Papa Sangre and Other Audio Games from Somethin’ Else to be Discontinued and their Game Engine Made Open Source for Others to use

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Update #1

In reply to a question from us on Twitter, it’s been confirmed that active development will cease on all of the current audio games from Somethin’ Else and not just Papa Sangre.

Original Post

It’s been announced on Twitter that Papa Sangre, the popular and highly-regarded iOS audio game, will get one more update and then be removed from the App Store the next time after this that something causes it to break:

Tweet 1: 1/2 — Sad and Happy to Say. Sad: the next update of Papa Sangre will be our last. The next time it breaks we will take it off the app store.

Tweet 2: 2/2 Happy: we plan to open source the Papa Engine (still the best audio VR engine in the world) and our binaural audio games.

Tweet 3: 3/2 (sorry) — I believe abandonware shouldn’t be totally abandoned. Others can make use of it.

Papa Sangre was one of the earliest inductees into the AppleVis Hall of Fame and has been featured by Apple in an App Store collection of iOS apps popular with VoiceOver users, so there is no doubt that many will see this as sad news.

However, the second of the tweets quoted above suggests that this may not be all bad news, as an opportunity will exist for others to use the technology that powers this game.

We know that we have many passionate gamers in our community and a number of active developers. This makes me wonder whether this combination of passion and experience could make for an interesting opportunity for our community. The opportunity to develop one or more games using the Papa Sangre game engine.

I should stress that I am not a gamer and have no experience of app development. So, at this point, I am simply putting the idea out there … so to speak.

If there is interest and a capability to do something with this idea, then it’s something that we could explore pursuing within the AppleVis community.

So, at this point it would be great to hear what people think of this idea. Essentially, does it have any value and interest and what are the potential opportunities and challenges to making it a reality? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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38 Comments

Woundering what is going on

Woundering what is going on between them and Apple.

If there's something technical going on, nothing signalizes it will be fixed, cinse they are saying that because of what breaks it they are no longer developping the engine.

Similarly, should Apple anoy them because of something outside of the technical stuff, nothing signalizes that the engine will be protected, cinse again they're stopping to develop stuff because of exactly what iis causing the break thing ...

While I consider an opensource engine cool, I really want to know what is going wrong. This can be a clear sign to devs thinking in accessible games to go and concentrate on other topics, because when the best accessible engine simply can not be further developped and explored by its devs then something is going very wrong.

interesting times

Wow! What a scoop to wake up to. My thoughts are many:

Responding to the last comment, let's not forget that they're still fixing things this time around. That means nothing has been broken beyond usefulness yet at least where the engine is concerned. I too would like to know more about what lies behind these major decisions. Having followed conversations surrounding their development of Audio Defence, I believe the lack of funds are what brought this about. If you recall, that kickstarter project failed to reach its funding goal. They said at the time that if this happenned, they would have to seriously consider getting out of the audio game production business. Sadly, it looks like this is what will happen.

They have done things I never thought I'd experience including having famous actors narrate their audio games. We may never experience that caliber of marketing ability and financing again. That sort of thing simply never happened before in the whole history of accessible gaming as far as I'm aware. They brought together excellent game play, audio production and a willingness to bring blind players along right from the word go. I'll treasure their games for as long as they remain playable.

Regarding the audio engine going opensource, that might well prove to be a pivital development for accessible mobile gaming. It all depends on how interested people in our community are in developing the skill to make good use of it. You need sound effects, narrators, programming skill, and just as importantly, a good grasp of audio game design. All the 3d sound in the world won't save a badly designed game. I have yet to come across more than a few basic apps developed by blind people. Anybone hoping for audio blockbusters on par with what Somethin' Else Software produced may be in for a long wait. Even to people with programming skill, how well commented and easy to learn is this engine? I highly doubt it'll be the kind of thing you can just plug values into and have a usable game. I guess we'll find out in due course. Personally, I wish there were a way to change their mind about this. People have to make a living though, and they've given us some true marvels. Treasure those.

If reazons are not technical

If reazons are not technical or related to them and Apple ..... well the open source might work.

The impression seemed that they are facing some chalenge because of the words '"the next time something breaks". It is like if some strange, unexpected thing happened and forced them to work on some fix project when they do not have the time or the resources to do it.
An app that is never touched should never breake if it is not broken .... it could stay for ever on the store and produce some extra bucks to the devs. If they will remove it, either they're having issues, which is strange or they're not making $99 a year to maintain the dev account they're using to publish.

Again, especulating won't necessarily help, but if audiogame producers are facing any kind of issue this might be an alert.

So audio

So audio defence will not be updated?

I believe audio defense will

I believe audio defense will be updated. THey're just not gonna support the original papa sangre. It looks like they will update the papa I game, and see what happens. If it crashes again like it does now, then I'm assuming that is when they'll pull Papa I from the AppStore.
Shame to see it go, but the game was truly fun while it lasted

No mention of other Somethin' Else games

Hi! In the announcement tweets i saw earlier, only Papa Sangre was mentioned: there was no indication as to whether they are going to update Audio Defence again, or even The Night-Jar. The latter crashes immediately at start-up like the original Papa Sangre game does, on IOS 9 anyway. At least Audio Defence is still basically playable, even if can crash during game-play sometimes! Here's hoping all the games made with the Papa Sangre engine get updated and work for at least a while before the developers give up on them! It'll definitely be interesting to see what happens after that.

Technically, audio defense still

Technically, audio defense still works. It crashes sometimes, though it is rare. And if it crashes on most cases, it is of those crashes where the game freezes, and you can pause it and end it. Though from what I understood, it was only papa I, in which they were giving up. A shame to see it go though. It was a very fun game.

A Clue to what Hapened

I imagine a clue might be found in all the threads seeking free apps.

Audio games of this calibre must cost a bundle to produce. With the pressure for free or low priced apps, it's hard to imagine how any developer can make a reasonable return.

Thank you to the developers for the great games, and for releasing the engine.

It would be cool if

It would be cool if the Papa engine would be available in the app store because I'd like to create an audio game for IOS myself. I'm not a developer, but I wanna create an audio game anyway. But if the engine would be available in the app store, would this app be free and accessible?
Feel free to post your comments below
Thanks

Disappointing

I am disappointed to see this happen when it did not need to happen. First of all, charging such low prices for all their audio games was a mistake, especially when another developer sold lower quality audio games at a higher price justified by the app being an audio game. Their second mistake (as pointed out to me by someone else) was that they made very little effort to market their games outside the blind community. Yes, we benefit the most from games being audio only, but an audio game is also a new experience for sighted players, and arguably more immersive than a standard video game when they close their eyes.

Now, to address the comments of others.

First, the games break because Apple updates their OS. There's nothing sinister about that. Apple can either support backward compatibility (like Windows) or offer developers the cleanest possible API with access to the latest functionality.

Second, the game engine being open source does not mean it will end up on the app store or make it easy to create audio games for people who don't know how to program, it only means that developers can use the technology in their own products or adapt the technology for other platforms. Now, my guess is that the game engine in this case has more to do with rendering immersive 3D audio and the players position within the environment than game play itself, similar to how something like ActiveX operates on Windows. That's just a guess. Either way, you need to be a developer to take advantage of it.

The only way to make money for maintenance in the iOS app store is to either grow your install base or offer extras/subscriptions through in-app purchases. It's not a good situation for developers, especially when their app pricing is as low as Something Else's. I would have gladly paid at least 4 times the price Something Else charged for their audio games given their exceptional quality and I'm sad to see them go.

Yeah but

Yeah but I would like to create an audio game with the engine. It would be really awesome if the Papa engine would be open source
Take care

More from the Papa team

App Developer

Hello all,

Paul here from Somethin' Else.

To clarify, we're still aiming to make another update to the engine and push out new versions of all our audio games.

Every time Apple updates iOS, something breaks. Sometimes it's small, sometimes it's fatal. Unfortunately, the economics of the App Store don't support premium games like Papa Sangre very well and it means we've had to take the hard decision to end support after the next update.

We do propose to open source the engine and games -- the engine first. We're proud of the art of the games as much as anything and don't want to see them changed so we need to find a way to express that in open source agreements.

I'd be happy to send the API document to the Papa Engine to anyone who wants to understand what it can do.

Paul

good to hear

hi paul, it's good to hear that all the games will get that last update. i for one, want audio defense updated. lol. if i must, i'll damned well keep an iOS 9 device around, particularly just to keep the next updates to these games going without crashes! lol
It's sad to see such an awesome game dev go out of business, wether or not it's for tech reasons, or money reasons. I do think how ever, the idea of having in app purchases is a good one. i have, in fact, often gotten such in app purchases, as much because i want the addons, as because i want to support the devs for a damned good job. if i were you, i'd perhaps go for a couple other weapons if you had them already thought up, but make them in app purchases only. of course, if you hadn't already looked at bringing more weapons in, don't push yourselves to do that. that could only cause bugs, and we don't want that for a final version. also, i hope that if you have to pull the games after an ios update, that won't stop us downloading it if we have already purchased it. I would think that you would want us to still be able to grab them and play them, even if it's not being worked on any more.
best regards: Dallas

Can we do something?

Personally.
I don't want this to happen.
Because all papa teem's games are awesome for a lo price.
Thanks for a grate game.
:(

@paul,

,

I know perfectly what is going on in technical terms.

Apple is indeed breaking things from iOS versions. I won't discuss if this is worth or not cinse OS producers are free to use different update schemas and Apple not always will support binaries or code written to target older versions of iOS.

However, the point being technical enough in the sense that you probably do not have the money and / or resources to keep updating things to run on newer versions of OS, openning the source wouldn't help because people are thinking that it will be only a mather of plugging a map or something like this and their game will run for ever .... what they still did not realize is someone will have to adjust the open source engine to run on newer versions of the OS and you won't be doing that, cinse you are openning the source because you can not do it at this time.

I commend you for openning the source but I do not think this would be fair with the devs who have worked very very hard to make something with good quality .... I am myself a developper and know what costs to do something like you have just done on this engine.

So I'd use the following schema:

Update the game and stop supporting it.
Let the engine closed.
Create a paiment schema where a dev can use your engine and give you a part of the money they get with their product.
Support the engine on demand: if someone needs they will give you money and you will support the engine, otherwise you let it the way it is.
This would give you money as the engine maintainer and give folks who want to create their products but do not necessarily have the time to build such engine a possibility of putting their games to work.
The more folks using the engine the more money you get the more money they get and the more games we have ... this is my two cents.

I hope

I hope that Paul doesn't close the Papa engine, because I've never seen a engine for Ios where you can create audio games. I mean for the computer? Yes, there are many programs that can do that. So, please make the engine open source
Thanks

Brilliant

This engine is brilliant! It is a shame about Apple. Now, if we had this for PCs! I'm going to try my hand at writing a game with it. It is awesome they are sharing it with everyone. Thank you to the whole team!!!

apple and breaking things

this is exactly what happens when you get a marketing quad lead by the world dumbest CEO tim cook, who by the way was a marketing person him self. I'm sorry folks, but whether some want to hear it or not, i'm going to state very clearly, this didn't happen under steve jobs and his engineering team. when scott forestall was around the infrastructure of iOS didn't change and break things each year with new updates. if you ask me, tim cook isn't about us the customer, he's all about making as much money as he can, and that's it.

not correct

App Developer

I'm sorry, but Tim Cook versus Steve Jobs has no relation to how an IOS feature can change. It happens with all operating systems, and is to be expected. Many apps had trouble when upgrading to IOS9. That's why many updates came out about that time. The reason for this is that, in order to implement changes and new features, it becomes necessary to change parts of the OS code. In my opinion, Apple has done a pretty good job with maintaining backward compatibility--I have used apps that have not been updated since IOS 4 and still work. However, expecting nothing to change in the code but expecting new features, performance, stability, and security improvements, and bug fixes as well is an impossible dream. Allowing developers to beta test the new OS is a way to make sure those bugs don't affect end-users much, as the fixes take place before the OS is made public to end-users, but the changes must still be made.

@Nathan Stocking I agree with

Stocking I agree with you. Supporting backwards as is also causes problems and people will say the same like "these engineers only make crap because they want to support that old code nobody cares " ... and so on .... people will always complain of something.
I would ratter prefer the Apple way of doing things, supporting backwards as much as possible but breaking stuff when it's needed.

Once again Mr. Armstrong completely misses the point

Once again, Mr. Armstrong completely misses the point by about a mile. This has absolutely nothing to do with Tim Cook or Steve Jobs. This has to do with the way iOS is coded. The Somethin Else guys are finding that the games are getting very difficult to maintain, so they're putting their game engine out there so that other developers can make audio games for iOS. It's too bad that Somethin else and Apple can't work together to try and set things so that they don't break in future releases, but that might be difficult given the complexity of how these apps are built. This is not something where you can push a couple buttons, and an app is fully formed and completely ready for the masses to use. it takes a lot of time, testing, testing and more testing first with alphas which are for developers only, then private betas, and then, if the developer chooses, they can have a public beta cycle, it's all in how they choose to do it. The Papa engine is an awesome thing, but you have to know how to program to be able to use it. It's not an app in the app store you can just download, tap on a few elements and build an audio game. I just hate seing people get blamed for stuff that isn't their fault. Tim Cook has absolutely nothing to do with this.

Pricing

After hearing the news that the games are going to be discontinued, I was quite disappointed, but I have to say, if the costs are what the problem is about, I think I have a possible solution to suggest. Considering the apple developer programme is quite expensive, and if the something else developers aren't getting the money they need from their audio games, they won't be able to pay for it, however, I'm happy to propose something which might help.
How about raising the price of the Papa Sangre games. Before everyone starts going off about how expensive it'll get, think about these games, and how good they are, and how much you play them when you do end up buying them. That's my point, all I'm saying is, if the prices were higher, it wouldn't make me not want to buy the game, quite the opposite, I'd be more than happy to still purchase it, considering I'd get my moneys worth from it, even if it was over £7, I think it'd be more than worth it, and it'd help the developers to keep going with these games, as they'd be able to pay for the developer programme, if that's what this is about.

Audio Games

I love Audio Defense, it is my favorite game.
Someone said there is plenty of choices if you want to make an audio game for the PC but I have not found any of them that does not include 3D rendering.

Any suggestions?

Ahat said

iOS and apps

hi guys. yes, i agree. tim has nothing to do with this. and yes. things broke back in steve's day. lots of times. just not as much. but, guess what. the os was much simpler back then. we want these things to do more and more, yet want nothing to change. not happening. and bugs do happen, both on the operating systems, as well as the apps sides. that happens on the best of closed in slow changing systems. it's just how computing is. this is one reason i hated trying to learn coding. and why i failed, btw. because, no matter how good you are, there are always bugs. then a simple little update comes along, and breaks something, and you spend days looking for that one, single,. little thing, that's messed the whole thing up to fix it.
as for the price thing. i agree, i'd happilly pay more for audio defense. but outside having in app purchases, the problem is, they would have to bring out whole new versions on the app store, that aren't upgrades. because, i'm afraid, as good as the app store system is, it means that once you have purchased an app, that's it. the dev gets no more out of you, untill / unless you pay for in app purchases, perks, and such things.
so either they'd have to bring out totally new apps to buy yet again, or, as said before, use in app purchases to give those of us that want extra things, a way to pay them some extra for the ability to have those extras.

I would gladly pay

I would gladly pay for some in app purchases, if it meant somethin else could continue making games. After all, these games are some of the best that I have played.

Somethin' else is a very

Somethin' else is a very large company, and my guess is that we just saw a typical case of the people higher up in the chain of command realising that all the other stuff something' else does, like radio shows for the BBC is making them a lot more money than a few games that don't really sell anymore that require not only people good with audio production, but also people good at programming. While I'm saddened to see this happening I'm also really happy that you want to open-source not just the engine, but also the games. Though with some of the baggage you get with licensing I wish you luck with that. Perhaps put up just the code on github but then require that people put in all the resources (sounds) themselves? Certainly enough people have access to the currently released apps to make that not too much of a problem.

Nooooooooo!

Nooooooooo! I wanted to try out these games but I don't have a credit card.

I'm sad to see these games go

App Developer

I'm sad to see these games go. Somethin else did a phenominal job and they have created something wonderful. They inspired me to want to create my own audio games after I get my computer science degree. I will be forever grateful to somethin else for giving us the chance to experience playing these amazing games.

Gone

The games are gone. I wanted to play them on my new iPhone, but its too late. Sad to hear this.

I guess I lucked out

I got my IPhone 7 plus about a month and a half ago, and when all my apps were restored, I got all of the Something Else games. So far as I've been able to tell, they work fine on my new phone, but if they're gone from the app store now... I hope they continue to work. Hopefully it won't be like Solara. The day I had to delete Solara was kind-a sad because it was one of the first apps I got when I got my first iphone. Anyway, assuming these audio games are still functional, I will be extra careful not to delete them since it's now impossible to get them back.

audio defense

Hi
Does this mean I will not have the game anymore in my app store?

I bought the game and now it's not in my app store.

The game disappeared.
Can someone explain me why?
Thanks

Sad news

Unfortunately the company has decided to do not share The engine to other developers which could be very helpful to create another great games The answer to my question from the company was that they will share the engine only to bigger commercial companies. So I think that the history of a great development is coming to and

papaengine

Hi!
Does anyone have the PapaEngine?
Te website is down...
Please if anyone does... I'd like to check it out and use it.

Nope. I don't think any of us

Nope. I don't think any of us do. From the previous comment above, it looks like the engine is being given to commercial large companies for them to design games. The site is probably down for good.

It's honestly sad to see

It's honestly sad to see these games go, however I totally understand why. It's hard to make an audio game with professional Voiceovers and all the sounds that they need, plus I'm assuming here, the licensing for all that. I'd guess it'll cost em a pretty penny for the game to be released, then the game doesn't cost much in terms of paying in the app store, so they don't really make much money off the purchases in the long run. Anyway, I'm adicted to the game fruitPot!

It stinks that

It stinks that after Apple removes apps if we brought them that we aren't given some sort of creddit. I see something wrong with that.