Press Releases Feed

Brunette Games GDC Talk on 'Conflict, Mystery, and Connection' Now Available on YouTube

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By Lisa Brunette

As you might remember, I was scheduled to speak at GDC 2020, but then the conference was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I had committed to a local version of the talk here in St. Louis just prior to GDC. This was designed as a way to share knowledge with our developer community, as well as serve as a "live" practice for GDC. At the time that GDC was cancelled, the lockdowns were still limited to the West Coast. So here in the Midwest, the show went on as planned...

Except for one important change. I invited my Brunette Games team members to join me at the podium. I think the show turned out better than it would have been if I'd flown solo! Thanks to the St. Louis Game Development Co-op, which both sponsored the presentation and arranged for a video capture and livestream, I was able to submit the talk to the GDC Vault. And now GDC has also made it available on YouTube. Here it is, called "Conflict, Mystery, and Connection in Casual, Free-to-Play Puzzle Games." Games discussed: Matchington Mansion, Lily's Garden, Sweet Escapes, RollerCoaster Tycoon Story, and Wild Things: Animal Adventures (not Vineyard Valley, so I'm not sure why GDC used it for the video default image.)

It's a pleasure to be a part of GDC even remotely, and we hope to see you all next year!


New Content! Jam City's 'Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff'

 

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Current in-game title screen

By Dexter Woltman

Brunette Games has had the honor of working with top developer Jam City for a full year now, on five different titles either in release or still in development. One of our projects together gave me the chance to write new script content for the popular mobile game Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff. As a scriptwriting major in college, working on a franchise like Family Guy was the stuff of dreams, and now here I am, writing about the quest for stuff!

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Screenshot of the in-game dialogue

Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff is a mobile game in which players get to build their own version of Quahog, the central setting of the television show. The story begins with the show getting canceled again, leading to a fight between Peter and his infamous chicken nemesis. Reminiscent of Peter's encounters with the chicken in the show, their fight leaves the town in shambles. Following this, players guide the characters of the show as they work to rebuild Quahog.

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Official game artwork

I've been watching the television show Family Guy ever since I was, well, too young to be watching Family Guy. I've followed the beloved antics of the Griffin family for over a decade. When Brunette Games had the opportunity to collaborate with Jam City on its newest content, it was definitely a bucket-list item for me. And I'm not the only one obsessed with the franchise. In the time since The Quest for Stuff's initial release in 2014, it's acquired a steady following of committed players. 

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Even though Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff originally launched nearly six years ago, Jam City's devotion to the title has added a steady plethora of new content ever since. I've already written several events for the game, and one of my favorites is "Life's a Zoo." This one sees Peter Griffin opening up his own zoo and facing competition from his daughter, Meg. As per typical Family Guy humor, this release has plenty of jokes, references, and whacky adventures. It certainly pushes the boundaries more than other titles in the casual market, making it a blast, for me to write for, personally, since many of our other titles are much more, um, circumspect.

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To learn more about the game, hear it from the developers themselves with the official App Store description:

After another epic battle with the giant chicken, Peter Griffin has accidentally destroyed Quahog! Play for FREE and rally your favorite Family Guy characters (even Meg) to save the city in a hilarious new adventure. Or don’t, and regret it forever!

Game Features:

• It’s Free! Freakin’ free? Freakin’ sweet!

• Create a living Quahog that fits enjoyably in your pants

• Unlock hilarious outfits for your characters like Mermaid Peter, Bikini-Clad Quagmire, and Rambo Lois

• Send your characters on ridiculous quests

• Keep Quahog safe from pirates, evil chickens, and other invasions

• Peterfy your town with decorations such as The Petercopter, The Peterdactyl, and The Hindenpeter

• Unlock hundreds of brand new and classic animations

PS: You can play this game in French, Italian, German, Spanish, Russian, and Brazilian Portuguese!

PPS: Don’t forget to watch new episodes of Family Guy on Sundays - only on FOX!

WHAT'S NEW

The Family Guy: Life's a Zoo Event is here! Watch out for the animals in this new event from the Writers of Family Guy!

A new feature is coming. Travel the multiverse with Alternate Quahogs!

Features:

-New Feature: Alternate Quahogs!

-General Improvements to Game Performance

-New App Icon

Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff can be played on iOS and Android devices. To try the game and play "Life's a Zoo" for yourself, follow either of the links below!

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New Release! ‘Solitaire: Farm and Family’ from Tuyoo Game

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Official game artwork

By Dexter Woltman

As a casual game player who grew up on a farm and played a lot of card games, Brunette Games' latest collaboration hits especially close to home for me. New from Tuyoo Game is Solitaire Tripeaks: Farm and Family! Tuyoo Game came to us with an engaging concept that showed a preference for grounded storytelling. As often happens here at Brunette Games, they asked us to rework their existing script draft as well as further develop beyond that start with much more content. The result is an app that we think pushes the boundaries in casual game storytelling. 

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In-game screenshot of the game's map

If you're looking for honest storytelling, Farm and Family is the game for you! The title balances real-life issues such as divorce, medical illnesses, and economic challenge with the straightforward charm and humor audiences have come to love. The story follows Rachel Brix, a former city girl who's trying to get in touch with her roots by saving the family farm. As Rachel remembers her past and propels new business ventures, she gets the chance to rediscover herself and be the woman she's always wanted to be. And by playing the role of Rachel's close friend, you get to be part of the story every step of the way!

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In-game screenshots of the game's dialogue

 Farm and Family uses a tripeaks style of solitaire. This means it builds off the classic formula to introduce new, exciting mechanics to the solitaire gameplay. Much like a causal match-3 game, every level provides a new type of challenge to overcome.

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In-game screenshot of an early solitaire level

If that's not enough to get you interested, hear it from the developers themselves. Below is the official App Store description of the title:

Relax yourself in this fantastic solitaire tripeaks card game and start your own adventure with our heroine Rachel!

Rich contents in different levels:

  • Hundreds of challenging levels
  • Collect enough fragments to finish the jigsaw level and get rewards
  • In Molly’s Kitchen, complete the challenges to feed the hungry kitty

Combination of classical and creative gameplay:

  • Classical Solitaire game
  • Various special puzzles such as Gear cards, Kitty cards, Balloon cards… More interesting things for you to discover!

Heart-warming stories:

  • Help Rachel operate the abandoned farm and create your own business. Listen to the Brix family about their old memories and help them come through the difficult period

Other features:

  • Help Rachel collect more stars to level up her farm
  • Try your luck in the Fortune Wheel to win big surprises
  • Explore treasures in the mean marmot’s cave every day

More exciting content for you to discover. Come and join Solitaire: Farm and Family now!

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There's lots to discover in this endearing title! Download now, and tell us here at Brunette Games what you think!

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Seeking a Publisher: Jane Austen Solitaire

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By Lisa Brunette

Last fall, I ditched all social media except for essential Brunette Games activity. With some of the hours recovered from not checking my feeds - you'd be surprised by how much time those 'short' check-ins actually suck up - I personally committed to reading all of the novels written by the early 19th century British author Jane Austen. I followed up each novel with a viewing of the best film and TV adaptations of the work as well. By the time I'd made it through the first four - Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma - out of the blue, Brunette Games received a query about working on a mobile game themed on Jane Austen's work.

How's that for serendipity?

Suffice to say, when Pavel Agoshkov of Israel-based Supergaming reached out to us about adapting Austen's work to the solitaire game format, we were excited to say yes. Pavel and his team smartly wanted to base the launch game on Pride and Prejudice, easily Austen's most recognized and cherished work.

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It's been a pleasure to work with Supergaming from the concept stage, providing full design feedback, narrative design services, writing, and voiceovers. Because of my recent Austen fandom, I took the lead, with Anthony Valterra and Dexter Woltman as support, and both Cammie Middleton and Andy Mack providing voiceovers.

It was my first adaptation in game format, which was quite the challenge. I used the film adaptations as guides in some ways, but they were pretty limited since they have full cinematic worlds to draw upon. I really had to think about the essence of Pride and Prejudice and mesh that with what I know casual game audiences want and need. I believe the result is a lovely take on Austen's world that stays true to her work but is fun and accessible for the casual gamer.

Austen fans will surely appreciate how well the solitaire card game format suits the storyline, as conversations over card games comprise many a scene in the novels. 

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Besides feeling captured right away by what a great idea this project was, one of the reasons we wanted to work on it is the unique art style. Just look at the below interpretation of Pride and Prejudice's main character, Elizabeth Bennet. When Supergaming first shared it with us, it took our breath away. It's not often we see this painterly, realistic art treatment in casual mobile games.

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One of the game's cool features is an interactive collection room framed as a Jane Austen Museum. Players can add to the museum with articles plucked from the pages of Austen's life and work as they progress through the game, and they also function as game powerups.

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We look forward to seeing this game picked up by a publisher. It was designed with the idea that it could be expanded beyond Pride and Prejudice to include adaptations of Austen's other novels as well. It's our hope to continue working on it!

As for my own reading, I've added Northanger Abbey to the 'done' list, and next up is Persuasion. Of course, there's also her posthumously published work, Lady Susan, an unfinished novel called Sanditon that the BBC has adapted to TV, and her juvenilia and other unpublished writings. Come to think of it, Brunette Games could be working on Jane Austen adaptations for quite some time!

For information about Jane Austen Solitaire and Supergaming, please contact Pavel Agoshkov.

 


In the Middle of a Crisis, It's Good to Know Who's Got Your Back

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By Lisa Brunette

In late March, just a week or so into the quarantine lockdown due to the coronavirus, we had quite a scare here at Brunette Games HQ when a fire broke out just one building away. 

Ours is a mixed-use neighborhood of businesses, apartment buildings, and established single-family homes. The town's roots go back to before the Civil War, when it was an outpost to growing St. Louis. Many of the buildings, like ours, are 115 years old, dating back to the World's Fair Era boom that established Maplewood as a destination.

Everyone who lived in the apartment building that caught fire escaped unharmed, but the fire gutted their apartments, destroying everything they owned, only the brick structure remaining. The fire blew out the windows in the building next door to us and melted the siding off the home on the other side. It blistered a wooden deck we worried would catch fire, bringing it closer to our building. Fortunately, the fire never touched us.

Here's a video taken by an eyewitness on the street behind Brunette Games HQ.

While the fire grew to an engulfing, raging size with alarming quickness, the fire departments were on scene and battling it before it could spread. Thanks to them, no one was hurt, and only one building was damaged. 

Our sympathy goes out to the residents of the gutted apartment building, who've lost their homes during an already difficult time. We're glad to hear they received some emergency support from the Red Cross, and that all of them had a place in town they could go to stay.

In the middle of one apocalypse, they got another. After pandemic and then fire, what's left?

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Fire departments from seven different municipalities responded to the alarm.

But it's always good to remind ourselves of how fortunate we are, and that goes for many of us in dealing with the pandemic. Here at Brunette Games, we are very lucky we can continue to work through the quarantine, and are relieved that no one we know has suffered from COVID-19. We're also grateful to live in a place and time in which a formidable fire foe can rear its fearsome fury, and a legion of water warriors arrives to vanquish it... just... like... that.

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It's been reported the fire was started by an accident with a barbecue grill. The enclosed porch on the back of the flat was reduced to char. Once the blaze was extinguished, firefighters pulled down what remained of the porch, just skeletal, burnt debris. Here's how the back of the building looked the next morning.

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It's worth taking a moment to recognize the people who put themselves in danger in order to help others. It's quite a calling to be a firefighter. The rest of us could only stand on the sidelines - trying our best to maintain social distancing - and watch in awe as they did their swift, expert work to squelch the fire. 

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As a business, we know our local community is just as important as the global gaming community we're very much a part of. We are members of our chamber of commerce and have been impressed by the ingenuity our fellow business leaders have shown to continue business despite the lockdown. Our local fire firefighters had actually been hoping to pass a measure this spring for increased funding for equipment, but the election has been delayed due to the shelter-in-place order. We reached out to the fire department to see if we could donate, and they suggested we give to The Backstoppers. We have made a donation in the name of Brunette Games LLC, to recognize our gratitude and support for firefighters and other first responders. The Backstoppers mission is to provide:

Ongoing needed financial assistance and support to the spouses and dependent children of all police officers, firefighters and volunteer firefighters, and publicly-funded paramedics and EMTs in our coverage area who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

We've been able to continue our business without interruption through the quarantine, and we emerged from this fire unscathed. We look with optimism and hope to the future and wish you all the same luck and fortune in your work and life.

Note: The fire was covered in 40 South News, and a local filmmaker created a short documentary of the event: