I’m on the front page of Newgrounds with my new game!

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I can’t believe my life at the moment. As I’m sure you know, (I’ve been banging on about it for a few weeks now) we’ve released a game – finally.

Newgrounds has exploded for us over the past few days. We posted The Tale of Doris & the Dragon – Episode 1, 3 days ago and it’s already had nearly 3000 views, been featured and we got 3rd place on the daily picks! I’m not lying – check out the link!

It had been going slow and steady for about 2 weeks on this indie game website called Gamejolt, where we had posted our #indiesvspewdiepie entry. It had a lukewarm reception to be honest. So far, it has had over 200 plays after being online for a fortnight.

I think that the game has actually polarised our audience. Some people really like it and some people just don’t get point and click adventures! We were kind of expecting it since it was a more arty / surrealist / experimental title. I guess it’s like marmite.

I am just happy that it’s done so well on Newgrounds. Since it was (and still is), more of an art community than it is a hardcore-gamer haunt – people are just appreciating the game more on this site than all of the others.

I guess when you are competing with hundreds of Flappy Bird and Five nights at Freddie’s rip-offs, you can’t expect to come in with a story-based game and assume it’s going to be at the top of every listing. Even though we got some trolls that rated the game low, we have a fantastic score – I have nothing more to wish for.

3000 more people now know about The Tale of Doris & the Dragon than last week.

Thanks to all my lovely followers who have been supporting me and my company from the start – it has been a hell of a ride so far. Something tells me it’s just the beginning.

Well done, Doris – not bad for an old lady 🙂


CHECK OUT LINKS TO THE GAME BELOW

NEWGROUNDS : http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/656118
OFFICIAL PRODUCT : http://www.arrogantpixel.com/index.php/doris-and-the-dragon-episode-1.html

FACEBOOK: ArrogantPixel
TWITTER: @ArrogantPixel


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Life lessons learned through video games: Kickstarter and funding game projects

Peter Molyneux Interview: “I haven’t got a reputation in this industry any more” – Original interview

Peter Molyneux has had a really rough week. After the infamous BRUTAL interview with popular video game review site, Rock Paper Shotgun I’m sure that the company, 22cans are still reeling from the shock.

I’ve never spent any money on Mr. Molyneux’s products so I really don’t have a strong opinion on whether he’s a good game designer or not. I’m not personally invested, as it were. I have played Black & White and all of the Fable games with my fiance though. I thought they were, ok. We decided not to pledge money towards “Godus” though, and we largely ignored all the “Curiosity” hype.

I won’t really go into the details of the interview because it was so horrific. I have never seen such unprofessional conduct from both interviewer and interviewee on a mainstream news platform before in my life. As somebody who has worked in marketing and PR, this is my idea of a nightmare situation for a client. How on earth can one spring back from that?

A lot of people on the comments section are arguing whether the questioning was fair or whether Molyneux deserved the treatment that he got. Your guess is as good as mine. It seems to me that a lot of the bad press that has been generated around the topic of 22cans, Lionhead studios and Peter himself was largely due to bad business practice, lack of respect for customers and their money.

However, to open any conversation with: “are you a pathological liar?” is definitely rude and emotionally charged from the interviewer’s stand point. Personally, I think a calm and collected approach would still have yielded interesting results. It was all very unprofessional but, to be brutally honest, any sane person would have just slammed the phone down or refused to talk?

In my honest opinion, being able to earn a living from creating video games is a bloody privilege. Having worked for just above minimum wage in retail jobs pretty much all of my working life, I have a real problem with people that don’t think it is a big deal messing around with your money. I am juggling work, uni and making video games in order to support myself. I do not sympathise with people who don’t respect the value of money, no matter how small the amount. I would be angry if someone was messing around with my tenner let alone having all my hopes dashed.

Literally, we have no money. We have minus money and we are still managing to get a game together.

I have a problem with Kickstarter because it isn’t a pre-order platform, it’s a donation platform. I think the reason why there is so much controversy surrounding the service is that the returns and refunds policy is so shaky. You may or may not see your money back if the project fails or runs into difficulty.

The thing that people don’t understand about this kind of crowd-funding is that you are giving permission to these companies to spend your money. I mean, the whole point is, they need your money to create the products that you have paid for. It is not the same as pre-ordering something that is currently in development with a firm release date. It’s like you and I are all angel investors to these companies, except that we’re not. These companies know we’re poor as shit and can’t afford to risk losing money all over the place like REAL billionaire angel investors can. Therefore, these customers should be treated with more care and most importantly, you NEED to deliver your products. It’s career suicide not to.

The way I see it, it is inherently risky because there are examples of projects with tiers up to thousands of pounds which may not see their promised pledge rewards met. I think the fury in that case would be justified. But why not just wait until the game is out, watch some reviews and then decide whether to buy into the product, like you do with your toaster, mobile phone and everything else you choose to purchase?

I think the reward system is a little bit weak anyway. If people want to buy stuff, they’ll ask you for the stuff and there will be a provable demand. This is what you learn when you work in retail for nearly a decade. I don’t think it’s fair to promise customers a limited edition art book, for example, for a game that hasn’t secured funding or isn’t currently in production. These things cost money to design, manufacture and post. A book is a whole other project, entirely. People seriously underestimate the time it takes to get things done. Worst of all, I’m sure that rewards can cripple a company financially and are probably the most annoying, stupid job to do right at the very end, when you are stressing about the release. Seems like ALOT of extra hassle to me – for no real gain. I’m sure people would just like the game that they paid for, at the very least.

Double Fine is a good example of a show case Kickstarter project but even they ran into trouble. They got away with it, but only just. I used to admire Tim Schafer a lot, actually. His original point and click adventures are among my favourite games of all time. I don’t think that his strength is project management either, though. He’s just a more likeable person and he has hired good people around him that aren’t afraid to call him out on things, on camera if they have to. The communication itself was just handled a lot better, thanks to the wonderful indie documentary film team 2 Player productions that produced the video blog updates for Double Fine. It certainly helped the credibility of the company when things started to look a bit sour.

Having always worked from a DIY perspective from everything I do: start-up companies, independent family run businesses, bedroom music producing…etc, I think I have some experience with you know, risking my own money and spending lots of my own free time to projects. I have spent a fair bit of time playing gigs on the London toilet circuit with various bands. In my opinion, to pursue a creative career, you need to earn your stripes and do it the hard way by keeping your shit tight and learning to become an ethical business person by default.

I can see why many creative projects fail but I think that this is often down to the strength of the leadership, how many liabilities the company has and passion for the project. No WAY should Kickstarter be looked at as a short cut to doing the real hard work of running a business.

In conclusion, I think Kickstarter gives over confident individuals or businesses an easy way to convince people to hand over their money. It should be more of a platform for more established individuals or small businesses that have a proven track record, such as the incredible Amanda Palmer. This isn’t to say that every Kickstart projects are money-grubbing scam artists – a lot of cool and innovative projects would not be possible without the initial funding. All pledgers should be aware, though, that they are contributing to completely new ideas. While it is exciting to be part of the development process, be aware that the results may be disappointing.

Life lessons learned through Video Games: Plants Vs. Zombies (on Iphone and Ipad)

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As I mentioned before in my Bubble Witch Saga post, I never used to really understood social gaming. I guess just the mere thought of in-app purchases put me off and I cannot be trusted when it comes to spending. I learned my credit card details off by heart about 4 years ago and subsequently, that alone has led to some bad decisions when it came to impulse buying and then, finally, landed me in some annoying financial situations.

Which was why I was pleased to find that Plants Vs. Zombies was available to download for free and all the levels were totally achievable (so far) without spending any cash.

It’s what I’m completely addicted to right now except that it keeps crashing on my Ipad (but that might be to do with the fact that it was the 1st gen Ipad and I’ve just downloaded iOS 6 onto it…..bit of a mistake i think). The thing is, I re-downloaded it twice before accepting defeat and started playing it on my Iphone instead.

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In a nutshell, it’s a tower defense game. It’s an age old formula that can seen pretty laboured when developers don’t put enough effort behind it – but when it’s done well, that’s it, I’m hooked. I love strategy games because it puts my super-organisation skills to good use! Just the sheer variety of plants that you can use to kill zombies with is phenomenal (according to IGN there are 48 plant varieties and 26 kinds of zombies). And the graphics are rather pretty too.

The system is rather simple. Zombies comin’ atcha in neat little rows, while you quickly set up defenses so that Zombies can’t get into your house. There are pea-shooters that shoot little bullets, sunflowers that collect sun points that you spend to get more vicious plants in your garden. There’s something so satisfying about watching a perfect game where you have laid out all of your defenses perfectly.

Of course to complete the game, I assume you will end up spending a bit of money on in-app purchases but I’ve changed my attitude towards it recently. If I’m able to download and enjoy the game for free without waiting 20 minutes for my 1 heart to re-charge in order to start a level (damn you Bubble witch Saga!!), then I have no problem spending £0.69 on their store. However, the game should have a pretty satisfying play through considering the fact that they are giving this game away for free.

Anyway, I definitely recommend that you check it out!

Has anyone completed the game? How long did it take you and what’s your overall verdict?

 

Jay’s Blog – Ramblings: I write blog articles when I’m on my death bed

I’ve been ill since Sunday and it hasn’t been pleasant. For a start, I couldn’t even sleep without a mask on and even when I woke up, I wandered round the house in sunglasses for most of the day because sunlight hurt my eyes (no – I’m not a vampire, though I’m starting to get serious cabin fever from staying indoors for 4 days).

I’ve been writing almost obsessively since I started getting ill a few days ago so expect a few articles sometime soon.

Also, I’d just like to thank everyone who has commented, liked and followed me. It’s made me a lot more confident about my writing and to be honest, I’m just grateful I have followers who are interested in what I have to say in the first place!

Articles coming soon:

  • 8-bit Chiptune music – New musical trend?
  • Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror Series 2 Episode 3: “The Waldo Moment”
  • Plants Vs. Zombies – Yet another addictive game you guys need to check out
  • Where are all the female gamers – Hello?? Anyone out there?

Sony Announcement 2013 – Playstation 4 coming out at the end of this year!

Sony announces the PlayStation 4, launching at the end of 2013 | The Verge.

PlayStation 4: Sony launch fires starting pistol on the next generation | Technology | The Guardian.

Life lessons learned through Video Games – looks like Sony have FINALLY got something right! Read the article above, it’s a great little summary of the Sony announcement last night. I’m really excited about the developer capabilities! Hopefully, they will reach out to Indie Game developers like us so we can release titles for the PS4 one day!

Also, it’s going to take Social gaming to the next level. You can share videos and screen shots with your mates as well as watch play sessions in real time! Not just that but the tech demos of some of the 3D modelling software is just fantastic. I want to get my hands on it now. The meme I chose for the featured image has never been more appropriate.

So when is playstation 4 coming out? The release date is Christmas 2013. I’m buying one, are you?

Life lessons learned through Video Games: Bubble Witch Saga

So, I’ve developed another perfectly healthy addiction. I’ve started playing Bubble Witch Saga. Partly due to me bowing under peer pressure but I think it was more to do with my sense of scientific curiosity. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about.

I told myself for ages that I wouldn’t start playing Facebook games because they weren’t “real games” like Ni No Kuni or Bioshock Infinite. I think that I knew that I would somehow get addicted to them as well because, that’s just how I am. Once I find something that feels good, I just want more and more and more.

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This was a bad idea.

I’m failing at life this week because of this stupid game. I don’t know why but it’s got me hooked. I’ve been sat here mindlessly tapping my Ipad screen for the entirety of yesterday before I was forced to turn it off to watch the Sony Announcement (I will be writing this up today too).

What makes it so special? I have no idea. I literally don’t have a clue why I’m playing it.  I do quite like the “social” aspect of it, in that you can see what your friends scores are when going through the levels. But even that has pissed me off because now I’m wasting lives (that take 20 mins to recover), trying to beat my friends high scores even though I passed the level!

To be honest, it’s EXACTLY like every other Bubble fighter game out there except there are in app purchases and you can synchronise it to Facebook. And it feels completely endless because there are like a few hundred levels to get through. I still don’t know why I’m playing it….but I just can’t stop……………

Life lessons learned through Video Games: BioShock Infinite (Release date – 26th February)

So this is basically what I’m really excited about this year. I LOVED the 1st Bioshock game. It was the perfect combination of my personal favourite genres. The Art deco architecture, the jazz music, the horror, the possessed scary little girls and the big daddies.

This time it looks like less of a horror/thriller game and more a conventional first person shooter but again, the environment looks spectacular. I have a weakness for anything steam punk. If it’s got giant airships in it, I’m 99% sure I’ll like it. I’m wondering whether the game will actually work as nicely as the original Bioshock but I’m sure it’ll be fun wandering around anyway.

2K games have really done well with the Bioshock franchise so far. Let’s hope this latest offering stands up as a fantastic game in its own right rather than riding off the success of previous games.

Check out the gameplay trailer above! I’d love to hear your thoughts. It’s coming out on the 26th February! Only a few days to go!