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Children of Liberty – State of the Game, 2017 (Part 1)

Greetings, Patriots! Wow it’s been a while since I’ve gotten to say that. Danny here for this first post in a two-part update on Children of Liberty progress. As you are hopefully aware, we haven’t given up on Children of Liberty. Slow and steady wins the race.

My primary focuses have been on the Creative and Business side of things, with a healthy dose of level building and some marketing. The team has gone in and overhauled every line of code, every pixel of art, and every note of music. There is a lot to go over, so we’ll start with one of the most exciting developments from this year.

Northeastern Co-Op Partnership Established

In January of this year, we were contacted by Northeastern University to become a part of their prestigious Co-Op program! This meant that we help teach Northeastern Students the ins and outs of game development, while they put those skills to practice on Lantana projects. In other words, we got to do what we do AND bring on an incredibly talented group of students over the Summer semester. Andrew, Annie, Carter, Devin, and Lexie were all major contributors to Children of Liberty’s art and programming between May and September.

Of course we can’t talk about 2017 without also mentioning Kim, who recently graduated from Lesley University. Kim contributed some major new works to the game, including some great new concept art for the kids!

We will be adding new additions to the team once again come Winter Semester. For now, we’ve been letting the dust settle from Summer, getting all the new content exported properly for Unity.

We would also like to extend our thanks to Cortney and Allise, two talented SCAD alumni who were with us for a short time.

Art and Animation Updates

What is there to say about our asset library other than it is staggering. Throughout the year, Christine and Bridget not only added perfectly-executed new angles of previously created animations (need those fronts and backs, obviously), but also created new characters and special effects for the game. Now many of our old, side-angle animations have frame-by-frame equivalents from the Front and Back as well! As always, each animation is hand-drawn, and Christine and Bridget have done a fantastic job matching up to the art style established by Ricky and Mike.

Along with the character and environmental animations, we also have a handful of new particle effects, along with custom-built template particle generators for specific situations, such as explosions, rain, smoke, etc. We’re then able to quickly replace the default sprite with any effect animation for an almost infinite number of particle effects for any given situation! Using the templates, we can create new particle effects in just a few minutes.

For the art, we spent the year focusing on the one area of the game’s art we felt needed the most attention: repetition. In case you hadn’t noticed, we’d been using that one brick texture a LOT. We discovered, after much research, that what we needed were three kinds of brick: waterstruck, hard-burned, and orante; in various bonding patterns, to create a real sense of variety in our brick textures. The results absolutely liven up the world. We’ve done the same with wood textures as well, though not in as specific a fashion as brick.

Of course we also grew our sprite library, adding more background objects like various foods, dishes, plants, furniture, coins, hooks, bottles, tins, plants, bells, candle holders, weapons… you name it, we drew it. We want to fill this world with stuff from 18th Century America, and make the whole game feel lived-in.

Obviously the world of Children of Liberty would not look as good as it does without to help of our level builder, Sean. Sean was instrumental in helping to overhaul our art import process, as well as build out levels and cutscene areas, and we wish him the best of luck on his further adventures.

2017 would not have been the productive year it was artistically without the help of Lexie, Annie, and Devin from Northeastern’s Co-Op Program. Thank you all so much, it was a joy having you all on board!

Audio Updates

For music, Hannah finished scoring the entire soundtrack, and now it’s a matter of bringing the current versions into the game and determining the best approach for final recordings. We thought we would offer you all a fun Christmas treat, so here’s a preview of just a few of the tracks Hannah has both composed AND performed for the game.

For voiceover, we added a new member to the sound team, Steven, a SCAD student. Steven has been going through, cleaning up, and equalizing all the remaining VO and it is going smoothly. All the VO should be trimmed and cleaned up by the end of January, with only a few pickups to do in 2018.

Crew Updates

Lantana continues its tradition of mentorship development in 2018 with several new additions: from Northeastern’s Co-Op program, Suraj and Ria are joining us on programming, and Samantha and Ilayda are joining us on art. From SCAD, Madison joined a little while ago on art, and as mentioned, Steven came on board to help with sound and VO. Brian continues his project, tech, and programming management duties, as well as taking over on lead game design. I’m now focusing more heavily on creative direction, level building, and business development.

Restarting Social Media

Now that we’re ramping things up for the upcoming Winter Semester, we’re beginning an overhaul of our Social Media channels and our marketing strategy as a whole. We have always been supporters of streamers and Let’s Players, and we will be focusing most heavily on the content creation community going forward (if you’d like to stream our games, get in touch!). We’ve brought back Screenshot Saturday on Twitter and Instagram to show off some of the incredible new work that’s gone into the game’s art. Using our Showcase functionality, we’ll be bringing more gifs of upcoming levels and even particularly impressive assets. We will also be introducing some new channels in 2018, with new ways for you to be a part of the Lantana Community, so make sure to follow us everywhere @lantanagames! You can find links at the bottom of the website.

Blog Plan

The goal for the Blog is to keep our Programming, Level Building, and Game Design Google Sheets up to date for everyone to see, and write a quarterly blog post summarizing progress. In between posts, the best place to keep track of progress is on the Sheets and on Social Media. You’ll be made aware of new Blog posts on our social media profiles, as well as in the Lantana Ledger.

Stay tuned soon for Brian’s updates on programming, level building, and design! For now, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thank you for your continued support and thank you for playing.

– Danny

2017-12-25T09:11:36+00:00 December 25th, 2017|

Mondrian Returns to Groupees!

Mondrian – Abstraction in Beauty has returned to Groupees for the Best of Remute Bundle! From now through August 31, you can pick up Mondrian plus 10 more games for just a dollar. Choose anywhere from 2 to all 11 games. The more you buy, the more discounts you get! https://groupees.com/remutebest

We have also just pushed a small Hotfix update to Mondrian to clean up an issue with the “No Paddle” challenge that prevented the ball from moving. If you still have trouble with this, please let us know.

Make sure to share the bundle with your friends and pick up some extras for gifts!

– Danny

2017-08-18T10:45:01+00:00 August 17th, 2017|

Join us at Spring Play on May 31!

We are excited to announce that we will be at Playcrafting Boston’s Spring Play event on May 31! The show will be at Laugh Boston, between 6:00 and 10:00pm EDT. We’ll be bringing Mondrian, so come by, play the game, meet the team, and find out what the future holds for this award winning, art history brickbreaker (and yes, there is a future for it). Early bird tickets are just $5, or $10 at the door.

Get your tickets here and make sure to follow Playcrafting Boston on Twitter for more information.

2017-05-17T09:57:16+00:00 May 17th, 2017|

SurvRAM 7 DRM Being Added to All Lantana Titles

Lantana Games is proud to announce a new partnership with SurvRAM, a Digital Rights Management company and the industry leader in consumer protection, piracy prevention, and incomprehension. Their SurvRAM 7 software will be included with all Lantana Games titles, past and present, going forward. SurvRAM offers our customers a whole new way of protecting their games and totally won’t install any malware to your computer or anything. Really!

Starting April 1, when you launch Children of Liberty Early Access or Mondrian – Abstraction in Beauty, you’ll be greeted with SurvRAM’s user-friendly interface for validating your games. SurvRAM uses a convenient 2FA check to make sure you’re not a pirate by running both an online validation in the software itself, and also by sending you an Authy code or text message. You only need to do this once an hour, so SurvRAM will barely seem like it’s getting in the way!

Going to be out of WiFi range for a while? No problem! SurvRAM offers a convenient in-app store to purchase offline validations in bulk, or permanent validations per game. Offline validations are an affordable way to keep playing your game, and are good for 24 hours from the moment they’re used. We promise you, the whole process is as smooth as butter!

With SurvRAM’s dedication to developing a high quality, stable product that that won’t spam your address book about free Steam gift cards (their words) we know you’ll love the extra layers of security and inconvenience that SurvRAM 7 will bring to all our games, from now until APRIL FOOLS’!!!

– Danny

2017-05-17T16:54:02+00:00 April 1st, 2017|

Screenshot Saturday – The Hancock-Clarke House

Today we’re showing off progress on the latest scene from Children of Liberty, the Hancock-Clarke House. Using reference material from the latest renovation, as well as photos and videos of the building, we’ve been able to accurately reconstruct the house as it would have been in 1775. Note that some textures may get shifted around later, but all the wallpaper is also period-accurate.

The Hancock-Clarke House plays an important role in the story of Children of Liberty, being the initial destination of Paul Revere’s Ride. Two very important cutscenes take place in this house, but like everything we build, we’re looking into more ways we can use the house in the game itself.

More detail is obviously on the way, but we thought we’d give you just a little taste of how things are shaping up! Make sure to join in the conversation on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and gives the screenshots a thumbs up!

– Danny

2017-02-18T15:20:07+00:00 February 18th, 2017|

Upcoming Events – Winter 2017

Want to come chill with Lantana Games? We have a couple upcoming events later this month and in early March! Come play games, buy merch, and meet the team.

MassDiGI Game Challenge

February 24 & 25, Microsoft New England Research & Development, Cambridge, MA
We’ll be returning to the Game Challenge for our third year in a row, and we’ll be bringing Mondrian with us! The MassDiGI Game Challenge is a one-of-a-kind pitch competition and event that helps aspiring game developers launch new games. Come play the latest updates to Mondrian while you’re there and learn more about Lantana’s endeavors to help students jumpstart their careers in game development.

Made in MA at PAX East

March 10, 2017, District Hall, Boston, MA
MassDiGI would like to welcome all to the annual Made In MA at PAX East Party! Lantana Games is headlining the Indie Showcase again, and we’re going to be bringing everything we got. Compete in a high stakes Mondrian Arcade Mode challenge to win awesome prizes! Early bird tickets are just $10 (ends 2/13), $15 after, and $20 at the door.

Hope to see you there!

– Danny

2017-02-09T15:15:38+00:00 February 9th, 2017|

Welcome to the new LantanaGames.Com!

Well LantanaFam, Version 6.0 of our website has officially arrived! As we jump into our eighth year, we wanted to deliver a cleaner, faster-loading, and more on-brand homepage for everyone. In terms of actual content, what you will find here is identical to what we had before, but with several major improvements:

  • Lighter Branding: We have updated our branding to be more colorful and modern, and matched the site to our new color scheme. Readability and simplicity were key in designing the new site.
  • Mobile Friendliness: The whole site has been pre-cached in an effort to greatly improve load times on both desktop and mobile. Certain elements of the site are also controlled differently or turned off on the mobile page to make it as mobile-friendly as possible.
  • Game Pages: Game pages are now laid out in a clean manner, with small galleries, clear info, and easy-to-find links. Scrolling credits are still included!
  • Openings: Team Openings are now listed in a convenient Toggle Box.
  • Content Creators: The “Press and Streamer Keys” page has been renamed to “Content Creators” and moved from the footer to under Community. Key access has also been placed into a convenient Toggle Box.

This new layout is also going to make things a lot easier to add new content, blog posts, and pages, so keep an eye out for more goodies coming soon!

2017 is shaping up to be a very exciting year for Lantana Games and this new site is just the start. Stay tuned, we promise there’s a lot in store.

– Danny

2017-01-17T22:37:09+00:00 January 17th, 2017|

Mondrian OST now on Youtube & Bandcamp

Have we got a treat for you today! Lantana Games is proud to announce that the soundtrack to our latest game, Mondrian – Abstraction in Beauty, is now available for streaming on Youtube and Bandcamp! The music was written by our composers Davidjohn Blodgett & Hannah Hoyt, and features nearly an hour of jazz, trip hop, j-pop, piano, and ambient tracks. You can also buy tracks on Bandcamp for $1 each, or $8.99 for the whole soundtrack which includes an exclusive bonus track, Tonalism!

 


Stream it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/xVjbQjDh8KQ
Buy it on Bandcamp: https://lantanagames.bandcamp.com/releases

We hope you enjoy the music!

Danny

2015-11-10T14:58:30+00:00 November 10th, 2015|

PAX Panel – No Indie is an Island

Ahoy Patriots! Who’s going to PAX East this weekend? If you’ll be there on Saturday, make sure to come to the panel “No Indie is an Island” at noon in the Cuttlefish Theater!

“Being an Indie developer doesn’t mean being alone. Learn from indie developers how finding the right team, engaging in the development community, and creating events can help you become a better developer and become a champion of friendships. Join the developers of Closure, Children of Liberty, Go Home Dinosaurs, Jungle Rumble, Elegy for a Dead World, and the event organizer from Indies Need Booze on how you can get involved in the community at large.”

The panel features myself (Dan), Jacob Clark (Indies Need Booze), Trevor Stricker (Disco Pixel), Ichiro Lambe (Dejobaan Games), Eitan Glinert (Fire Hose Games), Tyler Glaiel (mega indie, check out his upcoming game Bombernauts), and a surprise special guest:

TOM FULP OF THE BEHEMOTH!

You can learn more about the panel and other great talks in the PAX East schedule here: http://east.paxsite.com/schedule/panel/no-indie-is-an-island

If you have any questions about Children of Liberty or Lantana Games’ “teaching studio” efforts, Dan will be hanging around after the panel until The Enforcers tell him to clear out.

And yes, we’ll have EX12 news VERY SOON! This is a big one. Stay tuned, Patriots, and see you at PAX!

– Dan

Via:: Children of Liberty News

2015-03-05T03:42:47+00:00 March 5th, 2015|

America’s Foods – Tidewater Chili

Image/s Courtesy of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation www.colonialwilliamsburg.com or www.history.org All rights reserved.

Image/s Courtesy of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation www.colonialwilliamsburg.com or www.history.org All rights reserved.

This week’s Winter Colonial Recipe is a hearty bowl of Tidewater Chili! The Tidewater region is the easternmost portion of Virginia in what is known as the Commonwealth of Virginia. The term tidewater can be given to any area where the water level is significantly affected by the tides, and will vary based on the maximum tide height when the water comes in. Settlers of early America would plant fields of tobacco around this area to reap their crops using the excellent drainage system that came with the land. This recipe comes from the book Entertaining Ideas from Williamsburg.

Ingredients (18-20 servings)
4 large onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup peanut oil
3 cans (28 ounces each) Italian plum tomatoes
2 cans (29 ounces each) tomato puree
2 teaspoons oregano
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons basil
1/3 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
2 pounds Surry County, Virginia, smoked sausage or Italian smoked sausage
5 pounds lean chuck
4 cans (15 ounces each) red kidney beans, drained

It’s unclear to say if the region was known the chili bowl, or if the meal is representative of the watery characteristic that tidewater regions are known for, but one thing’s for sure: it is definitely delicious. This bowl of onions, red pepper flakes, smoked sausage and kidney beans are sure to warm the many stomachs of freezing Patriots all throughout the New England region. Begin by sauteing the chopped onions with some garlic in peanut oil. After a little bit stir in tomatoes, herbs, and spices and simmer this with the inclusion of lean chuck (ground meat). Drain the sausages and add this to the mixture, then simmer the whole thing for one hour. Finally, add the beans to the pot and you’ve got yourself a great colonial meal for the cold nights! The full recipe, with additional ingredients and instructions, can be found here (hyperlink: http://www.history.org/almanack/recipes/tidewaterchili.cfm?showSite=mobile-regular).

2015-02-19T21:32:28+00:00 February 19th, 2015|