måndag 16 maj 2016

The future ahead

I've made the decision to not develop any more games under the Magical Hackers flag. If Danger Close gets greenlit I will go through with the release on Steam. But that will be it. At this point I feel that making another game for the hell of it will merely mean a lot of time and energy wasted, just to check another idea I've had in my head for so long, off the list. Maybe in the future I will go back and develop a game, and release it publicly or not, at some point. That game will most likely be Boom which I've written about in previous updates, since it will explore some ideas I haven't worked with before (3D FPS gameplay). But it will be a long while before that happens I think, if it does at all.

In the last couple of months my motivation for game development has been dwindling up to a point where it's nearly nonexistent. My passion is for video games and especially retro video games, being creative and coding and making graphics. But since the sales of my games have not been good enough that's a huge dent in my motivation. Prometheus is my first commercial game so realistically it getting greenlit and selling at all is a huge success, but for me continuing to do this is too much of a gamble I feel. If I kept going eventually maybe I'd "crack the code" or whatever but at this point I need more security in my career choice. I did not realize - or did not want to realize - that doing this would be so hard, for better and for worse. I read somewhere that the chance of successfully living off of indie game development is one percent, which I think is true. I would compare it to trying to become a rock star from your study at home. You hear stories like that from time to time so it's not impossible, but it's obviously extremely difficult. Maybe there is a point to some ideas just staying as ideas. Just because you can do something, doesn't always mean that you should. There is a coder guy whose name escapes me with a website where he has great pixel art and concepts for games, but he just doesn't go through with developing them. I used to not understand why despite his explanation, but it's clear to me now.

I would say that all the hate on the internet isn't helping with my motivation either. To me I feel that the main reason people hate is because they are jealous. Coding is difficult so most people will never be able to develop a game on their own and this triggers much of the negativity I think. Which of course is sad, pathetic, and still does not excuse it in any way.

I know myself what kind of games I like and what kind of features I enjoy, but I think that the video game industry right now and people's expectations are somewhere else. If I have to change and do something just because you are supposed to and not be true to myself, I'd rather not be doing this at all. In fact that was what I tried doing with Crimson Sky, and the development of that game went absolutely nowhere. Not to mention that the indie game scene is utterly saturated, especially when it comes to 2D games. How a game like Shovel Knight can thrive in this environmnent so to speak, I will never fully understand but I think they got everything just right and with an insane amount of polish. The PR part of this is really something I'm not good at either. Coding and graphics is what I like to do, and you really have to be a not just a jack, but a master of all trades in order to be successful as an indie game developer. The worst thing for me would be to completely lose my interest for playing video games as a hobby out of disillusionment, so I really want to quit before that happens as well.

A good thing that has come out of this is that I've rediscovered my enjoyment of coding and I will go back to school to learn Java this fall. Developing Mega Man 42 in the beginning was so joyful for me and it really helped me at a time when I didn't have much going for myself. I remember fondly the all nighters and staying up until 9 in the morning because I just had to squash that last bug. That unbridled joy when it comes to creativity is what I will take with me from this venture.


torsdag 31 mars 2016

Danger Close! released!

Danger Close! is now finally released and is available for purchase on itch.io:

It's a great feeling to finally be able to release the game. I know I've posted earlier about an upcoming game, but I'm a bit on the fence on whether I'll make another game or not, for various reasons. I will have to keep you updated on that, and on the Steam Greenlight entry as well.

måndag 1 februari 2016

Here comes the BOOM

Updates have been very scarce lately and for that I apologize. I've been going through some rough shit in my personal life lately which has affected my work as well. Good news is that Danger Close! is done and ready for beta testing. Again I'm very pleased with the result all things considered.

For my next project I've written a design document and have begun learning Unity since that will be what I will be using to develop BOOM, the title of my forthcoming game. While GameMaker Studio presumably can be used to make crude basic 3D, from advice that's been given to me Unity3D will handle this project much better. And from what I've learned so far it does seem that Unity has many advantages over GM in general as well. Aside from the general bugginess of GM, many of the features in it are bogged down by the fact that it at least originally was aimed at complete beginners (even coding in it used to be a bit of an afterthought, so to speak). Unity is much more clear-cut and aimed at configurability and customization which is a huge plus. For example, for code that gets executed in the beginning of an instance's creation, in GM you always have to have a "create"-event, while in Unity the "step"-code that gets executed every frame is in the same script which is so much easier to handle.

I think I've written about it before, but for the sake of clarity Boom will be a Doom-parody of sorts with sprites for enemies, items and weapons, but fully 3D otherwise. You will play as an alchemist in the 19th century and will be transported to other times and worlds through your ill-advised potion making. Since Unity seems very easy to work with, I think I will be able to finish the game by late August this year, or at least that is the plan.

fredag 20 november 2015

Name change and other stuff

In light of the recent horrible events in France, I've decided to push back my next game even further. For now I'm aiming at a March 31st release. Also I'm going to change a few aspects of the game to clear things up a bit. The name has now officially been changed to Danger Close!. Changing the title to this one was the plan for the longest time, but I was stubborn and stuck with the old working title. After giving it some serious thought though, I think Mission: Afghanistan strikes a too serious chord, while the game is more of a parody of sorts and the new title reflects this much better. It's not very nice to imply that I'm reducing an entire country to a violent war game either (that which I wrote in the post below regarding the controversial aspects of the game still apply though).

I'm also taking the suicide bomber-enemy out of the game, as well as the insurgent enemy with dark colored clothing. DC takes place in Afghanistan (mostly anyways) in 2001, so you are fighting insurgents, not terrorists per-se and I want to make that clear. The dark-clothed insurgent could be mistaken for an IS-soldier which I want to avoid since again this game takes place in 2001 and IS obviously did not exist back then.

With all of that boring and serious stuff out of the way, the game is coming along very nicely. I've done a lot of polishing, balancing and gotten rid of many bugs in the last few days. I've implemented achievements, hi-score tables and statistics. After all the hard work and effort I've put into the game I'm determined to release it come hell or high water.

onsdag 11 november 2015

M:A release date pushed back

I've decided to push back the release date of M:A to the 31st of January. The game has all of its assets now which means it's in beta stage, but there are still a number of things that need to be done. The music isn't fully implemented yet, I still have to program a controller configuration and implement it as well, and most importantly there is a lot of polishing to be done before I'll be satisfied with the result enough for a release. So far I'm very pleased with the game though, especially when playing with my arcade stick-controller, M:A really feels like an arcade shooter when doing so which is nice.

måndag 12 oktober 2015

Walking on egg shells

It struck me I had not yet written this entry on the blog yet, despite intending to for a long while. With the Greenlight entry coming up and people finding out about the game I feel it's about time I write it.

I understand completely that making a game called Mission: Afghanistan and its subject matter might piss off a great deal of people. It's a sensitive subject even though a few years have passed since the war took place, and even though I've explicitly stated that what you see in the game is an alternative past, not some sort of documentary in game form (which should be apparent when seeing even a snippet of gameplay from the game). I was ready to change the name of the game to Danger Close, but changed my mind. Who knows, I might still have to, in a good scenario... Let's go full political correctness and list a few of the people that potentially can and probably will be offended by this game:

1. People who have been in service in Afghanistan and feel used
2. SJW's who are against the war for whatever reasons
3. People who live in Afghanistan and don't like their entire country and its history reduced to a war game about killing people, from their point of view. Even though this is a picture that the media has been feeding us for one and a half decade, one that the game makes fun of.

I could go on, but you get the point. With this game though my intention is not to offend people. Nor to belittle someone. In my opinion, art, media, games need to be able to cover even sensitive subjects, otherwise freedom of speech and freedom of press do not exist in reality. To me it is even more important to be able to feature sensitive and offensive material, because that means that the subject matter is taboo for some reason, and it desperately needs to be featured and put out there in the spotlight so we can at least try to understand why that is.

I was brought up on MAD-magazine, and to me political incorrectness is second nature. Walking around and thinking about what isn't appropriate or what might offend people is not how I want to live my life. Was the war in Afghanistan a good or a bad thing? I don't know to be honest. And my official stance and the stance this game take is that of utter neutrality. The game is not meant to be a moral debate of what is good and what is bad, I'll leave that for someone else. If anything, it is a study in exaggerated cartoonish ultra violence, and it's up to the player to determine what they think about that. If I could go back in time, would I make this game thematically and graphically about something else entirely? Probably yes. This part of the game was never something I put much thought into when first coming up with the concept for it. Like I said, I'm not a politically correct person. But here we are. And one problem is that if you take away the subject matter of the game and replace the player sprites with robots, you kind of take away the whole point of the game.

I'm a fan of movies such as Hot Shots II, The Hurt Locker, Jarhead, The Dictator, The Interview, Team America: World Police and Zero Dark Thirty. All the hundreds of movies about the Vietnam war and WWII. Not to mention all the Call of Duty and Medal of Honor games that take place in Afghanistan and feature the war to some extent. Are you going to tell me that these movies and these games are OK, but Mission: Afghanistan is not? Because it's an indie game? If so I simply don't think that is fair.

M:A Greenlight entry

I finished making the trailer which means I have finally been able to create a Greenlight page for M:A. Link below.