User Profile



Nocturnal Central

Male, Australia

Run Indy developer Nocturnal, based in Australia. Developer of Flowerworks HD for the WiiU.

Tue 8th December, 2009

Recent Comments



Cathousemaster commented on Reaction: The Nintendo 'NX', and Why We Think ...:

NX is a platform guys. Not a product. So don't be surprised if there is NO hardware to go with this. Forget about specs and WiiU or DS replacements.

Think iOS or Android. Once they have a platform, all future games will be written for the platform.

Then as long as someone can write drivers or a runtime, this could run on anything. PC. Mobile. WiiU. 3DS. PS4.

Once this is working, Nintendo is free to release and iterate as many hardware models be it handheld or console as they like. Think new iPhone releases every year. All run the same software.

This is the end game for ninty, and could lead to massive profits if done properly.



Cathousemaster commented on Nintendo Looking To Offer Affordable Smartpho...:

Its a nice idea... but they will need to further change their development and submission processes.

Mobile games - no devkit, no dedicated hardware needed, no game classification rating needed, no e-manual required, no LotCheck approval.

That all costs thousands of dollars and weeks/months of work from a developer. Why bother for a "mobile" game on a small install base (compared to hundreds of millions for Android/iPhone) that "might" bring a few hundred $ of revenue.



Cathousemaster commented on Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Facing Potential E...:

My guess is there is a file system issue introduced either by the game, a patch for the game (any yet?) or a specific set of save data - possibly generated by this "For Glory" mode.

Its a little strange, but this could also mess with the data management part of the system (i.e. if a file ends up with a negative size, or incorrectly so big there is no memory to load it or something).

Even if this happens, I wouldn't panic: play what works and hold off until the patch is ready - I'll be shocked if its going to take more than a couple of days.



Cathousemaster commented on Feature: Breaking Down Over 50 Must-See Things...:

A WiiU game internally has 2 frame buffers (one of which can also be double or triple buffered).

The first is the "native" buffer, where the game uses the CPU/GPU to create each frame. When a frame is complete, and the TV is ready for syncing - this buffer is blitted (copied) to the "TV buffer". The resolution of the TV buffer determines what the input mode of the TV needs to be.

Its quite common to make the TV buffer full HD (1920x1080) - and the native buffer a lower resolution (say 720p). When the native to TV blit occurs, various filtering techniques can be used to smooth out jaggies and more.

So don't be too shocked if the TV buffer is 1080p and the native buffer(s) are 720p. It really doesn't matter too much either way - and sometimes it can make the game look better.

(note: for games that support off-TV play, the TV buffer is replaced by the GamePad buffer which is much lower res. Rather than changing the res of the native buffer, its easier to blit and downsample to a lower res).



Cathousemaster commented on Don't Touch Anything Red Close to Release, Hel...:

Nintendo have already told us (Nocturnal) only games are being accepted for the WiiU at this point in time. We submitted a detailed design for a non-gaming application, but it wasn't even considered.

If this media player thing is allowed, I'll be very surprised.



Cathousemaster commented on Nintendo Download: 31st July (North America):

Nintendo have confirmed that the price was adjusted... but it seems the news didn't get out. US sales have a long way before they catch up to Europe sales!

I'll contact NintendoLife, and ask for the price adjustment to be listed for the next week.



Cathousemaster commented on Nintendo Download: 31st July (North America):

Hi - can I ask someone to check whether "Flowerworks HD" has been reduced in price this week on the NOA e-store? It was supposed to have been reduced from $6 to $4 - but its almost impossible for us to check, and I haven't had confirmation from Nintendo yet. Thanks :)



Cathousemaster commented on Talking Point: The Wii U eShop is Raising Toug...:

A couple of points for everyone:

1/ Releasing any game on the eShop is a lot of work. When I say "a lot", I don't mean a few days of overtime 'a lot', its months of solid work. And the worst thing that can happen to a game, is it gets ignored or sells so badly - that the developer walks away forever. And this happens to "good" games... so you can imagine what happens to games that score "1/10".

2/ The Nintendo "Seal of Quality" never censored or blocked games from release. Its all about "technical quality" - they force you through a submission process, and its up to them to approve the title and burn the carts or disks (at least in the old days). This came about when Atari 2600 crashed, because back then any company had the right to manufacture games at all. Like a cross between the PC & console industry. So in short, don't expect Nintendo to ever block a game on "gameplay quality" grounds.

3/ If I was going to offer a solution, its simple: make the default sorting for all titles based on ratings. Higher rated games appear closer to the top, with extra weighting based on number of sales.

Once the 'The Letter' gets over its initial period where it appears on the title screen, its going to fade away into obscurity.

A bigger risk, is by feeding the trolls (and giving titles like this too much easy publicity) - its going to do well, and attract hundreds of similar titles.



Cathousemaster commented on Vblank Entertainment Provides Sales Threshold ...:

This is only one of "many" games on WiiWare to fall into the same category. And I'm speaking from experience here... :P

I originally suggested to Nintendo they allow WiiWare developers caught by the threshold trap to trade sales for credit towards WiiU devkit equipment.

Brian is brave to quote hard sales figures though - technically breaching his contract.

Must pick this up on the 3DS at some point, assuming its available in Australia.



Cathousemaster commented on Digital Foundry Pins Down Mario Kart 8's Resol...:

Mario Kart does NOT run at 59fps. Saying it does is totally incorrect.
As DF explicitly said, every second one of the frames is duplicated (i.e. frames 59 and 60 are identical). This is most likely because of additional processing that is done regularly once a second (music, AI or other) on this frame, meaning the next frame is not ready for display within the required time.

As mentioned by a poster above, its also likely to relative to a game mode, specific settings, etc.

As long as there is no visual stutter, this is totally irrelevant to the game.

This is also typical behaviour of "most" 60fps games, unless they run at 60fps ALWAYS (i.e. fps never dips).

This could quite possibly be fixed in a patch, or even a OS update. Or running the game digitally, or from a hard disk rather than disc.



Cathousemaster commented on Digital Foundry Pins Down Mario Kart 8's Resol...:

As stated in other articles, I'm very happy to report that FLOWERWORKS does run at native 1080p 60fps on the WiiU. And it uses a fraction of the consoles power... and is totally un-optimised. So its, very, VERY possible to do so on the console. 1080p does suck LOTS more RAM, and doubles the pixel fill-rate though.



Cathousemaster commented on Review: Flowerworks HD: Follie's Adventure (Wi...:

@CrabGats: You are not meant to get 5 stars on the first level, not initially anyway. As you progress through the game you collect powerups, which enables higher scores on all levels.

I usually play hard or master - and getting 2-3 stars on the first level initially is a good effort. But by the time you get near the end of the game, its easy to get 5 stars on level 1 (even on a hard difficulty).



Cathousemaster commented on Review: Flowerworks HD: Follie's Adventure (Wi...:

@Zach: thanks for the comments!

1/ The original PC release (a long time ago) allowed for direct name entry - but since it didn't impact the game at all, it just slowed down the console version and added a remarkable amount of complexity (for no gain!). I would only consider re-adding this for console, if there was a solid purpose behind it. Choosing a name is really just tagging a save slot.

2/ We also used to have the "press button to toggle flower selection", but it didn't work at all, and actually made the game a lot more complicated and harder to play. This might be different now, that the game supports direct movement (as it takes time to move around the screen, unless you use touch or Wiimote pointer). Its not going to make this patch (sorry!), but I'll consider it if we do a second patch down the track.

While I'm here, I'll drop an update on the patch - which is almost complete, and just needs a lot of testing before we send it off to Nintendo. Any feedback, please let me know ASAP!

  • When a level starts, Player 1 can "choose" any input device, exactly the same way "Player 2" can. This is how player 1 will be able to use Wiimote or Pro control in the game. After Player 1 chooses, Player 2 then gets a chance to also choose (as before).
  • The overworld / menu controls have been opened up, to allow input from any device (not just the GamePad). As a result, its possible to play the entire game now with a Pro or Wiimote controller, without needing to use the GamePad at all. There are a couple of minor exceptions, relating to some of the in-menu controls (touching locations on the map for teleport, etc).
  • in game menu is in, but its just "Quit" / "Continue". Retry would have caused some issues (and been blocked in Arcade mode anyway, otherwise that would promote "cheating") - and because there is 0 loading time, it literally takes around 2 seconds to quit a level, and restart it.
  • changed the purple/blue pollen, to make them more obviously different
  • a few (minor) defects have been fixed


  • Mike :)


Cathousemaster commented on Review: Flowerworks HD: Follie's Adventure (Wi...:

@JustinH: You can put the pricing down to "rounding" then - it definitely wasn't a business decision. For example - If the price would have come to $4.30 CAD, it would still be $4.00, not $4.50. Its good feedback to know that people are this sensitive to pricing - from now on, I'll be rounding down on all currency conversions. I'll look at changing the full price in Canada from $7 to $6.50 CAD (which makes it cheaper than the the US price, etc).

As far as foreign accounts go - I have done that on my 3DS, but it seems harder on the WiiU (can't remember why :P). Plus, we definitely won't get access to US or Canada games - UK might be the only other English region we get. So its a good point - when it releases in Europe, I'll see if I can switch account and get a copy :)



Cathousemaster commented on Review: Flowerworks HD: Follie's Adventure (Wi...:

@JustinH: what do you mean about the Canadian price? All the prices were set based on the current exchange rate compared to the US dollar (possibly with some minor rounding up/down - and usually down).

It should be retailing for $3.50 USD in the US, and $4.00 CAD in Canada ... is this correct? If not, please let me know!

As for an Aussie being sympathetic ... have a thought for us: because the classification costs in Australia are so high, we are not going to release the game here at all. So I'll never get to play or show this to people on my WiiU :(

I know some of the overworld navigation is 'annoying', but its also at your leisure, and there is no penalty for bumping into things (you'll never lose or fail anything!). Additionally, if you touch a location on the GamePad, Follie will "auto-route" there, without bumping into things. This is especially useful in the forest maze (which is quite hard!).

Work on the first "patch" is progressing well: a few fixes and improvements are in, the in-game menu is working, and I'm looking at player-1 controller changes. Hopefully it should be ready for submission within a day or two.



Cathousemaster commented on Review: Flowerworks HD: Follie's Adventure (Wi...:

Thanks again for the feedback everyone - we love it. I think having this sort of direct conduit between developers and gamers/users is essential - but unfortunately, its unlikely to happen with bigger projects or companies.

Feedback on above:
@sinalefa: thanks for the comment on the blue/purple thing, its a good point. In the patch I'm planning on adding some stripes to the purple pollen, to really differentiate them. If you have issues with any of the other colours, please let me know.

I also like the restart idea (although if the quit/play is quick enough, its close). But we all like a fast "restart" - I'll try and get that into the menu too.

@Stargazer: overworld 'smoothing' isn't an easy thing to do, due to the nature of the game. That said, if you use the touch screen and the auto-navigation it should be very smooth between moves.

As for the Vita - I'm not so sure. Apart from being keen to stay Nintendo exclusive, I think it may be hard to play on such a small screen - even playing with pure touch/direct control on the GamePad isn't ideal (but using the GamePad as a indirect panel for a TV is better). Might look at that in the future, but it won't be something done anytime soon (be a big project).

Looking into the patch now, but just to dash hopes of any immediate fixes: its going to have to go through a Nintendo submission/testing process, so its likely to be 2-3 weeks before its live (at best). Its definitely going to happen though, and the European version will have these improvements at launch.



Cathousemaster commented on Review: Flowerworks HD: Follie's Adventure (Wi...:

I do understand the feedback, so no offense taken - I've been in the industry too long for that ;). That said, I have pretty much exactly the same thoughts on the game, and none of the feedback surprises me so far.

Flowerworks HD for us is a balancing act: I never want to put out "crap", but how much time is it worth spending polishing a previously released game like this? I'll much rather spend my time working on a all-new, WiiU exclusive... and I'm sure you all will too.

That said, unless this covers some of our costs there won't be any more games from us. So its a balancing act.


As a compromise, I'm going to see if I can quickly add a in-game menu - that will also have an option for switching Player 1 to one of the Bluetooth controllers. This setting will be remembered between level sessions as well. You will still have to use the GamePad for menus and overworld. Its not ideal, but its the best I can do for now - it will allow 1-player WiiRemote or Pro control. 2-player games will probably require player-1 to use the GamePad as well.

Would this satisfy the people that want it?



Cathousemaster commented on Review: Flowerworks HD: Follie's Adventure (Wi...:

Hi everyone - this is Michael from Nocturnal again. Your feedback is really appreciated, so bring it on.

We are actually going to patch this shortly (long story!). WiiRemote controls are still in there, but because of the way the WiiU works we decided to make player 1 use the GamePad. I felt that forcing the player to switch between the GamePad and WiiRemote for 1 player was ridiculous. If WiiRemote support is in there, it has to work for the entire game (overworld, menus, game sections, etc).

Personally, I definitely preferred the "direct" WiiU controls (touch/buttons/analog) over the indirect WiiRemote controls. Then again, I don't play any of my WiiU games with a WiiRemote.

One of the strongest feedback points we had on the WiiWare version, was that people hated seeing a "mouse pointer" on the screen, which we'll have to bring back to control the entire game with a WiiRemote.

You can pause the game at anytime - just use the HOME button. But you can't abort levels, just like the WiiWare version. If there are enough requests, I'm happy to add a in-game menu with two options (Continue, Quit).

I'll have a look to see whether we can get the WiiRemote easily working for player 1. You might have to start a level in 1-player mode (otherwise pressing something will activate 2-player mode), hit a button on the GamePad (i.e. + or -), then we can let a secondary controller take over.

Adding full Wii Remote support for the entire game again will be significant work.

Has anyone played with the WiiU Pro Controller? We spent a lot of time implementing that (and generally supporting multiple types of controllers) - is anyone using it?

Thanks again for the feedback - and be honest, we can take it ;).



Cathousemaster commented on Interview: Nocturnal on Flowerworks HD's Bloss...:

Hi everyone - this is Michael. Apologies for the high-pitched sound - its purely a mic/recording thing, and my sound setup (or ears!) weren't good enough to pick it up - might be related to the PC hum in the background during recording.

I can confirm that we have now heard back from Nintendo (re: submission), and will do another pass with some minor fixes and improvements. So at this stage, looking like end of April or start May for the release (est. only!).

As always, any questions ... please let me know, and I'll do my best to answer them.



Cathousemaster commented on Flowerworks HD to Burst Into Life on the Wii U...:


1/ Price: still being finalized but it's going to be cheap. I don't want price to be a barrier to anyone buying this.

2/ Release date: I'm hopeful mid March but this depends on a lot of things. Initial release will be US and Europe should follow within a month or so. But no release in Australia at this stage.

3/ Miiverse: just an idea at this stage, but the same sort of functionality that super Mario WiiU had. Need to experiment and see what makes sense.



Cathousemaster commented on Flowerworks HD to Burst Into Life on the Wii U...:

Hi all - this is Michael from Nocturnal. I'll be happy to answer (most) questions you might have.

@Gob: Online leaderboards are right at the top of our task list for Flowerworks, but won't make this cut. Because Nintendo were nice enough to lend us devkits, that imposed a hard deadline on this project.

This initial release was all about getting a polished title out: we now have a fully working WiiU engine, have added full HD (audio & visual), GamePad (off-TV support), touch screen support, and support for several different controller types.

For those in the US, this also includes all the features Europe got that the initial US WiiWare missed out on (2-player co-op, extra content and difficulty modes, etc).

If this does well enough, I'll definitely like to spend a few more months on the game and add new features: Miiverse, improved gfx, online support, new content and more.

Flowerworks is fun regardless: the e-shop could do with more adventure/exploration games :)



Cathousemaster commented on Review: Flowerworks (WiiWare):

The word 'flower' will always turn a large % of male, macho gamers off. Maybe if it was called 'Fireflower'?

Played the PC demo, is it quite fun, just have to wait until its released for Australia - hurry up Nocturnal!!



Cathousemaster commented on Flowerworks:

Played the PC version a bit, and from I have read the WiiWare vers seems to control better. Its pretty old-school, but is a lot of fun when I actually got into it. Hard in a fun way :)