Facebook Farming and Robots in Japan

February 21st, 2013

It’s been a little while again since the last post, so I figured I might as well say a few words about where I’m currently headed. First of all, I took a full time job two and a half months ago at a local mobile/social game studio. The place goes by the name of East Side Games and is best known for the Facebook game Pot Farm. Yeah, you can like totally grow weed on Facebook. What a crazy world we live in.

But wait, all is not lost! I’m still continuing to work on my own crazy ideas on evenings and weekends. The first and foremost of these is the Japanese localization of Scrap Metal Heroes, which just launched yesterday on Yahoo Mobage. It is all in Japanese, so it probably won’t be of much benefit to anyone reading this post. It’s also a two year old game with many inherent flaws, so this is not necessarily the most exciting of news. But it just might give me some much needed independence. For all its flaws, it’s still probably the best game I’ve made and Japan is a strong market, especially where robots are involved. With its new monetization model and a China launch on the horizon, there’s a decent chance of it making me a basic living. If I could manage that, I’d be free to dispense with both the 9-5 grind and the quickie tower defence games. Leaving me time to focus on some ‘serious’ strategy, which I’ll readily admit I haven’t successfully pulled off yet.

Swordfall and Scrap Metal Heroes might have come close, but neither was polished enough and both were saddled with the incredibly restrictive lane mechanism. I got a little something out of it, at least with SMH, but the lack of control over movement and targeting is just too great of a void to fill. So when I started working on Scrap Titans, I began to develop full RTS-style controls. However, I soon became convinced that doing RTS mechanics well was not only beyond my resources, but was also not the most interesting design space to explore. So now that sequel sits untouched on the back shelf, while my ideas have taken a strong shift towards turn-based games. This change is due in no small part to my recent return to Magic: the Gathering, my brief foray into Warmachine, and the board game design interests of some friends.

I currently have two turn-based ideas churning around in my head. One is grid-based and the other is a more abstract card-like affair. I’m feeling pretty confident in both ideas, and one day I’ll go run for the gold with one or both of them. And it won’t be through Mochi or any other flash game portal. I want to finally make a move towards a fully fledged PC game with an honest, up front sticker price on it. It’s not the easiest of goals for a one-man team, but I’ll get there.

– Peace and good strategizing



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