Shields Up!

Today, we wanted to give you a little peek behind the curtain of development at Cipher Prime. This is your window into what it’s like to make a game from the ground up. The struggles and surprises of development laid bare. Today we are covering the addition of a game-play element to Tailwind – the shield.

Shields are ever-present in games today. You can ask any child what a forcefield or shield is and they will have a complete answer for you. Not just simply that it stops bullets or lasers, but what it looks like, how it works and how to overcome one. It’s so common modern film doesn’t need to take a break from the action to explain what shielding does for a spaceship or alien. It’s a given!

But in the bullet hell world of Tailwind, one hit is all you can take. This simple mechanic bred super-twitchy game-play and precise movements in seasoned pilots.

To find out more about what the addition of a shield means for Tailwind we turn to Dain (@dainsaint) and Will (@willstall) –

Why add a shield?

Will – The main reason is: don’t nerf the game buff the player.

Dain – Yeah Andy Schatz (@andyschatz) did a talk on buffing the player not making the game easier.

Will – It makes general sense right? You can make the game easier or give the player more power. The player feeling more powerful is fun.

Dain – …and you can challenge the player more.

Will – …and a good game is kinda about that tug of war so it adds agency too. When you don’t have the shield you feel really vulnerable  when you have the shield you can afford to be more risk adverse so it creates this push and pull rather than just be a constant “oh something hits me I’m dead” and we really wanted the game to be a bit easier too.

Dain – It gives the ability to have that danger of anything could kill me at this moment but if I could just get over there and get this thing then I’ll be a little bit safer and that changes the emotional state of the player back and forth.

Once it was in testing what did you discover about it?

Dain – Well we made it so that when you loose the shield it kills enemies in a radius. That made it an offensive weapon. So normally you take a shield as a defensive thing it protects you but now you have a something you can choose to detonate.

Will – Yeah originally we had it so that if you picked up another shield on top of the one you had it wiped the screen. That was OP so we changed it to this more confined space around the player.

Dain – So we made it so you can get the shield out of the big rocks. But you cant hit the rocks by dashing cause that kills you. But you can lightning through them. You can set up the lightning so when it goes off you blow up the rocks. So you can spend a full charge to get a shield. This adds an interesting decision for the player.

Will -What is interesting is that before the shield no one could finish the game. Once we added it just about everyone got through.

Dain – Which doesn’t really have an end screen.

Will – You just blow up…

More power ups in the future?

Will – so yeah pickups will be a thing we’re working on. Cause they’re fun. Going back to the buff the player idea. What I found was that before we added the shield I was bored playing my own game. That shouldn’t happen. The shield added a missing piece.

Dain – When we added the shield it made us pissed. And that’s what should happen. You should be upset you didn’t put it in the game sooner.

That’s it for today!. Keep up-to-date with us on Twitter @cipherprime. Learn more about Tailwind at

Monster Want Burger now on iOS!

Remember our silly little mini-game, Monster Want Burger? Well, we’re happy to announce it’s now available on iPhone and iPad!

Monster Want Burger! 720p

IMG_1986Not only that, we’re featured in “Best New Games!” At its core, Monster Want Burger is an extremely cute game where you make burgers for a hungry monster. We’ve added a lot of cool little features, including a custom burger naming algorithm. But probably the most important thing is how many “firsts” we had with this game. Monster Want Burger is:

  • Our first self-published iPhone game!
  • Our first game aimed towards kids!
  • Our first game with a character!
  • The first time we made all our assets inside of Unity3D (using some cool new tools we’ve been working on…)
  • The first time we’ve released a game made for a Dev Night Game Jam
  • The first time we self-published a desktop game as pay-what-you-want through our own distribution method
  • And last but not least, Cipher Prime’s first released mini-game!

Thanks for being with us for so many first time events. Go grab Monster Want Burger now on iPhone or Desktop! And if you can, !



Monster Want Burger!

As you may or may not know, every month we host a Game Jam at Dev Night. The scope is small, and the deadlines are tight; we think it’s the best way for everyone in our community to get better at making games.

But making games is only part of making games for a living. I mean, you gotta eat, right? So this month’s sponsor, Flyclops, put on the Profit Jam. The challenge? Make a game in under two weeks, market it for four, and whoever makes the most cash wins!

For the profit jam, we made a decidedly un-CP game called “Monster Want Burger!

screenshot-01 screenshot-03 screenshot-04 screenshot-05

You build burgers to feed an adorable monster. That’s it! We’re pretty proud of it (especially considering we started two days before the deadline…). It’s got an awesome Burger Naming AlgorithmTM, a fun soundtrack, and most importantly? It was a ton of fun to make. Check it out, and let us know what you think!

Intake Now Updated

We’ve been listening to user feedback and we’ve made some changes to Intake. We’ve been hearing that lots of people are having some problems at level 5. So to fix that, we are giving new players 5,000 mg at the start of the game. Now you can buy a life right off the bat! Also we updated Intake so that special levels start appearing at level 10, rather than level 5.


Bug Fixes:

  • Fixed pills spawning after the death scene
  • Fixed random unlocks while in attract mode

Thanks for playing Intake! We appreciate your love and support, so let us know if you have any problems.


Last Call for the Indie Royale Bundle!

New Year Indie Royale Bundle

Fractal is included in Indie Royale’s New Year’s Bundle, but it’s the last day of the sale!

For the next 24 hours, you can purchase Fractal along with three other games: Nuclear Dawn (InterWave Studios), Max and the Magic Marker (Press Play), and Super Crossfire (Radian Games).

The Indie Royale Bundle is a fluctuating minimum price bundle, meaning that the minimum price goes up the more people that buy it! And if people pay more than the minimum price, it reduces the price for other buyers! (Also, you get a copy of George & Jonathan‘s “Beautiful Lifestyle” chiptune album!)

So grab the bundle at Indie Royale, or at least go to check out the action!

Fractal Blooms on Steam

We drafted it, armed it, made it say goodbye to its sweethearts, and now Fractal is all set to drop on the beaches of Steam as the vanguard of a Cipher Prime invasion!

That’s right, Fractal is our very first title on the Steam Store! It will feature all the tweaks and improvements we added to the game for our Mac Store release, including rebalanced play modes, updated graphics, and improved music and sounds.

So now that Fractal is taking advantage of the convenience of Steam, the fractal-curious out there no longer have any reason to stay in the closet. Get ready to burst out and buy our blooming beautiful game so you can get in on all the hexagon-pushing like the cool kids.

Even Edge Magazine is giving Fractal love, killahz, calling it “a creative and surprisingly prickly form of mental weeding that swiftly becomes a pleasure to lose yourself within.” Pocket Full of Apps described Fractal as a “lush music puzzler” set in “a pulsing kaleidoscopic dreamscape.”

So be sure to check it out! Beginning today. November 29. FractalSteam. PC. Mac. $6.99. No regrets. Thanks everyone!

Cipher Prime Goes to IndieCade

INCREDIBLE NEWS!!! We are ecstatic to announce that BOTH Auditorium and Fractal have been chosen as finalists in the 2010 IndieCade festival!

For those of you who don’t know, IndieCade is an annual event in Culver City, CA that features all different types of independent games from every genre and for every platform imaginable. It’s a three day festival-conference hybrid that gives the indie game community the opportunity to share knowledge and ideas while celebrating independent developers from all over the globe.

Needless to say, we feel very honored to receive such recognition and are incredibly excited to be attending the event in October.

We could never have achieved this without the loyal support of our fans, friends and followers. Thank you all so much for helping us reach such heights!

Keep an eye out for pictures and news from the IndieCade conference in a few weeks!