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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsThe Cat Machine - Now on Steam!
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Cranktrain
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« on: January 28, 2015, 11:24:04 AM »




This game started as a prototype to learn Unity, having come from previous tools and languages, but then it turned into a proper game project. It's an odd game, which I'm trying to pitch as somewhere between Spacechem and World of Goo, in that there's a logical puzzle side to it, and the solutions are designs that the player has to work out.

How Does It Play?

Step one; build a track:


Step two; test it out with cats on trains:


Step three; cats sing their age-old cat celebration song.


Obviously that's a simple level, the first non-tutorial level. They get much, much more complex.

Screenshots:





Platforms:

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux
  • Steam, I hope
  • If it does okay, hopefully iOS
  • Then, it's on to the Dreamcast
  • Naturally, port it as a mod for Jedi Knight II, Jedi Outcast
  • Finally, a version for the whatever-these-things-were.

Other Places:

I'm tweeting about development here and I have a little one-page site over here.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2015, 12:37:41 PM by DizzyDoo » Logged

Cranktrain
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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2015, 12:37:51 AM »


A settings menu. Woooo. How exciting.

But totally necessary, right? Every PC game needs a settings screen, to change the volume and resolution.

This also represents some of my work from the last two weeks to generally improve the performance of the game. A goal of mine is to get the game running at 40-50fps on four/five year old laptops that don't have great graphics processing, and turning off the animating sea behind gets me some of the way there. I worked on a bit of optimisation for logic that happens every single frame, including how the cat trains travel along the track, which I did alongside some rare edge-case bugs with the same code. Bug fixes, optimisation and menus, what fun.
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bdsowers
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2015, 08:29:18 AM »

Are you going to have adorable little cat animations like having them periodically meow or paw at the air?

You should have adorable little cat animations like having them periodically meow or paw at the air. :-P
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2015, 10:54:33 AM »

For the last few days I've been working on getting the cats to sing a celebration song when the player completes a puzzle.

A flying cat choir.

Are you not entertained?
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2015, 06:52:50 AM »

Added a couple of features I would label under 'giving the user feedback' in a visual manner.

If, as is frequently the case, the cats get stuck and can't go anywhere because the solution is incorrect, they slowly get puzzled:



It's totally possible for cat trains to crash. Unsurprisingly, this causes the cats some alarm.



I feel like development is still going strong, user testing has been pretty positive so far.
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valrus
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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2015, 12:07:17 PM »

This is good.  This is also exactly what I picture a Cat Machine to be, so you've got the title sorted out.

In my head I call it The Cat Machine: A Machine for Cats.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2015, 11:32:51 PM »

Also on IndieDB now. Does anyone use that?

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Cranktrain
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« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2015, 10:50:13 AM »

Adding some graphical variety between levels. A sunshiney orange-looking level:



And a more grimy, oily, purplish one, which is a bit more Sonic 2 Chemical Zone:

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DwarvenArtisan
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« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2015, 11:25:49 PM »

Nice idea!  Coffee

I like the smooth look of the lines, may I ask how you did them?
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2015, 04:06:15 AM »

I like the smooth look of the lines, may I ask how you did them?

The oldest trick - draw in very high resolution!
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RujiK
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« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2015, 11:13:22 AM »

Dang, that is really random. I'm not a big fan of mobile/casual games but the art is cutesy. I think if the machine looked more like islands/nature instead of pink stuff it would look much more inviting. That would take a lot more work though.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2015, 10:01:19 AM »

Thanks for your thoughts. This game isn't for mobile (right now) and I don't think I would describe it as casual, unless puzzle == casual (which I don't agree with). The logical rules are simple but the hard puzzles are brain-melting.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2015, 05:57:40 AM »

More graphical variety, again, in the levels. Here's a happy, friendly one:



This next one would be The Cat Machine's version of Hell. These levels are really very difficult:

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rj
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« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2015, 06:01:12 AM »

wow.
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SirNiko
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« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2015, 03:14:52 PM »

This looks adorable but despite checking this thread several times over the last few weeks I only just now figured out what the player is trying to do.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2015, 07:47:26 AM »

This looks adorable but despite checking this thread several times over the last few weeks I only just now figured out what the player is trying to do.

Yes, it isn't immediately clear what's has to happen from the pictures. I had hoped the gifs in the original post would clear that up, but I really need a proper trailer that explains things.

In terms of game-story, why the player is trying to do these things, I wrote on my new blog this:

"As we all well know, the world has been completely run by cats for a good few thousand years, and only conspiracy theorists maintain that humans are top-dog. Cats grudgingly put up with us. Cats grudgingly put up with our use of phrases like 'top dog'. They know how stupid that phrase is. It was, after all, the cats that built the giant subterranean machine that stops the world spiralling out of control, the sky falling, and the land saying "oh forget this" and melting back into the sea. But to this day, no video game has been created that has accurately depicts this top-secret feline science world preservation project.

Until now."
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El-Metallico
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« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2015, 08:02:18 AM »

Looks really interesting!
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« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2015, 11:19:11 AM »

My girlfriend will shit her pants when I show her this. Also, I'm a big fan of the story excerpt you posted. Has a kind of mysterious Murakami-Aperture Laboratories feeling to it.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2015, 10:14:23 AM »

Thanks guys!

I've added cats working away on computers.

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Cranktrain
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« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2015, 10:00:11 AM »

New menu screen:



Upgraded lots of incidental graphics, looks a little tidier across the board now:

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