Anyone who follows this blog knows about Armoured Engines. However, that game has been set aside at the moment while the team works on a smaller game I came up with while looking at abstract diagrams of train tracks: Combo Carts. It plays somewhat like 2048 or Threes, except for one important fact: rather than tiles, you are pushing around carts on tracks. That means they can't always move in a particular direction, because the tracks prevent them.
The goal of the game is to combine carts as much as possible, making as many precious minerals as possible, before the board fills up. Only carts carrying the same type of cargo can combine. In free play mode, the map is randomly generated for each game, making each play through a new experience. We will also have pre-designed maps with particular goal cargo.
We chose to switch gears to work on this project instead of Armoured Engines for a very good reason - Armoured Engines was too big. We specifically chose it because it was a smaller game idea than most of our others, but it was still a full game with a story and lots of different mechanics. Combo Carts is much more bite-size in nature, concentrating on repeated play of one simple mechanic. It is a game I was able to code in a few hours, though polish and added features are taking significantly longer than that. It is a game we can use to get a feel for how releasing a game on the various mobile marketplaces actually works, since this will be our first. Essentially, it is practice. Serious practice and a real effort at making a high quality game, but practice none-the-less.
Combo Carts will be released later this month. After that, we plan to go back to work on Armoured Engines, but there is no way we will make our original September release date. Instead, we are aiming to release Armoured Engines in late November / early December, in time for Christmas.
In other news, we've gotten word that the Abertay Game Development Society, of which we are members, has secured a booth at Dare To Be Digital Protoplay here in Dundee. That means Bounder Games will be showing both Combo Carts and Armoured Engines there in August. If you live in the area, do yourself a favour and come play our games (and many others) for free!