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December 2016

Developer Update #5: Goodbye 2016

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Tomorrow will be 2017 so it’s a good time to reflect on the year 2016.

2016 was a good year for us. While Ayo the Clown has been in development for a couple years already, we really hit quite a few milestones this year. Due to everyone’s hard work, a lot of progress were made for the game on all fronts. Also by attending more conventions and events, we were able to forge new friendships with fellow indie developers and being inspired by all the amazing work being done out there. Additionally, we had received some recognition and exposure thanks to all the friends in the indie game community. However, 2016 went by way too fast, there’s still a lot left to do but we’ll still be working diligently to perfect our labor of love which is Ayo the Clown in 2017.

Some highlights of 2016:PAX East 2016PAX East 2016 was quite an eye opener. We were so glad that we were able to make it. And prepare a special version of a fully playable demo in a very short time span. We also got a lot out of it by meeting with developers and players. While it was exhausting but we’d definitely try to go again.

Presentation at Demo and Play by Google. Thanks to Playcrafting for arranging us to present at Google’s special event. It was an exhilarating experience and not only we had received a great response we also had made many friends at the demo.Kickstarter Ghost ArcadeWinner of Best Art Direction at Gameacon. Halloween weekend was a busy time for us. We had 3 events to go, all on the same day, Kickstarter Ghost Arcade, Playcrafting Halloween Expo and Gameacon in Atlantic City. Thankfully we were able to pull it off. We spared no expense on the candies and it worked. Everyone had a great time at each event but the biggest gain was the Best Art Direction crystal award in Atlantic City hosted by Gameacon. We’re really glad that our hard work was recognized and it really meant a lot to us. Our first ever award, thank you Gameacon!

Nominated for Best PC/Console and Best Style for Playcrafting Bit Awards. Near the end of the year, we were surprised to find out that we were nominated for two categories in Playcrafting’s Bit Awards. It was such a great honor to be listed alongside of other great nominees. While we didn’t take any awards home that night but we already considered the nominations a huge win for the year. Playcrafting also put on a real great award show to close off the year, we all had an awesome time.

It’s also important to mention the progress we had made on the game this year:

New features and stages on the demo. Ayo the Clown is a big game and will still take some time to complete. However we can’t wait to share it with the world so we keep improving our playable demo. Throughout the year we kept adding and tweaking the playable demo which kept players busy. We’re very proud of this vertical slice of the game that we are making and there will be more updates to come.

Finalized style and design for many worlds, stages and enemies. Just a year ago a lot of Ayo the Clown world were just in concept stage. However we were able to lock down many design decisions in this year. Finally solidify what the game is going to be from start to finish, in detail.

There are still a lot to be done but with the progress we made this year, we are more confident than ever that we will hit our delivery date, or very close to it.

While we hit many milestones this year, we also realized the risks that might impede our progress. That is also why we also prepared a Kickstarter campaign. Set to launch in January 10, 2017. Hopefully it will get us in a more comfortable position where we’d be able to add even more features to the game. Everyone here worked very hard to get the campaign going, please come check it out when it’s ready and we hope you’ll enjoy all the content we put on there. More information on the Kickstarter campaign to come in our next updates.

A lot was achieved in 2016 and we’re very happy to be where we are right now, thanks to everyone. Lastly, to our family and friends out there, you really made this year for us.

Goodbye 2016, hello 2017!

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Developer Update #4: Happy holidays!

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Hope you all had a great time over the holidays! All of us here had gotten some rest as well but there are so much to talk about so we’re back with another update!

Today we talk a little about the characters featured in the game. Ayo the Clown has an overarching story that connects all the characters and maps together. While Ayo is on a quest to find his dog, Bo, he encounters many characters, good and bad, on his journey. All of them plays a role in the narrative. Expect to run into them throughout the levels.Ayo – The “Hero” of the game. Isn’t really all that heroic in the beginning but determines to find his dog, Bo.Bo – Ayo’s dog, puppy in distress.

Shoe Maker – A pretty grumpy old man but legendary in shoe making. Provides power ups for Ayo.Pan – Shoe Maker’s granddaughter. Headstrong and brave. Ayo is very fond of her.

Balloon Lady – Timid and frail, does everything she could to help Ayo with all the balloon upgrades on his journey.Fairy Mother – Helps Ayo in times of need. Loves snacks.

Eric the Turtle – Likes to get out of his shell a lot, because it’s hot in there.Wolf Dude – Courteous and tries to aid Ayo in his search.

Bear Guy – A guy happens to be in the wrong place at a wrong time.Fox Burglar – Sneaky and likes to steal many things. It’s up to Ayo and company to stop him.

Sleepy Cat – Really lazy cat that can’t even bother to get his own food.

Professor Mole – A professor in archeology. Runs a museum underground.

Frog King – Self proclaimed boss of the ponds. Proud of his rapping skillz.

There are plenty more characters in the game. Too many to include in one article as matter of fact. More concept art can be found for some of them in the game page. Thank you for reading and we hope you like these characters!

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Developer Update #3: What is this game?

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Ayo the ClownWhat is Ayo the Clown? Whose wicked mind came up with this? 😉

Ayo the Clown is the brainchild of Xiu, who is the director of Cloud M1. How he came up with the idea of a clown going on an epic adventure is anyone’s guess. Perhaps Xiu himself wasn’t too sure either. At first Ayo the Clown was meant to be an infinite runner game for mobile. However as the development and creative process went on, bigger and more ambitious plans were made so everyone decided to make Ayo the Clown into a full featured action platformer for PC and Consoles, where players would likely to have access to a controller which will enable tighter gameplay.

As fans of classic gaming, Ayo the Clown were inspired from many of the great games of previous generations. Most of us here grew up playing games like Super Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda, Yoshi’s Island, just to name a few. Their simplicity and creativity really pushed the boundaries of gaming, even with the hardware available at the time and it affects us greatly. We’re still very fond of those game because they were just fun. Simple but flexible, basic but dynamic. We aim to create that same old feeling where things weren’t so complicated and games are just exciting to play from start to finish.

We picked action platformer because at its core, it’s a genre with simple controls but yet so dynamic that players are free to do anything, go anywhere. We want to make something that there’s not much learning curve, anyone can pick up and play while also being interesting for the people who’s just watching the gameplay. Action platformers were great in a way that it is easy to start, rewards skill play and just exciting to look at.Fun platformsThere were so many great games to draw inspiration from and so we did. We are taking a lot of fun mechanics from other classics and trying to make them play together smoothly. Features like numerous skills that Ayo can pick up along the way, similar to Metroid or Megaman. Vehicles that Ayo can ride, like Yoshi or Kirby’s many forms. Exciting and dynamic boss fights like Donkey Kong Country and many other series. All those games affected us greatly and we want to bring that feeling back in our game as well, hoping the players would relive those moments or experience them for the first time.More exciting platformsWhile it’s fun to talk about the game all day but I believe trying them out yourself is a better option. Again, we had prepared a playable demo for download on our site. We’d love to have you check it out and let us know what you think.

We’ll definitely talk more about the game in the upcoming updates but we will also include a ton of that information in our upcoming Kickstarter campaign which will launch on January 10, 2016. We hope you will come and check out our campaign.

Finally, we want Ayo the Clown to be a game for everyone so we welcome any feedback from the community. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions, thanks!

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Developer Update #2: Why Kickstarter

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FactoryHello again! Last time we finally had a proper introduction of who Cloud M1 is and what we do. Today we’ll talk a bit about the upcoming Kickstarter campaign.

Ayo the Clown is a huge game, especially for an Indie team such as us. After a couple years we had completed majority of the core gameplay elements which include how Ayo moves and animates, his skill set, vehicles, many platforms, enemies, etc. Even at pre-alpha stage we’re very proud of what we had built so far. If you have a chance please try out the fully playable demo and you can see what we mean. What’s left now is to flesh out the rest of the game which mainly includes the complete level design, story writing, and countless back and forth on balancing all the game play elements to make it just right. A lot of times it’s just nonstop tweaking, which brings me to the next point.

Why Kickstarter? Besides the obvious goal of raising funds that would help us complete the game faster and putting in more features that we want but might not get to with our limited resources. What we really want is to share Ayo the Clown with the world. We aim to build a game for people of all ages and not just us. Kickstarter isn’t just a crowd funding platform but also a great place where Indie developers can get some visibility with their projects and not to mention a channel to interact with their audience directly. Ayo the Clown isn’t just a game created from our vision but also something that we want to perfect with the community feedback so everyone can enjoy the end product. So with Kickstarter, we wish to reach as many fans of the genre as we can and hear their voices. Hopefully Kickstarter will help us achieve that goal.

It is also very exciting to share our game with the world through Kickstarter. Everyone had a great time preparing a campaign that showcases various features and elements of our game. Planning for the reward tiers was also a fun challenge. As mentioned before, Ayo the Clown is a game that we want to build with the community, so in our higher reward tiers we have things like fan designed enemies, puzzles and people can have items of their choosing or even their likeness added to the game just to name a few.

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Finally, our Kickstarter campaign will launch on January 10, 2017 which is very close. We will talk more about the campaign in the following updates so please stay tuned. And that about wraps it up for our very first developer update. Everyone here at Cloud M1 is very passionate about Ayo the Clown and we hope you will like the game too.

Until next time!
Cloud M1

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Developer Update #1: The Beginning

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Ayo and his pal BoWelcome to the very first official Cloud M1 developer update! We have not been very talkative about our progress and project yet but from now on these updates will be more frequent so please check back often. Also a quick note, our Kickstarter campaign will go live on January 10, 2017 and we will let you know more on that in the following updates.

As the first real update, we figure we ought to introduce the team and talk a little about the studio, Cloud M1.

Cloud M1Cloud M1 was found on 2009, by Xiu Liang. Cloud M1 started as a studio for 3D animation projects. Over the years we have helped to create many commercials for tv and web. We have also participated in various CG projects for advertising and media. While working on the CG projects we had attracted many talents so we decided to create projects of our own and entered the mobile app space. Since then, we had published a few games and apps for iOS. However the majority of us here at Cloud M1 are huge gamers and fans of classic gaming and so we really wanted to devote ourselves on a project that’s of our own. With much planning and brainstorming, the action platformer, Ayo the Clown was born. It is our first full featured video game and we plan to take it as far as we can. A playable pre-alpha demo is available for download on our website right now.

Ayo the ClownAbout the game, Ayo the Clown is a 2.5D side-scrolling platformer reminiscent of genre favorites like Mario and Donkey Kong. What sets Ayo the Clown apart from traditional platformers is its sense of adventure, light puzzle facets, and RPG elements.Like the Legend of Zelda series, Ayo’s potential isn’t realized at the game’s offset. You will collect skill upgrades and extra hearts that add to your overall life as you progress through this lush world.

As you can see, Ayo the Clown is a very ambitious project but thankfully we have a very hard working team with us at Cloud M1 who are pouring their heart and soul into the game. All of us here believe in the game and we hope you will too. So without further ado, here are the key members of the Cloud M1 Team for Ayo the Clown:

Xiu LiangXiu Liang-A 2D/3D artist by trade, a gamer by heart. Spent most of his waking hours playing games through the 90s and now it’s time for him to make them. Started Cloud M1 a few years ago and now dedicating 100% of it’s resources to Ayo The Clown. Favorite games: Street Fighter, Mario Bros, Zelda.

JD Lu-A dreamer and a developer, his biggest passion is to make video games. Helped in building Knight Blitz OMG and another very ambitious adventure game under Cloud M1 studio. When it comes to his passion, he doesn’t clown around. Favorite games: Monster Hunter, Dragon Quest, Fallout.

Quentin BellayQuentin Bellay-Growing up playing games like Sonic and Shenmue since 1991, only until recently has he figured out that his passion is to develop them. Besides helping making Ayo The Clown a reality, he also partakes in game jams, you know, he likes the excitement. Favorite games: Sonic, Shenmue, Super Meat Boy.

Christine TadaChristine Tada-A casual gamer by day, and casual gamer by night too. Loves playing video games, especially those with a good storyline, gorgeous graphics, and amazing music. Helping with the PR aspect and managing Ayo the Clown and making sure the world knows about it. Favorite games: Witcher Series, Fire Emblem, Diablo III, Portal

Nick DragonasNick Dragonas-A musician and composer, since 2000 he composed countless original music ranging from television to video games. He’s capable of composing music in many different musical genres, and his best friend is his guitar. Favorite games: Battlefield series, Batman Arkham City, Rayman.

And that about wraps it up for our very first developer update, hope you enjoyed it. We will talk more about the Kickstarter campaign in the following updates so please stay tuned. Everyone here at Cloud M1 is very passionate about Ayo the Clown and we hope you will like the game too.

Until next time!
Cloud M1

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A Quick update with 2016

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2016 was quite a year for us. PAX East in Boston really opened our eyes and motivated us to do even more for our game. This year we also had met so many great and kind fellow developers in various expos and events that inspired and encouraged us on this difficult path of game development.

As 2016 is drawing to a close and many are enjoying the holidays. Everyone here is still scrambling to prepare for our kickstarter campaign on January 10th 2017. It’s a lot of work but we enjoy it. In 2 weeks, Xiu and I will be attending Playcrafting NYC’s ’16 Bit Awards event. We’re absolutely thrilled and honored to be nominated for both Best PC/Console Game and Best Style categories for 2016. Regardless if we get the award or not, we already treat this nomination as a huge win for us. Just being able to stand next to other great games on the list, having our hard work recognized, was already rewarding enough.

2016 has been great so far and hope the rest of year is looking great still. We will have more updates on our current progress, and the upcoming Kickstarter campaign soon. Thanks!

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