TAG | iphone games

At the 2013 Game Developers Awards hosted by the GDAA, Puzzle Retreat was awarded with the Accessibility Award. Not only is it an awesome and prestigious award that we like showing off in our office, but it marks a very important milestone when it comes to game development. Film Victoria and Screen Australia now consider accessibility when it comes to providing funding and are now rewarding companies that excel in developing games that are accessible to a wide audience.’

We think this is pretty swell.

Accessibility in gaming has always been a topic of contention. How does one make a game that caters towards people with motor, cognitive, hearing, speech or vision impairments? Mainstream games usually shy away from this demographic in favour of the masses.

In terms of our games, we aim to make them accessible to those living with impairments. We believe everyone should experience the joy of gaming!

Puzzle Retreat was designed from the ground up with that philosophy in mind.

Sometimes games (particularly puzzle games) rely too heavily on language, small icons or graphics that are make it difficult for players with certain types of vision impairment or  difficulties with language to be able to understand and follow. We’ve attempted to alleviate the problem by using large and bold icons that can easily be differentiated. Furthermore we tried to make the game playable without understanding any written text.

There is an definitive association between time limits and penalties with puzzle games. I’m sure you’ve all felt the frustration of nearly completing a level, only to have the timer run out on you. We decided to take a different route when it comes to unforgiving scenarios.

We eliminated them entirely.

Puzzle Retreat allows players to take as much time on an individual puzzle as they’d like, reset it as many times as they want and even skip the puzzle entirely. Puzzle Retreat was designed to be a relaxing puzzle game, so it only felt right to dispose of time limits and penalties.

We’ve also tweaked the detection radius of the blocks so that its extremely forgiving when a player misses a block by a small margin. This feature, plus the removal of the timer allows players who don’t have a range of fine motor skills to be able to enjoy Puzzle Retreat.

We at The Voxel Agents are extremely excited when it comes to the future of gaming in Australia. With so many awesome studios producing games of such high quality and Film Victoria and Screen Australia providing consideration for funding to those who place emphasis on accessibility, we can’t wait to see what gets released in the future.

This is Agent Aiden, signing out.

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Agent Henrik is cutting paper boards for our next game! Guess what kind of game it is!

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Our number #1 fan, 4 year old Andrew of the U.S., has been waiting MONTHS for the chance to play Train Conductor USA.

He is a massive fan of the original Train Conductor Australia, and back in March we got an email from him wanting to know when he’d have more levels to play.

Well, after the release of Train Conductor USA today, Andrew got his chance and he was kind enough to record himself playing. Andrew, I have to say that you made my day.

Click here to listen (Warning! Incredibly cute!): Andrew Plays Train Conductor 2

We’re glad you love the game Andrew and we’ll get some more levels made for you to play soon.

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Last week we announced Train Conductor USA and showed some screenshots of the Grand Canyon level. This week, I’ll be covering our New York level.

Regular New York travellers will feel at home with the new subway track numbering, based on real MTA subway lines.For now we’ve chosen the 1, 4, C, Q, and S lines, but, as always, we’re open to suggestions. The visual style in the subway is very urban (as you would expect) and features some stunning graffiti details. In the final level, look out for buskers performing on the platforms!

Manage real MTA subway lines in the NYC Subway!

Manage real MTA subway lines in the NYC Subway!

The challenge in this crowded NYC subway level is to avoid the columns between the tracks. You’ll really need your conducting hat for this level! We’ve played with many different column layouts, some more complex than others. So expect to see several variations in the final game!

Avoid the obstacles between the tracks to be sure the trains arrive safely.

Avoid the obstacles between the tracks to be sure the trains arrive safely.

Watch this space for more upcoming levels and inspiring new art and music!

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Train Conductor is coming to the USA!

Everybody has been waiting for us to add new cities, and we’re finally ready to announce which ones. Get ready for a big suprise, because we are definitely adding new cities, but they belong to a whole new continent!

In this latest sneak-peak video you can see footage of two fantastic locations.

Build bridges over the Grand Canyon

Build bridges over the Grand Canyon

In the Grand Canyon players will have to build bridges to connect trains across the gap. This unique new gameplay will challenge your train management skills. You only get one opportunity to get each bridge right, so don’t mess it up!

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

In the future we’ll be announcing details of the hotly awaited survival mode, as well as posting details of new cities and funky new gameplay!

If you have any suggestions for which US cities you’d like to see first, be sure to let us know. Leave a comment, or tweet about it!

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Train Conductor is in review at Apple HQ.  To satisfy your train-spotting needs while the reviewers do their thing, we’ve posted these great screenshots for you.

The first level.

Get started in Alice Springs, the first level of Train Conductor.

Sydney featuring Gold-rush trains.

Sydney featuring Gold-rush trains.

Ghosts running amok in busy Melbourne

Ghosts running amok in busy Melbourne

The Main Menu of Train Conductor

The Main Menu of Train Conductor

Welcome to Train Conductor!

Welcome to Train Conductor!

The sunny beaches of Cairns

The sunny beaches of Cairns

C2RBVUGGZ54U

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Screenshot history. From early concepts to final release.

Screenshot history. From early concepts to final release.

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We are currently conducting playtesting sessions and getting some excellent feedback, thank you all. Our willing and anonymous playtest subject has agreed for us to share the video of her gameplay in Cairns, the second level.

Youtube: Train Conductor – Cairns – Level 2

Alice Springs - in the great Australian outback

Alice Springs - in the great Australian outback - level 1

Cairns - the gorgeous Queensland beaches - level 2

Cairns - the gorgeous Queensland beaches - level 2

Sydney Harbour Bridge - level 3

Sydney Harbour Bridge - level 3

The fourth level: Melbourne
…to be unveiled soon!

The graveyard shift!
Keep an eye out… details coming soon!

‘Train Conductor’ places you as the greatest Station Master of the Golden Age of Steam, where, working your way from small outback train yards to the bustling industrial lines in Australia’s capital cities, you must connect tracks to ensure each train reaches it’s proper destination, and avoid disastrous collisions!

Join the conversation at TouchArcade.com or submit a comment below.

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Check out the new Dolphin Hero update now available on the App Store!

Dolphin Hero - looks great and plays better.

The new update comes with a score of features and tweaks:

  • Integration with Twitter, Facebook, and AGON for international score-posting. We integrated the AGON Online Social Platform and you can now pit your skills against your friends, people locally and the world!
  • There are 15 in-game achievements to be found! Each one you collect increases your AGON PocketScore. We have had very good experiences with AGON and hope that many more games join the trend, allowing you to continue raising your PocketScore in many more games too.
  • Drastically improved graphics! We improved the rendering so that the graphics are now crystal clear. It was a simple change, but it made a huge difference.
  • Advanced tactics for collecting massive scores!!! There are many tactics, from simple to advanced, that you can employ to get higher scores. Read up on them on our previous post about Dolphin Hero tactics.
  • More intense action for experienced pro’s. The game starts easy and adjusts to your ability, so its non-stop fun the whole way through.
  • Although the graphics are improved, we managed to keep good control over the performance and framerate and the game nows runs more consistently.
15 Dolphin Hero Achievements to collect - increase your PocketScore

15 Dolphin Hero Achievements to collect - increase your PocketScore

Many of the new features and tweaks we’re inspired by suggestions and comments given by the community. We really appreciate everyone’s feedback and the game has improved drastically with each update. If people continue to talk about Dolphin Hero we’ll continue to make it better! Thank you everyone.

And Dolphin Hero is still less than a dollar!! Just 99 cents in America, $1.19 in Australia and less than a pound in the UK! (Other countries vary). BUY IT NOW – JUST 99 CENTS!.

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Swimming with Agent Duski the Dolphin Hero is a whole lot of fun regardless of how you play, but if you like maximizing your score and challenging the best secret agents in the world, this post is for you!

Can you master all of the Dolphin Hero tactics?

  1. Collect multiple people of the same color at once to get bigger combo scores
  2. Watch the arrows at the top of the screen for clues of what is coming
  3. Each person on your back is worth another 100 points when you eat cake
  4. Drop the victims at the party boat at the last minute – new ones could drop at any moment allowing you to get a bigger combo score
  5. When you’re in trouble, drop people quickly by swimming through a pufferfish. Use this method to drop one color to pick up the other.
  6. *ADVANCED TACTIC!* Try juggling two groups of blue and pink by ‘swapping on the puffer’.
  7. *ADVANCED TACTIC!* Swim through a pufferfish from above to release the people further up in the water, allowing more time to collect them later.

We’d love to hear other tactics that you discover and come up with… post them in the comments below!

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