October 23, 2020

Face-Plant Adventures Replanted released today

Florence Face-Plant, the plantagonist of our game Face-Plant Adventures, has come a long way since the first incarnation on the now defunct Xbox LIVE Indie Games channel (XBLIG) on Xbox 360. You can read all about the creation of the original game in this post mortem. Not only have the past three months been dedicated to finally bringing the game back from the dead and making it run on Windows PC, it's also been enhanced in several ways, mainly in terms of gameplay and visuals. After taking care of strange bugs and mysterious crashes, as well as precious feedback from QA testers, Face-Plant Adventures Replanted has finally been released into the wild today. Check out some gameplay in the Release Trailer below!

Head over to our Games page to download the Replanted Edition, which is also available on other popular indiegame platforms. And I've saved the best for last: The game will only cost you a tiny little bit of bandwidth as it is absolutely free. We hope you will enjoy the game as much as we enjoyed making it!

October 10, 2020

Fun with Switches and Crashes

Before talking about a nasty crash haunting my game, let's have a look at some gameplay and its switch mechanics. This video shows how to solve the optional switch puzzle at the end of the level "Odd World Of Goo" and how to unlock the "High wire artist" Awardment along the way.

There are some gameplay tips at the end of the video, too, that should help accomplishing this high wire act easily. Now that we got the fun part out of the way, let's talk about a problem that was not so much fun to figure out.

The past two weeks have been a little worrisome. Two of my testers reported a mysterious crash right after starting up the game. While checking the save game the program would throw an exception, but the error message was not really giving me any clue as to what caused the issue. At first I assumed some problem with the creation of the save file, a permissions problem maybe, but after deactivating saving altogether the crash still occurred, which ruled out this angle. I also suspected backwards compatibility issues of the .NET framework. The original game was built using XNA 4.0 and .NET 4.0, my tester's PC is running on .NET 4.8. So I looked into ways of avoiding potential compatibility issues but didn't really get anywhere with this approach.

"Face-Plant Adventures RE isn't working anymore."

But I kept searching the interwebs and read many not very helpful forum threads until I finally stumbled upon an entry in the Steam forums that sounded a lot like the issue I was dealing with. It turned out that several other XNA games would also crash after startup or have audio issues when the Windows Media Player was not installed on a user's machine. To verify this I uninstalled the player on my machine and then was able to reproduce the crash. After checking and creating/loading the save file, the game starts playing back music and with Windows Media Player not available this would cause the crash. I was not aware of this dependency and wouldn't know how to avoid it, but at least I can include this information in the game's readme file now. And now that my remaining two testers can finally check out the game, I will just wait for their feedback before I will finally get the game ready for release.

September 26, 2020

A Glance at Awardments

These videos provide a first look at the Awardments (our in-game achievements) that can be unlocked in the Replanted Edition of Face-Plant Adventures for Windows PC. Short guides show how to unlock the "Gone in 60 seconds" and "Breaking the fourth wall" Awardments.

Some general tips that make obtaining the Awardments a little easier are placed at the end of each video.

While still waiting for feedback on the master build from my game testers, I figured it would be nice to present the Awardments this way while showing some of the game's mechanics and providing some gameplay tips, too. Considering that September is almost over, the release date will most likely be shifted to October, i.e. until I've gathered all the playtest feedback (and fixed all issues/made changes if necessary). Stay tuned!

September 7, 2020

Happy Birthday, Florence!

Today eight years ago we released the original Face-Plant Adventures on Xbox 360. You can read all about the game's development in this post mortem. The title's plantagonist Florence Face-Plant has matured and is a grown up plant now. They have applied some make-up and acquired some new skills, all of which Florence will show off in the Replanted Edition coming soon (possibly this month) to Windows PC. Of course it would have been nice to give birth to the PC version today, but you can't have a garden with lovely plants without some bugs, too.

September 1, 2020

The Art of Face-Plant Adventures

A post mortem

Eight years ago we released Face-Plant Adventures to the now defunct Xbox Live Indie Games (XBLIG) channel on Xbox 360. The game was a Dream Build Play 2012 finalist that made it to the top 20 of the challenge (of ca. 200 submissions) and hit the marketplace in September that year. It was generally well received in playtest and peer review on the App Hub as well as in reviews on gaming websites/blogs and in Let's Play videos after release. Overall, it received mixed ratings on indie gaming blogs and polarized players, who either really loved or strongly disliked it, mostly divided by the title's difficulty. A classic 2D platformer, it featured hand drawn graphics, an original soundtrack, an adventure mode with 11 action packed levels to explore, unlockable medals and awardments, three difficulty settings and online rankings for speed runners to compare their best times.

Xbox Dashboard of best rated indie games

Among 3311 titles released on XBLIG in Germany, Face-Plant Adventures ranked on place 119 in the top rated list before the service was closed for good in September 2017. While it sold only slightly more than 200 copies, we still consider it quite an accomplishment to have finished this project to at least some acclaim and to have had a game out on a game console, if only for a limited time.