We Are… VR!

Hello ZeMind blog fans!

It is I, Charlie Ze Newbie updating you on the latest in our studio. I know, I know. You’ve been dying to know when the next official game is coming out. We hear you, and we know it’s been a while since you’ve heard any news on VERSUS, our lovely RTS/Tower Defense game.

Good news! VERSUS hasn’t gone anywhere, It’s still very much in development. Our art department just needed a little more time in the oven to bake up our tray of assets.

Very soon we’ll have some extra screengrabs for you to take a peek at. Nothing huge, just a few menus, but it will give you a taste of the aesthetics we’re going for.

In other ZeMind game news, we’ve gone ahead and jumped on the VR bandwagon. Join us! There’s plenty of room. Earlier last week we picked up the well designed and incredibly comfortable MERGE VR headset. Light, made of a memory foam and featuring some soft straps around the head, we can’t recommend this headset strongly enough for game developers looking to make waves in the land of mobile VR. Heck, it even features an adaptable flap for all your AR (augmented reality) games.

We haven’t quite  pushed it to the limits yet, and as of late we’ve mostly just run stereoscopic 360 video, but all in all it seems like a pretty cool experience. Catching music videos where you’re part of the set as well as taking VR trips in flight seems like a great way to experience the medium.

That about wraps it up for us this week, follow us on social media for more updates!

Charlie Ze Newbie

We promise you won’t be disappointed:


Testing, Testing, 1-2-3

Prototype for our card game!

Last week we were polishing up the core of our card game, when it dawns on me that there hasn’t been a game played in the office that I haven’t been a part of in some sense or another- and this is concerning.

What’s the deal?

The game ‘Mega Fighters’, (as it’s working title has come to be called,) is about reducing your opponent’s health to zero using a combination of cards representing punches, kicks, and grappling moves. Custom card games can be a bit complicated on their own, but when designed to simulate the gamesmanship of physical combat, nuance goes straight out the window.

Now that the solid foundations of the game has been laid, it’s time for a crucial part of any game development: The testing. Simultaneously the best and worst part of a game’s pre-launch sequence, the testing is days, weeks or even months long.

So to test effectively, we’ve printed out the hard copy board game edition of the rules and asked a test duo to play the game as intended without any interference. So far it’s turned out pretty well, although a fair amount questions do pop up. These questions have required quite a bit of explanation.

So what have we learned from that experience?

The game’s instructions (from a tabletop perspective) aren’t clear enough. As a bit of a self-horn toot, it’s easy to over explain things when you’re passionate about the projects you work on. This however can lead to excessive directions in the ‘Basic’ rule set and often extends the play time un-necessarily.

As a method of shortening the distance between starting and playing, the solution we’re up for trying will be the flow chart method. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy. No one wants to sift through pages and pages of instruction just to play a 20 minute game (even though most of this will happen automatically as a mobile app, we won’t close the door on the tabletop edition just yet).

We’ll let you know what the feedback is for our new flow-chart instructions! Maybe they’ll help the direction of your next title as well. Don’t forget, if you’ve got a method of letting us know the BEST way to convey card game instructions, we’d love to hear it.

Reach out to us on social media to do so!

Charlie Ze Newbie

We promise you won’t be disappointed:


Bored games? I don’t think so!

Some of the local developers playing ‘Breathe’, our in-progress board game!

We, like many game development studios, like to play games.

Shocking, right?

Along with playing said games, we also like making them.

Mind  =  Blown.

Alright, i’ll stop. But for realsies though, we’re into all sorts of games, not just the digital variety. Over the last few weeks some of the game developers here have brushed off a prototype of an old board game from long ago (in an era before myself, henceforth known as ‘BC’).

The game (‘Breathe’) is a story about a desintegrating space ship with failing systems as all players move toward an escape pod located on the other end of the board. Not all of the pods work, however, and some pods may require players to search for additional parts before ejecting to safety.

The board itself is a tile set. The map tiles are unrevealed as players move from their starting point and as they (all 2-6 of them). Player turns are conducted in much a Dungeons and Dragons tabletop roleplaying style, with phases including ‘Actions’ and ‘Movement’. Each tile may reveal a hazard or reward within a given room and at the end of each turn, pow! An event happens. Usually catastrophic, often changing the board/item/hazard layout and altering player strategies.

The game feels like something made from the Battlestar Galactica tabletop game crossed with something out of a traditional Dungeons and Dragons campaign. It’s fun, takes about an hour to complete and more importantly, encourages varied dialogue between players.

By varied, I mean I get to talk a little trash, because that’s how I roll. Or not, there are no dice in this game. Yet.

The game features both a competitive and cooperative mode with many different types of characters, which, as you guessed, all have abilities which may be of help or hindrance depending on situation. Originally developed to be a mobile app, the game is a whole lot of fun on a tabletop and we can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

That’s it for updates this week! If you like what we’re up to here at the studio, give our Facebook page a like and don’t forget to follow us on the other social media pages.

Thanks for reading!

-Charlie Ze Newbie

We promise you won’t be disappointed!


ZeMind’s Favourite Games of 2016

Greetings, blog readers!

What were your New Year’s resolutions? Ours was to make more games in 2017. Games you’ll play, and more importantly enjoy. We intend on keeping it. In the spirit of internet trends of making fancy lists and giving them labels, here are the top 5 ZeMind Game Studio games we played in 2016.

5) The Jackbox games… All of them.

It’s easy to see why these games make an appearance on this list. We’re a pretty relaxed studio so during the dying hours of the workweek we occasionally indulge ourselves in a few rounds of ‘Drawful’ or ‘Fibbage’ to help unwind. It’s a great package of party games that help break the ice when meeting new people. It’s also an awesome way to get to know your new employees as well!

4) Rocket League

It’s car soccer, what’s not to enjoy? This game frequently settled debates here at the studio, as well as provided bragging rights for many of the developers. Got a beef with someone who won’t clean up your code? Settle it in the thunderdome, folks. Two cars enter, one car leaves!

3) League of Legends

We’re power nerds, there, I said it. Teaming up to smash people online while our team screams obscenities at each other is sort of the ultimate game developer experience, is it not? Many of our staff also cross over into  anime fandoms which line up pretty well with much of the LOL community.

Just putting it out there, any of you #GameDev teams wanna throw down, we’re up for it!

2) Overwatch

Because the most popular game of 2016 is popular. Also, we like tanks. Not much of a support team here (speaks nothing about our customer service!) but we can cap a point if needed.

It’s a team based shooter that we’d use to settle arguments here if there were only a way to turn friendly fire on…

1)  Ultimate Chicken Horse

There’s not much to be said here that can do this game justice. It’s well designed, has awesome art assets as well as an easy to learn/hard to master arsenal of tools used that are best described as a ‘Sadistic way to playfully lose friends’.

As far as we’re concerned, this is one of the best ways to build a comradery between team members. The games are fast, easy and frequently require all parties to work together just before inevitably causing ruin to fall to all other players. It may very well be the best of both the group building/burning worlds.

So that was our list of the top 5 games we play here at the office, what do ya’ll think?
-Charlie Ze Newbie

If you like the ZeMind Games Blog, feel free to follow us on social media for an inside look at what we do here at the studio. We promise you won’t be disappointed!


Dice to Meet You!

Happy New Year, Internet!

It looks like we’re off and running! So far the response to playing the card prototype has been positive, but it’s shown a strong tendency to end unexpectedly, along with a few awkward card interactions that disrupt the flow and pacing of the game.

Still, it’s looking like a project that’s got some legs and would transfer well into the mobile gaming space, so off we go.

After extensive testing using dice to measure randomness in terms of effective strategy and mitigating variance (which is the fancy way of saying dice didn’t feel like a component in a fighting game), we’ve forgone our six sided pals for a less chance/more strategy oriented approach; A ‘Rock/Paper/Scissors inspired combat system. While we were trying to emulate the chaos and unpredictability of a mixed martial arts fight, it seemed a touch unfair to rely solely on the rolling of dice in order to do it.

So what does switching from dice to Rock/Paper/Scissors actually do? Originally we had planned to use the dice to emulate the success of strikes, for example a more consistent, low damage card can roll everything up to 5 on the die and be successful. This would contrast to rolling a high damage, low success card that would have a much smaller (2 or lower) rate of succeeding.

This greatly reduces the degree of ‘Variance’ (or as some would call it, luck) that influences the game, and greatly increases the consistency of most of our attacks while at the same time dissuading the idea of the fight changing with a single move (however true that reality may be).

We’ve also decided to reward the more strategy oriented players by slanting the abilities of the fighters into using a more predictable set of cards. This way, defending players will have a better idea of what to expect in certain match ups, and the more likely it is they will pick a strategy (or, in some cases, counter strategy) accordingly.

While part of me will miss the anticipation and somewhat torturous dice rolling method, it’s more likely that this change (as big as it was to the core mechanics and feel of the game) will result in an overall richer experience for those willing to put the time in to learn the ins and outs of the game.

Ah well, that’s just the way the game rolls, I guess.

-Charlie Ze Newbie

If you like the ZeMind Games Blog, feel free to follow us on social media for an inside look at what we do here at the studio. We promise you won’t be disappointed!