Salmi Games  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Salmi Games  RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Ellipsis Review - Minimalism Fine Tuned For PC https://www.gameskinny.com/378rm/ellipsis-review-minimalism-fine-tuned-for-pc https://www.gameskinny.com/378rm/ellipsis-review-minimalism-fine-tuned-for-pc Wed, 25 Jan 2017 11:10:40 -0500 Jeffrey Rousseau

Minimalism describes movements in the arts, especially visual arts and music, where the work is set out to expose the essence, essentials, or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features, or concepts. With this in mind, developer Salmi Games has now released Ellipsis on Steam. Does a title made with the intention to offer less ultimately enough? -- Find out in our PC review.

Control

Upon starting Ellipsis, you are provided no text or directions. You are greeted by a stage in ambient space and a blue, glowing reticle waiting for you to move. Once you control the blue sphere, the stage music starts and your goal is simple. Collect a number of spheres until a goal appears, you then must simply pass through it to complete the level. This is a welcomed breath of fresh air because the game is designed well enough where you immediately are aware of your goals. No words, just action.

Explore

The title seemingly takes place in a strange empty portion of space. I say seemingly because after sometime you'll realize this galaxy is many things but small. Your progression feels more like you're charting a course to planets instead of moving from stage to stage. Stages are bright, beautiful, and thought provoking.

You don't know where you're going, however, you go on because wanderlust compels you to do so. Your reward for doing so is to see how complex these planets can become.

Survive

One of Ellipsis' greatest strengths is that its difficulty is organic. Challenges escalate rather slowly, and you'll hardly notice it. In the beginning, things are simple as you just need to reach the goal. Then, obstacles start to show up little by little as you move on. Finally, when you do notice that stages are no longer easy, that's when the game becomes engrossing.

Now, by the time you notice you've naturally become better; as the puzzles and enemies (yes there are enemies) become much more complex nothing will be too difficult for you.

Upgrades

Regarding the PC version of the game, it is far from a simple port from its Android/iOS origins. This PC version comes with a number of new levels. Not to play the numbers game, but the title already has well over 150 levels. So the developer has added more content and more challenges for players that enjoy the shmup experience.

The game also features new sounds. Now the audio production for this title is very well done. Moving to a new platform has improved the experience from a sound quality angle. The ambiance of space, the pings of the orbs, and the hum of enemies are much more noticeable on PC.

The game's visuals are much more vibrant against the canvas of deep space.  The shining goals, the glowing bullets, and even your exploding death are pause worthy. To the developer's credit, the game looks rather stunning. I wasn't sure it could be done. Also no matter how powerful your machine maybe, the game runs smoothly.

Expanding the universe

One new feature I must mention is the level editor. This opens a new facet of the game. With this the brilliance, the game gets much deeper. That's a lot considering the number of levels normally offered.

Players are now left to their own devices. The most difficult stages of the game are now child's play. We now have the ability to create a metagame similar but wholly different from the original.

For example, a stage I created is a pure bullet hell inspired stage. You must maneuver swiftly to collect the orbs and avoid the enemies chasing you. Personally, I look forward to what maniacal creations other players will be to produce. Essentially, the player will be able to create their own galaxy as well.

The other biggest addition to the overall experience of the game is the new controller support. The ability to use a pad makes the game much faster compared to the touch only mobile version. Not only does the game move faster, the difficulty has adjusted in tow as well. As such, this new version of the game is more appealing in terms of fast twitch action.

A bump along the road

Ellipsis does have a few blemishes in it's design and execution however. Now, a controller is welcomed but at times it feels too sensitive. It's a minor complaint but you do have to be more aware of your movements.

The bullet hell design with the more difficult stages may seem too much. The key to said stages involves patience and more patience. Its not "easy" but that is no knock to the game. The difficulty is to be embraced for this one of a kind experience.

Ultimately

This is a rare game that manages to do so much with so little. Your skill and puzzle solving abilities are tested progressively across 150 + stages. You'll explore ever-expanding space featuring colorful visuals and ambient music along your journey.

If you were to ask me what is the best version of the game to play? Without question it would be the PC version. I do frown upon saying that gaming on certain platforms is more immersive than others. However, as someone that's played the game twice now, the ultimate experience is via desktop.

Ellipsis is defined as an intentional omission from text without alerting its original meaning.

With this definition in mind, Salmi Games has developed a game that is certainly minimal in it's design and core. In doing so, they've crafted one of the most entertaining mobile titles available. With that said, we can't recommend playing Ellipsis enough. Ellipsis is available for purchase on Steam. You can check my review of the mobile version here.

Review code was provided by the developer/publisher.

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Twitter Chat Recap: The Inside Scoop on Indie Devs https://www.gameskinny.com/04shr/twitter-chat-recap-the-inside-scoop-on-indie-devs https://www.gameskinny.com/04shr/twitter-chat-recap-the-inside-scoop-on-indie-devs Mon, 29 Aug 2016 11:55:52 -0400 Kat De Shields

A Twitter Chat, or TweetChat, is a real-time Twitter event focused around a specific topic. It's a chance to learn from industry subject matter experts and interact with people with similar interests in an informal way. Co-hosted by Kickapoo Joy Juice, our Indie Dev Extravaganza Twitter Chat featured six indie studios. This article is a recap of our Twitter Chat and highlights the thoughts and expertise of those who participated.

The Participants

Salmi Games 

Based in Munich, Germany, Salmi Games recently released EllipsisYacine Salmi, one half of the two-man team, represented Salmi Games and gave us some great advice. The game is available for purchase for iOS and Android

Trouble Impact

Located in Austin, TX, Cat Musgrove and Issam Khalil are working on a release version of Color Thief. For more information, check out this interview with Trouble Impact.  

Fat Panda Games

Located in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico, Fat Panda Games has created multiple titles including Flat Kingdom (available for purchase on Steam for Mac and PC) and Lobo with Shotguns. Gerardo Garcia, Director of Fat Panda Games, joined us to answer some questions. 

Clockwork Giant Games

Based in Madison, WI, Clockwork Giant Games is currently working on Vulpine. The game was successfully Greenlit by the Steam community and is now on Kickstarter

Fishing Cactus

Located in Mons, Belgium, the Fishing Cactus team has created multiple games and recently released Epistory: Typing Chronicles -- now available for purchase on Steam. Sophie Schiaratura, Fishing Cactus' PR manager, joined us to chat. 

Frogdice Studios

Based in Lexington, KY, Frogdice Studio has created multiple games, including Threshold RPG. They are currently working on Stash, a new spin on MMORPGs. Michael Hartman, CEO of Frogdice, joined us for his second Twitter Chat. 

 

 

The Inside Scoop 

...work together, but we still make an effort to go out and interact with people on a regular basis. We do indie meetups & work with other indies at coffee shops. Stay social or you will have issues, especially if you’re an introvert! (Personally, working alone so much gave me BIG problems with anxiety, so I know this one from experience.)

Indies' success story have a rose tinted glasses vision of how they succeeded ("Work hard")

...without noticing small technical details and trying to reverse engineer everything.

"Haha yeah Ruins a bit of the mystery when you notice the tricks of the trade. Still hasn't kept me from enjoying a game though :)" - Clockwork Giant 

Also don't forget the last 10% takes 90% of the effort :p

...of free game engines, and some of it don't even require that you know how to program. If you’re past that stage and want to go full time, have a plan for where your livelihood is going to come from because it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll make money from your first (maybe any???) of your games.

Learn how to do your own accounting/taxes, knowing the flow of your money is critically important. "Tax deductible" does not mean it's OK to spend the money. Learn how to program, either C++ or C#. It's hard to learn from scratch, but you need that basic knowledge. Learn how art/design work, what tools are used, what are the rules. Get knowledge to offer constructive criticism.

Don't do premium mobile games from the start, the amount of work to get noticed cost too much initially. Don't listen to indie success stories, look for indie's failure and try to learn things to avoid.

Take some time to polish up a prototype or two. It's great practice for becoming better at presentation and usability!

...to meet new people when you’re working at home. You can even start meeting other indies @ local events before you start.

 

...setback. Making sure they know why it happened and what we’re going to do about it for the future.

We do our best to make sure we're ok money-wise & we’re not sinking into debt as we take longer on the game. We also stay as as open as possible with our followers about what's going on.

 

...get tunnel-vision when you’re developing something for so long, and start to question everything. When you actually see people playing it, it’s a reminder of why you’re putting in so much time, & that people actually want to play it. My other answer is setting short term goals. Again, b/c we’ve been working on the game for so long, it can feel like this big, amorphous blob - but breaking it down into small parts makes it feel much more manageable.

Adding some polish to the game, like a better UI, helps a lot. It allow you to start visualizing the end.

...feedback. We try to foster community by giving them a place to share ideas, enthusiasm and fanart.

We work with Let's Player that are fans, giving them an early access and answering questions during their stream.

Since we’re in Austin, there are a lot of local events and we’ve started to recognize some players &build a relationship. All of our streamers so far have been people we’ve met at conventions! We also keep a dev blog that we update weekly. (Although the blog is a little hard to find unless you're looking for it - I'd like to make it easier to stumble upon.)

 That’s what the super secret newsletter is for. :D

But basically just try to be fair.

...can change. If you like the idea but the execution is a little lacking, consider giving the game another chance.

It's the same for a AAA game but for an indie game it will look a lot more rough. Try to preview the gameplay mechanic, the experience that the game is trying to offer. Is it something that will be new, that is worth the time to discover? When reviewing, keep in mind that indies game are not targeting the mass market, they are trying to offer a new experience that is currently not served by the AAA studios. In that way, focusing on the new experience should be what's important, versus things expected of AAA games.

This often makes them less featured than AAA games, but it allows them to be more unique.

...As well as inviting indie devs to give their perspective on current events.

As a developer, don´t just turn yourback on reviews, but learn to listen the ones that matter.

"This applies to Streamers and YouTubers with Press Kits as well. Even if it's just saying that a game is 'not your style' to show." - @ArkisVir

The single best thing you can do for an indie dev is make sure you always are open with them. Telling people lies, is basically false advertising the game. Indies don't have marketing budgets to counteract lies.

You don't have to sell it, but you can help other people know about a game they might like. Fan art!!! Emails/Tweets saying you like the game!! Seeying/reading that people like your work motivate us a lot!

We hoped you learned a lot from this week's Twitter Chat! Are you an indie developer or an indie fan with your own answers to these questions? Let us know what you think in the comments below! 

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The Ambient Universe of Ellipsis: Interview with Salmi Games https://www.gameskinny.com/3q1n6/the-ambient-universe-of-ellipsis-interview-with-salmi-games https://www.gameskinny.com/3q1n6/the-ambient-universe-of-ellipsis-interview-with-salmi-games Fri, 19 Aug 2016 09:00:01 -0400 Kat De Shields

Salmi Games' Ellipsis is a space-themed strategy game where you navigate a ship through a dark and mysterious universe. In addition to winning Best Indie Game designation at MomoCon 2016, Ellipsis also won Intel's Game of the Year Award. Our official review of the game rated it a 9/10, stating: 

Ellipsis is a fun game that will redefine what you think mobile games can offer. You will be challenged, you will evolve, and leave all the better.

Yacine Salmi, one half of a two-man development team, took some time to chat with us about Ellipsis's creation and development process. 

GameSkinny: What games, art and experiences influenced Ellipsis?

Yacine Salmi: Art -- Geometry Wars, Eliss, Osmos. Games -- Super Mario World and Zelda -- the games of my childhood. Mario was a major influence in terms of pure fun and polished design. With all its dungeons and cannonball mazes, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past  particularly stuck with me. As for experiences, all the great games out there that don't hold the player's hand and yet are so extremely polished, so intuitive, where you feel the developers took care of every aspect of your experience. We want to pay homage to games like that.

GS: What made you take the plunge into game development? 

YS: When I was a kid, I couldn't fathom how games came to me. I understood a Nintendo cartridge contained electronics and chips but I didn't grasp the concept of software. QBasic broke that mental barrier for me. It came with a few games and access to their source code. This is when I first understood how games are made. But it wasn't until after my bachelors, struggling to find work in the post-dotcom bubble world, that I seriously considered games. I came across what was, at the time, one of the first Masters programs in Games Programming (Hull University). That's when game development turned from a distant dream to a distinct possibility. These days it's much easier to take the plunge with all the tools available online. It's fantastic.  

GS: In your press kit, you mentioned that you purposefully made Ellipsis without text to make it accessible to gamers from other countries. Is this something you'll incorporate in games moving forward?

YS: Yes as much as possible. I don't think it's always possible to completely do away with text, but it's important that games are as intuitive as possible. Constraining ourselves to not use text forced us to solve countless design problems which led to an overall more intuitive and fun experience for all players (including those that can't read yet!) We hope all our games will hit that same quality level.

GS: If you could go back to the beginning knowing what you know now, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

YS: Probably release much earlier. We took a long and circuitous route to get here, making a lot of mistakes along the way. Obviously we wouldn't repeat them, but even more so, I think it's important to release early and often. Especially in the mobile world where you are rarely going to hit success on a single title. You need to build a repertoire of games to increase your chance at success and sustainability.

GS: Can you share a memorable success and a memorable disappointment during the development process?

YS: The most memorable success would be the day after we launched, we appeared on Apple's list of Best New Games. To be recognized that way among the hundreds of games that came out was a huge honor. 

Biggest disappointment...releasing the game in a broken state for all players on iOS 7. It was such a simple stupid oversight, and easy to fix. It took us weeks to even understand what was causing people to have crashes. And when we discovered the cause (and the simple fix), we had to hold back on deploying it because of how updates reset your ratings on iOS. I was very disappointed that we made such a simple oversight after all the efforts we put into the game. But such is life and we certainly learned from it. 

Ah let's balance that one out with one more success point: getting featured in Spiegel Online (Germany's equivalent of the New York Times) was simply amazing.

 

GS: What advice do you have for those hoping to make their own game?

YS: Just do it! Don't hesitate. Start and produce something. Don't seek success (at least at first). Make something you want to play, something you wish existed but doesn't. Focus on creating and releasing. Do it often, gather feedback, learn from it and repeat. This is the fastest path to success and expertise.

GS: What's next for Ellipsis and Salmi Games?

YS: We have lots in the pipeline, but as a two-man team it's a challenge to prioritize and get everything done. We released a free version of Ellipsis for Android. It's ad-supported and compliments the premium version we have already on the market. We want to offer options to the broad Android market. Some other coming updates include:

  • Another (free) level pack for Ellipsis to round off the year. Think 'secret road' from Super Mario World. It will be super hard.
  • A GearVR version of Ellipsis - this one is super fun.
  • Prototyping a procedurally-generated infinite version based in the same universe.
  • And experimenting like crazy with room-based VR. We're very excited about the possibilities in this area. So many new design problems to solve.

Ellipsis is available for purchase for $2.99 on iOS and Android. It will be available on PC/Steam later this year, so stay posted via newsletter

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Ellipsis Review - Minimalism at its finest https://www.gameskinny.com/02nt1/ellipsis-review-minimalism-at-its-finest https://www.gameskinny.com/02nt1/ellipsis-review-minimalism-at-its-finest Thu, 07 Jul 2016 17:23:28 -0400 Jeffrey Rousseau

Minimalism describes movements in the arts, especially visual arts and music, where the work is set out to expose the essence, essentials or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts. With this in mind, developer Salmi Games created their first mobile title Ellipsis. Does a title made with the intention to offer less offer you enough? -- Find out in our review.

Touch

Upon starting Ellipsis, you are provided no text or directions. You are greeted by a stage in ambient space and a blue glowing reticle waiting for your touch. Once you hold down the blue sphere, the stage music starts and your goal is simple. Collect a number of spheres, the goal will appear and you must simply pass through it. This is a welcomed breath of fresh air because the game is designed well enough where you immediately are aware of your goals. No words just action.

Explore

The title seemingly takes place in a strange empty portion of space. I say seemingly because after time you'll realize that this galaxy is many things but small. Your progression feels more like you're charting a course to planets instead of moving from stage to stage. Stages are bright, beautiful, and thought provoking. You don't know where you're going but go on because wanderlust compels you to do so. Your reward for doing so is to see how complex these planets can become.

Survive

One of Ellipsis' greatest strengths is that its difficulty is organic. Challenges escalate rather slowly, and you'll hardly notice it. In the beginning, things are simple as you just need to reach the goal. Then, obstacles start to show up little by little as you move on. Finally, when you do notice that stages are no longer easy, that's when the game becomes engrossing. Now, by the time you notice you've naturally become better; as the puzzles and enemies (yes there are enemies) become much more complex nothing will be too difficult for you.

 A bump along the road

Ellipsis does have a few blemishes in it's design and execution however. Now, you'll control your blue sphere with your index finger. With the more difficult stages, you need to have a full view of all its hazards. Your finger may obscure your view partially as you navigate the stage and cause more deaths than you like. This is a minor problem and can be addressed with a stylus pen.

Ultimately

This is a rare game that manages to do so much with so little. Your skill and puzzling solving abilities are tested progressively across 130 + stages. You'll explore ever-expanding space featuring colorful visuals and ambient music along your journey.

Ellipsis is defined as an intentional omission from a text without alerting its original meaning.

With this definition in mind, Salmi Games has developed a game that is certainly minimal in it's design and core. In doing so, they've crafted one of the most entertaining mobile titles available. With that said, we can't recommend playing Ellipsis enough. Ellipsis is available for download on the Google Play and Apple Store. 

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