Welcome. We’re all used by now with Kickstarter projects failing even after being fully funded, and while it doesn’t seem to deter backers — people clearly understand that sh*t happens — the question remains: what should developers do once it’s clear that they won’t be able to deliver on their promises? Over on Twitter, Shamus Young has an answer, and I can’t help but agree.
Idea: If you Kickstart a game & the project fails, then as a gesture of good faith you could release source & assets. http://t.co/O3lB68ZG75
— Shamus Young (@shamusyoung) July 18, 2014
This would 1) Show you DID work on it. 2) Give the community SOMETHING. 3) Let others learn from your mistakes.
— Shamus Young (@shamusyoung) July 18, 2014
That’s hardly unprecedented. At least two high-profile MMOs (Ryzom and Myst Online) went open source after failing in the market, and they hadn’t even been kickstarted, a.k.a. “already paid for in advance”. For a game that was, it’s just common sense, you know?
But there’s another excellent reason to do so.
I didn’t expect to finish my game in just one more week, but here it is. Somehow, in only a few coding sessions, I managed to:
- Add a third enemy and rebalance everything.
- Add sound effects and music.
- Implement the missing help/options screens.
Here’s the result. It doesn’t look much different, and it’s hardly complete; preferences aren’t saved, there’s no highscore list and there’s just one 5-minute level — which makes it more of a demo. But it feels like a product rather than an experiment, and that’s what matters.
And now, for more interesting news.
This week I was supposed to rant about my work in progress some more, but I just so happen to have a bunch of links to discuss, so I’ll just show you this:
Yes, after many wasted days and a coding marathon, the basic gameplay is all in place. The game is fast, furious and fun. And I just spent entirely too much time putting together a miserable animated GIF. Don’t worry, you’re not missing much; sound isn’t in yet.
Let me tell you how I ended up with that. Read and laugh. Or weep, as the case may be.
This is a week with very few links. My hope was to compensate with lots of news about my upcoming game, but personal problems conspired to hold back my progress. All I have to show for now is this one screenshot:
I know, it doesn’t exactly look glorious. It’s much more interesting in motion, trust me. But before I’m ready to make a video, there’s something I’d like to point out — something you can’t see in the image.
I meant to work on my game some more before this week’s issue, but an impromptu trip messed up my schedule something fierce. Luckily, I’m hardly hurting for content.
I’ll start with a fascinating post-mortem. Via Gamasutra, here’s the story of a hobbyist programmer’s game that was 13 years in the making!
The story, itself told with skill and humor, covers six big problems that marked the project. Three of them are very, very familiar.
It seems appropriate that I’d have a week with few links again just as I have an announcement to make. I also have a game creation tool to review, and some ranting at the game industry, and that’s enough for now so let’s go.
The big news is that I’m returning to game development! I’ve been absent for a year, and I won’t be long most likely, but still. Here’s what I have so far:
Yep… that’s a first-person shoot’em up with voxel art — meaning the game is only rendered with voxels. I ran into difficulties right off the bat, which is why all I have now is scrolling scenery, but it’s coming along nicely. No, I won’t have a HTML5 version this time. Sorry.
“Also, there’s a certain irony in developers lavishly spending more and more on scenery and then giving us less and less time to admire it.” — Shamus Young
I must be getting used to this. Despite the fact that I was really busy over the weekend (the good kind of busy, mind), a good bunch of links accumulated here. It’s going to be a very visual issue, so let’s get to the point.
You know I’m a big fan of Lords of Midnight, possibly the most unique strategy game ever. More than once, I decried the fact that ever since the original ZX Spectrum release nobody quite managed another title like it — even the official sequel wasn’t as beloved. At least there’s the modern edition keeping it alive.
Well, IndieGames.com alerts us of a brand new game based on the same concept, with an Arabian Nights theme and all the goodies one would expect from a game made in 2014. See for yourselves:
Never mind playing it… wish I would have made Legions of Ashworld myself. Good work there, folks.
It doesn’t happen often that I have one overarching theme for this newsletter; usually it’s just that I discuss a single link at length. This time it’s different. Get ready for yet another big rant about 3D graphics. But not just yet.
I want to start with a little video. Via Shamus Young, here’s a fascinating viewpoint on what the mechanics of Civilization (the game) betray about the developers’ view on the actual human civilization. Too long, didn’t watch version: remember Fry’s reaction to the theme park version of history in the pilot episode of Futurama?
Incidentally, the point they make in the video is very similar to Aaron Reed’s critique of the Star Wars prequels from a few months ago: somehow, along the way, we’ve grown used to the idea that history is a preordained series of events, rather than being shaped naturally by the actions and interactions of many individuals. To the degree that we acknowledge people at all, it’s a handful of historical figures seen as demigods who did everything by themselves…
Troubling, isn’t it?