I helped make 2 games, here are my experiences and tips.

The Experience

A few years ago my friend and I realized that we want to make games. We created Spiffy Games Inc., and after approximately five trillion hours and fifty thousand designs, we settled on an idea that we thought would be fun, and actually doable. The game we had in mind was an attempt to create something fresh in the incredibly lucrative space shooter genre, because as you know, space shooters sell more than every Call of Duty combined and we were on our way to becoming billionaires. However, tragedy struck. The fat lady sung. Something something, cliche. A well known company put out a game that was really similar to what we were making, and there was no truly viable way for us to repurpose our game. It was complete coincidence and one of those moments where you just have to stop and softly say "fuck" out loud.

We went back to the drawing board and came up with another game that we felt was doable. Our idea this time around was to make something in the style of WarioWare Inc. We goddamn love wacky games like that so we made Super Fun Time. At a glance, it might seem like this is one of those "simple" games because it's straightforward to play, but holy crap, I can't even count how many hours were spent making sure that everything works as intended. Even though us "hardcore gamers" sometimes view stuff like this as "just" an iOS game, I feel like you could write an entire book on the trials and tribulations that happened throughout development. I bet every dev feels this way about their game though.

We originally tried to get some funding for SFT using Indiegogo (basically an international Kickstarter, this was before KS was in Canada), but that didn't work out. I know, I know, everyone and their granny has a Kickstarter these days, but we needed to bring a few people into the team and pay them. We were and are two average dudes, not the two halves that secretly make up Bill Gates. Fortunately for us, Steven Dengler of Dracogen was able to help us out! Dracogen is involved with a bunch of awesome projects ranging from Double Fine games to the upcoming Veronica Mars movie. Woo hoo, we were finally able to make SFT happen.

So what happened during SFT's development? Just about anything you can think of. We experienced everything from the tiniest asset causing the entire game to crash, to the characters jumping out of the screen and punching your face (maybe an exaggeration). We found some of the minigames worked way better than we expected, and some were only fun in theory. Some players were completely lost when testing (even with tutorials) and others somehow beat our own scores without reading any instructions. A lot of elements were constantly in flux, probably a lot more than we would have liked. We were always getting great feedback from our testers and the game always seemed fun to them, so we remained confident throughout the whole process even when the going got tough. Don't get me wrong, I'm positive that SFT will not move GTA off of the GOTY list for 99.9% of players (acronyms, yo), but I'm happy that our tiny team was able to come up with a game that was actually fun to play as opposed to a "valiant first effort."

SFT took a long time to make, so as a palette cleanser, we jammed with a friend at Triple Dot Games to make another game, and in just a week! The end result was Loot Runner for Android. Yep, there are like 9000000 runners out there, so we tried to give it a new twist by having the player simultaneously control two customizable characters in a dynamically generated world. We also had enough time to add a dynamic loot drop system. It was amazing to go from working one project for a crazy amount of time to making an entire game in just one week. LR development was pretty much as smooth as you could hope for. I feel like there's a parallel universe out there in which we all died during the making of Loot Runner.

The Tips

  • Having a general idea about the kind of game you might want to make is not enough to make a game. Make sure you plan out every mechanic, every level, every character, etc. Things may and probably will change over the course of development, but you need a strong foundation to start with. For example, "I wanna make a shooter with pink guns" is not the foundation you want.
  • Never give up. I know this is giant cliche but when you're involved in a creative project, it's very easy to doubt yourself and become negative about what you're making. The second you let that ounce of doubt take hold of you, you've lost the fight.
  • With that being said, always be open to feedback and critique. If you have a role that has a lot of power, your ideas are not guaranteed to be awesome. Power and authority =/= great ideas. Games are a collaborative project. The way someone looks at your game could be completely different than the way you look at it. Always pay attention to what others say, but you'll have to figure out if someone is being a jerk on purpose, or if their ideas would simply not work.
  • Be prepared for anything. Maybe the game will break a day before release, hell, maybe something causes it to break after release. Make sure you plan for the worst case scenarios. Assume that Murphy will follow you around everywhere you go and that he will try to trip you up at every opportunity.
  • Always be testing. There is no such thing as over testing your game for bugs. There will always be someone out there that can break your game (hey there, Vinny). Once the game is done in your view, test, test, test, and then test some more. If store approval or whatever is taking its sweet time, keep testing! If your're making a game for mobile platforms, you have to take a lot of devices into account, don't forget that.
  • Go with the flow. Until your game is content locked, you might find that certain aspects of the game work better than others. Or perhaps a particular mechanic turned out to be really awesome or lame. Take that in your stride and build on that.
  • Inspiration comes from everywhere. If you struggle to come up with ideas, just start thinking about stuff. All sorts of stuff. From toilet seat covers to that one oddly long branch in your backyard. Getting your brain active is bound to produce results (whether good or bad), and it certainly beats sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself.
  • Be honest with yourself so that you can be honest with others. Like I said, SFT is most likely not going to knock GTA off your GOTY list. But I also know that the game is fun and wouldn't tell friends or strangers that it's "just a little iOS" game. If you can come to terms with what it is that you're making, you make it easier for other people to understand it. And if they understand it and like it, that's awesome! If they don't like it, that's ok too.

I go could go on and on, but I should stop before I end up writing 15 pages or something. Anyway, I also wanted to give out a pair of codes for Super Fun Time, I've listed them in the spoiler block below. Unfortunately, I don't think Android lets you generate free codes. Thanks for reading, cheers!

L66J7PR33AFW
A64LATN6LR69

Head over to the App Store to redeem the codes. They will expire after 14 days so make sure you use them right away.

8 Comments

Far Cry 3 Log #2 - Now In Picture Book Format!

I'm taking screenshots with Fraps and chronicling my silly shenanigans in Far Cry 3 (spoiler free). The log has its own narrative, and hopefully it's amusing enough. I tried using the Fraps screenshot timer feature, but it drops my fps for some reason, it doesn't do this for other games. Please let me know if you have a fix for this. This log is relatively early on in the game, I'm currently much further ahead.

What crazy things have happened to you in the game so far? If you have screenshots or videos of your moments, feel free to share!

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Far Cry 3 Log #1

I’ll be documenting crazy shit that happens to me in Far Cry 3. Note there are no screenshots for the first entry because I hadn’t planned this. Doom on me.

Underwater Flanking

I was doing a side mission which involved using some shotgun to hunt down a bunch of rabid dogs. Being the badass that I am, I took care of them with ease. All of a sudden, I heard the unmistakable sounds of gunfire. RATATATA. And not the Pokemon. A fight between my dudes and the enemy broke out across the nearby river. Nobody saw me, so I jumped into the water from a small cliff. I stayed underwater until I made it to the other side, nearly losing my goddamn breath. I surfaced like a motherfucker, and immediately stabbed the nearest enemy from behind. No honor in that, only skill. The thug beside him finally noticed me, so I introduced him to my shotgun. BANG. He didn’t seem to enjoy the company. I quickly took the bastard’s AK 47 and went to town on the remaining enemies. Piece of fucking cake.

Pussy Shenanigans… I Mean… I am SO Manly

Right after my beyond manly flanking maneuver, I noticed a gap in the cliff from which I jumped. With the excitement of a fat kid finding cake, I swam towards it. The damn cave got darker the deeper I went (much like your mother’s vagina), so I turned on my trusty flashlight. I spotted some loot and took it for myself, not wondering how or why it got there. As I turned to leave, my flashlight went out, and the terrifying musical cues scratched my hairy balls. I panicked for a split second but the trusty flashlight came back on. Phew. I proceeded to casually swim out of the cave, and as I did, I had a split second of FUCKING FREAKING OUT MAN. An asshole alligator had attacked me. Or was it a crocodile, who gives a fuck? As I stabbed the shit out of him, I certainly didn’t. The damn crocligator pissed me off so much that I skinned him underwater. As I resurfaced, I noticed a beautiful goat on a nearby patch of wonderful grass. He was peacefully grazing, the moonlight glistening off his marvelous coat of whatever the fuck goats have. I shot him, skinned him, and would have done the same to his friends if it weren’t for some bad guys.

2 cunts must have heard me shooting, so they came to investigate. I went into full ninja stealth mode, and was running a circle around the suckers. They were going to die before they even knew where I was. Suddenly, cunt A spotted me. He opened fire and I took a few hits. So that’s the way they wanted to play. No problem. I charged at them with my AK 47 and it was all over in a couple of seconds.

Zip-line Into Battle

I was just minding my own business (hunting cute animals for their skin and shit) when 2 fuckers jumped me. I managed to hide in the tall grass, and waited for the bitches to cross my field of fire. One baddie did, and I sent a silenced burst his way (again, much like your mom). All of a sudden, I was being shot from behind. Motherfucker B was flanking me. Shit, I got too cocky. Before he could send me to my grave, I hacked him down. I decided to get the fuck out of there, so I jumped on a nearby jet ski and headed for the closest radio tower in the distance. I scaled that bad boy and got rid of the jamming chip on it like it was nothing. The zip-line from the tower led to a rocky beach with an enemy truck on it, so I decided to go for it. They were about to get a full serving of Rambo.

By the time I got to the beach, the truck had driven away. The fuckers would live for at least another hour. I heard a nasty growl nearby, so being the manly man that I am, I ran towards it. A goddamn leopard was chilling on the beach, apparently taking in the sun. I did the only thing a man could do in this situation, I blasted him to kingdom come. Somehow, the animal didn’t go down. He charged at me and had himself a nice bite before succumbing to a rain of bullets. Luckily for me, some nearby junkies heard everything.

I hid behind a boulder as the morons fanned out. I took ‘em out one by one, each from the back with my silenced pistol. Thinking the job was done, I moved into the open. Once again, my enormous dick got the better of me. There was another man left, taking cover near a beaten down car. His shots scratched my balls a bit, but the fucker dropped like a stone after a single shot to his meth-smoking skull.

Stay tuned for more stories! This game is sooooooooooo much fun. It really surprised me in the best way possible.

5 Comments

I'm #1 On Another Global Leaderboard, Holy Crap

Last night I hit #1 in FIFA Street (otp)! A thousand thanks go to indian_boy, UberExplodey, and BackpackKat, my awesome teammates. The first two are top 10 players as well, and BackpackKat is in the top 30. Not too shabby I say. A few of you may remember that I made it to #1 in FIFA 10 as well, so I'm extra stoked to make top spot in two separate games.

I realize that this game is not exactly the most popular thing in our community, but would any of you be interested in watching us stream as we play?

12 Comments

Can Sports Games Appeal to Outsiders?

In this post, “outsider” refers to a video game player that does not play sports games and does not follow game-specific sports.

Having 2 teams of 11 men or women chase and kick a ball is an art to some. To others, it’s boring. Fucking boring. These people would prefer to see grass grow or to watch paint dry. Maybe they sometimes live on the edge and catch a final here and there. So can this type of video game fan enjoy sports games? This is your lucky day if you’re a lazy bastard because here is the short answer: it is possible to enjoy sports games without enjoying the sport they are based on.

I think the chances of an outsider picking up the latest copy of FIFA or Madden for the heck of it is minimal at best. There needs to be some sort of external force, good or bad. In my experience, this force is typically a friend of the outsider. If an outsider is going to extract any enjoyment from a sports game, there needs to be some sort of an incentive or guide. Duh. I should point that I will be focusing on “complicated” sports games. I will not be discussing pick-up-and play titles such as NBA Jam, they’re a different kind of beast.

Scenario A: Top Spin 4

I’m a big fan of tennis, and the Top Spin franchise is by far the best and most realistic simulation of the sport. Needless to say (yet here I am saying it), Top Spin 4 is complicated. You have to worry about a bajillion factors for every single shot; this isn’t your cousin’s Mario Tennis. Mamma mia.

Enter Young Nick, an outsider friend of mine. I recommended the demo to him and he felt that he could enjoy it if he knew what was going on. It wasn’t easy for him at first though. I had to teach him complicated gameplay mechanics and basic tennis theory. Furthermore, he tends to whine a lot so it was extra difficult for both parties (love ya Nick, but not really). Did TS 4 catch on though?

Result

We successfully backhanded the learning curve and soon spent countless hours playing together. We lost sleep, we laughed, he cried/whined (a lot), and we generally had a great time with Top Spin 4. Nick went from liking the idea of hitting balls with a racquet to understanding the core concepts of the gameplay and tennis overall.

Scenario B: FIFA Street

FIFA Street is like a fighting game in some ways. The moves at your disposal are simple to do, but the theory of when you should do what is tricky. Like a fighting game, people which don’t really know anything about Street can pick it up and have a good time, and like a fighting game, those people get absolutely destroyed by the more in-depth players.

Enter Sean, another outsider friend of mine. He doesn’t give two shits about sweaty dudes playing with balls, but he likes video games. Crazy, I know. Nick (!) and I recommended the demo to him, and he decided to give it ago. What happened next was pretty crazy.

Result

Sean was completely hooked on the game, spending hours and hours on the demo alone. Street became a day 1 purchase (complete with pre-order bonus… yaaaaaay). The game immediately found its way in our regular multiplayer rotation. I play with him, Nick, and my buddy Abhishek (not an outsider) all the time. I gave everyone a few pointers and it took some time to gel as a team, but the co-op experience is awesome. Except for when Nick fucks up. Damn it, Nick.

Oh by the way, as of this writing Sean is a top 50 international player and about to break into the top 10 on the national leaderboards.

So?

This is in no way a comprehensive study. The evidence is qualitative as well as anecdotal, and I definitely can’t just magically generalize my findings. However, these two dudes suggest that it is indeed possible to enjoy sports games without bothering with the sport that they are based on. It takes a catalyst in the form of a friend to kick start or guide the experience though. I can't imagine people like my friends make up the majority, but they are present nonetheless. Regardless of the sporting aspect, solid gameplay and fun prevails in the end. And that kids is the magic of them vidja games!

Have you had any experiences with sports games?

This article is slightly adapted from my new blog, but I'm interested in seeing what the GB community has to say on this topic. I have no dignity or sense of shame, so here is a link to it if that's your thing!

13 Comments

This Blog Has No Boobs In It 07.15.11


 I tried to tell you!

What's This?

This Blog Has No Boobs In It or TBHNBII (rolls off the tongue!) is a blog series focusing on my current adventures in the wonderful world of video games. Sometimes I'll dabble into news and older stuff to mix things up though. I hope you enjoy reading these as much as much as I've enjoyed spending hours and hours of my time fine tuning the gloriously detailed TBHNBII banner.

The Exorcist

Ah shuure am Big Rigs, ah shuure am.
Earlier this week I finally managed to exorcise one of my biggest gaming demons. The spiky-tailed, toothless sunovabitch goes by the name of Sequence and has been known to dwell in the cold, dark depths of Geometry Wars: RE 2. I've usually been OK but never the world's greatest GW2 player™ with scores like 18M/20M on Deadline and Evolved respectively. In the past few months I've played the game fairly regularly, but more for funsies and score battling with friends as opposed to achievement hunting. A few weeks ago I finally decided to go for the Game Over achievement since it was the only one I was missing besides Smile (which I may never go for). My filthy gamer hands were ready and my mission was clear: beat Sequence or die trying. The problem? I suck at Sequence, and I suck haaaawd.
 
In the wee hours of a humid morning whilst Xbox Live partying with fellow GB users JohnAsscream (he loves his username very much!) & REDRUN, something in my sad excuse for a brain clicked. Dusty gears started rotating in my head, my thumbs began moving on their own, I smelled cheeseburgers (OK, maybe not that part) and there was electricity in the air. The heavens opened up with a singing choir full of beautiful angles and then it happened. After too many hours spent on Sequence, I finally beat the damn mode with lives and bombs to spare. Mission accomplished. When I'm an old man nearing death I'll obviously look back at this magical moment as the key turning point for the world in the 21st century. 

All 'Sploded Out

You've simply gotta hand it to Twisted Pixel. Ms. Splosion Man's visuals have an amazing style and their engine has been hugely improved. Not to mention the undeniably charming sense of humor and incredible FMV. I love almost everything about the game. I love the character, the silly shenanigans of the plot, the random pop lyrics, the dumb scientists, the FMV, beards, and the list goes on! But there's just something off about the character control. I've only played a little bit and I can't pinpoint it exactly so I'm not sure how to describe it yet. Platformers are some of my favorite games and I've played loads of them, but something about this one isn't clicking. The strangest part here is that I had a lot of fun with the original 'Splosion Man. If anyone's having a similar or totally different experience than me, let us all know! Regardless of my current opinion on the controls, TP's really nailing it with this game.

Doritos Crash Course

Yes, I still play this from time to time with people. No, I don't know why. Do any of you still play Crash Course at all? I don't even like their chips.

Shameless Plugs

I've got a huge GB circle going on Google Plus with lots of video game discussions happening between us so if you'd like to jump in on that feel free to give me a shout. Also, if you'd like an invite just shoot me a PM with your email. 
 
As always, thanks for reading! 
 
P.S. Wait, Ms. Splosion Man has breasts, OH GOD THIS BLOG HAS BOOBS!
 
 Get your mind out of the gutter.
20 Comments

What I'm Playing & Google Plus GB/Whiskey Circles

First order of business, GOOOOOOOGLE! I've started using Google Plus and I quite like it. If anyone's interested in building some Giant Bomb/Whiskey circles you can hit me up over here. Just let me know your username so I know who's who and I promise I won't bite. Too hard. Also, if you want an invite you can PM me your email.
 
By the way, video games! I recently picked up Lara Croft & The Guardian of Light whilst it was on sale (360). Been playing it with a fellow GB user and we've been having a great time. You really need to work together in order to solve all the puzzles and kill every enemy efficiently. I'm also digging how red skulls are collectibles. Every time we get one I feel like we're evil comic book villains from the 50s. GET ME MY RED SKULLS DAWG!
 
I've also been playing a fair amount of Top Spin 4. I really like the game (and the sport) but for a title that strives for simulation it sure has a ton of arcadey moments. Players can make the most ludicrous shots on a consistent basis that you'd see one or two of in a real tennis match. But hey, it's a video game and I don't really mind at the end of the day since I'm having great fun with it.
 
Aside from Lara and TS4 I've been playing a lot of FIFA/Football Manager/Geometry Wars 2 as always and some BC2. I recently got back into Counter Strike: Source and I plan on playing a lot more of Dirt 3 soon enough.
 
On the horizon, I'm looking forward to checking out Bastion, Toy Soldiers 2 and Tropico 4 as soon as they're available. What about you? What have you been playing and which releases are you looking forward to in the next month or two?

12 Comments

Video Games Are Srs Business Case 3: Rude Alpha Male w/ a Twist

Now I know in the last Video Games Are Srs Business I teased a message from an MK player I managed to beat, but this new case is so ludicrous that it simply has to get priority. The other message will still come, so look for that soon. I tried keeping images in spoiler tags so that this post isn't super long by default, but the spoiler tags glitch out any time I use more than one of them. Anyway, on with the show!

Case 3

I was playing multiplayer Mortal Kombat in the Hell lobby. This one dude kept spamming the chat with super macho man messages like 'I CAN BEAT ANYONE CHALLENGE ME' and was working around the profanity filter to drop some n-words here and there. I really wished he would stop being such a jerk and his online record wasn't the best so I thought we might be of similar skill level and I challenged him. In the first match he beat me in the 3rd round with less than a quarter of his health bar. We did a rematch and he beat me in the 3rd round again, this time with even less health. At this point I decided to move on to a different opponent and we did not fight again. About a minute later I received this gem of a message from him:



 Not pictured: maturity.

Not only did this dude flex his e-penis in the chat but he felt like he needed to let me know that I was a sorry ass- well, you know. So far we have established that this guy is a super macho alpha (EX Arcade Edition?) dudebro. Ever wonder what kinds of games uber manly men xxxtreeeeme 2014 play on their 360s? Here is a crude MS Paint-made collage I crafted using this lovely gentleman's games played list:

 Not that he's not allowed to enjoy his games or anything dumb like that.


But wait! There's one more game that deserves a separate image.

 I never thought I'd come across someone who has played this! Awesome.

Did my ass just get served by a 12 year old? I wonder if he's all macho in his school/clubs/etc. or if it's just an online persona. Oh, did I mention he's been suspended 4 times? No? Well here is his Xbox Live bio to explain the situation:

Next Time

Tune in to the next Video Games Are Srs business for a very frustrated MK player and for GoranP's Patented Weirdest Message of the Week Award 20xx EX 2000!

Archive

Case 2: Female Genitalia
Case 1: Vulnor the Great
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Video Games Are Srs Business Case 2: Female Genitalia

Case 2: Female Genitalia

This week is short and sweet. I was playing a ranked match of FIFA 11 and was losing heavily. At some point I knew there was virtually no time left for me to attempt any sort of comeback against this strong opponent, so I decided to activate a defensive tactic in order to minimize the amount of goals I was letting in. My tactic worked, I stopped the torrent of goals and even got one back. Of course, the dude still won by a significant margin. Upon completion of every single match, FIFA 11 always asks the players if they would like a rematch. Having been massacred by someone of better skill and rank, I naturally opted to decline the rematch despite the fact that my opponent was ready and willing to kick my ass again (furthermore, the amount of rank points you get from rematches is largely insignificant). In all of my years of playing FIFA games, I've learned that it is generally polite to rematch someone you had a close game with (sort of a settle the score type of deal, plus it's fun for both players), not a blowout. However, the person I was playing against seemed to disagree with this notion and felt compelled to message me. 


 GoranP = clearly owned!

Not only did this fella do TEH PWNZ0RRZZZ to me in the game, but in real life as well!

Next Week

What happens when a Mortal Kombat player suffers an extremely heavy loss due to continuously using one move that is easily punished? Find out next time on Video Games Are Srs Business!

Archive

Case 1 : Vulnor the Great
27 Comments

Video Games Are Srs Business Case #1

Every now and then I get some hateful messages when I play games online (usually when I do well or really poorly). I've decided that starting today I will keep a log of all of these messages for your amusement and mine. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say I'm the 'bestest gamerrrr brroooo' or anything like that, I'm just sharing my experiences here. Let us begin!

Case 1 - Vulnor

I'm not very good at fighting games but I've been playing a lot of Mortal Kombat since around launch. I've been doing player matches exclusively due to my skill level and have been having a great time. A few hours ago, my friend suggested to the XBL Party that we all try ranked matches and I figured I might as well at this point. I managed to scrape a few wins and suffer some very heavy losses as expected. However, one match stands out because I completely dominated (please excuse the lack of modesty) the space with Kabal's projectiles (a character I don't main, by the way does anyone have any Kabal tips?). My opponent was completely flustered, made a bunch of mistakes and eventually lost in a match I'm sure he knew he could've won.


 Snapshot of my opponent.
Upon match completion, my opponent decided to take the time out of his busy schedule to send me, a complete stranger, a message!


 He really likes me!

That concludes Case 1, I'm looking forward to many more!

If you have amusing online stories, feel free to share.
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