We are trying out a new way of gaining stages on the Development & Testing Server. I'll try to explain how it works and why we made certain decisions.
Version: 1.0 Spring Maps Freeware
A beta map, made by Shongjen
Up to 28 Players (14 versus 14 Players)
- new metalspots at mid
A globetrotting power fantasy and Mario Kart Excitebike crossbreed coming from the developers of KRUNCH!
Radical notions about “the Natural Environment” are not given much thought in The Empire and rightly so. Indeed, those who profess “Misgivings with respect to the effects of Unbridled Industry and So-Called Progress in our Nation” are dismissed as debased spiritualists that can be assumed to gather in Laudanum Dens to associate with Poets who fill their heads with rambling apocalyptic screeds.
Continuing forthwith: All et up from that tin of Doctor E. Sanin’s Patent Tinned Meat* Slurry Product? Just toss it aside with nary a care. Divested the shipping crate of its contents of finely enameled bric-a-brac (including a set of commemorative plates featuring portraits of our fine Prime Minister)? Toss it on the heap with the rest of the rubbish. The world provides its obviously limitless bounty to us to be used, dear reader!
In darker news, rumours surrounding the matter of shadows appearing, as Mr. Zedekiah Swinglever’s letter to the Empire Times put it, “most vexingly angular and wrongly geometried” is in perfectly capable hands. It is had on good Authority that Her Majesty’s Ministry for Investigation into Affairs of the Unnatural & Occult has one Mr. Nicholas Vining – an expert in theories & applications of matters pertaining to Luminous Aether – consulting in the investigation into what is clearly a Cultist conspiracy.
We are assured that the issue will be resolved before the week is out and that any cultist rioters, labourist agitators, or suspected Republique Mechanique spies will be shot. Cog save the Queen!
Version: 1.0 Spring Maps Freeware
A beta map, made by Shongjen
Up to 28 Players (14 versus 14 Players)
- additional ways
- lower height ratio (max height 64)
“Yo dawg, herd you liked game jams, so we put your jam in a jam so you can jam while you jam!”
In the last month I’ve attended 3 game jams:
- Game Dev Party Lyon March 23-26,
- Ludum Dare 26 April 26-29,
- CHI 2013 “Games [4 Design]” game jam April 27-28
As you can see, two were at the same time!“Hugly” a care-bear based beat’em’up
First off I promised a debriefing of the Lyon Game Dev Party. We had a team of 8, which was very exciting for me – I’ve never done a jam in such a big team! All told it went extremely well:
You can pick up the 48-hour build of the game from indiedb or grab the newest rolling release from github, though you’ll have to wait a bit for a nicely-packaged version of the latter. Code is under LGPL so free to use even for commercial products provided you give credit
Most of the changes involve making the game more “legible”, with a lot more feedback and a clearer interface.CHI 2013 “Games [4 Design]“
So the jam in Lyon went well and the one before it in Lille was an epic failure. Despite having been to so many jams I’m losing count (it must be about 10 now I think), I still haven’t found the magical formula that makes a jam go well, and the CHI 2013 “Games [4 Design]” game jam was… well if not a failure it was a bit of stagnation as far as my personal progression is concerned:
I suppose I can hardly expect each new jam to feel like a leap forward when I’ve done so many. Still, I feel somewhat unsatisfied with my contribution. Our team made the heart-beat game: a sort of Pong style game where you control the height of your paddle with your heart-rate. We went through a large number of rapid iterations and generally did all the right things, but in retrospect I’d saying trying to use a heart-rate monitor as the control interface for an arcade game was just the wrong path to choose from the very beginning.
It was a fun gimmick, but ultimately wasn’t very playable: the sensors never worked very well and stopped working altogether just before the presentation, which made things a little complicated This is why I don’t work with hardware! Also worth noting that we only had Saturday and Sunday until around 4pm, that we never had a decent internet connection and that most of Sunday we didn’t have any electricity. All things considered we did a decent job.
That said while the other teams thought outside the box (Joust clones or not) we stayed tied to the screen, and people have a lot more fun interacting with each-other than with a computer terminal. The most enjoyable games were those where technology made at best a cameo appearance. There’s a lesson to be learned from this I’m sure…Ludum Dare gathering Montpellier
Back in my home-town I’d helped organise a second Ludum Dare real-world gathering through our association “Baptême du jeu” which now has a blog and a logo. I was off in Paris during the event, but apparently things went really well, so I suppose it’s not all bad I’ll try to mention some of the better projects that came out of the jam, if not here then on the French tumblr blog.
For my part I entered the Processing prototype I wrote for the Paris jam, minus all the Arduino code for the pulse sensor which was either found online or written by the others (or a bit of both). The source-code is available on github – my first ever time using Processing as it happens
That’s all for now – I may write up some thoughts on CHI 2013 when I have some time. For now though I’ll simple say that researchers, especially in Human-Computer Interactions, are rather odd people
We released our action-puzzle game Spirits on the iPad in late 2010. Over the next two years, we ported it to iPhone and Mac internally, and to PC, Linux and Android with the help of Tim Ambrogi and Apportable. For each port we spent a significant amount of time in getting the quality of the ports up and above the original version, supporting platform-specific features like Retina resolution or Steam Cloud. Reaching more players on different platforms helped our studio to be sustainable, and to be able to have some money in the bank while we work on our next game Future Unfolding.
We want to share our revenue per platform numbers with you since there are some interesting observations to be made – some going against common perceptions (e.g. Steam being the most important platform). The distribution of revenue amongst platforms looks different for every game, but we hope that sharing our numbers will give you at least one data point that might help you decide which platforms you should put your effort into.
After the split the platform-holders take, Spirits has made a total net revenue of 279987 EUR (approx. 366000 USD) to this day. To put the numbers per platform in context, have a look at the months (mo) in the pie chart that the game has been on sale on each platform. (We only count the periods which we have been already paid out for, which can differ by a few months depending on the platform.)
Given that the iPad version has been on sale for the longest period of time, it’s not surprising it accounts for the highest amount of revenue. It’s also priced at a premium of 4.99 USD and doesn’t support the iPhone, which was more common in 2010 than it is now.
What’s more surprising is that Google Play is #2 for us. This version is 2.99 USD and works on both tablets and phones. We were lucky to get a feature early on and temporarily changed the price to 0.99 USD during the feature. The saying that Android is not worth developing for compared to iOS does not seem to be true anymore.
Humble Bundle is an interesting one for us as well. We launched the PC, Linux and Android versions here, but it did probably not cannibalize Google Play and Steam sales by much. Looking at online discussions, Humble seemed to have helped getting the game to players who never heard about Spirits before. However, there might have been a perception issue with launching the PC and Linux version as part of the Humble Android bundle, and some players may have disregarded the game for being a port of a mobile game. What-if scenarios are hard to measure, but it’s something we keep in our minds while developing our next game Future Unfolding.
Steam is a tale others have told before: Sale promotions make the majority of the revenue. However, nowadays a sale without any kind of feature can go very much unnoticed in the vast sea of great (indie) games available. Two things that helped us was being featured in a flash sale, and being included in a large indie bundle which found many buyers despite its relatively high price point. It’s great to have your game on Steam to reach core gamers, but with 11.4% of the revenue it was not make-or-break for us.
At a lower price point (2.99 USD), Spirits on the iPhone made a bit more than a third of the iPad revenue. This was the easiest port to do. The work mainly involved optimizing the frame rate on older iPhone models.
Mac App Store was not huge, but worth more than we’d have thought. We got a good feature here and the fact that the game’s visuals and polish make it a good showcase app probably helped here.
T Store might not be a common household name, but it has a significant Android market in South Korea. This is one of the few smaller deals we made that actually was worth the paperwork and localization.
Indie Royale was a nice bonus after having had the game on Humble Bundle. It also got the game on Desura, which a handful of players had requested.
So far, we’ve had zero visibility on Amazon’s Appstore for Android. The slice on the pie would be too small for you to actually see it. This is another indication for us that putting up a good game on a store is not enough to actually sell anything.
With our revenue being spread relatively evenly among different platforms, going multiplatform was a strategy that worked well for us. It allowed us to get more out from our initial investment of designing and developing the game and to reach more people enjoying the game.
RWR Beta 0.87 brings paratrooper requests, tanks and cargo trucks, more-than-two faction battles coming soon!
Version: 0.1 Spring Maps Freeware
New Map, made by Shongjen
up to 28 Players
This is the Aglarond release of the Dwarf faction. As the previous release, declared by wciow as his last personal release of the Dwarves, was named Gimli, I thought it would be fit to name the next one, the result of "Gimli's work", as Aglarond, where Gimli founded and ruled a new Dwarf city.
More info: http://glest.org/glest_board/index.php?topic=5187.0
This is a reminder that the 0.12 tournament will begin in just a few days. From 0:00 May 11 (midnight UTC) through 24:00 May 26 (May 27 midnight UTC), any 0.12 game played on CAO, CDO, or CSZO will count for the tournament.
The rules page contains all the details about how to score points and earn banners in the tournament. As usual, clans (teams of up to six players) can be formed and changed until one week into the tournament, so don’t panic if you aren’t on one yet! (Being on a clan isn’t necessary to participate in the tournament, but it can be a lot of fun.)
Once the tournament has started, the tournament leaderboard will contain the current results.
3089 is now on Desura! You can also enter to win a free key for both 3089 & Towns, another great game on Steam! Click for more info!
It’s been a bit quiet so I figured I could show some of the in-progress illustration work I’m doing for Starsector to flesh out the world of the game and events therein.
So let’s have a look through my illustrations folder, shall we? Do note that most of these are very much in-progress, though of course I’m not going to show you any of the truly failed compositions. Still, I do hope you find it interesting to get a glimpse into my process here.
“Put it in Bay 12 and be careful – those uranium rounds are hot!”
Now these illustrations are intended to be shown in-game as an accompaniment or decoration rather than used as promo art so they’re much smaller than earlier work I’ve shown on the blog here. This has the added advantage of making the process of creating them much faster than full-sized drawings. It’s more interesting for me, too, because I can experiment more with theme, composition, and technique.
Starsector is created by a very small development team so it can’t very well have separate game modes for walking around every space station and backwater colony the player comes across. Many different locations need to be distinguished as cheaply as possible, basically. So: we offload description to text and a sort of “Starsector Holiday Snapshot” illustration — and that’s where I come in.
Arcology interior: Yes, I played way too much Sim City 2000.
This one certainly owes to Paulo Soleri by way of, yes, Sim City 2000. Arcologies are intrinsically cool and I swear I’ve been drawing them for upwards of 20 years now. Enough said.
I must admit that the shape of those towers comes from some building in the intro video to Quake 2. I never got over it for some reason. Also once I got this far into the sketch I realized that I really shouldn’t put too much information about what is in the sky of the planet because that means Alex couldn’t use this for an outpost in orbit around, say, a blue gas giant. Oops.
This is probably a good time to dissect the exact dimensions of the Hound landed in this image.
So there: change up the perspective so you can’t see the sky. Again with the huge inter-tangled cities, yes.
Not every planet has proper facilities — these ones seem to have been bombarded into a pile of scrap some time ago. But people make do.
Piles of rubble and ruined cities are also good. I really must make a note to start some images of barren worlds and space-stations.
A Little Something Extra
Part of my goal with the illustrations is to expand the emotional scope of the game. Depending on the interpretation of a concept, a player can be given an entirely different feeling about the subject. Take for examples these two approaches to an image titled “Marine Preparations”:
Marine Preparations 1 : Faceless robotic killing machines
Marine Preparations 2: The band of rogues
One set is a pack of inhuman killing machines, the other is a sort of roguish band of mercenaries with faces and individuality. Are you so quick to burn through marines to take enemy ships if you’re reminded that they’re meant to be people? A touch like this can nudge the meaning of the game away from what the raw mechanics tell you.
(By the way, my interpretation of space marines is probably somewhere between Aliens and Planetes.)
Hull Breach: It’s not a good day for the Deck 3 maintenance crew.
(Alt title: “Systematic Abuse of Radial Blur”)
(Alt alt title: “The captain assured me that overloading the cargo hold would be perfectly saaaaaaHHh…”)
I’m very much looking forward to exploring how the setting and narrative impact of Starsector can be expanded through illustrations as Alex creates new mechanics and starts rolling in the higher-level campaign.
I’ll leave you with that; It’s going to be fun.
Comment thread here.