Monday, April 30, 2012

What's with all this graphic design?

I just recently finished a poster for my school's art festival--of which I shall post soon.

Today I begin my first job in product design, designing some box art. Details to follow!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Admonition Against Ads

I abhor ads in and around my games. The thought disgusts me. I find it to be nearly unethnical and to be bad practice, in fact. Or at least, I am against counting on ads as a primary, sought-after source of revenue.

So let's begin.

Low Return
Comparative to a typical sold game, the exposure:return ratio is very low. I hear typical ad rates are 0.02 to 0.05 cents per click(0.0005 USD) or something to that effect. And what is the cost? Your site is now littered with ugly, disgusting ads. With the accessibility and freedom(of the user to not pay money) of this model comes a cost, and that cost is the aforementioned ugliness joined with the fact you are now stealing your user's time and attention, trying to obscure and distract them from what they came to you for.

I believe that ads bring with them anti-consumer incentives, which is why I abhor them so sodding much. How do you get more ad money? More clicks! More ads! More site visits! Volume! I, as a game developer, am incentivized to produce a mass marketable, manipulative, disgustingly addicting games in order to quite honestly milk my playerbase for profit. I am incentivized to litter my site with more and more ads, and even go to such drastic measures as to include ad videos. That's absurd! That is so anti-consumer, so so so terribly anti-consumer.

I'd rather provide a quality service at a price point. Sacrificing the quality, the sanctity, of an experience and the user's time is disgusting. It's nothing but manipulating and milking them across the board. There is no respect there.

That is why I will avoid supporting the ad market with my games however possible.
Ethics, for the damn sodding win.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Conquest: Herb Garden

I finished it! I'm fairly satisfied with my completed project. It was very fun, and most evocatively tiring. I'll do a postmortem later once I've had more time to collect my thoughts

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ludum Dare 48.. 23...10

I'm going to be participating in the Ludum Dare 48 Hour Rapid Game Prototyping Competition For Sexy Independent(nonexclusive) Game Developers #23 for the 10th anniversary of the event.

This is my first time participating in LD.
I might do a few "devlog" posts during development. Game will be posted upon completion.

The intention of this post is totally to obligate me to produce something.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

More Beautifying

(click for full, as usual)

Yet more visual work. Fear not, lots more core game work goes on in the background, I'm just being a bit more discreet on that for now, mostly because a lot is still up in the air. But some pleasant surprises are in store as well.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lizard Warrior Video

Please Join In!

I've made a little web app(or whatever you want to call it) to collect some statistics:

It's a total data whoring experiment, but it should be fun and I should be able to make some pretty neat conclusions off of it.

Please participate, and thank you!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why I've Loved Designing Lizard Warrior and Kyoto

(By the way, if you haven't heard, I'm working on Kyoto with Eddie Lee)

The other day I was sitting there, sipping some ginger ale(an indie developer not drinking coffee or tea? blasphemy!), and I thought to myself "damn, I love making these games." It was a really amazing feeling, of elation and excitement and joy.

And I wondered why.
I realized it was because I wasn't basing my game on genres, conventions, or tropes. I was just going for it. Doing what felt right. As a whole it's a liberating experience. I feel very free. My creative juices are gushing right now, dood.

I'm not aiming to innovate, or go "further" than other games--I'm just going my own thing, going in my own direction, designing my games with my own vision for what they could be in the end. Some elements are inspired by games before it, some inspired by any other manner of the things which have influences me in my life, and some simply a product of my ingenuity.

I feel like I'm building something unique and special. And it's great.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Lizards.. SSsssss~

Showcasing a few simple graphical improvements.
(Click images for full res)
So I though to myself, "hey, I should write something on where I'm going with Lizard Warrior. Because yeah, I have a blog. Makes sense." So, I went to take a snapshot of my game and I realized to myself two things:

One, how most nearly useless it would be because most of the visual improvements lately have been visual effects which are difficult to communicate in a still.

Two, how far my game has went in such a short amount of time, especially considering how much time I've spent on it.(read: not all that much)

In the screenshot pictured above you can see the improved background graphic and the final bits of a smoke explosion animation playing, which triggers when an enemy is defeated. Wasps explode into swaths of smoke, awesome!

A mockup to tease the new character, Toad.(the frog)
For the future of the game, I'm planning on creating multiple playable characters, much to the dismay of the game's title. The first of which is "Toad", who is a frog. All of the characters will be unique to one another and play very differently, for that is their purpose. It should make for lots of great variety and fun times to be had.

I'll also be removing the stat upgrading in favor of a skill tree, which will give me much more flexibility in designing ways to upgrade your character.

In addition to this will be what I am calling "Personalities", where you pick a personality for your character. The personality you pick affects them in some way!(read: somewhat undecided) This will add another layer of depth to choosing characters and will help introduce interesting complex strategies. Also, if I ever add dialogue to the game these will have a major role in it somehow.

I made textboxes but I don't have a use for them yet...
Beyond characters, I'm working on the game's first boss, which, unless something big makes me change my mind, is going to be a giant crocodile. My goal is to make it epic, and to make you feel like a tiny little helpless ant at the mercy of a merciless child with an aerosol can of bug spray.

Sound effects are being worked on. I'm not satisfied with my SFXR-generated sound effects, so I'm thinking of making an ambitious move and recording my own, somehow. We'll see how that works out. Voice acting is also being experimented with. Hahaha!

To wrap things up, I'm also putting a lot of effort into the level design now. I'm enjoying the mix of pre-made levels and procedural generation, so far it's been a lot of fun to work with.

Not sure how much of this stuff will be completed by the time I feel like releasing the next version, butttt, it's being worked on!

Ciao for now!!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

"Combat Skip Button" and SUCKING at game design

This is my view on a subject discussed in one of TotalHalibut's "The Mailbox" episodes on Youtube. (link) It begins around the 2:00 mark I believe.

To be brief, talking about whether a "Skip Combat" mechanism(fairly self-descriptive I believe) is called for in some games. Various arguments are tossed around in both directions, but I'll skip summarizing that. Instead I'm just going to jump right in to my position on the subject.

Note that my hypothetical "you" is directed at developers.

BOTTOM LINE: If your game would be better off having had a "Skip Combat" button then you flat out suck at game design and you failed really damn hard. Your game sucks and it's not worth playing.

As a game, if you design your combat in a way that ends up making users want to skip it, you fail. You fail hard. Go make a movie, because chances are the only reason one would want to keep progressing through your game at that point would be to know what happens next in the plot-line. Or REMOVE the combat, because it apparently sucks so damn hard that is only acts to disservice the player and hamper the experience. That's the result of a "Skip Combat" button anyway.

I don't think any more elaboration is necessary.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Smooth Shading? What is this crap?

So yes, right there is my first attempt at making a piece of art which is smooth shaded. Who knew it would take me so long to try it? I'm pretty pleased with the results. Some things look a bit too pillow-y and lack the amount of volume definition that I'd like, but I'm OK with that as a first try. Highlights on hair are the bane of my existence.

- ALSO -

New Lizard Warrior update is being worked on. Lots of neat stuff is happening there.