måndag 16 juni 2014

The current next game

Just a small tidbit to let you guys know that I've begun work on my next game. It is going to be a sidescrolling action game set in a dystopian future, where you fight a totalitarian government's thugs either with your sword or an assortment of various kinds of firearms. The game is going to be in high resolution with advanced enough animations. Genre-wise it will be a bit like the Megaman Zero-games except with an emphasis on the fights as opposed to platforming, with a dose of Muramasa: The Demon Blade thrown in there, as well as Mirror's Edge as far as the setting goes. Work on the animations has begun so I will hopefully have something to show shortly.

The most important thing for me with this game and where I aim to go with it, is to differentiate my work as much as possible from what I've done before. That is, I really want to do something that is not a retro game, and I think from what I've planned this will hit the mark as far as that is concerned. The game is also going to have a much heavier story component which will be very interesting to implement. The working title for the game is Crimson Sky. Last but not least this will also be a much more unique game as opposed to me earlier works which have all been more or less inspired by other games already in existance.

söndag 4 maj 2014

Prometheus Windows 8 compability

First a big thanks to everyone I met at the Retro gaming fair Retrospelsmässan here in Sweden! I had a blast and it was great to meet you guys and talk about Prometheus!

Like I wrote in the previous blog post, I discovered a new bug in Prometheus in that the centaur boss disappeared mysteriously if you attacked it too soon after it appeared on screen. I thought I had fixed it, but it appeared again when playing the new version 1.1. However, I have traced down the problem to a compability issue between Windows 8 and Game Maker: Studio and games made in said program. After extensive attempts I can't recreate the bug on any of my Windows 7 machines, and staring at the code gives no result, so it has to be the operating system that is the culprit in this particular case.

I recommend playing Prometheus on Windows 7 if at all possible, Game Maker: Studio is not optimized for Windows 8 so there's not much I can do about it. It's not a big deal though, when you face the centaur simply wait with attacking until it has moved over to the other side for the first time. Alternatively you can "cheat" and make it disappear and just waltz on to the item, but it's not a good long-term strategy since you need to beat every boss in order to finish the game.

Edit: Apparently GM: Studio IS supposed to be compatible with Windows 8 according to Yo-Yo Games, but I find this dubious since the bug only appears on that OS.

fredag 2 maj 2014

New version of Prometheus

I've uploaded a new version 1.1 of Prometheus which is now available. The new version rectifies a couple of bugs. One of them involves the centaur boss which would disappear if you attacked it right as it walks on screen. Also the animation speed when Prometheus walks would sometimes become too fast.

torsdag 17 april 2014

Maze Dude out!

Maze Dude has now been released and is available for iPhone and iPad in the iTunes app store. The game is primarily developed for iPad, so I recommend that version first and foremost.

If you want to test the game or don't own an iOS device, a PC version is also available by clicking on the below link:

In other news I've decided not to continue development of Mission: Afghanistan. I really would like to make the game, but in order to get it as good as I wanted I calculated I needed one year of development time, which I just think is too long for such a risky proposition as an indie game. After doing some research and thinking about it I think six months tops is a much more reasonable time frame. So I have had to go back to the drawing board and try to come up with something else. I have a few ideas but it'll be a while until the process reaches the point where I have something to show you guys.

One last thing is that I'm going to showcase Prometheus at a retro gaming fair here in Sweden. So if you live in Sweden and want to test the game out, go to retrospelsmässan on the 3rd of May!

söndag 30 mars 2014

Prometheus - The Fire Thief is now out!

Around seven months of hard work has finally led up to this, the release of Prometheus - The Fire Thief! I have a few things I want to write about, but first the widget:

If you have any questions or feedback of any kind, please post a comment here or go to Prometheus's entry at Indiedb.com: http://www.indiedb.com/games/prometheus-the-fire-thief

Prometheus is a retro game and it's intended to have a difficulty close to that of NES-era games. That being said, I've tried to make it more welcoming by enabling the player to save at any point in the game among other things. I realize though that it's a possibility that the player might sometimes need a small hint in a game like this, and because of that I've also written a walkthrough right off the bat. I'm not saying that the walkthrough is required, the game is intended to be played without it, but in case you need it you can download it via the link below. If nothing else this will save me answering a lot of questions :)

lördag 29 mars 2014

Teh vidya

Today I have two videos for your perusal, one showing gameplay of Maze Dude, and a video of the test engine progress so far of Mission: Afghanistan.

Exporting Maze Dude to the iOS platforms has proven a little more problematic than I anticipated, so it will most likely take a while until I can get it up and running on there. I'm not a huge fan of Apple, but they sure know their way around user friendlieness, so I thought it would be just as easy as pressing a button to get your app in the iStore. Apparently you need a Mac (which I don't have) to be able to do that tough, information which Yo-Yo Games hid somewhere among the fine print. Oh well, I think it'll sort itself out given time. Also I need to reconfigure the game's resolution to fit the various iOS devices' screen resolution ratios.

Everything is now ready for the release of Prometheus on monday. It'll be very interesting to see what you guys think about the game. I know I'm satisfied though, and the beta testing has made it a better game. I probably could've sped up the release a bit if I had not been so generous with extra time for me to get everything sorted out. It's one of the lessons I've learned from this, and I'm sure there will be more to come.

söndag 16 mars 2014

Maze Dude

I had another dream about a game and since it was a simple enough concept, I've now developed it in a matter of only a few weeks time. It's just a small Donkey Kong-era type arcade game where you control a character that shoots enemies and collects powerups in maze-like stages. Kind of like a mash-up of Pac-Man, The Binding of Isaac, The Legend of Zelda, Castle of the Winds and Donkey Kong. It turned out quite fun as just a simple way of killing some off-time with randomly generated stages. The plan is to export it for iOS since in my opinion there is a significant shortage of good games available for those units. Since the development time has been this short for me it will be very cheap. I'm not sure at this point if I will release the PC version for free or very cheap as well, I will have to give it some more thought. Even just coding a test engine for Mission: Afghanistan will be a big and time-consuming process, so it was nice to do something more non-serious like this to clear my mind a bit.

The release of Prometheus is drawing near and I've decided to sell it via a Humble Store Widget on here. I've made a number of improvements and additions based on beta-testing feedback so far, but more are to come for sure.

måndag 24 februari 2014

My next game

I now consider Prometheus finished as far as I'm concerned. Beta testing is still going on though. I've been trying to focus on how I'm going to market and sell Prometheus, something which is completely new to me, but it's shaping up nicely so far.

The next game that I've already begun working on has the working title Mission: Afghanistan. If what that title implies offends you, you should probably stop reading now because it will only get "worse" (better?) in that department. I consider it a privilege as an indie developer that you can be as politically incorrect as you want. MA will be an arcade style shooter with smooth animations and a lot of colors! More than 54 I can guarantee you :) The game will be made in Metal Slug-style but without actual vehicles though. Among the bosses will be dictators such as Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong-Il, to mention a couple. I know I tend to make games that are inspired by other games a lot, but to me reinventing the wheel just is not a good idea when it comes to video game development. Many people have tried but in my opinion it's a fool's errand. I'm not saying that one of your five lifetime original thoughts could possibly make for a revolutionary game, but video games have been developed for decades so it's highly unlikely.

MA is in many ways the game I wanted to do from the get-go, but I just didn't have the skills when it comes to programming to do it. Working on Mega Man 42 and Prometheus has given me those skills I deem necessary though which is awesome. It feels great to be able to show what I'm capable of as well when it comes to animations, sprites and not be inhibited by color limitations. It's going to be very nice to show the ignorant naysayers that yes indeed, when I want to and am not developing a NES-style game, I can actually use more than three colors and three frames of animations per sprite.

I've done a few concept drawings of the bosses that I intend to put in the game, as well as a few test animations. I'm ever so apprehensive of showing these but I'm thinking it might be for the best in the end and worth the risk. I need to give it some more thought though.

måndag 3 februari 2014

The Emperor's New Clothes

Here's the new look for Prometheus since the old one was a little too similar to the Orpheus player sprite in The Battle of Olympus. I intended that as a homage, something which didn't seem to find its way to certain persons, so what the hell. Don't mistake this for me being scared of getting sued though, I still think that is an astronomically unlikely event to take place. I hope you like the new sprite because I don't feel like changing it again. When you walk now you see that Prometheus has the cross shield which is the first shield you come across in the game. I made him have a red bandana as a homage to Rambo, I hope Sylvester Stallone hasn't copyrighted it!

I have also changed back to the old boss getting damaged-sound since the new one was too similar to the one in BoO, again not since I want to steal their thunder, it was only meant as a homage to that game.

In other not so insignificant news, I'm happy to announce that the game has now moved into beta stage of development! Virtually all of its assets when it comes to graphics, coding and audio are now in the game. The only things left are: To make an epilogue, complete with item collecting-percent and game completion timer in accordance with a real metroidvania game, as well as the last two music tracks. Then I have a to do-list to go through and of course the beta testing. Playing through the game now is a joy though, and I'm extremely pleased with the end result so far, it's probably even better than I imagined it would turn out. Which is rare because I am a rather pessimistic-minded person.

tisdag 28 januari 2014

#Real Talk

Prometheus: The Fire Thief has been up for a number of days on Steam now and overall I'm very grateful and happy for the amount of yes-votes my game has gotten. I'm not going to go into details, but all in all, considering Prometheus is a niche retro game, the reception has confirmed my suspicion that there is a market for this kind of game out there, and that feels great.

It's also very nice to read the well-mannered encouraging comments on there, but of course this is the Internet and the game has gotten more than its fair share of criticism I think. I was ready for this, but so far I've only felt the need to delete two comments; one from a dude plugging his YouTube channel or whatever, not much to discuss there, and one very not constructive critical comment that was just mean and insulting. There are a few more comments I could get rid of on the constructive or not-basis, but I don't want to be a nazi on there and most of the people who post mean comments shoot themselves in the foot anyway, which I will go into in more detail on in this very blog post.

Now, I'm not stupid, so I realize most people that have visited Prometheus's Steam page will not go to this here blog and read this, but the alternative of gumming up the comments section with my answers is not workable. It's not my intention to single out people and get them back by citing their comments verbatim, or to rub their nose in it so to speak, but I really want to address some of the main themes of the criticism for my own sake, for people who are on my side and whoever else who might be interested in reading it.

1. Prometheus and The Battle of Olympus

This is one of the main points of criticism people seem to have at this point. That I've ripped off BoO by making a reskin off of it and putting it up on Steam. One dude even claimed that it was an NES-game running on an emulator, posted as a troll post which is both funny and nice to read. Amusing since there is a 90€ fee for entering a game on Steam, so that's a very expensive bit of trolling right there, nice since if someone thinks my game is running on an emulator I've really managed to "emulate" the retro game feel just like intended. Not that doing that is especially hard or anything.

In my mind BoO is somewhat obscure for an NES game, but I enjoy it and I want more people to know about it and play it, that's one of my main reasons for developing Prometheus in the first place. It's a homage or a spiritual sequel, call it whatever you want. The last thing I intend is to make money off of someone else's work. That whole idea in relation to my work on this game is just baffling to me, since I have 100 percent clarity on how my process has been and how I've approached all of this. For one, all of the graphics are original, I've not "lifted" anything, that seems like an absolutely ridiculous thing to do for a commercial game.

If you look at it from a certain point of view, BoO is a nothing more than a rip-off of Zelda II. The main points of the game, beating bosses, gaining new items, 2D-platforming, sword-swinging, talking to NPC's etc are extremely similiar. In that sense Nintendo should've sued the developers of BoO back in the day for invading their copyright, but they never did. Because doing that would be absolutely fucking retarded. From that point of view every sidescrolling platform game ever created is a clone of Super Mario Bros. and Nintendo should sue all companies who have ever created a sidescrolling platformer, but that is of course even more insane. You don't have to follow this line of thought very long before really absurd scenarios start to play out in your mind. I suppose that's a little too much to ask from the average 13-year old Steam user though.

Besides all of the above, Prometheus is also a rather different game from BoO on many levels, once you get past the most superficial layer. I realize this might be hard to see from watching the trailer, but I have to make the trailer fast-paced and selling in order to make people interested so I can't show a 15-minute video that shows how the game works. What's so great about this blog is that I can explain it here instead though :)

I'm a huge fan of Metroid. I've played and beaten all of the 2D Metroids and am in the process of playing through the 3D-ones, currently playing through Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. My approach to Prometheus was to fix many of BoO's innate problems. One of the main issues with BoO, enjoyable as it is, is that it's extremely cryptic and hard to understand what the hell you are supposed to do and where you are supposed to go, especially for a 7-year old who doesn't know a word of English (read: me at 7 years of age). This isn't very hard to fix. I've made the stages in Prometheus much more clear-cut and self-explanatory, like in a Metroidvania. There is a start and an end with a final boss that gives you an item once you beat it. The NPC's are all in the towns like in Zelda II, not spread across the levels in the most weird places. Once you enter the boss screen, you can't pussy out (like in BoO), etc. What I'm trying to say, is that at a surface level, Prometheus might look like a carbon copy of BoO, but it really isn't, it's a metroidvania about Greek mythology, and it should go without saying that you can't copyright making a game like that.

I'm from Sweden and I would take a wild swinging guess that a majority of the doomsday prophets/hobby lawyers on Steam are from the great nation across the pond. In my daily life I don't constantly worry that around every corner and no matter what I do, there is always a risk that I can get sued. In my lifetime I can't think of one case where I've heard of someone getting sued in Sweden. It must be very stressful to live your life feeling that you constantly have to worry about that.

2. The graphics

My limitations for the graphics in Prometheus have been, in order to make the game look like an NES-game, to use the european PAL 256x240 resolution and the correct 54-color palette. Then I've also tried to keep the sprites to three colors since that was the color limit for an NES-sprite (more colors were possible by using two sprites over each other like the Mega Man sprite, where his face and body in reality are two different sprites). One guy in the comments complained that the animations are stiff. Trust me, I could make the animations smooth as a baby butt, but that wouldn't be very faithful to an NES retro game. NES-sprites had three frames of animation max, often two (if they were animated at all). Also to reinforce the retro feel I've made the animations even stiffer by the way I've drawn them. Either you make a retro game or you don't, smooth animations I'm saving for my future projects. It's very frustrating to have to gimp yourself like this since most people are criticizing it out of ignorance, so I'm looking forward to showing what I really can do, trust me. Reinforcing the retro feel goes for other parts of the graphics as well. The foreground tiles I've made intentionally blocky and tily for that reason as well (and also since that's what they looked like in my dream that Prometheus is based on).

Of course, if you don't like my art style or my approach to pixel art, that's something else entirely and not something I can do much about. I'm only human and this is my second game of this scale that I've ever done. I can't do more than my best, but truth is if I had more time I could probably make the sprites a little bit nicer maybe, but I have to code the game as well. I'd like to think that I've improved in my ability though, if you compare this game to Mega Man 42 (like I've explained though the graphics in that game suffered because I didn't have nearly enough time to work on them).

3. The promo pic

I'm going for a retro, cartoon and box-art style with this one that many people seem unfamiliar with. I can't put too much time and effort on this picture, and it's certainly not within my budget to hire someone else to draw a picture. My forte is making graphics and programming, not drawing promotional pictures.

I hope this blog post clears up some confusion. Walls of text are never fun, but I felt I had to do it this time around.

In regards to Prometheus's current development, the two last stages are getting completed simultaneously, so things are coming together for the fine-tuning and beta testing to start in preparation for the release.

lördag 25 januari 2014

Paging id software

Exciting news! This has just been confirmed, Dangerous Dave©® will be an unlockable playable character in Prometheus©®!*

*Prometheus - The Fire Thief©®™ is a registered trademark of Magical Hackers©®™ 2013-2014 All Rights Reserved. Also, this whole blog post is a joke :)

torsdag 23 januari 2014

Steam Greenlight

Prometheus is now on Steam Greenlight, follow the link below to vote:


There you can also watch this spanking brand new trailer for the game:

And a square version of the promo art, here's a better view of the whole picture:

As for the progress on the game itself, Crete is now done so that's just two areas left to complete and the game will have all its assets and be able to move into the beta stage of development.

torsdag 9 januari 2014

Prometheus progress: 5 out of 8

Just thought I'd give an update on what's going on with Prometheus. A few moments ago I finished up programming the boss for the fifth area I'm working on out of eight, so that means before soon only three areas will be left to be done. Just the enemy placement and some balancing left before this area is completely finished. I plan to be ready on Sunday.

After Sunday I'm going to start working on a promo picture and a trailer for the game, for use when I enter the game to be Greenlit on Steam. I hear it's very hard to get on there, but I'm going to give it a serious attempt, worst thing that can happen is it fails. And then the work on the promo picture and trailer will still be very useful in marketing the game so it will not be for naught. The script for the trailer has been written and I'm looking forward to be able to show off the first five stages of the game including the bosses and Dan's excellent score as well.