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Old 01-06-2013, 06:29 AM
jakooistra jakooistra is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Canada
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Default I'm back! Kind of...

(Prologue)

So I've been silent for a long time. Some of you may remember me from 2008-2010, when I brought you strange color-centric action gameplay in the form of Blue Defense, Blue Attack, and Red Conquest. I collaborated with a friend of mine who brought his genius forth in the form of Fastar! - a game that truly still warms my heart when I hear the intro screen's theme music.

(Act 1)

I came from the beginning, right from the Canadian launch of the iPhone 3G all the way to iOS 4, and participated in the meteoric rise of the App Store. It was a thrill, and I had the highest hopes of making my games studio a success with my best friends and creative souls from university (who were also groomsmen at my wedding!).

And then I went quiet. So very quiet. And you all deserve better than that.

(Act 2)

The basic story is that we weren't making enough money, and I was a newlywed looking to make ends meet and start a family. So I got a "real" job, and had less time to dedicate to my real passion of making video games.

The more complicated story is that I got that job at Research in Motion, who paid me very, very well - but did not at all let me work in my spare time on any project involving code. In fact, during the contract negotiation stage, I fought tooth and nail to have a clause added where I could continue at least updating our current games. Sadly, in the end, they refused, and I needed the money, so I accepted their legal terms. I was barred from promoting, updating, or even blogging about my games, and completely unable to create new games and content. Actually, I did get a clause amended where I could work on red conquest for two months after starting, but I didn't manage to get the update for red conquest out.

From there, Cat in a box fizzled out. Red conquest was too large for the others to carry on as they already had another project, which ended up taking a year of their time and then not being releasable due to crazy legal issues (that's a whole other story!), and then they also needed money and got real jobs.

However, there is hope!

(Act 3)

Working at RIM slowly ate my soul, since I couldn't work on my personal projects. By early 2012, I was back in active discussions with RIM legal a out it, and generally being pretty depressed that I wasn't getting anywhere, all over again.

I resolved to quit.

For me of course, but also for you - the people who care about my games and want more. I loved the community.

I found a job where everything is completely flexible, they don't care about personal projects as long as I'm not stealing company IP or working less than I should, or doing something in the same field that they could use. As it should be! I guess it's easier to police that in a company of half a dozen people though, instead of the monstrous 10,000+ person company that RIM is now.

I'm done settling in there, and I'm finally back to being inspired to do my projects, so code is being written! Actions are being taken!

Cat in a Box is back!

Kind of.

(Epilogue)

All three of us Cat in a Box guys have day jobs. Generally that means if we do find the time, and are inspired, we still only have 1/10 the time to work on projects as we would when we were full time.

I am currently in active development on a side project, not sure of it'll go anywhere, but it's exciting to me, and that's the biggest thing - this is a hobby now, and I have to be able to come home from work and still feel the desire to pull out the computer and get going on a different code project.

So, my final question to you, the community - would you rather see updates, or new stuff? Or bringing back old stuff that's been pulled from the App Store? (Like Blue Attack and the original Blue Defense)

And be warned that any releases will be much slower than three years ago, but at least it will be much faster than they have been in the last two years.
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  #2  
Old 01-06-2013, 06:51 AM
syntheticvoid syntheticvoid is offline
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I would love to see an HD/Universal update - or even separate HD build of Red Conquest. This game was still on my iPod up until last month when I deleted everything to give the device to one of my daughters, and it's still on my iPad. It's been one of my favorite strategy games for quite some time now. I also love Fastar and Blue Defense. Fastar was unlike anything I'd seen when it came out - and I was completely addicted to it.

But I'd also love to see something new - I'm sure you've learned quite a bit over the years, and have got some pretty funky/interesting ideas floating around in your head!

Great to see another crazy talented dev on the forums. I hope more people comment... maybe even check out some older titles that still hold up years later (quite the feat in iOS gaming)...
Anywho...
WELCOME BACK!
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  #3  
Old 01-06-2013, 06:58 AM
jakooistra jakooistra is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syntheticvoid View Post
But I'd also love to see something new - I'm sure you've learned quite a bit over the years, and have got some pretty funky/interesting ideas floating around in your head!
That's what I like to hear. Blind faith in my ability as a game developer. There is no greater flattery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by syntheticvoid View Post
maybe even check out some older titles that still hold up years later (quite the feat in iOS gaming)...
You really think so? Blue Attack was a bit iffy (noticably low res graphics now and difficult controls), and the control scheme and tutorial for Red Conquest could really use an overhaul. Those could have been overhauled day one. Fastar! is pretty timeless though. I love the style.

Quote:
Originally Posted by syntheticvoid View Post
WELCOME BACK!
Thanks! I'm super excited to be in a position to develop again. Even if it's slow, it's at least something.
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  #4  
Old 01-06-2013, 07:53 AM
c4r105 c4r105 is offline
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Good to hear your back as Conquest is still on my new iphone 5, never removed it! In fact I think I've had it on my orignal iPhone 8GB, 3GS, and 4S so a real iOS classic IMHO, top strategy game and good luck with future projects.
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  #5  
Old 01-06-2013, 08:08 AM
HLW HLW is offline
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Retina + universal updates for the older titles would be nice.
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  #6  
Old 01-06-2013, 08:21 AM
scarypharaoh scarypharaoh is offline
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I vote for something new. No point spending too long trying to crowbar the older stuff into the "modern" age (in relative terms). I own all of your titles, I remember first hearing the blue defense advert you used to have on the gamers with jobs podcast! Would be great to see something powered by new hardware! Glad to see you back, we will take you in whatever form you come in! 😃
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  #7  
Old 01-06-2013, 10:29 AM
Unfrozen Unfrozen is offline
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Like everyone else, I am overjoyed to hear that you are back to some extent. I have been an avid 4X and RTS gamer for many years and Red Conquest struck me as a near perfect iOS space RTS. Manuevering my fleet works so well that I keep coming back to it. Even with it being outdated I continue to play it on my iPad mini and iPhone 5, even more so than more known titles such as Gratuitous Space Battles or the Blue Libra series.

Updates to the old game would be preferred but perhaps not as financially beneficial as releasing a new app. Although Red Conquest has accumulated a lot of positive reviews over the years that give it a good head start. Either way Game Center multiplayer, universal or iPad support would be amazing. Anything else would be gravy but I am sure others mig have some cool suggestions for new features.

I live in Ontario as well, and the tales of problems at RIM are something that I have heard from former employees. My cousin used to work for Nortel and its a shame to see RIM going down a similar path. Glad to hear that you have found a smaller employer that you are happier to work for and can get back into game development.

Whatever you plan to do, I look forward to any new life you would breath into your old games or future ones.

Last edited by Unfrozen; 01-06-2013 at 10:39 AM..
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  #8  
Old 01-06-2013, 10:47 AM
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CygnetSeven CygnetSeven is offline
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Welcome back! I'd love to see your older titles optimized for iPhone 5 and maybe bring back Blue Defense 1 but I'd rather see you guys create new projects rather than add content to old ones. A ton of great memories in those older titles and I look forward to something more! Good luck and thank you for sharing your story.
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  #9  
Old 01-06-2013, 11:14 AM
Rusothil Rusothil is offline
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Welcome back, don't leave again!!
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  #10  
Old 01-06-2013, 11:42 AM
GodSon GodSon is offline
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- Universal updates to all existing games. It would open up to more gamers (iPad owners).

- Possibly add IAP to all existing games as add-ons (or something) so people can support the Dev further.

- New games down the line. I happily own all titles and only stopped playing them because I don't own a smaller device anymore (though Red Conquest hasn't been deleted and probably never will) and don't prefer to play at x2. I love every title and would love to re-download and play them on my mini.



BIG welcome back and Godspeed.
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