Month: March 2013

Shattered Haven 1.007 “Wrath Of Doors” Released!

This one is a fairly minor update in the main, but it fixes a number of level design issues late in the game where doors would turn out to be one-way and trap you if you didn’t use your suicide pill.

Shattered Haven is something that people who are playing it really seem to love, but we’re really having trouble getting the word out.  If you play it and love it, please spread the word!  We can use all the help we can get.  A huge thanks to all of you who have already done so.

Enjoy!

This is a standard update that you can download through the  in-game updater itself, if you already have any version of the game.  When you  launch the game, hit the big “Play” button and then you’ll see the notice of the update having been found if you’re connected to the Internet at the time.

Exodus Of The Machine Teaser 1

Exodus Of The Machine is a new strategic journey game by Arcen Games, set in the universe of the cult classic AI War: Fleet Command.  Lead a team trapped on a hostile planet and desperately pursuing a threat which could destroy humanity outright. 

Vicious predators, clashing armies, and political intrigue stand in your way.  None can stand before your modern weapons, but where do you use your limited ammunition?  Do you resort to diplomacy, or native weapons?  Will you fall to disease or run out of food stores?  Can you get to the end in time?

Exodus combines Arcen’s love of all things strategic within a framework reminiscent of our old favorite Oregon Trail.

This is a title we’ve been quietly working on.  It’s “coming soon,” which is a vague way of saying that it will be in 2013 but that we don’t want to commit to a date yet.  We wanted to share a bit with you about what we’re working on, but right now the above is all we’re comfortable revealing.  We’ll have something a bit more meaty for you next time!

AI War Beta 6.014-6.015 “De-Faulting The Logic” Released!

This one is a relatively small release focusing on balance issues and fixing a few bugs introduced in recent versions. We also addressed some of the longstandingly high-voted mantis issues.

There would be more but we’ve been working hard on another project (that we might drop some hints on tomorrow, we’ll see). Of course it’s not another apparatus designed to deliver a “you lose!” experience to players. We’d never do that.

Update: 6.015 hotfix to fix some exo and cloaking bugs in 6.014 that could cause significant problems.

Enjoy!

This is a standard update that you can download through the in-game updater itself, if you already have 4.000 or later. When you launch the game, you’ll see the notice of the update having been found if you’re connected to the Internet at the time. If you don’t have 4.000 or later, you can download that here.

Shattered Haven 1.006 “Balloon Flight” Released!

This one has a variety of tweaks and fixes in it, as well as a new vehicle: a fast version of the hot air balloon for use in Alden Ridge!  Several levels have also had some new hints added to them to keep their puzzles from being quite so devilish.

Shattered Haven is something that people who are playing it really seem to love, but we’re really having trouble getting the word out.  If you play it and love it, please spread the word!  We can use all the help we can get.  A huge thanks to all of you who have already done so.

Enjoy!

This is a standard update that you can download through the  in-game updater itself, if you already have any version of the game.  When you  launch the game, hit the big “Play” button and then you’ll see the notice of the update having been found if you’re connected to the Internet at the time.

Tidalis in Indie Royale Mighty Bundle

Indie Royale has rolled out The Mighty Bundle, included in which is our addictive puzzle game Tidalis! You can pick the game up, along with five additional games, now through April 4th.

The rest of the bundle’s titles are pretty enticing as well, with Avadon: The Black Fortress, Derrick the Deathfin, Waveform, Zafehouse: Diaries, and War of the Human Tanks. Six games, all for a minimum of around $5 (price fluctuates based on sales, currently at $4.77).

In other news: I’m in San Francisco this week for at GDC, and I’ll be demoing Shattered Haven tonight at the POW POW music event at the DNALounge. If you are in town, and have an hour or two (or more) in between the hours of 7:00 PM – 2:00 AM, stop in and say hi.

Here’s the latest coverage for our games that’s come in over the past week:

Reviews
Tierra Gamer: [Review] Shattered Haven (8.3/10)
Saving Content: Shattered Haven (3/5)
Invision Community: Shattered Haven Review (3/5)
Dad’s Gaming Addiction: Valley 2 Review (8/10)
IndeeGames: A Valley Without Wind 2 Review (7/10)
Best Games Today: Discover New World in A Valley Without Wind 2
ComboCaster: A Valley Without Wind 2 Review (7/10)
Dad’s Gaming Addiction: AI War Review (8/10)

Videos
MugetGaming: Shattered Haven Gameplay Walkthrough First Look
Dad’s Gaming Addiction: A Valley Without Wind 2 -DGA Play Session #1
EhPlusGamer: Eh Reviews A Valley Without Wind
Dad’s Gaming Addiction: AI War: Fleet Command – DGA Play Session #1

Other Coverage
IndieGames.com: Release: Shattered Haven (Arcen Games)
Capsule Computers: Valley Dual Pack Highlighted in Indie Spring Sale

Shattered Haven 1.005 “Stantonsburg’s Revenge” Released!

This one doesn’t really contain anything individually notable, but rather a laundry list of small fixes and tweaks.  A lot of them have been centered around Stantonsburg, hence the name of the release.  That town has a mind of its own, and I don’t just mean when it’s going all scary on you, the player.  It clearly likes to play mind games with us developers, too. ;)

Shattered Haven is something that people who are playing it really seem to love, but we’re really having trouble getting the word out.  If you play it and love it, please spread the word!  We can use all the help we can get.  A huge thanks to all of you who have already done so.

Enjoy!

This is a standard update that you can download through the  in-game updater itself, if you already have any version of the game.  When you  launch the game, hit the big “Play” button and then you’ll see the notice of the update having been found if you’re connected to the Internet at the time.

Shattered Haven 1.004 “Gunfight With An Eyeball Snake” Released!

This one includes a new boss fight that involves… well, eyeball snakes and guns, as I suppose you could guess.  This is actually the boss level that you can watch me design in the level editor in our recent Let’s Play videos.  There are also a number of fixes and tweaks included in this update, of course.

Shattered Haven is something that people who are playing it really seem to love, but we’re really having trouble getting the word out.  If you play it and love it, please spread the word!  We can use all the help we can get.  A huge thanks to all of you who have already done so.

Enjoy!

This is a standard update that you can download through the  in-game updater itself, if you already have any version of the game.  When you  launch the game, hit the big “Play” button and then you’ll see the notice of the update having been found if you’re connected to the Internet at the time.

Two Shattered Haven Let’s Plays With Developer Commentary

If you missed the announcement on our main news blog, Shattered Haven 1.0 is now out!  You can pick it up on Steam, Gog.com, GamersGate, Green Man Gaming, or the Arcen site.

In this below video, I walk you through parts of two overworld areas, and completes three levels in the Snow Hill section. For those looking to get a better feel for how the game flows, including seeing both single-screen and multi-screen levels, look no further!

The start is a bit slow with some cutscenes, skip ahead to about 3:00 if you just want to get straight to the action.

In this next video below, I walk you through the process of creating a new level using the built-in level editor for the game.  This includes doing a bit of minor scripting, even — definitely a hugely helpful video if you’re looking to get into the nitty-gritty of the level editor with Shattered Haven.

This level editor is hugely powerful, and is the same one used to create the intricate levels and storyline of the game itself.  If you’re into level creation or even adventure design, this editor is a dream come true!

While reviews are still coming in, we were late on getting things to the press because of wanting to get the game polished up before sending it to them.  Still, a few choice quotes:

We’ve been talking about Arcen Games for a while now and if there is one thing you can certainly appreciate about them is that every one of their games is a unique product. Shattered Haven which was released this week is a different title from their previous games and may be their strongest showing yet.
Josh Bycer, Game Wisdom

Overall, “Shattered Haven” is a solid action / puzzle game that will certainly get the adrenaline pumping. 8/10
— Dad’s Gaming Addiction

Enjoy!

Steam Indie Spring Sale: Valley Dual Pack, AI War and Tidalis 75% Off

As Shattered Haven soldiers on from Monday’s launch, Steam has rolled out a big time, 400+ indie game sale that has Arcen’s catalog front and center with some major discounts.

Here’s the breakdown:

The promotion runs through March 28th, so be sure to take advantage of these deals while you can!

On top of the sale, we have a solid amount of reviews and other coverage regarding Shattered Haven and Valley 2 to share:

Shattered Haven Previews/Reviews
Dad’s Gaming Addiction: Shattered Haven Review (8/10)
Indie Statik: First Impressions: Shattered Haven Beta
Examiner: Shattered Haven: 5 Reasons to Play
Gamersaurs: The Independence Movement: Shattered Haven
Game Wisdom: Shattered Have: Survival Puzzle

Shattered Haven Videos
James Allen: Shattered Haven Gameplay Impressions
Shattered Haven – DGA Play Session #1

Shattered Haven Launch/Beta Coverage
RPS: Top-Down Topiary: Shattered Haven
PC Gamer: Shattered Haven launch trailer has children to rescue, zombies to squish
GameZone: Valley Without Wind developer launches beta for Shattered Haven
Polygon: Shattered Haven is a game of sorrow and survival
Blue’s News: Shattered Haven Beta Access With Pre-Purchases
Indie Statik: Shattered Haven Isn’t Just A Puzzler; It’s About Family, Grit, And Survival
Gamer’s Hell: Shattered Haven Released and Trailer
Gamersaurs: Arcen Games new title Shattered Haven is now in Beta
VG247: Shattered Haven launch trailer refuses to bow to evil
Technology Tell: Shattered Haven beta is 25% off until March 18th
I Luv Games: Post-Apocalyptic survival action / adventure game “Shattered Haven” released by Arcen Games
Inside Mac Games: Shattered Haven Released
Worthplaying: March 19th, 2013 Shipping Announcements
Gaming Illustrated: Arcen Games Releases Shattered Haven
Co-Optimus: Shattered Haven Brings Together Zombies and Puzzles

Valley 2 Reviews and Interviews
IndieGames.com: Arcen Games on A Valley Without Wind 2
Games Are Evil: Two-Headed Review: A Valley Without Wind 2
Game Connect: A Valley Without Wind 2 Review
Game Players Review: A Valley Without Wind 2 Indie Game Review (Highly Recommended)
Everyday Gamers: Review: A Valley Without Wind 2 (7.5/10)
GamesWarp: A Valley Without Wind 1 Review (6.5/10)
Diehard GameFAN: Review: A Valley Without Wind 1 and 2
Snackbar Games: A Valley Without Wind 2: Get lost in a world of strategy (3/5)
Gaming Trend: Procedurally Generated Disappointment–A Valley Without Wind 2 (4/10)
Examiner: A Valley Without Wind 1 Review
Examiner: A Valley Without Wind 2 Review
Examiner: Valley Without Wind 2: Top 5 Songs from the Soundtrack
Kanobu: A Valley Without Wind 2 Review (Russian)

Valley Videos
Greenlit Gaming: A Valley Without Wind 2 Developer Let’s Play
Co-Optimus: A Valley Without Wind 2 Co-Op Video
Meroka Plays A Valley Without Wind 2 Ten Part Series
Bro Gaming: Analyse – A Valley Without Wind 2 (Dutch)
A Valley Without Wind Part 2 (Russian)

Shattered Haven 1.003 “Brevity Is The Soul Of Wit” Released!

This one is the second release of the day.  Based on some feedback that we got from a member of the press whom I greatly trust, I realized that our tutorial was just too darn long.  There were some parts where players were getting lost even in the alpha and beta, and the whole thing was taking quite a bit of time and delaying “getting to the good stuff,” so to speak. 

So we’ve cut down the tutorial to the parts that really matter, including the key things you need to learn and the long-term story bits, and hopefully this will give a better first introduction into the game.

Shattered Haven is something that people who are playing it really seem to love, but we’re really having trouble getting the word out.  If you play it and love it, please spread the word!  We can use all the help we can get.  A huge thanks to all of you who have already done so.

Enjoy!

This is a standard update that you can download through the  in-game updater itself, if you already have any version of the game.  When you  launch the game, hit the big “Play” button and then you’ll see the notice of the update having been found if you’re connected to the Internet at the time.

Shattered Haven 1.002 “Mind The Gap!” Released!

This one has a litany of small fixes and tweaks, and a couple of cool new features. 

First off, when you’re walking you no longer fall into pits or water.  Handy when you’re navigating tight ledges while not being pursued by angry grays

Secondly, when you scroll through items in your inventory, it now shows popup text at the top of the screen to remind you what the function of that tool or weapon is.  This is really useful for people who don’t already have the game’s many weapons and tools fully memorized — saves the steps of going into the encylopedia.

Thirdly, whenever any new encyclopedia entry is unlocked, the encyclopedia now opens directly to that entry when you next open it.  That saves you time hunting through the categories.

Shattered Haven is something that people who are playing it really seem to love, but we’re really having trouble getting the word out.  If you play it and love it, please spread the word!  We can use all the help we can get.  A huge thanks to all of you who have already done so.

Enjoy!

This is a standard update that you can download through the  in-game updater itself, if you already have any version of the game.  When you  launch the game, hit the big “Play” button and then you’ll see the notice of the update having been found if you’re connected to the Internet at the time.

Shattered Haven 1.001 “Dual Control” Released!

This one is our first post-release update.  It includes the ability for you to use both the analog stick and the d-pad on your game controllers interchangeably, and it allows you to create new levels directly in the level editor rather than making you initialize them in the file system first.  Also it has a couple of bugfixes and tweaks.

Shattered Haven is something that people who are playing it really seem to love, but we’re having trouble getting the word out.  If you play it and love it, be sure to spread the word!  We can use all the help we can get.

Enjoy!

This is a standard update that you can download through the  in-game updater itself, if you already have any version of the game.  When you  launch the game, hit the big “Play” button and then you’ll see the notice of the update having been found if you’re connected to the Internet at the time.

AI War Beta 6.013 “Core Foamhammer” Released!

This one adds Core (MkV) versions of the 18 fleet ships that previously maxed out at MkIV. So you can now get those from Core Fabricators. Abuse of Core Shield Bearers may result in… well, I guess you don’t have much to fear if you have Core Shield Bearers.

The bulk of this release answers the results of the recent nerf polls with significant hammerings handed out all around.

Gravity won the AI-side poll and came in second on the human-side. Since the universal gravitational constant laughed at us when we tried to nerf it, we instead nerfed the units trying to use said gravity. Except the player home forcefield grav-generator, that’s still just as nasty as it was.

Manufactories won the Player-side poll. Yea, the things that convert metal to crystal and vice versa when you ask them to. The player sentiment wasn’t that these were overpowered (that would have been kind of amusing) but that they were unnecessary. Why have them be physical structures with automated turn-on/turn-off logic when the game could just handle the conversion automatically? Normally we wouldn’t have prioritized this, but the poll told us it was important to the players, so it’s been done. The foam hammer hit the Manufactories so hard that they don’t exist anymore, and the conversion is now done on an as-needed basis (there’s still a control you can use to restrict or completely prevent the conversion, if desired).

Other winners include Counterattack Guard Posts, the Spirecraft Scout, the Ravenous Shadow (which will now be even more hungry, thank you very much), and the Interplanetary Munitions Booster. Salute the victoriously Hammered!

This release also includes a few other changes, including some buffs to Heavy Bomber Starships, Regeneration Golems, Spire Corvettes, MkII Transports, and munitions-boosting-for-starships. An attempt was also made to rein in certain Astro Train varieties.

Enjoy!

This is a standard update that you can download through the in-game updater itself, if you already have 4.000 or later. When you launch the game, you’ll see the notice of the update having been found if you’re connected to the Internet at the time. If you don’t have 4.000 or later, you can download that here.

Shattered Haven Launches on Steam, GOG, GamersGate, and Green Man Gaming

Arcen Games is excited to announce the launch of Shattered Haven, now available for PC and Mac on Steam, GOG, GamersGate, and Green Man Gaming; as well as directly through the Arcen Store. To celebrate the release, the game is on sale for 25% off until Friday, March 29th. A launch trailer for the game has been released as well.

The 2D action adventure horror title has you solving environmental puzzles in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by Grays — an unusual and powerful type of living dead that doesn’t rely on infection to spread its numbers. Play through dozens of levels in pursuit of your kin, who are forced to scatter across the region after a breach on the family compound. Make your way through branching story paths that result in several different outcomes, all the while completing bonus objectives to reach higher scores and gold markers.

Shattered Haven packs local 2-player co-op, gamepad support, and also includes access to the game’s level editor we used to make the main campaign. For more information on the game, check out Arcen founder Chris Park’s development blog article on exactly what the game is all about.

About Shattered Haven
An Environmental Puzzle Game About Family, Grit, and Survival

Grays roam the land, largely in the absence of human interference.  These aren’t your typical Zed — theirs is a very different sort of apocalypse. Animals spontaneously transform into twisted, violent beings.  The earth decays, collapsing into a network of abysses.  The wilderness thickens.

It has been nine years since That Day when it all started.  Pockets of humanity still exist, but are ignorant of one another.  Within these isolated havens people try to live as best they can — for even in a world so broken and dark, daily life must go on.

Darrell and Mary Williams were able to build such a life inside a five-acre fenced yard out in the country.  They were even secure enough in their isolated compound that they had a daughter five years after the zombie-like grays appeared.

Life carried on as normally as it could, until another refugee on the run is killed during a nearby attack. Her son is saved and taken in by the Williamses — who do not realize that this kind action will destroy their home and threaten their entire family.  They find themselves caught in the midst of a struggle between two eldritch horrors, and the path to survival is anything but clear.

Key Features

  • A 2D action adventure game where you solve environmental puzzles under duress. Figure out how to use various tools, traps, and weapons in each level to clear all the Grays lurking about.
  • Nearly 100 hand-crafted levels with multiple difficulty levels ranging between casual and hardcore, developed end to end by two experienced adventure level designers.
  • Complete bonus objectives for higher scores and gold markers.
  • Follow the story of Darrell and Mary as they try to save their family from a new and unexpected threat through in-game storytelling and painted-style cutscenes.
  • Guide different members of the Williams family through branching story paths that result in one of several endings.  Depending on your actions, the story may end very poorly, happily, or anywhere in between.
  • Music and sound by composer Pablo Vega provides a chilling atmosphere for players to experience.
  • Included level editor:  The same editor used to make the main adventure will let you make your own levels, cutscenes, or even entire adventures.
  • Local 2-player co-op.  Using two gamepads, two players on the keyboard, or any combination of the above.

For game updates and more, follow Shattered Haven on Arcen’s Forums, Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook.

About Arcen Games
Arcen Games entered the PC indie scene in 2009 with their cult classic AI War: Fleet Command, which was named the 40th best-reviewed PC game of the year by MetaCritic. Their second year was a busy one, seeing the release of The Zenith Remnant, the first full expansion for AI War; Tidalis, an innovative block-based puzzle with casual appeal and hardcore depth; and Children of Neinzul, a micro-expansion for AI War with all profits benefiting the Child’s Play charity, of which Arcen is a platinum sponsor.

AI War’s third and largest expansion Light of the Spire marked Arcen’s first release of 2011, with the rest of the company’s focus being devoted to their most massive project yet: A Valley Without Wind, which released in 2012. The end of 2012/start of 2013 has been another busy time for the team, with AI War’s fourth expansion Ancient Shadows launching, A Valley Without Wind 2 hitting 1.0, and now Shattered Haven’s release.

Originally a one-man shop, Arcen Games has grown to have half a dozen part-time or fulltime contributors to its various titles. For all the latest news, media coverage, and some of our other musings, visit us on our website, or follow us on Google+, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook; as well as Arcen lead Chris Park’s Games By Design blog.

Just What Is This “Shattered Haven” Thing, Anyway?

Recently we put up a couple of gameplay videos, and hopefully that helps answer a lot of the questions right there.  But if you’re not into videos, or still have questions, read on.

Story-Driven Structure
When you first start a new game, it takes you through a brief tutorial level that also contains a goodly bit of story.  On “new game plus,” it skips these levels.  Once you’re past the tutorial, you emerge into the first overworld area, the Phoenix Forest.

The Phoenix Forest is the first of nine main overworld areas.  Each one contains a number of required levels in it, as well as some bonus levels that are hidden and/or harder.  Not all of the overworld areas are accessible in a single playthrough, as the story branches.  And one overworld area isn’t available at all until new game plus.

What Are These Levels?
The levels themselves are basically what you’re seeing in the videos linked above.  A single level typically has you coming in with no weapons or tools, and then having to make do with whatever you can find in the level.  They’re basically environmental puzzles, and many of them have multiple solutions.

There are also bonus objectives on each level that you can complete to get a better score and a gold marker outside the level.  These bonus objectives are a lot more challenging, and generally also require knowledge of the level to complete, so you won’t do them on your first try.  New game plus remembers all your scores and level completion statuses, which is handy.

Each level usually has the goal of killing all the grays (zombies) inside it, although sometimes your goal is just to escape or to kill any one evil animal or similar.  The grays are only weak to iron, water, and fire, so things like regular bullets don’t hurt them.  However, you can use a handgun (or if you later find it, a rifle) to stun them momentarily.  Those same guns can be used to kill hostile animals or other creatures.

Lots Of Variety
There are almost 100 levels in the game, and there’s twelve main weapons as well as thirteen main tools, and a handful of other items.  There are also some levels where you use the environment itself to kill grays in novel ways, such as stunning them with your whip so they get caught in an avalanche, or pulling a lever that causes a trapdoor to open. 

A lot of the tools and weapons can be used in multiple ways, or combined to create novel effects.  As one example the lantern can be used to light your way, or it can be used to set sticks and so forth on fire.  Grenades are useful for their initial blast, but also for creating holes behind them.  Shovels can dig through dirt walls, or fill in those same kinds of holes the grenades leave.  Hmm.  And so on.

The styles of levels vary pretty widely, too.  Some are incredibly head-scratchingly tricky.  Often those are bonus levels.  Some are a little more reflex-oriented, and aren’t really much of a puzzle at all.  Others are mazes, others are logic puzzles. 

The vast majority, however, are tactical engagements where you get dropped into hostile territory, grab for weapons and other deterrents, and then set about dismantling the enemy in the most efficient manner than occurs to you.  Rather like being a lone special forces dude dropped into a hot zone.  All of the levels are hand-crafted to make this as interesting and varied as possible.

Thick Atmosphere
During the alpha and beta we ran, one of the big things that kept coming up was how cool the atmosphere of the game is.  The graphics and lighting, and in particular the writing and music and sound work, combine to create a world that is decidedly creepy and mildly unsettling.  There are a few segments that will get your pulse going more, in particular related to story events that you probably won’t see coming.

The story itself is a bit unusual, in that it’s about adults looking out for their families, rather than adolescent adventurers out to save the world.  These people don’t want to be out doing what they are doing, but they’re forced into it by circumstances.  That’s interesting to me, and it also affects the general tone and mood.

Full Level Editor
All the levels in the game were created by an in-game level editor that is included with the game.  It’s right there on the main menu.  It’s a little complex, particularly if you get into scripting events or cutscenes, but it’s also possible to do some straightforward stuff pretty easily.  The key thing is that it’s extremely powerful, so for people who really get into this they can create some entire stories and adventures of their own.

And that’s about it!

Shattered Haven 1.0 Released!

This one is uncharacteristically gargantuan, even by Arcen standards.  Josh, Zack, and I have all been working all weekend to get all this finished up, and in particular Sunday was an 18 hour day for Josh and Zack, and so far looks like a 25 hours day for me.

But it’s all worth it — I couldn’t be more proud of what all the finishing touches we’ve put on the game.  Well, for one thing, the end of the game is actually complete.  Zack was designing away on Alden Ridge and Ganan Fields, as well as the final boss fight, while Josh and I were working steadily on implementing the voluminous story cutscenes that come at the end and near-end of the game.  A lot of the volume comes because of all the branching, really.

The release notes really gloss over all the coolest stuff; you get hints of it based on what sorts of scripting commands I added, but I don’t say how they were actually used in our scripts and levels.  That’s more fun to find out by actually getting there yourself!

The Shingen Rapid Prototyping Facility is one thing that has been pushed back to post-1.0.  I should be able to get that finished this week, but basically I wanted to make sure and take time to do that right.  It contains two of the endings, but they are both endings you can’t get until New Game Plus anyway.  Right now there are two main endings that you can get, although there are some smaller things that vary based on your actions as you get to the last legs of the game.

Fun fact: there is a way for every character in the game, be they an NPC or a main character or what, to die.  Well, actually there are a couple of characters that won’t be fatality-prone until the Shingen facility is in there, but that’s a minority.  And keeping all the characters alive is not possible, by the way. ;)

There are a couple of other little extras that we have planned for this week in particular, but as of this release this is a complete game that you can play end-to-end. 

Level Editor!
Oh!  And the level editor is now unlocked — I’ll warn you that the scripting window is a bit nuts when the scrollbars come in, but that’s largely because of the unity 3D lack of support for good scrolling multiline textboxes.  I’ve implemented some partial solutions there, but I’m going to take another crack at it this week.  That would be a useful thing to have for all our games, actually.

The Road To Creation
The creation of this game has really been quite a saga.  Originally it was just me any my wife working on it in 2008.  She did a good 30-some levels, I did around 60.  Then in the summer of 2008, Lars Bull — the lead designer of Tidalis, you may recall — came in and really gave me a huge amount of useful testing feedback.  The game jumped in quality.

Then I got stuck on something (how exactly to marry the puzzle and adventure elements, basically), and decided to take a “short break” and work on this game called AI War.  AI War was just a side project, in my mind.  Then of course that turned into something really cool and it became the basis of Arcen, and we were off to the races.

Four years later, in August 2012, we picked this back up again and started working on it in earnest.  I ported it to our newer engine, Zack started improving the levels and especially the overworlds, and he designed out the whole tutorial.

Erik and Zack and I had lengthy calls talking about the story up through around November or so, figuring out how to make all the elements I had started with really come together in a satisfying conclusion that made sense.  Erik in particular was really helpful on figuring out large plot points, because he’s got such an encyclopedic knowledge of the macabre genres.  Not to say that Zack and I weren’t holding our own.

Then while Valley 2 was really taking up everyone else’s time, Zack was pretty much left all by his lonesome working on Shattered Haven.  I kept telling him we’d be back, heh.  Then as soon as Valley 2 came out, Josh and I jumped in with both feet and suddenly we were whirring along towards 1.0.  Zack had made enormous progress in the time since he’d started on the progress, and the overworld areas were a lot more intricate and Zelda-like than what I’d originally designed.

When Josh and I got onto this project, so did Pablo actually.  He started composing new music tracks for the game, and remastered the better of the stock tracks that I’d been using up until that point.  All in all we tossed out about three quarters of the music that had been in use prior to the porting, and the result was something much stronger.  This is the first Arcen soundtrack that isn’t 100% composed by Pablo, but he did a lot of the more emotional stuff that you hear emphasized.

Around the time that Valley 2 was really getting underway, Heavy Cat Studios was also starting work on Shattered Haven.  They wound up setting that aside for a while, same as I did, but then came back to it starting in February.  “Blue,” Arcen’s new part-time art director, also spent a fair bit of time doing things like the cloud effects and some of the other things that make Shattered Haven pop.  I did the particle effects with Particle Illusion as usual, and I did the shadows and lighting.

It’s been a really long road for this game, but we had a blast making it despite the long hours here at the end.  We hope that you enjoy playing it!

This is a standard update that you can download through the  in-game updater itself, if you already have any version of the game.  When you  launch the game, hit the big “Play” button and then you’ll see the notice of the update having been found if you’re connected to the Internet at the time.