I was off my game on Friday - completely wiped out, so rather than struggle on with collision detection, I decided to watch "Despicable Me" (which is awesome) and add achievements to Miranda. Looking for a feature set, I checked out achievements on Steam, Xbox and PS3 which are all pretty similar.
[The Achievements screen with placeholder art.]
Whenever I tell someone in the games industry what I'm doing, they give me a look. A whole lot of information is packed in that expression: you're crazy, it's never going to work, try something easier, you're wasting your time. Non compos mentis.
This experience doesn't seem to be unique. A couple days ago Dave Toulouse said
, "When you have no experience making games and you work on an MMO you avoid telling too many people what you are doing because nobody believe you can pull it off and many will make sure to discourage you from doing it."
After spending so long on the patcher, I decided I wanted to cherry-pick a few small items off of the todo list this week, knock a bunch of 'em out and have a good sense of accomplishment. That was Monday.
I attended the Full Indie Summit
today along with 399 other indie developers at the Rio theatre in Vancouver. With a mere $10 admission for 12 talks ranging from 5 minutes to 30 and including snacks, it put those other big name developer conferences to shame.
I needed a way to deliver my game to players, but I have a fundamental problem: the game is really, really big. That means that it is completely impractical for players to download the whole thing in one go, it needs to have a streaming installer.
I did a lot of research on patching and installers over quite a few months. There are so, so many approaches you can take. Windows installer is a great tool, use it if you can. I tried really hard to find an existing solution, but I'm sad to say, I didn't find a solution that would suit my game.
The biggest roadblock to using an existing solution was that I have a lot of files. My test world has around 18,000 files and the full dataset will have many, many more. With that many files, a regular single-file self-installer would be gigantic.
You wouldn't believe how much work adding this one progress bar was!
I was listening to Chris Hecker's talk No One Knows About Your Game
this week and he makes a good point. It is a big risk to not talk about what you're working on and then hope that your press strategy all comes together for the game's release. I haven't talked about my game because I don't like to talk about things that aren't done yet, but that changes today.
I was hugely disappointed when I learned that the developers of Natural Selection 2
lost $30,000 in credit card charge-back fees on 1,341 Steam keys bought fraudulently via the Humble Store. I had a bit of a warm spot in my heart for The Humble Bundle, but indie devs can't afford to take that kind of hit.
I don't know what sort of arrangement there is between The Humble Bundle guys and the developers, but The Humble Bundle is making good money, I'm really shocked that they haven't spent some of that money on effective fraud prevention.
When choosing a payment processing service
for your game, don't just look at the discount rate, make sure you look at what they do to prevent fraud and read the service agreement carefully. Credit card fees can bankrupt you if you aren't careful.
A while back I put together an audio system
which I have been using to play music in the menus. While I had the ability to play any sort of sound, it was kind of inconvenient to use -- each sound had a handle that needed to be managed.
I needed something that would run the audio system and manage things for me. With the number of complaints I've heard from audio folks over the years about the general lack of attention to audio in games, I was surprised by the lack of solid information on what kinds of features you would want in an audio system. I looked around on the web, then went through all the Game Programming Gems
books until I found Creating an Audio Scripting System
. Quite a few of the ideas I implemented came from that article.
If you're an audio person and there's important stuff I'm missing, or if this is all just wrong, by all means tell me in the comments.
So that last blog post was picked up by gamasutra.com
which was pretty cool. It was tweeted to over 70,000 people, hit the front page of Gamasutra and stayed there for three days, was featured, and made their news feed. I got 15 comments, saw 22 new followers, traffic on the website was 8 times normal the first day (almost 25% of those iDevices!), and it has now settled at twice what it used to be.
Between checking out the comments and web stats, I've been working on a bunch of different things.
I saw this post
on Gamasutra yesterday, and I thought "maybe people wonder what programmers do all day." So here it is.
8:12am Wake up.
8:26 Hug the family goodbye as they head out for the day. Cover head with blankets, not ready to get up yet.
9:02 Roll into the office. Check on onemanmmo.com
, then Twitter
. Gamestop says
that 60% of the people it surveyed wouldn't buy a game console if it wouldn't play used games. Yeah sure.
When I say iconography I think I'd include art styles like FTL and other reusable component based artwork. i.e. I really mean non realistic representative artwork. I think people forgive less advanced art design (and some cases love it with the ...
Thanks for the suggestions, but even iconography would only get me so far given that units are made of 6 different components and each of those components can vary in power and effects. One day I will have an art team!
Players killing less-useful units is what I would expect, and since when you dispose of a unit you only get a fraction of its original cost back, that also works as a money sink.
The plan is that players will want to use more exotic units as they ...
This might be a little radical for this stage of the project, but have you considered having iconography for units instead of actual models?
It might detract somewhat from the atmosphere. However if you don't have the time/skills to create a lot of ...
The oversupply of money problem is why WoW has money sinks for various cosmetic and non-essential (but useful) items. The alternative of course is separate currencies (i.e. "food" limits) that perhaps money can influence but only to a certain degree ...