Your Face is your controller, we’ve just released our first Face Control game!
While updating our ARKit 2 game AiRburst I wanted to try out the ARKit’s “other side” feature of face mapping. A while (ok over a decade) ago, we wrote the Apple Design Award winning ToySight games pack using Apple’s iSight camera, so camera controlled games are something we like to mess with. That and the opportunity to write a game that involves players sticking their tongues out seemed to good a thing to miss out on.
Face Candy is our new (free) game for iOS that uses the unique Face Mapping features of ARKit to control the game with your face!
Hook the candies with your nose and stick your tongue out to slurp them in!
Avoid the bombs, electric shocks and other nasties and grab as much candy as you can before you run out of time!
Collect 3 in a row of the same candy and score bonuses!
Unlock new face features and customise your look!
If you’ve got an iPhone X, XR, XS, XS Max or an iPad Pro 11″ then grab Face Candy and have some silly fun!
When we wrote the original Flick Fishing for the iPhone back in 2008, we never realised just how influential or long lasting a game it would be.
Due to change of ownership and management of our publishing partners we gradually lost the ability to update the original version and decided to focus on different games for a while. However the fans wanted Flick Fishing and we rebooted and relaunched the game as Fast Fishing and then Fish!, deciding that launching with the same name but as a different product might be confusing (the original app SKU not being under our controlFlick ). What we’ve realised since then is most of the players buying Fish! have been searching for Flick Fishing and are more confused by the name change and lack of Flick Fishing on the App Store than it being a new product. It also doesn’t help that Fish! is a terrible search term. So, let’s de-confuse it a bit…
From the 1.4 Update on 19th July, Fish! will now be Flick Fishing (or Flick Fishing Redux as its full name 😉 ). It’s still, as always, the Flick Fishing you’ve grown to love, but we’ve stopped messing around calling it a different name.
The 1.4 update will be simultaneous on iOS, macOS and tvOS and features more fish, a new fishing spot and a new system that lets you collect powerups to build your own custom fishing rod!
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!
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.
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 😉 ).
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)
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 🙂
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.
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.
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!
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! 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.
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.
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 🙂
"Apple Design Award for Most Innovative OSX Product "ToySight" - 2004
"MacWorld Best of Show "ToySight"" - MacWorld 2004
"Pocket Gamer - Top 50 iPhone Developer" - 2009
Way better than the original *****
by ButterBoss28 – Jan 7, 2018
The original was amazing, but this is outstanding! I am overwhelmed that I was able to find a game that could be so addicting and I love this!
The best *****
by LeNautilus – Dec 21, 2017
The best fishing game in the AppStore. And nicely updated for iPhone X