The Very Organized Thief – Developer Diary #1

It’s been a while and keeping people up to date with news has been a little challenging considering Elise and I (Alex) have been studying. We’re currently in our final year of studies and our class workload is annoyingly heavy at the moment. Throw in some part time work and booting some other projects into the open and things as you can imagine are pretty chaotic!

But we’ve managed to create a bit of extra time to start writing a Developer Diary! To hopefully keep everyone up to date with the development progress of The Very Organized Thief.

Let’s begin!

So the original version of The Very Organized Thief is pretty much duct taped together. Being bashed out over a 7 day period which then had features glued on over several months. It is now quite the mess, and a big headache to make new changes in. We also weren’t studying at the time which gave us the freedom to go all out and try a bunch of different things we hadn’t tried before.

The original house in Unity. Shows all random locations and AI related components. Very messy!

The original house in Unity. Shows all random locations and AI related components. Very messy!

At the moment, we’re keeping work on that version to a minimum. Fixing what we can without adding to much workload on top, so we can have more time to work on more important things, such as the new version!

For the last 2 months, we’ve been rebuilding The Very Organized Thief from the ground up. Looking at the original game as a base and coming up with ways to do things better, more flexibly and hopefully speed up the development process. Since time has become a precious commodity for us, finding ways to speed things up is pretty important.

We ended up doing a number of experiments in The Maze – Keeper Of Doom. Testing out a number of unknowns and optimization techniques to do with assets and mesh data.

Used to improved rendering performance in procedurally generated maze with cells containing complex materials.

Used to improved rendering performance in procedurally generated mazes with cells containing multiple materials.

It was also a testbed for our improved AI system. Although the AI does behave the same as the Owner, it was done with half the amount of code making it a little easier and more manageable for us to do increasingly complicated things.

From all that experimentation we’ve learnt many things which we have applied in the new The Very Organized Thief. We’ve taken into account a number of problems we encountered in both the original The Very Organized Thief and The Maze – Keeper Of Doom, as well as fixing a number of recurring issues which some players have been running into.

The new project also has an improved asset pipeline using Unity’s AssetPostprocessor (which is awesomely fantastic!). We’ve taken the repetitive tasks, mostly to do with optimization and organization of an asset, and automated it. This is super neat for small team like us since it has free’d up time to allow us to focus on developing the art and creating the game.

We’ve also been building additional tools using Unity’s Editor GUI customization, to help us with the creation and management of game specific items. Some tools are still in development, but we’re working on some tools to hopefully give us better control and feedback over randomizing objects in the scene. Random locations are currently done “by hand”, which is relatively problematic due to the number of items we’re potentially going to be moving about with additional levels. So we’ve been coming up with a solution to make that less tedious to hopefully let us add more random locations and make finding items even more challenging.

We’ll hopefully talk more about the above in detail in future developer diaries.

VO Tools - Loot Manager

So with studies getting in our way, streamlining our workflow has been critical for us in finding more time to work on The Very Organized Thief. By automating where the most time gets taken up, we’ve given ourselves more time to work on more important things for The Very Organized Thief. As well as given us the time to keep everyone up to date with new developer diaries!

We hope you’ve liked our first developer diary for The Very Organized Thief! Expect plenty more to come!

The Maze – Keeper Of Doom

We are happy to announce the release of The Maze – Keeper Of Doom!


The Maze - KOD - Screenshot1

Prepare to be lost in this procedurally generated maze game! Find the key and escape the maze! But beware, things are a little relaxed in this maze. A little TOO relaxed.

The Maze - KOD - Screenshot2

The Maze – Keeper Of Doom is currently still in development. Overtime, we will be adding more content to the game to eventually turn a simple maze game into a unique adventure for everyone to play.

The Maze - KOD - Screenshot3

It is also a recreation of our previous title, Minotaur Maze.

Minotaur Maze was never made available on game hosting services because of a number of playability issues as a result of limitations with Unity Flash Beta. A large portion of work was also lost when moving to a non-beta version of Unity resulting in the project losing steam. You can play the surviving version of Minotaur Maze here.


The Maze - KOD - Screenshot4

Since then a lot of work has gone into redeveloping the code and art to make The Maze – Keeper Of Doom happen. It now has stylised 3D art, improved AI and dynamic effects such as a day night cycle and weather.


The Maze - KOD - Screenshot5

It currently can be played over at GameJolt in browser. But we will be releasing standalone versions for Windows, Mac and Linux soon to download and play.

We hope you all enjoy The Maze – Keeper Of Doom!

Stay in the Loop!

As we get closer and continue to prepare ourselves for the kickstarter for The Very Organized Thief, we are also near the completion of our next game!

But it hasn’t been easy.

Things have taken a bit longer then expected to finish as unexpected life happenings have been occurring around us. Without explaining too much we’ll just say, it’s been a bit tough for us lately.

That aside, our new game is nearly complete. We’ve had to drop some features in order to speed up getting it released, but we will be adding them back in over time. And depending on a number of things that could happen in the next few months, it’s best not to get too ahead of ourselves!

We’ve also been setting up a few other things for people to stay informed and up-to-date about The Very Organized Thief.

There is now an official twitter @TVOThief and Facebook where we will be posting bite sized news for your tweeting and Like-ing pleasure. We welcome any YouTubers to share their Let’s Play videos on the Facebook page for everyone to enjoy as well.

We also now have an ask.fm account. If there’s any questions you’d like to ask us, feel free to ask there. We are more then happy to answer you.

And that’s that for now! More updates are coming soon! Until then stay organized!

Preparing to Kickstart

Just a quick exciting update!

As usual, we’ve been flat-out doing a whole bunch of things.

For last few weeks we’ve dug deep into working things out and preparing to kickstart The Very Organized Thief! Which we hope to be kicking off in the first, or second week, of June!

We’re hoping to raise $39,000 AU (which is roughly $36,000 US) to help with the development of The Very Organized Thief.

However, we hope to generate more to help support the development of Redefinition Games as a business and hire some much-needed talent.

So we’re currently in the process of nailing down a few things, waiting for sample rewards to arrive and sprucing up the campaign page.

We have also been making sure that if it doesn’t go to plan, we have alternative plans to fall back to. This has mostly been research into hand-held devices, like Android, iOS and Playstation Mobile. It’s our first campaign after all, and we have no idea what is going to happen! So better to be prepared for whatever the outcome right?

Stay tuned for more news in the coming weeks!

April Update

It has once again, been a long time since our last update. So what’s been happenin’?

We’ve been working very hard on our next game which we will hopefully be releasing soon. Our scheduled release for the game had been pushed back a number of times due to some unexpected happenings. As a result we’ve had to take some time off from the project and focus it into research and non-game development related things. The Very Organized Thief has also suffered from a lack updates because of this. But we’re happy to say after a few months of pandemonium to reorganize, we’re back on track.

We hope once our next game is released we will be bringing a few very needed little updates to The Very Organized Thief.

And sorry for the lack of blog updates since Christmas! We’d like to thank everyone who has been playing, and continues to play, The Very Organized Thief. You guys are awesome!

Update – MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Firstly, MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!! May your day be filled with good cheer, many presents, and frosty beers for those of you who a legally allowed to drink.

We have recently updated our website to fit a format that we feel is a little more useful to everyone in general. There’s still a little bit of work to be done. But you can now find additional information about the games we’ve created in the ‘Games’ page. There is new information such as articles, reviews, instructions, where you can play and download them, and permissions.

We’ve had a number of people ask if it is Ok to monetize their video/s of The Very Organized Thief on YouTube. With the enforcement of new infringement and copyright schemes being implemented, we have been quietly discussing our stance on it and we’ve taken steps to make it easier for people to find out through the changes to our website.

All you have to do is visit the page for the game you want to know about and there will be a Permission section which will state what you are allowed to do. If what you intend to do is not listed, or you are not entirely sure based on the permissions being stated. Feel free to get in contact with us and we’ll be happy let you know what’s possible.

Our feeling is that not every single person who views a YouTuber’s video is going to play that game, rather, they are there to enjoy the content being created by that user. It is also reaching people that, as developers creating games for a particular audience, can’t really be reached without the kind of exposure that these people are providing. And that is a great thing for both parties.

However, developers should be entitled to making their own decisions about their content. Especially in cases where user’s are lying, defaming and/or violating the rights of the developer/s. In those situations they are well within their own rights to take certain actions. As long as those actions are also done so within good reason. But at the end of the day, it IS up to the developer and they are entitled in doing what they believe is the best course of action for their IP, and business.

For Redefinition Games however, as long as there is a mutual respect and no violation of our rights, a user’s, or another persons rights. We’re cool with it. As content creators, we should be happy that everyone is chipping into each others process of creating content, even if the result of everyone’s effort is indirect.

With that all being said. We hope you are all having a Merry Christmas! And your New Year is a great one! Until next update, have fun, relax, play some games, and enjoy pleasant company!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

-Alex ‘n’ Elise

The Very Organized Thief – One Month Later

It’s been over a month since the first release of The Very Organized Thief. And what an absolutely awesome month it has been!!

Our small and simple little game turned out to capture the imaginations of many people. With currently over 100,000 official plays, over 2,000,000 people watching people play it on YouTube in 500+ Let’s Plays, and several great articles. The Very Organized Thief has become a surprising (and unexpected) success.

The Very Organized Thief is one of a number of open test scenario we have been coming up with to get to some games we’ve had planned. Without giving too much away, these games have been in the works for some time and we’d very much like for everyone to play those too!

There have also been many great suggestions from people, many cool and awesome features we’d love to add to The Very Organized Thief. However we have to stand our ground a little and say we’ll be coming back to The Very Organized Thief sometime in the future. The trade off being that you might not get more of The Very Organized Thief, but we will at least give people more (free) games to play. How soon we’ll be coming back The Very Organized Thief and how many games really depends on a number of things which we’ve been spending the last few weeks discussing how to make that possible.

The real challenge with it, like with anything, is funding. We are currently only 2 people who are working out of our own pockets, spending the last few years saving what money we’ve earned and putting it towards learning material, tools and rather expensive software licenses we’ve had formal training in (all this was before the awesome affordable software and rental plans that are now available >:| ). So we’re currently working out a Kickstarter Campaign to hopefully help us out, so we can continue to make more games for people to play. : )

So over the coming months we plan to release another game, start a crowd funding campaign, continue to test a number of concepts that we’d like to play around with, pull a few surprises and stress test some systems that have been in development for some time. All of which will be contributing to a much bigger game and goals we have planned ; )

We want to thank everyone who has played, downloaded, commented, shared, reviewed, given us feedback and made Let’s Plays of The Very Organized Thief. After 4 years of research and development, your immense response has helped us realise why we love making games, and why we want to continue to make more, bigger and better games.

Thanks again : ) We’ll be doing our best over the next few months to keep you up-to-date. Until then we wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

-Alex ‘n’ Elise

The Very Organized Thief

We’re happy to finally release something! Even if it’s not something we’ve been working on for ages. A little time opened up for both Elise and I (Alex) to try something different and something we had always been talking about. To which we made The Very Organized Thief.

The Very Organized Thief

So you are a thief. A very organized thief. And your objective is to find all the items on your checklist in the house and then escape.

tvothief_screenshot02

It was put together in 7 days and then polished for a few more afterwards. We wanted to make a game that was challenging and a little bit different. We also wanted it to be neither easy or hard, and slightly different everytime you played it.

TVOThief - Screenshot 1

You can play it at Kongregate or GameJolt, or both! And we hope you enjoy being very organized and a thief!

Something Something

It has been a long time as usual. Redefinitions Games is slowly moving along. Unfortunately slower then before.

As more things get done, life in general seems to be getting much busier for us. We’re still working on our projects but not as much as we’d like to. It has been kind of crazy lately.

We’re hoping some scheduling and shuffling will free up more time to put it back into our current projects. Hopefully bringing back some focus.

Time will tell.

March?… Update!!!!

The days have been hot, we haven’t stopped working and this year is flying by leaving us barely any time to update!

So what’s been happening.

As you can see from the site, it has been updated. There was suppose to be an update following the new site release but someone forgot to hit publish… …Alex! Regardless, we have a new, a bit more organized layout, with plenty more still to come.

There has been a lot of changes to the direction we were originally moving in since last update. A few unexpected twists in our target platform had caused us to do a major rethink. Stressful as it was, it has been for the better. It has helped us spread the load and start other things much sooner then we thought possible.

As usual, Alex has been madly coding. He is currently working with Josh Sacco once again on his game DeathSpuds! Spending the last 2 months revising the code used for Freeplay demo and implementing better AI. It is also now using Unity 4, and some of it’s features. He has also set up a blog where he will share some of his tips and tools. You can check out his website at http://arcaneartist.redefinitiongames.com/.

Elise has also set up a website to get her own little drawing projects going. You can check out her website and works at www.elise.id.au. Her site also has links various videos in her YouTube Channel of her drawing the images. So go check them out!

Together we have also been working on a small flash point and click / hidden object game episodic which is coming together relatively quickly. Since a lot of the games we’ve been developing are focused mainly around telling a story, we have started small and in chunks to help develop that story telling skill within a game. At the same time we are taking the opportunity to utilize our existing 2D frameworks to quickly put this game together. We’re not saying when it will be done because we honestly don’t know. But you can check out Elise and Alex’s websites for any updates related to the game.

A lot of the plans we imagined for Redefinition Games are really starting to manifest into something more then just research and development. It has taken a long time, but the journey has been absolutely worth it!

We also want to say a big thank you to Jason Close. If not for your relentless small contributions, a lot may not have been possible. Your generosity has helped us explore more avenues in what we are trying to create, now, and for the future of Redef. So THANK YOU JASON!!! You are helping make things possible!