TAG | Train Conductor

We were doing QA in the office, and we needed a way to record some of the particularly hard to reproduce bugs.

Solution: masking tape of course.

The result? Well we still can’t work out what was causing the bug, but now I can capture me beating Agent Simon’s high scores on video which is ultimately much more satisfying.

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Over the weekend, we attended the Freeplay Independent Games Festival. Having had some time to recover from the brain-load of inspiring discussions, we thought we’d write a quick thank-you message to the organisers, the volunteers, and everyone who attended.

It’s really interesting to be part of a festival where everyone is so deeply passionate about games.  Few artistic realms have get such a rabid crew of practitioners, willing to play, think, reflect, discuss and research their passion all day, and then long into the night. It really shows how unique the games industry is, where everyone is part of a Play, Enjoy, Share, culture.  Freeplay really brought us together, it was truly amazing to see such a diverse group of like-minded people, sharing, playing and enjoying their time together.

The festival wasn’t all just fun and games though.  There was also an awards night!

Brawsome did an excellent job with his game Jolly Rover, winning Best Australian Game; and a surprise victory goes to Sword Lady & The Viking; two university students awarded Best Game Design with Up, Down, Ready. I had a chance to hang out with both at the event, and they absolutely deserve it.

Jolly Rover

Up Down Ready

We picked up Best Game Audio with Train Conductor.  Thank you Freeplay, we’ll keep the funky SFX and pumpin’ music coming in future titles. Thanks especially to Joel Joslin who writes our tunes.

Train Conductor takes home 'Best Game Audio'

Thank you to the international speakers who flew such a long way to share their thoughts with us.  A further thank you to Multimedia Victoria for funding the festival, and the Victorian Library for hosting it.  The Victorian government has done a great job of making Melbourne the ‘Games Capital’ of Australia.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a shot of the team brandishing the 2 awards (Best Game Audio, and Runner-up for Best Game Design)

The Voxel Agents

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Some time last week we stumbled across AppRelief.  We thought it was such a great idea we decided to join up. We signed up for the period of our Australia Day Sale (Jan 20-26), donating 100% of our net profit during that time.

We’ve just received the daily figures from apple for the period, and after operating expenses, we will be contributing $1,697! We don’t pay ourselves (yet), so this represents quite a hefty commitment on our part.

Our most sincere thanks go to all the players of Train Conductor, in particular those in Australia, Italy, USA, Japan and Great Britain who represent the largest contributors.

Distribution of sales by country

Extra kudos goes to Japan and Italy, sales of Train Conductor jumped significantly in those regions during the donation period. (And thanks to AppViz for the PieGraph)

We’re still trying to decide between whether to donate to the RedCross or MSF or perhaps another worthy source. We won’t be receiving the cheque from Apple for the sales until the end of Feburary. If anyone can help suggest a worthy charity, please let us know before then by leaving a comment.

Update: We have chosen to give the proceeds to Médecins Sans Frontières Australia. The full amount of $1,697 has been donated and will go to helping MSF’s efforts around the world and in Haiti. Thanks to everyone for helping us to do this!

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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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Train Conductor is looking great and it’s thanks to the efforts of Logan Dowell, Derek Pritchard, Joe Gatling and Jarrod Andersen, our nationally distributed art team.

Logan Dowell and Derek Pritchard were selected to join the Agent ranks as part of the QANTM college internship program. together they developed the level backdrops of Sydney and Melbourne, created numerous train models, and designed the entire menu art style. They also collaborated together to produce the wonderful loading screens and game website, amongst many other things.  The pending release of Train Conductor marks their explosive debut into the games industry.

Joe Gatling, a long standing friend and fellow university graduate member of our sif90 roots, initially set the style of the game seen in the early teaser images, and they became the defacto style guide for the rest of the development process.

Jarrod Andersen connected with The Agents through a serendipitous reddit post in July 2009. Jarrod developed the Mr. Train Conductor character and set the initial train model style, as well as the scary Skull Train.

We are tremendously grateful for their assistance and the beauty of the final game is a tribute to their efforts.

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