At last! The plan was to release the game last summer but first we had to learn about the hefty work of post-production in video games. The hard way. Since this is the debut game for us at Lumenox Games, it has been a learning experience. The game started out as a school project for three of the founding members of Lumenox Games but took off when it won a game creation competition, IGI Gamecreator. Plus having faith it was a motivation to establish the company. Well…
Aaru’s Awakening is an “indie game”. So, what makes a game an “indie game”? Some say it has to do with size of the developer, others say it has to do with distribution or funding – but really there is no real definition. For us, it has always been about creating the game independently. No compromise. Working long hours and burning up the midnight oil has defined this process. No regrets. This game is our passion. So, you have to understand: We are excited.
That is exactly why we decided to hand draw everything on the screen, make our own score and design each level to utilise the game mechanic of teleportation in clever ways. For those not familiar with the game, Aaru’s Awakening is a fast-paced platformer that relies on the protagonists abilities to teleport and charge. To finish levels players must solve puzzles that require these abilities, often with split second decision in the rapid and deadly environment. To further involve you in this environment we created a story which is delivered through narrated cut-scenes and music that is fitting to the mood.
The game has been in a developing process for a long time now and we have taken all criticism humbly and with open eyes. We are thankful and we have changed the game accordingly – whenever we have seen useful points. And have updated the game to this very day. It goes without saying; we hope the gamers will like the result.
For those who are advanced in game, here are examples of the newest developments: As the game revolves heavily around using the shoulder and trigger buttons – much like with first-person shooters – we had ignored the conventional button jumping and assigned it to “up” on the left joystick. As we had gotten used to it ourselves, we felt it was easy and comfortable and did not anticipate gamers to feel any different. We were wrong and we figured out a way to assign the jumping to the same button that makes Aaru ‘charge’ – L1.
The charging ability makes Aaru dash through the air, enabling him both extra time in the air and the ability to break certain breakable objects. As you always tend to jump when you charge anyway, this made a lot of sense. At the same time we assigned the charging direction to the movement direction of Aaru – which makes more sense when using a controller – opposed to the direction of where you are aiming your teleportation mechanic.
So, as you can see, there is a lot to take under consideration.
One of our most severe criticisms revolved around the difficulty of the game. While we always wanted to make a difficult game, it’s important to make sure that the game isn’t to blame when a player fails to progress, and to make them feel satisfied when they do. For this reason we had to carefully review each of the game’s puzzles with the help of game testers that had no experience with them. A lot of puzzles got minor tweaks, while the boss levels perhaps took the biggest transformation. We now feel that the game is a lot more fluid and easier to pick up – making it easy to learn, but difficult to master.
While getting off to a rocky start – some loving the game and others having trouble with certain aspects – we now feel that it has become something most people can really enjoy. It makes us extremely happy to be releasing the game free for all PlayStation Plus subscribers on PS3 and PS4 so we can reach a larger audience and get as much feedback as possible. For the rest of you, the game is only $14.99.
Now we can use this valuable experience to keep working further on Aaru – the adventure is just about to begin.