Signal to Noise Tournament Edition is available for FREE now for PC! Go here to play!

Tournament Edition features a single artist at a time each tournament period (this first tournament period is planned to last one month, so October 5th to November 5th). For this first tournament period, we’re featuring Danimal Cannon’s Axis, the first track on his latest album Lunaria. Go here to check out more of Danimal Cannon and to purchase albums and merchandise!

Players worldwide compete on this track for the highest score and upload recordings of their playing for their shot at the incredible prize package we’re giving to the champion.

Note that Web, macOS, and Android versions for Tournament Edition are still being worked on, but we expect them to be available before the end of this first tournament session. The Android version is planned to have gameplay recording and upload built in.

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Signal to Noise Tournament Edition is releasing first on gamejolt free this Friday, October 5th! First featuring Danimal Cannon’s brilliant track Axis, compete for the highest score for a serious prize package!
 
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I have the new design and am implementing it for the new version of the Solanimus website. Might still be weeks away from being public though, as it’s not the only thing I’m working on personally.

Some hints about it:
The site is navigated in a manner that conforms to how you use it. It’s a simple sequence but it is much more intuitive for the first time use than many modern websites, and this includes all ways of viewing it: desktop, mobile, etc., and all of the browsers that are worthwhile.  The basis of the animations as you navigate the site is that you’re following Lennie the rabbit (a character named after Lennie in the book Of Mice and Men that sometimes appears briefly in my first game Cool-B in Search of Floyd, but not with the same artwork) as he goes down the rabbit hole, and much of the concepts behind intuitively navigating the site are from some interesting game design principles I’ve learned.

It’s a small creative gesture, and don’t worry about those horrible load times a lot of highly animated sites have. Also please don’t worry about the site requiring a bunch of time from you because it’s just trying to be fancy. It doesn’t require any more time than any regular website; it will just be a unique experience for the time you’re on it.

I hope you all will enjoy it when it’s public! I have of course gone through the process carefully to make sure that the site is conducive to a more constant stream of information from the company with an easy way to keep track, so you can look forward to that alongside deeper integration with other products and services from us. This design of the site will be supplemental to the strategies that will be setting Solanimus apart in the industry.

Note that even after the site is public, it will be adjusted as time goes on based on usage.

~David Klingler – Founder, Solanimus Inc.

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The East Coast Game Conference went quite well! Solanimus especially enjoyed helping our friends at Donkey Whisper Productions showing Project Ova, and I had ordered a cake for them myself to show support, which we had on Friday after the conference. The cake, by the way, said “East Coast Donkey Conference” which I hope was one of the weirdest, confusing messages the store had ever received for a cake. 😀

I did a talk for the conference on Wednesday the 18th on The Present and Future of Realtime Music-Driven Games. It seemed to go really well, and I was happy with the questions and compliments for sure. I also was on a panel on Tuesday with some other developers, and that was pretty fun too, especially to meet those other developers that I didn’t know previously.

For ECGC this year we had a specific demo of Signal to Noise based around some changes I’ve made for Tournament Edition (still incoming). Porting is still underway, although there has been “a bit” of reprioritization with contract work over time. This demo for ECGC 2018 seemed to be really well received, which was reassuring as always. Also, big thanks of course to Nathan, our old intern, now founder of Analog Data, for providing lots of help and also a 1337 sound system for the booth. We spoke to people about other projects in the works right now including:

  • Signaverse™ – realtime music-driven versus multiplayer, spiritual successor to Signal to Noise
  • Bushwhack Racing™ – funny self-aware kart racing & traffic racer mix game set in a bizarre universe with all sorts of weird characters
  • NonZeroNet™ – next generation of games platforms

It was, as ECGC always is, tiring in a good way, and it was great to see so many friends once again.

Site rework for solanimus.com still incoming! Stay tuned.

signaverse logo

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This core site for Solanimus is being reworked and will be available hopefully not too long from now. Don’t forget to say a long goodbye to this elderly, retiring format of the website!

“It’s been fun, website, have a wonderful retirement.” 😀

Like I said in the last post, let us know by email or through social media if you or anyone you know will be at the East Coast Game Conference next week in Raleigh, NC!

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Just wanted to give a quick update on what’s been happening at Solanimus.

We’re moving along as usual, working on Bushwhack Racing to have it fully playable at East Coast Game Conference (ECGC). I’ve also been getting a DRM-free version of Signal to Noise ready to release alongside the release of Signal to Noise Tournament Edition, the web version of the game. This past weekend the team focused on Bushwhack Racing was in the office (this included my birthday, but at least the work was still fun).  We did a quick sprint to get some more momentum going on the game’s development. We definitely got some good work done, and I think we’re certainly on track to be able to show the parts we want to show at ECGC next month.

You may have noticed we haven’t yet removed Signal to Noise from Steam. It’s still going to happen, so don’t be confused. I’m just getting the timing right in relation to the other plans we have.

Let us know on social media if you’re able to make it to ECGC (April 17th to 19th)!

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Signal Splash- Complete

That’s right. We’re planning to soon remove our game Signal to Noise from the Steam digital marketplace. Let me explain why.

The Bundle Mistake 

Shortly after release, we participated in a bundle in which we were unable to select the price nor any sort of tier limit in which our game would be available. We honestly didn’t think they (the bundle distributor) would do as low a price as they did, but they did a ridiculously low price that cost us quite a large amount. Not only was it lost revenue, but the customer base of this bundle distributor is not exactly awesome. We got some new players (found to be directly from the bundle) that weren’t at all our target audience, and of course, didn’t get into the game whatsoever. They did however, leave reviews, all of which were negative.

So the bundle was a huge mistake. Why not just keep going after that? Well, let’s continue.

Key Reselling

After the bundle finished, we figured that the damage had been done. However, even still long afterward, we found that keys were still being distributed in not-so-small quantities. To sum it up, to this day, many thousands more people have bought the game so that Solanimus gets no money than those that have bought the game legitimately. They were buying Steam keys on questionable websites elsewhere on the internet, and therefore literally no money was getting to Solanimus for the game. Since there’s more than a negligible chance these people would never buy the game legitimately anyway, we of course got even more players way outside our target audience, and of course, more negative reviews.

Note: I don’t blame the audience metrics completely for our negative reviews, as some things did need to change in the game (and they were changed). However, almost all of the negative ratings have been attributed as I have described.

Making the Decision

After much further deliberation and considering the state of the Steam marketplace for independent developers (not good), we’ve come to the decision that this game will no longer be available on Steam. That way we will avoid the illegitimate key distribution issue, we will be able to not give the revenue share to Valve for doing practically nothing to help developers (their recommendations system is a joke), and other problems we’ve encountered thanks to the current state of Steam.

Steam is a disaster of a marketplace right now

It used to be a big deal to get onto Steam. It’s just not anymore. It’s easy to find all over the internet people that talk about how Steam has become horrible. Here are some unfortunately true things I know of:

-Steam doesn’t sell you games, they sell you licenses to play games.
-The bulk of Steam’s community is toxic, especially to newcomers (Note: there are some great people on there too, mind you, but they can probably be found easily elsewhere as well)
-There’s no better way to dilute the value of your game than putting it on Steam: people rarely buy outside of sales on Steam, and with those that do, you still give Valve 30%, not to mention that they hold back your disbursements if under a certain threshold, even after first holding it for two months by default)
-If Valve bans your Steam account, you no longer have access to your games, and they are not required to tell you why you were banned. In some cases, they have banned users for unknown reasons and only have returned the usage of accounts upon the creation of lawsuits by players that apparently have a lot of money involved.
-You are not allowed by Valve to resell your Steam games or accounts. If you do, you can be banned. Tell me… how is that ownership of your games that you paid for?
-Steam is full of a mess of games now, and it’s very difficult if not impossible to break to visibility. There is a lot of luck involved at this point. Honestly, anyone who says differently is just in denial.

…and it goes on and on. These problems with what is widely considered to be a monopolistic digital marketplace for PC games are part of our reasoning for changes we want to help facilitate in this industry. We’re working on it.

In conclusion, Signal is planned to be removed completely from Steam within the next month. Today I have banned all unredeemed keys from the mentioned bundle, so don’t bother trying to get the game illegitimately. Hopefully that’s over with. I will post on social media and in the Steam updates for the game that the unredeemed keys have been banned to minimize the number of people that could get burned buying cheap keys.

Where will the game be available now? Stay tuned. For now, I encourage you to buy the game using the buying widget on the main Signal to Noise site.

Talk to you soon.
~David

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Last week I sent out just one cryptogram with a hidden message regarding announcements to be made this week. The message was: “The Signal Com is not Bushwhack but is non zero.”

No one that saw it apparently figured it out, and I suppose possibly there weren’t many that saw it anyway, so I decided to not send any of the harder ones. 😀

Nonetheless, it’s time to make the announcements. You may or may not find a connection between that original encrypted message and the actual announcments.

-Bushwhack Racing™-

We’ll be releasing an alpha for a wacky, humor-driven kart racer called Bushwhack Racing on December 23rd of this year (just a few weeks away)! This alpha is winter-themed and therefore being called Frosty Bushwhack. It will be available in HTML5 form and for download on PC starting that day. The game will feature bizarre characters, environments, karts, and weaponry. Keep in mind this is just an early version, so it will be free and we welcome ideas from anyone and everyone! It will feature local multiplayer on one keyboard and/or using controllers, will just include one track and a couple of characters, and also a Time Trial mode.

-Signal to Noise Tournament Edition™-

On a yet undecided date in the near future, Signal to Noise will be releasing in HTML5 form. This will be called Signal to Noise Tournament Edition, and will feature one core track weekly on which players can compete for the high score. We want to push recognition of some awesome scores and techniques in Signal. There’s more coming for the game as well…

-Signal to Noise Live™-

On another yet undecided date in the near future, Signal to Noise will be soft-launching (in a currently undecided region) on Android. This will be called Signal to Noise Live, and will allow players to play Signal on the go, of course with controls optimized for strong ability to play on mobile. Once we feel that things are done correctly and at a good place after the soft launch, there will be a full launch on other marketplaces in other regions. After that, there is planned an iOS release of Signal to Noise Live.

-Signaverse™-

The main focus of Signal to Noise was to bring a unique hardcore arcade-like experience to gamers that maybe haven’t found the depth of competitive arcade gaming immediately apparent. One thing we’ve noticed is that Signal to Noise seems to work best in a crowd setting, and of course we’re aware that competitive gaming these days is mostly done as Versus play, which draws larger and larger groups of people. From that, we’ve begun work on a sort of spiritual sequel (not an actual sequel) to Signal to Noise in which multiplayer is the focus. This game is called Signaverse. While much experimentation is still being done, Signaverse is mainly focused on the realtime music driven procedural environment and gameplay aspect, and will be bringing a very unique type of versus competition to players that can’t be found anywhere else.

And finally…

-NonZeroNet™-

NonZeroNet will be a new type of platform for games. It is a platform in several ways of using the word “platform” and is planned to be an end-to-end, idea-to-distribution, complete ecosystem for game developers everywhere. While I’m sure that may sound vague, you’ll see more and more explanation as it gets closer. Meanwhile, all game developers are welcome to talk with me about how we can help them with their ambitions. That’s who this is about. The developers.

NonZeroNet is the result of seeing a multitude of problems first-hand and second-hand in the game industry. More and more, there are developers all over the world working hard on the games of their dreams, only to release to “crickets,” and closing up shop immediately after. I personally get really sad when I hear so often about substantial layoffs hitting studios and other studios shutting down. This industry has so much more potential than what is being shown right now, and this is us doing our part.

Note: This post will be updated with the landing page information for NonZeroNet when it is up.

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…Now, please, please don’t be concerned that there’s too much going on and we’re spread way too thin with all these projects. We have some good plans for how this will all be rolled out, and honestly, it’s not the tons of work it might seem like (at the risk of sounding underestimating). Lots of things are changing right now, and I know this will be remembered as a transition period for gamers and game developers alike, so Solanimus is transitioning too.

Thanks everyone! Stay tuned!

~David Klingler

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Today marks the two year anniversary of the initial release of Signal to Noise!

While a sentimental day for the team, it was honestly somewhat annoying in the days following the launch in 2015. There were some technical problems at launch (Windows 10 had just taken over millions of computers and Unity, the engine for Signal to Noise, did not yet have full support for it), and much of the player base was not at all the target audience we were going for with the game’s design. Alongside some problems outside of our control, we had our own share of mistakes as well. This made the launch less-than-stellar, but we decided that the support we were shown leading up to the release of the game was enough reason to stick with what we believed in and to continue updating the game to make it what we truly wanted it to be for the player.

The initial launch was admittedly timed poorly and was premature for where it was in the development cycle of the game at the time. We had plenty of development issues earlier in the year, and that was technically the fourth time we had built the game (all earlier versions were redone because they didn’t feel right to us). We got a few pretty poor reviews, but took those back to our desks and continued to work on the game to fix the problems seen by both ourselves and the players on Steam. It was during this time of updating the game that we went strong into more contract work to keep things going, as sales of the game obviously weren’t supporting our further ambitions.

Since that launch of Signal to Noise (and even before the launch), we’ve learned many things regarding the current state of the game industry. I’ve always paid close attention to what goes on, and especially now there’s much I disagree with and think isn’t optimal. It is these observations we’ve made that have led us to developing several things in tandem that will work together to help in furthering games as a medium, giving people a lot of fun and memorable experiences.

Next week Solanimus will be announcing multiple projects that have been in the works that are sure to affect anyone who reads this. Throughout this week starting today, I’ll be sending out cryptograms to people, and everyone is encouraged to share the cryptograms with whoever they want so that solving it will be a group effort. Encrypted are messages that hint at everything we’re announcing next week. You’ll also be able to find the cryptograms on our social media accounts which are linked in the upper right on the home page.

The first people to send each of the solved messages to us (through email, direct message, mention, etc.) will win some pretty cool exclusive things having to do with the announcements.

Best of luck figuring out the messages this week! I’ll be back next week with the announcements.

~David

Signal Splash- Complete

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Signal Splash- Complete

Hey! David here from Solanimus.

Some people might know that I really like Mondays. I kinda don’t like the later part of Sunday, and I kinda don’t like Thursdays, but Monday for me feels like I hit the reset button. It gives a lot of hopeful possibilities for the week! Well today is Monday and it’s about time for a post. I’ve missed some posting here on the Solanimus site, and finally have the newsletter integration pushing new posts through to the newsletter members (subscribe to that newsletter on solanimus.com, people!), so time to catch up a bit.

Solanimus has been mainly on contract work, as those following on the site will know (yea, a broken record, I know). We’ve been working to get back into a good position to focus more on our own IP again, and we’re definitely getting there. Had a good meeting recently, and some old team members are coming back alongside the fact that we’ve added Ethan on board who’s doing quite well. As I normally say, we’ve got a lot in store for you all!

One thing entrepreneurs I follow seem to talk a lot about is your edge which I guess could also be referred to as your attitude advantage. Well, the Solanimus edge is coming back with a vengeance. Ok, maybe not vengeance exactly, but you know what I mean. We’re making a comeback, and the comeback is real. Signal to Noise is still being worked on, and a new game is on the way which we’ll be talking more about shortly. There are other things we’ve been working on, too, and it all will be working together in a way.

I always like to say we’ve got a lot in store for everyone, and that it’s “coming soon!” all the time. Well, I can promise you this: it will be worth the wait. 😉

~David Klingler

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