Introducing Maze Qore

I mentioned about a new game in the works in news from my last game and here it is.

Maze Qore is half-way towards completion and I want to celebrate it by showcasing the game at the annual, 2016 Southern Interactive Entertainment and Games Expo, or SIEGE for short.

Starting Friday, October 7th 2016, I will be hosting Maze Qore at SIEGE for others to tryout at my designated booth. I will be giving out artwork for others to keep and enjoy as well. First come first serve.


Now that that’s out of the way, you are probably wondering…

“How far are we with Maze Qore?”

To answer that I leave you with this:

Characters - The PrisonersCharacters - RayCharacters - KaidenCharacters - The SquadCharacters - Kanzia

As seen in the gameplay videos, we already have the core gameplay settled and some characters to fight. All of the characters are also done in the game as well as most (if not all) of the overall gameplay. We however still need to cover cinematic scenes, music, setup the vocals (death sounds and such), and above all else – debugging and polishing. The weapon for instance occasionally jams, meaning I have to drop the weapon or restart the game. The last thing a prisoner (gamer) wants to deal with fighting his/her outta prison.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for more in the future through social media.

That’s all for now, Lord Iheanacho signing off.

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Establish, Explore, Expand.
Neotl Empire

[UE4 Tutorial] Resolving Steam Leaderboards

Greetings. I’ve discovered from one of my clients from my job that many seem to have trouble getting Steam’s leader boards to update properly via Unreal Blueprint.

If you try to use “Write Leaderboards Integer” Blueprint function right now, it will create the leader board stat but will not actually add any entries and if the stats already exist, it’ll only make blank updates – practically nothing happens.

It seems someone already discovered a solution before I did however given some are still having difficulties today I think it’s best I help shed some light on the solution with this article. So I am going to show how I (and Slimax) managed to fix this and what exactly was wrong.

First and foremost, you will obviously need a Steamworks game, if you don’t have one, this tutorial is completely useless to you. To get your game on Steamworks your game must be greenlit via Steam Greenlight than you must submit your game to Steamworks for approval via the website. I don’t own a game on Greenlight myself but my latest client from my job has one and was kind enough to allow me to use it for demonstration (with necessary censorship).

You will also have to download a custom build from the Unreal Engine GitHub then follow the instructions from there and compile the build in Visual Studio. I am trying to submit the fix to the UE GitHub repository so it will be ready by 4.12 or a quick update on 4.11 so hopefully once that’s done this tutorial will no longer be needed for that version and up.

Once that is taken cared of, go back into Visual Studio and search for “OnlineLeaderboardInterfaceSteam.cpp” and open it. This is where the leaderboard interface data is handled to acquire from and send to Steam whenever your game requires access to the leaderboards.

Go to Line 18.

Notice the “%s_%s” string. From my understanding, this is what seems to prevent the game from updating the leader boards properly. I am not sure if this is the same practice for all other leaderboard interfaces since the BP is universal and its meant to update any leaderboards it is connected to (e.g. Google  or Apple leaderboards), however apparently this practice doesn’t work well for Steamworks. So if the stat name was “Time”, it’s practically sending “Time_Time” for some odd reason. To fix this, simply replace it with “%s”. Should look like this:

Move further to Line 289 (might vary on your end) and you will find this code branch via the Tick() function.

Specifically look for this snippet.

bSuccess = SteamUserStatsPtr->SetStat(TCHAR_TO_UTF8(*StatName), OldValue + Value) ? true : false;

It is assuming success by inputting the stats name and value, HOWEVER it is also adding the old value to the new one. This only adds your time to your existing leaderboard entry so if the first time you spent 500 seconds during your first ‘Time’, and you spent 200 during your second ‘Time’, it will update your entry to 520 seconds total. It seems it does not handle math well with the value input when setting stats in the code, hence no entry at all. But I don’t think that’s what one would want with their game’s leader board anyway. If I recall, it was meant for trying to beat others original score; beating the previous record. So what should be done is deny entry until the new entry (Value) exceeds the previous one (OldValue).

if (OldValue < Value)
bSuccess = SteamUserStatsPtr->SetStat(TCHAR_TO_UTF8(*StatName), Value) ? true : false;

Should look more like this:

Finally, compile your build and test it in game. Here’s my layout if you need it.

The leader boards should finally show entries and update the stats properly.

…But if you’re in a hurry and can’t really spend the 20-40 minutes to set this up manually, you can download the file here.

Hope this all helps, meanwhile support us through social media and keep track of our website for more tutorials and other goods.

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The TRUE Fate of Army Men and Future of Neotl Empire.

Greetings folks! Lord Iheanacho here!

I’ve uploaded a video today explaining what is to come from us, including Army Men III’s true status (no, it’s not really dead), and future plans of Neotl Empire and it’s YouTube channel. You can watch it below.

To summarize, Army Men III is postponed and we are focusing on Army Men Online from now on. However for now, Army Men Extended is on hiatus as well until we can settle the copyright issue once and for all. The reason behind this is because we can’t distribute the game effectively without it. A C&D letter is one thing (barely an issue for our case), but we can’t get the game distributed on platforms like Steam Greenlight or possibly even the 8th gen consoles.

So our new goal right now is to start small; I am working on a new indie game.

Can’t announce the title yet as trademark is still a concern and a process I need to complete, as well as register my team as a company brand. Given the short scope of it, I will work on this game entirely alone (it’s what I know best after all).

I also want to use our YouTube channel as a basis for tutorials in game dev and perhaps other endeavors such as music composition, art, and animation. This is something I already planned years ago when UDK was popular, however I lacked the time to do it and now I missed the spotlight for UDK as it’s community is now a ghost town since UE4 became free. Now that I am done with college, I finally have the chance to get started. My tutorials will not be limited to Unreal Engine 4 however. I want to expand to other engines as well. I’ve invested some time with Unity & LumberYard lately and I am amazed to what has come with the engines, and I am eager to give Source 2.a try upon it’s release. Speaking of Source, I will also go back to using Source Engine in the meantime and even give Source Filmmaker a try..

That’s all for now, Lord Iheanacho signing off.

Establish. Explore. Expand.

Army Men III Beta Version 1.2 Update Released!

After 2 years, Beta 1.2 is finally released! Because Unreal Engine 4 is now free (and the anti-mod support barrier is removed), this will be the last release using UDK as we are currently migrating to Unreal Engine 4. UE4 provided much better opportunities that are otherwise impossible or very hard to achieve in UDK (unless I buy the UE3 license and get the full source code).

Army Men III Banner - Download Now

You can find more information on the game here.

Long live the Empire!
Neotl Empire

Rise from the Absence – Happy New Years Day 2015!

This may have been uploaded late but it has to be done. It has literally been a full year since we’ve posted anything on this page and today is the day we will explain why. (No the project is not dead and there is no also New Year’s Day video either.)

99 Problems (And a broken computer ain’t none)

As some of you may know, there are not much of the us left on the team, matter of fact, there is only one person (yours truly) covering the development cycle of the game since 2010. This includes the programming and art side of the game, and well as the cinematics. Unfortunately with college still conflicting with my time ever since the Beta countdown (and even after it’s release) my time becomes scarce as each quarter begins. For some of you that know of us (or at least me in particular), this is surely no surprise. However, what may truly be a surprise is that now it has come a point where I may not have much time to complete the project as fast as I eagerly wanted. The beta was supposed to be released last year in September 2013 but something also went financially wrong within my family as well as events that happened throughout my college campus, which kind of forced a change of plans. That, and my last computer decided to bail out of me in May 2014 so it took several months later to acquire a new one. I was lucky enough to backup the data of the game to the SVN before the computer died (and my HDD turned out to still remain safe in my new computer as well) but without a computer I was essentially doomed as I will not be able to work on AM3 (or any commercial jobs to help pay off debt, and I will have a very difficult time completing my college assignments and worst case, withdraw from college and bear MUCH more debt!). Luckily, a family friend saved us from this predicament by lending a financial hand on acquiring a new computer.

Team Management

While that is one problem solved there is still the other one – more recruits. At this rate, I highly doubt I will be able to have enough time to complete the final version fast enough and God knows if I will have any such time once i start moving out of my parent’s home and start living on my own. One person can only do but so much before he/she eventually reaches their exhaustion point, or so I’ve realized. Do not get me wrong, this project will never die under my watch so long as I am still breathing on this planet (unless God-forbid Take-Two Interactive C&D’s it for some rare reason…), but if AM3 is to stand a higher chance of getting released faster as anticipated, we need at least a few artists and sadly even they are very hard to come by (acquiring programmers are just impossible now) without commercial payment involved and I personally despise paying money for hobby projects. Paying for a server and website development are one thing (which I can totally understand) and granted this was a commercial project (as the case with my next game) I would not necessarily mind paying artists and programmers for their effort, but no way in hell will I waste a single penny on a single artist or programmer to create content for a NON-PROFIT hobby project – no price tag, no micro-transactions, no God-f**king pay walls, I am ultimately offering a MUCH larger trade of content in this game (some of which can actually make a game’s sales skyrocket and perhaps at best case, become nearly as commercially successful as minecraft) – 100% free. I personally blame this on the rise and succession of indie games in 2009 ever since UDK was released which also gave AM3 a chance to actually get somewhere.

Luckily we have finally managed to acquire an artist (after so many years, thanks to a very special friend at Binary Sword). However, while he fairly has some experience with modeling and texturing, when it comes to UDK he is totally a beginner. To resolved this, I will have to guide him through the basics of Unreal Engine 3 (UDK) and familiarize him with the engine so he can help me out with the level design the most important aspect of the game we need to work on in the final version of the game (along with additional/revised voice acting to suit the new and improved story plot and net code).

Finally, without further a do, here are some latest screenshots of the progress complete thus far and a taste of what is to come in the final version.

Screenshots - Toy Store WIP
Screenshots - Toy Store WIP
Screenshots - Toy Store WIP
Screenshots - Toy Store WIP
Screenshots - Toy Store WIP

Don’t forget to follow us via our icons below, This game really needs more publicity.

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Army Men III Work In Progress (9/12/13) – Major Improvements and Beta 1.2 Update

It’s been 4 months since we have posted any major progress updates on the Army Men III Beta release. We have been busy behind the scenes repairing many bugs and issues found in the 1st beta release as well as improving on the game’s quality. But how could we ever forget our fans?

Beta 1.2 Update

We released the first Beta release on April 30th 2013 and although it did receive a fairly decent amount of reception, we really felt we could have did better to improve the game. More especially the cinematics and gameplay art. Some of you may noticed the different changes in some of the art (such as the sandbox mission). Unfortunately, I panicked on the art side after receiving feedback from Polycount, personal mentors, and other advice from all possible directions. I was so busy trying to satisfy their art requirements to reach AAA quality that seeing the April 30th release/countdown was really imminent, I just basically panicked.

That is why this next beta update and most other releases will be a proximity release, which I would define as a TBD release or as some would know as – “when it’s done”. We are currently improving the in-game cinematic scenes and the Bink FMVs to meet AAA quality, as well as improving the game’s art quality and clear as many bugs and issues as possible, more especially that annoying vehicle physics glitch, the overly-difficulty AI, and the hidden glitch on the transition of Mission 6 (we already fixed the three). You might also come across more secrets in this updated release….
[spoiler]*cough* Secret mission paths *cough*[/spoiler]

Though, if you have not tried the previous updated release you can download it below.

Army Men III Banner - Download Now

Meanwhile, here is an example of what he have completed so far.

Graphical Improvements on Level Design.Graphical Improvements on Level Design.Graphical Improvements on Level Design.Graphical Improvements on Level Design.Graphical Improvements on Level Design.Graphical Improvements on Level Design.Graphical Improvements on Level Design.Graphical Improvements on Level Design.Graphical Improvements on Level Design.Graphical Improvements on Level Design.
Graphical Improvements on Level Design.


We have welcomed another music composer to the empire (Neotl Empire). Samuel Garner has done a wodnerful job on creating the new music tracks which will replace some of our older tracks, even the original title theme I have composed in 2008. You can find them all here.

That’s all for today folks! Tracks on IndieDB for more updates, or visit our social networks, and enjoy a drink of our finest Imperium! *new game incoming*.

Imperium Energy Drink

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Official Neotl Empire website is up and running!

After so many years, the official Neotl Empire website is now up and running. Unfortunately, the Army men domain expired and some greedy domain re-seller compromised it immediately before we could re-acquire the domain, so we will have either convince them to return us back the domain or make a new website under a different domain name. Meanwhile this will serve as a hub website for Army Men III and many of our future projects.

For those of you that don’t know about our current title, you can check it out here.

Those of you that are not familiar with the Army Men series in general, go here.

– Franklin Iheanacho
Founder/CEO of Neotl Empire.