Archive for August, 2011

The Big Pixel 2 Update!

Pixel 2

I’ve been threatening to do a big post on Pixel 2 for a loooong time now, so when trying to come up with some tidbits to give you guys this week on our upcoming projects, I decided now might be the time to finally make good on that promise.  I’m a little frustrated as I REALLY wanted want to do a Pixel 2 trailer- motionless pixels are just dots and don’t do the game justice, but unfortunately the video was coming out choppy due to Camtasia awesomeness so pictures are all you’re going to get.  But… I have lots of pictures!

Jimmy has been working on and off on Pixel 2 for a long time, and believe it or not he’s actually kinda close to wrapping this project up.  We gone through roughly 50,000 changes, adding things, remove items, changing menus, and so on.  The latest build of Pixel 2 has a number of key features and some differences from the original Pixel game:

  • The casual feeling still remains, and we have an all new music track from the original composer for Pixel 1!
  • There are 4 “worlds” to play in with unique enemies.  The game length is still pretty comparable to Pixel 1.
  • Between each world you can now choose special abilities and there are lots to choose from!  Fire, acid, lightning, exploding, mines, and more!  Each ability changes the game somewhat and also creates pretty new effects!
  • You now have “life.”  You can die from getting hit, but you don’t lose life when you shoot as you did in Pixel 1.  The flip side of this is that whereas in Pixel 1 game progress was based on your life, in here it isn’t.  You can’t get stuck at a point in the game where you just can’t get past.
  • Combos are now represented in the top left corner and are a bit more clearer.  They determine your score, whenever you get hit they are reset.
  • All bullets are piercing now, they pass through enemies.
  • Finally, you can beat the game to unlock a survival mission where you play for as long as you can without getting hit once!  It’s really hard, but it’s fun to compare scores.

Hopefully I’ll have some information on a release date soon!

Pixel 2 - Screenshot 4

This game has bosses and more of them, including this fun guy from World 1...

Pixel 2 - Screenshot 2

Fire is one of my favorite abilities you can get. Once just one pixel hits an enemy they continue to burn. Oh, and it looks pretty...

Pixel 2 - Screenshot 3

Lightning isn't too bad either...

Pixel 2 - Screenshot 1

There are actually more abilities than shown here. Between each world you get to adjust your selections to try new things out. All of them are freaking awesome, so you don't really have to sweat too much about getting something not totally face melting.

Friday Comic (The Wedding!)

So KC isn’t here today to give you an awesome Friday comic, so it’s up to good ‘ol me (Jared) to deliver top notch award winning comic art. I’m up to the task, but in case you were wondering why KC isn’t around, it’s because she’s getting FREAKING MARRIED!   Congratulations KC and Chris, we’re so happy for the both of you!


So how DO you get started in Flash Gaming (Part 3 of 5).

The third installment of the HI guide to becoming an elite programmer is here! This week is the ever silent volcano, Jason. Enjoy.

- Nick.

When did you first get interested in Flash games?

I first started playing flash games in high school. My sophmore year I took a CAD class, and since I was so awesome at it I ended up having a lot of free time. I got really good Fishy. The year after that was when I took my first web design class, which is where I first learned how to use Flash.

After high school I went to Michigan State University to be a 3D game artist. While doing that, I figured it would be a good thing if I learned a bit more about the programming side of things (which actually helped a lot when doing art for games). Since I already had some Java and Flash experience from high school, I decided to take the Flash courses MSU offered. From there I landed an internship here at Hero where I made my first game (“That Hero Guy”).

I guess in short you could say I picked up Flash games on the side and just got good at it.

What programming language did you learn first? And then next? And so on.

In my high school web classes I learned some HTML and really basic, in timeline, AS2. Then I took an AP Java class my senior year. My freshman year of college I took a MATLAB class  and later I started taking the Flash classes where I got into AS3. Through my game development classes I was able to dabble in C# and I’ve helped a couple friends with their Python homework before.

What degree did you go after?

Like Lisa, I got my degree in Digital Media and Technology specializing in Game Design at MSU.

What did you learn during school that you felt was important?

Having knowledge outside of your chosen trade is invaluable when making games, especially in a small team. Being able to communicate with and understand the needs of your programmers, designers and/or artists makes things way easier for everyone, including yourself.

What did you learn post-school that you felt was important?

Not everyone likes a “Jack-of-All-Trades.” If you spend too much time learning a bit of everything, you won’t have the time to get really good at anything. Especially at bigger companies, employers want you to be the best at what you do, not pretty good at what you do and a lot of other things.

I know I’ve just contradicted myself, but that’s life for you.

What would you recommend learning/doing to those hoping to get into Flash games?

Practice, practice, practice. Even if you have to do it after hours. It’s the only way you stay good at what you do. If you stop practicing, you’ll get rusty and forget things. And while you’re practicing, push yourself. Pushing yourself, failing, and trying again is the only way to get better at anything. If you keep doing things you already know how to do, you’ll never learn anything new.

- Jason, The Volcano

Scrap Metal is now Dead Metal…

Dead Metal Banner

Usually when we try to come up with a name for our games, it’s a pretty difficult process.  With over 14,000 Flash games coming out a year, clever and succinct names tend to get picked up pretty quickly.  So once we have something we like and we’ve checked the popular portals for any other games with the same name, we usually high five each other and go with it.

Whelp, as it turns out we found out last night that Scrap Metal is actually a full blown game developed by Slick Entertainment… so back to the drawing board.  We had to come up with a new name.

We chose “Dead Metal” for several reasons:

  1. It’s a play on Death Metal, a type of hardcore rock.  And as I’ve said over and over again this game is all about hardcore.
  2. It would be easy to change our logo as we would only need to change the top word.
  3. Who cares about titles anyway?  We just want to blow stuff up!

So Scrap Metal is now called Dead Metal.  Now you all know. :)

Scrap Metal is now Dead Metal

As you can see in the figure above, Scrap Metal is now called Dead Metal.

Nearly Completed…

Scrap Metal

Right now we’re getting down to the finishing touches on Scrap Metal making it very close to DONE!  As soon as tomorrow we will begin looking for a sponsor and hopefully soon after have a release date!

Hold on to your butts because a lot of explosions are on the way…

Scrap Metal, FTW!

Friday Comic (And Faces of HI)

Scrap Metal Update #2

Scrap Metal

You might not actually believe this, but we’re actually drawing close to getting Scrap Metal DONE already.  And that means three things:

1) You guys are about to get your faces metaphorically (not literally) blown sideways off your skulls by the sheer amount of exploding awesomeness.

2) We have pics for the blog.

3) I can take a nap soon.

All of these things are so freaking fantastic, I had to immediately set game development aside and let you know about them.  And while I was at it, I thought I’d give you those pics from #2…

More updates soon!

Scrap Metal Screenshot #6

Nothing says "hardcore" like a a skull, spine, dark angel wings and swords.

Scrap Metal Screenshot #5

Explosions and general mayhem is a key part of the game.

So how DO you get started in Flash Gaming (Part 2 of 5).

So here it is. Part two of the Hero Interactive advice/ how they got into the gaming world. Today I hope you enjoy Lisa’s experience, and take a little knowledge from it.

…and yes, I am still here.


When did you first get interested in Flash games?

It started with an interest in casual browser based games, rather than Flash specifically. I was into a lot of pet sites, kinda in the vein of Neopets and such, and those were what inspired me to get into game design. I started learning Flash immediately after I interviewed for an internship at Flash Game License. My interviewer was showing me some of the various games they had gotten sponsored, and brought up a dress up game. I was surprised that sponsors paid for those, but that just goes to show how unaware I was of demographics outside my own. My interviewer suggested I “Find a cheap artist and learn some code”, to which I replied “I am a cheap artist.” After a several hour drive back home, I immediately found some online tutorials and finally got serious about learning what I could about Flash. I even tweaked my class schedule to get into the Flash courses offered by MSU.

What programming language did you learn first? And then next? And so on.

I started working with HTML and CSS pretty early on. I learned a teeny bit of AS2 then decided it was probably best to skip it and go into AS3. More recently I’ve dabbled in PHP.

What degree did you go after?

Digital Media Arts and Technology (With specialization in Game Design) at Michigan State University.

What did you learn during school that you felt was important?

Talk to your professors! If there’s something you want to know, don’t sit and wait for it to appear in your curriculum. My flash professor gave me a lot of pointers after class for my personal projects, not just homework. At the very least, they can probably recommend some books or other resources that will teach you whatever you want to learn about.

What did you learn post-school that you felt was important?

Sometimes you have to scrap ideas you’ve worked hard on. Most of us have had to throw away a day or two of work in one go, just because the feature wasn’t working how we intended, or it wasn’t as good as we thought it would be. It sucks, and it can feel like you’ve wasted time, but the end result is a much more polished game. If you’re keeping a feature in the game because you worked hard on it, not because it’s a good feature, then you should probably rethink things.

What would you recommend learning/doing to those hoping to get into Flash games?

Don’t be afraid to jump in and start with smaller titles. My first game was a dress up game, but I DID actually make money from it. Not a ton, as I said, but being able to say that someone (outside your family) has paid you for your work looks pretty good on a resume. The thing is, there’s way more than just the Armor Games market out there. There are games aimed at younger kids that are much simpler but still get some sponsorship money.

Build a portfolio, too. Have something you can show to employers and say “I did this.” Even if they’re smaller, simpler games, it comes across much better than saying, “No really, I know AS3. Trust me on this.” Plus, there is something to be said for just the initiative it takes to get a game or portfolio out there. It shows a level of dedication that most employers appreciate.

- Lisa

The Open Ended Poll!

No pre-selected options to choose from, just leave a comment and let us know!

What are your top 3 favorite flash games EVER, from ANYONE?  :D

Scrap Metal Update #1

Scrap Metal

We’ve been continuing our work on Scrap Metal and in just the past week things have really been coming together for the project.  We’ve fleshed out a lot of the game, completed all of the enemies and player controlled ships, and are beginning to set up missions.  Much of the game has a very “heavy metal” kind of look (See the settings screen below) and we’ve really been adding a lot of style to the game.  As I’ve said before we are building this off of the Bubble Tanks 3 game engine.  Starting out, we weren’t completely sure how it was going to turn out.  The answer is “freaking awesome.”

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I almost wish BT3 was set in space, because it’s THAT good.  Locking and rockets and all the explosions just look so much prettier.

The game will allow you to select missions that consist of a number of waves of enemies that teleport in, some missions are optional.  Choose a mission, purchase or select your ship, and then go in to blow up some @#%&! ships.  The game features 5 enemy races with distinct ships and weapon styles such as the Botizens- a self-aware robotic race that prefers to swarm you with drones and small fighter factories or the Eanova- a powerful insectoid race with powerful cruisers and battleships (see below).  The game features 10 different ships for you to purchase, all of which can melt the face off of entire armadas of warships.  And there are missiles, LOTS of missiles.

Anyways, here are some teaser images that we’ve been working on, hopefully next week we’ll have a trailer for you and you can see for yourself. :)

Scrap Metal Screenshot

Oh noes!  Watch out for those missiles!

Scrap Metal Screenshot

Here’s the Settings Menu that is under construction and being worked on.  Just wanted to show off the heavy metal look.

Retired Wizard Defense is Released!

Retired Wizard Defense

It’s out!  Can you believe it?  Finally, you can now play Retired Wizard Defense over at  Go check it out and drop some toilets on some goblins.  My best score is just over 10,000!

Friday Comic! (And the T-Rex)

Our office can be a strange and confusing place…

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