Tatsu on Steam
Japanese legend tells of a great battle between two mighty Dragon Lord armies, locked in combat on the peaks of Mount Hotaka, competing to win the hand of the Princess Kushinada, the last and most beautiful of eight sisters.
In Tatsu, control your army of Vine Dragons, Water Dragons, and Fire Dragons to expel or destroy your enemy!
Built upon our always-evolving board game engine, Tatsu has 4.5 years of development behind its systems, allowing it to be our most advanced and feature-rich game ever, right at launch.
Simply Chess on Steam
Simply Chess was our first free-to-play experiment on Steam. Since chess is such a staple game, and no decent implementations of chess existed on Steam, we decided to direct the power of our board game engine to solving this shortcoming.
The free version contained 100% of functionality right at launch. Players who buy the Premium version will get some additional functionality that we have released since launch. At the moment, this includes an extra 2D chess set, Steam Trading Card drops (couldn’t make that work on a totally free version), and whatever we release in the future.
As a long time fan of chess, this game started as a closet-symphony for Sean since chess games aren’t terribly profitable endeavor, but we eventually were able to release it to the world and had a huge response.
In the first few days after launch, there were over 150,000 players!
Reversi on Steam
Reversi is our first digitization of a Public Domain game. Reversi’s history traces back to the UK in the 1800s. The game has grown around the world and now a trademarked variant of Reversi (called “Othello”) even has it’s own well-respected World Championship.
Two centuries down the line, BlueLine Games has created the most full-featured Reversi offering in history. In the process of making this robust version, we also released a GPL’ed command-line wrapper of a really good Reversi AI (called Zebra). The command line AI for Reversi is called “BlueZebra” and you can use it in your own projects!
While making our version of Reversi, we also leveled-up and created our own game servers, which allowed us to add Asynchronous Play (“play-by-mail”… you don’t have to stay online, you can take your turn whenever you want). Since our games are built on the same board-game engine that we continually improve, Async Play was then added to Khet 2.0 and Hive.
Khet 2.0 on Steam
Khet 2.0 is our version of the Mensa Select award-winning table top game that comes with real lasers!. Khet has been described as “laser-chess”. This turn-based strategy game is our second major Steam release. Built on the same BlueLine Board Game Engine as Hive, it has all of the same features and beautiful 3D rendering you’d expect. The Egyptian theme fits very well and looks gorgeous on the sandstone background.
Once you’ve gained some mastery on the three board layouts of the main game, you can try out the first-ever digital implementation of the Beam Splitter expansion. While it’s not recommended until you’re proficient at the game, this upgrade adds five new board layouts and two new pieces that let you split the single beam into two or even three beams! Things can get dangerous very quickly with that many lasers zipping across the board.
Hive on Steam
Hive on Steam was our first major and highly-successful release. It was first released in Steam “Early Access” on November 15th of 2013 which allowed us to get a ton of hands-on feedback and playtesting. The full game was released for PC on March 20th, 2014. After the initial launch, we quickly added all three expansion pieces that exist for the tabletop version of Hive. Immediately following that, we launched both Mac OSX and Linux ports in May 2014. The game has been very successful, highly rated, and we have given it a ton of updates and plan to continue supporting it for a long time to come.
10sTD (10 Second Tower Defense) from #LD48 Ludum Dare
10sTD was made as part of the Ludum Dare game jam. The concept is that everyone tries to make a game in 48 hours, following a specific theme. The theme for this jam (27th Ludum Dare) was “10 Seconds”. To go with the theme, this was a simple tower-defense game written in HTML5 which gave the player more resources every 10 Seconds as opposed to the normal mechanic of giving players more resources every time they kill an opponent. It was a fun experiment and a good way to play around with Construct 2 (a tool for quickly making HTML5 games), but the way it was balanced made it very little fun. The game was too easy until it hit a tipping point and then became very hard very quickly… so we didn’t pursue it beyond the game jam.
Hive on Xbox 360
Hive for Xbox 360 was BlueLine’s first major project after being officially formed. It is an officially licensed version of the “Mensa Select” award-winning board game.
Heximilate / Proximity
While Hive was in development, we took a short 2 week break to enter the first “Pokki 1UP” contest. The goal was to develop an HTML5 game to run on the Pokki platform. The game we made was basically a remake of an old flash game called “Proximity” by Brian Cable, with some tweaks for fun (CSS3 animations, several swappable skins). We entered it with the name “Proximity” and it won a notable mention in the contest! Since the game was HTML5 we also released it on our own site, on Kongregate, and as a Chrome app. We couldn’t get a hold of Brian Cable fast enough, so we eventually changed the name to “Heximilate” to make sure that it wouldn’t step on any toes if he was still interested in using the name.
(Xbox 360) This game was created before BlueLine was officially founded, but it was the first game that both Sean and Geoff worked on together, and it was also the first commercial game that either of them made. It was largely just an experiment releasing a commercial game, a way for Sean to learn C# and XNA, and for them both to learn about the process of releasing on a major console.
The project was started in January 2009 and used a great deal of art assets and some code from the Open Source “Marblets” example app that Microsoft released. The gameplay, however, was more like the previous (but not released) Block Drop Palace project (see “Klone” section below for more on that). A few months after the project started, the web startup that Sean & Geoff were involved in, got acquired. That lead to the game being shelved for a while until Sean came back to it in June 2010 to finish it up as a side-project, and released it on August 18, 2011 to Xbox 360’s “Xbox Live Indie Games” marketplace.
Orbitus was created by Geoff while a student at RIT. It is a planet hopping coin collecting game with the primary gameplay dynamic being simulated gravity. Each planet has its own gravity and satellite planets that you must work with and against to complete your mission. See more here.
Cyberium was created by Geoff while a student at RIT. This is a 2D sidescrolling adventure game. The game has a bullet-time dynamic called “Overclock” and features several different weapons including a very fun to use flamethrower. See more here.
Math Attack was created by Geoff while a student at RIT. This game had a focus on teaching elementary school children math. It sent them on an adventure battling robot pirates that could only be defeated by solving simple math problems. See more here.
This was an educational math game for the same class as Geoff’s Math Attack game. Sean took the course during a different academic quarter and they weren’t on the same team. This java game was built during 10 weeks with a 4-person team and is based around doing math problems to complete races. Victory resulted in earning money which could be used to upgrade your race-car.
Klone was a small, quick release based off of an overly-ambitious block-drop game engine that Sean was writing in C++ using the fairly low-level SDL library. The original plan was to have the first game on the engine be a based on an old, Japanese Dreamcast game Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. That game was a lot of fun, but there wasn’t a networked version, so it seemed like a great place to start. For some reason, Sean thought it was clever to store the whole board as a single array. This made the math trickier and slowed down a lot of the development. He was working on a number of other projects as well and when it became clear that BDP probably wasn’t going to get finished, he took a weekend or so and hammered out a Tetris-like clone (hence the name “Klone”) and added a few fun tweaks like multiple backgrounds and skins, including one where the blocks were bricks – a reference to our college at the time, RIT, which is often called “brick city”. It was just released for fun/free and is still available. Originally it had been timed to have the same exact timings as the ancient version of Tetris, but the controls are way off now (we must poll input frequently, not on a timer). There are more screenshots including some of the never-released Block Drop Palace. Block Drop Palace and it’s engine were started September 11th, 2004; Klone was released January 7th, 2005.
You may notice some similarities to Coagulate. The “unfinished business” of Block Drop Palace probably had a lot to do with the decision to make Coagulate. We learned some lessons from the failure to complete BDP and avoided those mistakes the next time around which resulted in Coagulate being our first commercial release!
This was a java game that Sean made for fun and released for free in the winter of 2003 while he was a student at RIT. The primary mechanic was like the classic “drug-wars” text-based games, but customized to be a humorous take on the RIT community and built with a Java Swing GUI. There was also a built in web-browser for the Help docs, and a built-in MP3 player for the soundtrack. It included songs from campus based artists such as techno from Carbon14 and the nerdcore hip-hop song “RIoT Rich” from Liquid X. This was Sean’s first “successful” game which quickly got a couple thousand downloads around campus. It was also the first time he was recognized for a product instead of personally (eg: “you’re the guy that made RITwars”).
Yet another early über-nerdy AI-heavy game by Sean, this Java program appears at first to be a clone of the popular MineSweeper game by Microsoft. However, it was developed for a completely different purpose. It is fully skinnable and has pluggable AI that allows you to write and test AI in Java or any language that produces an executable capable of interfacing through standard i/o.
There is a good reason for all of this… Minesweeper-like games happen to be an easy way to encode the Pvs.NP problem, which is one of the Millenium Problems from the Clay Institute of Mathematics. These problems were decided to be the 7 most important mathematical problems in our society today, and a prize of $1 Million was put on a solution to each ($7 million total). If someone could write a Minesweeper AI that was perfect (in ALL cases, not just the ones commonly seen in Minesweeper), they would have solved PvsNP. If such a thing is possible, this would have other deeply important impacts as well… such as making it trivially easy to find a cure to cancer using Ligand Fitting.
Because the nature of this game is for research (and I hate Cancer)… it was distributed for free when it came out in the summer of 2003. There are more screenshots available.
This was Sean’s first graphical program (everything before it was text-based). It was written using the CMU Graphics Package, probably in 2001. It’s telling that his first fully-finished game was a two-player abstract-strategy game with AI! Since Tic-Tac-Toe is inherently a fairly simple game, it included an AI level that wasn’t beatable (you could tie it). To my great surprise, the game still seems to work even though it was probably written on Windows 97. You can grab it for free here: TicTacTizzo.