Archive for September, 2016

Pirates!

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Got the pirate faction card done finally, featuring the Cutthroat, an all new enemy type. The next one I want to make is a barrel bomb throwing pirate. The idea is pretty simple; he just starts with a single powerful bomb and after throwing it switches to a dagger. This will be the first enemy with a proper AoE attack since I made the Shaper Priest (which can’t even appear in the current demo). I really like the concept of single use actions, and want to do a lot more with it. Makes it possible to have very powerful abilities without risking a complete steamroll over the player. You can also bait out an attack like this, either with an expendable character or your main tank who’s sturdy enough to take the hit. I also want this bomb thrower pirate to blow up if you manage to kill him while he still has the bomb. Which makes it dangerous to engage him in melee, but can actually do a ton of damage to the enemy if you play your cards right.

Oh and we sailed past 30% funded yesterday! We’re now nearing $7,000 on our third day, which is pretty exciting. I still expect things to get harder down the road, but we’re definitely continuing a great start here.

Take a quick gander at the pirates:

pirates_sm

– Peace and barrel bomb pirates

 

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Steady As She Goes

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

After 24 hours the Kickstarter campaign is now sitting at 15% funded, which is pretty solid. Now we just need to keep pushing and hopefully we’ll get to 30% by tomorrow. Carina wants me to do an AMA on reddit today, which should be interesting. I’ve really only peeked into the cavernous depths of reddit a few times before. It’s probably high time to get better acquainted with it.

Also working on some campaign page graphics and a pirate captain today. I think we’ll do another update by the end of the day and put those up for all to see.

– Peace, pirates and progress

 

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So Far on Track!

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Our campaign certainly hasn’t maintained its crazy pace from the first hour, but we do seem to be on track to succeed. About 8 hours after going live we’re sitting at 60 backers and $1776 in pledges. The rule of thumb is that you should make about 30% of your goal in the first 3 days, and we’re sitting at 9% now. Even if you account for the spikiness of the first hour it’s looking good. Kicktraq’s trend right now is pointing us at over 60k, but that seems highly unlikely. At the moment I’m expecting us to get a bit over our target, perhaps hitting our first stretch goal at 22k, or maybe the second one at 25k.

But that certainly doesn’t mean we get to sit on our haunches and watch the sweet dollah bills roll in. We’ll need to keep hustling at full speed to maintain momentum. After the first few days we’ll start to run out of close friends, family and pre-pledged supporters, and will have to start relying on people who know nothing about us beyond what they see on the campaign page. We’ll have to maintain a regular pace of updates, keep very active on social media, work closely with all of our media contacts, and perhaps do a small targeted ad spend as well.

For our first update I want to drop in the faction card for the pirates. This is a faction I’ve wanted to do for a good while, and it’s going to form part of our 4 core enemy factions. If we manage to hit the 30k goal we’ll add a 5th one as well. Hopefully I’ll be able to get in some solid dev time over the coming week or so. GameStormers wants to reveal something new at around the two week mark, and I feel that should be the pirates. I’ll have to get at least 3 of their units ready. They ought to be pretty different from what’s currently in the demo.

Now I’ve gotta go make some promo cards and prepare for the launch party!

– Peace and staying on track

 

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And We’re Off!

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

As of right now the Kickstarter campaign is less than an hour old and we’ve already raised more than a thousand dollars! Without a doubt this skyrocketing pace can’t last, but holy moly is it exciting at the moment to see the numbers keep climbing.

Hurry up and get on the boat! The early bird tier won’t last forever.

– Peace and happy raiding!

 

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The H Hour

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

We’re counting the final minutes here before we hit that big scary launch button. In all honesty I don’t really know what to expect. Our page is looking really solid, but I still feel like our media reach is pretty small. But I’m giving us better than 50-50 odds, and there is an outside chance that we could reach a hundred thousand, as Iron Oak Games did with their RPG tactics game.

Final ten minutes now…

– Peace and strong nerves

 

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Cookies!

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Oh boy, it finally seems to be happening. The Kickstarter campaign fires off tomorrow morning and we’ve got our local launch party set for later that afternoon. An indie dev friend of ours even baked a big batch of viking shield cookies for the event!

cookies_sm

– Peace and delicious viking cookies

 

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Crunch Time

Monday, September 26th, 2016

There haven’t been many days in my life when I’ve worked quite as much as yesterday. Started in the morning and just kept on going until 5am. My partner Carina did much the same. And apparently it wasn’t really all that necessary. We were prepared for a three day review period, but that doesn’t seem to be a thing after all. We can just launch whenever we want. At least we now have a chance to do some further tweaks, and get around to some of the nice-to-do things we simply didn’t have time for last night. There’s just such an enormous amount of effort that’s gone into developing this Kickstarter page. Carina has been working on it for months already. But it is coming together, finally, and starting to look pretty damn promising. We have a solid trailer, good gifs, graphics, descriptions, and a solid set of reward tiers. The main thing I’m not happy with is our team video; it feels kind of awkward and amateurish. But we did do it in a single day, and if we were professional presenters we’d likely be in a different field altogether.

Now it’s back to the grindstone for that final push to the finish line. #fingerscrossed

– Peace and productive days

 

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Side Projects

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

So while I’ve been working away on Iron Tides this past year and a bit, I’ve still managed to sneak away with a few spare moments to work on a couple small Flash games. It’s not really something I want to go back to, as it’s undeniably a huge step back from making Unity games for Steam. But sometimes it is a nice change of pace to push out something small and different. I think it can also be a helpful reminder that simple design can still be effective.

A few months ago I took part in a Flash game contest. It challenged devs to develop a game in a single week, incorporating 1 or more out of 3 given themes: time travel, portals and easter. Now I’d never made a game in a week by myself. The closest thing I’d gotten around to was weekend game jams, but those always had a team of at least three. I made Rise of the Castle 2 in about two weeks, but that was a sequel so I had very little design to do and could reuse much of the code. This would be a different beast altogether.

With only 7 days to spare I knew I had to figure out pretty much exactly what I was making by the end of the first day. All the art and UI in the game also had to be finished in a day. That would leave about 5 days for the bulk of the coding, testing, balancing, level design and audio work. I decided to ignore the easter theme, as it was the obvious outlier. For a few moments I considered doing time manipulation mechanics, but then thought it would get far too complicated. Anything physics based was also out the window. And I knew I didn’t have time to do any extensive level design, so I would have to ramp difficulty algorithmically. What I wound up making was a simple split-screen defense shooter. The two sides represented different eras in time, and were connected by a pair of portals. You controlled a spaceship and had to defend two bases, one on each side of the time divide. Every time you passed through the portal it would shut down for a while, so you couldn’t just go through whenever. You could fire bullets through the portal into the other timespace, but naturally these shots were a lot harder to aim.

I also came up with a few different behaviors for the enemy aliens, and some tricks they could use to screw around with the portals. Given the time limit I didn’t manage to implement all of them though, despite skipping sleep here and there during that week. But all in all I think it was a pretty successful little exercise, this tiny little speck of a game that it is.

Unfortunately I didn’t end up winning anything in the contest itself (there were about a hundred entries and only the top 5 got anything), but I did get offered a decent licensing deal afterwards, so not such a bad end result.

I’ve also done a little bit of work on a post-apocalyptic defense game that shares a lot of mechanics with Rise of the Colony. The big changes to the formula are new ways to gather and manage survivors (the rough equivalent of colonists), and a new power system that requires weapons to be connected to a generator. I’m pretty happy with the look of that game and it wouldn’t take more than a couple weeks to finish, but at the moment I can’t spare even that. I do want to finish it at some point though. I can share a few screens from it when I find the time.

If you’re interested, take a look at my itty bitty portal game, Time Splicers:

timesplicers_sm

– Peace and good splicing

 

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Those Halcyon Days

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Here’s another intriguing game we encountered at Casual Connect. I didn’t get to spend much time with it, but I saw enough to understand just how massive it is. If you’ve ever wanted to command a fleet of starships or command a starbase Halcyon 6 might be your ticket. I do have to admit I find all the game’s different mechanics a bit overwhelming, and I don’t see myself having the time to learn all the different interactions between ships, weapons and crew members. But then again I barely make time for any game playing these days, so that won’t necessarily apply to you.

halcyon6_sm

– Peace and long life among the stars

 

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These Fossils Echo

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

So this is Fossil Echo, the game I briefly mentioned yesterday. I figured if I’m gonna mention it I might as well say a couple more words and throw in a link to boot. This game deserves way more attention than it’s currently getting.

Both the art direction and sound design are outstanding. Pretty much the entire game is hand-painted, with more eye-gasmic environments than you could shake five sticks at. Slap on a good set of headphones and the experience is crazy immersive. I can’t say too much about the story, as I only played for about 30 minutes, but what little I saw was pretty mysterious and compelling. Gameplay-wise it’s a fairly standard platforming affair with some mild stealth elements.

In any case, do take a gander at it and thank yourself later:

fossil_echo_sm

– Peace and fossilized echoes 

 

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