Gaming Your Way

May contain nuts.

2012 in words and pictures

It's that time again. These normally take forever to do, but I think this one can be knocked out in about 5 mins as we've done fuck all this year.

Shall we start ? Yes, lets.

January:

As always we have our birthday in January, we're 5 now, and still not imploded under the weight of our stupidity.
We were still basking in the lovely Outpost glow ( 2011 that came out, and we've still not finished the sequel. The Beatles still release more albums than we do games ).
We did have an interesting interview with Jean-Philippe Auclair, author of The Miner, which I'm sure you all use now.

February:

We picked up a little head of steam this month. It started with the first image from Outpost:Swarm and the start of the DN8:Pulse development.

We actually finished the first beta of Swarm at the end of Feb if I remember correctly... but there was still a way to go before it would see the light of day.
Olli also pimped a rather lovely lego house he'd put together.

March:

More DN8:Pulse, I tried to be quite active about it's development on the blog, posting weekly updates ( Which is very active compared to the last couple of months on here ).
Want to see some glowy bullets to help fill this post out ? Yeah, why not. 

And that's month 3.

April:

A great month, with both Swarm finally launching on Miniclip < I thought I should link to them, they're an up and coming portal and need all the traffic they can get.
We also got a pre-release review of DN8:P on the excellent FlashMush blog, which we were happy about.
But when exactly did DN8 II, the stage3D mix, come out ?

May:

Ah, the 1st of May. Thanks to Jules and Rob at TurboNuke for sponsoring that bad boy.
One thing we learned was never ever bother doing a stage3D game, as these stats revealed.

Overall I'm pleased with most of DN8:Pulse, I'm glad I did it, but I did make an actual loss on the game after paying for the ( Great ) art and music. It did well on newgrounds ( Our only daily 1st ), got a great review at Jays, and died on it's arse everywhere else.

( Never do a stage3D game, I can't stress that enough ).

June:

I hit 40, and for some reason didn't mention it. Normally I like to big up my birthdays.


I did finally write up a postmortem for Swarm, which was good to do. I really like that game, yes it's limited in scope and with hindsight we could have dropped more references to the story in there, but the AI is cool and it just plays nice and simple.

Also a sneak peek of "Quantic Velocity", our failed game this year. We started off using stage3D, then saw just how badly DN8:P had done, restarted it as a horizontally Uridium like game, then restarted it again as a vertical scrolling one. Just an aborted mess. I'm kinda glad Lux and I went through that, better on a smaller game than a large one we really care about.
I don't think we had a clear enough focus on what it should be, and then I backed myself into a corner with the baddie AI and it was just easier to save the assets for another day.

July:

Nothing much to see here, apart from work finally starting on O2. So we're 5 months, nearly 6 months, into it's development and still no private beta. There are reasons...

August:

We pushed O:Swarm out to Facebook as a little experiment. Due to a lack of pimping on our behalf it's pretty much stayed as it is, we want to go back to it and give it more social love, but if no one's playing it then there's little point ( And no one is playing it 'cause of a lack of social features. Oh ).

Worth doing, just to see all the hoops we have to jump through to get a game on there, and it's far from dreadful, we just didn't expand on it as we could have.

September:

I experimented with HaXe NME. I'd like to go back to it sometime, but when I really don't know.

On the O2 front I added specular lighting, which if I do say so myself, looks fucking stunning.

Hurts lower end cpu's, so it'll have to be an option, which is such a pity.
Also Lux nailed the title screen for O2, which is important as I really like a title screen in place on a game as it helps set the tone ( I'm sure I've mentioned this a million times before, so I'm going to cut myself off before I bore myself ).

October:

Bit of an almost constructive post from me for a change, about Survival horror. If nothing else it was a slightly indulgent way for me to get things into perspective for O2.
The comment which started it all, and quoted in that post, has really helped define what we're going to do with O2. Lots more one off set pieces ( Which is one of the reasons it's still in development ). 

Swarm made it's merry way to Newgrounds, and did quite well ( After being fucked in the eye for a daily 2nd. These things don't normally matter to me, but there was some strange voting that day, which also screwed us for the Halloween comp. Bitter ).

 

And that is officially where the year ended for us. In nearly 6 years of doing the GYW thing we've never let the blog slip for so long. Two actual releases in a year, one a sequel and one a spin off ( And a cancelled futuristic racing game ). Not the most productive we've ever been.
Let me explain, it's not you, it's me. We've been suckling at the adver-game teet a lot more this year than other years. We don't pursue freelance work, but sometimes it just lands in your lap and you'd be silly to say no to it.

So this year we did a quiz plus mode7 driving game for Goodyear ( We're not overly proud of it, hence the lack of mention of it on the blog. Very low budget, and it unfortunately shows ), I did a couple of Flash games for a certain cigarette company ( NDA'd up on these, I don't think I can even mention the agency I worked for ), then an Android tablet app for them which was purely for "in the field" employees, so that's not even available to get anywhere.
Then in November I went over to the US for a month ( Just got back on the 21st December ) doing more Flash stuff for the same company, but mainly JS/HTML ( And no, not "HTML5" which is just a stupid nonsense catch all term for all different kinds of tech, as I had to learn quite quickly ).
I think in total there are 6 Flash games, a tablet one and 4 or so html apps that Olli and I have worked on that we've been unable to mention on here.

See, we're not that lazy, we've just changed from being open and honest about everything to being sly. And evil. It's the new direction for us.

Ok, I guess this it the part we look to the future. I'm currently playing with porting Chock-A-Box over to html. That was originally a game in a day for me in Flash, it's fucking well not in JS. On the 2nd Jan I'm back full time on Outpost 2, which I'm really looking forward to and from there...

We think O2 will be our last sponsored game, it's just a badly broken business model ( There's a blog post on it's own, maybe I should bite my tongue until we've sold O2 ). In the new year we're going to be looking at new tech and new ways to get our games out there.

Thanks for always sticking with us, and we wish you a happy New Year.

Squize.

Comments (9) -

  • Phil

    12/31/2012 4:51:31 PM |

    2012 was same for me. Stuff takes time, development whether it be on "small" games or not sucks up so much concentration that it's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and before you know it 8 months have gone, you have paid the bills but don't really feel like you have moved things forward.

    For me I re-launched gameviewpoint.com, learned some obj-c/iOS, launched 4 games, 2 Web Flash, 2 AIR/iOS, and then spent at least 4 months faffing around with a game project, which I'm still working on now.

    2013 for me is all going to be about focus. I think you need to research what market you're wading into, know what you need to do, and then just double down on simple, but cool ideas which are doable within a reasonable time frame. Regardless of paying bills etc, you got to try and keep sight of where you want to end up, work out the steps to that point and then try not to be distracted getting there.

  • Richard Davey

    12/31/2012 5:17:57 PM |

    I think you guys ought to explore the App Store next. I hear it's a total gold mine, like taking candy from a baby.

    • Phil

      12/31/2012 5:40:53 PM |

      There's money to be made, but it's very easy to release a quality game just to see it sink without trace. The major players throw lots of money at titles to increase their visibility and get them to the top of the charts and once they are there they usually stay there. The amazon's/ebays of the App store are already established, but if you can make a decent game that appeals to a niche audience then yeah you can get a decent income.

  • Squize

    12/31/2012 5:48:56 PM |

    @Phil, yeah mate it's easy enough for time to just slip through your hands.
    I don't like doing adver-games, I thought I'd left all that behind a couple of years ago, it's just the difference in money is so extreme, plus I got a month out in America and had the best time out there, all paid for, so I've not done badly.
    We've just got to kill O2 off now, we've got a deadline, this years GDC, so we're going to push ahead with that hard.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    @Rich, lol. I heard that mobile web based gaming is the future, any old shit seems to do well on there ;)

    • Phil

      12/31/2012 6:16:52 PM |

      I've managed to avoid contract work for 4 years, mostly down to Christmas Crunch and sponsored games. Hopefully I can keep on avoiding it, but 2013 needs to be better then 2012.

  • Zedacus

    1/1/2013 12:15:29 AM |

    Happy new year, 2013 does need to be better then 2012. There has been a lot of "slacking" all over the place. You would think we would have flying cars and stuff by now haha. The app store is probabaly a really good way to make money off a good little game. It seems those mmmo's are pretty popular from what I've seen on the mobile games. But so is angry birds and I only see myself playing it because it's sort of addicting. Although I don't play them any more because I prefer computer games, they still got popular games on there.

    Any way, O2 is looking pretty good, and since my computer kinda sucks I probably would have to turn off the specular lighting, sadly enough. I will just snatch my friends laptop for a little bit, haha.

    So if this is your last sponsored game for a while, I would just like to say you guys have made some awesome games and I hope to see more in the future.:) Maybe you guys can make a big 3d mmo or something. I play both flash and mmo's so don't get me wrong if that isn't something you're looking forward to.

    Well, I hope you all have a fun new years party!

  • charlie

    1/2/2013 12:27:45 PM |

    That's an interesting read, and certainly has parallels with my year - although I seem to be making less & less games for clients in favour of other work (not quite sure how I feel about that, but it is clear that this work would be easier to do in other technologies when Flash stops being the first choice.)
    I also need to work on my focus, which is why I'm commenting on your blog rather than working on what I should be doing.
    Anyway, here's to O2 - I'm really looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

  • Manuel

    1/4/2013 6:34:22 PM |

    Hey, in O2 (Outpost rocks), will you have multiplayer support? That would be awesome, and could be a prime selling point. This is actually going along the lines a little like halo. Boast multiplayer support and encourage those who play the game to share it with friends and family. Give them an incentive like "if you refer 10 people to us, you'll unlock golden armor that's (x) times as strong as regular armor" or "you'll get this achievement and unlock this special clip that doubles the size of your clip". Who knows? We may be looking at the start of something huge.

  • Squize

    1/5/2013 1:53:45 PM |

    @Phil, 4 years is great going avoiding contract work, well done mate. I'm weak, someone dangles that sexy day rate in front of me and I'm there :)

    @Zedacus, I owe you an email mate, stick with me :)
    I think with the appStore you need to follow the "Fail fast" principle ( Same as on Facebook ), get the minimum viable product ( MVP ) out there and see how it goes. You read about so many people spending a year on an iOS game, that's insane. The appStore has more games uploaded to it every day than both Kong and NG. Get a game done in a month / 6 weeks and get it up there. If it takes off give it some more love, if it doesn't move onto the next one.
    Pity about the specular lighting probably not working on your machine mate, it looks so good.
    As to the sponsored game thing, yeah we'll still be making games, just more on our terms. Come March when O2 should be gold we're going to sit down and think of the best way forward ( Sponsorship is the worst way for a developer )

    @Charlie, thanks mate. Been one of those years for most people I think, for whatever reason.

    @Manual we'd love multi-player in it, but I wrote a lengthy blog post on NG as to why we don't. I may be lazy and re-post it here.
    Basically it's down to cost, both in development time and the actual server side stuff. It would have to be F2P, which means micro-transactions in the game itself to help pay for everything, and that's some scary shit without some capital behind us to fund it.

    Thanks everyone for taking the time to post here.

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