Hello members of GiantBomb.com. I have not posted a message to the Internet for a long time.
Forums haven't been my thing for a while, since I moved to holland in June and starting working on SpeedRunners, I've had a very strange and busy life. Thanks to vinny, drew, jeff, brad and alexis for playing our games on videos: it's cool and we flip out every time.
Sorry you keep running backwards through levels, but you are seriously the only guys who do that.
Anyway the main reason I'm making this post is to say that us guys are about to announce our 3rd game, after No Time and SpeedRunners, and we can't stick on a name. The game is a jet plane dogfighting game, where you can eject out and steal other vehicles in the sky. I guess it's like the stuff you do in Just Cause, but in a Team Fortress red-vs-blue format, and if you touch the floor you die. We saw all those sick Battlefield gifs and wanted to make a game that was just that.
The code name was "JetGetters" for a long time, and my producer wants to call it "Super Sky Pirates". I hate that, what do you guys think? Here's my brainstorm list:
I know you guys don't like reading long blog posts, so that's it. Please help me on this.
tinyBuild's official second game is SpeedRunners! Hitting Steam Early Access soon, but please play the beta before then so we can make sure nothing's broken.
I'm doing art and animation. It's still in production so GET OFF MY BACK!!!!! The game's designed by our new BFFs at DoubleDutch, and in a funny old way we're actually publishing it.
Had that one in the chamber for a while. Since last post I've MOVED TO THE NETHERLANDS. It was a whole big crazy thing, this is my first time moving anywhere, and I had to leave all my family and friends behind at the airport. I could talk about that forever, it's a big huge deal, but the most relevant thing is that the official tinyBuild offices will be UP SOON in Hilversum. We're right near and around developers of such games as Awesomenauts, Ridiculous Fishing, Kill Zone 3, and of course the beloved FINGLE.
I seriously have moved to the Netherlands, I don't know any fucking Dutch.
SpeedRunners is an awesome game to play in-person. The screen keeps up with whoever's in the lead, and you have to knockout everyone else by getting them off the screen, like in Smash Brothers. I came in and started designing characters for it- so far there's 4 in-game, and a tonne of others on my hard-drive. I want a billion fucking stoopid-ass characters to find and collect (and trade? boy I sure hope so)
Can you tell who was in that trailer?? Of course it's fucking world-famous Joshua Tomar, the announcer from SkullGirls. We actually had Druox from No Time To Explain on standby, so a couple of his lines made it in there too right before it went up. This is my first time not 100% taking over control of our trailers. Please complain about it a lot so I get it back next time.
About last week I remembered I never made a GDC post- and then I remembered nobody commented on my last post and that's probably why-... but I just wrote an official checkpoint, so fuck it. I'll just keep it short or something.
I WENT TO FLASH GAME SUMMIT
A couple years ago I showed a game at MineCon, and before that I'd never been to anything like that. So this was my second time in America, and we went as a lil company to FGS and GDC 2013.
I'll summarise San Francisco by saying it's very nice, and is full of fucking homeless people.
Honestly, using the "bart" and the "muni" in "the bay area" and doing all this other shit that GiantBomb and IGN and all these podcasts and website talk about every day felt really bizzarre to me.
FGS was a fat bunch o fun. Seeing Alex in real life is cool, as we're running this bullshit over Skype right now. We met a bunch of internet-friends, like the developers of Burrito Bison and Abobo's Big Adventure. As well as a bunch of people who kind of wanna transition from puttin games on Newgrounds to puttin games on Steam, or the much more business-oriented "transition from putting games on KONGREGATE to putting games on TABLET DEVICES."
I went to a lot of talks about free-to-play games, and some of it seems like fun.
AND THE GAME DEVELOPERS CONFERENCE
There's like 20,000 people at this thing and it's gigantic. I waddled around the expo floor like a huge baby. Every day I went to lectures on business, and let me tell ya: Business fucking sucks. If you have an inkling that social games and in-app-purchases and "whale-baiting" might be kind of a scam: You are right, it 110% fucking is. It is criminal and they know it.
After that was the expo floor! On the expo floor was every god damn person from the internet. I've never met people from the internet before, but I listen to a lot of podcasts, and watch a lot of bullcrap. So this was especially weird. Here are my personal highlights, that actually happened in real lilfe:
On the last night we went to the awards show. Cart Life won a lot, the room was fucking BIG. From there we went to the Valve party that was mentioned by Tim Schaefer in real life. It was very fun.
Hey don't fuckin blame me- whenever I go into detail, people just see a wall of text n leave. "It was very fun" is where I have to draw the line now, I didn't ask for this!
The short version is that we have someone dedicated to updating our old game now, and it isn't me. Which is good news.
In the meantime- we are teaming up with another developer! We haven't said who, or what the game is yet, but it's a fast-paced competetive multiplayer game. We saw people playing it at shows, and everyone was super excited and loving this game, but it was for sale on XBLIG. So obviously we're gonna be working with these guys to put it on Steam, I'm doing new art and animation.
After that, it's back to JetGetters, THE MOST COOL GAME ANYONE'S EVER THOUGHT OF. I seriously can't wait to play this game, and have made it. It's nuts.
As always, I am super fucking cantankerous about how our budget stuff has to run, and how our customer support looks, and promotion efforts and all this peripheral stuff that makes the dream job of being an independant developer an actual sour pain in the arse. Obviously you wanna be one of these perfect fan-favourite independants like DoubleFine or Vlambeer or Capy, but y'know... being nice clashes with making money in just about every conversation, it turns out.
Maybe if we put out great games every year, people'll just focus on that. Hopefully that's the case, cos I really like our next couple games. Coming 2013!
Last month I said I've got this big idea for a multiplayer game where you fly jets around and hijack each-other. Well now I've got a prototype and it's super exciting! I've got 4 classes, you can shoot, eject, hijack enemies, crash into walls drop mines, shoot missiles, it's great. I don't wanna post the actual prototype because the network code is really jerky and glitches out a lot, I think you guys would find it underwhelming and not see the good side. Here's a video I recorded in Week 1 though:
Right now I have a medic who drops proximity mines: he can repair other jets by piggy-backing on them, or hack the enemy's mines over to your side.
A kamikaze pilot who launches his jet around as a projectile, and has a jetpack so he can eject out and strafe around.
A heavy who launches rockets that you can hijack and ride, and steer around-- and 2 more classes that are also weird and exciting. Subject to change though, this is all early days... oh and you can capture a Heavy Jet even if you're not a Heavy- it's a big feature incase that's not apparent.
What do you guys think of these game modes?
The main one I'm not sure about is Rations. I feel like it encourages people to not leave their vechicles which is the whole point, fly back to base a lot which is boring, and get annoyed at their team-mates whenever they die, which sucks for everyone.
I'll try to organize a beta or something in march, cos I want this playtested as much as possible, but the company is still just me n Alex right now so it's pretty impossible to actually see how well it plays. Also I'm waiting to meet someone much better at coding a multiplayer game than me- it's kind of a miracle of modern development tools that some self-taught jackass like me even has a lobby set up at all. I have loads of other stuff to talk about, but I know people hate long walls of text, so I guess I'll just stick to this game.
My game comes out on Steam TODAY. 10am PST, I think. I'll be sending out a few thousand steam codes to all the people that bought it already today. It got greenlit on November 30th 2012. Getting on Steam is a big deal- how big a deal? I dunno! I've never done it before! I made this game over a year ago, and I'm not that big a fan of it any more. I'm excited and nervous about how this'll sell, cos it COULD mean that I can spend the next few months, or year, working on a brand new idea!! (future ideas will be much better than this fuckin thing)
Speaking of new ideas: I made a prototype about a month ago, and something interesting came up. Remember when I asked how Bully would work with all girls, and I just got called out on being sexist for 8 pages? Well in brainstorming ideas, I actually formed a game I thought would be pretty cool. It's like a decision-based emergent adventure game like Walking Dead, except you do High School and make friends n enemies that way. So I crapped out a hundred randomly generated names n copy-pasted a tonne of facebook posts and stitched this together. After a while I stopped cos it's a lot of database stuff and some writing, and that's not fun to do. Which is worrying, right? I ENJOY making fast-paced combat games and comedy games and all this animation, but on the other hand I wanna make this lil thing, or a big world-travelling Final Fantasy adventure game, but that would be a huge slog to make... and if I'm not enjoying the work then why bother being independant, right? In the future, am I gonna only make the kind of games I enjoy making, or am I gonna push myself through work I don't like? I dunno!
Back to things I like: I had a huge burst of energy yesterday and planned out something I wanna prototype. If this Steam game goes well, I'll get started on this:
Y'know those badass videos of people hopping out of jets in Battlefield? This is a whole game built around that. You fly a jet around, like an Ace Combat dog-fighting game, and at any time you can eject out. Up in the air, you can see people flying around, and can freefall down and use a Just Cause grappling-hook to nab onto a foe and steal their jet. Up in the air, you are very easy to kill, because men are not made of metal, although you can turn in place and shoot in any direction, because men are not the size of jets.
Instead of stealing someone's jet, maybe you just wanna shoot them and get back in yours. This is OK, because you can call your jet back to you like the hammer of Thor. If someone destroys or steals your jet while you're not in it though, you'll have to just float there in a parachute and (probably) get shot to death.
In freefall, you can also catch missiles in mid-flight and steer them around. You might want to grapple someone else in freefall and wrestle their parachute away from them. In jet-form you might want to aim at a falling team-mate and catch them, or let them ride on you. You might want to launch your million-dollar aircraft at a foe and eject out just in time. If someone tries to hijack you, you'll have to shake them off, or fly straight downwards and eject at the last second. Recharging your resources wirelessly within an area around your base will encourage everyone to stay close together.
That's the idea. I hope I can prototype it soon. The game is a dog-fight combat game, except you can ditch the jet and go hands-on in an idiotic twist. You and your friends can have fun swapping jets in the sky, and catching each other. Class-based? WHO KNOWS!!! I don't!
I have a couple other prototypes: A 1x1x5 rubix cube with letters on it where you have to make every side spell a word... possible iOS game? A beat-em-up couched within a scrolling shooter that's lookin really good... Have this idea for a Final Fantasy without the combat, that focuses on the feeling you get from just exploring towns and shopping... but I don't wanna make this post like 20 pages long, y'know? Anyway, just an update! I'm super pumped about JetGetters, I just started planning that yesterday.
Before you read this, DEFINATELY back out and vote on whether or not you say "excuse me" when you sneeze, then answer the poll of whether or not fur is hair, and how many hats you own. I've decided to stop feeling bad about writing huge blog posts about this stuff that nobody reads, and just fucking own it. Nobody comment, I'm fucking serious.
IT'S TRUE! No Time To Explain, the game I made in a weekend in October 2010, then Kickstarted, patched, expansioned, pirate-bayed, and finally GREENLIT is confirmed for Steam... that makes it sound like I've held onto it all this time, but I've actually done a hundred things since then. If being sandwiched between Dragon's Lair and Euro Truck Simulator 2 doesn't spell "100% legit game developer" then I don't know what does. I'm still conflicted about how I feel selling this game- you know all about that if you've read my blog before- but right now I'm just excited to be on Steam. I've been re-making art and animation assets all week in preperation. I actually thought up until today that we might be on some do-not-greenlight blacklist.
Anyway in the time since I last posted, I had fun with a fake twitter account. It blasted up from nothing to a thousand followers! Then I guess I got busy, and kinda bored of people just @replying that my facts weren't true :/ It was fun though, for a while.
I've had to really put PunchGunner (maybe I should call it "Bear Arms"?) to one side cos I've had no fucking money. I posted the design doc in another blog somewhere, so you can find it if you're a super-sleuth. Hopefully I can rely on NTTE sales and crank this game up to announcement-trailer level. There's a hundred other things to talk about, but hey you guys don't have all fuckin day. I cashed in a shoebox full o change I've had since I was like 12. There's the story. OH-- Y'know what I just noticed I never shared this game jam game I made. Play that, it's really good.
Anyway now I'm a big-shot mainstream dev, so... I guess I should... start being mean to women? ...make a dick of myself on NeoGaf? This could take some getting used to. EDIT- Oh PCGamer want to ask me what this experience was like, but I don't know if it's gonna be me or Alex doing the interview. If it's me then I'll post it here.
I had a big gap for a couple weeks where I was too busy doing company work to actually do my own work, but breaking out of that I drew more space:
The original version of that one on the left is here. I didn't like it the first time I did it, so this new one is "Planet Buster 2". OF COURSE this is all concept art for PUNCHgunner! Workting Title, which is a scrolling shooter I'm making that isn't a bullet hell.
I had an identity crisis last week over the enemies in the game. Since the beginning, they've slowly morphed into space-egyptians, which I thought was a pretty cool theme. Looking it up recently though, isn't that what Halo does? Oh wait, isn't that what Star Trek does? WarHammer, Evangelion, the Protoss... Shit, I guess this idea's bin done to death. So I brainstormed over what I had, and what could potentially best fit what I was doing and could be the most fun, and I stopped at "Space Cops".
Some embarrassingly bad ones, but y'know, that's the point! At first I was getting really frustrated because I was thinking in terms of bullet-vests and Robocop and SWAT teams, and they all look really bulky, and I hate fat robots. So I started looking at like space FBI, and higher government police stuff, and that seemed more slick, but wavered over into Men In Black territory. Then I got really happy with these old blue n white country police, and I gave em a little belt and a little gun-holster sihlouette, and I'm KIND OF happy with where I am now. It's a lot more fun and has less baditude. I'm doing it alone though, so really I have no fucking clue when to stop concepting. I'm TENTATIVELY moving forward.
I planned out a tonne of enemies and levels: Designing stuff is fun, but also strangely difficult. I wish I was more than one person, cos I bet the game'd be twice as good. One thing I'm stuck on is that I have a tonne of cool enemies and new mechanics in the middle of Act 2, but I've run out of plot points. There's nothing I can do without awkwardly stretching the plot out in a sad way... my remedy for this is to completely dive into it head-first and say "and then they all get chased by wizards for 3 levels." That was really funny as it was coming together, but I ended up just designing unique wizard enemies. So it actually didn't solve the problem. Although now the game's longer, funnier and has a bit more variety, so that's a plus I guess.
I could spend all day posting development stuff on this but I know nobody reads it, so THE NEXT POINT IS: No Time To Explain is still on Steam Greenlight, it's ranked about #20 out of like 900 games. Here's the thing: I'm really OVER that game. I can totally see everything that's wrong with it, I've learned everything I can from it, and I think everything I make going forward will be ten times better. So to be dragging around an old game from last year is a bit sad, and reading the comments from all the people who hate it, who I agree with, is even sadder. I have a duty to not say anything bad about it or complain about it though, cos it's still for sale and I've got zero fucking money. Alex is really enthusiasticly campaigning for people to vote for it to get on Steam, so I have to be behind that regardless. These are the unforseen contingencies when you release an indie game that IS NOT Super Meat Boy or Fez or World of Goo.
Anyway a big surprise happened when I was looking through our old soundtrack, and long story short I put a tonne o songs on Youtube:
Read the Description on that video if you're interested in where they came from, and click through our channel to find about 5 more SECRET MYSTERY NEGA-TRACKS!!!!
WELCOME TO I_SMELL'S GIANTBOMB BLOG!!!!!!! This is where I dump all the shit I crap out every few weeks.
At the end of June, and right after my last blog post, I took a serious look at Photoshop. I've never bin into Photoshop, cos I'm not a painterly person, I'm a slapstick animated doodle person, but after havin a tonne o fun drawing a couple dozen nebulas, I gave it a fair shake with something solid.
I was TOTALLY HAPPY with what came out, and how much it looked like nothing I've ever drawn before, cos I usually draw in vector art. So this is a new thing for me, and this style's always been out of reach, so it feels really great to be making stuff like this:
Someone who's a good artist pointed out to me that the picture above isn't all that great. He told me about using colours and contrast in a smart way, and I should think about what my focal point is in future, and think more about the full zoomed-out composition of what I'm making. So I took his advice and MADE THIS, which I just finished yesterday. You can read about what the idea was underneath the image. THE REVENGE OF EL DOROBO!!!!
IN GIANTBOMB RELATED NEWS, did anyone else catch this?
Fuck, man, I just don't know what to think any more. Was this Quick Look staged the whole time? What else are they hiding from us? What other minigames has John Drake illegitimately won? Check out the rest of my Youtube channel if you like... hilarious bullcrap?
At my actual job this month, I drew about the hundredth image of a mascot for a Dutch Flash-game website!
These ones all got rejected for being drawn weird. Not that I'm complaining, because this character rulz and is a cool guy!
STEAM GREENLIGHT is NEXT WEEK!!!!!!I'm preparing stuff for our page on there now. IS THIS NO TIME TO EXPLAIN's LAST CHANCE TO GET ON STEAM??? ...Yes it definately is! I'm not super confident about it. Who knows what splendorous games we'll be competing with? Will our character and personality be enough to boost us above games with the raw man-power of 2... possibly even 3 people working on them? How many games will be on Steam Greenlight on day one? 50? 300? You KNOW only one game will be the example that all game sites use when they say "Steam Greenlight launches today, here's a screenshot of what a game page looks like"... if only there were some videogame news website I had some leverage with!
If you're not subscribed to my Youtube channel then hey maybe you should, cos it's PRETTY NUTS!
I was on a podcast!
It's about an hour long interview with me about videogames. I mention QWOP, Streets of Rage 2, game design courses, starting a business and Newgrounds.com. Mine is Episode #12. There's a part at the start where I trail off mid-sentence and forget what I was talking about. I asked him to take that part out, but he hasn't got around to it yet. It gets better after that! I recorded it about a month ago, and it's not 100% QUOTE ME ON EVERYTHING, but it's pretty good.
It's a first draft, so it'll change. The first level is that these two are controlling the suit remotely for a test-run to prove that it's "finished", but then get ambushed and have to fight a tonne o robots all of a sudden. When they bring the suit back to the lab, they HOPE nobody notices that it's not finished at all and they just put a bear in it. And the joke is that nobody ever notices, for the whole length of the game. It's kinda hard going from No Time To Explain, which had an intro of 10 seconds, to this. I really wanna take parts out and cut it down, but I also wanna pack more jokes into everything. If I make it too short, will it make sense what's happening? Does it make sense now? This is gonna be a difficult part.
I might make a game about being a lonely creepy loser who's too much of a fucking retard to do anything right and too much of a miserable pussy to fix it!
So here's this project in a nutshell. It's an idea I had a long time ago and I've been hesitant to make it cos I just don't think it'll be fun to make and I'm scared people won't get it. The trigger was a few nights ago when I couldn't sleep, and stayed awake thinking to myself. I was thinking about these friends I have who say they're my best friends, but I found out they were shutting me out of some conversations- and when I found out what it was, it was just some stupid girl shit. I've trusted them with WAY scarier stuff than that. So I had that horrible feeling that I was just a background character again. My worst nightmare that the closest I can ever get to anyone is their very outer perimetre is a world I'm already living in, but I connected some dots and got very scared that things might get even worse than that in the future. So-- just read the post in that link, it describes the game and what it's for. And-- duh- Don't even PRETEND that's the only thing I get sad about, I'm obviously just mentioning the trigger that made me want to make this, I'm not writing down my whole life story. Funny enough, the first time I came up with this game was a blog post on GiantBomb, by someone called Vince something, who wrote a huge whiney post about how he was a virgin. The response, to my massive surprise, was people helping him feel better. Which is nuts. It made me realise that in order to even be here, on this forum on the internet, we all have to have some vulnerability or some kind of darkness inside us that we're afraid of talking about. So that's when I invented Halfbeard, a boy with a stupid broken face, to talk about the things you don't like about yourself in this vague way that everyone can join in on.
(There'd be a picture here, but Parchment 1 has real trouble with images and Parchment 2 can't go to a new line properly)
Oh and I added a boomerang to this bear game, it's real sweet. You catch it and it powers up. Please comment!