Music For Pandas

Written by Adrian Killens on .

Since Dean was good enough to provide us some insight into his latest coding endeavours on the new Panda chat screen, I thought I'd make some effort and talk about the new music I've composed for Mr Panda to chat to. If you've played the Raspberry Pi version of Lunar Panda then you'll have already heard the existing soundtrack, but I have a slight confession to make. I play in a band and spend a lot of my free time composing and musically "doodling" and so I've got hours and hours of music on my computer that I was able to cypher through in order to find a few loop-able segments for the title screen and landing sequences.

When it came to the new chat screen though none my existing material really seemed to gel and so I was forced to put Visual Studio to one side (much to Dean's relief) and open up Reason, which is the app I generally use for all my midi and synth stuff. I was going for a "It's 1991. I've just got my new Sound Blaster 16 and a copy of Space Quest 4! Let's see what this bad boy can do!" vibe.

Chattering Panda Preview

Written by Dean Edis on .

Development on Lunar Panda is now happening thick and fast, and it's a testament to the XNA framework that we are implementing some nice features with not-too-much hassle. (It's a pity Microsoft are retiring it!)

One such feature which is now nearing completion involves Mr Panda 'chatting' about the planet he's about to attempt to land on. This is a deliberate nod to many 'retro' arcade games which use similar techniques to describe the game story, and is also useful for explaining some of the goals of the gameplay.

In our implementation Mr Panda will open and close his mouth, and occasionally blink, as he relays his story. It was a simple but rewarding coding exercise to make his mouth move in combination with the words being displayed, and to make him blink at believable intervals. It would have been easy to just make his movements random, but where's the fun in that, eh? His mouth movement coincides with the distribution of vowels in the text strings, and blinks are based on punctuation - Mimicking something which people unconsciously do too.

Watch this space for more news! And in the meantime enjoy this clip of Mr Panda in action. (Note: The artwork is temporary!)

Anderton Tiger Radio Interview

Written by Adrian Killens on .

Andy and myself were recently interviewed by the wonderful Russell Prue for Anderton Tiger Radio about Lunar Panda and Gimpy Software. You can listen to it here!

How to play Lunar Panda (Like a Boss!)

Written by Adrian Killens on .

It's a been a few months since we released Lunar Panda and we've since had a bit of time to sit back and reflect on the feedback we've received. One aspect that we never really considered when we put the game out was that there are actually people out there that have never actually played Lunar Lander (the 70s arcade game that Lunar Panda is based on). Here at Gimpy Software we're a bunch of hardcore retro-gamers and we kind of took it for granted that everyone has our in-depth knowledge of the games of yesteryear.

This was particularly apparent when we put Dean's Lunar Panda arcade cabinet on display at Revival. People of a certain age got it straight away and were landing Mr Panda without any issues straight off the bat. However the younger gamers that had never heard of Lunar Lander seemed slightly confused at first and required a brief explanation of the game's objective.

So! For those of you who have never played Lunar Lander, here's how to play Lunar Panda!

Controls
Left - Rotate anti-clockwise
Right - Rotate clockwise
Space - Thrust

Objective
Land Mr Panda onto one of the landing pads. To do this both his little panda feet need to make contact with the landing pad and he needs to land gently whilst upright. You also need to keep in mind that he only has a finite amount of fuel, so thrust sparingly.

Scoring
Your end of level bonus is based on the type of landing pad you used and your remaining fuel.