Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Mount Your Friends Cameo Patch released!

Friday, September 13th, 2013

The cameos patch for mount your friends has come out finally and is available on the XBox Live Indie Games version of the game.

Along with my own set of generic outfit pieces you can find a code for at the game’s Greenlight page there have been many codes cameoing various youtubers and game developers. I’ll release some of them over time, but if you’re looking for more codes now, you might want to find the tweets of people like Droqen, Bennett Foddy, Damian Sommer, David Gallant, JSmithOTI, and today’s Good Morning Gato from Ska Studios. There are quite a few more out there still. Perhaps you can find them yourself? Or perhaps the people they belong to will reveal themselves eventually ;) . Hope you all enjoy customizing your climbers!

I’m still making a Greenlight campaign because Greenlight is GOOD for indies

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Its been a LONG time since I made a blog post, so bare with me as I try to get back into the swing of things.

My next game, Mount Your Friends, just came out on XBLIG and I’ve made a Greenlight campaign for it. This is after some angry developers have ranted about how they were dismissed by Valve because of their Greenlight page and indies calling Greenlight a popularity contest and the worst thing for indie developers ever. So, why would I subject myself to the popularity contest of Greenlight? Why spend $100 and work making a page for a service that indies are claiming is BAD for indie developers? Why expose myself to Greenlight commentators that sound like every idiotic Youtube video comment you’ve seen?

Maybe because it’s not as bad as people’s hyperbole, and it’s going to get better.

Let’s start with WHY I want to start getting my games onto Greenlight. Mount Your Friends is going to be the first game I’ve made that will be posted to Greenlight, and for good reason. As an XBox Live Indie Games developer I’ve tried to keep my games small and manageable for the $1 price-point market that XBLIG is. Mount Your Friends fits that pattern, but I want it to be a bigger game than what I’ve built for XBLIG. Getting approved through Greenlight is my way of justifying that kind of work. If I can get on Steam, I can make the game larger and more feature rich because I’ll be on a higher-price-point market. I enjoy making small, manageable games, but XBLIG is looking more and more like a sinking ship. Microsoft stopped supporting XNA long ago, the XBox One (or XBone) has been announced and it sounds like there will be no XBLIG in it. From rumours I’ve heard, XBLIG nowadays is run by one person to address issues, who only works on the platform part time. At some point things are going to break, and there will be no one around to fix it. Even though I’ve made a good living on XBLIG, it’s on the way out and I need an escape route. Getting a Steam deal could be that chance for me. That used to mean having the right connections at Valve to make a pitch, but now it means pitching to the Greenlight community instead.

Greenlight is a popularity contest. You are no longer being judged by a small team of professionals to get on Steam. Instead you are being upvoted by driving traffic to your Greenlight page. On the other hand, all game development is a popularity contest, isn’t it? We, as individuals with unique tastes, don’t always agree with what the masses find appealing. Surely you’ve seen games that have been released on Steam that you loved, but didn’t shoot their way up to #1, while games that you would find generic and dull sit on a throne at the top of the Top Sellers lists. Working with the masses directly in the approval process just gives more of a chance of the games that the masses will like being moved forward to Steam. That means more games that will get high sales being released. Yes those games may not be your favourites, but it will get MORE games in the hands of MORE players. The professionally-curated games may drive more interesting experiences onto Steam, but those experiences will often still perform worse in terms of getting the games in front of people. If you want to encourage unique experiences from indie developers, buy directly from the developer and encourage others to do the same, but don’t expect a service that revolves around getting their average game out to as MANY people as possible to take up that flag for you. It isn’t fair to claim that it’s Valve’s responsibility to do such a thing. The games that rise to the top on Greenlight are the games more likely to get more overall sales, and Valve has limited capabilities to push games in front of Steam users.

Speaking of the throughput of games, this tends to be considered one of the biggest flaws of Greenlight. Too few games pass Greenlight and get published to Steam. Greenlight’s “big list of games” really emphasizes how few games get published. This has of course always been the case, the process was just more hidden before when Valve would quietly tell people their games were rejected. Most rejected people won’t make a fuss online about it so we didn’t see big walls of games being rejected. After all, most people who submit games don’t want to seem petty or act entitled when their games don’t make the cut. We were never able to compare what Valve thought was the wheat versus the chaff. I don’t know if Greenlight is really that different from the old methods in this respect, it just makes the problem a lot more visible to the public.

But that problem of not enough games being released through Greenlight? That’s being addressed. Valve seems to WANT to approve more games and just doesn’t have the power the process all the games they want on the service. Valve has recently announced a more streamlined system to get games from approvals to market, and Gabe Newell has expressed his own problems with Greenlight, and how he wants to move the service from approvals to all games being released, and having systems in place for the best games to rise on their own. Valve is a big company and Steam has a lot of moving parts. Valve may not be able to make the changes quickly, but they have expressed their desire to make these changes. Sure Greenlight isn’t the ideal system, but the intention is that Valve is working to build that ideal system. I can’t guarantee they’ll succeed at the task, but I’m happy that they care enough to work towards it.

Greenlight is a flawed popularity contest that shows how few games Valve lets onto Steam and we need a better, more open system to let games prove themselves on Steam instead of being approved by vapid public comments about videos and screenshots. Greenlight could be so much more than what it is, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It means it’s having growing pains, and with the right direction and feedback it can become great. I’m not going to avoid my chance at getting Greenlight’s attention just because there are flaws. I’ve been working in a flawed infrastructure for years (XBLIG) and at the end of the day, I am the one making the educated decisions that will lead to my successes or failures. My platform holder can hurt my work, but everything I do is a chosen, calculated risk by me.

Do I expect to get through Greenlight and get published on Steam? Not necessarily. Do I believe that Greenlight can get my game exposed to more people, and at the very least help me practice marketing my games to new audiences? Absolutely.

Mount Your Friends on XBLIG! Starting to wind down!

Friday, June 7th, 2013

This is a quick post to announce that my newest game Mount Your Friends is on XBLIG

I’m going to have another, longer blog post related to the game soon, but have to do some work for it first. For now check out the trailer!

Baby Maker Extreme on G4TV!

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

So far I’ve tried to avoid posting “spoilers” of BMX on my blog, but you know what? The game has been out over 3 months now and if you haven’t tried it yet, then I don’t even know why you visit this blog.

Anyway, yesterday Baby Maker Extreme was featured on G4′s Attack of the Show! And even better they seem to like it! Check it out to see what they have to say about my game, as well as two other mysteries of the xblig marketplace.

It’s great to see mainstream shows covering XBLIG, and I hope to see more in the future. Baby Maker Extreme might be having an “Extreme” new release soon for some new platforms… so stay tuned, especially if you like things that start with “i” before their names.

Also, in case you haven’t NOTICED the new game at the top of the site, I did release a game after Baby Maker Extreme. It’s called This is Hard, and has been available for multiple weeks now! If you like frustratingly difficult platforming games that are easy to get into, this is the game for you.

Mega Monster Mania is out!

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

It’s true! FINALLY! Go download it to your XBox now! Exclamation point!

Some parody perchance?

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Tonight’s presentation at the IGDA went quite well, and along with the presentation, I presented a quick video I made using my current project’s cutscene editor. It’s kind of a combination of my endeavors recently with looking at the XBLCG market, and my ranting on ridiculous trademark registrations (IGDA members who found me and my blog and still don’t know the deal with Langdell, go read back and look it up!) Could these be the new two great tastes, like peanut butter and chocolate? Check the video out below and see how you can take control of the XBox Live Community Games marketplace!

I met a lot of interesting developers, including some other XNA devs. My collection of business cards grows larger by the day!

I’d call foul, but they both seem so great…

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

I’m not big into cart racing usually, but when I first heard about Zero Gear I got excited. It’s a charming little cart racer with a focus on customization. I first got into it when I was looking into the OGRE engine, and Zero Gear definitely made me want to learn more about it. And when I say customization, I’m not just talking about giving your character a silly hat or painting your car neon pink to blind your opponents. Zero Gear is planning to allow players to script their own custom items, levels, and game modes so that it can be a platform for new racing game ideas. I really hope this game is a huge hit.

Now I was looking on Gametrailers… and a game called “Mod Nation” piqued my interest. It had a very similar look to Zero Gear, but apparently the similarities didn’t stop there. People have started describing this game as the LittleBigPlanet of cart racing games, and I can see why. It’s got some fun tools to create levels that look really good, and seem very accessible. Being able to define a track just by driving down where it would be if a track where there, leaving a trail of tar behind you really makes the ease of this tool stand out. Being on the console it’s going to be simpler and perhaps not as fully customizable as Zero Gear, but it’s still looking like a powerful, and efficient set of track-making tools.

So what do you think? Fair or foul play? Are you interested in either of them? I hope when they come out they are both strong games, and can be wildly successful!

Cheese, beer, and motion sensors. Best Wii drinking game ever!

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Let’s get away from all the bad vibes from this whole IGDA debacle and appreciate some of the good games in indie game development, and the innovations that indies come up with.

I’ve been wanting to talk about this for a while now, but at TOJam 4 I saw one of the most ingenious drinking games ever. It’s a shame that it would never actually make it to the Wii console, but we can always imagine… and those of us with a bluetooth adapter can try it also on our own PCs!

ToJam helper, graphics floater, and GDDC executive member Barry Rowe made a great drinking game called Cheesohol 2, where 4 players can embark on an epic quest of goat pummeling and mountain climbing through the power of booze.

The game is setup such that the player’s beer is put in a special holder attached to their wiimote, and thus it can use the wiimote’s tilt sensor to detect when a player is drinking. Using this information, the game goes like this. To move forward you sip, and to attack you drink, whereas a full-on-chug can result is special over the top super-attacks like you see in the picture above. It’s a great, novel concept and makes for a fun drinking game.

In fact, there were a lot of great, interesting games made at this year’s ToJam, so you should really keep your eyes peeled for those as well. Here’s a video sampler of some of the things from the event, including some footage of Cheesohol at the start!

Second verse, same as the first

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Yesterday I talked about Tim Langdell and his association with the IGDA. Of course, this isn’t the first time the IGDA has hit controversy over over a member of their board of directors, but, when a member of the board goes under fire, it’s expected that the IGDA will give some kind of response on the issue. Based on previous experience, and the fact that there are many members of varying opinions on the board, I was expecting exactly what we got. A very softball response to the issue. The synopsis of this post by the IGDA in my opinion says “we aren’t the courts, so we can’t say who is in the right. But we think IP protection is important”. Unfortunately, this misses the point. We know the IGDA is not the adjudicator of disputes, but it IS supposed to be a body that tries to represent the best interests of the independent developer community. Something is wrong if you are taking on board members like Tim Langdell, who has had a history of what many have described as “trademark trolling”. Even if this case is a matter for the courts, his position in the IGDA is worrisome at best. I don’t care for the IGDA to be the courts, I just want some semblance of responsibility when taking on board members in the first place.

The simplest answer is, it’s usually someone else’s fault

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Today I was (figuratively) pulling my hair out. I had made a nice trailer video for Tank Strike to advertise the game when it gets released, but I needed to submit it to Microsoft Soapbox today in order to have the video be included in the game’s release when it gets reviewed by other XNA developers. Why was I pulling figurative hairs out? Because I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I couldn’t upload the video. Using Microsoft’s Movie Maker to make the video and using their own wmv format, I assumed that it would be easy to get my video online! Oh how wrong I was.

Every video I uploaded would get to 100% upload after a few minutes of upload time, followed by “Failed” with a retry button beside it which did nothing. I didn’t get any indication of why it failed, but it did. I tried to re-encode the video, make smaller videos, and soforth. I even downloaded and learned an open source video converter to try and change the format to something the site would recognize. At this point I knew something had to be wrong. It wasn’t just something with my movie maker. So, I did the one thing I should have STARTED with at the first sign of trouble. I looked at what the newest user videos uploaded were. Well there we go! The last uploaded video on the site was 7 hours ago! CLEARLY the upload process is broken and no one told me in a direct way. Oh how fun! I could have saved myself a lot of frustration if I had checked that earlier. Oh well. Better luck being productive tomorrow I guess.