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PC Put your thinking swim cap on, Swim Out is ... out today on Steam!

Swim Out is now available on Steam with a 20% launch discount only for a few days
Get it on Steam by visiting its store page.
Check out the trailer :   About the game: Dive into the relaxing and refreshing atmosphere of Swim Out, a strategic, turn-based puzzle game, that will transport you into a sunny day by the swimming pool, the river or the sea. Plan each of your strokes wisely and be sure to never cross any other swimmer's path if you want to peacefully enjoy the sea view on a cosy chaise-longue.   What the press already said: "I am delighted by how unfamiliar a swimming experience this is to me" - Rock, Paper, Shotgun "There are precious few things I appreciate more than a straightforward puzzle game with a strong commitment to its aesthetic, and Swim Out is exactly that" - Waypoint "Swim Out is a perfect summertime game." - Mac Stories "If you're a fan of puzzle games Swim Out is very likely for you. It's attractive, intuitive, and fun." - Touch Arcade "Swim Out looks like the perfect tactical escape into a lush digital paradise" - Touch Arcade   Features : Over 100 levels nestled in carefully crafted landscapes, soothed by the sound of seagulls, frogs or water splashes. 7 chapters combining : 12 different types of swimmers : each with their own way of moving around, ranging from the simple breaststroke swimmers to the more complex divers or cheeky water-bombing kids 12 different objects to interact with : buoys, fins, water guns, you can even ride a kayak! 6 disruptive environmental elements like waves, crabs or jellyfish that will give your brain a work out until you swim out!   Get it on Steam by visiting its store page.




Swim Out - new demo introduces cutscenes and new mechanics

Hi everyone !
We made a new update to Swim Out's demo with new content and bugfixes. Here is the detail :
- We are working on new transitions between each level and added short cutscenes displayed randomly. They replace the previous "win/lose" window. When you lose the level is now restarted immediately. - We added a level to introduce a new NPC using swimming kickboards (level 10) - Level 8 now has a smoother introduction to levels with multiple pools - Various bugfixes and tweaks

Swim Out is a strategic, turn-by-turn puzzle game where you control a swimmer who wants to get out of a pool, a river or the sea without touching any swimmers.
The game is currently on Steam Greenlight where you can help us and vote for it.

More info : www.swim-out.com
The new demo can be downloaded here on Windows, Mac and Linux. We would love to get your feedback !




It all starts with pens, papers and scissors (part 2)

Part 1 : https://www.gamedev.net/blog/2355/entry-2262728-it-all-starts-with-pens-papers-and-scissors-part-1/ Once we were totally happy with the gameplay, it was time to prototype the visual aspect of the game. As a small team (actually we are making the game only the two of us) we couldnaEUR(TM)t afford having orientation-based characters, specially with animations, so we were willing to use only a single point-of-view for each swimmer, that we can simply rotate whenever he goes up, down, left or right. Initially we thought of a mix of top-view and semi-perspective visuals. We were willing to keep pool tiles and decorations top view to have a clear setup of the board without overlap, and we were considering to have swimmers in a semi-perspective view to have more recognizable key-positions for human animations, knowing that sprites would be small on screen. We made the graphics of two swimmers in this representation and quickly coded a prototype.
While we were very happy the kinda awkward look, we found out a few problems with this representation :

It was looking good on the vertical axis but not on the horizontal one because one guy moving left was having his head heading top when one guy moving right was having his head heading bottom of the tile, this was a bit confusing ! To avoid this we could have mirrored sprites (like we did in the first screenshot above), but some animations were not mirrorables. For example the backstroke swimmer move once every two turns. Her left arm raised is a signal for the player that she will move next turn, while her left arm down means sheaEUR(TM)ll stay put. ThataEUR(TM)s an important gameplay information for the player so mirroring was not an option either.

To ensure a good readability of the levels, swimmers graphics must not overlap their neighbours tiles. The semi-perspective representation became problematic when we decided that swimmers wonaEUR(TM)t always stay in the pool but will sometimes be standing on the ground, like divers, fishermen, water-bombing kids, ...

We finally stated that a full top-view would be the solution and Ava drew a few more sketches : Nice, but letaEUR(TM)s optimize their occupied space on screen ! We chose to hide immersed part of their body, while keeping the transparency of a very clear water. So we seized the opportunity to work on some animated water effects that blur bodies while periodically marking strong shadows at the bottom of the pool. With top view, we also felt like we were losing some substance we previously had in the perspective view. So we decided to work on shadows effects, and dynamically generate shadows with their angle and intensity varying during the game. Here is the result right now, which we think is very clean, readable and still original and appealing :
We believe our game couldnaEUR(TM)t have been designed efficiently without this phase of paper prototyping. Also no computer mean stay focused on the prototypeaEUR(TM)s content with no diversion, no emails, no notifications, no Facebook, no Twitter, no Gamedev.net ;-) Swim Out is planned to be released this summer, and currently on Steam Greenlight (psst vote for us !). You can follow us to get latest news about the game.




It all starts with pens, papers and scissors (part 1)

Swim Out is a strategic, turn-by-turn tiled-based puzzle game where you control a swimmer who want to get out of a pool, a river or the sea. Here is a preview of the game in progress: Except for sound design and music, everything we created in the game started on paper, without any computer at all. Gameplay was first designed by quickly drawing boards on paper. For example this levelaEUR(TM)s sketch and how it is ingame now : These sketches were fast and easy to make, but problems appeared with more complex levels : we couldnaEUR(TM)t figure out levelaEUR(TM)s turn-by-turn progression without drawing tons of boards ! So next step was to cut squares of paper for each tiles, draw swimmers on them and place them over a board with a fixed grid background. We could test our new gameplay elements much faster ! These small pieces of papers were providing us instant feedback, we could evaluate our swimmers behaviours by simply moving them turn by turn. ItaEUR(TM)s a common practice we have in our team because paper prototyping also helps communication and ensure that everyone understand and visualize the gameplay. Ava and I are used to sit around the table to play, test and discuss only game features without focusing on the look of the game, and without any distractions. Any idea can be tested very fast, even if youaEUR(TM)re not good at drawing, even if you suspect it would be long to implement because you hadnaEUR(TM)t planned your architecture to support non turned-based moving objects, out-of-sync animations, etc... YouaEUR(TM)re totally free to imagine without constraints what you think would be funny ! - We need a diver, moving several tiles per turn before entering the pool ! - Great, then after 2 turns he should go back to normal. Oh and he should get out of the pool on the other side and dive again, let's see how it goes. - It would also be great to have a kid jumping in the pool ! - Oh yes ! But then weaEUR(TM)ll need to add some waves - How much and in which direction should the waves pop out ? - LetaEUR(TM)s try ! We truly believe that if a mechanic is not fun on paper there is very little chance it will be in our video game, even with the right graphics and shiny effects. With paper prototyping we were able to test in one hour something that could have taken days to be coded in a game prototype. We can immediately eliminate non relevant features and give a chance to more tricky mechanics. WeaEUR(TM)re often even surprised to see how behaviours that first sound complex, once put on a paperboard, can be organized in a clear sequence or replaced by a metaphor perfectly acceptable for the player. It also helped a lot with controls, for example how should rotation be working with multiple tiles sprites, like when hero is using a kayak (1x2 tiles) or a noodle (2x1 tiles). It let you try all the possible options until you find whataEUR(TM)s look like the more natural for the player and get smooth pathfinding algorithms. Thanks for reading, in the second part of this post weaEUR(TM)re going to focus on the graphical part and see why we went from a semi-perspective view to a top-view. Swim Out is planned to be released this summer, and currently on Steam Greenlight (psst vote for us !). You can follow us to get latest news about Swim Out !



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