Friday, September 21, 2012
Well I've created Weirding Wood, done a large venture on Dots, and finally put out RPG Trek. Dots wasn't completed, it's been sitting on the last 90% mark, which means the polish is left. Unfortunately the polish requires 90% of the work to really shine. This is a project that suffered and suffered some more from feature creep.
It boils down to this. I can't guarantee revenue from the apps/games will allow me to cover basic living expenses.
Like all people I need money to eat, have shelter, electricity and whatnot. I haven't really taken vacations and if I'm really lucky I buy a $60 game every 5 months or so. I'd like to think I'm fairly frugal. The revenue so far has been abyssmal. I could likely get more begging on the streets for a day than I have for a month of work. (Not a good sign)
So I have to go back and try some other types of work, to ensure proper income is first maintained. After that I'll be designing in my spare time and likely outsourcing some apps. This is the way of the entrepreneur, and I'm still sure I want to do this.
In short I'll be gone for a while but I'll once righted I'll be back doing this again and let you know what the next project is!
Sunday, July 29, 2012
- Statistics, modifiers, and XP awards for surviving encounters in that weather.
- Track days travelled based on lousy weather.
- Rolling Random Encounters automatically rolled.
- Visibility, Surprise and movement rates.
- Weather Challenge events.
- Seasonal Weather with daily temperature.
- Choose your own weather, if you don't like what was rolled.
- Flavor Text to read to your players.
For now, here's some screenshots:
Thursday, June 28, 2012
So it's been over a year since I've started this, here's some definite tips.
- Human Beings suck at estimations - Even so you have to do them. I've been off on every single one of my projects. Not a fact I'm proud of, but it's a fact I have to deal with and a fact I have to get better at it. I always try to look at the reasons this happens and it always comes down to things you could not see or predict beforehand. Either you didn't have the experience, or knowledge or both. And each time a new X-factor is always introduced. So why do it? Watch your behavior when you don't do it. Or rather measure your resource usage. It gets way worse. Having deadlines forces you to try to make good on them.
- Don't test, Learn and Earn - I made Weirding Wood way back near the beginning. It was supposed to be my "test". That test was only supposed to take 2 months to make. It took 6. When it came out, the "test" was successful. I got feedback, but I didn't earn anything of significance. Luckily I caught myself this time around with the Weather generator. Being a test is fine, but your time costs you. There's no reason you can't do something that pays while you get the experience doing it. In fact it's down right foolish to not even try.
- First Project make it small. Got something in mind? Good, make it 50% smaller. Got that new idea in mind? Good make that 75% smaller. Remember point #1. You're estimation will be off. This has always crept up on me, and it always kicks me in the teeth when I don't follow it. Smaller projects are easier to estimate, easier to test, quicker to do, less risky, they can have the same or greater output than many larger scale projects.
I've made these mistakes and I've paid for them. So please learn for me.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
I've also wanted to try another program on the side. So I put together an RPG Weather Generator App. In paper and pencil games, traveling tends to be a bit boring. This will help remedy that. That should be out on the Android store within a couple of weeks. For now, here's a screenshot:
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Here the short lessons I learned this week that you may be able to benefit from.
Porting Unity Code from PC to Android?
- Schedule at least 1-2 weeks to ensure code runs the same.
- Android Virtual machine is slow. Iteration takes 3-15 mins or more.
- Unity Shaders will drive you crazy
- Some code libraries don't work. (like Lists on iPhone)
Here's the story behind it.
As much as those reading may be frustrated with delays, I assure you, I am even more so. I've been constantly changing things up to ensure better results.
Last week I pushed up android testing. I was going to do it after the web version of Dots looked decent. Instead it's happening right now. Unity touts being pretty much click and export. No porting involved. While much better than say a flash port, it's still far from true.
After porting the game over all I got was a pink screen. At first I was worried may have bricked my new android. But turns out it was just the shaders in unity weren't displaying properly.
I've thus spent the WEEK trying to get things working. The biggest problem is you can't easily test changes. You compile code, you upload it onto the virtual android machine and see if it worked. One line of code takes about 10-15 mins to see the results.
The first thing I tried was the mobile shaders provided in Unity. But at best they were very dark. I needed unlit shaders with transparency. I've been searching IRC, forums etc. while compiling different tweaks. It's better but still not there yet.
Once that is done I still have to make sure all gameplay is working with touch controls.
One more thing, I read certain code will not work. I program in C# and use Lists instead of arrays. Lists work fine on the PC and Android, but don't work on the iPhone as that library isn't included. I wish there was a list of what exactly did work and what didn't, but it seems most of it is trial and error.
Remember the dangers of working with new systems? Well this is what I have to fight every week. It gets better, but sometimes it seems like a complete relapse. But ah, thats the way things go.
Monday, April 30, 2012
- Starting off with new engine (learning)
- No previous code base
- Feature Creep
The third one is something I think all developers struggle with. I want a unique and fun experience for people. That takes a lot of coding of systems to make that work. As a personal goal, I put out Weirding Wood as a more generic "test the waters" title. I'd like to do more than that this time.
I'll pick up an Android this month to do some development testing on as well. It's still going to be a while.
I have to admit it did make me feel better to see Monster's Den Chronicles released this month. The developer had originally intended release for 2009. I suspect it's not only from it's engine revamp but due to the complex nature of testing and creating content for RPGs.
So just a progress update. There's no release date set for dots yet.
Monday, April 2, 2012
"There's no point in releasing DLC a year after your game has come out when most people have already sold your game back to GameStop three times," said at a GDC panel, reported ShackNews. "That means getting it out early; that means even day-one DLC. That is a terrible thing to some players.
"Players rant—they know nothing about this DLC that's coming out except its name. But then it's 'oh this game must be incomplete, the game must be ruined.' Game developers are not evil. (Some are evil.) But most are not evil.
"We just want to release awesome stuff. Players please, give us a chance. Judge our games based on what they are. Judge the DLC based on what it is. Stop thinking you're a producer and telling us when and where we should be building our content."Originally from Shack News
I've been there. And I have to say what she said is right on the dot. I can't speak for all companies, but BioWare doesn't make DLC with the intention to make more from what they've already created for the game. They don't get right through development and decide to cut off X portion of the game and re-wrap it as day one DLC with the work already done.
They do grab a set of people to create the DLC just like a mini game. And they do it in parallel to the main game. This chart one of the comments had pretty much describes it:
So what she's saying is if we didn't charge you for the DLC it would have never have been made. And thats true.
Day one DLC sells. The longer a game is out the less enthusiasm and sales there will be for any DLC released.
I don't mind that fans voice their displeasure. Actually personally I like it. For me it's an opportunity to make something better. Maybe it's better communication, or maybe it's a change in action. Whatever the case is, the fans win out, and if I've made something better I feel like I win too.
The only thing I warn is, the passion some people have drives them to sometimes spew pure vitriol. Thats not so useful, and in the worse cases it's so insulting it can't even be listened to. If the intention is to get someone to LISTEN and change things for the better, you don't do yourself or them any favors by trying this. The more descriptive you get on what you did and didn't like the better it is.
I've worked there, BioWare does listen guys, and they do try to remedy concerns players have.