FishNet!

We’ve finally got the first part of the big Fish! 1.3 update out and the biggest part is that we’ve brought back FishNet!

The idea of FishNet is that you can play against your friends no matter where they are. Whatever fish you catch when a FishNet game is active are recorded and at the end of the game time, the winners of Best Fish and Best Catch get medals.

FishNet games are a bit more flexible than network or pass and play games as you don’t need to be on the same network or in the same room. You can start a FishNet game, get some friends to join and just fish whenever you’ve got some play time, the FishNet keeps tabs of the scores and notifies you all when someone catches the best fish so far.

Currently, FishNet games can be from 1 day to 14 days long, but in the next update we’re going to add some quicker ones so you can resolve any bragging rights issues quickly 😉

Another new feature for this version of FishNet is FishNet Teams.

By creating a team, you (and anyone who joins your team) can pit yourself against all the other Fish! Teams in the world. Once in a team, all fish you catch count towards that team’s scores and at the end of each week and each month we award the top 3 teams medals!

Medals btw. are like bonus gizmos that boost your fishing skills automatically. They only last as long as the game you were playing (so a medal won for a 1 day game will last 24 hours and one for the monthly competition will last 30 days). So for bigger fish, play FishNet and win medals!

On the teams front. We’re going to organise some specific inter-team tournaments soon. So get your FishNet team together now!

 

 

Fish! on the App Store

A new game!

So, the last month or so has been somewhat chaotic. We’ve still been working on the big Fish! update while we can, but needed a small project that we could work on in spare moments. Plus we’ve been itching to do some AR work with ARKit and wARships was our obvious project 🙂

wARships is a Pass and Play AR version of the classic pen and paper game that you can play with a friend over your coffee table (or vs an AI in single player). It actually detects you passing the device to one another to change turns!

As it’s a pretty simple (but fun!) game, we’ve decided to make it the first of our 99c/99p range. If you’ve got an ARKit compatible iOS device (iPhone SE and up or newer iPad), grab it from here!

 

wARships on the App Store

Personal Update

As I mentioned in the latest Mobile Mavens article on PocketGamer.biz one of the risks of being a small indie dev is that a random family crisis or localised disaster can blow your project deadlines and business plans out of the water.

I added this to my piece as it was going to press because at the same time I was packing an emergency go bag to head out to Tunisia in North Africa to attempt to rescue my father who’d fallen ill while on holiday out there (with no travel insurance, as it’s kind of a no-go area at the moment) and bring him back to the UK for treatment.

It took a week to get him back, 2 days in Tunisia trying to get him as well as possible while trying to find return flights and 5 days in France (earliest flight back was via Paris but he collapsed on the plane). Eventually I was able to take him back to the UK on the Eurostar and he’s currently comfortable in a UK hospital.

Major thanks to the British Foreign Office and consulates, Nouvelair’s excellent flight crew and the Doctors and Nurses in France and the UK as well as Dad’s friends Hamza and Yvonne who helped him out and contacted us to let us know he was ill. Having my partner Lynne back in the UK able to look up and co-ordinate things was critical to getting out again and my old MacBook Air and iPhone 6 Plus with a local data sim were priceless in terms of keeping that link and booking things, mapping etc. On the 2 hour crazy taxi drive back to the airport, the local driver got lost when his Android phone lost signal and maps, so my iPhone (which still had signal and retains the map even when offline) was able to direct him to the airport.

Of course, this has had a big impact on the update to Fish! we’ve been working on as well as burning a huge hole in our savings that we’ve been running the company on. Rather than push the release date of the update back, we’re going to split the update into two and release it in stages.

I’ve already got some major fixes and changes in place. Mostly from going through the player reviews and emails we’ve had for requests (exit goes back to the map, yay!) so the first update will have those along with some other bits at the start of March. Then the 2nd update a little later should have some of the bigger components once they’re tested, including the full new reboot of the FishNet game mode we had in Flick Fishing that gave you the ability to play multiplayer games with your friends around the world!

So, apologies for this extra delay and if you haven’t bought any of our games yet, now is the time to pick one up as we really need the sales at the moment.

 

 

Fish! on iOS/tvOS/watchOS (Universal Purchase)

Fish! on macOS

Planes Trains and Automobiles (and Fish!)  iOS/tvOS (Universal Purchase, bundle of our games!)

 

 

Fish! for macOS

The macOS version of Fish! is now up on the Mac App Store. That means Fish! is now on every single Apple platform, macOS, iOS, tvOS and watchOS!

Here’s the Mac App Store link Fish! For macOS  https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/fish/id1313955304?mt=12

and here’s the iOS version link (which also counts as the watchOS and tvOS version) Fish! For iOS/AppleTV https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fish/id966194870?ls=1&mt=8

The App Stores are pretty broken for smaller devs like ourselves at the moment. Not only does the search ignore a new app until it gets a few zillion downloads, it also doesn’t show an app even if you type its name in exactly (on the Mac App Store for instance, it’s impossible to find Fish! or Strange Flavour by search). So we’re reliant on the direct web links.

Unfortunately that’s now broken since iOS 11 as the new desktop version of iTunes removed the iOS App Store it means you can only use an iOS App Store link on an iOS device. (Likewise you can’t buy an AppleTV or MacOS app unless you’re using the device specific App Stores).

What we’d love to see is a cross platform web based App Store that lets you buy apps for all your Apple devices in once place (or at least from any device). Your account already knows what devices you have anyway, so the store should be able to warn you against buying them for the wrong device and it would make the App Store a lot more accessible to everyone (not to mention letting it tempt people away from other platforms 😉 ).

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.

 

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 🙂