Thoughts On A Game Dev Talk, Protodive And A Comic Legend

Phaw, that was a week already? Man that went fast. Contrary to what I said in one of earlier blog posts I couldn’t resist adding a bit more content to my game. I know, I know, it means that I have to push the public test release a little bit back but on the upside it will also give a little more for players to test and give feedback on.

Projectile Trail
I added projectile trails during the week (not to mention other top secret things) which gives a better indication of direction and speed. It took a lot longer than I expected, as drawing dotted lines ( or any lines for that matter) in Unity 3D is not easy and required using a store asset that I bought called Vectrosity.

Aside from my usual business, I managed to attend a “post-mortem” game development talk about Puzzle Retreat which was held in the city. The game is a puzzle game for smart phones, created by Voxel Agents, a local indie developer who are most well known for their Train Conductor games. They shared some interesting insight to what worked and what didn’t, with the added benefit of hindsight. The game is free, revolves around simple rules and includes 60 puzzles, which meant a low barrier to entry and as a result, over 3 million downloads. They also showed off some of the development tools that they built from scratch which enabled them to create new puzzles quickly. One tool even showed order of moves for a solution and report number of possible solutions as the puzzle was being made.

Unfortunately their free to play model, which sold additional puzzle packs for a few dollars, was not attractive enough for most people to convert into paying customers. Another point was made about metric data and how too much non-specific data collecting can be a nightmare to make any sense of. Big budget developers can devote entire an entire division to player metric data collecting and analysis but the sheer scale of that endeavor is too much for most indie developers. Instead player data collected should be on focused and targeted queries.

While the talk wasn’t specific to my efforts (as my game is intended for a different audience and platform) but it was interesting to listen and learn from another game developer. Aside from that I did more legal and business-y research and finalised some paperwork. I have decided that while my game will be firmly attached to my name, it is sensible to setup a small business for tax purposes. I decided to call it “protodive” which means, quite literally: first dive. To me it describes the moment when you jump into something for the first time and the excitement that comes with that. Such a description applies to my current line of “work”, when I play a game, read a book, listen to a piece of music or experience anything new. I am a big fan of the open world RPGs, particularly those crafted by Bethesda Studios and I’m always super giddy on the first play through.GenieIn other news, it was sad to hear of the passing of Robin Williams, I am a big fan of his work (Good Will Hunting is still one of my favourite movies) and I love the hell outta his Genie in Aladdin. I can only offer my condolences to his friends and family. On a related note if you are or know someone who is depressed please seek professional help or talk to someone about it. Depression sucks but always know that others struggle with it and cope with it, more often than not with the help and support of others. 

On happier news, the Should I play This Game Podcast will be returning from our 3 week hiatus. We will be recording a new episode this Sunday night and a new episode will be out soon, which you can find on the website (link on the right) and subscribe to on iTunes. I’ll probably update the blog with a small post when it’s live. Until then I’ll be busy getting my game up to testing standards (I still intend to put it up on IndieDB and the TIGSource forums), you can follow me on Twitter @thephampire and watch this space for future updates.

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