Archive for month: May, 2013

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30 May
May 30, 2013

Rather lovely little video. My hometown. 🙂

Molyneaux’s Cube

27 May
May 27, 2013

The heart of Pete Molyneux and 22Cans’ “Curiosity” experiment has finally been revealed. And it’s actually kinda interesting.

So, essentially, the winner gets to be an associate designer on Godus, as well as sharing in the profits to some small degree. Now, obviously we don’t know exactly how much say in the design said winner will have, nor what their cut of the take will be. It sounds cool, at face value, but it could amount to little beyond some superficial input.

Still, it’s an interesting idea, and an interesting prize to have won. I’m not a big fan of the mindless clicking part of the experiment, but I can certainly applaud 22Cans for trying something different and a bit out there.

It’s also, without a doubt, a rather cunning marketing plot. Gamifying your PR is hardly a new concept, but still, it was a clever gimmick. As someone who has spent time considering how to get the marketing message out amoungst all the noise and competition out there, I can’t help but admire the cunning of it.

I’m not a fan of Molyneax’s most recent games, but say what you want about the man, he knows how to get the spotlight. I only hope he produces some games worthy of that attention.

XBox : The Next One

22 May
May 22, 2013

Are you excited, bro?

Scans from an actual SEAL team dog! Be still, my beating heart.

Talkin’ System Crash

19 May
May 19, 2013

Part of a talk I gave at the Joburg Game Dev meet. Unfortunately, the recording started after the part where I showed System Crash gameplay and discussed some of the design choices I made.

Apologies for the poor sound quality.

Post your Deck

16 May
May 16, 2013

For people trying out the System Shock beta, one of the forum goers, MaximillionMiles, has started a cool thread where you can post your favourite deck builds and discuss the strategies behind them. I love seeing what people come up with, players are finding strategies I never thought of. I might even end up incorporating some of the designs directly into the campaign! So don’t be shy, your creation might be immortalized in System Crash’s code!

Refuelling

09 May
May 9, 2013

In my mind, I often like to think of what I’ve done here, going indie and trying to build my first commercial game, as journeying out to sea on a small boat. A boat that I’ve built myself, loaded with supplies I’ve stocked up over the years.

I said goodbye to my friends and family then cast off, heading for the horizon, looking for my dreams. I didn’t know what I’d find out there, whether I’d reach my personal paradise or end up dashed against the rocks. All I knew is that I had to try. I felt more at risk of drowning in the safe, comfortable humdrum of daily life than out there, in that ‘ocean’.

So I did it. I took the biggest risk of my life. Even though, honestly, I’m not very brave. If I was, I probably would have taken it sooner. And it’s been amazing. I’ve learned so much, about game development, about myself. Even now, even with my life savings pretty much entirely burned away, I don’t regret it. I’ve lived. Perhaps for the first time, I’ve really been alive and engaged.

But, that being said, I have, as I mentioned, essentially burned away all my savings. At the beginning of this month, I hit my red line. The limit I set myself when I left my last job, where I’d have only a few months finances remaining and would need to start looking for work before I ran out of rent money.

It’s unfortunate that I hit this point before I got System Crash completely finished. I had planned to be done by now, but the best laid plans of mice and men and all that. If I was braver, maybe I’d have chosen to gamble further, to race my bank account all the way to the finish line. But I am, as I said, not that brave.

So I found a new job. Started it this week actually, it’s going well so far. Nice people, cool environment, interesting project. And I’m being paid to develop in Unity, which is pretty great.

System Crash development will continue, though now after office hours. This will slow development down a bit, of course, but the game is very nearly finished, so it’s not too bad. The estimated release date is next month. Beta testing will continue, I’ll get a new build out as soon as possible.

So if you’ve wondered why, after the previous beta release, I dropped off the radar a bit, well, now you know.

This isn’t the end for Rogue Moon Studios, far from it. I have plenty of plans for the coming year, beyond System Crash’s release, plans I’m excited about. Like I said, I see this whole thing as a journey, a voyage across turbulent oceans, searching out exotic locales and adventure. Sometimes you can’t make that kind of voyage all in one leg. Sometimes you have to make a detour to a nearby friendly island to restock your supplies.

The good ship Rogue Moon is docked in port, taking on fresh water and salted meat. Hiring new crew and patching torn sails. The open sea still calls to her, soon she’ll set sail once again.

The Ripple Effect

02 May
May 2, 2013

It’s funny how the ramifications of a design decision, especially changing something mid-project, can ripple outwards across your design.

For instance, the new buy-sell system for individual cards in the store is universally well-received. It’s a nice upgrade from the old, simple way that cards unlocked over time.

But it’s introduced an issue that wouldn’t have existed in the old system. When you sell a card to the store, you get less credits for that sale than the card is actually worth. In the grand tradition of wily merchants everywhere, they get the better of the deal.

I like it this way because it means I can give the player a bunch more cards than they actually need, safe in the knowledge that this unfavorable exchange rate means they will need to offload 2-3 spare cards to buy a new card that they desire. Even more, if you want to purchase a card of a higher tier.

But now we come to the issue. A player needs at least 60 cards to field a valid deck. What if he sells too many cards, but then, because of that unfavorable exchange rate, he doesn’t have the cash to simply buy them back again.

This is especially possible in the initial stages, when a player is still learning the game and doesn’t have many more cards than 60. They might have sold the cards before they even bump against the 60 card requirement.

I contemplated adding in a 100% reversal on your last few transactions at the market, but that simply makes the problematic situation harder to reach, not impossible. And I would have to consider when to expire that window.

So instead I’ve going to add in 2 things. First, I’ll forbid selling cards if it would leave you without any valid decks in your deck set. Secondly, I’m going to add in an alternate way to make cash. The 60 card limit is all well and good, but it would still be possible to, later in the game, sell all your good cards and then not have enough to buy them back, leaving you with inferior deck options. You’d still be able to build a valid deck, but perhaps you wouldn’t be able to build a deck capable of beating the missions you currently have available.

So I’m thinking about adding in a tournament mode to SenseSim (quick duel) mode. Where you play against a random Easy, Medium or Hard AI deck (you wouldn’t be able to choose the deck, it would select from the campaign decks at random), and winning a tournament would give you a small sum of credits, scaled by the difficulty of the opponent.

That way, in the worst case scenario, you could always grind a few SenseSim matches against the AI to earn enough credits to buy back your stuff. Alternatively, if you find the campaign progression a bit too tough, you could play SenseSim to earn some extra credits to buff your deck a bit before trying again.