I made another short game in the style of my previous game, Zombie Raid, but I wanted to improve on everything. I made it 3d this time, a variety of levels, and different wizards that can be selected. It’s a game where different types of skeletons advance on your position and by flicking your fingertip you make your wizard throw a spell in the direction of the flick. As time goes by, more and more skeletons appear.
It’s completely free, so check it out.
Right now, I’m working on a video game adaptation of the table top game Spycraft 2.0. It will be a turn based tactical / rpg game. This past week I’ve been working on character creation. In Spycraft, like most table top games, character creation is a massive ordeal. So I’m only about 20% of the way this process.
One hurdle I would run in to in the past, when I would try to prototype out a game like this, is how to incorporate complicated gameplay features that would span multiple character levels. For instance, during the character creation the player selects a feature that gives them a +1 to a certain skill, and then every 3 levels afterwards they get another +1. I struggled with a solution that wasn’t really messy. I finally decided to create a Level Up Modifier class that keeps track of all the benefits that should be gained and at what level.
Zombie Raid hit the app store this morning. It’s free, has some ads, so go check it out!
The past couple weeks have been busy with the move and new job. However, I was spending some free time working on one of my more involved projects, just chipping away at it. One of the things about being an indie developer is that feeling of being completely overwhelmed by the scope of a project. With this game I wanted something fairly simple, with one primary mechanic and one level. The point of the game is to last as long as possible, getting as many points as possible. I added the game center integration for iOS so you can compare you score against others. It should be out on the App Store in a couple of days.
It’s been a busy month for me, personally. I released Free Climber for iOS near the end of January. It’s been interesting to see how it’s played out and how users interact with it, since I added Flurry tracking analytics to the game. Since the release it’s had a little over 10,000 downloads.
I’ve been prototyping out two ideas I had. One was essentially “Grand Theft Auto but with animals”. I think it has a lot of promise but as I began to implement some basic functionality, I’m not to the point where I can have all the art assets to any meaningful place. So I’m going to put that on the backburner until I’m able to get the art worked out.
The second game I’ve been scripting out is a more simple 2d action platformer. My work on this has been progressing nicely, and since the mechanics are relatively simple, my focus on this game is ‘polish’ or ‘game feel’. It’s rather abstract but it’s those little things that really give the game an extra… well the only word I can think of is ‘feel’.
The other big thing going on is personally, I’ve moved to the Atlanta area to start a new web development job. It will still be another week before I have internet access at home, and there’s still plenty of unpacking to do. So that has really slowed down my game development. I’d also like to redo this site and have the blog as a separate page, but we’ll see how much I’m able to get done with everything else going on.
First review about Free Climber states that “It’s an awesome game.” Very cool stuff to see so many people playing the game. I’ll try to do a write up after about a month if the downloads continue or it picks up any more steam.
The review went fine after some minor revisions, so Free Climber is now up on the App Store. It’s free so go check it out!
I’ve spent a considerable amount of time deciding on the direction to take Palladium Games. I feel like indie game development can be a lot like playing the lottery. All it takes is one hit to ‘make it big’ but trying to get that one hit can feel a lot like playing the lottery. The most viable way for an indie developer to create a business in games is to create many smaller games. Even doing that it’s still very difficult, not to mention much less glamorous. Everyone wants to have the next big hit that every one is playing. But the way the app store works is to reward the one who spends their time making 10 smaller games than 1 large game. This advice is primarily for app developers, but it holds true for PC and console to an extent. There are a lot of talented developers and I think the two biggest things that hold us back are time and money. Most of us don’t have the luxury of treating game development as a full time job, and the money used to create the game is often our own personal money. Because of this, I believe the most successful path in this segment of the business is to get to the point where you have a sustainable business and then branch out and start creating your masterpiece game.
So that’s my current goal right now. I have several plans for creating smaller mobile games and I hope to create a business that will enable me to create the games I dream of.
I’m currently finishing up my latest game, Free Climber. My next project I’m tentatively calling Zombie Cannonballer. Think Angry Birds + zombies. Again, I’m aiming for a simple and easy to use casual game. After that is finished up I might try to rework Sushi Go Yobi in to a free version with in app purchases. I’ll probably work on Modern Tactics in between each game when I need a break.
Free Climber is a free game with in app purchases that features unlockable climbers, levels, and upgrades, much in the style of Hill Climb Racing. The initial release will have 3 climbers and 4 levels to climb.
One thing I wanted to emphasis in this game was simplicity and ease of use. The biggest thing is I believe the game to be fun. I think that’s easy as a game developer to forget when you’re neck deep in some gameplay mechanic and random ideas for new features floating around in your head. When it all comes together, is it enjoyable? What constitutes something being enjoyable is going to of course vary from person to person and platform to platform. But I think with casual mobile games, simplicity and ease of use can be used to really work in a developers favor.
The game is hard to categorize. In some ways it’s a physics puzzle, in others it’s more of a racing game. The climber has two hands to grip on to rock holds as he moves up the mountain. He has an energy meter that is constantly ticking down and can only be restored by collecting apples along the climb. Also scattered through the climb are coins that can be collected to unlock new features. It also offers the option to buy coins from the iTunes store.
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I’ve done some more Unity Networking and I’ve been playing with Smartfox Server for an MMO environment. If I get enough demand for one, I’ll write up a tutorial about some basic MMO networking, although I doubt there is such a thing as a “basic” MMO tutorial.
My current project that I’ve decided on is a tactical rpg that I’m tentatively calling “Modern Tactics”. It’s a modern day setting, turn based gameplay, and largely based off of the Modern SRD. What’s the Modern SRD? The company Wizards of the Coast created a table top role playing game that’s kind of like Dungeons and Dragons but set in modern times. This game, like others, uses dice to determine the outcome of actions following a specific set of rules. The core part of these rules are *freely available to be used and expanded on. The *freely part could possibly be disputed but that’s a completely different topic. Anyways, there have been a large number of smaller companies that have created their own take on this system, with new rules, new environments and settings, etc. I don’t think anyone has adapted them to a computer game yet, but that is my current project.
I’m thinking it will work kind of similar to the latest X-COM games, minus the base building for right now. You’ll have a screen to manage your soldiers, equipment, and crafting. And when you receive a mission, you select and gear up a squad, and send them out. The game then transitions into the 3d turn based view and uses the Modern SRD rules for most combat.
Right now I’m just planning on the core set of rules. If there’s enough interest I’d like to expand it to other settings like Urban Arcana or the Future setting. I also briefly spoke with some third party companies that have added their own unique rules and settings and they might be interested in a pc adaptation of their work as well.
So, plenty of work to be done. Also, I started a twitter account. Feel free to follow me there, as I’ll try to keep that updated with what I’m working on more than once a month.