The Animal Farm

January 17th, 2011

Penniless Port Shop

First an update on See the Light for the iPhone: it isn’t selling. It also isn’t being reviewed - for some reason a good number of reviewers seem to think I should be paying them. It isn’t getting feedback in the app store. Despite being hands-down the best version of the game yet, it has essentially fallen into obscurity. Go team. I’m actually quite surprised that the XBLIG version - the worst version - sold more in the first three days than the Android and iPhone versions combined.

Oh, and I’m porting Word Duelist to iPhone. It’s official - I’m about 70% at feature parity with the XBLIG version, so it’d be silly to stop now. This is also going to give me an opportunity to investigate the workload involved in taking my codebase - which is largely device independent and purposefully avoids libraries which the NDK currently doesn’t have - and moving it to Android. If it’s a week’s work, we’ll see an Android version. If it’s more… well, maybe next game? Expect news within a month, probably less.

The next game is probably going to be the Penguin Push successor. Not a full-blown reimagining like Laura and I had intended, more a port with snappier graphics and more levels. Evan’s making good progress on the art, so provided he comes through, that should be next in the pipeline.

That’s three mobile ports in rapid succession (with a possible 4th that I won’t talk about yet, but if you know my game history and you can recall a Valetine’s-day appropriate game, you could guess). This is honestly not the direction I want to keep going, but it’s a good opportunity to build up the mobile codebase and release small projects while I plan something larger.

Here are some of the ideas I’m throwing around for new projects:

Word Duelist 2: Closer to Bookworm Adventure than the current Word Duelist. Walk a little sprite around and challenge people to duels, which are less a collection of minigames and more a fixed format where creating words does damage to your opponent. I found a lovely free sprite collection which would lend itself well to this.

Rogue-like: Free graphics collections inform a lot of my game ideas, and this really isn’t much different. There’s tons of Rogue-ish art floating around the internet, and I have a fondness for rogue-likes and a good random dungeon generator already written. Rogue-likes are also great for being extremely flexible in the amount of time you can sink into them adding new features before calling them complete.

Another puzzle game: The free art collection for WD2 would also work great for a cute little puzzle game. I don’t have a solid foundation for this yet, but I’m workin’ it out.

Nothing huge on that list - all incremental steps from the current work I’m doing. When you’re making games in your spare time, though, and you’re doing it alone (aside from some unannounced projects), scope must be brought in. I still want to work on the Big Ideas, but until I can find a suitable & reliable team and free up some time, those are shelved.

Typing in the cold is… hard.

January 6th, 2011

Rogue-Kart

My new game idea (NOT my new game project):

Rogue-Kart is a cross between Rogue-likes and Mario Kart. The track is entirely randomly generated - obviously this random generation must be controlled to form an interesting track, so I imagine it being constructed from designed building blocks with some rule scheme to keep things varied but manageable.

Enemies appear throughout the track, and you have to plow through them to gain experience and level up, which will impact your kart functions - speed, maneuverability, that stuff. There are also enemy racers, but I haven’t quite worked out their function.

The player is hurt by falling off the course or hitting traps. This leads to the failure condition of the kart being destroyed.

The purpose of the game, like any proper rogue-like, is simply to get as far as you can. There’s no story and only a minimal over-arching goal (find some hidden item at the deepest level of the … dungeon/track/thing).

I don’t think I’m expressing it very well, but in my head this sounds like a really cool idea.

If you haven’t downloaded AND left a rating/comment for See the Light iPhone Edition, you’re a bad person.

January 5th, 2011

TRON

I watched TRON in 3D tonight. I didn’t want to see it in 3D, but the theatre’s website said it was available in both, but upon arriving I was told that’s the only format they played. I don’t mind 3D, but I tend to develop a small headache after watching through those glasses. It’s often a bit of crutch and typically doesn’t add much.

It’s been many years since I’ve seen the original Tron. I was hesitant to see the movie since even the best reviews I’ve heard have been mixed. I haven’t heard a single person say that it was fantastic. Well, let me change that. I loved it. I thought Tron was fantastic.

I’m a big Daft Punk fan, and fortunately they did the entire soundtrack. Greg convinced me that, in the worst case, it was like watching an hour and a half Daft Punk music video. I was onboard. That alone would make it worth the cost of admission. I’m partial to the aesthetic of Tron, but I feel they nailed the visuals. The movie was visually stunning.

I think the fact that I’m not a rabid Tron fan, nor have seen the movie recently helped quite a bit. I didn’t particularly pay much attention to the story, and I couldn’t pick apart the plot because, quite frankly I wasn’t that invested. However, I would pay again to be immersed in the environment. If you like Daft Punk, or you enjoy production and aesthetics I recommend seeing it. If you’re a diehard Tron fan, I’m not sure what to tell you.

January 5th, 2011

See the Light Ships on iPhone!

I kept this one pretty close, only hinting at it a few times, but See the Light has gone through Apple review and should be available tomorrow. If you own an iPhone, it’d be super awesome if you’d try the free version, leave feedback, buy the full version, and leave feedback on that too! It’d be average awesome if you tried either version and left feedback - but awesome is still awesome.

There are some updates in the pipeline - an upsell button, Game Center-ifying the achievements, and adding the Spanish localization. The first two are about half a day’s work and the last is about a full day’s (I have to switch my string class to use UTF-8, which could have consequences).

At any rate, I’ll put up a link to get the game once one exists. In the meantime, you should be frequently updating your iTunes search in hopes it will appear.

Other projects are making progress, but I’m keeping quiet until there are definites.

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