Category: Blog


Big Announcement from Downcast Systems

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6th September

For the first time ever, we’re launching two new products simultaneously: our first physical product, DragonSteel Dice, and a new app for Munchkin players, Kill Meter.

DragonSteel Dice are 7 heavy metal dice in a really cool metal carrying case. We’re really proud of these bad boys, and we think you’ll love them. We’ve got all the ones you need for playing DnD or Pathfinder, including the ubiquitous d20.

Kill Meter is an app designed for folks like us who love the card game Munchkin™ and its many variants. It helps keep track of combat strength during battles.

I think these two new products are great additions to the Downcast Systems lineup, and I can’t wait for you to see what we have in store next…



Hangman’s Noose – Now on Android

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3rd August

The wait is finally over. Android users can now enjoy the word game sensation known as The Hangman’s Noose!

Download from Google Play

Over 10,000 puzzles waiting to be solved.

600+ random enemy encounters.

Increasing levels of difficulty.

Lots of fun for everyone!

It’s Hangman with a fantasy twist!

Also, folks, don’t forget about On the Road to Puzzlewood, a new (quite irregular) series about the misadventures of a fire mage and his ward.



The Hangman’s Noose – Just Released!

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7th July

An epic fantasy hangman battle awaits in The Hangman’s Noose, available now for iOS. (Android at a later date. For now it’s an iOS exclusive.)

I’m quite happy with The Hangman’s Noose. It looks similar to Puzzlewood Quests, but it’s actually very different:

Just one game type — Hangman — so the gameplay was tweaked for that specifically
No timer, so it’s far more casual
No skills to upgrade
No items to buy
Random heroes with random crimes
Roguelike permadeath — when you die, you gotta start all over

If you want a more in-depth experience and multiple game types, then I recommend Puzzlewood Quests. If you want a simple, nearly endless hangman game, that’s The Hangman’s Noose 100%. 🙂



Puzzlewood Premium Edition

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20th December

TL;DR

New paid version of Puzzlewood Quests will replace previous free version.
New version has been retooled so there is no need to buy gold, and all characters & games are unlocked, so there are no In-App Purchases (IAP) and no ads.

I’m changing my strategy regarding Puzzlewood Quests. Originally, I had planned on it being completely free forever, and I would make money off the In-App Purchases of gold, characters, and puzzle packs. After 8 months of trying that, it’s just not providing enough income, so I’m going to have to start charging for the game instead.

The new version has been retooled to be a much more satisfying game experience. There is no IAP. The magical items are much more reasonably priced now, so there is no need to buy gold. All the characters are unlocked, so everyone can enjoy Lilian’s storyline …



Puzzlewood Quests Release Notes

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6th August

2.0.4

Improved Battle Over screen with more detailed stats on player progress.
Rotated out some games from Puzzle Pack #1. Folks who already own Puzzle Pack #1 still have access to all the games.
The price of the Orb of Nope (available in the first shop in the first world for each character) has been drastically reduced.
Bug fix – Android – can now adjust audio volume during a battle.
Added new Settings screen (available from title screen)

Setting – Turn Music On/Off
Setting – Turn Sound Effects On/Off

Increased the amount of XP you get from enemies to reduce the amount of grinding necessary to progress through the game.
Running away now has a 10% XP (toward the next level) penalty.
The “Luck” skill plays a bigger part in how often the enemy does a Surprise Attack.
Added new item: the Wheel of Cheese of Time, which adds a full …



Puzzlewood Release Notes 1.32

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17th May

Puzzle Pack #1 is now available. You can purchase this by hitting the Get More Puzzles & Items button on the Area Select screen.

Easy Math (4 x 3)

Word Math (One Plus Two)

Matching

Number Touch

Increased Inventory slots from 20 to 36

Added Orb of Nope! which allows you to turn off up to 3 game types you don’t like. It’s available in the first shop in the first world for every character.

Added Elixir of Ad Removal, which removes all ads in the game. You can purchase this by hitting the Get More Puzzles & Items button on the Area Select screen.

Updated the difficulty curve to make the game more forgiving based on player feedback

Made Operations game easier. The “easy” version is much simpler with only two operands like:
4  (  )  3  =  12
and …



R.I.P. .Net Interview Preparation App

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5th May

Back in 2011, I wrote a book called How to Find and Land a Microsoft.NET Development Job. Then I created a cross-platform (iOS/Android) companion app to the book called .NET Interview Preparation Flash Cards.

Let’s take a look at the cross-platform mobile app technology that I used in 2011:

PhoneGap 1.0
Sencha Touch 1.0

In case you missed it, those are both version 1.0.

Over the years, I’ve made a few updates to the flash cards themselves, and while a lot of them are timeless (ie. OOP concepts), many are now now out of date (ie. .NET 4.0), and I’ve been too busy with other things (*cough* Puzzlewood Quests *cough*) to update them.

Last year, someone let me know that the app had stopped working on Android. It turned out to be a problem with PhoneGap. Updating from the version I had to the version I …



Atari 2600 Box Art Poster

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24th February

I had this idea for a poster of Atari 2600 box art because I think the art style was really cool on some of those games, but I couldn’t find one that was what I wanted. Nothing aggravates me more than searching the Internet and *not* finding something. It’s almost unbelievable these days, so, ignoring the overall nerdiness of this project, I figured I better fill that void.
🙂
136 games later…

You can download the 36″x24″ poster from here:

Download the poster

Special thanks to the following sites, where some of the box art came from. I cleaned up some of the boxes in Photoshop as best I could to remove the more noticeable blemishes. I apologize in advance if your favorite game isn’t on the poster. I tried to include all the hits from several top atari 2600 game lists, if I could …



Break Timers – Comparison of Windows/Mac UI

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24th January

People give Windows a hard time. It has a lot going for it, although “polished UI” has never been a particularly fitting bullet point for the operating system’s apps. I’m not sure why Windows developers have had such a hard time with UI… I thought WPF might change the landscape a bit, but it hasn’t done much. Hopefully the new UI changes in Windows 8 (Metro), in addition to the inclusion of a Windows 8 App Store (finally!), might get some Windows developers to design prettier applications… Time will tell.

I have BreakTime on my Mac, but I’m working on my Windows PC for my day job quite a bit, and I wanted something similar for Windows. I was appalled by the selections.

First, let me show you 3 break timer apps from the Mac App Store:

Breaktime

Break Timer

Breaktify

Now for the Windows contenders…

Scirocco …



A Little Perspective on the Cost of the Corona SDK

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6th December

I just finished reading The Noticer by Andy Andrews. It’s all about changing your perspective. Things aren’t as bad as you think — stuff like that. It’s a great book, and the character Jones (a wise old man) dispenses excellent advice to the various townsfolk that helps them through some difficult situations. The day I finished it, my friend Sergei “Jonesed” me — on a small level, but I still think it’s worth mentioning.

I switched from Sencha Touch to Corona SDK for the latest app/game I’m working on. The Corona SDK is $349/year to build for the iOS app store and Android Market. The art has cost ~$200 so far.  I was complaining to Sergei about how I hate having to pay over $500 when I don’t even know if my little app will make any money.

He said, “$500 — …




Latest News

All the latest news and announcements from your friends at Downcast Systems.

Big Announcement from Downcast Systems

For the first time ever, we’re launching two new products simultaneously: our first physical product, DragonSteel Dice, and a new app for Munchkin players,...

Hangman’s Noose – Now on Android

The wait is finally over. Android users can now enjoy the word game sensation known as The Hangman’s Noose!

Download from Google Play

Over 10,000 puzzles...

The Hangman’s Noose – Just Released!

An epic fantasy hangman battle awaits in The Hangman’s Noose, available now for iOS. (Android at a later date. For now it’s an iOS...