Delta Quadrant on Steam

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The start of my Steam Greenlight Adventure

I am lucky enough to have my greatest best friend Rudi from Ye olde geeky blog help me with the $100 for my Steam Greenlight activation. So my game is now in the greenlight process.

I used an article on Gamasutra’s - How to get greenlit in 5 days as a reference or guide. More focus on pictures than a bunch of intimidating or boring paragraphs of text. We'll see how well this approach performs... I will provide an update on my stats each week here on my blog.

I assume the voting ratio for a turn-based and rogue-like game will be lower compared to action or first person shooter. This is not a popular genre in my opinion.

Putting my game out there and making it available to the public is scary. I can already feel a tiny bit of rejection from all that no votes. What will other people's opinion be about my "baby". But it is just that an opinion and I will remind myself that a lot of people leaving feedback have no idea, what it takes to create a game.

This quote also helps me - A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him. - Sidney Greenberg

I did receive two wonderful comments:

My game is now also listed on IndieDB, where anyone can download a demo of the game for Windows, Linux and android.

This is going to be an exiting adventure and I invite you to take the journey with me.

Till next week


Friday, 20 March 2015

Looking back at 18 months of game dev

Looking back at the last 18 months of developing Delta Quandrant and all the things I have learned. I had to go out of my comfort zone quite a lot, but there where also moments of pure joy.

The most fun I had was learning about vertices, triangles and uv maps. I decided to create a tile map with one mesh, instead of individual objects or meshes for each tile / unit in the game. Also looking at making the tile map customizable or modifiable with cols and row values. The loop that generates all the triangles dynamically kept me up at night. Took me 3 whole days to get it working perfectly and figure out the different row offsets for each tile.

Seeing that I wanted to change the UVs of each block or triangle pair, no two tiles / blocks could share vertices. Each tile has its own 4 vertices and 2 triangles.

Other fun was learning about saving a game. Previously I played around with PlayerPrefs in Unity 3d, but that only saves the information in the registry. This game had a lot more data to store and I decided that I would have to learn another way of doing it. I didn't have a lot of money so, I tried some of the free save game assets on the asset store. Unfortunately or rather fortunately, they didn't work for me or was to complicated to use. Instead of trying to figure out another persons work, I decided to do it myself. So I played around with creating and loading a file with the System.IO.

Then I remember reading about Serialization. O what a big, intimidating and strange word!

Created a small class which is [Serializable] and converted it with
System.Runtime.Serialization.Formatters.Binary and
binaryFormater.Serialize (filestream, instanceofclass);

Badda-bing badda-boom. I was so impressed with how easy it was and was cursing all the time I lost with trying to use other peoples free assets. But don't get me wrong, the assets store is an EPIC place, where I have happily spent my money.

NGUI helped saved me a lot of time, with creating the UI and sizing it to different screen resolutions. But with Unity 3Ds own newly improved UI, I am not sure about NGUI anymore. But more on that at a later date.

Space Scene Construction Kit helped me with my weakness which is graphics and art.

Particle Playground provides me with cool particle effects.

Fantasy Gui Pack was on a great special and I luckily decided to buy it. I used it as a template to create my sci-fi UI. Which helped immensely.

Then some others that I haven't really tried out yet like - Complete Physics Platformer Kit. Maybe I will do a quick review in the next month or so on all the assets I have purchased.

I am finished with Delta Quadrant now. Done mainly play testing and more balancing this week. It is finally there where I feel I can release it to everyone now.

Next week I will start uploading and distributing DQ to as many places as I possible can. I decided that $3 is a fair price to pay for the amount of content and play time you can get out of it. My main goal is to at least make the money back, that I have put in.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Challenges when play testing my indie game

Play testing your own game is not so easy. You miss obvious features or problems, which you would normally immediately identify in another game. I think it is because you know every little thing and all the inner workings of your own game.

For example... A friend recommended I add an "Enemy Turn" notification label when the enemy is busy with its turn. Usually I would notice something like that, but not with my own game. I am so concentrated on the balance and making sure the core mechanics are working optimally, that I miss the little obvious things.

Another problem is that you fall into a habit or a way of testing. I stopped looking at everything critically and didn't scrutinize every detail as I would with a game I bought. It is almost as if your subconscious mind is stopping you from seeing all the little problems.

For example...   I created a boolean to "hurry up" my enemy movement so my play testing could move at a faster pace. Playing the game in "hurry up" mode became so normal to me, that I forgot to disable it for the last TWO BUILDS! I turned this accident into a feature and added a setting in the game to toggle the mode on/off.

The fun factor is hard to rate or feel. There are nothing new or exciting to explore or discover around the next corner. If you want something new or exciting you have to add new code or features. Where do you stop adding new stuff to your game and except it for what it is. How do you judge the fun factor, when the fun is in die coding and no so much in the game anymore. Isn't that the whole point of playing a game? All the new things to learn and discover? It's a little sad that I can't experience that sensation with my own game.

I enjoy it immensely to see others play my game and so much more if they enjoy playing it. Hopefully that is the next step in the joys of game development. If only a handful of people enjoy playing the game, I would feel that I have succeeded in creating a game.

Seeing that this is my first time ever creating a game and not just little prototypes, I am very happy with the outcome. I have learned more in this last two years developing Delta Quadrant, than in all my  studies, work experience and prototyping combined.

I caught a few more bugs and buffed the high ranking 4 items, to help with the end game balance. Added the "Enemy Turn" label and "hurry up" mode. Also increased the amount of shields/hull you receive per level.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Blender 3d Video Editing and FlexIndie

If you love something, set it free?

Set it free? No way! I am gonna lock it up in a "box", put it on a "shelf" to sell at FlexIndie. I didn't go the freemium route and decided to charge $3 for my game.

The other problem is, that I still have millions of little things I want to add or change in DQ. But I had to stop somewhere, or it will never see the light of another player's screen. It is scary and exciting all at the same time!

My game needed a trailer to show people what it's about. So I read that my new buddy Blender 3d can also edit videos! This time I watched Paul Caggegi 's tutorials on you tube. Learned about the timeline, transitions, short-cut keys and key frames. Luckily I have some little flash experience, so everything wasn't to hard to learn.

I wasn't happy with the first video, but I learned a lot. The second video is better, but it still needs something...

FlexIndie is my first ever attempt at putting my game "out there". The support and response of John Riselvato at FlexIndie was friendly and efficient. Today is the first Friday of the month, where you can Pay What You Want for any game on the market. So hurry up and go grab some games for the weekend.

If you buy my game Delta Quadrant, please give me some feedback. I want to learn and improve my game development.

Instead of a screenshot I will post my newest trailer for DQ:
Music - DST-EventHorizon -
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

Talk to you next week. Cheers!