Delta Quadrant on Steam

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Indie lesson: Just finish your first game

Like any good roller coaster ride, it started out with a lot of excitement and anticipation of what may lie ahead. First some slow parts with small exciting twists. Then a slow painfully climb upwards and that last slow straight part. Your stomach is first to let you know that something is happening. Your brain tries to make sense of what is going on and just when you are starting to enjoy it, it is over…. or that’s what you thought. Suddenly your stomach is screaming again and you find you are also screaming! By the time you get your senses back everything is over.

That is the best way I can describe the last 2 years of developing Delta Quadrant. And wow! Was this last part a rush!

I made a huge mistake when I removed the old tutorial and added in the new graphical version that Rudi created. The first tutorial sector was number 0 and I removed the case statement that handled the old tutorial, but forgot to increment the starting sector number to 1. In all the tests, I had a save game with a higher sector number and everything seemed to work great.

While focusing on testing the steam integration and achievements I completely forgot to delete my save game and test from the first sector.

So I uploaded the build and made it live on steam. Then everything went to hell…. people complained that this game is scam or a joke! I got really angry feedback and with reason. The first sector is just empty with nothing to do and no way to progress on to the next sector.

Realising my mistake I quickly corrected it and with little testing I uploaded the fix. Luckily that worked out ok, there were still some little problems with the first sector, but the main thing was everyone could play.

So again I learned a HUGE lesson. Before uploading a new product for release, simulate the new player’s experience and test the whole first part of your game 100% before making it public.

Wow, what an adrenalin rush! I apoligised for my mistake and explained it. Luckily the players were all really understanding and supportive.

I never really understood the whole indie lesson: Just finish your first game and put it out there.

If you are working on your first game, accept that it won’t be perfect. Because I can promise you that it will never be. I wanted to keep on working and adding to the game and never really felt happy with it. Somewhere in the last 6 months I took the JUST FINISH to hart and I am really glad I did. Sure I don’t have a close to perfect title out, but that is not the point. The point is to make mistakes and learn from it and boy did I :D

All in all I’m really happy. I made my money back which I invested in assets on the unity asset store and a little extra which I used to buy new assets.

With Catch a falling star in early development we find ourselves back in that first part of the ride with all the anticipation and excitement of what the future has in store for us.

Cheers and till later


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Understatement: Time Flies

Almost 5 weeks since my last blog entry. I really can't believe it. It feels like last week or at the most 2 weeks ago.

Sorry again for being so still  yet again. But we are finally back home and everything is starting to get back to normal.

Delta Quadrant

After another hour on skype call, I finally got my international tax numer. So tax stuff sorted.

I have finished all the bug fixes and added some improvements to the Steam version of Delta Quadrant.

Rudi corrected a bunch of spelling mistakes in DQ and also created a less text reading and more picture looking tutorial for DQ. A huge thank you to him and the great work he is doing.

The steam integration is almost complete. I have uploaded a quick test version and unlocked my first achievement called Explorer. Only steam trading cards and steam backgrounds still needs to be set up on the steamworks developers side. Coding wise I only need to link up the achievements, which I have now figured out and tested successfully.

Steamworks.NET was a saving grace for the Steam integration. After I upgraded DQ from Unity 4 to Unity 5 everything just started to fall into place. :D

Steamworks.NET is a C# Wrapper for Valve’s Steamworks API and is completely free and open source under the permissive MIT license! Thank you open source :D

We are looking at a windows steam release date of 7 July 2015. Hopefully everything will be approved by steam quickly after I publish the final build.

Falling Star - Rudi created an AMAZING website for Catch a Falling Star! Go check it out.

Talented pair Rudi and his wife Natalie has been hard at work with Catch a Falling Star. New baskets and an underwater theme! Unfortunately I have neglected Catch a Falling Star a bit, but it will receive my full attention when I have finished with DQ on steam.

Sales and Deals and new Tools

Between the steam winter sale and daily unity asset store deals I ended up buying a whole lot of new tools for game development.

Substance Designer 5 - I have been eyeing this for quite some time. Cannot wait to dive deep into this complicated and powerful node based texture and material designer. With some cool unity integration features, like modifying values of the substance from within Unity in the inspector.

Grids Pro - You can define your own 2D and 3D grids or customise size and shape. Having created my own tile map with DQ I can really appreciate the value of this asset. Planning to use it for future games and or mini game within other games. 

Tile Tool - Quickly create game levels with this tile tool and it includes mesh optimizations like removing sides which isn't visible and includes the Simple Mesh Combine asset.

Energy Bar Toolkit - I almost didn't buy this asset, due to the banner not looking all that interesting or great to me. But luckily I decided to look at the demos and wow, I was amazed at what this asset can do with any kind of progress bar, gauge meter or even custom textures for interesting looks.

Shader Forge - I drooled over this one since I saw it on the Unite 2014 video. 50% off why not. Shader programming is not for the light of heart and I decided that this will not only save time to create new shaders, but also help me understand and learn more about shaders.

Rewired - Advanced input asset which is fully featured, cross-platform, hot-plugging, save/load layouts and full input editor GUI. This asset does everything and more for all your Unity input needs.

Till next time rather than next week :P