 1. You legend. 

There's still a few days left of the promo to grab your free copy, so head to the iOS App Store and grab it - it'll be one of the big banners or a smaller banner underneath, should be easy to find ;)

And finally, in case you missed it, THANK YOU for getting us through Steam Greenlight! We're getting the game ready for it's PC / Mac release and hope to have it ready later in August. We will keep you updated so you can enjoy some big screen SAL Action.

THANK YOU

Super Arc Light - out now!

It's release day! For our first 'proper' release no less! 

im writing this in bed, family all snoozing, whilst I frantically hit refresh on google searches and see what people are saying and who is playing. It's an exhilarating and terrifying thing this :)

Time will tell if people pick up on the game and get it into it. I really hope you do! We've went for something quite pure with Arc Light; no progression meters, no cosmetic unlocks, no in game currency to spent on hats or whatever. Just score chasing, pure and simple. Even then we've intentionally hidden your score while you play, so that you are focuses 100% on the game as it happens. 

Let us know what you think of it, tweet us at @_NoCode or @SuperArcLight and show us your scores, video a playthrough or whatever you fancy. Tell your friends!

 

Busy times!

I had promised to myself that I would write as we go, documenting our adventure as a new indie studio from the start. Turns out we've been busy enough to completely forget to note down any of it and here we are 6 months later!

So what's been happening since day 1 of No Code? Well...

  • We moved into comfortable office space in Glasgow, and got ourselves a water cooler.
  • We started and finished development of our first mobile title Super Arc Light, which in December was signed by the mighty All 4 Games at Channel 4, and due for release sometime in March!
  • We stated development of our passion project prototype 'Observation', and are frantically trying to finish it off before GDC, where we hope to show it around. 
  • We've also been working full time on AAA contract work at the same time!

What is sleep?

Right now we are down near London, and recording dialogue for our prototype with Side. It's a scary and fascinating thing seeing script you've written being performed by good actors. You feel like the least talented person in the room by a massive stretch, which is probably the case. This game is massively different from our usual quick-arcade-fix and will live or die by its dialogue and performance. We're lucky to have Side helping us out, and our two actors are wonderful, exciting people. 

So 'Observation' is at prototype stage, and this short playable thing will hopefully be finished soon, with top quality performances, amazing visuals from the truly incredible Stefano Tsai (seriously, look at his work!), and a feel and gameplay I've not really seen before. I'm really excited to show people, and incredibly nervous about it too. It's a true passion project, something that's been in my head constantly for a long time now and really dear to me.

Realising a dream is a funny thing. In my head, the game is amazing, atmospheric, beautiful, and flawless. Actually building it takes that security away and makes it something with bugs, lighting issues, pacing issues and whatever else. It's no longer the perfect thing in my head and now a very real, flawed creation that I have to work very hard to improve. In a way it's safer and more comfortable having it tucked away in the folds of the brain, so making this real is really quite terrifying! 

Let's see what happens!  Next update in a week or two as things rapidly evolve. Until then, keep an eye out for Super Arc Light related goodness! 

J