We create the best entertainment in the world. Be sure to visit me at my homepage! I'm always working on a new game or something interesting!
I finally released the official version of The Pixel Pirate!
The Pixel Pirate is a 2D RTS lite game featuring retro graphics and sounds. Become the ultimate space pirate as you take over the galaxy!
THE PIXEL PIRATE FEATURES:
The game features a $1 purchasable chapter. Let me know what you think, eh?
I'm currently working on a typing game [currently titled The Great Typing Wars].
I don't have any screenshots available yet, but I will have some soon. The game will probably look pretty similar to Society (The Flash Game). I wanted it to look hand drawn but I think I might be too lazy to actually do that :)
Aside from that, I'm still waiting to hear if The Pixel Pirate will get sponsored.
I'm thinking about doing something neat AFTER I finish the typing game. I'll talk more about it later!
The official demo of The Pixel Pirate was released! I could use as many people as possible to give it a play!
It features over 20 levels and six different types of ships! Each level is also built dynamically, which is neat!
Give it a play and leave some feedback please!
Play the game here - The Pixel Pirate
If you didn't know, I officially released Society!
Society is a retro inspired, art game based on how Societies function in the world.
A society that doesn't grow is dead.A society that isn't moving forward is moving backwards.A good society will never be stopped.
- randomly generated levels
- online high scores
- short levels that are perfect for a lunchtime break
- if you didn't know already (apparantly, I didn't do a good job with the marketing of this game), Society is the game I was working on. Society is a retro flavored, strategy game that I designed as my comment on how societies work and function. Give it a try and let me know what you thought, eh?
- although the game is pretty much ready, I wanted to point out that I spend nearly all day today getting it ready for submission for Mochi. While I've worked with Mochi before and like them quite a bit, I HAD ANOTHER HUGE PROBLEM WITH MOCHI. Basically, I spent all day trying to figure out why the sound in my game was being turned off - I knew it had to do with something related to Mochi because it only recently happened.
The game uses a Mochi Preloader, Mochi In Game Ads, Mochi Log In, and Mochi Social Services. After turning off and on all of the features and checking the results, I eventually noticed that the problem was my Mochi In Game Ads. I spent all fucking day looking at my code wondering what was wrong...
Turns out, an advertisment for Avatar that Mochi was displaying was setting the global sound OFF.
Fortunately, I couldn't find anybody else who had this problem so I got to spend all day searching for such a simple problem :)(Also, the solution is pretty simple - you have to send the SoundMixer variable to '1,' basically, do what BsBirck tells you to.)
- I'm thinking I want to redesign the site :) Um... I'm not sure if I will definitely, but I'd like to integrate a Log In system and a forum to the site. I'm pretty sure that I'm losing traffic by not having a more social site and I'd like to work on that. Unfortunately, this would require me to learn PHP - I tried looking some stuff up (and can actually understand a lot of it), I just know that it's going to take a long time to figure out - I couldn't even figure out how to log in to my MySQL server :(
- I've been slowly adding to my Flash Optimization tricks. Be sure to follow that or something...
Yeah, so that's it, for now. Check out Society and be sure to leave any comments you have on it!
Sorry for not updating the blog - because of the holidays, things got a little hectic...There's no news to report other than that Feira's Quest is looking like it'll take a minimum of two months to finish. I've underestimated the schedule again...
Now, I'm not going to beat myself up about it like I would in the past; I figure that these things tend to happen. I thought I had gotten better at this sort of stuff, but... obviously not.
I do have to say that working on this particular game has been really... tiring. I'm not sure what it is - I think it has something to do with the fact that I'm not too sure how it'll do and I don't want to work on ANOTHER game that took a long time with little financial return. But, it might have something to do with the fact that I'm making ANOTHER platforming game. Or, it may have something to do with the fact that I'm working on this game alone...
Whatever the reason is, I'm in a funk that I haven't felt in a while. I'm anxious to finish this game so that I can finally put it down - I'm really not enjoying working on this game. And, for some reason, I'm finding that designing levels is particularly boring...
On the bright side, I've got some big plans for my next couple of games. I don't want to talk about it until I'm ready, but I really think that it'll do me a lot of good and it'll do people who like my games a lot of good.
I just have to finish Feira's Quest first...
If you didn't know, Platform Explorer was finally released. You can play it at the homepage!
Overall, I'm a bit disappointed by how it came out! Obviously, I wish that I had found an artist to work with, but there are other problems that I have with it. You could tell me that I should keep working on the game until it's perfect, but, to be honest with you, I don't really see the point. It'd be nice to earn a small amount of money with the game and it doesn't seem like I'll be able to do that working by myself.
A consequence of releasing this game and seeing the (bad) results is that it's made me rethink how I'm designing games. Specifically, I can't continue to develop games with the same scope that I have been. That presents a problem because I generally LIKE the games that I'm making...
What's particularly frustrating is that I'd like to make games that are even BIGGER than the ones that I'm making. And, I would really like to try my hand at some artsy games. But, I don't think that I could do these game ideas any justice with my low skills in sound and art. Unfortunately, finding help has always been difficult for me, so I'm feeling kind of stuck...
This frustration has translated into working on Feira's Quest (I changed the name). I'm really trying to push myself to finish the game as quickly as possible and that means dropping some features that I would like to put in. I can't justify working on this game for longer than a month or so IF I'm only going to earn ad money. If the results of Feira's Quest end up being similar to Platform Explorer (ie no sponsorship money), then I'm going to have to rethink how I'm doing things.
By that, I mean I'm going to have to make smaller, quicker games with little to no story. While it will be a fun challenge trying to work within those boundaries, I don't really want to work on those sort of games :)
To add all of these game designing challenges, I'm having trouble figuring out how to market my games. There aren't many websites that cover indie games, and, the ones that do seem to cover HIGH profile indie games (stuff like Aquaria and Super Meat Boy). So, not only do my games suffer because my lack of skills, but it's also difficult to get them noticed because the games don't have the right amount of polish. Sometimes I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place :)
But, it isn't all bad - at least, I'm making games the way I want to. And, I do learn a lot doing everything myself. I guess, like everyone, I just want things easy for myself :)
Any thoughts? Let me know, eh!
Learning to use Flash has been an interesting ride. It's quite different from Game Maker and I've had a lot of fun using it. More importantly, marketing and promoting online Flash games has been an exciting challenge that has taught me a lot.
With all that nostalgia, I was recently thinking about stuff that I wish I knew before finishing Earth Tower Defense, my first game. I came up with the following list:
1. The Mochi network isn't available everywhere.
I really like using the Mochi service to power my games. It's a fun and easy way to add a lot of stuff to the game. Unfortunately, there are a number of Flash game portals that don't allow outside networks.
For example, there are a number of online portals that don't allow advertisements in their games. On the other hand, some allow portals advertisements, but only using their own system.
It isn't such a big deal, but the only way around this issue is to have separate builds of your game and it's kind of an annoying hassle. More importantly, you have to PLAN on how the game should flow depending on whether Mochi is available or not...
2. Mochi Live Updates is kind of a pain.
I've mentioned this before, but I want to reiterate just how BAD I think Mochi Live Updates is.
Now, the service works the way it is supposed to and it's very easy to set up. It's just that once the game is set up to use this feature it makes added other APIs kind of difficult; in the case of Kongregate's API, I never got the two to work together AT ALL!
In the end, it probably would have been better for me to just hard code all of the Mochi stuff into the game. I would have learned a lot and it would have allowed me to make small changes easier.
3. Flash doesn't like large individual files AND lots of Actionscript files.
If you've familiar with this blog because you were searching the term "error 5003 in Flash" or something like that, then you're familiar with what I'm talking about.
I had a problem with compiling Platform Explorer - CS5 would randomly just shut down after displaying the "compiling" bar for some time. After doing research for a day or two, I finally found out that it was because I had a large Actionscript file in the game (it was around 1.25 MBs I believe). Shrinking this down caused the game to finally compile correctly.
After thinking I had fixed the error, I ran into the same problem a couple of weeks later. THIS TIME I got rid of some Actionscript files that weren't needed, and the game finally seems to be compiling fine.
So, overall, Flash doesn't seem to like large files and lots of .as files when you have a crummy computer...
4. You have to embed your fonts if you dynamically create text fields.
This is something that I never even knew about, but, if you don't embed your text fonts, there's a chance that the text in your game will look messed up.
This happened in Earth Tower Defense. Basically, if you don't have the fonts you used in game installed on your computer (Helvetica in this case), Flash automatically changes the font to Ariel (or some other default font). That pretty much makes all of the text boxes out of whack...
5. Micro transactions are important.
Well, I guess I don't know this yet, but I suspect that Micro transactions are going to become a more significant part of people's earnings. With sponsors being more selective with which games they fund, I think it's important to try to consider MTX as a viable source of funds.
I really regret NOT putting any type of MTX in Earth Tower Defense. I think it would have helped earn a small amount of change here and there.
Overall, from here on out, I plan to insert some sort of MTX in my games NO MATTER how bad I think it is. I figure anything is worth a shot...
There are a bunch of smaller things that I learned, but those aren't really worth mentioning. The ones on this list are things that I particularly remember as important.
If I can think of any more, I'll just add them here. In addition, if you have any you'd like to share, please let me know :)
I'm currently reading Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter by Tom Bissell and comparing my own life to the life of Tom's. To paraphrase the book, Tom is addicted to video games (the book point out that he missed President Obama's elections to play Fallout 3) and he used to be embarrassed to admit it. I guess he's thought about it more and decided that he shouldn't feel bad about it because video games are important.
Now, the general message of the book - ie that video games are art - is an issue that isn't too important to me; I've thought that they were art for some time and really consider the matter closed. What I am finding interesting is his embarrassment at playing so many video games. I too have suffered from that embarrassment, and I MAKE GAMES FOR A LIVING.
Fortunately, as I've gotten older and met more people who share the view that video games are important I have become more relaxed about the issue. I'm more willing to admit my appreciation for games now and it feels great doing it. More importantly, however, is my thought that within a generation or two, games WILL be considered more significant that ever before.
I think it's only a matter of time before we get more games like Metal Gear Solid. In fact, I kind of think that we already find that today in the independent games community (which is why I like indie gaming so much). So, I guess it's only a matter of time before OTHER people start paying attention to indie games and find out exactly what they are missing. Interestingly enough, I find it interesting that Tom Bissel doesn't SEEM to cover indie games at all (but I've only read the first two or three chapters).
Overall, I feel lucky to be at the forefront of such an exciting and changing field. I've always found it interesting how people can still debate so much on an issue that I consider to be closed...
I can't wait to see what the future holds for video games and I can't wait to realize my own vision of what video games can do! I just wish that I had more time to play video games - making them takes too much damn time :(
If you have any comments, feel free to share them!