Saturday, June 18, 2011

Game #4

So I broke my collaboration for one game so my co-founder could work on the RPG. The result is Who is the Best : Competitive Math. It is currently in review and I'm startled by how positive the feedback is. This is arguably the most simple game I have programmed, with maybe "Ninja Stole My Bike" being on about the same level. I have little to no expectations for the game, although now I'm leaning more towards "little expectations" since the feedback has been so overwhelmingly positive. I'm also hoping that putting the #1 player on the cover of a future update will help push the game. Can't wait to see how people do at the Global Challenge. If the game does well, even remotely, I will turn this into a fun little series of games. The game is inspired by the Brain Age classics, and since I am a big sucker for them I wanted to do something similar. I'm trying to get away from gimmicky games for a while, since they really weren't doing that well for us anyways. This time I was just going for old fashioned fun. For all the viewers out there, my estimate is that a score of 21000 will be just about enough for the #1 spot after 30 days.

Friday, May 27, 2011


I decided against showing the entire overworld at this time since I'm afraid that the 3 people that read this blog will tell EA and they will steal it. Therefore, I am including a few close up shots of the game that we are working on.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Kotaku Pt 2 - Microsoft Freeze Pt 5320 - Other Random Noise

We got on the Kotaku's favorite list and normally I'd be reporting on what that did for our sales, but since the Top Downloads list has been frozen for the past two weeks and the entire channel was down today, I really can't tell.

I tried to contact the editor of Kotaku to possibly write something about it, but I haven't heard back. They're probably really busy.

Microsoft treats us like a fucking joke. Let that by known. They don't give a shit that some of us are trying to become successful making games and applications. The pick your own release date is only going to lessen the problem. What if Game team A waits until the current freeze is over to release their game, only to have the list freeze again when they launch.

The pick your own release date hasn't stopped approximately 35 games from releasing during the current nonsense. Those 35 games will most likely never get the opportunity to get onto the Top Downloads list, and it looks like some of them would have deserved it. The sweeping epic "Sex or Love" has a lot of ratings and surely would have been on the TD list, and probably lost a bunch of sales because they weren't. I've been writing about this problem forever and I'm sick of it, and I wish I could leave the indie channel, but it's the only place to release on a console right now. Looking forward to the next form letter from Charles Cox or Nick Gravelyn saying that they are investigating the problem. Go shoot yourself in the foot, it's a database query.

Here is the link to the Kotaku article. Almost 50k views, unreal. Thanks Kotaku, you guys are the best. At least someone shows the indies some love. Kotaku article

So we're making an RPG. I'm tempted to post the world map, or at least portions of it. I'll get back to that when it's finished. When will it be finished? To quote Valve: "It's finished when it's finished."

Thursday, May 5, 2011


The Red Ring of Death has been out for almost a week now. I didn't think that we going to get any huge press, but we did. Kotaku, one of the biggest gaming publications on the internet, and also one of my personal favorites did an article on our game. I felt the article was more about the title and us sticking it to Microsoft as opposed to the game itself, which they felt was "conventional". It really made me regret not putting the Red Ring in an earlier level, but he's the fucking boss. Still, for all you home viewers, the Red Ring of Death is the last boss in the game. I should have Castlevania:SotN'd it and put him right in the beginning, but hindsight is 20/20.

The article is here:!5798788/xbox-live-indie-games-hit-with-the-red-ring-of-death

I am super motivated right now, and hopefully now with a semi professional team of vagrants, we'll be able to do something good on its own merits, without having to rely on internet memes and gimmicks. So, with that I announce the title of our next game..."Super Zombie Bros: An Avatar "Do it yourself" MMORPG...Craft", sorry.

There is a next game, but I'm just going to pretend I'm the king of all things Indie RPG like Zeboyd and not announce it yet. I'll announce it when I'm sure that I can actually do it. Saves me some potential embarrassment that way.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Red Ring of Death (no not the thing that happens when an XBox overheats)

We have another game coming out. It's mostly through the review process and there is a chance that it will drop today. It's called the Red Ring of Death and ultimately is a satire of a Microsoft headache.

Dear Microsoft lawyers. In no way is this game an attempt to slander your name. Since we never have original ideas, we rely on internet memes to create games that have instant name recognition. We feel by using the term Red Ring of Death we will only be helping you guys make more money.

Anyhow, enough of the aside. The game is far more complex than the last one, which looking back, was a bit of a joke. It was created in exactly two months, and in my estimation will need a small patch once it's released, but mostly for my own satisfaction. I think the framerate could be a little bit tighter in some places and there are a few minor bugs I'd like to see gone.

So, what did we do right and what we did wrong.

Well, I don't exactly know yet. That's best reserved for when I see how the game does. That is, if it comes out at all. The Microsoft legality issue with the cover art and the title does concern me. It's not that we're ripping off anything, it's that Microsoft is going to do what they want, and I have no power to stop them. Would be terrible if all this work went down the drain. Let's hope for the best, I did my best not to cross any lines, but still be referential.

On a happier note, you can see some screenshots of the game.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lacrosse fans manipulating the system

I make no qualms about it, I don't really like it when people throw all their numbers in my face, especially if they're doing really well, and some minor incident happened that may or may not have slightly disrupted said numbers.

When you make a very solid indie RPG you should be proud and I'm very impressed by these people. It's hard to do, it's risky as hell and the rewards may just not be worth the effort. When you think that you should be thanking the academy for what you've done, it changes my opinion a little bit, but I still hold these teams in high regard. Anyhow, the company starting the uproar on the forums is Zeboyd and the topic in question is the College Lacrosse team manipulating the ratings system.

I really want to like Zeboyd. Their RPGs are simple fun and lack any real depth in combat and gameplay but I still think they're a big accomplishment for an indie team of 3. They give you a lot for 3 bucks, I can't deny that.

Right now Robert Boyd is pissed off because the guys from the College Lacrosse team asked their 175k fans (seriously, how many people like Lacrosse and own an XBox - I would have guessed about 15, but I guess I was way off) to rate their game high. Some overzealous fans took this to a new level and rated other games above College Lacrosse with 1 star. When you're an indie this matters because you don't have that many ratings to begin with. Anyhow his game dropped from 6 to 11 or so. Didn't really seem to have any discernible effect on sales, but I understand why one would be a little bit upset. I'm still surprised at all the attention the topic is getting, considering it's hardly on par with what's been happening with the top downloads list freezing all the time.

My opinions on the matter - nothing really. Nothing is really going to be done about this since it seems minor. Anything that is done is going to impede the democracy of the system. If your parameter is rating and you only allow people who have bought the game to rate it, it's a simple statistical bias. Ok, so game developers don't ask your fans (like most of us even have fans) to down rate other people's games. I'll make sure the next time I release (should be fairly soon, but that's for another post), to tell everyone "Please rate our game high but don't rate other games low." Yeah, that will happen, and because other people are so responsible and ethical that they are going to make this a priority. People who down rate are morons, and I wish they wouldn't, but if they really want to, they're going to. There's no real solution that makes everyone happy and it's a minor enough problem that the community (and really just a small subset of the community) should just learn to live with these unforeseen, circumstantial and above all, tiny problems.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Long Overdo Update

Ok, a lot has changed in the past couple of months. Sadly, I decided that we were not ready as a team to make the RPG that I had envisioned. We were losing motivation, spending too much time trying to figure out little details instead of working on the big picture. Also, the people on the team weren't committed enough, partially out of disillusionment due to the scope of the project and partially because the people we brought in from the outside were not reliable.

I put out a challenge to the team: Let's make a game, any game, in a month. We started Jan 3rd and finished the wonderfully titled "Ninja Stole My Bike" exactly one month and 4 days later. It came out on Feb 10th due to the peer review process.

That was great, the title was just ridiculous enough to give us the sales recognition that we didn't deserve. I say that because, the game is a fairly simple, but somewhat humorous, reaction game. A ninja, steals your bike and your pizzas and you chase him through New York. There are obstacles along the way, set out in a completely linear fashion. You eventually knock the ninja off the bike using tomatoes....but the ninja gets one of his friends and he steals the bike. Rinse and repeat.

The game got off to a great start. First two days we had more than 5 times the sales than Acupwnture had over its first two days. Then....

The Xbox Live Indie Channel Top Downloads list froze. Ok, I thought, not a big deal. It usually gets fixed in a day, so maybe we won't be as high up on it as we deserve. Then another day past, and another and before all was said and done it was frozen for an entire week. By that time we were far enough down the new releases list that we wouldn't get a good spot on the list. When the list was updated we were number #43 based on about 1/3 the sales we had gotten the first day. After that we were in the low 50s and still are, just outside of the list. This is crippling, since we lost the money we deserved last week and any residual income from not being exposed on the list.

If that wasn't enough, the sales figures for the game were screwed up by Microsoft for the past couple of days. I can't even see how the game is currently doing, outside of the top scores list.

This has been disheartening to say the least, and being an aggressive person I have gone bonkers. I have posted in the forums, and have gotten over 50 responses from other disgruntled nerds. I have put in a Connect issue and have written a personal email to Microsoft.

I will update when I know more. Suffice to say I don't like losing money and I will not go down without a fight. Rest assured, I will at least make an attempt to contact the big gaming publications that support us in hopes that they will publicly expose this issue.