I think Microsoft's mistake with the XBOX One is that they didn't go far enough. They should have gone full-Steam and gotten rid of game disks entirely. And if they really wanted people to love them (and leverage their massive PC market dominance,) they'd make it so that you could play your games both on XBOX and on Windows if the game has a PC version. Or they could make the PC version (or the XBOX version depending on your gaming system of choice) a cheap extra like the blu-ray sets that come with a DVD version for an extra $3.
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.
Unbelievable. I kept turning things off in BitDefender's settings, but it still kept popping up new false virus notifications. In the end I found three more things that BitDefender was causing problems with:
- It was preventing Berkelium (the UI ...
At one point Miranda was going to be free to play, so the game has two currencies internally (although only one is used now.) Because it was so easy, I did both at the same time in case F2P ever makes a comeback.
[Miranda custom font in-game]
Symbols for currency and something else? Power maybe?
I really appreciate the support, thanks.
I considered customizing the weapon appearance based on weapon type, that is doable, but with so many different specialists even that doesn't really do enough. You really need completely different appearances for spy, engineer, commando etc.
I might ...