Don’t wait!

Now the wait is over, the Fish! 1.2.2 update is out and the AppleTV version is waiting for approval I can keep everyone up to date on what else we’re doing 🙂

Firstly, time to reiterate our policy on pricing and sales. Having realised that paid apps are probably our only chance of actually paying the bills, we decided some time ago that we’d focus on them and stick with a “No sales” policy.
The philosophy behind this policy is that we don’t want to mess our players around with variable prices for games and set a reasonable price for them.
So there’s no point waiting until one of our games goes on sale. If you want to play it, buy it now. It won’t get any cheaper and if they’re not selling early on, we can’t afford to update them and may even have to drop them entirely.

Having said that, I have just dropped the price of Any Landing to 99p/99c. While it’s a great game, Any Landing simply hasn’t sold enough to pay for the year or so we spent writing it. (not even close). It’s also using our old engine that still has code dating back to the launch of the App Store and is becoming increasingly difficult to keep updated. As we’re not planning any more updates to it other than “If a new OS update breaks it and we can fix it” type ones, it’s now at our “Please enjoy it while you can” price.

The aim is to focus our very limited resources on keeping our more popular games updated.

What’s next for Fish! ?

The next big update will be in the new year. We’re going to be adding quite a bit more cool stuff in this update. Now I’ve got the UI rewrite out of the way, we can focus more on content. There’s going to be more classic Flick Fishing features returning too!

Also, I’m dabbling with the Mac version of Fish! If you’ve got the macOS version of Fast Fishing from the Mac App Store, drop us a line as we’d love to set you up with a free copy once it’s up and running as a thank you for your support.

 

Download Fish! Now from the App Store! (Fish! is Universal Purchase, so buying the iOS version also gets you the Apple TV version)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fish/id966194870?ls=1&mt=8

If you do want to try a fun little free game of ours by the way, we do have SpinnYwings on the App Store for you to play. Give it a go!

SpinnYwingS on the App Store

Fish! 1.2 Update (it’s Flick Fishing really ;) )

I got the approval message from the App Store yesterday for our huge Fish! update, so it’s set to go live this week (to be precise, 00:00 28/9/17 Australian time). Flick Fishing is back baby!

This update is kind of a big deal for Adam and myself as it’s the first time in a while where we’ve been able to set a decent block of time aside from doing contract work etc. that pays the bills to focussing on one of our longest running games and do a solid update for it. It helped that we’ve had a ton of great feedback from players who’ve been playing since Flick Fishing days and a huge part of this version is getting more of my game design features from Flick Fishing into Fish! The biggest of those familiar new elements is the collection of ‘junk’ items from treasure chests, which are now the method for unlocking gizmos, reels and rods, but also unlock a brand new, just like it never went away, Xtreme mode 🙂 (for those not brought up on Flick Fishing, Xtreme mode unlocks all the same fishing spots, but with bigger and tougher fish, so it’s a gameplay mode for the more experienced players, but with bigger fish as a reward).

We’re seriously hoping that Fish! can get more of our old Flick Fishing fanbase back with us. We weren’t able to continue updating Flick Fishing for various reasons after our publishing partners Freeverse were bought and their App Store account was eventually closed. Because the original game was on their account, it meant we couldn’t update it and so we ended up with Fish! as a new SKU (which means there’s no way to let original Flick Fishing players know about it directly). So it’s annoying but did give us the opportunity to do a fresh start on the project (even if I did re-use the actual fishing mechanic code 😉 ) which makes it a lot easier to keep updated in future.

If you’re a Flick Fishing fan, now’s the ideal time to get back into the game and pick up Fish! from the App Store. Don’t wait for it to go on sale as we’ve got a standing policy of “No Sales” (they don’t work any more for smaller devs like ourselves) so the price isn’t going to get any lower 🙂

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fish/id966194870?ls=1&mt=8

Nine Years of Flick Fishing and Fish!

Nine years ago next month, Adam and I started work on our second iOS game while waiting for our first “The Plank” to finish testing and be approved for the App Store.

Back then, Flick Fishing started pretty simple. For its release version in November 2008, it had six locations and just the basic tournaments. The Old Man in the Lighthouse wasn’t even on the map with his quest, the named fish had yet to be named and of course it was a huge hit, being the second app to hit a million sales, just an hour behind Flight Control.

I’ve recounted the story of how we worked on and updated Flick Fishing over the years, the 2000+ *years* of game time that was logged by players and how we were unable to do anything but watch as it was left unattended and eventually removed from the App Store in my blog on the Strange Flavour website, with the name itself locked away under someone else’s trademark.

But we weren’t done with the game. We’d worked on updates that weren’t able to be released and we saw the Flick Fishing fanbase asking for more. Our fabulous publishing partners Freeverse had unfortunately been consumed and lost to the App Store too and we switched to self publishing.

Eventually, we plucked up the courage to take a fresh look at Flick Fishing. We knew it would be a long term project (while Flick Fishing’s basic concept, which ‘inspired’ how pretty much every popular fishing game on mobile worked was there in V1.0, a lot of its features were developed over 5 years of updates). Rather than just do the new game the same as Flick Fishing, we thought it would be a great idea to combine it with an Outrun style time challenge so you had to catch fish within a time limit to progress. Voila! Fast Fishing was born in 2015.

Fish! with original Flick Fishing screenshot inset at actual resolution. That’s how big your Retina display is!

Ok, so we found out that Flick Fishing still had a big fanbase. We also found out they didn’t want us mucking about with the basic game idea and ability to just fish 😉 So Fast Fishing got quietly put back in the cupboard and we got down to seriously working on a proper Flick Fishing 2, even if we knew we couldn’t call it that. Later in 2015, Fish! was one of the first games released for Apple’s new AppleTV App Store and the success of that version helped us fund the eventual release on iOS in March 2016.

Fish! has steadily grown as the old fanbase has stumbled across it on the App Store (unfortunately the short name and the weird way search works on the App Store makes it very difficult to stumble across!). It got a couple of updates last year but we’ve had to take a lot of time away to work on other projects and contract work to pay the bills. There was a lot of stuff we wanted to do with Fish! though, some familiar to Flick Fishing fans and some new.

So here we are. It’s 9 years since Adam and I started on Flick Fishing and we’re just putting the last touches to a massive update to Fish! A lot of it has been driven by feedback from our players over the last year and we’ve got more planned. For this version (1.2) though, here’s what we’ve got coming once it’s all tested and approved…

The game’s UI and a lot of the underlying structure has been completely re-written. We’ve kept the original Flick Fishing game code of course, but the way the UI was written made it difficult for us to update, add new fish, locations etc. and made it tricky to keep the iOS and AppleTV versions in sync. The new setup should make it easier to do more regular future updates and hey, maybe even a Mac version? 😉

New Network multiplayer. I’ve rewritten the entire network game. Again, more towards reliability and making it more practical for it to work cross platform with Apple TV (or Mac).

Collections! A popular feature of the original game, the 4 junk items from the first release were expanded to a whole sea of random junk that you could collect in sets to cash in for various upgrades. In Fish!, the collections can be traded in for all sorts of upgrades and extra game modes.

A Fish Guide! The Flick Fishing Megaguide was a very popular IAP item when it was introduced and gave players a heads up on where to catch all the fish. The Fish Guide starts simple, with suggestions of 3 different fish you can catch in each spot but can be upgraded by collecting sets of treasure items to full details of all fish, what bait, what cast distance and even a Fish Computer that shows what fish you’re likely to hook when you cast.

Xtreme and Night Mode fishing spots. Unlocked via the collections, these modes give you a whole new spin on the various fishing spots (as well as potential for bigger fish).

New Fish. Only a couple for this update, but many more coming.

A new fishing spot.

Definitely more Cobia! For some reason, the Cobia were set to being extremely rare and hard to catch. They’ve been tempted back with more cake for this version.

Stickers!

Fishing on the River Tam

There’s also a ton of fixes and tweaks under the hood and there’s more coming.

Next up, I’ve got to apply all this and update the Apple TV version to match before we can start on the next update and focus on more content.

So, if you’re a long term Flick Fishing fan or a recent Fish! player, please tell all your friends and get them playing (if you’re playing multiplayer, their catches count towards the quest if you’re playing it 😉 ) as we need you all if we’re going to be able to carry on updating and adding to the game. Also, most importantly, thanks for playing!

If you’ve not got Fish! yet, download it from the App Store here!

Fish! by Strange Flavour   

Lots of Fish!

As I’ve mentioned previously, we’re working on a big update for Fish! which goes into overdrive through the next couple of weeks while I lock myself into my office and crunch on the code side of it to hopefully submit before the end of August.

We’ve noticed a lot of new players recently too, which is good and a lot of them are our old players from Flick Fishing, who’ve managed to find our new version Fish! hidden away on the App Store 🙂

One of the most requested features of Flick Fishing to bring back in Fish! is the old Flick Fishing Megaguide, or at least the bit about where to catch the fish 😉 If you have an Apple Watch, you might be already using the mini fish guide in the Fish! app for the Apple Watch, I’m working on adding something more comprehensive to the main game itself.

In the meantime, I thought it might be handy if I put a very quick guide to what fish you can catch in each fishing spot up on the blog to get you started. I won’t go into details about which bait each fish prefers or what distances to cast (while spoil all the fun 😉 ) so you’ll still have to play a bit and try different things out, but at least you’ll be in the right location if you’re after a particular fish for the quest 😉

The Old Pond : Catfish, Minnow, Carp, Bream

Lake Smith : Minnow, Carp, Bream, Rainbow Trout, Large Mouth Bass, Pike, Brown Trout

Waves of Blue : Sea Bass, Sailfish, Blue Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna, Bonito, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi

Doom Harbour: Dogfish, Mullet, Flounder, Plaice, Red Snapper, Sea Bass

Shores of Blue : Sea Bass, Sailfish, Mahi Mahi, Grouper, Striped Bass, Barracuda, Rooster Fish, Black Marlin

Doom Deeps : Blue Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna, Bonito, Wahoo, Cobia, Swordfish

River Tam : Carp, Rainbow Trout, Large Mouth Bass, Pike, Brown Trout, Crappie, Peacock Bass

Pirate Cave: Sea Bass, Plaice, Red Snapper, Grouper, Striped Bass, Rooster Fish, Conga Eel

Some of these fish (looking at you Cobia!) are being particularly hard to hook at the moment, which I’m tuning in the update and of course, there may be new locations to fish in soon too 😉

Pre WWDC Update Update :)

Well, it’s WWDC next week and one of the things we’re all expecting is the end of 32 bit iOS apps.

Luckily for us, all but one of our current games are already 64 bit and the last remaining one (SlotZ Racer Caterham Special) should have its 64 bit update submitted before WWDC.

This does give me a prod to update you all on what we’re doing behind the scenes to keep our games fresh and what updates to expect either soon or eventually 😉

Fish!

Fish! is in the process of a very big rewrite. It’s taken a lot longer than planned for its update as we realised there was a lot of stuff we really could do with changing so it can easily be updated across iOS, tvOS and macOS without huge waits in between each version. As the aim is to have the iOS and tvOS versions (at least) able to play multiplayer between each other, that ability to update simultaneously is pretty important. The good news though is that while it’s taking longer, it does mean we’re going to be including more of your favourite elements from our original Flick Fishing in the game and the re-engineering will make it faster for us to do updates in the future.

If you’ve got any particular favourite bits of Flick Fishing you’d like to see in the updates, now’s a good time to let us know. Either through our contact page, or on Strange Flavour’s Facebook page!

SpinnYwingS

SpinnYwingS has soft launched rather nicely and has picked up a decent number of players in the HeyPlay system who are busy challenging each other in multiplayer games. We’re going to be doing some more point updates to SpinnYwingS and gradually introducing more content to unlock.

Tiny TrackZ

Once Fish! has had its big update, I also plan to re-engineer Tiny TrackZ to allow us to update it faster and add more content easily.

SlotZ Racer

The SlotZ Racer games are now relatively old tech, but once SlotZ Racer Caterham Special is updated, they’ll all still happily work on new devices and should be good for a few years. Any non critical update focus is going to be solely on SlotZ Racer 2 though and ideally I’d like to be writing SlotZ Racer 3, but that will be a little way off probably 🙂

Teenage Dirtbag

What on earth do you get a teenage software company for its birthday?
Strange Flavour Ltd. is 13 years old as of tomorrow (April 1st 2017). We’ve been releasing games as Strange Flavour since 2001 but went full time with it and set the company up with Freeverse as our publishing partners on April 1st 2004. (we picked that day as it’s also Apple’s birthday 😉 )

I’ve made a list of every Strange Flavour game that’s been released for this blog, but I thought you might find it interesting to hear about some of the great ones that *nearly* made it to release…

First up of course, is Airburst XBLA. This was the ultimate version of Airburst, written for the XBox 360 and unfortunately shelved very near to completion due to running out of budget and a need to shift to iOS game development when that became available to pay the bills. (which was lucky for us as that was when we wrote Flick Fishing and paid off all the debts Airburst XBLA had run up 😉 ). Airburst XBLA was a pretty awesome game though and it’s on our “One day…” list.

France France Revolution: You might remember our Apple Design Award winning game ToySight. It was a compendium of arcade games all controlled by the iSight camera and there was one game that didn’t quite make the final package as it wasn’t quite there yet.
In France France Revolution you waved your arms in time to music to attract the attention of the Scarlett Pimpernel so he could come and rescue the French Noble about to get his or her head chopped off by the Guillotine 🙂

A notable mention is one we did actually release, but it was a special project for a drug company to use at shows and was a special ToySight game where you play as a new drug fighting colon cancer (quoting the client “Best damn ass cancer game ever!”) . File that one along with the crowd controlled version of Totem Ball (and the play while you’re queuing for a Caterham thrill ride version of SlotZ Racer) under “cool but weird exhibition stuff”!

Strange Flavour’s Games

We have actually finished and released a huge number of games though. Here’s the full list of what we’ve done in the last 13 (or 16) years…

Bushfire (Mac)
Airburst (Mac)
ToySight (Mac) (also ToySight Gold with extra games)
Airburst Extreme (Mac)

Spyglass Board Games (XBLA)
Totem Ball (XBLA)
helped on Marathon Durandal (XBLA. Freeverse did most of the work, we just consulted)

The Plank (iOS)
Flick Fishing (iOS), (also Flick Fishing HD, Flick Fishing Free, Flick Fishing Free HD) and updates for 5+ years
SlotZ Racer (iOS)
Warpack Grunts (iOS)
SlotZ Racer 2 (iOS, Apple TV)  SlotZ Racer 2
SlotZ Racer Caterham Special (iOS)  SlotZ Racer Caterham Special
Apple Dash/Bob (publisher & added code) (iOS)   Apple Bob
Melvin Tiles (iOS)
Any Landing (iOS, Apple TV)   Any Landing 
Snapmatch Soccer (iOS)
Fast Fishing (iOS, Mac)
SlotZ Racer Zenos Special (iOS)   SlotZ Racer Zenos Special 
Tiny TrackZ (iOS, Apple TV) Tiny TrackZ
Fish! (iOS,Apple TV)   Fish!
SpinnYwingS (iOS) ( AppleTV and Mac coming soon!)  SpinnyWings

If you include the alternate versions of Flick Fishing, that’s 29 professional game releases in 16 years. Not bad for a tiny 2 man team. I think I’m taking the day off tomorrow 🙂

Balloons, Balloons, Balloons

Well, I think we can all say, 2016 didn’t exactly go as planned!

We’d hoped to get a lot more new games out last year as well as updating our current set. However, circumstances kind of got in the way and I spent most of my time doing contract work to pay the bills.

The good news is, that’s just about done, bills are paid for now and we’re cracking on with some great new games (not to mention having time put aside for updates). Things are still a bit too close for comfort, but we’ve got a selection of different games on the way. Some may be a bit familiar to our long term fans too 😉 (our theme for the year, Balloons, Balloons, Balloons!)

While we’re still looking at paid games being our main focus, Adam and I also want to try some ideas out as super small games as free to play with video ads. We’ve been playing quite a few games with this model and not all of them are entirely annoying 🙂 (Actually, it works very well as a “Watch Video To Continue Game” system after you hit the Game Over screen). We also think we’ve got a way to get around the problem of them not really working for offline play too.

Anyway, we’ll have more news soon and our first new game of the year very soon!

Updates Updates Updates!

It’s been a month of updates!
SlotZ Racer 2 finally got its new 2.09 update with MFi controllers, new cars and general updatey goodness to work on newer iPhones and iPads and Fish! had a couple of point updates to fix bugs, tune things and add a couple of minor features that players requested.
Adam’s even been working hard and updated the Strange Flavour website too! (more tweaks ongoing in that department).
We’ve actually got another SlotZ Racer update in submission as a bug snuck through in the championship mode of the game, so expect to see that hit the App Store this week.

Next up in the updates department is a fairly big one to add all the extra locations and features in the iOS version of Fish! to the Apple TV version. Both the Apple TV and iOS versions will be getting another update later on with some rather cool new features.

We’ve not forgotten our other games either, while they may take a bit longer, there’s updates in the works for Tiny TrackZ on iOS and AppleTV (and an OSX version at some point too!).

Happy Birthday Apple!

I’ve already posted about it being our company birthday today (1st April), but the big news is of course that Apple is 40 today and the oldest computer company in the world (that actually makes computers) so I thought I’d show you a list that explains why we’re such fans of Apple here at Strange Flavour.

This is what a couple of guys with off the shelf Macs can produce in 12 years..

5 Mac games
1 Mac game for medical research
3 Xbox 360 games, plus helping another get finished
16 iOS games
and 4 Apple TV games

About 30 million people who’ve bought or downloaded them and played them and approximately 2000 years (yes years) of gameplay time.

Also an Apple Design Award and a MacWorld Best of Show award plus had an animated short based on one of our games shown at ComiCon 🙂

That’s the level of productivity you get when you work on computers and software you can rely on (we did try using a PC for the Xbox 360 development but it was too unreliable and Windows worked better on a Mac anyway 😉 ).

Hopefully, by the time Strange Flavour reaches 40 I’ll be posting these updates from my Apple Hover Sofa (TM) using the thought transcription mode in my iShirt (TM)

Happy Birthday Apple and here’s to many more!

Thanks also to all the great people we’ve worked with over the last decade or so at Freeverse, Apple, Microsoft, Caterham, Zenos and Unity to name a few!

Happy Birthday ;)

While it’s not quite as momentous as Apple’s 40th birthday (the oldest computer company in the world), it’s also Strange Flavour’s 12th birthday on Friday 1st April.

We’ve actually been Strange Flavouring since 2001, but April 1st 2004 marked the formation of Strange Flavour as a Company in the UK and the start of our publishing partnership with Freeverse.

While Freeverse are no more, their founders Ian and Colin Lynch Smith have started a sequel. Second Verse! Check them out here! http://secondverse.org

We’re cracking on with our games of course. Fish! is doing great on TV and iOS and we’ve got a 1.02 update for Fish! going through the submission process at the moment, with an update to the TV version following soon. We’re also in the final testing stages of the long awaited SlotZ Racer 2 update that adds MFi Controllers and parity with the TV version to the iOS version of the game.

A heads up on SlotZ Racer 2 btw. Because it’s been a long time between updates and we’re really glad you’re all playing it still. We’ve decided that we’re going to roll the IAP content in the game at the moment into the main game. So the price will go up by $1, but both the car packs will now be included for free (and once unlocked on the iOS version, they’ll appear on your TV version too).