fuzzyorbitgames

Burglars, Inc. Art Style

Hello, everyone! Here’s a quick post about the art of Burglars, Inc.

When we first started making Burglars, Inc., one of the questions we had to answer was what was the game going to look like? It’s always a hard thing to figure out when you’re at the beginning. I had done stylized, cartoony, and realistic art looks for previous projects (examples below), but we knew we wanted something a bit different for Burglars, Inc.

After a lot of thought, we tried focusing on edges rather than lines (diagonals felt better for some reason), big flat shapes, cool colors, and lots of simplified cast shadows to define form. It ended up becoming something that felt like a cross between a comic book and animation, with film noir influence. This look worked for us in three major ways –  it was easy to read on smaller phone screens, it compressed well so we could keep our game’s file size small, and it fit our theme. Huzzah!

Once we hit upon a style we liked, it was just a matter of refining it with good old-fashioned trial and error. Here’s an example of a speed painting done in the art style of Burglars, Inc. I hadn’t drawn Chase in a while when I recorded this video, so it took a few tries to get her likeness correct. Thanks, and happy burgling!

Inspiration for Burglars, Inc.

Hi Everyone! If you like Burglars, Inc. you might like to try some of the puzzle games that inspired it! Here’s a quick blog highlighting some of our favorites.

Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes

Image result for might and magic clash of heroes box art

This gem was created by Capybara Games for the Nintendo DS in 2011. The developers took their unique puzzle mechanic from their previous game, Critter Crunch (also very fun), and wrapped it in high quality fantasy trappings. The story is a bit generic, but the art shines and the gameplay is original and utterly addicting. The DS version had a really great vs mode too!

Puzzle Quest

Image result for puzzle quest psp box art

Originally released on the Nintendo DS, PSP, and Windows in 2007, Infinite Interactive took a really simple match 3 puzzler, added some new and innovative features, and mashed it together with a story-driven fantasy epic into a fully featured RPG. It was amazing how far they stretched the simple match 3 mechanic and still kept the game fresh. The story was forgettable, the art was standard fare, but man…what an addicting game. There have been a few sequels and spin-offs, but in my option, the original is still the best.

The Phoenix Wright Series

Image result for phoenix wright ace attorney box art

Although this series has some puzzle-like elements, it plays more like an interactive detective novel. The first title was launched way back in 2001, but new games have continually been released by Capcom every few years, including 2016’s Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice. The art and the writing are top notch, but what really makes it memorable are all of the zany characters and their bizarrely compelling dialog. My personal favorites in the series are Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies and Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, but all of them are great.

The Professor Layton Series

Image result for professor layton curious village box art

Professor Layton and the Curious Village was easily my favorite game of 2008 when it was released in North America. It has a unique setting, interesting characters, brilliant puzzles, and immaculate production values from start to finish, including a quirky and stellar soundtrack. It was developed by the pros at Level-5 and a new game in the series pops up every few years. All of them are worth playing. If you have a DS or 3DS and haven’t tried a Professor Layton game, do it. You won’t regret it.

There’s way more games that we can list that influence us as developers, but those are the ones we looked to most often when figuring out how to make Burglars, Inc. the best we could. What are your favorite puzzle games? Let us know. Happy burgling!

Burglars, Inc. Tool Tips!

Every good burglar knows you need the right tool for the right job. Tools in Burglars, Inc. can be earned as mission rewards or bought in the handy Hardware Shop with the cash that you earn in the game. They can be lifesavers on particularly tricky missions, so pack a few in your tool belt and don’t hesitate to use them!

Hand Drill – Fills the meter a small amount

Cost: $1000

Pro tip! Use the hand drill if you need to boost the meter up a bit to gain another star

 

Ice Spray – Freezes the clock for a little while

Cost: $1500

Pro tip! You can use the ice spray in Locke’s levels to gain an extra trigger push

 

Linker – Changes a puzzle piece to a 4 link piece

Cost: $2500

Pro tip! Use these bad boys on the bottom row to create monster multi-chains

 

Crowbar – Breaking pieces adds more to the meter for a while

Cost: $2500

Pro tip! Wait until you have a really nice chain, then use the crowbar and break it

 

Wire Cutter – Breaks some pieces and collects bonuses

Cost: $2000

Pro tip! Use these at the start of security missions to soften up the security borders

 

Bomb Defuser – Gets rid of traps for a while

Cost: $1000

Pro tip! Need a break from those pesky bombs? Use this to clear all traps on a mission

 

Flash Bang – Resets the puzzle board for free

Cost: $2000

Pro tip! If you’ve used up all the good puzzle pieces, toss this in the mix to reset the board

 

Flashlight – Collects all bonuses

Cost: $1000

Pro tip! Use this to collect cash, tool boxes, and all of the time bonuses you can see

 

Compound interest – Cash bonuses earn more for a while

Cost: $1000

Pro tip! Combo this tool with the super tools Loot Lure or Mega Flash and earn fat stacks!

 

There’s tons more items in the game to get, like super tools, outfits, eye wear, and gadgets. Each one will help in different ways, so be sure to try them all. Happy burgling, and thanks for reading from your friendly burglars at Burglars, Inc!

Launch Day!

Burglars, Inc. is officially out on the iOS App Store! After 3 years since the original concept was formed, the game has finally shipped.

Special thanks to Cat Neri for helping us with our sound effects, Bryan Teoh for his awesome original music, and John Baez and the Research Centaur for providing great UX+QA support. And SUPER SPECIAL THANKS to our families (wives especially) who supported us throughout the process.

And thank YOU for checking our game out! We hope you like it.

Andy and Patrick

Early on, we had no idea how we were going to find the right music to really match the theme of the Burglars, Inc. universe and the pace of its puzzle solving adventures.

Patrick, our creative guy, has been known to write the occasional song for his band, so he initially took a stab at composing a demo track for Chase’s puzzles. It helped us get a feel for the style of music we thought would work well in the game, which we call “spy jazz”. Check it out here (warning – it was never mixed so the quality is pretty garbage):

Patrick quickly discovered he didn’t have the jazz chops to pull off what we were looking for in Burglars, Inc. Ultimately, this demo made us realize we needed a professional!

We started searching for someone who was already producing music in this style and eventually stumbled upon a song by composer Bryan Teoh that perfectly represented the “spy jazz” vibe we were after. After sampling more of Bryan’s work on Newgrounds.com and SoundCloud, we were super impressed with the quality of his arrangements and his versatility in composing a wide range of musical styles. We immediately knew he was the man for the job, and were thrilled that he took up our offer to score the game!

Check out Bryan’s blog post here in which he goes into detail about his Burglars, Inc. composition process and how he arrived at the final arrangement. Be sure to take a listen. It’s really, really good!

The World of Burglars, Inc.

“It’s another typical night in the city, full of corruption, blackmail, and the wanton extortion of the citizens by the powers that be.

But there is hope. A mysterious organization composed of a few brave men and women have joined forces to stand up to injustice. Operating on the outskirts of the law, they are determined to steal back what has been taken, one job at a time. 

They are known as Burglars, Inc.”

The above quote is the opening to Burglars, Inc. (coming soon to the Apple App Store). The game takes place in a city corrupted by greed with a few “haves” exploiting a mass of “have-nots.” However, there is one group that is looking out for the little guy, namely Burglars, Inc.

“Wait,” you may ask, “the burglars are the good guys?” Yep! That’s how crooked and upside down the city is. Burglars, Inc. is an organization created by reformed burglars who want to help out the oppressed citizenry by using their burgling skills – basically they’re modern-day Robin Hoods. They’ve been fighting the good fight for a long time, but there’s still a lot of work to do. That’s where you come in!

The game starts with the player in the role of Chase, a new recruit in the ranks of Burglars, Inc. She’s green, impatient, and has a lot to learn. Luckily, she has a former Burglars, Inc. member showing her the ropes: her old friend Hackett.

Hackett will send Chase out on all sorts of jobs to recover stolen items like love letters, jewels, heirlooms, antiques, lost treasures, and cold, hard cash. Of course, you’ll need to return the stolen items to their rightful owners. Except the cash! You keep all the cash you earn. You can use it to buy cool tools and fancy burglar gear to give you an edge on tough missions. Or just keep your cash in a giant pile to swim in or stuff it under your mattress, because you never know when you might need it in the future…

As Chase progresses, she’ll eventually need to find a partner in crime – all members of Burglars, Inc. work with a teammate. She likes to do everything fast, so hopefully she can pair up with someone with more patience. And someone not too lazy. Chase really doesn’t like lazy people. He’s going to be lazy, isn’t he?

Anyway, that’s just a quick introduction to the world of Burglars, Inc. We hope you’ll try it out for yourselves and let us know what you think!

Oh, and if you’re curious, here’s an image of some rough “comic book style” stills that were used in the original intro to Burglars, Inc. before it was replaced by the short monologue at the top of this blog. This change allowed players to get into the game more quickly. Plus, if a monologue is good enough for the A-Team, it’s good enough for us! The old intro is relegated to the trash bins of the dev cycle, but at least you can get a peek at it here. Thanks for reading!

In the Beginning...

Hi everyone! For those curious about how Burglars, Inc. got started, here’s a quick peek into the game’s origins.

In the summer of 2013, Andy and Patrick were working together at a large game studio that was wrapping up a many year, multi-platform project. Andy suggested to Patrick that they should make a personal project on the side to fulfill an irresistible passion to create their own games – he’d be the tech guy and Patrick would be the art/design guy. Patrick agreed, of course!

Andy had some success on the iPhone previously with 2009’s Koi Pond, so creating another iOS title seemed like a good place to start. Patrick came up with a rough concept for a new kind of puzzle game called Tesla’s Coils. Below is the first sketch of the game dated 5/21/2013. It’s ugly, but it’s the definitive beginning of Burglars, Inc!

teslas_coils_concept

The idea for this puzzle game was to create a chain that connected Tesla coils on the left or right of the screen down to a giant battery at the bottom. Once complete, the player would tap the coil and a bolt of electric lightning would run through the chain and charge the battery.

Andy thought that the general game idea was good, but was unsure about the “Tesla” theme. After some thought, Patrick came up with an idea to frame the same puzzle mechanic as a burglar trying to break into a safe. It was decided that this might be a more exciting angle to try. Pictured below is the first basic prototype of the game on the left…and on the right is the completed product many, many iterations later.

prototype3

The prototype proved the puzzle mechanic was simple but fun, so now all that needed to be done was to build the game! Patrick started to rough out some characters that could inhabit the world. The first sketch he made is pictured below on the left. After some revisions, Chase was born! Did you know her original name was briefly Chloe?

chole2

As work continued, a vision started to coalesce around a group of burglars working in a corrupt city, stealing back things for the good citizens like modern day Robin Hoods. Andy came up with a name for this group, and consequently the name for the game – Burglars, Inc.

Below is the first rough sketch of the city where the game takes place. It went through a lot of changes! Although he drew it, Patrick honestly can’t remember why there’s pink pieces of cake in the image on the left. Mmmmm…cake…

original_map_concept2

Well, that’s how it all got started! It’s come a loooong way after a lot of sweat and tears and finally launches later this month on the Apple App Store. Let us know what you think!

Thanks for checking in!
Andy and Patrick