Gears of Glory: Apex Ace status update

Hi folks, Colin / @domipheus here.

It’s been quite a hectic couple of months. As you will have seen, Gears of Glory: Apex Ace is not available – even though it’s July, and the releases all said coming May 2012.

Well, to put it bluntly, I screwed up on the timing. I’ve certainly learned something from this experience, in that it seems journalists don’t seem too bothered by launch dates. This is the opposite of what I expected – I thought having a launch date would give some credibility to Domipheus Labs as an unknown entity for journalists to draw on when trying to get some press coverage. Turns out if you have an interesting story to tell, they will cover it regardless.

I’ve had less free time to work on the game lately – mainly due to becoming a dad for the first time. This is one of the reasons I don’t like the ‘indie’ label – I am very much a hobby developer, who takes his work seriously. I have not quit my day job in search of some far-fetched indie bliss.

The new plan stretches out the release, but I think it offers the best chance available to make Gears of Glory: Apex Ace a game I can be proud of.

Domipheus Labs Online Services

Previously, Gears of Glory: Apex Ace was an IndieCity only title, using its fabulous game framework. They offer an amazing percentage of the cost price (85% to the developer if they integrate leaderboards/achievements). However, for me, I needed more fine grained control of the leaderboards. Like in my Leaderboard Ordering post, I wanted ordering control, and other smaller things I may talk about in later posts.

In addition to this, it quickly became clear that I was going to need to roll out distinct game versions for each distributor I was looking at, and that these would then have disjoint leaderboards. For the amount of units I intend to ship, I really do not want a fragmented userbase.

So, Domipheus Labs Online Services was born.

Online Services, for the lack of a better name at the moment, is a fully-fledged RESTful web service for game licence checking, leaderboards and achievements. I did look for available 3rd party platforms, but most did not cater for small ‘indie’ player sets, or looked as though they were awash with too many features. Still my leaderboard ordering problem was left unfixed, despite them offering way more more in terms of features.

With Domipheus Labs Online Services, Gears of Glory: Apex Ace will ship on far more distribution platforms than before – and the playerbase will remain one, single universe with everyone connected into the same world and championship standings.

Also, as a developer, the cost of developing the Online Services component was far cheaper than having many different builds of the game for the various distribution channels, and having to test and support each one. For me, it’s a win-win.

There are greater things destined for the Online Services platform in due course. The user management, and licensing aspects of the service are incredibly valuable to indies which are often overlooked by the larger ‘Game Service’ providers as being too small. I have spoken to some indies personally and they have expressed an interest in learning more about the service and how it can help them. If you are interested in learning more, get in contact.

So, Domipheus Labs Online Services will launch alongside Gears of Glory: Apex Ace, and power all of the games online features, including user licensing, management, analytics, leaderboards and achievements. It is expected to be opened up to other indies in due course, with a range of affordable pricing options, from free up to a few coffees a month.

Open beta releases

Back to the main Gears of Glory: Apex Ace release schedule. It’s now moved from a fixed release date, to having no release date with features being rolled into several beta releases.

Release One will feature the Season Circuits. These are racetracks which ship with the game, and each one has a global leaderboard in which player standings are calculated, and challenges sought. Leaderboards contain not only the lap time of the entry, but are tagged with the actual recording of that players lap. So whilst the game is Single Player at this point, you will be racing ‘against’ other players in the game world.

Release Two will feature the Track Builder. The track builder is pretty much feature complete in terms of how it fits into the game, however, the facilities to share these tracks with people do not exist at present. This will be discussed and developed into a ‘shopfront’ of the most popular user tracks, with people being able to publish creations to it. At the moment there are no plans for this to come with In App Purchasing.

Release Three will feature Multiplayer. Multiplayer has been a real struggle to implement, not because of the engine or actual game mechanics, but because of the way in which the internet works now with everyone behind routers. For a game to really be multiplayer, we need master lobby and NAT introduction servers, and this is something again Domipheus Labs Online Services may help with. I have always said I don’t want users to need to go and open router network ports, which seems to be what most smaller indie developers do. This really is not a good user experience, especially in a pick-up-and-play title like Gears of Glory: Apex Ace.

Release Four will be the full, non-beta, release. The beta releases will all be priced cheaply, with the purchase of a user license granting access to all future beta and main releases of the game. After Release Four the price of the game will increase to reflect it’s complete state.

At the moment, I am gearing up Release One to happen in late August.

I really hope this has cleared up the state of development currently. I know it’s been very quiet lately. But development is going full throttle. The game is currently playing nicely – as long as you like technical racers, that is!

Lastly, Launch Platforms.

Gears of Glory: Apex Ace will become available on the following platforms:

  • IndieCity
  • Desura
  • Indievania
  • Direct from Developer
  • Steam Greenlight

This has been a very long post, so finally – please tell your race fanatic friends about the game. The game needs an active leaderboard community to be fun. You can keep up to date at by liking the facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/gearsofglory.

Thanks for reading, you will all get the chance to play the game soon!

Colin

Press Release: Gears of Glory: Apex Ace announced.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DOMIPHEUS LABS TAKES TO THE PODIUM WITH GEARS OF GLORY: APEX ACE

EDINBURGH, UK- March 20th, 2012: Domipheus Labs has announced its first title to be launched on the IndieCity publishing platform.

Gears of Glory: Apex Ace is a casual racer which redefines how competition can be handled in a pick-up-and-play title. Apex Ace takes the mechanics of mainstream casual games and catapults it into the hands of racing fans, who want clean racing lines, perfect apexes and a level playing field.

Players can race and progress through the twenty-four season tier circuits, unlock achievements, complete challenges and climb leaderboard ranks but at the games heart is a comprehensive challenge and news system.

Gears of Glory: Apex Ace aims to bring the pick-up-and-play nature of casual games and combine it with competitive racing. The game is continuously feeding information about the current rankings of your various laps, how other players are changing your standings and what to do next.

In addition, the game features a track creator so players can create their own circuits and race them with friends over a network in multiplayer mode.

Colin Riley, owner of recently formed Domipheus Labs, added “You can get so many small games which are tailored for players that focus on physics, destruction, and puzzles, but the racing genre seems light on content in comparison.”

“For those players who only have a few minutes free to play, they can immediately launch a challenge from the main screen and gain a reward for everyone to see. However they may come back to the game later to find a friend has knocked them off their leaderboard spot, and the defeat is on the front page of the in-game newspaper, the Gear Times. The game world is designed to be constantly evolving and resting on ones laurels will prove costly in the global rankings.”

Game Features:

  • Compete in the racing season, gaining best laps and climbing the global leaderboard ranks.
  • Challenge friends in multiplayer races, and brag of your successes to foes.
  • Create circuits using the track builder, sharing them and racing with friends in multiplayer.
  • Unlock a large list of achievements from gaining perfect laps to getting into the global top-ten.
  • Watch as the Gears of Glory universe around you changes minute-by-minute with dynamic news and challenge systems keeping you in the loop.
  • Succeed in becoming a Gears of Glory race legend.

Domipheus Labs hopes this title can be the first in a line of successful games which focus on ease of play, with a competitive edge.

Gears of Glory: Apex Ace is launching exclusively on IndieCity, and will be priced around that of an espresso from popular coffee houses. It has been developed with low system requirements in mind, for non-fullscreen play on current Windows operating systems.

Gears of Glory: Apex Ace is being released May 2012. For more information visit http://gearsofglory.com.

Press/Media Contact: Colin Riley, Owner, Domipheus Labs. Email: [email protected] Twitter: http://twitter.com/Domipheus

About Gears of Glory: Apex Ace:
Gears of Glory: Apex Ace is the game in which players race competitively to achieve the glory of becoming a race legend. It’s top down style allows for perfect racing lines to be sought out and achieved – perfection will be required if players are to become race legends, topping global leaderboards, creating custom tracks and winning heats of multiplayer challenges. Gears of Glory: Apex Ace features an innovative challenge and news system to keep gameplay vibrant and dynamic for all players and is launching May 2012 for Windows PC via IndieCity. http://gearsofglory.com Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zxly2OGch-E&hd=1

About Domipheus Labs:
Domipheus Labs is based in Edinburgh, Scotland, and was launched in 2012 to bring to market the hobby work of Colin “Domipheus” Riley. By day Colin works for a well known technology company who have experience with games consoles and other gaming hardware. Domipheus Labs is purely a spare-time endeavour as Colin releases game ideas and concepts that have built up over years of prototyping. Colin is the sole designer, programmer and artist on all titles. Domipheus Labs’ first title, Gears of Glory: Apex Ace, is launching May 2012 for Windows PC via IndieCity. http://domipheus.com

About IndieCity:
IndieCity.com is a unique online marketplace committed to celebrating and supporting the indie gaming community at all levels, highlighting the creativity, the passion and the people. The site aims to create one integrated indie community that draws together developers, gamers and press to encourage the discovery, promotion and enjoyment of indie games of all shapes and sizes. http://IndieCity.com

—– RELEASE ENDS —–

—– PRESS PACK —–

http://gearsofglory.co.uk/release1_media/PR_Pack_GearsOfGloryApexAce_Launch.zip
—– MEDIA —–